Saturday, November 19, 2011


Well, here we are! Back in good 'ole Cuenca!  Chad came back on October 14 because he had Elder's School scheduled for the 17-21.  And I stayed behind to finish up some work and then returned on the 26th.  So, here we are... trying to get ourselves back into our routine!

We thorougly enjoyed being with our families and seeing all of our friends back in the U.S. and all of you, as always, were so loving, generous, encouraging and supportive. So first things first,,, a big THANK YOU to all of you for a great 4 months and for putting up with us and our crazy lives!

Another BIG thank you to all of you who are still faithfully checking the blog, and haven't given up hope on me yet!!! I hope to not let you down :-(

Ok, soooooo... as the title of this blog states... our lives continually are changing and we are struggling to adjust! haha   I'll try and catch everyone up to speed with as little babbling as possible!!

First, as the majority of you are HUGE Beth's blog fans, you might know that Mark and Beth found a SWEET job/opportunity on the coast about an 8 hour bus ride from here... somewhere between the words "mansion", "pool", "beachfront property", "all-expenses included" and "monthly pay"... it just became TOO good to pass up, especially as it will help the family stay here in Ecuador!  Soooo... unfortunately our long-time roomates flew the coop, but left us with their very cool kids.. so we are not lonely and we still get to make fun of the New Zealand accent whenever we want! haha

How are we all doing together? We miss Mark and Beth terribly... but, as far as replacements go, Amanda and Aaron are about as perfect as it gets... we take turns cooking.. yes, even the boys have their nights to cook and let me tell you.. they are about the BEST male "flatmates" (as they say in NZ) as you can get!! Their food is delicious!! We take turns shopping, each have our own cleaning assignments.. some of us do a little better about that than em.. but ANYWAY...hahaha... we are having a great time!! Ok, so that is BIG change number one...

Big change number 2.... We are both working now!  and let me tell you, I am ready to retire! haha No, actually we are very thankful to have both found work as it enables us to support ourselves here.  Many of you know that Chad has been working over the internet doing customer service for about a year now.. so this last time back in the states, I got myself all set up and trained and now do the same thing.  He is currently working 2 part-time jobs until the end of December just to save a little bit of money and solidify his new job before he gives up the old one.  I work about 15 hours a week.. so not a bad deal at all compared to the crazy hours we always worked in the USA!! But, even so, (and I know this sounds like whining to all of you hard working brothers and sisters back in the USA) it is an adjustment to not be able to do what you want when you want to!! But, I like working, and so once the nervousness and stress of a new job wears off, I will be just fine....  Onto Big change number 3....

Those of you who follow Beth's blog know about all of the changes with our visas here in Ecuador!  And for that small group of you who don't know, long story short, we are no longer able to have the Missionary visa that we have had all of this time, so we had to find another visa, all of which involved a substantial amount of money which we do not have (obviously haha)  Soooo... initially we were panicking about even being able to come back here again.  But, as I said to Chad the other day.... "shame on us for not just knowing that Jehovah would find a way for us". I always joked about a large sum of money falling out of the sky.. and that is practically exactly what happened!!! Well, not money for us exactly.. BUT, a VERY kind couple, with a heart of gold, graciously offered to allow us to invest some of their money in our name here in Ecuador, which allows us to apply for the investment visa here.  And actually, it is a better visa, because we are allowed to work here, if we so decided.  So.. we are in the middle of the paperwork,, and hoping and praying that this all works out for us.... so, here's hoping!!!!

Now for Big Change number 4... there is no easy way to say it.. so here it is... we are back in Spanish.  NOT an easy decision for us.. especially as we feel like complete losers.. but with our current change in circumstances (see big changes numbers 2 & 3) we really feel like we wouldn't be able to give Kichwa that time necessary to be of any help at all.  And, on top of that, when Chad got here for his elder's school, he spoke with many of the brothers, all of whom stressed the HUGE need there is in Arenal Spanish, especially since they were losing their very precious Mark as an elder.  And, another elder had just moved into Kichwa, making Kichwa a cong. of 30 pubs, 25 of which are pioneers, and having 2 elders without Chad.. Arenal Spanish, a congregation of 80 pubs and only one elder... Well, it just seemed to Chad that Jehovah was leading him back to Spanish, for now anyway.. you never do know.  So, although to be honest, I DO NOT miss the dangerous preaching in the markets... I do miss the brothers and sisters and the return visits and bible students that I had in Kichwa.  But, on a positive note, we are back with the brothers and sisters that we were with originally after coming here, and so it is like being back with the family again and they have welcomed us with open-arms.. they are just so loving.  So, there is that big piece of news.

