Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Until Next Week!

Well, the last 2 days have just been plain depressing due to the viewing and the funeral for little Joanna. But, we are leaving for a short trip tomorrow morning until Sunday evening. Just because we are in Ecuador doesn't mean we can't have Thanksgiving vacation, right? haha

Since this might be our last trip here to Ecuador for a while, we wanted to see some of the other cities. We are actually going to Quito, the capital of Ecuador for some sightseeing and then will take the bus to Otovalo, which has the highest concentration of indigenous people here in Ecuador, so we hope to have lots of cool pictures, videos and stories to share with you when we get back!
Until next time....behave yourselves and miss you lots!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joanna

We received some very sad news this evening. Our little sister Joanna passed away tonight. Last week her parents told us that things were looking very positive, as the chemotherapy seemed to be working and her cancer count had dropped. But her father came to the meeting last night with her little brother and sister and he told us that she had taken a turn for the worse. Her blood count had dropped to 2 on Thursday and she had contracted bronchitis due to her weakened immune system. She had stopped eating. But they were hopeful that the medicine would help her fight her infection. Unfortunately, we received the news this evening that she passed away.
It has to be one of the most tragic things ever. But, at least she is no longer suffering, and Jehovah will certainly keep this little sister in his memory. She fought the fine fight until the end. The blood issue, as I said before, was a huge problem. The Doctors continually gave the family a hard time, treating them as criminals for refusing blood. When the parents weren't around, they would pressure little 9 year old Joanna to accept the blood transfusions. But, she took a firm stand, even telling the Doctor that she would rather die than take blood.
Her father told us that before she would go to sleep she would plead with her mother to please defend her stand on blood while she was sleeping in case the doctors tried to give her the blood while she slept. She, as well as her parents, have been such a fine example of faith and endurance under trial. We look forward to seeing her again in the new system.
Thank you to all for your prayers and donations, which will continue to help this poor family greatly during this extremely difficult time. They will still be stuck paying a months worth of hospital bills, as she was in the hospital the whole time. So, thank you again to all for your prayers and monetary help. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Dreaded Friday Service Group!!!!

Well, not all of it is horrible...we enjoy being with the brothers and sisters. But, it is the most exhausting of our days in service. Each day of the week the meeting for service is at a different families house. This is because hardly anyone has a car, so once we get to the meeting for service, we then will work the territories around that area so as not to kill ourselves. This particular family lives up the mountain, so it takes us about 30 minutes of climbing just to get to the meeting for service...and then from there, guess what type of territory we work?
Yep, you guessed it...MOUNTAINS!!
But, it has proved to be one of the most exciting territories for us...it really makes you FEEL like you are serving in a foreign country!
So, I added a short video segment of some of the excitement of the day....the music is some of the traditional music from Ecuador...let us know what you think...I think it reminds me of Polka!

Oh, by the way, we do have a phone number here that we can be reached at: (570) 245-6849. It is a PA number, so you shouldn't have to pay very much, and it comes here to our computer in Ecuador via Skype! (or you can just Skype us like before: pacman.78) Hope to hear from you!

video

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Been a Very Good Few Days!

Like any territory, we have our good days and bad days....but, it just so happens that it has been a very good few days for us. Tuesday, Chad placed 3 "Bible Teach" Books and has 4 potential bible studies. Yesterday, I placed 2 books and now have 4 potential bible studies. The one young woman, Carina, owns her own little store and so she is always there. She was really excited to learn that we were Jehovah's Witnesses and to see the Bible Teach Book because she said she used to work in a Dental Office and one of her patients witnessed to her, but they never could find a good time to actually study. Since she no longer works there, she lost contact. She was really sweet, and since she has the store at her house, hopefully she will be there when I go next week!

