Friday, September 28, 2007

Puerto Quito, part 1

Here are some pics from our trip to Puerto Quito that we went on a couple of weeks ago. These were taken during a walk around the farm. We saw different kinds of plants and trees. It was quite interesting. Here is Christine with a pepper plant. It grows on vines on posts or trees. We saw fields of these in our time in Southeast Asia as well a couple of years ago.
This is a river that was near the place we stayed.
Here's me relaxing on the hammock in front of our cabin..a highlight of the trip was relaxing in that hammock.
Our cabin was also known as Ft. Knox. The security was pretty tight. A lot of good that lock would do if you could just cut those strings.
Now, to close with some prayer requests...pray for elections that will be held tomorrow, Sept 30. They are determining who will be writing the new constitution, Ecuador's 40th constitution is my guess. I would also ask you all to pray for a trip to Cuenca and to Northern Peru. This is a bit of a vacation I'll be taking with a friend, named David from England. We're going to go check out some ruins and do a bit of hiking and maybe fishing. Just pray that we'll have a safe trip and a good time. We also ask you all to pray for the group in Iguinaro. Manuel has accepted Christ. Pray that this group will be encouraged and will grow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

guagua pichincha and various

These 1st three pics are from a hike I took with other missionaries, Brett and Steve, a few weeks ago. We went to Guagua Pichinca, which is just outside of Quito. It's about 15,000 feet high. This is ice on the rock, it had melted some and then froze that way in certain designs. The second one is of us at the top. The crater of the volcano is to the right where the clouds are. We couldn't see the crater because of the clouds.

This is on the way down to Santo Domingo on another trip. This is looking down on the cloud cover that was on the way down to the coast. We drove through this. A lot of times it is cloudy/foggy all the way up but there was just this part halfway down. We went down there for a couple of days a couple of weeks ago. We had stayed there back in March and just went recently to check up on the work there. It was good to see everyone. We didn't get any pics while down there, so sorry about that.
After our time in Sto Domingo, we went on to Puerto Quito. We saw this on the way. It's a hog that's been gutted and is hanging off the truck. I guess they're diesel smoke curing it! We'll have to put the pics on from Puerto Quito next time.
This last one is of Ramon, his wife-Blanca and their youngest-Andres, and Christine, all in his strawberry field.
Now, I want to close with a great promise from God's word that I had read recently. It was quite reassuring. Psalm 147:11-'the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.'

Friday, September 21, 2007

las puntas, pt 2 and various

Here's some more pictures from the camping trip to Las Puntas. This first one is of our campsite. The next couple were taken during a walk to get firewood right at sunset. I liked the lighting and clouds in these pictures.
Here's our campfire, along with Ramon. You can see our little earthen stove. Ramon built this by digging out a hole in the side of the hill. He left a hole there in the middle to put a pot on. He is also roasting guinea pig. Man, it just doesn't get any better than this. We had rice, tea and guinea pig. It was pretty good but then it started to rain and get colder. We ended up heading for the car. Here's a picture of the morning hike. It actually snowed and sleeted some. The snow didn't stick, but imagine snow just a few miles from the equator! These are the puntas or points in the background.
Here's me and my new guitar...look out Elvis! Don't know if I've mentioned this before but I've started to learn to play guitar. I can't do much with it but at least I have it. I had borrowed a friend's guitar and decided I liked it enough to get my there she is.
Speaking of new are friends Leo and Ingrid with their newborn Avril. We ask you to pray a special blessing on them and especially for the baby.
This is part of the group that meets in Iguinaro, who we've mentioned before in the prayer newsletter. A few of them made decisions to follow Christ last weekend. We praise God for that. Now, we ask you to pray for them that they would be encouraged and grow in their faith. We plan on visiting them tomorrow to start discipleship with them. The ones that made decisions are Edwin, Gabriela, Adela, and Marisol. Ramon is also there with us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

jugglers, las puntas, pt 1, and a big prayer request

The following are pictures from a recent trip to Las Puntas with Ramon. Las Puntas are some rock formations that are high up in the eastern range of the Andes mountains (about 4000 meters or 13,000 feet). We went camping up there one night a few weeks ago. Here's some pictures from when we went hiking when we first arrived. I'll share some other pics from the trip later on. This first one has the puntas in the background.
This is the Tablon (which means giant table). You can see the side rock walls.
This was of me up on the puntas. It was so windy up there and cold.

The next couple of pics are of street performers that we've taken over our time here. You can see them at different intersections in Quito at different times. They are usually jugglers, but you can also see dancers, guys doing tricks with soccer balls/acrobatics and/or firebreathers. It's all pretty interesting. Tequila Mariachi band for hire? We saw these guys one day with their sombreros all loaded up in their van. Though Mariachi isn't native to Ecuador (it's a Mexican thing) it is still popular here. There are different bands that can be hired out for weddings/parties, etc.
-Now the prayer request...this story is kind of long but I'll make it brief as possible. There is a friend of Ramon's that was stabbed to death (his name was Juan). He is a guy that I met a couple of times and he used to be in Ramon's gang before Ramon got saved. Well, we had visited this guy and encouraged him to join Libres Para Cristo, this is the foundation we work with that helps drug addicts and alcoholics. He said he'd think about it but never did. Our friend from LPC shared the gospel with him and he made a decision for Christ but really never had a chance to live it out. He had struggled with drugs and alcohol and finally became a victim of them this last Sat. night. His "friends" that he was with ended up stabbing him 22 times. Last I heard, there's not much info on who did it, etc. We're just praying for his family and pray that God will use this opportunity to draw them to Himself. Actually, something similar occurred when Ramon and his family were brought to Christ. This is a pretty common occurrence as a result of alcohol here, is that guys will get together and drink. Most of the time they just fight and beat each other up but every now and then you will hear of a stabbing. This is why we pray against alcoholism and its negative effects. Just pray for this family and community. We are actually planning to visit Juan's family later today.

