Friday, April 27, 2007


Here are some pictures from our trip to the coast. We went there last month at the end of our time in Santo Domingo. We had a pretty good time there but it turned out to be quite an adventure.
We got there the first evening and played in the water a bit and walked along the beach (we couldn't go swimming cause the water was pretty rough.) Also, I set up a trip to go fishing the next day and we were wanting to return to Sto Domingo that next day. Well, I got up early next morning and we set off after a while. There were two local fishermen and another Dutch tourist who went with us. We went out from shore and set out the nets. Then, we waited a bit and tried fishing with some handlines. We never really had any luck with the handlines (they said the current was too strong for that). However, we caught a ton of fish with the nets. We had planned to come back around 11 or 12. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. By the time we got all the nets in it was a bit before 1. We were on our way back to shore and the motor died. One of the fishermen tinkered with the motor a bit and we got going again, but not for long. We heard a horrible noise from the motor and it died. The fisherman tinkered with the motor a bit more but then said we've got to get out the oars. At first, we were kind of going in circles because of the current but after a while, we were on our way. We really weren't too far from the shore but couldn't land there because there was a rock cliff that we would have crashed into. This rock cliff was quite long and we were trying to get to the end of it, so we could land. We were also hoping another boat would see us and rescue us. However, we only saw two boats and they couldn't see us. The sun came out and was burning us even though I was putting a lot of sunscreen on. I was also starting to get seasick. The worst thing is that I didn't know exactly what was going to happen and I was feeling kind of worried. This is because I'm not a big waterdog. The waves were getting bigger and bigger and we could see them crashing into the cliff. The fishermen wouldn't admit but I could tell they were worried. They told us to put our life jackets on and were telling us to stow everything away. Also, Christine was back at the hostel wondering and worrying where we were because we were supposed to have come back much earlier. Eventually, another boat came along and towed us toward shore. The fun didn't quite end there. Me and the tourist got in the other boat and we pushed the boat we were in towards shore. They made it ok but we turned out toward sea because it wasn't a good time to land. As were going up we'd fly up these huge wages just as they were about to break. I guess those waves were 15-20 ft high. We'd fly over those waves and land hard on the backside of them. We kept having to do this until we finally found a wave we could go in on. At first, I didn't know why we kept going back out and it was pretty scary but we made it ok. I got out of the boat and kissed the sand then got on my knees and pointed up to the sky and thanked God for our safe arrival. It might have been overly dramatic but I didn't care, we had made it back. By the time we had got back it was 5:30 and we had started at 8, so we had been out there for 9 and a half hours, when we had planned for 4 or so. I renuited with Christine and then with the other guys and we ended up having a great seafood feast. Although the adventure was pretty scary it was pretty interesting. I had a good chance to talk with the guys on the boat and it was definitely a faith-building experience. It gave me a chance to pray and rely on God to get us through. I didn't have any pictures from the adventure because I didn't take the camera with me. The pictures that are here were taken before or after the incident. Another thing was that the sea was really high and they said it only gets like that once every year or two. Of course that was the day I was out there. It was really a comedy of errors but I know it all happened for a reason. The fishermen didn't have their cell phone with them when they normally do. The motor had just been repaired. If tide had been low we could have landed much sooner in front of the rock cliff. The other boat didn't rescue us until the end. Again, I knew all of that happened for a reason. Just like in life when we have adversity, it is often meant to teach or strengthen us.
The water that is between the boats hardly ever goes up over where the first row of boats are. This only happpens once every year or two.
Psalm 93:3-4-'The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- The Lord on high is mighty.'
Being in the sea or near it we can think about how big it is and how powerful the waves can be and we can feel quite small. However, in comparison, God is much great than the sea, for He is its creator. He knows it and directs it.

Here's a sign from a town down there that was named after me...just kidding!

As I close, I want to put another favorite passage from the book of Colossians. As you read it, see what characteristics make the life of Christian different and let's see how we can put these things in practice.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-17-'Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.'

