Sunday, July 30, 2006

deep thoughts...

I'm just putting different pictures on today. A lot of these are from a while back, but just never had a chance to put them on until now. This one is of a fuzzy creature known as a llama. Basically, it's a pack animal and they also use its wool at times.
This next one is just something interesting that I saw one day. It was while we were at a parade, and this guy wanted to show off his balancing skills.
This last one was taken the same day at the parade. It was basically a military parade on the Battle of Pichinca day, May 22 (this is the day that commemorates the day that the Ecuadorians whipped the Spanish in the aforementioned Battle and kicked them out). I hope posting this picture is not a threat to national security (just joking!). There were all kinds of soldiers that marched by, military vehicles that drove by and aircraft that flew over.

Verse of the day-Isaiah 45:18-19-"For this is what the LORD says-he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited-he says: 'I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.'"
I just wanted to share a beautiful verse that I read earlier this week, a verse that God used to really speak to me about his character and his truth. I put the main sentence/idea in red that I wanted to share. There are two ideas based on these verses that I want to share...the first is the uniqueness of God and of his plan, or shall I say exclusivity. I know this isn't a real popular idea in this time where we have already figured everything out and have it all together. I won't say a whole lot else about it, but God's truth remains-that He alone is God and there is none like him or beside him. The second idea is that those that seek after the LORD will find him. We see this time and time again. We hear stories of people who were at the last straw but kept looking until the truth of God was brought to them. Just recently, we met a fellow believer who shared with us that he would be dead or in prison, had it not been for God and God working in his life (will have to tell you more of Ramon's story later on). I encourage you all to keep seeking after God. You may not know all the answers, you never really will...but keep pursuing God until you really find him. He has already been pursuing you with a love that knows no ends or has no bounds.
For the same idea, read Isaiah 45:5-6, 22. Isaiah happens to be one of my favorite books/prophets and I really encourage you all to read this great book of the Bible.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vote for Christine's New Hobby

I've recently realized that daily life activities had not let me have much time for a hobby. So I have decided to become more intentional about having fun and relaxing and finding intellectual and creative stimulation. Here are some of the options so far:
1. Pouring my own concrete

Advantages: Long-term life skill. I helped my dad pour concrete in the States, so I have some rudimentary knowledge of the subject. We also have a hefty bag of cement in the stairwell of our house.

Drawbacks: I can't heft the shovel full of cement over my head to fill the form. Also, there are a limited number of things I could concrete. And although my brother once made my sister-in-law a concrete bracelet, that jewelry trend hasn't taken off. Yet.

2. Learning all the lyrics to the 70s band Bread songs

Advantages: Karaoke machines, watch out!

Drawbacks: Not too challenging since I found this CD for $1 on the street and I already know a lot of the words. (They saved on consumer cost by omitting an L from the word "millenium".) Also might get melancholy with so many soul-rending songs.

3. Weaving horse hair

Advantages: Learning a dying, traditional art of a neighboring town.

Drawbacks: Apparently sitting like this for your whole life kills your knees.

4. Baking

Advantages: I can always find willing taste-testers of goodies prepared from my new Baking at High Altitude cookbook. (See satisfied customer in picture with snickerdoodle. I have prepared him 6 goodies in one week. Stop the madness and cholesterol!)

Drawbacks: I can only be so creative trying to find substitutes for certain baking goods not available here (molasses, maple flavoring, pecans, blueberries to name a few). Also, have experienced some difficulty regulating rogue inferno oven.

5. Boiling water (No picture available, watched pots never boiling and what.)
Advantages: Helps maintain personal hygiene when water is somewhat available from a reserve tank (but at such low pressure it cannot be heated). Especially helpful this week as the city water has been off every day and reserve tank sole source of the precious liquid.

Drawbacks: Not too much creativity in boiling water, contrary to popular belief. The only diversity is found in the pot to be used and the burner I choose on the stove (said stove related to rogue inferno oven mentioned above). Also, perhaps too much of a necessity to make it a hobby.
6. Finding Great Irony and Photo Shots at the Same Time

Advantages: Unlimited opportunities. For example, the above sign threatens a $500 fine (like 6 months wages for some) to littering offenders. As you can see, the fine is not strictly enforced. In fact, someone has actually helped the dog find something to tear up and munch on.
Drawbacks: The camera always seems left at home at the best ironic moments. Also don't want to seem like a tourist too much of the time.

