Monday, November 29, 2010

and life continues....

HI!!! I know, it has been forever. For that I am sorry. I have gotten a few friendly reminders from family this week and so I thought I would say hello!

We are trying to get settled into a routine again here...new house, new congregation, new language, new territory, new job for chad....so many adjustments for us.
Things are going well...I have days of loving Kichwa...and then....well, you know...but, all in all we are having good experiences. The congregation is doing very well. We have about 30 publishers and have been having about 50-60 in attendance. We have quite a few bible students in the cong. that are making good progress and have been a source of true joy for me. Although they aren't my students, I visit them at the market when they are working and they have been so encouraging. They really have embraced Chad and I and make us feel like we are part of the family although we are struggling learning the language.

I gave my first talk 2 weeks ago...they say it went well...I don't know the language well enough to judge myself!! But, it felt good to have a part. The Bible students loved it....they always like to see me dressed up in their style clothing. They really appreciate such little gestures of appreciation for their culture.

We have been heading out to some outlying areas to preach and do census which has been great. It is so nice to escape the city and the marketplace preaching every once in a while!

Chad's job is going well...he has been working about 15 hours a week and enjoying it. They have been pretty busy with the holiday season, so we will see after that ends if he still has work, but we are enjoying it while it lasts!!!

I have no set in stone Kichwa bible studies yet...a few promising return visits. But, I still have Elena, the mom of the family that lives up in the mountains. She is super shy and I haven't been able to turn her over yet, so the elders in spanish are letting me continue studying with her and she is such a BRIGHT spot in my week!!! Due to being so shy, we are struggling with trying to get her to become an unbaptized publisher. Since the thought of knocking on doors and talking to complete strangers terrifies her, two weeks ago, Chad and I tried to encourage her to do some informal witnessing to people she works with and already knows. We reviewed pages 4,5 in the Bible teach book about the promises, and suggested that she just mention one of the promises to someone if the opportunity presented itself. She agreed to give it a go.....
So, that weekend she very excitedly tells me that she preached to someone at work!!! She shared the promise of the resurrection with the woman and she was very interested. So, this week we practiced what she could say for the return visit this weekend....she is sooooo excited and proud of herself! I just love her!!!

The spanish CO and his wife are temporarily assigned to the Banos congregation due to some health problems. As I have mentioned before, they are super awesome. Anyway, Elena is in their congregation and was asking me about their situation. I just explained that he wasn't feeling very well lately. I mentioned that they really need our love and support right now and that they have done so much for all of us and for Jehovah we should take good care of them. She readily agreed and said that she would go out of her way to take care of him. We had the CO and his wife over for dinner last Monday night and he was telling me how much he appreciates Elena because she comes up to him every meeting and touches his forehead (like a mom) and asks him how he is doing and gives him the BIGGEST hug in the world. He was laughing because he is probably almost as tall as Chad and she is about 4' 11", so she is practically hugging his waist, but he says that she hugs him so tight he feels like she is going to pick him up off the ground....she brings a tear to my eye thinking about how special she is and how much love she has for us all and for Jehovah.....and on a personal note, her daughters just got together and bought her some dentures (she has been missing some of her front teeth for quite awhile but didn't have the money)...anyway...YOU SHOULD SEE HOW BIG SHE SMILES NOW!!!! Did I mention how much we love her? haha

Sorry this blog has no pictures I was having trouble loading them for some reason! I will try to write sooner and post some pictures for you all!!! Miss you all...and hope to blog again soon....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goin' Home

Matt and Jen informed me that I too am permitted to blog. I didn't know. (If you feel that a mistake has been made and would prefer that I not blog, please comment as such:-) Michele has been working a lot harder than me, and I think several are going through blog withdrawal. So here it goes(watch for for grammar and misspelling). ha-ha One week from today we will will be flying home. We really miss the brothers and sisters there and are super excited to get into a routine and sleep in our own bed, albeit in a new house. Most of you probably noticed on Beth's blog that they moved to a new house. And since we are pretty much joined at the hips voluntarily, that means a new bigger and better house for us(that's an assumption, technically we have not seen the house, but we trust Beth and Mark's preferences). There is something to be said for having roommates who do all the work to move all the big stuff for you while you are away. We will try to post some pictures, maybe, once we get back. I won't make promises, it makes the natives restless when it doesn't happen. The good thing is, we return to busyness right away, which is good, because we won't have time to think of how sad we are not to be with our friends and family here in the states. This last week here will be lots of running around, last minute purchases for that stuff we just can't get south of the equator. The brothers and sisters here in the states have treated us very well, we feel sad to go. Once we get back, we have to get started, finally, dedicating time to learning Kichwa and make up for the field service time we missed while we were in the States. ;-) I am sure Michele will get back to blogging once things calm down a bit for her. If things never calm down, maybe you will hear from me again. Next blog, I'm sure, will be from Ecuador.
How does Michele end these things?
I feel like there should be a pithy remark or something.
Hmmph.
***chad

Monday, September 13, 2010

See You On The Other Side!

Well, it is time for the annual migration up north! We are heading out in about an hour to go to Guayaquil and then first thing tomorrow morning we will be heading out!

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!


Good-bye Cuenca! We will miss you!!!! See you all in 6 weeks!

(This is the hardest part about living in a foreign country that you absolutely love...
no matter where you are, you are missing someone......)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Bad start with a Happy ending!!!!

Poor Chad stayed home from Friday of the Spanish District Convention for one last shot at getting his hours in before Pioneer School started! It didn't seem too bad because the Kichwa group was going to be out! BUT, there was an odd number and so he was sent by himself! Poor thing...and in a new language!!! So, already feeling a little less motivated, he decided to stick it out and try some return visits....what a guy! SO, at the first RV of the day, he is talking to the mom, who was telling him she really wasn't interested and Chad notices that the little boy has come out the door and is PEEING ON CHAD'S SHOE!!!!! Can you even imagine? Poor Chad...I would have just thrown in the towel right then and there...but he continued on.....

