Monday, June 27, 2011

Crazy Cars& Comforting Conversation

Ha yes I went for the alliteration with my title. I am an English major after all :) Tonight my story will be short, but I wanted to share with you how God has encouraged me. This afternoon I went with Jorge and Cris on a drive to the southern part of the city. In a thirty/forty minute drive, I could see the difference. This part of the city is definitely poorer. All the houses and building are square and cement- no roofs in the way we normal think of roofs. We were going to the south because of a work errand, but the road we needed was closed. Jorge didn't know exactly what to do, so we went on some back roads and ended up going on the autopista (their interstate). However, we were going into on-coming traffic!! We were not the only ones, and Cris and I were just laughing at the situation. One car tried to make it over the median but got stuck. Our route ended up passing a bunch of traffic, and as we passed those waiting, Jorge yelled "Perdidores!" which means "losers!" He was totally joking, and it was only loud enough for Cris and me to hear, but it was hilarious!
The whole time, Cris and Jorge and I just talked. They truly are like an older brother and sister to me. In our conversation, we came to the conclusion that we both love our countries, but we also like each other's countries. We are content to be where God wants us, but we would be content to move if He wanted us too as well. All around it was an encouraging, and slightly adventurous ride :)
Oh and a praise. I have been writing in a journal in Spanish every day, and Cris has been checking it. Today she told me I am getting better. Praise God! She definitely still makes corrections in my writing, but so did my mom when she checked my papers in college. Let's face it, I am not a master at grammar in either language, but I do try :)
Oh and one last note. For supper tonight we ate hot dogs Quituian style. You put the normal toppings, but what makes it special are crushed chips and pineapple marmalade (or jelly). It's amazing! So if you are looking for a new way to eat hot dogs, give it a whirl :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The weekend

The weekend flew by! God has been so good, and I continue to love my time here. Let me fill you in on the last couple of days.
Friday I went to observe at a school. I visited the elementary classes because as they are almost done with school, the high school kids are all taking tests. Watching the teachers and simply observing the students was interesting, and it all kind of made me miss teaching. However, when I went to the fifth grade English class, I didn't just observe. The English teacher had to get a few things done, so she basically gave me the book, showed me the right pages, and left for 20 minutes. Ha I just laughed. The material was pretty simple, and I think the kids didn't mind having a change of pace- I can tell they are ready to be done.
When Jorge and Cris came to pick me up, we went to a town called Guayllabamba. We stopped to eat lunch, where I tried a soup that had dried lamb's blood. Jorge told me it's a typical northern dish, so I ordered that-gotta try new stuff right? The flavor wasn't really strong, but I must admit that it wasn't my favorite. After lunch, we went to the zoo. The zoo here is pretty small, but it was still fun to go. This was Isaac's (2 years old) first time at the zoo. I took pictures of lots of signs in case I need visuals for teaching the Spanish words for animals. On the way home we stopped for ice cream, a nice treat after an interesting lunch!
Later that night Cris taught me how to make Bolones de Verdes, a typical costal dish that is made from plantains. I am so thankful for Cris; we had a really good talk that afternoon, and God has definitely used her as a big encouragement in my life.
Saturday morning was a little laid back- I had time to read God's word and talk a walk; I love the mornings I can take my time doing that. After, I helped Cris run to the store. Her son Isaac wasn't feeling the best, and he had thrown up that morning. He was feeling better, and so he came with us. However, just before our first stop, he threw up in the car too. I guess I am getting some lessons in the joys of motherhood too :) He felt much better after that. After that, Nicolas kept crying and wouldn't stop. Ha it was a blessing there were two of us! It all turned out just fine :)
The afternoon was a blast! We celebrated Ruth's birthday, so a group of us sat around talking for the afternoon, and then we had some cake and coffee. Ruth is a wonderful example of a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart. On her way to Cris's that day, she gave a ride to a lady in her neighborhood, shared the Gospel with that lady, and that lady accepted Christ! I love how God works.
I think the Lord is helping me become more comfortable talking in Spanish, however, I still have to think a lot before I speak. Sometimes I share the stories in my head, sometimes I don't because I don't know if I can explain things well enough. I should probably just go for it most of the time because it's not going to hurt me to mess up- oh how I need to not be a perfectionist.
Today was a full day too. At church, there was a group of 100 teens that came. Quite the group! Some of them were going to the jungle, but some of them stayed in Quito. The smaller group stayed to help us build a paint ball course today-something Jorge's working on for the youth group. We worked with a lot of tires today trying to stack them correctly-quite the feat.
That has been my weekend- wonderful, but I am now ready for some sleep. Thanks again for all your prayers.
P.S. If you want to see some pictures, I put some on facebook.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Picking and Planting

Today was a profitable day, in practical and spiritual days (hence the title :) I’ll start with the practical and end with the spiritual.

