Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday cell group

Every Monday I lead a cell group for the church youth who are interested.  Usually about 15-20 youth attend.  Today we took a hike up a hill close to the church and had our devotional overlooking the city.


This past Sunday Dario invited me to go with his family to his mother-in-law's house.  Dario is one of the elder's at Paz de Dios and his wife's name is Gloria.  My parent's worked with Gloria's parents and family many years ago, and Jessica was baptized in the small chapel they have next to their house.
It was so good to be with Gloria's family and have a time of worship together in their chapel.  It brought back memories and was very meaningful to be able to share the message during the worship service.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Es mi Cuenca....

An evening shot of Cuenca.

Basket Case

On my way home from preaching in Paute, traffic came to a complete stop.  I've included a picture of the problem.  Would you call this a basket case???


Today I went to preach at a small church outside the city of Cuenca.  I preached on 1Cor 10.  It was a blessing to fellowship with the congregation.  Here is a picture of the church in Paute along with Pastor Gonzalo, his brother, and sister-in-law.

Birthday Season

It seems to be birthday season down here.  It was my birthday, Peter's birthday and other people from the church.  We had a few combined parties this past week.  Here are some pictures of the celebrations, including some pictures of the Ecuadorian classic of having your face pushed into the cake. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bros on the Beach

It felt like we had just been to the jungle, but it worked out this last weekend to go to the beach with Peter.  It was his first time to swim in the ocean.  We had a very enjoyable time together.  Here are some pictures from the time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unphotographed Days

Have you ever realized how many days never get photographed?  I mean, the camera comes out for birthdays, vacations, weddings, etc. but 99% of the time, it is left on the shelf.  I realized the other day that is often what happens with my ministry here in Ecuador.  All the adventures and trips get photographed, but the real ministry is left undocumented.  The one-on-one times during the week and the small-group Bible studies is where the most important ministry takes place.  It feels so ordinary and unexciting that I rarely think of photographing it, but it is probably one of the most important parts of my ministry down here.
If it would have been a trip to the jungle or something, I would have probably included 25 pictures with this post, but you'll have to be content with one.  Here is a shot of the men's cell group (Bible study) last night.  They are a special group of guys with a hunger and desire to grow in the Lord. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A youth hike

On Saturday the youth from the church went on a hike in the mountains.  We began hiking up the mountain at 1:30pm and returned at 6:00pm.  We basically hiked up, enjoyed the view, and hiked back down the same path.  The scenery was breathtaking and unfortunately, the pictures just can't capture it all. 
Overall, the whole outing was very encouraging.  Many of the youth brought along friends, and we had a group of about 35 youth and 5 adults.  Besides being a good time of fellowship, the purpose of the hike is also to physically challenge the youth.  We hiked for about 2 hrs straight up... at an altitude of 10k-11k feet to boot.  Needless to say, we all were huffing and puffing at the end of the 2 hrs. when we got to a grassy peak.  Here we sang some praise choruses and Pastor Santiago shared a challenging message with the youth. 
The youth are all in different stages of maturity spiritually, but it's encouraging to see how many of them are growing.  There is an obvious hunger for things for things of the Lord.  There are few things I find more enjoyable than this sort of activity with the youth. Sometimes I'm encouraging them to keep going and make it to the top of the mountain, and other times we're teasing each other.  Over the last year-and-a-half, I've grown close to many of them.  We sure have a lot of fun together.