Friday, September 14, 2007

historic quito center, ecuador soccer game and new African friends

Here's a few pictures from the historic city center of Quito. I had been in this area in the daytime but never in the evening, but I finally did with the volunteers from England a few weeks ago. It was quite beautiful and interesting. They have horse and carriage rides (which we didn't do) but we hope to do them another time.
San Francisco Church
La Compania Church (this is my favorite one and most beautiful in my opinion)

La Merced Church

First Cathedral

The next two pics are from a Ecuador-Bolivia match that I went to with a colleague and his kids. This is the first match of the national team that I had been to. Ecuador won 1-0. It was kind of like a practice match and they call these friendlys (amistosos in Spanish), meaning they aren't official competitions or tournaments. The newspaper the next day said the match wasn't very friendly though, because a fight broke out between the players that had to be broken up by the police. It was quite interesting. I am now looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers that will begin next month. Here's Thomas, Matt, Frank Lamca and me (l-r).
This last picture is of a couple of new friends from Kenya that are here. We met a while back at the Vacation Bible school event in Tingo. I was really surprised and glad to meet Africans here in Ecuador. They are the first ones I've met here. It turns out Samuel is here with his family studying at a seminary and preparing to be a missionary to Colombia (his wife and daughter are not pictured here). He has a great heart and really loves the Lord. It has been a blessing to know them and work with them. (Many of you know that I was in Uganda before, so this is a special blessing to me as I still feel homesick for Africa sometimes). He has gone out with me on visits and helped with Bible studies. His son's name is Benaiah. I will have to put a picture of his wife and daughter another time but for now, I just ask that you would pray for him-that God would continue to bless, lead and provide for Samuel and his family. Also pray that we'll continue to work together.

Friday, September 07, 2007

more pictures from the summer

Here are some more pictures from this summer...
me (ben) preaching, this was my first prepared sermon in Spanish. I had preached before but nothing really prepared quite like this. It went quite well.
This is a traffic sign that says, 'One Way' by the sign, it says, 'Jesus said, 'I am the way.'
He also said, he is the truth, the life and no one comes to the Father except through him.
These pictures were taken at 'Libres para Cristo', which is a foundation that helps with drug and alcohol addicts. We had a bbq with them recently and all played soccer together. Didn't get any pics of the meal but we had a great time.
Barcelona vs. Liga...Think Yankees-Red Sox or UT-A & M...
Barcelona is a team from Guayaquil, a city on the coast and Liga is from Quito. Liga is also my favorite team. This is a big rivalry and gets pretty intense. Liga won this game 2-0.

How does a mountain hide itself?

now you see it...

now you donĀ“t
This is Antisana, a snow capped volcano. The 2nd picture was taken a few hours after the 1st one.
Most of the trees are green year-round but these looked they were changing colors and made us think of fall.

Dave's (in Tingo) baptism...we didn't have enough water to do it biblically (immersion) but the water sure was cold. Seriously, he was getting wet for a good laugh for the kids just as I did another time.
Guess this is all for now. Keep praying for us-for strength, wisdom and direction.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

summer fun

Here's some pictures taken from this summer, mostly from the different volunteers we worked with. These first two were taken in Tingo at Dave and Ana's, where a vacation Bible school was hosted. We had an activity where they kids could dump water on us at the end of each day. Of course, my day was quite cold and cloudy. It was good fun, though.
Here's dentist Chrissy and her assistant Kay, who I helped translate.
Here's a hog getting blowtorched. It was near one of the churches where we had a clinic. They were doing this so they could remove the skin.
Here's a good part of the group, singing and saying goodbye to Shekinah Baptist Church in south Quito. The group is being led by Mark Wright, a fellow Texan, among this group of Oklahomans. Hook Em Horns!, Mark.

We took these next two pics as we were leaving South Quito on the last day we worked there with the team from Shawnee, Oklahoma.

This is our friend Ramon, who graduated from high school. He finished up his education by going to night school. This was a big accomplishment for him and we are really proud of him, as he is married and has children already. He is there with his parents, Christine, his wife and kids. We ask you to pray for him and his family. He has been such a blessing and help to us. I've often said that I wish I had 10 more Ramons. He helps us out on visits and different Bible studies. He also helps lead the church that meets at his family's house. He is always willing to learn, help and serve. Many believers here think they aren't qualified to serve or are too timid to do so, but not Ramon. He will jump in and do whatever needs to be done. We thank God for him and again ask you to pray for him and his family.
This last picture was taken in Tingo and describes one of the food items we mentioned in our culture section of our last newsletter. It is tortillas de papas, which is potato + cheese= joy and happiness. This is really one of our favorite Ecuadorian dishes. We are glad that potatoes are popular here because we've never met a potato we didn't like. Guess this is all for now. I'll have to put more pics on in a couple of days.