Friday, May 29, 2009

The EASY Hike....

I started to blog about our trip to Banos, but some friends of mine reminded me that I never posted our little mini-adventure that we had in Vilcabamba with Doug and Judy!!!! So, first things first. We (well mostly Judy haha) were excited to see that there was an EASY hike around our hostel, so we convinced the group to go with us! Little did we know......

video

On another note, I am so excited because Berta, the woman that had been attending the meetings, has come to the last 2 meetings again. There is no greater joy than to see a bible student come walking through the Kingdom Hall doors!
Yesterday, another bible student, Maria, had a really good study! I have been studying with her off and on for a few months, but she is still just a "doorstep study". She never has invited me in and sometimes I was not even sure she was that interested, but I continued to stop. Yesterday, I stopped and she was there (although moving out of the territory next week boo hoo). Anyway, we had a really nice study, and then she started to open up to me. She started thanking me profusely for studying with her. She said that the one thing she is so grateful for is that we taught her God's name. She was talking to some friends the other day and they were telling her that is NOT God's name, it is a demonic name (some of the catholic priests actually tell their congregation that). But, Maria said she was so proud that she could show them in her Bible that is WAS God's name. She then proceeded to tell them that if it weren't for Jehovah's Witnesses stopping by and teaching her the Bible, she wouldn't know the truth either. I also found out the reason that she doesn't invite me in...Her mother-n-law lives there with them and she gives her a hard time everytime that we come. But Maria said that she always defends us, and even her husband wants us to keep coming because he has seen changes in Maria for the good and he really appreciates that. She just went on and on about all the wonderful things she has learned from studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. In the end she made sure to give me her new address...it is about 20 minutes from here..so that next week I could still come and study with her. She said that now she will be living near her sister, who is also interested in studying the Bible with us. So, I promised that I would come next week and see if I can find a sister from that congregation who can continue to study with her....We'll see what happens, but you just never know what people are really thinking, do you?
We miss you all very much and hope to hear from you soon!...
Oh, I almost forgot!! For those of you losing sleep over Scrappy and his well-being...Mark and I saw him yesterday! He was rooting through some garbage on the other side of the territory! And walking just fine! I can't be sure, but I think he smiled at me....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scrappy.....

Hello! How are you all doing? So sorry I have been so delinquent in my blogging! I am going to try to get back on track....The last few weeks have been busy, but great! We had a wonderful visit with Kami and her friend Sara! Banos de Ambato was absolutely beautiful, I hope to have pictures posted in the next week or 2! The town is basically situated in a beautiful valley. There are TONS of waterfalls to explore and there is also a volcano! It was interesting to see all the signs for emergency evacuation routes in case of an eruption! YIKES! But they haven't had any problems in years I think! Or that is what I told myself anyway! haha
Service continues to be a source of joy for us! This past Saturday one of the sisters asked us to go with her on a RV that she had started with a young girl (about 14). She wanted us to start the study with the parents...So, in typical Ecuadorian style, we come walking up to the development and see the sister in the car, but she also has another sister and her 14 year old daughter with her. So, they ALL get out of the car! We walk up to the door and there are all 5 of us standing there! Talk about uncomfortable! Anyway, the grandmother invites us in, so we all pile into the living room! Come to find out, that the daughter SAID the parents would like to study, no one has actually spoken to them yet! But, here we are in their living room! They were in the middle of eating breakfast and were in their PJ's, but the mom said, "Just one minute and I will be right back down" She went upstairs to change. When the parents come back down, the sister just looks at Chad and says, "OK, go ahead!" UNCOMFORTABLE!!!! But, Chad did fine, and they do indeed want to study the Bible. So, one of the sisters went off into another room with one of the daughters, and the other sister went into another room with the other daughter, and we started the study with the parents. They are sooo sweet (and surprisingly normal) haha. I know it sounds bad, but you all know what I mean! Most people that study today have so many problems and issues....So, we had a wonderful study with them and look forward to going back next Sunday!
Chad also passed a big hurdle on Saturday. He gave his first public talk in spanish here in Ecuador! He did really well. It was the outline "Should Christians Observe the Sabbath?" He had given it quite a few times in English in the past, but this was his first time in Spanish with this outline! WHEW! He is glad that is over! But he did really well, especially considering there was an attendance of 183! I can't imagine looking out into such a huge audience and not fainting!!! haha
And now about "Scrappy"! One day I was getting ready for service in the morning and I hear this dog screaming!!! So, I look out the window, and here a SUV had run over the back end of this little black dog! I even heard a crunch! I was HORRIFIED to say the least! And so there sits this dog in the road, basically pleading for someone to help him to get onto the sidewalk. I couldn't watch anymore and we had to leave for service...but the whole day I just couldn't stop thinking about him! When we got back, he was gone, but each day I would keep my eyes open for him! Two days later, we were walking home from service and we found him about 2 blocks away at a construction site...I was so happy to see him, although he wasn't really walking and he was very skittish! So, the whole family, Mark, Beth, Chad and I decided that we would bring him some food! I put together a little video so that you could meet Scrappy!!!.....


video

Anyway, we are pretty sure that the construction workers were also taking care of him. So, eventually we think he regained the strength to hobble along like 60% of the other dogs here in Cuenca!! But, I can imagine it was quite a sight to see 4 gringos, carrying a plate of food each night to go and visit this dog! What the neighbors must have thought!
Anyway, that is some of the news here in Cuenca. I will try to get back on track with the blog! We miss you all and hope things are going well!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ministry Updates....

Hello! How are you all doing? We are doing well. As I said in the last blog, we are leaving tomorrow for a quick trip to Banos de Ambato. It should be fun! I had a few minutes this morning and thought that I would keep you up to date on a few of our bible studies.

