Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rounding the last turn....

Well, we have started to really get into a routine and have things under control now in the kitchen...and....well, now it is almost over! The brothers and sisters are really working hard this week, since it is the last full week.

I even have to say, we are leaving this morning for Guayaquil (for the English DC), and I am actually going to miss being with the brothers and sisters at the build for the next few days! We will come back on Monday morning (shining brilliantly from the spiritual encouragement!). The construction group should still be here until at least Wed., packing up and finishing the loose ends. And then they will leave and all will go quiet....we will really miss the group! It has been a pleasure to have them in our congregation the last 7 weeks!

We have continued to enjoy the visit of Mark and Beth's son Aaron. He has blended right in with the congregation (well, as much as a 6'5" foreigner can blend....hahaha) He even gave a prayer for lunch at the construction site the other day in spanish and did really well! Yesterday we took a short break from the kitchen in the afternoon and went to Ingapirca....Incan ruins. It was absolutely freezing, but we had a fun time!

Hope things are going well for everyone back home! We are looking forward to seeing you all when we come back for a visit. We will be home Sept. and October....time sure flies, doesn't it?

Monday, July 20, 2009

...and the work continues

Sorry it has been a little while since I posted last....BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! The remodel continues on, I think we are only one day behind, so not too bad! These past 2 weeks have been dedicated to mainly getting the roof put on, hanging the drop ceiling, knocking down the front security gate for parking spaces and pouring cement to level out the slope in the auditorium! The brothers have been working really hard and we appreciate their sacrifice!

Two Saturdays ago, they had a special day of work planned because they were pouring concrete. They needed a lot of brothers and sisters for this laborious work. So, needless to say, the kitchen was also a little crazy! In the end, we fed over 100 brothers and sisters! Not too bad! They came in different groups because there wasn't enough room for everyone. And the other problem is that we only have about 35 complete sets of silverware, SO, that meant that in between each group we had to run like mad to get the silverware washed a dried for the next group! YIKES! We weren't sure if we would have enough food (since we originally planned on about 75), but Jehovah must have made the pot of rice grow (like the loaves and fishes)! So, in the end, everyone ate! WHEW!! It was CRAZY!

We are having fun although we are wearing out! Chad's back is finally telling him to take it easy, it has been bothering him a little bit. But, it could be because he thinks he is superman! hahaha

We are getting excited about the English District Convention that is coming up at the end of the month! It should be such a spiritual boost. We are all ready to get back out in the ministry again after the remodel is over! I really miss it. Only 2 more weeks to go!

We also had some excitement this week since Mark and Beth's son Aaron arrived from New Zealand on Friday night! He is very fun (well except when he is in a bad mood about his lost luggage!) hahahahahaha....So, we are still on the hunt trying to track down his luggage and of course are getting the run around. Understandably, he is tired of wearing the same clothes. They did manage to find him a pair of pants here, I have no idea how. He is 6'5" tall, which is nearly double the average size of the men here. So, the poor guy has been wearing some of Mark and Chad's clothes, Mark's shoes (which hurt his feet because they are too small)....
But, last night Beth had a party for him here and we had a BLAST! It was so nice to do something recreational again. We danced the night away and Aaron scared everyone with his moves! hahahaha (Think Chad, but 2 times crazier!) But we all had fun! And Mark and Beth are soooo happy that he is here. We are happy to meet our "step brother" also!

I just wanted to post a few pictures from the last 2 weeks...

The sister in the middle has been my savior. I affectionately call her "mama"! She cooks wonderfully and knows how to cook for big groups! She stays with me all day Thurs., Fri. and Saturday and is my "Head Chef"! Although she is over 70 years old, she just keeps on going! We hardly have the breakfast cleaned up and she is already starting on lunch! When she gets going, she gets going! Sometimes she walks through the kitchen pushing everyone out of the way so she can get to her pots and pans! She is adorable and I don't know what I would do without her. Whenever I am stressed, she always tells me, "Don't worry Michelita (which is affectionately "little michele"), I will take care of you today. It will be fine!" And she always does. The Saturday that we had the HUGE group, she told me that in the morning, before she got there, she prayed to Jehovah and asked him to give her the wisdom and the energy to cook for all those people today. So, she said, "We don't have to worry, Jehovah is in charge today!" She is such a humble little sister and she will always have a special place in my heart. I always tell her that she is a blessing from Jehovah in the kitchen and she just laughs.