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tocachi Pyramids and the fullness of Christ

Here are some pictures from a trip to see some pre-Incan ruins outside of Quito, not too far from the lakes we went to. They were built by the Quitu-Cara people group. There were several pyramids (don´t think Egyptian style). They were covered with dirt and then grass grew over them. One picture shows what they look like with the dirt taken off of them. The last picture is of a couple of llamas and a sheep.
Now, I´d like to share another favorite passage from the book of Colossians.
Colossians 1.6-10-So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lakes of Mojanda

The first few pictures are from a place called the Lagunas de Mojanda (Lakes of Mojanda). As you can see here, it is a very beautiful place. We went there with our friends and neighbors, Angel and his family. I think I've introduced them on here before. I know our families know them and they were quite popular with them when they were here. Anyways, these lakes were at a high elevation. I think it was somewhere around 13,000 feet. The place looked untouched, like something out of Lord of the Rings. We saw the horses on the way down. There were quite a few of them in the field, maybe 40 or so. I didn't capture all of them in this picture. The last picture is of Cesar, Camila and their daughter, Anna Maria. We've met them recently and have a great time getting to know them recently. Will have to tell y'all more about them in our next prayer newsletter. We hope to send that out this week.
For now, I want to close with another favorite verse from Colossians and will have to continue later with more favorite verses from the great book.
Colossians 1:28-'We proclaim him (Jesus), admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.'
This is a prayer request for the work that we and other believers are doing here as well as a great verse. To clarify, I want to say that the word perfect means complete more than sinless. Other translations read mature. Dios les bendiga/God bless! Hasta luego/see you later!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

KFC, Carnival, Molinuco waterfall

Bet y'all didn't know that we have Kentucky Fried Chicken here in Ecuador! This is a poster for chicken strips at the local KFC. If you look closely, you will notice some words in English and most in Spanish. We also have McDonalds, Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, and Taco Bell. Unfortunately though, there is no Sonic.
The next picture was taken at a waterfall that me and Francisco went to a while back. I ask you to pray for my good friend and brother in Christ. We have been able to visit more recently, mostly on Saturdays when he doesn't have to work. Pray that he will grow in his relationship with God and that God will continue to use, bless and direct him.
The last two pictures are really delayed, but quite interesting. They are from the Carnival period, which is 40 days before Easter. The celebration is equivalent to Mardi Gras. A big part of the celebration here involves water fights, along with silly strong and foam fights as well, as the following pictures illustrate. It is a pretty wild time. This year, we didn't get too involved in the festivities but last year I had a pretty good water fight with a neighbor. I just took these pictures as we were driving by the mayhem. As I close I want to share one last prayer request. This is for a young couple that we've come to know and befriend here recently. They are a couple of a similar age and we've had a great time getting to know them and spend time with them. It has been really encouraging because we're of a similar age and at a similar stage in life. However, they are having some family problems and I ask you to pray God would give them his peace. Thanks for this. This is all for now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

a Good Friday writing a week late

'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'-Mark 15:34

What do you think is the meaning of these words that Jesus cried from the cross as he died? For me, I believe a part of it is that Jesus felt the pain and loneliness as he suffered and died. This was especially the case as he bore all of our sin and felt the separation from his Father, as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:22-'God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.' However, I do not close here with the full meaning of his powerful statement from the cross. This was more about Jesus fulfilling the prophecy written in Psalm 22 and even more so declaring the message of it. Following will be some verses from this Psalm.
Jesus was identifying himself with this message more than feeling that his Father had abandoned him.
Psalm 22:1-8, 13-19, 22-31-My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
"He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.
You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it.

