Monday, October 30, 2006

Trip to Tungurahua Volcano

Well, we had a great trip to Tungurahua. Thanks so much for praying for our trip and time there. It was quite an experience. Now, I will try to describe some of the following pictures...
The second one here is doing the main food delivery in one community. This is a community that is directly across from the volcano and has been badly affected by the ash from the volcano. A lot of the people's animals and crops died because of the ash. There was also damage to some of the houses.
At the edge of this basketball court is a pile of ash that has been swept to the side. It was probably about 10 inches deep.
You may have to click on this one to enlarge and really see it. This is a picture of ash that fell on the hood and windshield while we were there. We were probably in this community for 2 and half hours and when we left we noticed all this ash that had fallen. The strange thing is that we couldn't see it falling but it did. I also was able to pick up some volcanic rocks that came during the main eruptions back in July and August.
This is just a picture of part of the base of the volcano. When we were doing the delivery, we were just across a valley from the volcano but couldn't see it at all because it was covered with clouds and fog. However, we were able to see the volcano clearly from the town we stayed in, which was kind of far away.
This is a picture of some kids that we saw on the way.
The very first and last pictures on this blog entry are of Tungurahua throwing off some ash and smoke. These were taken from the city of Ambato and this is where we stayed. We were probably about an hours drive away from the volcano. Thanks again for your prayers for us, the trip and more importantly the people there. There is a chance of another larger eruption and it is still putting off ash every day. Please continue to pray for the people there.
I just want to share one last prayer request as I close and is really unrelated to the volcano. Anyways, we are going to be meeting with another missionary on Thursday, Nov. 2 to discuss developing a set of Bible stories that specifically address the family and family issues. Please pray that will seek God on this and find something that will honor God and teach people principles from the Bible regarding the family. Also pray that we can find people that will want to listen and learn from these stories and others that would like to teach them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Baptism, Potato harvest, Antisana

Well, I finally got some pictures on here. I wasn't able to put them on at our house, though. I had to go to a internet cafe to put them on. At least it worked. I think there may be a problem with our connection. Anyways, here are some pictures from a baptism service from a few weeks ago. These are from the baptism of Edwin and Jenny. These are new believers in the El Quinche area that we have shared about before. I know I have shared prayer requests related to them. Thanks so much for praying for them. It is exciting to see them growing their faith. This was a pretty special day. This was the first baptism I ever performed and was glad for the opportunity.
Matthew 28:18-20-Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Just a quick word about this passage of Scripture. I italicized some parts of this verse that I really like or were pertinent to the picture. The first one is about baptism. We do this as a sign or symbol of the new life in Christ, as the next verse will illustrate. Romans 6:4-"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." This is why the biblical practice of baptism involves immersion, submersion or a good old fashioned dunking. Actually, the Greek word for baptism actually means to immerse or submerge. Basically, baptism is a symbol of the old sinful life being crucified and buried with Christ and then raised for a new life in Christ. Essentially, it is a perfect picture of death, burial and resurrection with Jesus. The third picture was also taken the day of the baptism. It is of El Quinche, a beautiful sunset displaying the glory of God, a special gift on a special day.
This next picture is of a potato harvest. It was really interesting to see and be a part of. We didn't do all that much work but they gave us some fresh papas or potatoes.
These next few pictures are from a recent fishing trip up in the mountains. We were quite near the volcano Antisana. It was beautiful scenery but we didn't catch any fish. Maybe next time, after all, fish tremble at the mere mention of my name. We were up at about 13,000 feet. We even saw frost there, when we first went. It was quite cold. We were also able to see some wildlife. We saw a bunch of rabbits, a deer and several types of birds. This first picture is of a valley that was filled with sheep and a couple of shepherds. There must have been at least 100 sheep. You may have to click on this picture to enlarge it.
This is a picture of the lake that we went to, I'm thinking there were no fish there or they all went on vacation.
A picture of the marshy area of the lake, some paramo or grassland and Mt. Antisana.
I must say this is my favorite picture of the day and a favorite that I've taken in a while.
This passage is kind of long but is a beautiful creation Psalm about the Creator and his power. I will try to highlight or color some interesting parts.
Psalm 104:1-35-"Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the pine trees.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys. The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.
How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works-he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.
But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Praise Report and Spurgeon quote

I just want to start off sharing an answered prayer. Our friend and new believer, Edwin recently got and started his job. I know I shared this prayer request before and I know many prayed and God answered this prayer. He had his first interview a couple of weeks ago and the job was between him and another guy. He had the 2nd interview on Monday and then he got the job. Praise the Lord on this! Just continue to pray for Edwin, his wife-Jenny and their family. They were recently baptized and I'm hoping to put the pictures on sometime soon.

