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!!!


9 comments:

AJ and Jordanne said...

This was an awesome post! We are so impressed by your hard work as you learn a new (very difficult) language! The class looks like a ton of fun!

candia said...

Hi, Chad and Michele,
The background is really pretty!
I enjoyed seeing how they dress and it was really interesting to hear how important it is to dress correctly.
I am so glad that the woman at the market is studying. I've been wondering how that was going. You must be doing very well in your new language for her to be able to tell you back what you said:)
I was shocked, though, to see a pitchfork, horns, and is that a halo?

kambelina said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Damaris said...

VERY, VERY, VERY inspirational and exciting! So, when I think to myself, "I can't do this anymore," I'll definitely think of you guys! And thank you SO much for including the details on the dress and background of the Quichua culture. It's really interesting and very good to know! See you soon :)

Frank & Kathy said...

Hello Chad & Michelle!
We stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago and just want to say that it is soo nice to read your experiences and the fruit of your hard work in Jehovah's service. We recently sent you an email as we are scheduled to be in Cuenca for a couple of weeks in September. We will be assisting the KH Construction in Deleg. We would love to meet you all and Mark & Beth as well, as we also have family in Cuenca. Well, we wish you always Jehovah's blessing in your service!

Aggidio - JoAnn said...

We both totally laughed out loud when we saw the picture of the devilish you and angelic Chad (I think that was a big stretch for both of you :b). Your class looks like so much fun - lots of good times, good food, and good experiences! Keep the updates comin'!!

Jeff and Meli said...

You guys rock!!!! What a great push for us to not give up and to continue and you guys look cute with your angel and devil stuff on love from the Cruz's

Judy A said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Did I miss a Watchtower article? Halo and horns! I believe chitlins are cooked small intextines. Pressed fat and skin, we call cracklins. As long as it tastes good, call it what you want.

Chad and Michele said...

Hey Judy...thank you...I think that IS what Chad told me, but I got confused! Well, it was good whatever you call it! And, um, didn't you know that the devil has horns and a pitchfork? hahahaha Sorry if anyone was offended!!! haha