Our friend, Beth, who is serving here from New Zealand, asked me to go along with her yesterday morning on a return visit which turned into a very good bible study. The woman ran right into the house to get her book and followed along, answering every question. She seemed comforted to know that God does care about suffering. She was mislead by her minister who tells everyone that when something bad happens, it is because God is punishing you. What a sad misrepresentation of God. But, by the end of the study, she felt better knowing that God is not indifferent, and does not cause our problems. We'll keep you posted on her progress!

On another note, we met in the center of the city yesterday for lunch in between morning service and afternoon service. The other "gringos" in the city have established a regular Thursday "Gringos Anonymous" Meeting. There are usually between 2-5 families that eat there. It is just a nice time to actually speak English and share crazy and good experiences had by all for the week. I hope to formally introduce each family to you all via blog in the next few weeks as each one of them has had there own struggles and challenges, as well as wonderful blessings from serving here in Ecuador. It is always very encouraging to be with them.

I have enclosed a few pictures of the food that we had there at the restaurant. The juice is "jugo de mora" which is basically berry juice. The mora berry is a name for blackberries/rasberries that are very common here. It is sooooo good! The green soup is split pea soup, but the interesting thing is that here they put popcorn in their soups! I guess it is like us putting crackers in ours! It is very good! The other picture is of our dessert. It is a slice of "queso fresco" which is cheese that is basically unpasteurized, but very good, and then they drizzle it with cane syrup...it is syrup that comes from a sugar cane (I think). It was the first time for us to try that dessert, but it was delicious! And the great thing is that the meal costs $2.90 per person, for soup, lunch, dessert and juice!





Our Apartment!

So, I know that I already emailed photos of the apartment to some of you. But, some of you mentioned that you either didn't get the photos, or you couldn't open them. So, this is just a short video tour. Visitors are always welcome! (We'll even take the moldy bedroom, just for you!) haha

We searched and searched and searched for a dehumidifier, to no avail. Finally, yesterday, we found one...of course in the most expensive store in town...Do you want to know how much it would cost us? Wait for it.........a mere $416.00 for a normal size dehumidifier!
Now I guess we know why everyone puts up with the mold!
Suddenly it doesn't seem that bad to us either!


video

Monday, November 17, 2008

Field Trip!

Our congregation had completed our tract campaign, so we offered to help out a small congregation about 45 minutes from us, in Deleg, with their campaign. They live way out in the rurals and live up even higher than us in the mountains. ALL of their territory is climbing hills and bad roads. They have 27 publishers and one elder. They did not even have a Kingdom Hall before, but one of the brothers built a new house and built a small Kingdom Hall onto the front of it for them. It, of course, is very small. So, when our group of 80 people showed up yesterday to help them with their territory, they were shocked!
We had 13 cars and 2 buses that traveled up there to Deleg. If you did not have your own transportation, you had to put your name on a list with the Service Overseer and he had the exciting task of assigning each person to a car! Needless to say, the morning was a little bit chaotic. Our friend Doug (who is serving here from Georgia, USA) likes to call it the "fruit basket turn-over"....it's like a fruit basket tips over and there is fruit rolling around everywhere! But, we made it there, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the special day with the congregation.
It was a great witness for the locals because they never see such a big group of witnesses and I think we covered the territory by 2pm!
We loved it! Although, we were exhausted because of the altitude....
there is even less oxygen there than here! Cuenca has an altitude of about 8500 ft above sea level, Deleg is about 10,000 ft above sea level. Just to put that in perspective, I think Mile High Stadium in Denver is about 5200 ft above sea level.
But all it all it was a VERY good day!
We have also attached a short photo segment of some of the pictures from the day.
Hopefully you should just have to click on play and it should play!
(But you never know with our crazy skills.....)

video

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And So It Begins.......

Hello everyone....we are about to try something different and attempt a blog! We think it might be a little bit more convenient to keep you up to date on our adventures and mishaps!
Please be patient with our very small knowledge of blogging......it shall prove to be interesting and show just how lost we are!
Hope you enjoy the ride!!!