Sooooo.....he decided to try the Kichwa-speaking family near our house and had a GREAT study with them!!! So, he was feeling much better and was on his way home when he walked passed the park here on our street. He noticed a man sitting on a park bench reading and thought, "I really should try and preach to him." But, he had already passed by....and then, for some reason, turned around to go back and attempt to talk to him. Much to his surprise, as he got closer, he thought the book looked a little familiar!!!! It was the Reasoning Book!!!! So, in true Philip-style...asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" hahahaha What a riot! And the man proceeds to explain that he had studied with the Witnesses for a few months and really enjoyed it, then he moved here looking for work and for the last 6 months, he just could NOT find the Witnesses!!!! He was OVERJOYED to find Chad!

So, they had a great conversation, and Chad exchanged information with him, even inviting him to the District Convention the following 2 days......and DRUM ROLL please.....

HE WAS AT THE CONVENTION ON SATURDAY morning when we got there!!!! And was soooo friendly and happy. Chad was assigned in the parking lot so didn't get to sit very much, but he sat near us and was listening very attentively and looking up all of the scriptures! And on Sunday....he was there and stayed the whole day also!!!! What an encouraging experience for Chad (and for me)!! Boy was Chad glad that he decided to preach to the man sitting on a bench in the park!!!

......you just never know when that little voice inside your head is holy spirit!!!! hahahahaha

Just wanted to share because I thought it was really cool......

See you all in a few weeks!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

...non-stop activity!

WOW!! I must be getting older...I do NOT remember being so tired the first time I went to Pioneer School! hahahaha
But, what a great school! It was really nice to get to know the other students...there were 40 of us! And our instructors were great...
We have had such an exciting and spiritually up-building last few weeks! The District Convention was 2 weeks ago in Spanish...we thoroughly enjoyed that! I have to say, although the quality of the program in the English convention far surpasses, and hearing it in our mother tongue surely is special...I LOVE the spanish one! It is so nice to see everyone and visit with the lovely brothers and sisters. They truly have come to be like our family here.
We had (or rather Banos congregation) had 7 newly baptized ones...and of course, we were extremely excited about them all....but 2 have a special place in our heart: Jessica, my bible student from the mountains...and Josue, Fernando's younger brother that Chad studied with.
It was a very emotional baptism...and they both have made us sooo proud with their progress spiritually. It was the first time one of my bible students has gotten baptized...it is such a special feeling and privilege that Jehovah gives us, no? Although, I think at times it would be better for him to use the rocks! hahaha
In other good news, for those of you who have visited us and have met some of the brothers and sisters...there were some new appointments on Wednesday in Banos! Four new ministerial servants....Fernando, Javier, Jorge and Rommel. We are sooooo proud of all of them!!!!....

and.....drum roll please......TWO new elders!!! YAY!!!!!! Mark will have some help on his side! Bryan Haines (from Canada) and a local brother, Bernabe! As Doug said when he made the announcement, "Jehovah surely is blessing our congregation!" and it is sooo true! How awesome it has been to see the growth, both in numbers and in spiritual maturity!!!

Well, that is about all the news and excitement here! I am posting some pictures of the highlights so that you can see everyone!

We are looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks!!!
Here I am with Jorge at Pioneer School...(you may remember I did a blog on him a few months ago...he came back from the states to progress spiritually!) and so he has....he was at Pioneer School with us...and was just appointed a M.S.!!! This was one of our favorite parts of the school...LUNCH!!!!

Our beloved CO and his wife, Manuel and Ester Estevez...they are the ones that came from Spain and have been here for 13 years! They truly are a special couple and we were privileged to have him as one of our instructors!

Many of the brothers from our congregation were in the drama this year...they did a GREAT job! Do you recognize this elderly fellow???? It's Doug Willis! He rocked it!

Here we are picking up our Pioneer School books from the CO!!!! This is Mark and Becky McClesky...they are expert need-greaters who have been here for 13 years! It was a pleasure and a hoot to be in school with them!!!!

...with Fernando and Bernardo Pinos backstage!

Sheila and Juan Echeverria, Mario Mosquera, and Josue Salas...
(eating my chocolate chip cookies I brought them!) hehehe

Hanging out in town after the assembly!....the possie...
...with the Criollo family!!!
Jessica is the one on the right...she really is a happy person,
she just does not like to smile for pictures!!!!

Awwwww....with Josue...we are so proud of all of them!!!

The "chicos"...congratulating Josue after his baptism!!!!
They all look like trouble don't they?





Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pacha or Puncha?

Hello! So sorry we haven't had time to blog. Things have been very exciting around here! We are in full swing preaching in Kichwa...I have my good days and bad! haha

We graduated from the Kichwa course...I would have thought that we would speak more! haha But it did give us the ground work and understanding of the language to start speaking..we just have to get our brains and mouths to connect!

Last night at the meeting we had a few brothers on vacation, so it was the "ALL foreigner" show!
We got to the meeting early because I had my first part as a householder and had to get dressed into my native garb. Chad already knew that he had 2 out of the 3 service meeting parts and had worked hard to get them prepared. Then when we got there, he was told he had no choice but to read for the Bible study and also do the bible reading! Whew!!

So the meeting basically went as follows:
Our Coordinator (he is from Germany) conducted the Bible study....Chad read
Our coordinator did the Bible highlights, and conducted the school...Chad did the Bible reading...The coordinator's wife (she is french) had the #2 talk...The other American sister in our cong, Erica had the #3 talk and I was her householder!...Our coordinator opened the svc. meeting and did the announcements...Chad did the next 10 min. part...Our coordinator did the second 10 min part...Chad did the last 10 min part and closed the meeting with prayer!!! And it was all in kichwa!!!
The brothers and sisters were so encouraged by the fact that Chad made such an effort to prepare it all in Kichwa!

He only had one little funny thing...in the question and answer part he wanted to say "alli pacha" for "very good"after a sister commented, but instead he said to the sister "alli puncha", which is "good morning"! He caught himself and corrected it, but it was really funny....

ANYWAY!!!.....I guess there is a need in Kichwa!!! Although I thought Chad was going to pass out!!! But he did really well and took it all in stride!

Other news...we were invited back to pioneer school for the 2nd time in 2 weeks! And the cool thing is Mark and Beth are going too!! So, this coming weekend we have the spanish district conv. (which by the way, Jessica, my bible student that lives in the mountains is getting baptized!!!!!!) Then the following Monday we start Pio. School. A week or so after that finishes, we head to the States for a visit!!! WHEW!!! I am tired already...but what a spiritual high we will be on!