Now, I want to share a quote about depression from preaching great, Charles H. Spurgeon, an English Baptist in the 19th century. I heard this quote in a series about King David by David Jeremiah in a message entitled 'David's Deep Depression.' It is pretty interesting and insightful. I recommed listening to this series about King David. If you want to listen to it online, click on this link and go from there...
"Before any great achievement in my life, some measure of depression is very usual. Such was my experience when I first became a pastor in London. My success appalled me, and the thought of that career, which seemed to be opening up, so far from elating me, cast me into the lowest depths of which I uttered my misery. I found no room for 'Gloria in excelsis.' Who was I, that I should continue to lead such a great multitude? I would slip away to my village of obscurity or prefer to emigrate to America and find a solitary rest in the back woods. It was just then," said Spurgeon, "that the curtain was rising on my greatest life's work, and I dreaded what it might reveal to me. I hope I was not faithless. But I was fearful and filled with the sense of my own unfitness. This depression sweeps over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my life and ministry."
Just a word that really spoke to me today and thought I would share it with you all. I don't want anyone to worry about us but I feel like we've been going through a bit of a valley recently. I am praying that we are coming out of it and I feel like we are at least seeing the mountaintop and being prepared for 'a great achievement in life' that God would have for us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

apology, update and Quito Taxis/Buses

I just want to start out with an apology. First, I'm sorry that we haven't gotten out our prayer newsletter yet. We really hope to do that this week. I'm also sorry for not being a slacker about replying to emails. If you've written us, hang in there...we will try to respond some day. The other apology is for not having any pictures on here recently. That is due to the fact that the blog isn't working right and we aren't able to do that once again. Hopefully, the problem will be fixed soon or worked out.

Well, the elections went well on Sunday. It looks like there is going to be a runoff election on November 26, so please be praying for that. Following are a couple of links to BBC news that have reports about the Ecuadorian election that you can read by clicking on the links.

Finally, I want to share this joke commercial that Christine and I made up. It is based on the we salute you, Mr. Way too proud from Texas, etc. I put this one on a blog a while back. These are dedicated to Quito Taxi drivers and the buses of Quito. I am really wanting group participation on these, especially from missionaries or anyone that has spent any time overseas. Because these are rather short, I would like you all to add comments or descriptions of 3rd world taxis and buses. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

We salute you Quito Bus, from all your pollution coming out your exhaust pipe, you have a hole in the ozone layer named after you. Your engines are so noisy, when you are at top speed, you sound like a 747 taking off...

We salute you Mr Quiteno taxi driver. The world is your parking lot. You think nothing to stop in a busy thoroughfare or intersection, throw on your hazard lights, drop off one passenger and yet pick up another.
With your smooth driving skills and an arm out the window, you can make a left turn crossing four lanes from the right lane to do it. With great precision, you can honk, flash your lights at someone while telling them they are number 1, all while talking on a cell phone and listening to a Deportivo Quito (vaya taxistas!) soccer game. Your meter hardly ever works and you think nothing to charge $1.50 for what should be a $1 trip...

Now, it is your turn to add to the description. I guess this is all for now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Elections in Ecuador

