Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good Experiences...

We have been blessed with a few good experiences this week, so we are pretty excited!

The pharmacist that I mentioned in the last blog has not been having a regular study due to her crazy schedule, but I call her 2 times a week just to encourage her and to see if she has time for the study. Anyway, I was feeling a little discouraged about her and then on Saturday, after the meeting, I turned around and there she was! She was sitting in the back room because she is very sad, but she was there! So, I went and talked with her for a while. She told me not to give up on her and to keep calling her, she needs to find a way to fit the study into her schedule! And here I was thinking that she didn't really want to study!

A few months ago, Beth started studying with Susana, a lady from Peru...she did really well on her study and she had a friend, also from Peru, Maribel, who would come and sit in on the study with her. Beth said that Suzy would call her as soon as Beth got there and Maribel would come running with her books in hand for the study! Well, unfortunately, in Sept. or Oct. Susanna had to return to Peru...Bummer! A few weeks later Beth remembered that she actually had Maribel's phone number and so she asked me to call her to see if she would be interested in continuing the study. Right away she said yes, and we set up a time that weekend to meet at the Market so she could take us to her house. So, that is what we did. She is really nice and very interested in the Bible.
Unfortunately, shortly after that she got a new job...(isn't that how it always works?) and was working practically 7 days a week... so, even though I called her every week, we just couldn't find a time to study. About 6 weeks has passed, and I was starting to give up on her when out of the blue on Tuesday she called! She said that she just found out she is pregnant and so she had to quit her job which involved a lot of heavy she is at home most of the time now and wanted to continue her study! YIPPEEE! So, on Wednesday morn. I went and had her study...she always appreciates it and she told me she wants to come to the meeting on Saturday evening! We have arrangements to meet at a well-known store so that I can show her where the KH is! Yippeeee!!!!
Hopefully she can come, she has been feeling sick lately due to the pregnancy. Oh, she also told me that she would like to study 2 times a week to take advantage of the time that she has now! As you can imagine, I returned home very excited, and I will certainly enjoy the next few weeks until Beth gets back! Don't worry Beth, I'm not going to steal your study! haha

I also had a nice experience with Berta, a woman whom I found in the territory about 2 months ago...she was listening intently as I showed her the Bible Teach Book and then all of a sudden she gets this scared look on her face and says, "I have to go! My mom is coming down the street and she doesn't like you people!" Mind you, this woman is probably in her 50's. But, she said,"Come back another day please!" and shut the door. Hmph.... Now what? I knew I had to go back to her, but I was sort of scared to return because the mom reminded me of the old lady that hit me with the stick! YIKES!
I did continue to stop back, but couldn't find her home. So, I decided to leave a note for her. About 3 weeks later I finally found her! She was so apologetic and said that she got my note, but that her mom had fallen and broken her knee and had surgery. So, she had been at her mom's house everyday taking care of her since she is bed-ridden right now! Not that I didn't have any compassion for the mom, but I was secretly happy that she wouldn't be able to stop by Berta's and cause trouble! So, I started the study with Berta that day and she was telling me how she had found a Bible in the street one day that was all wet and dirty and how she had taken it home and was ¨nursing it back to health¨. She was drying the pages out and cleaning it up and flattening it out. She just couldn't believe that someone would leave this Bible in the street, it just wasn't right! So, I thought, OK, that's fine, she can use that Bible, it doesn't matter.
Well another 2 weeks passed by and I couldn't find her...when I finally found her she came running to the door with a big smile and explained that she had the flu and couldn't get out of bed for over a week, but she felt better and was ready to study. So, we had another study last week. She has such a humble attitude and keeps saying that she really needs to learn more about the bible because she has wasted so much of her life. We planned for me to stop the next week (today) for the next study.
Yesterday, she called me crying... she cries a lot because she has a lot of problems. I talked to her for about an hour on the phone and shared some scriptures with her. I told her that one of the things that makes me feel encouraged is attending the meetings and read to her Heb. 10:24,25 and mentioned that it is there we receive encouragement to continue on. She asked me when the meetings are...I told her Wed and Sat. She asked me,¨So, you have a meeting tonight?¨ Yep. ¨I am going to come, I NEED to come¨. So, we made arrangements to meet at the well-known store at 7:15pm so I could show her where it is. She was right on time, even though she and her 10 year old grandson had to walk 20 minutes to get there and then we all walked the next 10 minutes together to the meeting! Oh, and she had brought her Bible that she has been ¨nursing back to health¨ ---It was the New World Translation!
She really seemed to enjoy herself at the meeting. It was a really good lesson in the ¨Jehovah's Day¨ book, she really liked that information on the blessings we can receive by serving Jehovah more fully! The grandson asked me after the meeting if he could have a song book for himself...He really liked singing the songs! And he did really well finding the scriptures, too! So, anyway, as you can see, it has been a really good week for me! I will keep you all posted as to how they continue to progress! I had her study this morning and she was still flying high from the meeting last night. She told us that her grandson would like to study also, so Chad made arrangements to go tomorrow afternoon to start studying with him.....