I am sorry if I have left out all the in between excitement! Things have been going well here...the ministry is very enjoyable...the kichwa-speaking people are even more poor and trodden down than most in our old spanish territory.

We had a really good experience the other night. I was working with a sister at night and she decided to stop and do a return visit. We entered the old, dark, damp, dirty building full of small rented rooms and finally got to theirs. The husband, wife and small son all live in one little room about the size of a very small bedroom. They were just getting home and making food, so they very apologetically asked if we could come back another night...but the 8 yr old son was so interested in talking to us. So, we asked if we could possibly sit outside and study with him. They said sure! Sure enough it starts raining, so there we are, all 3 trying to sit under my umbrella, when the mom comes running out..."please, you have to come inside. Our room is very small, and we are very poor, so please forgive us, but we would like you to come inside..." So, in we went. All 5 of us sat on their twin bed that they all sleep in and had a wonderful conversation with them. They were so impressed that we were taking the time to learn their languange. The husband looked at me and said, "I can tell by your accent that you are from the States. How is it that you come here to our country, and are exerting yourself to learn our poor little language?" It just about broke my heart. So, I explained that we are here to teach the Bible, and that it is important for people to study the Bible in their mother tongue. They readily agreed and said that they both understand it much better in Kichwa! Awwwwww....soooo cute.

Another funny thing that happened is with a family that has been studying for some time now and attend a lot of meetings. They have a restaurant near the market and so we visit them often. They know almost everyone in the congregation very well. They are really sweet! Anyway, the other day, I conducted the study with the one woman because the sister was on vacation. We were talking and they were asking how my Kichwa is going. I was laughing about how the women in the market stare at this gringa speaking Kichwa. Anyway, they both laughed and said that they have heard the women at the market say a couple of times.."We are ashamed to speak our language in public, and here are gringas coming, learning our language and speaking it in public!" It was really cute. So, I guess they are noticing me and the other 2 foreign sisters in the congregation!

Well, gotta get going...we have a dance party starting here in the next few minutes!!!!
Miss you all!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Autographs Please......haha

Hey! We are heading out the door to the convention in a few minutes, but just wanted to post a few of the pictures from last night. We had a special program for the Quichua course...2 talks, a slide show and a photo session. It was really great! The brothers worked hard to show appreciation for the families and friends who are supporting those in the class!

As I mentioned before, we had to dress appropriately!! Just wanted to post some photos of the night!

Awwwwww, and after the program, the Ochoa's surprised us with an anniversary cake and bottle of wine....how sweet!!! It was cute, because Beth went with me to a sister's house before the meeting to get dressed. There were a whole bunch of sisters there getting ready, everyone was helping each other and running around like crazy people. Anyway, we laughed because Beth said, "Just think, 9 years ago exactly you were doing the same thing with your bridesmaids!!!"
Awwwwwww...I miss everyone!!
Anyway, it was a good day all around!







Oh, and on the not so bright side...the house fell through....Someone had the nerve to BUY it right out from under us!!! And we had already started to plan our first big dance party!!!
Oh well.....I guess we'll continue to "suffer" here in our other beautiful apartment! hahahahahaha
Ahhhhhh....what stress....




Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chadpa Shuk Discurso Kichwapi...Chad's First Talk in Quichua!


Don't worry, he wasn't lost here...he was listening to a comment!! haha
Can you tell it's almost over? He is looking very relieved!!!


Hey! So...with tons of preparation, and a whole lot of holy spirit, Chad has conquered giving talks in yet another language! He sure can fake it well...you never would have known he didn't really know everything he was saying!! But, really, he rocked it (and I am not just saying that because he's my Chad!!!) His first talk was the Bible highlights...he first wrote it in Spanish, then tried to translate what he could into Kichwa, and then one of the brothers in the congregation helped him finish it! He practiced, and practiced. The first time he went through it completely, it took him about 10 minutes! But, with practice he became very fluent sounding and had perfect timing. It was really good!

You never would have known that 2 minutes before going up on stage, he looked at me and asked, "Am I sweating droplets of blood yet?" haha Talk about nerves!!!! Just when Spanish was no longer so scary...oh well.

I took a video, but unfortunately I have tried like 10 times to put in on the blogsite and it won't do it!!!!! What a bummer!!! Many of you have wanted to know what the language is like...just wanted you to get the full experience...poncho and all!!!! I guess it wasn't meant to be....remind me when we are back for a visit, I can show the video to you then!




In other news, we have a busy few weeks ahead of us! This coming Wednesday, we have a special program for those in the Kichwa course. We are having 2 brief talks by the instructors, and then taking the class photo. Should be fun, because they are asking everyone to dress in native garb! So, I went with one of the bible students from the cong. this afternoon and bought mine. You should have seen the show! Any Kichwa-speaking person that passed by the store had to stop and stare at the "gringa" who was buying the clothes! They were all really nice, and helped me pick colors. Boy did they have grins on their faces! It was really funny! And for anyone who knows how much I LOVE attention....NOT!!!...It was an interesting experience! I will post pictures after Wednesday for you to see!!

Then, on Thursday, we leave for Guayaquil for the English DC...soooooo looking forward to that!!! Also, we did indeed find a house today that is really nice! It has 5 bedrooms and an office, 2 1/2 baths...boy, we sure do suffer here in Ecuador!! And the best part for Mark and Beth is, that it is only 2 blocks away from the KH!! So, anyway, we should be moving after the DC!

Busy, Busy, Busy...but that is what keeps us out of trouble!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Imanalla.....How are you?

Soooo....things are going well here in good 'ole Ecuador! Our roomies, Mark and Beth, have returned and brought along Amanda, their daughter. So the house is once again full and happy! Although it seems a little too full...so we are currently looking for a place a little bit bigger. Mark and Beth are doing well. They will be in the new congregation that is forming from Banos (our old cong.). The division starts in September and Mark will be the only elder...so he better rest up! haha Amanda is going to be supporting the Chinese group here in Cuenca, she had lived in Taiwan for 6 months so feels more comfortable with Chinese than with Spanish! So, as Beth has mentioned on her blog...we are a very multi-lingual family now!!!

