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


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!