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 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 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!