Quichua is going well....we are picking up little things here and there. We were officially named a congregation July 1st, so we have been having ALL of the meetings in Quichua, which will be a big help for us...poor brothers who have numerous parts every meeting! Chad has been assigned the bible highlights in 2 weeks...so we will let you know how that goes!!! He has been working hard preparing for it!

The ministry gets a little bit easier each day. I have found my lady at the market the last 3 weeks and we have studied a paragraph or 2, so she is officially my bible student now!! She has opened up a little bit and has been pretty friendly lately! I also found a new return visit...she sells mandarines at the market...very sweet! She just had the biggest grin on her face listening to me try and spit out my presentation in Quichua, and very politely said that I did very well! As I test, I asked her to tell me what I said in Spanish...and she did! So, I must be somewhat understandable! YAY! She will be a little harder to find again, because she is a "vendedor ambulante", which means that she doesn't have a stand, she just wanders around carrying her huge bag of mandarines. Since she doesn't pay for a stand, she cannot stand in any one place for too long, or the guards come and shoo her away...so we will see how it goes trying to find her!!!

Two weeks ago we traveled outside the city for the day to one of the outlying towns. One of the brothers in the course has family that lives up in that section and he knows many of the neighbors speak quichua...so off we went!! It was a beautiful day...so nice to escape the city and work country territory...and boy was it country! We got out of the car and climbed the mountains and hills from 9:00 until 2:00, when we finally got back into the car to head home!! I was sooo tired...the combo of hiking, carrying my 10 pound bible (well maybe I exaggerate a little..haha), and trying to speak Quichua and understand what they were saying, was exhausting!!! But what fun! They funny thing was, they didn't really tell us how the day was going to pan out, so our nicely packed lunch was left in the locked car that we never really went back to, so we were starving by the time we got back...and I finally had to just go to the bathroom behind a bush at around 1:30. Not a problem if I am on a hike...but first time I had done that in service!!! Good times!!!!

We have our English convention coming up in 2 weeks, so we are really looking forward to that spiritual shot in the arm! It truly is the highlight of my year! What an encouragement!!

Other than that, there is not too much new here...I think that is enough, eh?
We have bought our tickets to come for a visit for Sept 14th...so we hope to get to see all of you when we get there!!! We miss you all and look forward to hearing from you!

I posted some pictures from the class to show you...I haven't quite had enough nerve yet to pull out my camera at the market when we are preaching. I am afraid it will get stolen!

PS. I just got a reminder from my friend Michele Fair. If you read the Sept 15th watchtower life experience of Harley Harris it is really interesting. He passed away recently and she still serves at Bethel. We had the pleasure of meeting her a few weeks ago visiting some friends here in Cuenca. Anyway, they started out here in Cuenca as their assignment! See how the work has really exploded since then?





Our instructor, David, (standing) is a 24 year old ministerial training school graduate and special pioneer. He has been in Quichua for 6 years and is practically native speaking. Very fun guy...anyway, here he is re-inacting for us a typical gathering in the culture of the Quichua speaking people. One thing that is very important when trying to learn any new language is to understand and learn about the culture. We had a lot of fun doing this, although our backs hurt us later! But the food was DELICIOUS!!!!

YUM!!! The yellow patty looking thing, is a potato, mashed, seasoned, made into a patty and fried. The corn-looking things are called "tostado" it is a special type of corn that they bake in the oven with oil and salt...very yummy. The meat is called "hornado". It is pork, but they put the whole pig in a HUGE oven and bake it! It was really good... you can see the skin on the left, very crispy and DELICIOUS!!! I think the skin is called 'chitlins'? or something like that in the states! Correct me if I am wrong....sorry

One the left is Erica, she is from Chicago. She came to Ecuador 3 years ago and didn't speak much spanish. She immediately joined Quichua. She learned Spanish and Quichua at the same time and now speaks both beautifully! What a woman! One the right is Selina. She is one of our "native speaking" bible students. This was the first time she was a householder in the school. Everyone was soo proud of her!!!!

One of the activities we did in class was a "game-show"!! David, was the host, and the panel of brothers on the left were the judges. The brother standing had to read a random paragraph out of the bible story book and the judges then held up numbers from 1-10 rating how he did!!! It was really funny...but some of the judges were kind of harsh!!!!

One class we were learning antonyms (opposites) like strong, weak...David assigned each of us a word that we had to act out the following class. Chad was good (alli) and I was bad or wicked (millay). So, as you can see, Chad dressed up as a angel...cough, cough....and I dressed up as a devil! It was quite a stretch for me!!!! I had to search the closet to find where I had stored my pitch-fork and horns......

Here we are learning the different styles of dress from different areas of the country. It is very important, because when we have our assemblies we are expected to dress accordingly, and if we don't do it just right, it would be an insult to the native speaking people. The sister is native speaking, from Otavalo, she came to Cuenca to help out the group. She gave us a lesson in how to put all of the pieces of the clothing on properly!!! whew!!! What a chore!!!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I know, I know...this blog is a disappointment....

Well....it seems everyone else is changing their blog background...I don't want to be left out!!! Does this count as a new post? hahahaha I have a new post planned for tomorrow...sorry...but bed is calling me! Quichua class is kicking my........bottom (as my mom would want me to say).

Had a good class today and we start at 8am tomorrow so I am going to go to bed now and hopefully find time to write a blog tomorrow! Things are going well....I have one official bible study and another hopeful!!! I tell you all about it...

Miss you all lots!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My First Possible Quichua Bible Study!!!

Well...as any of you that have attempted to preach in a new languange can testify to...sometimes you are feeling it, and sometimes not so much!...So, this morning, we didn't have class because the instructor had to travel to Quito for the day. Anyway, so our assignment was to support the group today offering bible studies using the direct approach.

Let me tell you...when I woke up on this VERY cold morning...the thought of preaching in the market was not really my idea of fun. But, I prayed to Jehovah that he help give me the strength to do it. I was assigned with one of the other students in the class...so off we went!

I tried a few, but none really gave me the time of day..they were incredibly busy selling their vegetables, or shelling their green beans, or shining their mandarines (yes, they really do that...you can almost see your face in them!)

I said another silent prayer...just please let someone give me a half a smile, and let me do my presentation...(you see, the Quichua speaking people are very sweet, but they have a very timid and stern outer shell). Partly because they are looked down on by other Ecuadorians. So, it is rare that I have seen them smile...well, bible students and of course the brothers and sisters do!

