Saturday, February 25, 2006

Various Pictures

This one is of Mt. Cotopaxi (the highest active volcano in the world). This picture really doesn't do it justice. We were walking out of the dentist a few weeks ago and there it was, it was so huge and beautiful. We went to a friend's apartment and got this picture of it. It may help to click on the picture to enlarge it. Speaking of geological issues like volcanos, we felt a small tremor last night at our place. I don't even know how to describe it. I was actually asleep and I guess it woke me up. It didn't do any damage at all, but it was kind of strange.

The next couple are from a fiesta that we went to about three weeks ago. It was really interesting. They had a parade going on and food everywhere. I wish we had gotten to spend more time there, but I did enjoy the time we had there. Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride the horse, this was just a photo op.

This is in Alangasi, one of the towns in the valley. You can be in prayer about this area. We will have some volunteers visiting the area later on this year. It is a town that has no evangelical witness that we know of. Pray that God's Spirit and the truth of His Word would fill this town and the Valley.

On a lighter note...revolutionary Mariachi band for hire?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Losing your life to SAVE it

First, I want to apologize for the delay in putting anything on here for a while. Even now, we won't be able to put any pictures on but we hope to be able to do that soon. We have been very busy with settling in the house and continuing with studies, and various other things. We have also been waiting to get the internet in our house. We hope that we will get it soon. I really do not have any idea when we will get it the way it is going now. I know our emailing (sorry to everyone we haven't be able to respond) has been off as well as not being able to send an update thanks to our lack of internet access.
Now here is a thought based on a verse from the Bible that we had a Bible study on today. The passage is Luke 9:23-24-"Then he said to them all, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever wants to lose his life for me will save it.'" I especially wanted to focus on verse 24 or the second part of the verse listed above. What an amazing thought!!! Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. In thinking about that, one has to realize that our lives are not ours to begin with. All we can do is simply give our back to the One who made us. If we try to hold on to our life on our own, it slips right through our hands. If we give it back to the One who made us and gave it to us, then we gain it. So it is in the topsy turvy, 'world on its' head' Kingdom of God. It just doesn't make sense, naturally or humanly speaking. Another example from this world upside down Kingdom, 'whoever wants to be great must be a servant (Matthew 20:26-28). By giving our lives back to God, He gives them meaning, purpose, and value that we wouldn't be able to give them ourselves. Also, we're not giving our lives back to God on our own...He is the one that gives us the strength to do it. Once we do it, we will never be sorry, because that is when our lives become eternal.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

World Cup Trophy

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago and I've really been wanting to put them on-so here they are. They are from when we went to see the World Cup trophy that is on tour of different countries in the world. It was really awesome. Besides being able to see the trophy and get your picture with it, they had games and free sodas and a short film about the World Cup. It was a really big deal for a lot of people and we went with an Ecuadorian friend and he said something like it was one of the highlights of his life. I ended up doing an report on an article about the event in one of my Spanish classes and the article stated that there was one young man that would almost cry every time he saw his picture with the trophy. Seeing this trophy or prize and how it got people so excited got me thinking about our eternal prize and how much more wonderful it is than a temporary earthly award. Here are a couple of verses related to this topic that come to mind...(1 Corinthians 9:24-25-"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a prize that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." Philippians 3:14-"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Ok, I still haven't figured out how to turn some of thes pictures upright, so please bear with me. This is a picture of an Ecuadorian friend, Daniel, that went to see the trophy with us.
I suppose this is all for now. Hope to add some more pictures later on and we hope to hear any comments. Take care and God bless.

Full House

Remember these guys??? (You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it because it is kind of small). Now imagine them speaking Spanish...I think they are making a comeback here in Ecuador. Watching episodes of them a few days a week has been a bit of a highlight here recently...our lives really aren't that boring, but I think it is helping me to learn Spanish.
As for an update, we are doing quite well but pretty busy. We have officially moved into our house in Cumbaya. Now we are just trying to organize everything and get settled in. It is really nice and is a true blessing from God. We hope to add more pictures next time and give more of an update. BMH (by the way, we are still waiting for suggestions for naming our the way #2, our truck is not green as has been suggested in the comments is dark blue).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Roof and Wheels

Here are a few pictures from some recent adventures. We've been doing well, now we are mobile with wheels of our own and will also be moving into a house of our own (Thanks to God & Aunt Lottie Moon!!) Pictures of both are posted here.

