We traveled to my hometown of Belleville, PA this past weekend to say goodbye to friends and family and also have a fundraiser at Locust Grove Mennonite Church. It was a great time of reconnecting with lots of people and sharing our vision for ministry in Quito. Our "adopted" daughter Victalina and her two kids Ismaelito and Dayana came along with us.
It all started out on Thursday night when we packed up a U-Haul truck with all the things we wanted to store in my parent's basement. It was great to have my cousin and his girlfriend with us to load the truck and then have some homemade pizza for supper.
We got to Belleville Friday evening and after a quick supper at my parents house we went up to the church to start working on the meat. First we had to cut off the extra fat from the pork shoulders.
Then we rubbed them down with mustard and my brother Daniel's secret recipe dry rub.
We packed them up in a homemade cooler for several hours until 1:30 AM on Saturday when Daniel, Marcus and I got up to put the meat on the smoker.
Daniel spent the night outside in a lawn chair recliner and then at about 10:00 AM Gaby, Marcus, Victalina, my dad and I helped to take the meat and put it into pans with butter, apple juice and apple cider vinegar so it could moisten and cook completely.
Finally at about 3:30 in the afternoon we took all the meat off the smoker and up to the church to start pulling it off the bones and shredding it up. We had lots of people helping out so we got all 42 pork shoulders pulled in about an hour!
On Sunday morning, Daniel took his smoker up to the church to start warming up all the pans of meat.
Naty and I shared with the congregation about our vision for ministry in Ecuador and several people came around us to pray for us in each of the two morning worship services at Locust Grove.
After that we had our fundraiser meal. About 450 people came to have pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw, Hartley's chips, veggies, desserts and Neil Renno's homemade ice cream.
We were overjoyed with everyone's generosity. Donations for the meal totaled $9,039.00!! God and his family are SOOOOO good!
Sunday evening at 7:00 we gave a presentation at Allensville Mennonite Church and were very encouraged to see several other ways their congregation is serving in missions.
Our friends Nubia and Armony came all the way from Philadelphia to see us and say goodbye on Sunday. It was great to see them again after many years.
On Monday morning I took my last bike ride for a while. I'm hoping to buy a bike in Quito, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to bike there.
On Monday evening we had a goodbye meal with the Yoder family.
After dinner, we helped to rescue a runaway calf and find it's owners. That was an unexpected experience!
Finally it was time to say goodbye. Nobody wanted to let go!