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 other..eh 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....