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!!!