There was a woman sitting on her stool with her little baby...here it goes!! Well, I started my presentation and she says, (as they often do) "I don't speak Quichua"...My first thought was, here we go again...just turn and walk away. But, because she was OBVIOUSLY from Riobamba..where almost everyone speaks Quichua...I decided to continue my presentation...partly in spanish, partly in Quichua. At this point, she "still did not speak Quichua". But, then I pulled out the tract in Quichua and her eyes got as big as saucers! She says," Actually I do speak Quichua, and I can read that!" (with not only 1/2 a smile, she had a whole smile!) So we picked out the question Does God care about us and did the paragraph inside the tract that answers the question...I asked her if she would like to know more and she said SURE! So, we made arrangements to talk again next Sunday. She says she is always at the market on Sundays....

Not a FANTASTIC experience...but for someone who has the vocabulary of a 3 year old in Quichua...I was pretty happy! Jehovah gave me what I asked for and more! And it did help...the rest of the morning I had a much better attitude about the market!

Not too much else here...busy busy busy learning another language!
Hope things are going well...just wanted to give a quick update!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nuka Kichwata Yachakuni!!! I am learning Quichua!


Well...we are officially 2 weeks into the Quichua course...siiiiiiiiiigh... I have to say that I love the branch's language courses...they certainly are not boring! I am posting a few pictures that I have taken lately to give you a taste!!! It looks more like Romper-room than a language course! The theory is that if you try to learn and memorize, while actually doing something physical, it sticks! For example, we count to 10 while bouncing a balloon on our elbow. Not just any elbow, if you are right-handed, you should do it with your left elbow, etc. Or, we learned our first presentation singing it to the children's song tune of Frere Jacques. We have to act things out, to dialogues...if you can think of a way to embarrass yourself, we have done it! haha Mind you, it does work for remembering it, but it is very hard not to carry a little tune when you are actually giving the presentation! So, do we like it? you ask...YES! Well, It has brought back a lot of the post-traumatic stress of starting in Spanish...thinking to ourselves "Are we ever going to be able to have a conversation in this language?" But, we are eager to learn and so I am sure that Jehovah will help us get through it! One of the HARDEST things for me is preaching in the market. The majority of the Quichua-speaking people sell fruits and vegetables at the market everyday. So, we go to where the people are and preach! But, let me tell you, even before this, although I love the fresh fruits and vegetables, I didn't really like the market. Too many people in very small spaces, too many gross smells, too many people shouting at you "lemons! lemons! Tomatoes! How can I help you!?!?!?" And because we are obviously foreigners, we have to work harder to haggle a good price, and there is always someone staring suspiciously at your bag or wallet...I think you get the point. Now, imagine, trying to get out a presentation that you don't even understand in the middle of all of this craziness! But, everday gets a little bit easier...I'm supposed to say that right? haha So, "jump right in and get to it" Chad, has started 2 bible studies already! One day he was studying in Spanish with a guy at a hardware store near us. On his way out he noticed a new fruit stand and low and behold...they were dressed like Otavalans! So, Chad goes right on up to them and tells them that he is learning Quichua (the advantage is that they almost all speak very good spanish). He said how nice they were and offered to help him with his Quichua! Anyway, the next week, we now had a presentation, so he went back. There were some guys there too, so he decided to show them the "Bible Teach" book. Since he didn't have tons of confidence yet, and they were speaking in Spanish, he pulled out the book in spanish and started the study. He asked the first question and said that the one man answered it, but is was very vague, and wasn't really the right answer. So, Chad decided to pull out the book in Quichua, and re-read the paragraph to them (well as best he could!), then asked the question---and the man answered it right away...he got the point! Which was Jehovah teaching us a lesson, because some of the brothers and sisters in our spanish cong. have been telling us that it isn't as important to learn Quichua because they all speak spanish, too! But, we got the point! It is never the same as hearing the truth in your mother tongue!!!! The elder in our group moved here with his wife about 8 months ago from Otavalo. He is from Germany, she is from France. He speaks, German, French, English, Spanish, and now has been in Quichua for 5 years and is fluent! They are really sweet! She told me that she has 21 bible studies right now, and almost all of them are in the market! Another lesson Jehovah taught me about getting over my fear of the market! haha We have a cute little group...well, it isn't so little now. With all the ones taking the class, I think there are about 45 of us now. So, the brothers are excited and hoping to have their own cong. very soon. The problem is that we are currently a group attached to a spanish cong. Which means that we have our own Theo. School in the back school...now picture a typical size back school room...got it? Ok, now picture 45 of us in there!!!! The majority of us have to stand...it is HOT as anything, and it is kind of hard to pay attention! So, as you can see, we really need our own congregation....SOON! We will see what Jehovah has in mind! Chad and I officially feel like the "old married people"...because out of the 45 in the group, there are only 3 couples! The rest are all single people, and the majority of them younger than us! What a change from our Spanish congregation full of families and babies and little kids!!! BOO HOO!! But, every situation has its advantages! The meetings are much quieter! Although there are quite a few bible students that attend. One of the women brings her 5 little girls (between the ages of 1 and 7)with her! They certainly contribute to the noise factor! The growth in the Quichua field has been tremendous! Hence the reason the branch sent out letters requesting help! For example, in our group of about 45, probably 30 of them belong to the group, cards and all. The CO told us a few weeks ago that in the group they are conducting 120 bible studies! WOW!!!! We hope to soon find our niche and be of some use! It is always a little hard in the middle of a change, nothing quite feels right. We are still going to almost all the spanish meetings, because we can't quite tear ourselves away yet! (But, more and more brothers are learning that we will be leaving, so it is hard to go there without being sad). But, in Quichua, although everyone is very nice, doesn't quite feel like home yet. SO! I have to follow the advice that I always give to new Spanish learners...stick it out for at least a year, and then it will start to feel better! And it is soooo true!!!! I'll let you know how it goes! Well, there is soo much more to tell, as everyday is a new experience for us...but I think I have rambled on enough for one day! Thanks for your patience with my lack of blogging and we miss you all!!!!!!Here is our group during the CO visit. The CO and his wife are in the front on the bottom. He is wearing a red poncho.... What a cute group, eh?