So please let me know which of the above you think would be the best hobby for me in the comments section. I'm also open for suggestions.

My most sincere gratitude,
Christine R. Haley

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cotopaxi, pt 2 and a little poetry

Just thought I'd share a few more pictures from our trip to Cotopaxi...

Doesn't this kind of look like the moon?

Here is a lake that was up there and the other mountain is called Ruminahui
Here is a view looking back down as we were climbing part of Cotopaxi. It was really interesting looking up there, especially far above the tree line. It was kind of wasteland like but had a beauty all of its own.
I guess on several different posts I have put up pictures of natural beauty. Beauty in nature is something that I've always admired. I guess growing up in the country/small town had something to do with this. As I've said before, the complexity and beauty in nature brings an awareness of the Creator and how much greater He is than His own creation. Sometimes, it makes us aware of how small we are and how great God is. The following is a favorite poem of mine, especially a spring time favorite (sorry it's summer now!) It just speaks about an appreciation of nature with a seize the day attitude.
Loveliest of Trees-A.E. Housman
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide

Now, of my threescore years and ten (70)
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score (20)
It only leaves me with fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Trip to Cotopaxi

These pictures are from a recent trip to Mt. Cotopaxi. It is a volcano that is about 2 hours south of here. It was just amazing. We had been wanting to go for a while and finally went with a couple of other missionary families. We basically drove up there and some of us hiked part of the mountain up to the first refuge to a height of about 15,800 feet. The top of the mountain is over 19,000 feet high. It's been my dream to climb the entire thing with a neighbor friend of mine and after going there, the dream has been confirmed-so watch out Cotopaxi!
Here is Liverpool FC's biggest American fan at an elevation of about 15,000 feet.
As you can see, it was a bit cold and windy up there, and it even started sleeting a bit.

Here's a picture of us.

Isaiah 40:30-31-"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Well, we've been doing well. We had a nice time on this trip. It was nice to get away, even for a few hours and be reminded of how wonderful the Creator is. When you see His creation and how big and beautiful it is, it makes you think of how even greater and more beautiful the Creator is than the creation.
A bit of an update-we've been doing well on follow-up and have started on that ok, but there is so much to do. Please pray that we can continue to do this and find others to help us as well. Will have to share some stories from when the volunteers were here and from some things that have happened since then. I will also need to post some more pictures from our trip to Cotopaxi.
One last prayer request based on another verse-Ephesians 6:19-"Pray also for me (us), that whenever I (we) open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

'54 Chrysler

These pictures were taken of a 1954 Chrysler that I happened to see on the way somewhere. This guy apparently has fixed up his car and drives as a chaffeur. I think he hires it out to use for people's weddings or special occasions. Just thought this was kind of cool. I will have to post some pictures from a trip to Cotopaxi very soon. So, please stay posted and keep checking out the blog, and put comments if you can. Also, please keep us in your prayers. We have a special visit tonight (Saturday, 6 pm CST) with a family that some of the volunteers met.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I don't know how many of you have heard of the active volcano here in Ecuador that has been acting up a little more here recently. Before you all worried about me, I thought I'd put some pictures up and make sure you don't worry about us. The main thing is the volcano is a few hundred miles from us, about a 4 hour drive from us. There are some people in the area that had to evacuate as a precautionary measure. This is the volcano that we saw. We posted pictures and if you want to see them go to the archives to April. The name of this volcano is Tungurahua, which means, 'Throat of fire.' Below, are some pictures of rocks that the volcano is throwing out as well. I don't know much else. Had a pretty nice day of rest and was able to go to El Quinche to a new Bible study start. Still missing Christine but we were able to talk this afternoon.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pictures from this week

These first two pictures are from Pifo. They are of a couple of kids that ended up coming to the sports/drama program at a school there. I ended up seeing this little guy and he ended up going back home and I was able to meet some of his neighbors/family and many of them came. I hope to visit his family again.

