Thursday, December 30, 2010
Our family made a trip south in Ecuador to the small town of Patate to get the needed paperwork for our visas and for the visas of our BRAND new teammates Laura Fouser and Lynell Smith. We were able to stay at the ministry property of some other missionaries. It was a blessing to see a new part of the country. The paperwork process is incredible. A dear friend called it a "remarkable process,” and it is truly an accurate expression. We praise the Lord that the paperwork is done and on to the next step. We started the paperwork process October 27. After 3 days in Patate, we received the papers on December 23! Except…they were not notarized correctly. We submitted the papers on December 27, received them back on Wednesday, December 29, and happily headed over to DHL to mail to Sao Paulo Brazil. “Sorry, our computers are down until Monday.” Oops. Unfortunately Quito has a driving restriction and Wednesday is my day to stay out of the city after 4 PM…therefore we went back to Quito on Thursday, found a different location and mailed them… What? $49 to mail a stack of papers? Remarkable process!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Mr and Mrs Mossman came to Ecuador for their Christmas vacation. This was a great opportunity for us to meet our advisor with Lighthouse Academy. Mrs. Mossman helps missionaries all over the world with their curriculum and grades for their children's education. It has been a great blessing to meet them in person. We are praying for them as they look to the future of what the Lord is directing in their lives. It was their first visit to Ecuador and we shared a great day together. We did some shopping in the artesan market, had lunch in a Ecuadorian restaurant, and showed them our new church property. Our kids were so excited as they brought a WHOLE bag of American candy treats. Jeff and Deanne enjoyed the Starbucks coffee they brought! One of our traditions here to to take people to this picturesque photo spot. We call this our "prayer spot" as it is overlooking Cumbaya and the whole Tumbaco Valley. We ask our visitors to pray for the ministry and for the people of the Valley we have claimed for Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Bethany just wrote us last week and told us she was approved for a short term missions trip to Guatemala, march 19-27, 2011. This is a blessing to me, as Dad, as I had promised each of the kids we would work for them to take a missions trip for their graduation from high school. I am not sure why, but NONE of them think that traveling to Colombia for a missionary conference, living in Costa Rica for a year, and now moving to Ecuador counts! They say, "Dad, that's not a missionary trip. We live there!" I praise the Lord for their hearts.
Bethany will be traveling during her spring break with the Word of Life Bible Institute, where she is attending for this year. She will have the opportunity to minister in public schools alongside the WOL staff through an evangelistic drama called “Born Again to A Living Hope”. She will also be ministering in local churches, Bible Clubs, work projects, one on one witnessing opportunities, getting to know the missionaries, of course some sight-seeing and much more!!! This will be a great time of encouragement for her and for the missionaries on the field as she has opportunity to interact with them on a daily basis.
I ask you to consider participating with her in sending her, she needs to raise $1702 in all; $851 by January 4 and the balance by March 1. We are praying and are confident that the Lord will supply all of her needs.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
We enjoy trying new things in our culture. When we see a new restaurant open up in Cumbaya, we are anxious to see what it will serve. Recently there have been several "SHAWARMA" restaurants open up! Shawarma is traditional Turkish food in a sandwich wrap which is filled with meat which has been roasted on a spit. It is served with a creamy garlic yogurt sauce and a very spicy sauce. There is a very nice little Shawarma shop that is the middle of downtown Cumbaya; it was the first one we tried and it quickly hit the our top of our families favorite list.
We have made friends with the owner and the staff. They have photos of famous Ecuadorian soccer players from the most popular national team in Ecuador eating in the restaurant. The day we took this picture with the owner, we told him now we feel famous because we have a picture with him like the LIGA team members do. Please pray for him as we seek to reach him with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
It is a great blessing to see Bethany transitioning this year from Ecuador back to her home country of the USA. It has been a great transition for all of us as our first child/first sibling has left home. In June, Bethany worked for the summer at Word of Life Family campground in the children's ministry. This was a great blessing for her as children are a part of her heart and her DNA. She loves children...all children. She had many great opportunities to meet people and to see many friends from all over.
In September, Deanne was able to visit with Bethany and to be with her during yet another big transition as she began the Word of Life Bible Institute. Both Jeff and Deanne are alumni of the Bible Institute, and we are pleased for her to be studying God's Word this year under godly care. It is a concentrated 1 yr Bible study program.
