Friday, January 30, 2009

They're Growing Up So Fast......

We received some really good news last night. My brother, Jeremy, and my cousin, Josh, were both appointed as Ministerial Servants! What is this world coming too? haha

Just remember you two, in my eyes you will always be little brats!....

Congratulations you guys! We really are proud of you!

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ministry updates.....

Things have been picking up around here....more studies, more established has been really nice. I think total we have about 11 bible studies, some more regular than others, but some have been doing really well. The young guy Wilmer continues to make good progress. He has been attending the meetings regularly on Sundays after he gets off work. Last Sunday Chad went with him to introduce him to some of the brothers and he said that Wilmer had studied his lesson ahead of time! He is now studying 2 times a week and HE calls US to set up the time for the study! What a change! Normally, of course, you have to hunt your students down! haha

Some of you might remember the ¨troubled married couple¨ from the last visit, Jef and Katy. Well, they are pretty high maintenance if you know what I mean, so the couple that was studying with them when we were gone, handed them right back when we got back! They didn´t seem to have a very regular study while we were gone. She is very into Christmas, so I think she had a hard time during that period. We had visited them once before Christmas and all she could do was give excuses for why she has about 27 Santa´s hanging around! Her conscience seemed to be bothering her and so she thought that we would be bothered by it too! We explained to her that as long as she understands why we don´t celebrate, it is her decision what she wants to do...we would still continue to come and study! So, finally Christmas passed....and now we are back in a pretty regular routine with them! It is always very interesting to go to their may remember, they have a 6 year old, a 4 year old and twin 1 1/2 year olds! So, can you say MAD HOUSE? We usually have to be their for about 2 hours settling the kids down, making food (they always insist on feeding us)....and such before we actually study, but once we finally start, it is always worth the wait! It was funny because they have a little sitting room with glass doors that they can close and lock. Last week they actually locked the 4 of us in this room so we could concentrate without the kids....but the kids kept coming up to the glass and pressing their faces against it with such sad faces. It was so pathetic!! It was amazing that Jef and Katy pretty much just ignored them and we had a really good study! Last night we went at 7:30pm because the kids are all in bed, and we had a nice study. We were studying about the blessings to be experienced in the new world and we read Dan. 2:44. Of course, as always they have a million questions, but we briefly mentioned that this kingdom has already been established and that the end is very close. They got so serious and surprised and were like, ¨We always wonder why you guys have left your family and friends to come down here and bang on doors when most people don´t listen to you! Now we know why! You guys want to save everyone before they get destroyed!¨ She was very serious and looked at Jef and said, ¨We really need to start doing more, because I want to live in this paradise pictured here!¨ So, we shall see. I mentioned to them the illus. about if your neighbors house was on fire and they were inside, what would you do? So, a few times after that Jef called us ¨Bomberos¨or Firemen. It was funny. But, how nice it has been to get back together with them and restart their study!

We also have been studying with a ¨pharmacist¨ that another sister in the hall gave me because their schedules didn´t fit. She lost her husband, a doctor, about 8 months ago, and of course is really struggling with that. The usual things...did God take him? Why does he permit this? we have been really trying to help her cope. But we study with her at the pharmacy, she takes us to the back and we study there. She rarely lets the phone or other things interrupt and she has sooo many questions. So, we have started in the Chapter ¨Why Does God Permit Suffering?¨ It is really encouraging to see her interest in the Bible and that she makes time to study although she has an incredibly busy schedule. She teaches at the University in the morning, then goes to the pharmacy to work and stays there until 10pm. Poor thing. It is really nice to be able to give comfort by means of the scriptures to people who otherwise wouldn´t have any hope!
So, that is just some of the nice experiences we have been having! We can fill you in on some of the others next time!
Hope things are going well for you all! We miss you!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Great Sadness!

As our Uncle Andy says, "Great Sadness!"

Do you have any idea why Chad is so sad (and bored)? I walked into our spare room today and discovered Chad sitting there just like this staring in to space....

Our computer completely died this morning...Chad took it into town to the computer shops and they said that his "motherboard" is completely shot. So, we are not sure what will happen. But, for now, don't plan on such frequent blogs or emails. We don't have any computer. BUMMER!

Try not to be tooo devastated or go into Chad and Michele withdrawl! haha
Hope things are going well and the weather has calmed down a little bit for you all!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Gringo Minga!

Any type of "work day" is called a "Minga" here. Doug and Mark go one day every week to the assembly hall to help with projects. Since the assembly season is fast approaching, there are quite a few projects that they still need to finish up and are running out of time to get done. So, they invited us to the assembly hall last Saturday for a "Minga" to help with some sanding and painting. It was a very enjoyable day and a privilege to be able to help!

Just thought you might like to see the assembly hall... it is quite different from the ones back home! Especially with the metal roof. Last Circuit Assembly, during the CO's talk, it was raining so hard that no one could hear him, so he had to stop for 5 minutes on the stage just to wait for the rain to die down. Definitely a new experience! The other interesting thing they do here is after the assembly they begin to sweep the floor with a thousand brooms. To keep the dust down, they first spread kerosene and sawdust on the floor and then you sweep that up while you are sweeping the rest of the floor...It works, but it seems to add more work to the sweeping!

Hope you all are doing well! Miss you lots!

Monday, January 12, 2009

What A Treat!

I know this might not seem like such a huge thing to you all, but here in Ecuador, turkey and ham are not readily found, and if they are, you will pay thru the nose for them. So, we have been craving them (especially since my grandma back in PA just had her fabulous turkey and ham dinner and we missed it).
Out of the goodness of their hearts, Mark and Becky (other needgreaters here in Cuenca) decided to share their turkey with us that Mark received from work. It was a HUGE bird...and it was all we dreamed of and more. She made a fabulous dressing (stuffing), others made mashed potatoes, fruit salad, green salad, green beans, ham, pumpkin pie...all the typical fixins...(plus our New Zealand friends shared a special dessert from their was awesome!)and boy did we PIG out!
It's the little things sometimes that help with the homesickness. This time of year both of our families get together for food and games, and we were both feeling a little sad about missing them. So, this gathering, with our "other" family here in Cuenca, really was nice...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mud, Mud, Mud

Well, unfortunately we have had some rain....and mud. It still hasn't been too bad, so we can't complain. Here are some photos of preaching in the rain and mud....
Hope everyone is doing well...we miss you all!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Celebrating "The Old Year"

Well, it was pretty crazy here ringing the new year. They have some very interesting traditions that we thought we could share with you. A few days before the 1st, we started to notice people selling life-size dummies on the sidewalks, along with firecrackers. We learned that the Ecuadorians use this time to erase "the bad" of the past year so that the next year is hopefully much better. The dummies are stuffed with wood, firecrackers, paper and sawdust. They use it to "burn" away the bad memories. For instance, the dummies can be made to resemble people they know, famous people, ex-husbands....etc.
They begin the evening "begging" in the streets for money for the "dummy" funeral. For instance, they will completely block off roads and make any cars that pass "donate" for the "funeral"....if you don't donate, they bang on the car, or worse. At midnight, they begin the "funeral"..burning the dummies. If the year has been bad they kick or wipe it out before it completely burns, hoping for a better year next year! Since the dummies are stuffed with firecrackers, you can imagine the noise that ensues..along with the loud music, car alarms and fireworks.
All and all it is a pretty wild night, with the party STARTING at midnight. This video is to share a very SMALL portion of what we experienced that night...