I went with Cris to help her with some more errands she had to run. She definitely reminds me of a Proverbs 31 woman- in charge of so much but stays on top of it all. When we got back, she asked me if I wanted to help her pick avocados. I had never done that before, so I was intrigued. She handed me this long pole-like contraption with a wire like basket at the end. I had to get it in the right position in the basket and then I had to pull. Doesn’t sound too hard, but the stick was really long! It would hit the ground too soon if it wasn’t at the right angle.Ha, there were some guys working in the yard, and they probably got a kick out of watching me try. It was a fun experience though!

Later in the afternoon, I went on a walk with Margarita and her son. Margarita is their maid. In South American cultures, it is very common to have a maid to help around the house, even for the common, middle wage family. I have been praying for an opportunity to talk with her, and because she is Catholic, well that’s just a shoe-in for my dad’s testimony. However, when I try to witness to someone in Spanish, I am more limited because of my vocabulary, but praise God He can use even my poor, ill-worded Spanish! I did get to share with her some of my dad’s salvation testimony, and then we talked about the Bible. I ended up telling her a shortened story of the book of Ruth (because I have been studying that with my dad). She didn’t know the story, and though I am sure my explanation was feeble, maybe she will be interested in reading it too. God gave me a few other opportunities here and there with certain comments. I didn’t explain the Gospel in completion, but Lord willing, it will stir to keep looking. Jorge and Cris and Ruth have had many talks with her too. Through the way they live day in and day out, they are hoping she begins to see and understand the Gospel. Please pray for Margarita, and her two children, Diane y Carlos.

Tomorrow I am going to observe at a school, well at least I think I am observing. Jorge wasn’t even sure exactly what I would end up doing. I would appreciate your prayers tomorrow as well. I will continue to observe at this school until Wednesday of next week. That’s all for now. Es tiempo para dormir!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calm Morning

Good morning all :) I just finished reading my Bible outside at my little table- so peaceful. Praise God I am feeling better. I even had energy to go for a walk today! Going up the hills was...well I had to catch my breath a little, but I will get there! As I was reading, I was reflecting on Galatians 4 and the truth that I am God's adopted child- I just can't get over that! No matter where God takes me or what roads He has for me, I hope I can always rest in that, in Him.
Life in Ecuador lately has been calm- I think that will be short lived, but I will get to that. Yesterday I helped Cris go to Quito to get Nicolas's social security card (American terms). The whole process is a lot more complicated here! We had some good time to talk as we went though. Later in the afternoon, Cris and I made brownies. Ha I had to use my computer to convert grams into cups so we could follow the recipe. They didn't turn out too bad, but we might have to perfect the recipe a little :) After supper, Cris and Jorge and I started talking about my time here. They came up with quite a list of things for us to do!! I think my quiet days will be few, but I am ok with that :) For now I have to run, but I do have a prayer request. Please pray for Margarita, their maid. She's catholic, but she's really friendly with me, and I am praying for some opportunities to share with her. Thanks!

Monday, June 20, 2011

God's Plans vs. Mine

Today I was suppose to set off with a group to the jungle-that's definitely something I have never done before. Cris y Jorge dropped me off at the church last night, and I met the Pastor, his wife, another missionary, and three individuals from Kentucky. I really enjoyed talking with them, and I started practicing puppets with them to prepare for the next days. However, as I was sitting there, I started not to feel so well. Those of you who know me pretty well I am sure are not surprised by this. I just started to become pretty achy and weak. I let the missionaries know, and they said to wait until morning, but if I was not feeling well, then it would be best if I stayed. I prayed that God would make it clear if He wanted me to do or not. Well by morning, I still didn't feel well at all- I knew I couldn't go. I was bummed because I really would have liked to have gone and spent time with this group and to see what ministry in the jungle is like. However, He did clearly answer my prayer (my family was praying too because I got to call my dad for Father's Day!). I spent the morning sleeping at the church (they have beds to sleep in on the third floor). Ruth works at this church, and she then brought me back to Jorge y Cris's. I am thankful that worked out like that. Most of the day I have been sleeping or just resting and praying. In a way it's nice to have some time alone with the Lord. It's been great to be here, but with adjusting to everything, I think my time with God has not been as close. Please pray for the group that is in the jungle right now- Pastor Glen and Sherri, Jenny, David, Bill, and Keeonda. You can also pray that I just enjoy spending time with the Lord as I get over whatever this is. Thanks.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