It was a special visit for mother and daughter. Deanne participated in Parent's Weekend, helped Bethany move into the dorm, and even visited with both sets of grandparents with Bethany. We even had time for special treats like Dunkin Donuts and a Starbucks coffee together. Family is a special gift that we carry with us our whole lives. We love you Bethany, and we can’t wait till you get home for your winter break!
I love you Bethany Lynae Davoll!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
We had the privilege of hosting the ABWE COLOMBIA field team for our annual team conference Sept 5-11. We were delighted to show off our country and all that GOD is doing here in the Tumbaco Valley. We took the majority of the group to our "lookout spot" over Cumbaya where we can see the whole valley. It is a great place to get a vision of what God is doing and will do in the future. It was a special time for us to have the team here for prayer and encouragement.
The conference was held in the small charming town of Mindo, two hours from Quito. It is famous for birdwatching-- especially hummingbirds! The theme of the conference was "The 5 Dysfunctions of a team", and we had a lot of hands on sessions interacting with each other, attempting to avoid the 5 Dysfunctions! We enjoyed great fellowship, sharing in God's Word, ministry updates, and encouraging one another. It was a blessing for us to get to know our teammates in Colombia better. God has blessed us with a group of co-workers passionate about Jesus Christ and His church.
One special blessing we received…Eduardo, our breakfast cook, just “happens” to live in Cumbaya! Isn’t God good! After Jeff enjoyed a “cafecito” with them, they have been attending our church the last 3 weeks! What a blessing to serve our great Savior!
Saturday, August 07, 2010
People often ask -- what is a your normal day like in Ecuador......Well, honestly I dont know that there is such a thing as a "Normal day," not yet anyway. So, I will just tell you what TODAY was like. Some days you pour cement..... We have a church that is near us, and today we were driving by and we found out that they were doing some cement work. So, the three men in our family came home, changed their clothes, and went right back to help work. The church members had been there all morning loading buckets of cement by hand and pouring them. In the 4 hours they were there they were only able to get about one-quarter of the floor poured and there was a storm that was coming. Our men quickly jumped in and helped. They talked with the men about trying a new way, an assembly line, and in just 3 hour, they were able to get the other three-quarters of the floor poured just in time before the rain came. Praise the Lord. It was a great blessing to the church to get that done and especially to have it done before the storm came.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
In 1984, Jeff and Deanne first went on mission trips as teenagers to Portugal which impacted their lives to serve the Lord both in our local church and around the world. In 1995 and 1998, we were able to take young people out of our youth group to the Spanish-speaking country of Mexico to help with a church plant outside of Mexico city. Here we are in 2010, praising God as we have hosted our first missions team from Pennsville Baptist Church in PA.
The team was such a blessing as they saw God provide many supplies for the vacation Bible school at El Calvario, where we have been working this year. They came together as a team long before they arrived in Quito to ask God to work. When you ask -- GOD provides in amazing ways. There were Beanie Babies and Hershey kisses. There were about 1800 pencils before we stopped counting. There were erasers and rulers and school zipper bags all as prizes for the over 175 children who came to VBS throughout the week. They brought medical supplies for Dr David Vasconez, the pastor and medical doctor who has clinics each week in the church building. God provided clothing and Spanish New Testaments and tracts. Our children were not so thrilled as they brought our school books and some needed supplies. They filled ALL of their suitcases using only their carry- on luggage for their personal luggage. What a blessing to the church and to our new ministry here in Ecuador.
We saw God open doors during our week of Vacation Bible School. We praise the Lord for many hands to work. As a team, we spent two days cleaning, decorating, practicing and advertising in the neighborhood with the church family in preparation for the week. There was a lot of prayer paving the way for this week of ministry.
We saw over 175 children attend and they heard the Word of God. What a blessing to be Salt and Light in this neighborhood. VBS was followed up with a game day, which we were in put in charge of. More than 120 children attended. On Sunday, the morning included a mini VBS format and the parents were invited to attend for a full Gospel presentation. It was a packed house and we estimated there were more than 200 children and parents there for the services. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to share the Gospel message in the South of Quito.
Thank you Chris and Debbie Harbaugh for all your work and coordination. Thank you Pennsville Baptist Church for standing behind us on bended knee and for sending reinforcements for the battle! You are a blessing.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
One of the blessings we have here in Ecuador is to translate for groups that come from the USA on missions trips to serve. This is a blessing to us, not a burden, as we have oportunity to travel to different places, to learn more of our culture and to see how God continues to work in Ecuador.