Just want to share a bit about the elections here. Some of it is just an explanation of how things are done here, some of it will be humorous, and some is just a reminder to pray at this time. The first thing I want to say is how different the elections are here. First, there are about 20 candidates or so. There are only 4 that really have a chance and of those 4, there are 2 that have the best chance of actually winning. Election day is on Sunday, Oct. 15 and voting is mandatory. All campaign activities were supposed to end today. It's been pretty wild with all of that the last couple of weeks, especially in Quito. No alcohol is to be sold or consumed publicly two days before the election and the day of the election. Because of this and other factors, I've heard that elections can actually be a pretty peaceful time. They will have a 2nd round of the top 2 candidates if no one wins at least 50% in the first round. If one candidate gets a majority then this will avoid having the 2nd round.
Finally, for the humorous part, or at least slightly humorous part. There is one candidate that is running, who is the last president's brother (a President that was overthrown in April of 2005.) It's kind of a long story but he was thrown out of power for various corruption charges, he was exiled to Panama taking mucho dinero $ on the way. Then, he returned to Ecuador and was put in prison for a few months. Anyways, the old president's brother is running for president. In one of the towns we visited we saw this campaign parade they were having and on the side of the truck was their campaign slogan-'De la carcel al poder'-which means 'from the prison to power.' Only in Ecuador! The last few presidents were not even able to finish their terms for one reason or another. It has been about 10 years since a President has finished his term. The other interesting part of the elections here is hearing the campaign promises and advertisements. In the US, the promises are pretty general, better health care, education, etc. They are like that here as well but also they can get specific in funny ways. There is one guy who said that everyone would be able to get a house for $50 a month. It's kind of hard to explain all this, you would really have to be here to appreciate all of it. The bottom line is that we are asking for people to pray in this time, that things will go with the elections.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

a great day in sports

Texas 28, Oklahoma 10...enough said on that. I'm just glad that I was fortunate enough to see this game.
For other exciting sports news today...the Yankees choke again in the playoffs (6th time in a row) and make an early exit. Maybe they should be renamed the 'Chokees?' Just goes to show you that money can't win championships. Heart is much more important. Since my Rangers aren't there, I'm going for the Tigers. It should be pretty exciting. It was fun seeing A-Rod earning all that 252 million, going 1-14 in the series with 0 RBI's (4-41 in last 12 playoff games, again with 0 RBI's).
'THERE'S THAT MAN!' This one is kind of an inside joke...but anyways, here it is.

Well, I guess that is enough about sports. Now, for a bit of an update. We've been doing well. Sorry for the delay in not putting a post. Our computer had a virus and was down for a few days. It has been fixed and now seems to be in good shape. I guess I would like to share a prayer request now. This mainly concerns the presidential/national elections that will be taking place next week, on Sun. October 15. Pray for peace in this time and that the elections would go smoothly and pray that God would be honored in the elections and in the lives and policies of the elected officials.
I guess this is all for now. Now, with a good computer, we hope to get out the prayer newsletter in this next week. So you can be looking for that and praying for us meanwhile.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

update, the Bible, and another hiking trip

Well, things have been going well here, except for two of our fish (Tin and Marcos) and our neighbor's rooster. They all died. I was sad about our fish but there was much rejoicing about the fate of the rooster. Don't worry, I'm not wanted by the Ecuadorian police for the murder of a rooster. The owners decided to kill him because he was old and I guess they wanted to eat him as well. I wish I could've joined in on that feast. This is the rooster that I put a post on about a few weeks ago. Things have been more peaceful around here since the absence of the 'Gallo Loco' or crazy rooster. I'm not sure what happened with the fish. At least Spot is still there and seems to be doing well. We'll see how he holds up and hopefully add some friends for him. We had a baptism for Edwin and Jenny yesterday and that was really special. Will have to put some pictures of that and tell more about that in the next post. prayer request-Please pray specifically that Edwin would find a job. He has one opportunity and is waiting to hear back on that one. Also, please pray that they would grow in their relationship and service to God. Guess this is all for now. We also hope to send out a prayer newsletter in a while, so you might be looking for that in your email inboxes.

Now for a quote about the Bible from a favorite singer (Rich Mullins) us something to think about.
"The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart--it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that befits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice--it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask."
It is just a reminder that the Bible is not exactly the boring book that many might think it is. It's a story of God's love and working throughout history.

Here are some pictures from another recent hiking trip with my neighbor Jim. It was at Mt. Pasochoa, another extinct volcano. This one is 13,776 feet in elevation. We had a great time and they have a great setup there. It is in a park and everything is pretty wild and natural. We walked through forest, paramo-which is like mountain grasslands and did a bit of rock climbing. We were able to see hummingbirds, condors, other types of birds and a rabbit. It was all beautiful but pretty exhausting and a bit painful. It was a really long hike but we had to hurry practically the whole time because my friend had to be back for a meeting. Also, in some areas the trail was pretty rugged. I hadn't been in that much pain in a while. We reached one of the peaks but didn't reach the highest one for lack of time. This first picture is of the mountain from a bit lower.
Here is a ways up the top. In the background, you can see the back of the volcano crater. Pasochoa is another extinct volcano.
Psalm 8-"O Lord, O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swims the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"