Well, this was taken on our way to Cuicocha, which means 'lake of the cuys or guinea pigs.' The mountain with snow is Volcano Cayambe. We can see a small corner of this mountain from our house, when it is really clear. By the way, our friends there have room for one more-wanna ride?
Here is a picture taken from Cuicocha. This was part of the volunteers tourist day. They also went to see the equator. The guys here are, to my right, Andrew-one of the leaders. To my left is Jose, who is a church leader and works at the Baptist camp in La Merced, a really awesome guy. On Jose's left is Jeff, who I wrote about before about the shades. This is the 2nd time I had been to this lake but the first time that I learned it is a crater lake and used to be one giant volcano that collapsed. While there, we went on a boat ride in the lake.

thoughts and update

Just want to start out with a bit of an update and an apology. The apology is for not keeping up with the blog or email here recently. If you've written me an email, sorry for being such a slacker and not writing back yet. The same goes for the blog. The desire was there but not the time or strength. Things have been going well, though. We had a great time with the IWC team this week and they did some great work. Thank you for praying for them. Christine flew to the States this last Wednesday to be with her family and attend her brother's wedding. So I've been here batching it but doing ok. She will be coming back this next Wednesday night.

I shared and wrote about this Jim Eliot (a missionary killed by the Waorani) quote in the last prayer newsletter but I had some more thoughts about it and I love it so much that I had to share it again.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." -Jim Eliot Two questions come out of this...What is the thing that is gained that cannot be lost? The other is, What is it that we cannot keep? The answer to the first question is, eternal life, of course. We have the presence of God in this life and after our bodies die. This can never be lost or taken. We receive the gift by believing and following Jesus. The next question is about what we cannot keep. This, of course, is our personal, earthly, and temporal lives. We may hold on to these as long as we live, but no longer. We can do with our lives what we please but there is a consequence to that. If we give them to God and live out his purpose, there is reward. So I challenge everyone as I do myself-give what cannot be kept to gain that which cannot be lost.

Psalm 84:2-"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. This is just a verse that I read in my devotional time this morning and was a great reminder about our need for God. It was a reminder about the desire that we should have for him and for his presence. I guess this is my own interpretation but I saw the heart and flesh as representing the need of our souls and bodies to have the help of God. Our souls should be fed, nurtured and maintained by God and his presence. Our bodies need his strength and sustenance. (I definitely knew that this last busy week!) May our hearts seek after him and find satisfaction in Him alone.
Here is a picture of Jeff, who was a volunteer this week and a great friend. He was one of the leaders as well. He came early to set things up before most the group came last week and we were able to hang out then. Check out his shades, there is a little story behind that. I helped translate and wheel/deal so he could get them at a special discount. They are 'real Ray-Bans,' after all. They vendor started off at a price of $35 but the old 'cheap challenge' (that is another story) got him down to $4.50. That was really unusual because they will usually start out just a little above the real price. Anyways, we got them and Jeff was pretty happy until they broke a couple of days later. No worries, though-thanks to the magical wonder of duct tape.
Guess this is all for now. Hope to put some more pictures on later today or tomorrow. For some prayer requests...pray for the volunteers as they go back home, that God would continue to use them and work in their lives. Also, pray for the follow up that will done with the people they and the last group contacted. Lasty, pray for Christine and her family as they are able to spend some time together. Pray for her brother, Paul and his fiance, Laura-for the wedding and the beginning of their lives together.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Italy wins and other news

Well, the World Cup is over and Italy have been crowned as champions. Let the withdrawal begin, now that the amazing football fest is over. It was really pretty good, minus some poor refereeing and the early exits of my favorite teams. Here is a picture of their first goal (later on, the game was won on penalties.)
Doesn't seeing this picture just make you want to say 'GO ITALY!'? I guess Italy won the World Cup but this guy gets the World's weirdest/scariest fan award in my book.
*Update about the IWC volunteer team-well, we started off with a nice day. The main thing is that we had an orientation/training time today and that went really well. We were also able to watch some of the game. And we had a worship time this evening. Just wanted to make a correction from an earlier post. Mistakenly, I had said all the group was from Florida. The group is really comprised of people, mostly youth from several different states (mostly Florida, Arkansas, Michigan, and North Carolina.) Please pray for us and them as we begin the work tomorrow. There will be teams going to Cumbaya, Primavera, and La Merced.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

a spanish language lesson, the world cup final, and creed

I just have a few different things to write about as usual...
The first is a little Spanish language lesson. Today's word is 'Esposas,' which means 'handcuffs.' Now, what makes this interesting is 'esposas/handcuffs' literally means, 'wives.' This is not a hit against marriage and is especially not a knock against my lovely wife...just don't let her know that I wrote this post. Now, even more interesting is the way I found out about this word. We were watching an episode of 'The Dukes of Hazzard' last night and I had put the subtitles in Spanish as usual (to help me learn a bit). Then, Roscoe P Coltrane busted out with his traditional, "I'm gonna cuff ya and stuff ya." The word it had on the subtitles for handcuffs was esposas or wives. I asked Christine about it and she said that was right. Now, what great therapy Dukes of Hazzard has been! It is is so much fun to watch car chases and things blow up. So, if you're going through a rough time, I personally recommend a little Duke boys.