Our kids were privileged to serve in the jungle translating for a group of teenagers that came to do VBS, painting, and encouragement of the believers in remote towns in the eastern jungles of Ecuador. We were privileged, as a family, to be invited to Shandia, the home of Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, to translate the testimonies of 3 of the men who helped kill Jim Elliot in 1956. What man sees as a tragedy, God sees as an opportunity. It was a blessing to hear Mincaye, Dyuwi and Kimo share that since their lives have been transformed, they now will walk God's trails sharing the gospel whenever, wherever and however possible.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Lukas celebrated his 13th birthday with some of his friends from the Neighborhood. We had a pool party in our back yard (no, we don't have a pool, but praise the Lord our landlord does and it is right out our back door). When everyone was throroughly exhausted, we came inside for hotdogs and cup cakes. Cup cakes are not really popular here so that was a new treat for many of the kids.
Lukas proudly anounced to us on his birthday morning that he was going to be a grown up man starting that morning...now that he was thirteen. That lasted just a couple of...minutes. He told us a couple of weeks later that this teenager thing is tiring! He can't seem to get out of bed in the morning!
We praise the Lord for Lukas as a vital part of our family and a vital part of our Team Ecuador. He is a constant bundle of energy and has more contacts in the neighborhood than anyone else. I pray you will grow to be a man who loves the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! We love you, Lukas.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This was a very special day. My Dad loved to ride horses. I love to ride horses. My kids like to ride horses. Lukas even asked if we could move up there! Jeff took all four of our children horseback riding on the top of Mt Pinchincha. It was a tremendous day for all of them full of much anticipation. Jeff had learned of this special guide-led tour four years ago when we first visited Ecuador, and he has been planning this trip ever since. Bethany, Jordan, Amanda and Lukas all love to ride as do their parents. Four hours on horseback on one of the high peaks of the Andes Mountains. INCREDIBLE! The views of God's creation from an altitude of nearly 14,000 ft. They were dressed like caballeros (Cowboys) with sombreros and thick Andean ponchos for the mountain trails, and boy did we need them. Memories were made! If you get a chance to visit us, you now have 5 'brand new' tour guides to take you higher than you have ever been before!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We had our first FAMILY visitors to Ecuador!! We had planned to have Christmas together with Dad and Mom Ellison here in Ecuador, but they were unable to come as planned. It was such a treat for all of us when they were able to come in late April for 2 weeks. We bought a turkey, made some stuffing and had a Christmas feast together as a family. Jordan thinks we should celebrate Christmas every month just so he can have turkey! The term 'better late than never' rings true! It was a lot of fun; the kids insisted on making a whole bunch of Christmas cookies.
Dad was a tremendous blessing to our ministries while he was here. He was able to preach 3 different Sundays at La Iglesia Bautista El Calvario with Pastor David Vasconez and to share in our Wednesday evening Bible studies. One man stated, "Jeff, we are glad to have you with us every week, but this guy is really good!" We already knew that! We really enjoyed the time together sharing our new country, home and ministry with our parents."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
We had a tremendous opportunity to do a week of personal evangelism, children's vacation Bible school, ministry and translation in the town of Otavalo. Translation was a real stretch, and we all really felt that our ability with the language grew from the experience. We worked with Word of Life Directors, Daniel and Anna Gonzalez to translate for a church from Atlanta, GA who brought a large group during their spring break. The kids made some great friends with the other Ecuadorian translators and with the American visitors. God blessed and many doors were open to the Gospel. Following the different meetings, we had the chance to counsel in small groups. There were many opportunities to share the Gospel. God was truly at work that week.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Ecuador is named after the equator. We took a field trip today to "see" this invisible line that divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. El Midad del Mundo or the Center of the World, is a great place to learn more of Ecuador's culture and diversity. In the cultural museum, we learned about all the different people groups of Ecuador including their habitat, dress, and daily life. There was live Andean music to enjoy and artisans selling their goods. We took the opportunity to mark the occasion at the monument and take some photos on the imaginary line that circles the globe. When you have the chance to visit us in Ecuador, we would enjoy taking you for a trip to Mitad del Mundo. We may even feed you deep fried guinea pig if you like. It's a delicacy!