 Well, that is about it I think.. now you are all aware of the life and times of Chad and Michele.  As we start to get back into our routine of service, I am sure I will have plenty of great experiences to share! We are, after all, in Ecuador right? 

We miss you all already... thanks for your patience with my blogging (or lack thereof).  Hope things are going well for you all....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Our Quarterly Post hehehehe ;-)

It's that time again folks.  Yep, that is right.  We are still alive and kick'n.  Matt B. informed us that it is time for our quarterly blog.  Did three months go by already?  Imaginate! No me digas!  All on our watches are stuck on Ecuador time.  We can't tell if it has been a day, a month or a year.(shh!! don't tell anyone that there is absolutely no difference in the time between there and here)
We have been enjoying our time back here in the states.  It is incredible to be able to comment in the meetings without an hour of preparation for one comment.  I gave a talk in English last week.  Wow, was that a relief.  I actually gave a talk I didn't have to read from a manuscript.  We have been super busy studying our kichwa, making sure that when we go back, we will be fluent.(not!)(not studying, not going to be fluent) hehe
Seriously though, we really miss everyone in Ecuador.  We love seeing everyone here, but we are ready to go back.  There are only a handful of people we still want to see here before we are ready.  Currently we are staying with Michele's Mom and Dad.  They have been great to us and very helpful. (There was a case of Lancaster Brewing Company variety pack, Cracker barrel cheese, etc. here waiting for us, that is what I mean by "they have been great to us" :-)  No doubt, my Mom and Dad are a little jealous that we are spending more time here, but we have been going up there a least one a month for a couple days (they also have been taking very good care of us.  banana cake, Yuengling, etc.)
Due to the crazy work schedule, we had to split up the District Convention in three parts.  We went to my Mom and Dad's Saturday.  That was great, we got to see lots of old friends(I didn't remember them being so old, but then again, the mirrors here have been altering my reflection, too) and family.  We spent the evening on Friday with Phil and Trish and some friends, so that was a treat.  We went to Alan and Bev's Friday of the convention.  And we are going to the Sunday of the Spanish this weekend.  We are looking forward to seeing lots of hermanos y hermanas from our old spanish circuit.
Apparently, we forgot our camera at the convention.  So here are a few unrelated pictures of some our our friends.
You know this guy, right?

Aggidio, Phil and I/could be Matt, James and I(I can't make out the other two, but boy am I good-looking.

I just love our friends!!

We also spent day on Monday building a deck for Mom and Dad.  
Please note that there were lots of Indians and not enough chiefs.
 These are the only pictures I could find with James Lamey standing around.(He is so lazy)

 It is a little more apparent who the chief is here.

Without the chief, ???????????????
Please notice the key placement of the lumber to cover my newly acquired belly. hehe

Michele make friends everywhere.
Finished product, hehehe

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where have you guys been? haha

Well, it has been awhile since I heard from everyone about what is going on up North?  haha Just thought I would try out the line that everyone else has been giving me! A thousand apologies....the mommy duo of Beverly and Judy very kindly reminded me of my lack of blogging when they were here to visit!  And they were right... (how can you disagree with 2 moms?)

Well...let's much has happened since the last blog.  The highlight being the visit of the parents!  We had a blast!  We stayed here in Cuenca for a few days so they could visit our new congregation and some bible students.  They survived Carnival (lots of water balloons and drunks!)  Although my mom and I did get soaked by a super-soaker doing a return visit at the market! haha

We then took a little trip within a trip to visit a few other areas of Ecuador...Banos de Ambato, Puyo, Quito and Otavalo.  We had a blast in all of them!  In Banos de Ambato we rented little dune buggies for the day (which by the way you can drive on the roads like a normal car) and went to see some of the beautiful waterfalls in the area.  We went zip-lining, road across the falls in a basket, and then took a day trip to Puyo, which has a monkey may have already seen pictures on Beth's blog!  They were so cute!  When people don't treat their pet monkeys well, and the police confiscate them, they are taken to this refuge to be taken care of!  It was soooo fun!  The monkeys are quite playful, although somewhat mischevious....and we just laughed and laughed!  It was even quite funny when the one decided to tinkle on my hand! haha

The parents were such good sports about everything...not even complaining about all the long crazy bus rides that we had to take!  We had a blast with them although the trip went way to fast!