As, you can see, ponchos, without ties, are used for the meetings. It isn't mandatory, but we have been instructed that the brothers should soon start to buy ponchos for the meetings!


Here is a group heading out to a town outside of the city. They go there every other Saturday to find people at the market! Ridin' in style!!!


Here is an example of things we do in the course. They are dressed up as a Buyer and a seller at the market and are having a conversation. It helps us learn phrases like..."How are you?" "What would you like?" "Do you have...?"
Our new "weapons" for the battle! Check out the size of that Bible! You should try carrying it around in your bag all day!!! WHEW!! I am going to have a HUGE left shoulder muscle! haha

Here we are using visual aids to learn how to conjugate verbs!

In order to learn certain verbs, like sleep, we had to act them out. Here the two standing are the "parents" and have to take care of their "baby" and teach him how to do certain things, like, walk, eat, sleep! It was really funny!!!!

Happy as clams because in service...THEY DON"T HAVE TO WEAR TIES!!!!! This was our first day out and the boys were soooo happy to have gotten rid of their ties!!

Here Fernando and Chad are goofing around trying on poncho's at a store. Fernando chickened out and didn't buy one, but Chad bought a really nice black one! He is going to wear it next week...I'll show you pictures!!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alli Puncha....Good Day...

Well, we went to our first meeting last night in Quichua. As we stepped out of Fernando's car and were walking to the doors, I felt like it was the first day of school! My heart was in my throat! Chad, Fernando and I just looked at each other knowingly like, "well, this is the end of life as we know it..."
But, I can tell you that it already feels like home. I am so grateful for that. I had prayed to Jehovah that if it was the right decision, it would just feel right. And it SOOO did (well for me anyway, I can't speak for the others!) We knew quite a few of the brothers and sisters already, and they all gave us such a warm welcome! Those that didn't know us were all like, "you must be Chad, Michele and Fernando"...they had been anxiously awaiting our arrival....awww, how sweet!

I didn't understand much...back to square one, and I remember thinking, this sounds like Japanese or Chinese to me. The old feeling of complete stupidity when they say something funny from the platform and everyone is laughing hysterically...except us. But, we are used to being lost, right? haha It definitely is different from Spanish and English. This week is the CO visit, and then next Saturday starts the class.

There were a few native Quichua-speakers there, a sister and some bible students, which was encouraging to see. The advantage/disadvantage is that the majority of Quichua speakers also speak spanish...it isn't their native tongue, but they speak very well. I say it is an advantage, obviously, because we will still be able to get our points across in Spanish if needed while we learn. The disadvantage is that if we rely too heavily on our spanish, we won't progress as fast in Quichua.

We found out tonight that they have their circuit assembly in Riobamba (about 6 hours in bus) in 3 weeks...and everyone is telling us we HAVE to go. We would like to go, it should be a good experience. Also, because the branch does not yet have a Bible in Quichua, we need to buy another translation, and they aren't really available here in Cuenca. But, someone told us we can get them in Riobamba. Yes, just another thing to add to our already bulging schedule! But, sounds fun, huh? The need really seems to be great here in Quichua...we found out that they sent the same letter requesting help also to the special pioneers here in Ecuador! They are really pushing! It makes us feel good to know we are a part of something so important here. Although every cong. here has a need in whatever language!

I took a few pictures. The sisters are from here and are learning Quichua, but gave a talk tonight, and to show their love of the culture, wore the traditional garb. Now, this clothing is native for those from more up north near Otavalo, but it happens to be one of my favorites. The women always look so beautiful. From what they say, it seems that each area has their own style. I look forward to learning and seeing the differences! I was told I have to buy some of my own...sounds fun!

Just wanted to keep you all updated! Thanks for all the words of encouragment...keep em coming...this next year should be a challenge!

Miss you all...






Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Updates...

Hey guys! I thought I better keep going now that I started or who knows when I will post again! Thanks so much for all the comments! I have missed hearing from you all!

Some of our past studies have been worked over by Satan...The study Chad started while "taking care of business" has started working a lot of overtime, so now has no time to study. The "dinosaur" man and his family ended up getting evicted from their house for whatever reason, and have moved about an hour away. boo hoo But they still want to study, so I am working on hooking them up with brothers and sisters near them. We shall see!

Norma, the woman who came to the meeting all by herself, has continued studying and is doing SOOO well! I was able to arrange my schedule on Sunday's to fit her in...and boy am I glad I did! She ALWAYS studies thorougly...not only for her study, but for the meetings (which by the way, she has pretty much been coming to every one of them!)

She even went to the Spec. Ass. Day all by herself! She had to work on Sat. when we had ours, so she went on Sunday. She said that she was sitting there, eating lunch all by herself and trying not to feel sorry for herself, when suddenly a sister came up to her and asked her to eat with their family! YAH! Only in Jehovah's organization...so she spent the lunch hour with the family...they shared their food with her and gave her a lot of encouragement! (That is a good reminder for me to keep my eyes open at assemblies for those who seem to be eating alone!) I would love to meet the family to thank them someday!

At the end of every study she has me tell her all of the assignments for the following Wed. meeting...bible highlights, student talks, anything she needs to study, and then she makes sure to prepare for it! Her work schedule hadn't been allowing her to come on Wed. night, but she decided that Jehovah is more important than work and so she made the necessary changes. She is pretty much there every Wed. now, too!

This past Saturday Chad gave a talk in Ona...it is about an hour and 45 minutes from here. They have a very small cong.--9 pubs! No brothers! There is another cong. that has been helping them out, so there are always brothers to conduct the meetings, but I was looking on the information board and they had a list of assignments...in charge of literature...a sister! in charge of magazines...a sister! in charge of accounts...a sister! If we hadn't already committed to Quichua, I would have been thinking seriously of going there! (not so I could be in charge..haha..so that Chad could help!) They have had a reg. attendance of 35-40...so there is growth! Anyone interested? Come on down!!!!!!

Thanks again for your comments and emails...we love hearing from you all!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random pictures...


















Above is Fernando, one of the brothers that Chad studied with that got baptized, with his proud mom.

As you can see by the mound of food on Chad's plate..one of the best things about spanish assemblies is the FOOD! The sisters do not mess around...they bring enough food to feed an army...and Chad always manages to get some!!!