We have had many new adventures in Ecuador. We have had the opportunity to make many new friends. Sometimes, these two things overlap and things really get interesting. We met the Schole family around Christmas time and they invited us to their home. They are directors of a beautiful retreatcenter, El Refugio, just north of el Mitad del Mundo, the monument on the equator. When we arrived, they offered for us to go on a hike. We enjoyed it immensely. When we reached the top, they showed us this incredible treehouse. We enjoyed our time with their family and our exploration immensely. Everyday is a new adventure. Isn't God good.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
2. great northern beans
4. yellow split peas
6. adzuki beans
7. black beans
11. sweet corn
With all of these ingredients, you can imagine how thick it was. My favorite part was the presentation. The bowl we were served was just amazing. There were three strips of cheese, two small dough balls, three slices of plantain, a mini empanada, a wedge of hard boiled egg, a hot red pepper curl, and a onion flower. It was almost too pretty to eat! We take every opportunity to learn more about the people and the culture where God has placed us. It is a great blessing."
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
We celebrated in our new country in new and different ways.
First, we were privileged to spend Good Friday with 4 ladies who had been working in an orphanage in Riobamba Ecuador and were getting ready to leave for the USA. It was a great blessing to spend time with them as they had been praying for us before they came and they even brought us candy from the USA...definately a special treat.
Second, we attended the processions in Quito. Good Friday is anything but "good" in Quito. There is a great procession, or parade, called, "Jesus the great power." During this time, 120 are chosen to be apostles, 200 chosen to be the weeping Veronica, and more than 2000 chosen to be "cucuruchus." The cucuruchus cover their faces with a big purple hood and walk barefooted, carrying heavy crosses, chains, wrapped in barbed wire. Both years I have seen the processions, one of the heavy crosses falls on people in the crowd injuring them. Noone is quite sure as to the origine of the purple hoods, but the idea is to walk this great distance in this procession to earn favor with God. The blacktop was so hot they had to stand in puddles people would pour for them or stand on papers their helpers would tear up and put down. One cucuruchu in the photos is talking on a cell phone. I was profoundly struck by the name of the parade, Jesus the great power, and those in the parade trying to earn something from God. The music is earry. The procession is sad. I am reminded that the scriptures tell us, it is finished! The debt has been paid! Jesus in reality is the gread power, He paid a debt I could not pay! it is time for celebration, not penance. Praise be to God who has given us his unspeakable gift.
Thirdly, we celebrated the Resurrection by observing a Seder supper in our living room with 16 Ecuadorians. The Spanish was bad, but the message is great!What a blessing to rehearse the freedom from bondage the Israelites recevied form God and the freedom from sin past, present and future experienced by the blood of Jesus Christ that liberates us death and hell for eternity. To God be the glory!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
When talking about weekly highlights, it is difficult to shorten the discussion. God has been so good to us. I must say just one of the weekly highlights is our Wednesday night Bible studies. Earlier we have shared of other highlights such as the 2 ladies Bible studies Deanne attends and assists, our Bible study we have with our landlord and his family, and our church family at La Iglesia Bautista El Calvario (Calvary Baptist Church).
Our couples Bible study on Wednesday night is a blessing as attendance ranges between 14-24 people, mostly couples. This lovely group of people have deep burdens for teaching and training their families to love and serve God. We meet in different host homes. This proves a challenge for us as everyone else knows the locations, but often the directions are sketchy for us. Therefore, we solved this problemy by offering a ride to someone who knows the area! We are currently studying God's plan for the family. This is especially exciting as we are doing basic discipleship beginning with the priority of the Word of God as our guide. Please pray with us as we desire to see those needing Christ as their Savior come to him in faith.
On a light note...we also enjoy the Bible studies as we get to sample Ecuadorian food each night. We also are stretched and growing in the language. One night I responded to a question by saying we must all stand before God and answer for our actions. One lady repeated the phrase "before God" (ante Dios). So, I said yes, "before God". She repeated again "before God." I again said, "Yes, before God." She said...I said, she said, I said. This went on for some time. Finally I realized I was not saying it correctly and she was trying to help correct me! I was not saying we stand before God, I was saying we stand before the time when God existed! Que verguenza (how embarassing)! Please pray we keep our theology straight by continued language learning!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
We like to celebrate and on March 27 we celebrated...US. Normally we celebrate other things, but this time we celebrated us. Twenty-three years ago we had our first "date"; so, we have much to celebrate. For our night out, we went to sushi place right here in Cumbaya. Who would think you could get Great sushi in Ecuador, but we found it! We went to Noe Sushi Bar (not sure baptists are allowed to use that word so we will call it a restaruant). It is a really great spot for a special occassion, and we had the whole place to ourselves. We went at 5 PM, but dinner does not get cranked up here until after 7 PM. We are thankful that we are still dating after 23 years. God has really blessed us. We praise Him for the strong relationship that we share...and the plate of sushi!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Amanda's Birthday -- Her Quinciera was celebrated in Cumbaya! Amanda's birthday is Valentine's day. She has been a party waiting to happen since she was born! This year she turned fifteen. We have been looking forward to her birthday since we first started learning about the Latino culture. A 'Quinciera' is a very big deal for a young lady. It is the 'Sweet Sixteen' of the Latin world, but it goes way beyond our celebrations!
