Saturday, April 24, 2010

Christmas in April

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

Ministry in Otovalo

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

El Mitad del Mundo - The Center of the World
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!
Swiss Family Davoll?
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

Fanesca - A "Semana Santa" Tradition

An Easter tradition that is unique to Ecuador is the soup, Fanesca. It is served all over the country but only during 'Semana Santa," the week before we celebrate Resurrection Sunday. It is the thickest soup I have ever tasted. It is made of 12 different beans, many of them native to Ecuador. The story is told that the tweleve different beans represent the 12 Apostles and the salted cod fish represents Christ. Although every family has their own recipe of this traditional dish, here is a list of the twelve beans and grains which are cooked along with potatoes, and squash.
1. chickpeas
2. great northern beans
3. black-eyed peas
4. yellow split peas
5. brown lentils
6. adzuki beans
7. black beans
8. wheat berries
9. quinoa
10. barley
11. sweet corn

12. green peas

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

Celebrating Easter in Ecuador

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!