Thank you so much for praying for us about finding a house. We hopefully will be moving in this week on Thursday. We've had a nice temporary place to stay in Quito but it is a true answered prayer to have found this permanent place in the Valley. It was taking a lot of time to look for a place (we had looked at approx. 20-25 places) and it is now one less thing to worry about. We will have to put more pictures on the blog at a later time. It has a great view and a nice little yard. By the way, the whole building won't be ours, we will be staying in the second floor.
Here's our truck. He needs a name (we are open to suggestions, please write them in the comments section). It's been pretty fun driving around and having that option open after about three weeks of riding public transportation. We will still ride buses now and then but it is nice to have our own vehicle. Driving is a bit crazy but a bit tame compared to Kampala. The biggest thing I've noticed is people can't make up their mind about what lane they want to be in, so a lot of times they'll just take "their half right down the middle of the road" (I think that quote is courtesy of my supervisor, Phil Calvert). Another problem with driving is displayed in following picture...
They sure start the drivers out awfully young. The poor little guy has to stand on the seat and lean forward just to see. ;) I recommend clicking on the picture to enlarge it so you will be able to fully appreciate it.

I guess this is all for now. I hope to post some more pictures later on and give more of an update.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fun in Ecuador (by Christine)

Top 21 ways to have fun in Ecuador*
1. Reduce 98% of your wordly belongings to 4 suitcases and 4 carry-ons and then try to find your things as you live in temporary housing for at least a month, never quite knowing when you might move.
2. Walk uphill at approximately 9,000 feet for 5 minutes. You might eventually make it for 10 minutes without huffing your lungs up. Things get more interesting at 13,000 feet walking uphill for 45 minutes.
3. Get stuck in the bathroom by yourself for four hours on an unsuspecting Thursday morning. You get extra credit for any of the following: no telephone, hard tile floor, no reading material (except for a soap wrapper), disassembling part of the door and/or toilet in an attempt to escape.
4. For a few days, intermittently scald and freeze yourself as you learn the delicate knobs that control the shower temperature. You might just give up and try the spare bathroom instead after all that.
5. Live on either a noisy main thoroughfare or near people who think they have a dance club in their apartment. Bonus: Live near an airport or where drunks sing “Good Morning, Starshine”or some similar tune in the wee hours of the morning.
6. Buy toilet paper with cute little blue puppies on it – but be sure not to throw it in the toilet or you will rue that moment.
7. Start using all the coins that you would have kept in the coin jar in the USA. Pennies are useful! And stop expecting anyone to have change for a $20 bill. Or a $10. Sometimes even a $5.
8. Try to find adequate housing where the only choices seem to be luxurious palaces or shoeboxes with “Widow Maker” showers (live, exposed wires that heat the water as soon as it comes out of the showerhead and before it makes its way to you).
9. Enjoy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (after soaking in organic cleanser for five minutes, of course).
10. Say something really embarrassing in Spanish. You can choose the context.
11. Go for a special meal with some Ecuadorian friends. Be sure it contains choclo con queso (corn on the cob with cheese), empanadas de morocho (turnovers), freshly made lemonade and yaguarlocro (potato and sheep intestine soup topped with tomato, avocado and coagulated sheep blood). That last one doesn't taste too bad if you don't know what it is!
12. Buy two dozen beautiful roses for $2.
13. Get on a bus that puffs thick black smoke into the pristine mountain air and go riding through the Andes. Expect mobile salespeople to entertain you while hocking anything from candy bars to stickers to pirated CDs to “real” silver chains to mangos to newspapers to ice cream cones to their own live musical talents.
14. Buy milk in non-refrigerated, one-liter cardboard boxes. You can store them anywhere until ready to use. After they are opened, however, be sure you don't accidentally confuse them with identically packaged strawberry shake drinks from the same company at 5:37 am when you are making scrambled eggs.
15. Cross the equator after dark on a foggy night when you can't see more than a few meters ahead of the car. Supposedly you lose your balance right on the equator.
16. Go back to college after five and a half years. Be the only ones not dressed like rock stars and be able to discuss when Noriega was removed from power – because you remember it clearly. (Your classmates were just past being potty-trained at the time.)
17. Gaze up at the majestic mountains and be amazed at how big the One who made them is.
18. Have unsteady, intermittent access to the internet and make your friends and family think you have fallen off the earth even if you have been trying desperately to stay in contact.
19. Relearn how to cook at a high altitude. Bursting into tears after another disaster of a meal is not as rare as you might think among the cooks from lower elevations. Rice is especially problematic. (In fact, you might consider buying it already cooked from the ever-near Chinese restaurant.)
20. You can eat at Applebee's (which costs more than in the United States) or at an “almuerzo joint” (as we call them) – where a typical meal consists of soup of the day, a piece of meat, rice and lentils, a glass of fresh juice and perhaps a little dessert for $1 -- $1.75.
21. Trust God Alone. He's really all you have to cling to.
*(Some suggestions might cause intestinal disturbances.)