We enjoyed this celebration with our family and many of Amanda's new Ecuadorian friends. Traditionally, a quinciera is done in all pink, but for Amanda it was ALL PURPLE, or course. In a Quinciera, a young lady passes from a child to woman figuratively and there is a special time when the dad presents his daughter her pair of high heels to signify that she is a woman now. Well, in Ecuador it is very difficult to locate larger sizes of shoes, and we searched for Mandi a pair of shoes............. but we didnt find one. Instead, we presented her with a gift of amethyst jewelry. Perhaps this was the story of Cinderella's slipper, but instead of looking for a princess for the shoe to fit we were looking for the shoe to fit the princess.
It was a very fun evening. We took pictures with her guests. They went on a video scavenger hunt in our urbanization and then we watched the fun tour of the neighborhood. We played lots of games and of course, had lots of food including Amanda's favorite Red Velvet Cake." Congratulations Amanda. We are so proud of the lady God is making you.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
One of Deanne's heartbeats is to use her kitchen as a means of outreach. This sounds simple doesnt it? And it is! God has given each of us things in our hands, just like Moses had his rod, we can use what we have.
We began "Cocina Contacts" ministry this month of December by making Christmas cookie wreaths for our neighbors and different people we have met. Since we did not have our shipment yet, we were limited on pots and pans. We got a little creative and found a stovetop recipe that we could make in large quantities. We made 48 Christmas cookie wreaths in all.
When we do a project, we make it a WHOLE family project. We put everybody to work on our project. We had cookie makers, wreath formers, sprinkle decorators, and wrappers. We put a small candle in the middle ,and Jeff made a Christmas card telling about Jesus being the light of the world.
We wanted to make something a little bit "American" to draw the two cultures together. We have found Ecuadorians to be friendly people who are as curious about our culture as we are about theirs. By making a recipe from our culture, we are inviting them into our world for a moment through our kitchen door. Then, we took them around our neighborhood and delivered them personally. It was a great time to get to know our neighbors. Deanne even had a request to teach a neighbor how to make banana bread just from our Christmas cookies, but more on that later. We are so glad to be living here and to be getting to know our neighbors.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
We praise the Lord for His great blessing. On January 8th, our shipment from New York arrived on our doorstep. Praise the Lord! It has been held in customs for more than 4 months. What a joy to combine little treasures from our life in the United States with our new life here in Cumbaya. In only fifteen minutes, our 60 boxes were unloaded from the truck and up the stairs into our living room.
Lukas, our foreman, was calling out the number of each box to cross off our inventory list. Some of these boxes were first packed 2006. What a journey we have enjoyed since that time. It felt a little surreal at that moment to think that we were really Home in Cumbaya. It was time to finally "unpack". We took time to pray together......in a circle, just as we had on that night in 2005 when God moved in our hearts to make the family step into career missions. Another milestone in our journey. We are "officially" settled in Cumbaya. I took a few minutes to "take in the moment" to gather my thoughts, but the kids jumped right in as fast as they could find their boxes. They were unpacking and proudly displaying treasures in no time at all. Deanne began with a box of her mother’s china in the kitchen. When the delivery truck had opened its’ door, we noticed that our shipment had been packed half right side up and half upside down. Quickly we identified that several of the inverted boxes were fragile boxes from our dining room. Deanne opened her mother’s china timidly, but the pieces were intact. It is another reminder of God’s provision for us down to the smallest details. The next box was even more interesting. Containing antique plates and a stack of glass platters; amazingly, there was only one small little chip in the entire stack of antique dishes, but the platter directly beneath was broken in half. It was not a special platter because it was bought at a garage sale. These are the little things that we will always remember. Thank you for sharing the journey. God’s goodness is something to celebrate.