Tell me this prophecy and the fulfillment of it was a coincidence. The thing that is really interesting is that Jesus didn't need to say all the words of this Psalm to help the people to recall it. The Hebrew culture was an oral culture and he could say a phrase and automatically, all the words of this Psalm would be this is what Jesus meant when he said the words, why have you forsaken me. He was identifying himself as one the one that suffered and notice how detailed the description of the suffering was. More than that, though, he was proclaiming God's ultimate victory through it all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I have three different pictures illustrating God's creativity and beauty in creation in Ecuador. The pictures are from different areas of Ecuador-mountains, sea and tropical forest. Along with this I have lyrics from a favorite Spanish Christian song. It talks a bit about God's power in creation, so I wanted to put it along with these pictures. The song also alludes to the character Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (a great read.) I will put a translation of the song lyrics first for the bilingually-challenged. It is really a beautiful song and the translation just doesn't do it justice, but here it is anyway.
Aslan-Marcos Vidal, translated
It's not by chance that I love you, when I see all that you've done, not only in your creation but also in my heart, that without knowing why it is not stone anymore. It's not by chance that I love you, because your voice gives life, capable of transforming a poor heart into a life full of happiness.
Your voice created the light and even now we can still contemplate it, your voice created the clouds, under heaven and above the sea.
chorus-Speak again, voice of God, repeat in me the miracle. Let me hear you, unleash your power of your voice one more time, roar of the lion of the tribe of Judah
You're invincible in battle, you are like the sun in the morning, So strong and so real, you have no equal and the enemy shakes at the sight of you, you are at the same time so faithful and tender, that a child can come near. Apart from knowing how to fight, you also know how to play like a pure and innocent cub.
I love you because when you are with me, I am happy and it's not by chance that I want to be close to you, (repeat chorus)
ASLAN- Marcos Vidal, from the Nada Especial album
No es casualidad que yo te ame, cuando veo todo lo que has hecho, no solo en Tu creación, sino en mi corazón, que sin saber porqué ya no es de piedra. No es casualidad que yo te ame, porque de Tu voz emana vida capaz de transformar un pobre corazón en una vida llena de alegría.
Tu voz, creo la luz que aún hoy podemos contemplar. Tu voz creó las nubes, bajo el cielo y sobre el mar. Oh, habla otra vez, voz de Jehová, repite en mi el milagro, y que te pueda escuchar, desata el poderío, de tu voz una vez más, rugido de leónde la tribu de Judá.
Eres invencible en la batalla, eres como el sol de la mañana. Tan fuerte y tan real, que no tienes igual, y tiembla el enemigo a tu mirada. Eres a la vez tan fiel y tierno, que una niña puede acariciarte, que aparte de luchar, también sabes jugar,como un cachorro puro e inocente.
Te amo, porque cuando estás conmigo soy feliz, y no es casualidad que quiera estar cerca de Ti. Oh, habla otra vez, voz de Jehová, repite en mí el milagro, y que te pueda escuchar, desata el poderío, de tu voz una vez mas, rugido de león de la tribu de Judá.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