This is Tatiana...grand-daughter of the Criollo family...her parents aren't interested in the truth, but when she is visiting during the study she always sits in and raises her hand to comment! She is such a little lady!



The brother on the right is Harrison, the other one of Chad's studies
that got baptized.

















Above is a photo of the Criollo Family after their baptism...(from left to right) they are Jessica (studies with me), Cristian, mom Elena (studies with me), Alexandra and Jairo.

The bottom photo was Jessica's first day preaching. We tried to put the camera on a post to take a picture of us...as you can see, I almost cut off our heads....haha















Monday, May 10, 2010

ahhhhh.....where do I start?

So, I know, I know, you probably have stopped checking for new blogs...but just in case any of you out there still care I thought I better write something!! How have you all been doing? We are doing really good. I don't know how 2 people who don't work can be so busy...who knows?

The congregation is doing really well. We had our special assembly day on April 17th and we had 6 people baptized from our congregation! It was really special for us because 3 of the 6 were the Criollo kids (the family that lives up in the mountains)! And the mom, who always comes to the meetings, but in pants...showed up in a skirt! I was sooo proud of her!! They really are such a cute family. I continue to study with the other daughter, who by the way just gave her first talk in the TMS last week, and the mom. What a pleasure to see the family progressing! Two of the other young brothers that were baptized had each been studying with Chad! Both of their moms are in the truth, but Chad had been studying with them. I told Chad that he needs to start keeping track now of the people that he has helped come into the truth. I think these were his firsts...but it was well worth the wait! We were so proud of them all!

Other news....Chad gave the special talk here in our congregation. There kingdom hall was packed out and Chad really ROCKED it! ( I know I am biased, but he really did awesome!) The brothers and sisters were so proud of him...they really give us a lot of support and encouragement as far as our spanish. He was really happy to feel like himself after how nervous he was for the last minute Memorial talk!!

And...our life continues to change...never a dull moment in Jehovah's organization! I had just told Chad a few months ago how I was finally starting to feel comfortable here in our cong. and with the language. I should have known better than to say that because...yep...another change! A few months ago we received a letter from the branch for all of the need greaters that are here in Ecuador for at least a year and speak spanish. It asked us if we would be willing to serve where there is a greater need. Of course, I groaned when I read it...I am perfectly happy where I am right now. But, after some thoughtful prayer we decided to make ourselves available. We had never turned down an invitation from Jehovah so far, why start now? So, (with my heart in my throat) we wrote back and told them we would be willing to move. GULP! A few months passed and we never heard anything back. And then....we received a response...drum roll please!!

QUICHUA!!!! The good news is that for now we can stay where we are in Cuenca...the bad news is WE GET TO START ALL OVER LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE!!! ARRGGGHHHH!!! At least we have grown used to sounding like idiots learning a language...humility is no longer a problem for us! haha Quichua is the indigenous language spoken here in Ecuador. I do have to say that the people are very nice and hard-working. I look forward to getting to know their culture better. There is a group here in Cuenca of about 30 publishers but their territory is HUGE and they can use some more brothers. They will be sponsoring a foreign language class that starts May 29th and we have just received our invitations. It took me quite a while to convince myself to go with it...(you can ask Kami about that! One day I would be excited, the next day terrified!)

Anyway, I started to think about all of the huge changes we have made in the last few years and what HUGE blessings they have each turned out to be...so, I am sure that this too, will be a blessing for us. One day that I was feeling particularly nervous about it, I was reading my yearbook for this past year. I happened to read about a missionary couple that had been assigned to a certain area and learned the new language...a few years into it...a new assignment with a new language! The wife mentioned how difficult it was to start again, but how they had been blessed because of it! Now, I know we are no way missionary material...but, it was a good example for me!

Sooooo...there it is...the cat is out of the bag...I know you probably all think we are crazy. So do I at times! But, hey, why not?

For those of you who know Jenn Morris...she is coming to visit for 10 days and will get here on Friday. So, we are looking forward to that! Then 2 weeks after that...June 4th...some friends of Mark and Beth are coming to stay for a few weeks. June 8th we have the visit of our CO. Our Quichua class will last 3 months, which takes us until the end of August. Busy, busy, busy!

I know many of you are wondering about Mark and Beth... they hopefully have some interest in their house, but are just cutting through all the red tape to make it official! We are hoping to hear some good news about their return any day now!!! I know you are all missing her blogs since I am such a slacker! haha

Well, there is a lot more going on here, but that is all I have time for for now...pray for us as we embark on our next journey! We are going to need all the help we can get!

Hope you are all doing well! Miss you all lots!

PS I tried to upload some photos for you, but the internet isn't working right. I will try again later! Sorry!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memorial!!!!

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been around, we have been without internet for about a week now. Doug has a portable internet device that he let us borrow, but we have been trying not to use it too much since there is a monthly limit! Hopefully things will be back online soon! But, just wanted to let you know that we had a record 443 at our memorial last night! We were super impressed last year when we had 350!! And now almost 100 more! There were so any people that I met that had come for the first time and were really nice! Too bad they were each already studying...I was hoping to score a new bible student or two!!!! Bummer! hahaha

Poor Doug lost his voice, so Chad had to pinch-hit at the last minute...he had only a few hours notice to practice the talk! You could definitely tell that his nerves were worse than usual (I don't understand why with only 443 pairs of eyes staring back at him), but he did well, and he didn't spill the wine, or forget to pray before passing the emblems, so all in all it was a success!...

Hope to be back online in a few days...missing you all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just taking care of business....

Chad had an awesome and somewhat amusing experience last week that I wanted to share with you! He was in charge of a group in the territory in the mountains. The urge to go to the bathroom became overwhelming and so he decided to send the group on ahead while he "checked to see if anyone lived in a house back in"...even though he knew it was vacant. But, a good excuse, right? So, he did his thing...and as he was coming out from around the side of the house there was a man standing there. Guess what he asked him? "What is your business here?" (I just thought it was a funny irony since Chad had indeed been "taking care of business")

Anyway, Chad explained to him that he was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and that he was just checking to see if anyone lived in the house because we try to reach everyone in the area with our message. Surprisingly enough, the man was very pleasant! He mentioned that he had studied the Bible years ago with Evangelicals but had never talked to the Witnesses. He asked Chad what he thought, "Are we really living in the last days?" so Chad explained that to him and shared some scriptures. Then, he proceeded to tell Chad that he and his wife had been separated for a time, but were trying to get back together and that it was a challenge. They had just recently been talking about the need to study the Bible together to help their marriage! So, he asked Chad if he would study the Bible with them! SURE!!!