A funny thing happened to Chad 2 weeks ago when he was studying with the young guy, Wilmer. They were studying about prayer and making sure our prayers are acceptable to Jehovah. Chad mustered up his courage and decided that he was going to use that as a segway into the fact that to please Jehovah we should be legally married (he and his girlfriend have been living together for 3 years). So, Chad goes through his very carefully prepared speech, treading very lightly so as not to offend him, but at the same time being direct so he understands the importance. Wilmer listened attentively as usual and gave all the right answers...and after it is all said and done, Wilmer looks at Chad with a smirk on his face and says, ¨Oh, by the way, we got married last week. I forgot to tell you...¨ What a riot! And what relief for Chad! Too bad he didn´t mention that before Chad's agonizing preparation!!! It is so nice to see how he is really making changes in his life to serve Jehovah....

Well, I could go on and on with other experiences, but I think a rambled on enough for one day!
Hope you guys are doing well, and keeping warm! We miss you all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Know You're In Ecuador When.....

This is not the first time this has happened to us, so we should know better...but oh well, TRANQUILO!!!
Last Wed. night we were invited to an anniversary party on Friday for a couple in our their house, given by their niece who lives with them....sure, why not? Chad never turns down an invitation for food, right?
Thursday morning, we get a call from another sister in the, Can we have the party at your place? After warning her that our place is a lot smaller than when we lived upstairs, we, of course, said ¨Sure¨ Great, so she says she will be there at 7 with the food and the rest will be there at 7:30. Now we know better than that, we thought...that means she will be there at 7:30 and the rest at 8!
Tranquilo! This is the word that they use when you ask them questions like, How many are coming? Do you have chairs? Is someone bringing music? What food will there be?...etc.
They intend that word to mean: It's all taken care of...No worries..
What we have learned that it means is: No, nothing is taken care of, we haven't arranged anything, but don't bother me with so many questions!
So, we bought some snacks, just in case, because we have already been asked to host a party that didn't have food! No kidding!
Anyway, Friday night is how it went....




(The 2 sisters with the food finally arrive to start preparing the food!)

(the guests finally arrive, pretty much all at the same time, like it was the scheduled time for the party that everyone knew about except the ¨gringos¨!)

(The guests of honor arrive!)

So, we finally start serving food around you see why Chad always eats dinner before the gatherings! But, I have to say, once everyone got there, it was a really nice time, and they had really good food!

Around 10:30pm, I mention to the sister that maybe we should start to serve the cake! (Being old like I am, I was thinking, I have to go to bed! I need to get up for service!) But she just looks at me like I had 2 heads...¨No, we have to start the dancing first!¨ Hmm, interesting...So I asked her, ¨Do you have music?¨ Of course not! Chad and I usually have music, but since his computer is in the shop, we don't have any of the, there goes that idea... but, TRANQUILO!!!
Finally at around 11:30pm, they decide to serve the cake and all of sudden everyone seemed to notice what time it they shoveled in the cake and headed out at around 11:50pm!
WHEW! What a night! We did enjoy ourselves, and we really are getting more accustomed to their ways...but just thought you would get a kick out of the night!
I'm sure they all think that we are just uptight gringos...and hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans, right? Just remember.....TRANQUILO!

Messages from the Friends...

Yes, another blog dedicated to Mark and would think they left us for good or something! (No, it's just that they are sooooo missed!)
Well, this was supposed to be posted the day they left...but I just didn't have time to post it until now! Sorry, I'm not the speedy blogger that you are Beth!....haha
Some of the brothers and sisters wanted to say good-bye also!
I translated the messages for our friends and family that don't speak spanish. I'm sure it isn't perfect, but you get the idea!
We miss you both!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

We´re Officially Kiwi-less....