Chad continues to have the study with Rodulfo, the man who had the stroke. It is amazing how fast he picks up the information. For example...2 weeks ago they got to the appendix on the cross. So, at the end of the study (before they studied it), Chad asked Rodulfo if he thought we should use the cross in our worship (it is such a huge thing here). Anyway, Rodulfo just made some comment about the cross being the burdens that we have to bear each day...So, Chad gave him homework to read the appendix and let Chad know what he thought the next study. So, the next study came around, and Chad says, "Well, what is new with you?" And immediately Rodulfo said, "Well, I learned that we can't use the cross if we are going to have God's approval!" Just like that! He read the information and readily agreed! He is such a pleasure for Chad to study with.

I have been studying with 2 young girls. I originally started the study with the older one, Isabel, who is about 14, but about a few weeks into it, one day, the younger one (9 years old), Tatiana, came running out to the gate with her and said, "Can I have one of those books? I want to study, too!" And she actually seems more enthusiastic than the older one! Sometimes I have to tell her to let her older sister comment, too! They have a very sad home life. Another one of those situations where the older kids take care of the younger ones, so they are always cleaning or doing laundry or cooking... Anyway, one day, the younger one, says to me, "Can I ask you a question?" So, I said "sure". She says, "Why don't you believe in the virgin Mary?" So, I asked her, "Who told you that we don't believe in Mary?" She thinks for minute and says, "The catholics!" It was so funny! She is so honest. See, her parents have been sending them to catechism, and she is so open and enthusiastic, I am sure that she has told everyone that she has bible classes (as she calls them) with us on Saturdays. So they have started to tell her things like that to dissuade her. Anyway, I read the account in Luke with her and then afterward I asked her,"So, what do you think? Do we believe in Mary?" She immediately said, "Yes!" So, I asked her, "So the next time that the "catholics" tell you we don't believe in her, what are you going to say?" She says, "I'm going to tell them that is a lie, and that you showed me in your Bible that you do believe in her!" She is such a fiesty little thing, and I thoroughly enjoy studying with her. Every week she comes running out to the gate with her books in hand and a big smile on her face!


Wilmer (the young guy that recently got married) continues to have his study regularly. He is such a joy to have around because he really, truly wants to make progress. He has been searching desperately for other work, because his current job (working 13 hours a day, 7 days a week) doesn't really allow him to attend the meetings. And the sad thing is that he works all that time, and receives $200 a month. Barely enough for he and his family to survive. But, he is really enjoying the "Keep Yourself in God's Love" book and continues to make little changes. We continue to pray that Jehovah help him find another job.


Leonardo, the hardware store guy, also continues to regularly have his study. He also continues to witness to others. One day we were there having the study and a younger guy was working there with him. So, Leonardo had him come and sit in on the study with us. He was giving comments and everything! So, at the end of the study, Chad asked him if he would also like to study and he readily said, "yes!" So, Chad made arrangements to go to his house on Sundays to continue the study. Leonardo is doing all the work, and we are reaping the benefits! haha

Berta, the lady that attended quite a few meetings and the Memorial, has been having some personal problems, and so hasn't been to a meeting in the last few weeks (Satan has been busy!) But, she continues to have her study and LOVES it! She has been preaching to her children about what she has been learning (although I get the feeling they aren't really interested) But it is the thought that counts! This last week I spent a few minutes trying to encourage her to get back to the meetings, and she said that she definitely wants to. So, we will see what happens with her! But, her appreciation for the bible study and for the magazines is so encouraging to us!

Last week, Beth and I were preaching up in some muddy, mountainous territory and we found a lady who called down to us from her window to tell us she was busy. But, she said, "Can you leave your magazines in my door? I love to read them!" So, I said that I would, and asked her if there was a better time that I could stop back, since she obviously had interest in the Bible. She thought for a minute and then she said, "I'll be right down!" So she came down and ushered us into the house. She set up chairs for us and said, "Sit down, Sit down!" She noticed that the one magazine that I was offering was about students and young people and so she said to me, "Do you conduct bible studies with young people?" I said yes. So, she runs up stairs and brings down 2 of her kids (ages 10 and 16) or something like that, and has them sit down to study with us! So, we had a little discussion about the bible with them (and her) and I showed them all the Bible teach book. They decided that they would like to study. She kept saying," Yes, they really need to study the bible, it is very important that they make time". So, I smiled really big and I said to her," And what about you? Do you think maybe you could make time to study?" She started laughing..and agreed that she should study, too. She gave me her phone number and wanted me to call her Thurs night to make arrangements. But, for whatever reason her line was out of service (that happens quite a lot here) so I didn't get in touch with them this week. But, I hope to find them this week and continue the study! It was quite the experience!

There are quite a few others, but I only had time for a few this morning! We hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CUY!!!!!!

Hello! How are you all doing? Sorry it has been a while, but we have had visitors, Kami Wake and her friend Sarah. So, that has kept us pretty busy!!! Party all the time! Some of you may have already seen this video from Beth's blog, but I didn't have any batteries in my camera for this incredible experience, so I asked Beth if I could borrow her video for you guys to see it! As you may have guessed, we were invited to Nataly and Gonzolo's for CUY!!! Chad and I have already eaten it before, so now we are experts...!! haha But, the others, well, they were good sports, but not sure if they need to eat it again anytime soon! But, it was quite the adventure!!!


video

Today Kami and Sarah left for Quito and Otavalo. This Sunday we are leaving to go meet them in Banos de Ambato to see the hot springs, waterfalls and volcanoes! We should be returning home on Wednesday, so if you don't hear from us, that is why!! For those of you who have tried to call recently...I know, I know, I have to call you back. We just haven't had a spare second! But, we miss you all very much and I do want to talk to you! Keep in touch! We love hearing what is going on in your neck of the woods! Miss you all!