Next, is the next to last World Cup update. The semifinals are finished and so is the 3rd place game. In the semis, Italy beat Germany with two goals in the last two minutes of added time (Good news, good news as Rosco Coltrane would say). In the other game, Portugal lost to France. So now, the final will be between France and Italy and that will be tomorrow. I really don't care for either team. I am predicting that Italy will win 2-1 and I guess I'll support them but won't be real excited about it. Today, Germany beat Portugal to get the 3rd place position.

Now, I want to share a bit of an update. The IWC team is here now. Some leaders from the team arrived a couple of days ago to set things up and that has gone really well. The rest of the team is arriving tonight and will get started tomorrow. Please pray for the team and the people they will be spending time with. Specifically, pray that God will draw the volunteers and the people they come into contact with closer to Him. Also, pray specifically that they will find people that will be interested in hosting Bible studies.

Creed, by Rich Mullins/written by him and Beaker
I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth, And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord He was conceived by the Holy Spirit Born of the virgin Mary Suffered under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified and dead and buried,
And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am I did not make it, no it is making me, It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man,
I believe that He who suffered was crucified, buried, and dead He descended into hell and on the third day, rose again He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand, I believe that He's returning, To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men,
And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am, I did not make it, no it is making me, It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man I believe it, I believe it I believe it I believe it, I believe it I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth, And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord I believe in the Holy Spirit, One Holy Church, The communion of Saints, The forgiveness of sin, I believe in the resurrection, I believe in a life that never ends,
And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am, I did not make it, no it is making me, I did not make it, no it is making me, I said I did not make it, no it is making me, It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man I believe it, I believe I believe it...
***Here are some lyrics from a favorite Rich Mullins song that I heard again recently. It got me thinking and wanting to share these lyrics with you all. This song is based on the Apostle's Creed, which goes back to the early church and is contains the main truths of the Christian faith. The main line (in bold) shares the idea that we haven't made up the truths of God, that they are making or forming us-at least that is the way it should be. The problem is that humankind has invented and continues to invent its' own reality, yet the reality of God and the truth of His Way is so different than anything that has been offered or will ever be offered. What we have, are words of life. They offer hope, peace, forgiveness and a chance at a new kind of life for this world and the next. This is the idea that the reality of God and his truth should shape, mold and form us and our beliefs/lifestye in relation to God. We don't come up with our version of God or truth. I think a verse from Scripture will sum this up even more. 2 Peter 1:19-21-"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pifo/WC Semi-finals

These two pictures are from Pifo. Pifo is another town the volunteers will be going to. They will be there on Wed., July 12. There is a Baptist Church in this town and we hope to work with them. Please be praying for the church there and for the volunteers and their work.
Well, we've been doing well. We were at a meeting the last few days at a nice hotel in Quito. It was a special time with some colleagues from Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia. We had different meetings, devotional times and some free time. In the free time, I was able to play raquetball for the first time in my life and that was pretty fun.

World Cup update-well the World Cup is still going and is getting down to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, all of my teams are out and the only teams that are left are European.
The teams that are left are Italy and Germany, who will play each other tomorrow. And there is France and Portugal, who will play on Wednesday. I really don't like any of the remaining teams (2-France and Italy- of them are there thanks to 'flojo' or weak referees. With these referees, I don't know how the president of FIFA can say that this is the best WC ever! Germany is the team that I have the least use for, though...I really want to see them go down, whether it's against Italy or the winner of Portugal/France. In the end, I guess I will support Portugal, just because they have never won before. Italy and Germany have won 3 times each and France has won one time in past World Cups. Obviously, England isn't there anymore, they were knocked out by Portugal, so my prediction of them winning it all didn't come true. For now, I won't make any more predictions...I'll just hope Portugal wins and that the referees will be much better in the next WC.