Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to normal

I often forget to take pictures of normal life...  Part of a "normal" week for me here continues to be Bible and Computer classes on Mondays and Thursdays.  Here some pictures of a normal computer class.

Carnaval Camp

Last Monday and Tuesday the Paz de Dios church had carnival camp.  Everyone has time off for carnival, so the church takes advantage of it and plans a camp during that time.  Besides, it also provides a positive option for families instead of the partying and drinking that is normally associated with carnival in Ecuador.
The total cost for the camp was $13 per adult for the two days AND transportation.  Polivio has a real gift for organizing creative, low-cost retreats.  Polivio organized a public bus to make a special stop by the church to pick up all the campers at 7:30am Monday morning.  2.5 hrs. later we arrived in Oña, a small town south of Cuenca.  Due to poor road conditions, the bus could go no farther.  From there most of us climbed into a cattle truck for the 1.5 hr trip down narrow, winding roads into a deep canyon.  The cattle truck had no top on it, so by the time we arrived at the retreat site, we were all drenched.  The custom for carnival is to throw water on everyone, and the people along the edge of the road made good use of the custom.
The retreat was held in a small, village.  Most of us slept in the local "community center" and a few also slept in tents.  For meals, one of the local farmers butchered a goat and served us other locally grown food.  We had rice for every, every meal.  For eating utensils, every person brought their own along and washed their own dishes after each meal.  We washed the dishes at an outdoor sink, and very often came away with clean dishes, but very wet clothes.
The main activities of the retreat was exploring the nearby river.  Some crossed the river in a cable car, other swam or waded across.  On the other side we took advantage of the many tropical fruits.  We at mandarins, mangos, coconuts, oranges, lemons, etc.  The river was rather high, so I would usually cross the river first and help tie a rope so the rest could cross more securely.
The theme for the retreat was "Victorious living in Christ".  Different men from the church shared at one of the four devotional times.  They share on Nehemiah, Gideon, the armor of God (Eph 6), and I shared on David and Goliath.  What a blessing to see these godly men willing and able to share with the rest of the congregation from the Word.
I'll include with this post some pictures from the trip.  I tried the capture the size and magnitude of the canyon, but the pictures don't do it justice.  I also tried to get some pictures of the road down into the canyon as well, but they don't show the whole picture either.  Maybe that's a good thing.... especially for my mom.  :-) 
I'm very thankful for the safety the Lord gave on the trip and also for the many opportunities to fellowship, encourage, and share with the believers.  It is so encouraging to see their growth and hunger for the things of the Lord.  Thank you so much for your prayers and partnership in my ministry.  I am so overwhelmed with the many doors the Lord has opened.  He is so good!
The next trip planned in three weeks is a hike with the church youth up a volcanic crater.  Stay tuned...

Carnaval and chocolate

Last Sunday a group of us from the church got together to make chocolate together.  First we roasted the beans, then took off the husks, next we ground the beans, made round patties and put them on leaves.  It was a great experience.  We mostly stayed dry during the chocolate making, but after that was finished, everything let loose and we had a good time throwing water on people.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The day we forgot our age

Hi All,
Paul and Linnea Quam arrived yesterday.  Paul and I grew up together here in Ecuador, and they are down for a one week visit.  Santiago and I walked into the airport right at the same moment they walked out of security.  Perfect timing.  After relaxing at the G's house for a while, we went up to Turi to view the city.  The evening was beautiful. 
Right before supper, we went and toured the Bilingue school.  Paul and I climbed our favorite climbing tree.  What a hoot.  They've even added permanent ladders to the tree.  The bottom levels of the tree are very well used, but the top levels of the tree was very unused.  We could barely make it through the thick mesh of branches to stick our heads out the top.  (It seems there aren't many missionary kids climbing the tree these days)  We did "our duty" and reopened the routs to the top of the tree again.  What fun to sit on top of the world and remember old times.  On the way back to G's we went and gave Linnea a tour of "the wall" next to the mission home, and sucked on the orange honey suckle flowers.  What a lot of fun to be together.  God is so good. 
On the agenda this afternoon: a fishing trip to Cajas.  The Gs will be busy with a congregational meeting this afternoon, so the three of us will probably borrow the G's car and go by ourselves on the adventure.  It should be fun! :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cookie making

One of this week's projects was cookie making.  The Parra family homeschool their three girls.  Together we made oatmeal raisin cookies.  Here are a few pictures.