Monday, February 15, 2010

Amanda's Quinciera - Turning 15
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

The Kitchen is Open!

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.
A Special Visit with Bob and Lynne Trout
February 6-10 brought our second visitors to Ecuador missionaries Bob and Lynne Trout, Spanish Speaking South American Regional Administrators. It was a blessing to have them here with us. We were so glad to welcome Lynne to Ecuador as it was her very trip to our new country. BIENVENIDOS A ECUADOR, LINA!

Ecuador is ABWE's newest Spanish speaking field, and we value the input and leadership of our these veteran missionaries. The Trouts were a great encouragement to our family and we enjoyed our time with them. We appreciate their input and direction as we launch the work here in Cumbaya. The kids especially enjoyed Uncle Bob's passion for icecream!

Their friendship and mentorship is such an asset. The children really enjoyed having them with us. Uncle Bob enjoyed watching the Superbowl with the boys, and Aunt Lynne enjoyed shopping, playing with our two bunnies, Pork chop and Butterball, and getting "Facebook" pointers from the girls. Thank you for your ministry!

Carnival - alive and well in Cumbaya!

Another new experience was waiting for us in early February as we approached "Carnival". Cultural traditions are different in every country. We have heard many stories of Carnival, and in some countries the celebration is to be avoided. In Ecuador, it is a kid's dream come true. In the weeks that precede Lent, people "let it all out" and put on a "water fight" in the streets. People throw water balloons, and spray crazy foam at unsuspecting strangers just for fun. At every store you can buy this crazy foam spray, and it seems to sell out fast. It was rather sporadic at first until THIS WEEKEND! All the children in the country have a few days off, and many people take it as a big family vacation and go to the beach or have family over for a few days. It is a huge time of fiesta!

Let me sum it up for you, THIS WEEKEND, STAY INSIDE OR PREPARE TO GET WET! Kids and adults are into this Country-wide water fight! Water guns, hoses, water balloons, cups of water, full size buckets..... nothing is off limits! Our next door neighbors invited Bethany, Jordan, Amanda and Lukas over for an afternoon of water craziness. We wanted them to get to know the neighborhood; Im not sure this is exactly what we meant. They sure had a good time. If you are a kid, could there be a better holiday? Sorry....... gotta go. I have four cold, wet hungry kids to feed. It seems they worked up quite an appetite!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Enjoying the Coast of Ecuador
Our family took a brief trip to the coast of Ecuador to the small village of Same (pronounced like the name Sammy) for a few days after New Years. It was far different than our daily surroundings in Cumbaya. Hot, humid, rustic, sandy were the days. We bought fish and shrimp right on the beach and cooked it for dinner. We enjoyed picking shells and relaxing in hammocks. Jeff, Jordan and Lukas were able to do some fishing on a river for a few hours. They watched :dug out" canoes go up and down the river. It was a reminder that we are living in a third world country. It was a great privilege to reconnect as a family including some late night monopoly contests. We were reminded during our few days on the coast of the majesty of God's creation through the crashing waves, the swelling tides, the magnificent mountains; the views were around us on every side. We are truly blessed! Psalm 19:1 The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.