Here the brothers are knocking down the front wall to make room for parking spaces. They tore down the concrete wall with shovels and picks! It was insane! Poor things. And, you will notice that they are destroying the "watchtower" symbols on either side of the door. Very obedient!

Mark is spray-painting the trusses...

The only advantage that I have noticed of getting up at 4:30am is that you occasionally get blessed with seeing a BEAUTIFUL sunrise!
This was about 6:15am from the kitchen.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another Week Flies By.....

I absolutely cannot believe how fast time is going by.....Week 3 bites the dust! I had 150 hours in the kitchen last month and Beth calculated that we have put in over 45 hours in the last 4 days! Our boss "Carina" said a tearful good-bye on Friday morning and so far we have managed to continue to feed the brothers!!! It will just take a little while to get into our own routine with her gone...

This week the brothers have been working on painting the metal roof trusses and other metal parts of the roof, and then yesterday was the ENORMOUS job of actually putting the trusses on the walls! I knew that it would be a big day for the brothers when at morning breakfast the construction group prayed for Jehovah to keep everyone safe due to the dangerous work that they were going to do that day! I was a little nervous! But, everything went well. They don't use cranes or heavy is kind of like a "Amish barn-raising"! They have a whole bunch of brothers that lift these HUGE and HEAVY metal trusses up by hand and ropes! Of course, you just know that Chad had to be right there in the middle of it all! Don't worry about your back or anything! hahahahaha

I also am making progress in my "Yuckometer"! Last week when the sister was cutting up the whole chickens: heads, guts, feet, everything...I was a little grossed out. But, sure enough yesterday I got my first lesson in how to do it and gut it and everything! They have a system: First, you cut off the wings, then the legs, then you split the torso in half into breast and back. You then clean off the breast half and clean out all of the organs (saving them of course for the next soup!) Then you cut off the neck and head. They haven't used the head for anything, although some sisters do. You cut the neck into 3 pieces which goes into soup also! After you have cleaned and skinned the torso, then you cut the nails off the the feet (almost any chicken soup here will have claws floating in it!) Today I did one all on my own and it wasn't that bad! (although the chicken's one eye was slightly open and so I felt like he was looking at me!)
I am going to be a REAL woman before this is all over! Although I did tell them that when a live pig or cow comes walking through the door, that is where I draw the line! hahahahaha I have posted a few more pictures so you can see what's been going on!

Chad always likes to play...

I now have new appreciation for "cranes"!

My "chicken gutting" lessons!

These 2 fleshly sisters arrived here last week from Georgia. They are here to serve for at least 6 months. They will be going to Canar, which is about an hour from here. There is a HUGE need there to cover the territory. That congregation has 40 publishers and an average of 100 in attendance at the meetings. There are people who want to study and no one to study with them! We are very excited for these sisters! Last week they were kind enough to come after lunch for a few hours just to help us with the dishes!

...and Fernando, our new Chef! Fernando had to quit his job a few months ago because he was missing some meetings. He decided not to find another job until after the remodel, because he wanted to be there to help out everyday! Out of the kindness of his heart, he has been coming for a few hours everyday just to help us with the dishes and the cleaning since he knows we are tired! He also works at the construction site everyday, guard duty at night sometimes, and since many of us have to walk home in the dark, he waits around so that he can drive us all home! The other plus to him working with us in the kitchen is that the sisters all love him! So, we have been getting more help with the dishes! hahahahahaha He recently just sat in on his first pioneer meeting with us. We were SOOO excited when he turned in his reg. pio. application last month!