'It is finished' & Santo Domingo, part 3

John 19:30-'When he had finished the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.'
What does this verse mean to you, especially the statement 'It is finished?' Many simply think these were Jesus' last words and he was saying, 'This is it; I'm out of here.' Others might even think it was a statement of defeat. However, in reality, Jesus was saying-mission accomplished! He was saying the work of salvation was finished, that the job of saving those that believe was done. This is why it says is Ephesians 2:8-9, that we are saved by grace through faith...basically, we cannot add anything to the work of salvation. The work of salvation has already been completed.
Here at this time of year, there are processions celebrating Good Friday. At these processions, people beat themselves with chains or whips. Others carry crosses. In this, there is an idea of penitence. A lot of this is done in an attempt to have their sins forgiven or receive blessings from God. Sadly, the people are doing all of this in vain. Again, the work of salvation has already been completed. The only thing we can do is to accept it and allow it to change our lives. Romans 10:13-'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' We can confess our sins that have separated us from God and repent of them. We believe and accept Jesus' death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection that gives us hope for a resurrection. This is the way to receive faith and a work that has already been done. I suppose this is all for now. Because this writing went a bit long, I will write a couple more later this week. Now, here are some more pictures from our time in Santo Domingo. We really want to thank you for praying for us in our time in Santo Domingo. We really had a good time there and saw some real victories and miracles.
Here are a couple of friends that we met there. Their mother had decided to return to work as a prostitute but then decided to leave that line of work. We have a friend there now that is helping her get a job. That is one miracle we saw.
Here's another friend with a couple of her kids at the orphanage.
The next picture is of David, Marta and their son Joshua. They became really good friends and really helped us out a lot. David is from England and he met Marta there, who is originally from Ecuador. They manage the hotel we stayed at. It was great to visit and fellowship with them and really nice to speak English with them and watch and talk soccer with David. We had a lot of fun with Joshua as well. Please pray for them that they will grow in their relationship with the Lord and with each other. Most of all, pray that God will continually teach and use them. The next picture is of me and Joshua in our Liverpool soccer shirts. I already had mine and I got this one for Joshua. Sadly, David is a West Ham supporter...he needs prayer on this too.
The last couple of pictures are of Bernardo and his family and another one of me and him. I wrote about him last time. Again, I ask that you would pray for him and his family. Pray for him in his work and service to the Lord. Pray that others like him would come up as well. Pray that he could train others and involve others in the work that he is doing. Pray for other friends that we met in S. Domingo as well. There was another lady named Tibi that accepted Jesus in salvation and her husband is on the way. They have 5 daughters and 1 son and live out in the country with no electricity. This was another beautiful testimony. I suppose this is all for today. Take care and God bless. Happy Easter!
1 Cor. 15:20-22-But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Victory of the Cross

Colossians 2:13-15-'When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of our sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
As we come to Good Friday and Easter, I want to reflect a bit on the meaning of these special days. For now, I want to reflect on Good Friday-the day we remember Christ's death and suffering for us. By all appearances, it seems that Christ's suffering and death were a loss. He was humiliated, tortured and killed. Death is usually pretty final. There had been other so called Messiahs and other religious leaders and they all died. But for Christ, death was gain...his death brought victory-even more so, his resurrection. But even in His death, he won. How amazing is that! The last line there about triumphing is a 'metaphor that recalls a Roman general leading his captives on parade in a city to show as evidence of his complete victory' (footnotes from NIV Study Bible). Through his sacrifice, he won. In the greatest symbol of love and giving, he won. This act was something so different from anything else before or since. In his suffering and death, we are offered forgiveness for our sins. I encourage you all to reflect on and accept Christ, his Cross and the victory that came from it. In a few days, I will have a scripture/essay about Christ's resurrection.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sto. Domingo, part 2

Here are some more pictures from Santo Domingo. The first one here is of a wooden saddle that we saw for sale. I can't imagine that would be too comfortable.
The next one here is of a market scene in Santo Domingo.
This one is of me getting a nice $2 haircut from my good friend and brother in Christ, Bernardo. Bernardo really helped us out in our time in Sto Domingo. We spent quite a bit of time with him and really enjoyed getting to know him and his family. Not only is he a barber, he is a serious servant of Christ. He helps in the church and does visits and teaches home Bible studies like nobody's business. I ask that you all would pray for my friend Bernardo and his family. Pray for other workers like Bernardo to come forth (Luke 10:2-'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.') in Santo Domingo and throughout Ecuador.
The next picture was taken on a hill in Santo Domingo with the city in the background. This is of Christine with a couple of the pastor's that we worked with in S. Domingo-Uriel and William Solozarno. To Christine's right is Uriel's wife and mother-in-law. Uriel's two kids are there as well. We enjoyed getting to know and work with these guys as well. Pray for them and their ministries as well.
The last picture is of some kids we met at OrphAids. This is an orphanage for AIDS orphans. Johnny, one of the kids is holding a homemade kite that we saw him fly later on. Well, I guess this is all for now.