Kichwa is still kichwa! haha  Chad is doing exceptionally well...he is progressing faster than big surprise!  He usually has 2-3 parts a week in the meeting, so it has really been helping him to learn!  
We have 2 new unbaptized publishers in the cong. (native speakers) so that has been a real boost to the morale!  They have been doing so well!  And are a big help in answering secondary questions at the meetings when the rest of us are lost! haha

As I think I have mentioned before, we have about 30 pubs in the congregation, and 25 of them are regular pioneers...this month 4 out of the 5 publishers that cannot currently reg. pioneers are auxiliary pioneering!
Pretty good average, eh? haha

We have been having some good experiences.  Although this is in Spanish, I still have to tell you!  Chad was preaching in one of the buildings of just rooms for rent (because there are many Kichwa speakers)..and a little boy named Said (pronounced za-eed) haha who is 9 years old comes out and starts talking to Chad.  He told him that his family had just moved from the coast 2 months ago and that he was studying when he was there.  He is the cutest little thing...he hesitates a lot when he talks, not sure if it is a stutter, or just trouble getting the words out, but he is sooooo inteligent!  It turns out that he went to the meeting in the coast and even went to an assembly!  I guess his little bible teacher who was 11 got baptized, and invited him, so he went!  Even though he said that he had to get on the bus at 7am to get to the assembly!  He remembers everything! haha
When Chad asked him if he remembers what God's name is, he proceeds to quote us Psalms 83:18 by heart!!!  It was so precious!!

Anyway, he always asks when he can go to a meeting...and as we were walking out of his building, there were some witnesses on the corner! So, Chad found a nice young couple that are willing to take care of him and pick him up for the meetings!  He really touched our young...but such a love for Jehovah and a desire to learn more!   

Well...that's enough rambling for one night!!! Miss you all!!! and hope everything is going well in your neck of the woods!!!

Just a few pictures...not nearly enough...but some highlights!
Our Kichwa congregation at the Circuit Assembly!  Well, most of us anyway!
 This is our former coordinator-on the right (who has since been assigned to another congregation)...this is his bible student that Chad inherited!  
He is really sweet and comes to a lot of the meetings!

 Some native brothers and sisters from other areas at the assembly! Sooo cute!
 Chad and Fernando in their matching Jedi-Knight ponchos!  
They got a lot of compliments at the assembly!
 Some of the bible students that attend the meetings!  The one on the left I have the pleasure of studying with (I inherited her from a dear friend who went to the states for a while) the middle is her friend and on the right is her sister...the couple hiding in the back are her brother and sister-n-law who come with their 3 small children! 
It is always a huge presence when the whole family comes!  Soooo cute!
 The one in the middle is one of our newly unbaptized publishers!  She always is at the meetings with her 3 small girls!  Two of them are in the picture!  She is doing sooo well!
 The parents arrived safely!! And, much to our excitement, the majority of the luggage contained gifts for us!!! Thanks to the parents and to all our friends and family that sent care-packages!!!  You have no idea how exciting it was for us!!!
 It just would not have been a true Ecuadorian experience without trying cuy (guinea pig)!!!!  They all tried it (and ate second helpings!)  They actually ate it twice while they were here!  Here you can see the pain-staking procedure of cooking them!  It took about an hour...and you have to keep rotating the pole or the skin bubbles up!  So, we rotated shifts so as to share the load!!! haha
 Just 2 of the MANY monkey pictures that we took....they really are adorable!  A small sneak preview of life in the paradise!!!!  
But, as you can see in the pictures, they truly are spoiled monkeys!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hey guys!  It's ssmmmmmeeeeeeee!   How are you all doing?  From what I see on the news you should all be human popsicles by now!  I know that no one wants to hear it, but I am soooo sad that I am missing out on all of that snow!  I heard that my cousins and aunt and uncle and brother's family all went sledding the other hoo...I missed the family sledding adventure.... hmph...the odd things that really make you sad.

Oh well, enough belly aching, I know, I know, we are really suffering here in our 70 degree temperatures!!  Things are moving along here in good ole Ecuador.  We had a whirlwind last 6 weeks because as many of you know from Beth's blog, we had their son Aaron, and his 2 friends Peneti and Chase visiting us!  Let me tell you, it was non-stop fun and activity!!  (Maybe at times a little too much!!  I think I am seriously sleep-deprived!)  But, sadly, they went home on Sunday we are a little down, but finally, I am catching up on things I have been neglecting (like this blog haha).  

