Jon DeBell's Blog

My Photo
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

God's Awesome Creation

Just got back from our two day excursion into the subtropical jungle. What an amazing world our God has created with variety and beauty beyond imagination. We are blessed to have seen all that we experienced! Back "home" in Quito tonight and we all will sleep well.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Climbing Adventure!

I love old cities, old churches, and and the adventure of exploring them--particularly when it involves climbing. On the last day of my trip here in 2008, Megan and I walked up from the old historic district of Quito to the National Basilica of the Vote. The Diocese of Quito had this cathedral constructed in the 1940s & 50s(?) to rival the great cathedrals of Europe. I was very disappointed that the observation towers were already closed that day so today I gave it another try.

I never imagined how many different staircases, walkways, and ladders of various descriptions could be in one building. After a routine beginning of easy stairs and the first observation point I ventured a little farther and was surprised to discover a wooden walkway/gangplank constructed between the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral and the roof above. No handrails--only a strand of rope on each side to keep one from falling onto the ceiling! At the end of the walkway was a steel ladder which led to outside the roof and to two other ladders leading up to an open observation spot atop the northern spire of the church. (Lawyers in the U.S. would salivate over the potential for lawsuits!)

The views of Quito from that tower would have been well worth the $2 I spent to enter, but I wasn't done yet. I returned to the southern end of the building and this time followed more stairs and ladders up to the clock and then the bell tower above the clock. This spot towered well above even the southern spire. What a gorgeous vista! While there I got to meet a doctor and his family from Idaho spending the summer in Ecuador to learn the language. I also spoke with a young couple from Ecuador, Merlin and Fi, who were kind enough to take a picture with me in it.

Life is filled with twists and turns and sometimes daunting climbs. But often I find that the view from the top more than justifies the effort! Here's hoping that all my friends and family who read this will have some wonderful days filled with joy while we are away. Happy climbing!

PS--Our next few days are going to be pretty full with visiting family and an excursion away from Quito to an eco-lodge. There we will experience the cloud forest, visit waterfalls, sample exotic fruit, make chocolate(!), and perhaps relax a little. Please pray for us. God bless!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ordeal or Adventure?

Being early is overrated. I know that is a terrible thing to say, but since I have frequently been told I will be late to my own funeral I admit that at least subconsciously I must believe it to be true. Now I have been trying in my "late"er years to work at being more prompt. But what happened Monday only makes me want to relapse.

With the kind of encouragement only a wonderful wife can provide, Penny had me at the airport the way the airlines request--two hours early for an international flight. I don't think I've ever been to the airport that early! And what did it get me? Delta flight 3567 was delayed once, twice, three times! When we finally touched down in Atlanta the only Atlanta flight to Quito of the day was taking off. We got off our plane and raced to the terminal only to look at the monitor and see, "Flight 673...DEPARTED." Deltal wanted to re-route us through Santiago, Chile arriving at 7AM and not getting to Quito until after 8PM the next day. I replied, "Fly all night with a 5 year old, only to get to Quito a couple hours before this same flight tomorrow gets there? No thanks!"

A good friend passed along a quote he had heard to me. The only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is...attitude. So Evan and I decided we'd prefer an adventure. We had a nice dinner on Delta, stayed at a comfortable motel on Delta and made it to Quito 24+ hours late but none the worse for wear. And we met some wonderful people to boot. Wouldn't you know it, our flight on Tues. was significantly delayed. While waiting to board Toby and Rachel from Chicago helped us pass the time and we both enjoyed getting to know them. They seemed like such genuinely nice people and we wish them well on their own adventure in Ecuador and Peru.

Erin met us at the airport in Quito. Her bags arrived just before us after she had been here for three days! I discovered that back home the washing machine had decided to spew out who knows how many gallons of water through much of our downstairs and by nightfall Penny and the girls had seen most of the carpet ripped out and 29 blowers doing their best to dry out the house.

There are a lot worse things in life than airline delays and inconveniences on a trip. Right now my friend who shared the quote with me is in a fight with cancer. I've been reminded to pray for him and to be more thankful for all the wonderful gifts God gives me each day to enjoy. The inconveniences and hassles of everyday life? NO BIG DEAL! And I promise that when we get back to the states and real life I'll try to work on my late attitude!