You know how when you're in a big group of people, and you don't really know any of them, you're just kind of quiet? Ok well I know everyone is not like that, but I certainly am. Yesterday Jorge and Cris had a big family get together for Father's Day. In the morning it was fun because I helped them in the kitchen and got to know her family a little bit. However, when we sat down at the table, I became a little overwhelmed. Close to 20 members of her family were around, and there were so many conversations going on that I didn't know where to listen. I don't think I understood much of anything, and I didn't say much either. I kind of felt stupid because I wasn't understanding and communicating very well, but days like that are bound to come. A little later my friend Andres came and picked me up, and we went to his church for the jovenes (college age) get together. We had 8 of us all together, and we basically played Wii the whole time. Though I am not talented in playing the Wii, it was fun. Afterwards we met up with another friend and his fiance. We caught up and talked about life and travel experiences.I think I do better in small groups of people, but towards the end of the day, nothing came out quite like I wanted. Pray that I have patience-this is definitely helping kill the perfectionist side of myself.
I also have a prayer request for the next few days (till Wednesday). Later on this afternoon I will be meeting up with the Pastor from Tia Ruthie's church. I will be accompanying a small group of Americans (a few people from the church too) on their mission's trip. Where exactly we are going, and what exactly I am doing, I have no idea. I know we're traveling on bus, and I know it's a little warmer where we are going. Please pray for this time. I am sure it will be a good experience-God's in control. I will be sure to tell you all about it when I return. Thanks again for all your prayers.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Learning Poco a Poco

Well today was full activity; I will do my best to explain, but I must admit my brain is fried. I think having to think and talk in a different language all day wears me out. After breakfast, I went with Jorge to his son Isaac's school. A better name for it is a day care, but it's the most beautiful day care I have ever seen! In a couple of weeks I will spend some time there. I think they want me to try and teach a little too, which I am a little nervous about, but I know I need to do it. Jorge told me the more I put into it, I may make a lot of mistakes, but it's the best way to learn. After looking at the day care, we went to activate the cell phone they are letting me use (they go above and beyond!). I must tell you that to activate a cell phone is more complicated here than anywhere in the states. We had to pull tickets and wait to talk to certain people (like when you are getting your license).I was also informed of a law called pico y paco. In short, depending on the last number of your license plate, a person can't travel in Quito at certain hours to help with traffic. Every day has two numbers, and if a person breaks the law, they get fined and the car is taken a way for at least a day. Interesting huh? After finishing up at Movistar (the phone company), we went to a different school where one of Cris's friends is the principle. I am also going to spend some time there...doing what I am not exactly sure, but I'll ket you know when I do :) In the afternoon I went with Cris and her mom and the two boys to do errands all afternoon. I really enjoyed getting to know and talk with them. Then as soon as I got home, I had to leave again to meet my friend Andres. I went with him to his church to help serve at a Father's Day meal. That was fun, although I think I was a little more quiet because I didn't know anyone or exactly what I was suppose to be doing, but it was still a good time to serve, meet some new friends and catch up with Andy. For now, I am pretty tired. Thanks again for all your prayers. If you think of it, please ask the Lord to bless Jorge and Cris for all they are doing for me. They are such an encouragement, and they have given their time and money for me to be. Hasta pronto.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Primera Dia

Praise God I am here!!! Yesterday was definitely a long day, but it went well. I did have an opportunity to talk with the man I sat next to on my flight to Atlanta. He goes to a Presbyterian church, and he told me he believed there is only one way to heaven. We also talked about families and travels- it was a blessing to talk with him-so thank you for those of you who prayed for opportunities. When I got to Quito, everything went pretty smoothly, the only thing that took a while was waiting for my suitcase. When I finally got it, I walked out and found my good friends Jorge and Andres waiting for me. That’s really when it hit me that I was here. It was so good to see them-it always feels like I have not only traveled in distance but time. When I am in the states, Ecuador always seems like a dream instead of a reality. Jorge and Cris (the couple I am staying with) live probably 15-20 minutes out of Quito (although my perception on things in general last night was a little off, so I am not exactly sure). Cris and Jorge have a beautiful house!! I love it. My room is a little set off from the rest of the house, and I have my own bathroom and balcony...pretty nice :) This morning when I woke up, Cris and Jorge were gone, but Cris’s mother was here, and she talked with me while I ate breakfast. She is very sweet, and it was a blessing to have someone to talk to at breakfast. There was only one line she said that went completely over my head, but I just smiled and made do :) When Cris returned home, we started talking about my schedule. Well, let’s just say I think these 5 weeks are going to fly. Cris kept telling me that 5 weeks is so short, that I should be here longer. We have to figure out a few things, then I will let you know all that I am doing. In short, I will be helping at some schools, maybe helping an American group that’s coming down, and hopefully visiting Cuenca. I really am looking forward to my time here. I just spent the afternoon catching up with my Tia Ruth!! I showed her pictures from the last few years-she’s been a huge encouragement in my life; it was a blessing to share with her what God has been doing lately.