Ecuador is currently having their zone visit from the branch.  So this past weekend, they had a special program in Guayaquil in the morning and the brother visiting from Bethel gave a talk.  His name is Brother Dellinger (don't remember his first it Randy?) Can't remember.  He gave his talk in Spanish and did really well, so not sure if he serves in Spanish, or just practiced his talk really well!!  Anyway, because the Kichwa congregation uses the assembly hall in Guayaquil, we were invited to the program and were able to go!  It was in an outdoor stadium that reminded me of the old vet stadium in Philly, but not so big.  There were 30,100 in attendance!  It has been a long time since I have seen that many brothers in the same place...actually, not sure if ever, because I think we only used to have 25,000 at the Vet!  It was super cool.  (and no, I did not remember to take hoo).  Anyway, there was no roof, so we sat through heat and rain at the same time, which made for some severe humidity!  My hair was huge and gross, and my fingers swelled up like little sausages, but boy did we have fun!!!! haha 

The one talk was mentioning the advancement that has been made here in Ecuador, and they interviewed a missionary sister that arrived here in 1953!  There were around 200 brothers here in all of Ecuador when she arrived!!!  Last year we reached a peak of 69,000 and this year a new peak of 73,000!!!!  The growth is just amazing!  And the real growth has been in the foreign languages...we have Russian, English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Chinese, and then the indigenous languages of Kichwa, Chapala, Shuar...I am sure I am forgetting some... (To be honest all of this is from memory...have you ever tried to take notes while there is sweat dripping down your arm?  and you are holding an umbrella for the rain?  Not an easy job...)  Anyway, we had fun and it was a nice change of pace.

This weekend we have our Special Assembly Day in Kichwa, and the cool thing is it is here in Cuenca, so we don't have to travel for this one!  There are many brothers and sisters coming from all over, so it will be really neat to see all of the native dress and meet new faces!  

Things are moving along in Kichwa.. We have started a few Bible studies on our own, and have inherited quite a few from brothers who are either in the states for a few months, or have moved to other areas, which has been a HUGE help.  Chad currently has 7 Bible Studies, and I have 8, which considering a few months ago we were back down to 2 each, we are pretty happy.  One of the students that I inherited attends all the meetings and is progressing nicely, so it has been a real joy to be able to be with her!!  I hope to take pictures of some of them at the assembly this weekend!!!  

Chad's work has been steady, the hours dropped a little after the holiday season, but he is still working about 15 hours a week.  So, between trying to make up the field service time we missed in the states, working, preparing parts every week in Kichwa and being one of only 2 elders in the congregation, he has been super busy!!!  I said yesterday that I am glad to have taken advantage of the last 3 years here spending every minute of everyday with him, because now I don't see him as much!!! haha

Well, I guess that is about all for now...sorry there aren't any pictures with this one.  I do hope to have some from the assembly this weekend...especially of Chad's Jedi Knight poncho!!! haha

Missing you all...hope you stay warm!!


Saturday, January 22, 2011


Preaching in el campo

left: Special Pioneer-David Lara
right: the new coordinator-Diego Gerrero
Check out that view.

Hello all,

Yes, we are still alive. Sorry for the delay in the blogs. Kichwa has us completely overwhelmed :-) Not that we are complaining. It really has been an exciting few months since we have been back. I'm not exactly sure what we were thinking when we decided to learn another language. I think we might be too old for this. hehehe. It doesn't seem as easy as the first time. (that is the beauty of the brain, it tries to forget the bad and only remember the good) We are still in the first year, though, and know not to expect too much for now.

The congregation here is doing well. We recently suffered a loss though. The Coordinator of the Cong. received a new assignment in Tambo, about two hours away, in a super small cong of about 11 publishers.(Wow, does he have a lot of preaching to do). That leaves a lot more work here. We have a super zealous group here. Very young, lots of energy. Only one problem. Nobody speaks Kichwa. hehehehe We have one Special Pioneer MS that speaks perfectly. He has been in Kichwa for about 5 years and is a great help for all of us learning. Not to worry though. Everyone else is working super hard at learning and all at different levels, but they always have lots of comments in the meetings, despite the extra work it entails to translate the comments from Spanish.

On another note. We have been enjoying immensly the visit of Mark and Beth's son, Aaron, and his friends, Peneti and Chase, from New Zealand. There hasn't been a dull moment for the last month. It has been no stop action.(3 gringos certainly make the local girls come around).

Next week we have the visit of the Zone Overseer in Guayaquil, and then the following week our first Assembly in Kichwa(I bought a new poncho from CaƱar for the Assembly. The boys say it looks like a Jedi Knight outfit. How cool is that! I'm thinking the young OB1, minus the beard of course). We just bought some more Ibuprofen to help us through the language headache. :-) Sorry again for letting so much time pass. We have been having some good experiences in the ministry, so the next blog we'll include some of those.

We miss everyone.

P.S. Dad and Mom(Doug and Judy), and Mom(Beverly) are coming in March. YIPPEE!!