So, last Friday Chad went for the first visit, but the husband had to work overtime, so Chad talked to the wife and they have the study set up for this Friday! Just a cute story that I wanted to share!

Well, it's late and I gotta go to bed...we have had a few more good experiences I will try to write about soon! Miss you all!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The End of the Dinosaurs....

So on Sunday we went to study with Joanna, Zoila and her husband. To our surprise, not only was he not drunk, but he was surprisingly knowledgeable about the Bible! He has studied with every religion known to man, so you would think that he would be very confused, and granted, he is about a few things (read on...). But, he has figured a few things out on his own just from reading the Bible. For instance, he was saying that one religious group tried to teach him that Jehovah and Jesus are the same person, so he immediately walked out. His reasoning? How could that be? When Jesus was baptized here on Earth, there was a voice that came out of heaven...who would that have been if they were the same? or in Genesis when God says, "Let us make man..." He looks at us and says, "I don't know about you, but when I am about to go do something myself, I don't say, "Let's go me and do that!" It was really funny to hear him use our same reasoning.

But, he did have a little bit of confusion (as I mentioned) and totally stumped us with this one...He mentioned that he thinks that when Satan and his demons were thrown out of heaven it produced a "comet-like explosion" that destroyed the dinosaurs! Ahhhh, he was doing sooo well up until that point! haha
But we had a really good study with him. We could only stay an hour because I had another study up the mountain, and so when we were finishing up he looks at us and says, "Why can't we study 2-3 hours?" We explained that we had another appt. and Chad explained the meetings to him and invited him to come for more learning. We'll see what happens!

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but my study Jessica, who lives up in the mountains, had her first part in the TMS 2 weeks ago! I gave the talk and she was the householder! She was really nervous, but she did really well! Chad put us up in the front school...nothing like 180 people to make the nerves act up! I was really proud of her! I had given her the part a few days in advance and we practiced it, but I told her to practice on her own. To my surprise, she showed up on Wednesday at the meeting without the notes! I thought, uh oh, this is it! But, she had MEMORIZED everything! She did awesome!


Not too much else new here! The weather has been awesome...a breezy, sunny 75 degrees! I hope it keeps up for the Memorial campaign! I haven't been good about taking pictures lately, I will try to do better so I have some for the next post! But, I do have some pictures for "the cousins"! I wanted to show you how much Fernando enjoyed his gift of Pez candy!!!!! He takes it with him to the meetings and every once and a while just pokes the head out of his suit jacket at us! It reminded me of Jimmy and his Yoda!!!!



He did have a little bit of trouble figuring out how to put the candy into the dispenser!! But, he eventually figured it out with a little help from Chad!


This was the end of an evening of Settlers...he had eaten Pez, licorice, laffy taffy, combos and pretty much any other kind of sugar he could get his hands on!!! Drunk on sugar!!! But, he keeps telling me how nice my family back home is that they sent us so much candy and junk food!
We waited a little while to break out the chocolate licorice. So, one night, I just pulled 2 pieces out of the bag and was sitting there playing the game and eating them. All of a sudden he looks at me with HUGE eyes and says, "WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY ARE THERE ONLY 2 OF THEM!!" We all busted out laughing and pulled out the bag...well, that has been his favorite so far! After eating 2 pieces, he looks at the bag and says, "Where have you been all my life?" Nothing like corrupting the locals with our junk food!! hahaha

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It just gets better and better.....

It has been an exciting few days here in good 'ole Ecuador! Thursday is a usually full day of preaching, bible studies and phone witnessing, so it is always exciting! This Thursday I had my study with Joanna and Zoila (if you remember from a past blog, it is the girl who lived in rented rooms that I directly offered the study to thinking she wouldn't accept, but did!) Anyway, she and her mother have been studying very faithfully ever since! This Thursday morning, the mom called me to see if I could come for an extra study since she didn't have to work that day for some reason! So, after my usual 3:00pm study, Chad and I headed over to their house! When we got there, Zoila and Joanna were ready and waiting, and they also had the stepson visiting from the coast, who also got a book and sat down with us! Zoila is really picking up the information quickly and is a pleasure to study with! So, we studied about an hour, and then they have had some family issues they were venting about.

Well, maybe it was holy spirit, but we just sat around and chatted for a while, when the husband got home from work. I was a little nervous, because I had never met him before and I was worried he would squash the study! But, Zoila whispered to me, "He said that he would be interested in studying the Bible with you!" So, I decided to stick around another 1/2 hour and chat and get to know him better. He was really nice, a little frustrated with work issues...but who isn't here? So, I finally get up the nerve to ask him if he would like to study! "Thank you. Yes I would." He looked pleased as punch as we set up a study for this weekend. I think he has a little bit of a problem with alcohol, as a matter of fact, he said he does. So, I made him promise that if he was going to study with us, he could not drink beforehand. I had explained to him that in the past in the Bible, Jehovah has severely punished those who mixed alcohol with their worship of Him...Where I got the nerve to say all that I don't know...but, anyway, he had this huge grin on his face and promised to not drink before the study today. I have arrangements to go this morning with Chad, so we will see!

Also, last night 2 younger women walked in late to the meeting and sat across the aisle from us. They didn't have a song book or magazine, so they were obviously new. Anyway, Chad gave them his songbook to use. Anyway, after the meeting, they returned the songbook and Chad started asking them where they were from. They had come to the meeting for the first time on their own initiative! They aren't even studying yet! It turns out the one woman works or worked with one of Jehovah's Witnesses and so was receiving different literature from her. She studies it all thorougly. Her "daily text" book is thoroughly marked and studied every day and she studies all of the magazines! She really enjoys the information, but decided on her own that she needs to study with someone and go to the meetings to progress. So, she just came last night! Whew! She wants to study on Sunday mornings, which might be nearly impossible for me ( boo hoo), but Chad will find someone this morning to go with him to set up the study! Very encouraging!

Well, gotta go get ready for service! Just wanted to share! Miss you all!