No, not the bird, the Kiwi, and not the fruit, either....Our New Zealand friends, Mark and Beth, otherwise known as the Kiwis, have gone back home for a visit for 6 weeks...Boo hoo....

They have been an excellent example for us all here in Ecuador in the 10 months that they have served here. Always smiling, they are always up to whatever challenge comes their way! (And believe me, moving to a foreign country and not knowing the language certainly can present some challenges!) Their zeal for the ministry and love for the congregation has been a real source of encouragement.
Thanks you two...enjoy your time with your family, but come back soon!
We love you both! Say hello to your family and friends for us!

PS Hey Beth, aren't you glad you taught me how to blog? haha

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Meet the Britos!

One of the amazing things about serving here in Ecuador is being able to see how many people are coming into the truth right out of the territory. We have been here for 8 months total and are still surprised to discover how many in the congregation are very newly baptized, or just unbaptized publishers! I've learned to always ask in service, ¨So, how long have you been baptized?¨ The majority of the time it is within the last 5 years and pretty often you'll get, ¨Oh, I'm not baptized yet, I hope to be baptized at the next assembly.¨ --And that is after they have just taken you on 2 of their own bible studies. It is such an encouragement to see their zeal and appreciation. I have decided to try and introduce you to some of the new/interested ones in the congregation and share their experiences with you....

Some of you might remember them from our last visit--they fed us our first cuy (guinea pig). They are probably one of the poorest families in our cong, but are INCREDIBLY generous, especially with us. We usually eat at their house at least once a week, sometimes more...
Her whole meal never costs more than $2, but it is always delicious! I am learning a lot from her! It is usually a HUGE plate of rice, a small piece of meat and vegetables....

They have been studying for about 2 years total, and are unbaptized publishers. His brother started to study first and persuaded them to study and they have been making steady progress ever since. Although we don't study with them, each week when we are at their house they have tons of questions for us, usually about little things that we take for granted because we were raised in the truth like.....¨Can you show us how to have a family bible study?¨ (which, by the way, they faithfully have every week) or ¨I started to try and prepare for this part in the meeting, but I am not sure where to look for the answers¨ or ¨Where can I find information to share for the Bible highlights?¨ It is amazing. They are putting forth a lot of effort to make progress--he has recently started 2 bible studies of his own!

They have had some obstacles to overcome....they live about 100 ft from his parents, and so they have dealt with some opposition from the family as they are making changes and it is hard for them. But, their good example is paying off, recently his father and brother both started studying the Bible. Their other obstacle is work. He works out of his little house making shoes. The factory pays him $.99 per pair, and each pair takes about 1-2 hours. So you can imagine that he works ALOT just to put rice on the table, sometimes he works through the night.

They are both working towards baptism at our next assembly in March.
He is an awesome guitar player and is giving Chad lessons. He absolutely loves ¨English¨songs and so he always makes Chad sing in English with him while he plays those songs...The Eagles, The Beatles, Kansas.....He listens to the songs on the radio or a CD and then he just plays them by ear!

I put a little video together of them and they wanted to say hello to our friends and family back home.....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chad Dion?????

So, last night after the meeting we were invited to go grab a bite to eat with a few other families in the cong. We went to a restaurant that is owned by a sister in the hall and her husband who is studying. The food, is OUT OF THIS WORLD, sorry I forgot to take a picture.

We are just sitting there at the table chatting, and Chad and I were thinking about leaving because it was late when suddenly the large TV screen turns on and the lights dim....Karaoke!!!

My worst nightmare! Fortunately the majority of songs were older spanish songs we didn't know, so we had an excuse not to sing....or so we thought!

All of a sudden they hand Chad the microphone and start shouting...¨This next one is in English! You can sing this one!¨ So, Chad grabs the mic and looks at the his horror the song was ¨The Power of Love¨by Celine Dion-----Can you think of a singer that hits higher notes? Oh my did we laugh....especially when poor Chad is singing ¨..cause I'm your lady....and you are my man..¨ He was such a good sport and just went with it! Never a dull moment! They of course, had no idea what he was saying, but we sure did get a laugh out of it!

It was a really fun night, but I don't think that song will ever be the same for me! (or poor Chad)!

Chad´s Big Debut!!!