Saturday, September 26, 2009

Handsome man in black, our Lukas!
We attended a wedding in Quito at Calvary Baptist Church on Sept 26th. The church opened it's doors to the family and the community for this great event. We saw many new faces come into the church for the first time. The bride and groom were a great testimony of the love of Christ as their marriage was established as a Christian home. Pastor Vasconez gave the Gospel.

We enjoyed learning many things about the differences in culture. For example, Everyone's chairs were angled to face the bride and groom during the ceremony; so you are really participating in the ceremony with the couple. Also, the couple really enjoyed the photo time following the ceremony. It was not limited to the wedding party; everyone who attended had their photo taken with the bride and groom-- although the bride and groom did not smile in the photos. My favorite part of the wedding was when the groom sang to the bride with his guitar. (He also made the wedding cake-- not a bad touch either!)

They wanted to honor us for attending their wedding-- so they made sure to introduce us publically. However, when I presented the bride with our gift she seemed shocked and embarrased that someone who barely knew her would give her a gift. It was all a learning experience. (We did ask questions before-- and yes, we were to bring gifts. I just think we took her a little off guard. She is very shy). We are very glad to see the couple at church. They are very warm and friendly to their "Gringo" friends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not your ordinary Chicken Soup............

We have all heard that chicken soup is the best thing in the world to eat when you are sick. This is the time of year when Moms everywhere are cooking up their favorite recipes to keep their families healthy or to bring them back to health.

Well, it is a popular dish in Ecuador as well. Our family loves chicken, and we love soup. So, it is natural for us to have tried all sorts of Ecuadorian chicken soup. We have had all sorts of things in our chicken soup. The first day we were in Ecuador we had a wonderful soup that was thick with potatoes and it was served with cornnuts on top for a garnish. It was very good.

However, our most memorable soup to date had to be a seemingly plain chicken soup until Jordan's spoon produced a whole chicken foot. In Ecuador, nothing is wasted! We have found ALL parts of the chicken in our soup. We will just leave it at that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Visas Acquired!

The journey -- adventure--for our visas began in San Jose several months back. We had all of our paperwork sent to us that we needed (which is a process in and of itself) and we went to the Embassy/Consulate downtown San Jose. We were told our paperwork was incomplete. So, we made contact again with the wonderful missionary who was helping us with the legal paperwork from Quito. He assured us that our paperwork was complete, but he secured one more paper and sent that to us as well. We returned to the office to hear the same bad news. We went around this merry-go-round a few more times. Finally, with two days before our departure to the United States. The Consulate contacted another office and reviewed our paperwork and said that it was INDEED correct as presented, and we would be issued our visas the very next day. We rejoiced. We began the paperwork trail including going to the bank and paying for our visas.

We returned in the morning with our entire family. We all signed our visas and took lots of photos of this great moment. Then, Jeff was called into the Consulate office where he was questioned for a lengthy amount of time. The Consulate was challenging the validity of our paperwork yet again. We are a new organization going into Ecuador, and the Consulate was taking this very seriously. There was some serious resistance to our application.

Now, we are in Quito. We are required to register our visas. The San Jose Embassy had told us to expect more resistance. However, the power of prayer was behind us. Jeff went in Wednesday and presented our visas for registration. He said that they were very helpful and welcoming. They told him to return on Friday for approval. He returned on Friday when the office opened. The visas were ready and waiting for him. Praise the Lord. We found out later that one of our supporting churches had an ALL DAY prayer meeting for their missionaries that day. We know that our needs were taken to the Lord's throne that day. We praise the Lord for the faithfulness of His people to pray for us.
Ok-- so, you want to know a little bit of the excitement. As Jeff was walking through the streets of Quito to find the government offices on Wednesday. He walked right through a school protest. Apparently, they did not care for their teachers very much; so, they took it to the streets. The riot police were there with tear gas. It was quite the welcome for Jeff!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our First Sunday in Ecuador was a day to remember. We got up early...still a little weary from our journey on Thursday, and our bodies are still aclamating to the high altitude of Quito at 9500 feet (yes, that is nearly TWO miles in the AIR). We made our way down the mountain where we are living in two taxis; then, all of us met up again, and rode the electric trolley for about an hour to the southern part of Quito. We found two more taxis and had our directions to the church in hand, but neither of our taxis knew where we were going. Half of our family got there-- the other half had a nice scenic view of the southern part of Quito! Jeff, Bethany and Amanda all made it to Sunday School. Ximenia Vasconez, the Pastor's wife, was the girl's Sunday school teacher. She was teaching on having difficulties in your spiritual life. She wanted to make it practical to her new students. She applied it to their lives.... You will have difficulties as you adjust to your new life here in Ecuador...... like learning a new language, and losing your mother!

Well, Jeff had instructed us that if our taxis did not get us to the church-- we were to return to the trolley station where we began; we were so glad to have a back-up plan. Jeff arrived with two men from the church. We were all in attendance for service together! It was such a joy to worship the Lord as a family in Ecuador with fellow believers at the Iglesia de Bautista Calavario en Quito. Dios es bueno.

Following the service, we had lunch with Pastor David, Ximenia and their six children. It was a great time together. We praise the Lord for what He has done to bring us to this place. We know how wonderful it is to be a part of the FAMILY of GOD.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and BE GLAD in it"
We are praising the Lord for all He has done to bring us to this moment. I was struck by symbolism as I was walking up the stairway at the airport. The stairway was divided into 3 different landings. I was reminded of our “first level” of prefield ministry, our second level of language training in Costa Rica and now we have arrived here in Quito at the third level. Just like each of the previous landings, there are many unknowns as we trust the Lord in this next phase. We know God is already here working in the hearts of people, preparing the way. We have been overwhelmed by His power to bring all the details together. We thank you for your love, prayer, support, and encouragement along the way.
The last few weeks in the USA have been filled with ministry, details, and a little family time. We were privileged to report in six different churches including a lovely send-off service at our home and sending church Latham Bible Baptist. We repacked repack all of our boxes for Ecuador, list each individual item, and translate that list to Spanish. Jeff and the boys and Papa Roy took our belongings to NYC for shipping. As always, God had done before us. The Ecuadorian Embassy in NYC was not accustomed handling Missionary visas. This necessitated an overnight in NYC and a second attempt at another office for final approval. When we arrive there the 2nd day, God went before and the Consulate was working on our case before Jeff even arrived that morning. God is so good!
As we begin our new ministry, we ask you to pray for our families whom we left in the USA. They are such a great encouragement to us as they whole-heartedly "send-us", but as a very close family it is still difficult to part. We ask you to pray for wisdom for many upcoming decisions transitions.
Thank you for your partnership!
From the Center of the World to the End of the Earth!
Jeff and Deanne and Team Ecuador