As I was traveling, God seem to take all my nerves away. Even the way the trip started, getting flights switched in a way that was much simpler, God was reminding me He has this whole time in His hands. What He wants to happen will happen, and I am plain excited for the next 5 weeks!!! Thanks for your prayers, and I will write again soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unexpected Start

At 5 am this morning my phone rang. It was a machine from the airline telling me my first flight had been cancelled. As I only had a few hours of sleep last night, I was not very coherent on what to do. Basically, I had to get down to the airport as soon as possible to figure out what was going to happen. My faithful mother went with me, and by God's grace, everything was figured out. I now actually only have two flights instead of three, and I have a little more time in between flights (I originally only had 45 min. in Miami!). God knows best, and I'm praying that maybe there is a specific person I am suppose to talk to through all these travels. Please pray that I simply rest in my Father today- I will write again when I'm in Ecuador!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breath Before the Jump

You know when you are on a roller coaster and your climbing the first major hill? Your anticipation grows-there's excitement and fear rushing through you all at the same time. That's the best way I can explain the last couple of days. I have the moments when I can't wait to see my family in Ecuador again. Then I have the moments where I struggle because I question why I'm going off by myself. Many people go on mission's trips in groups, which I love. I think it's wonderful to be able to travel and serve with a group of believers. However, I am beginning the journey of my second solo mission's trip-that's hard for me. I definitely have moments that I wish my sister or a good friend or even a group was going with me. God is still sovereign, and He has a good and loving reason things have worked out this way. To be completely honest, I've struggled the last few days, really had to wrestle and pray through things because I feel like my perspective will sway so easily. Though I know this what God wants me to do, sometimes right before following in a specific way, hardships get thrown at you. No monumental trial has occurred, but continual battle is needed against this legalist mentality inside of me that places far to much weight on my actions. I think things like I didn't say the right thing to encourage that friend, I made things worse by doing/not doing this, God's frustrated because I didn't wait on Him like I should have, God's disappointed because I cannot joyfully wait in the midst of the unknown, things are going to go wrong now because I wasn't as faithful as I should have been....I could go on. I place too much on my own actions- in short, I am being self-focused. That shouldn't shock me , but my pride lets it. As I wrestled through all these things in my head, I spent some time just walking and praying and listening to podcasts. One of the speakers reminded me that to get better the solution is not to focus on what I need to do or not do, but I need to be reminded and be in awe of the Gospel again and again. God's the One who is going to produce change, and when I am constantly looking to Him, He will compose the change needed. I think I tend to equate struggling with failure or even sin, but that's not true. Struggle is not sin; it's what I do with the struggle that leads to sin or back to Christ. In the last couple of weeks, I have had a lot of "messy" prayers, times where I just feel utterly messed up-but through those prayers God reminds me of His steadfast love.
All of that to say, I think God is trying to prepare me for something in these next five weeks. I don't expect it will be easy, but I do know that He promises to always be with me. If noting else, these last few days God has increased my need and desire to come to Him with absolutely EVERYTHING. I am not getting it allright, but God is helping me know Him better. So that's where I am at tonight, two days before my trip. Im taking the breathe before the descent, and I'll let you know what God does through the ride.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,but now I keep Your word.You are good,and You do what is good;teach me Your statutes. ~Psalm 119~

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prueba Dos

Today was the day for me to take my second Spanish test. I spend a lot of time yesterday and today studying what I could, but there always seems to be an exorbitant amount of information to master;I knew if I passed, it would be a blessing from God. And lo and behold, I passed! Praise God! I have now tested out of two years of Spanish. I still have two more tests to take. The information gets increasingly harder. Hopefully spending five weeks in Ecuador will help :) Thank you to those who prayed for me today; I sincerely appreciate it. I leave a week from tomorrow!! Pretty crazy. I am excited and nervous-pretty typical I suppose. I will write again soon. Gracias otra ves por tus oraciones :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011


As I was preparing for my test yesterday morning, I found out that my test would have to wait until next week. The lady I work with on all of this was a little overwhelmed with some other things, so I guess the Lord thought I needed a little more time to study. I will take the test Tuesday afternoon. For now I am at my sister's house enjoying some time with two of my nephews. Thanks to those of you who prayed. I'll keep ya posted.