Monday, September 7, 2015

Saying Goodbye

The last night in Shell was memorable!  Abby and I were welcomed into Daniela's parents home.  First, we got amazingly beautiful manicures by Dani's sister.  Then, I gave Dani's mom lots of laughs and good memories by ignorantly pouring the 6 cup packet of instant coffee into my own cup. Finally, some of Abby's new friends came by to say goodbye.

Our last morning, we rose before the sun and set out for Quito on the long, weaving, mountainous roads.  We saw some new scenery as we traveled since we took a different way.  We were able to get a good look at Cotopaxi Volcano in the distance and as we climbed into heights, we saw the change in plant life to brown grasses.
Cotopaxi, covered in snow and still spraying out smoke

Since the Equator runs right through the northern part of Ecuador, Cris took us to see the monument that had been set up there.  It was neat to stand where the world is cut exactly in half, and in the process learn a bit about Ecuador's history.  
Translate: "'The middle of the world'- It's beautiful to be Ecuadorian."

Abby and I in front of the monument facing East.

Our fantastic hosts!

The early morning of the last day and the long, hard drive up to Quito, coupled with many hours of waiting in the airport and a 5 hour overnight flight to our first stop in the states meant that we were totally exhausted when our friend picked us up 2 hours from home.  The past few days have been a bit hard for me, particularly, as I catch up on lots of lost sleep, get over a cold I brought home with me, and get into a "groove" for the fall.  David and the kids did great while I was gone and I think he is about rested up and ready to dive deeper into school.  Abby seems to have stepped back into home life smoothly, and now we will begin asking ourselves what we learned during our adventures and how we saw God moving.  
Life is exciting!  God is amazing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Being Tourists!

This part of Ecuador is amazingly beautiful!  We spent the past two days being a bit more touristy and exploring the area.
I crossed this very high, wiggly bridge!!  So we could see a famous and large waterfall.  It was especially wild on this day due to lots of rain in recent weeks.  

Here is part of the waterfall.  And you can see the stairs beside.  Abby and Cris went down there.

Here is a shot of one of the streets on which we shopped.

We drove way up on a mountain to experience this tree house swing.  Notice the clouds.  It was a very rainy day and the clouds were hanging down in the mountains.

Abby, Dani and her nephew took this cable car across the Pastaza River Gorge.  We rafted that river so it is much, much bigger.  It looks so small because it is so far down!

Today, after driving onto the military base, waiting for the plane to land so we could cross the airstrip, and hiking 1/2 a mile, we arrived at the little Shell zoo.  It was a beautiful hike through the jungle with a creek winding beside the path.  Some of the animals were just roaming free and some were caged.  We got to hold two kinds of parrots, feed a monkey, pet a small furry creature whose name I don't know, and watch as a puma and a different beautiful carnivorous cat were fed meat through the fence.  Pretty neat!

Finally, we hiked a mile or so, again through the jungle, to this beautiful spot where we picnicked and several in our company swam in the cold mountain water.

The last thing we did today was enjoy the company and cooking of Daniela's mom and sister.  She showed us how to make empanadas, and they were "muy rico!"  We also got manicures for $3 each.  A treat for sure!  Oh, and ask me about the coffee story.  Daniela's mom will not quickly forget me! ;)

Tomorrow we head for home.  We will spend a part of the day in Quito exploring before heading to the airport to prepare for our departure.  It has been a sweet time and I pray that all that God wants to do in our hearts and in the hearts of those we met because of our time here will be done.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

People God Made

Yesterday we spent the day with several different people.  First, after a very slow, relaxed morning (because we are all still recovering from the craziness of camp) we went over to a local orphanage.  Several of our Cornerstone folks used to work with this orphanage and we still sponsor a boy here.  So we really wanted to see it and meet our boy.  We got a tour, met some of the kids, held a few babies, and took a quick picture with Boris.  The director called him over and explained who we were.  He smiled, hugged us both, took a picture with me, and then ran back to watch the movie with the others.  I smiled as I thought how my own boys would have reacted the same way.

We walked back to Cris and Dani's house and on the way stopped by to see a friend of Dani's who is a single mom at a very young age.  Dani visited with her a for a while, and Abby and I tried to catch little bits of the conversation in Spanish. :)  This is a common problem here and one that needs to truth and grace of God to overcome.

After arriving back to their home, we loaded up and drove to the next town over to do an errand or two and to buy some groceries.  It was a fun experience in the market.

We spent the later part of the afternoon preparing dinner for the girls who were in Abby's cabin at camp.  They really seemed to connect with each other and it was a joy to spend the evening with them.  Some of them have tough home situations and really need the love of Jesus poured into them.  A few have given their lives fully to Christ and are walking in peace, wisdom, and grace. Here are the beautiful girls.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Young Life Ecuador Camp

Here are some pictures from Camp.  Pardon me if there are typos.  I have gotten 5 hours of sleep or less and worked very hard the last 4 days.  I am too tired to proofread.  We really had a great time.  I got to meet many new friends who love Jesus and have a heart for young people to know Him.  Abby made some friends, too, as she was with our friend in her cabin of girls.  She has been stretched in her knowledge of Spanish!  Actually we both have been stretched a lot in this area.  
This is the view leaving the camp.  The camp was just outside of Shell.  And this whole place is surrounded by mountains!  The building to the left is the main building where we met for club time and where the dining hall was.  The area of dirt/mud was where we played a lot of the games.  It has rained everyday since we arrived except today.  Cris says it rains more than 50 inches per year here!

Each meal the camp members had to sit 10 to a table in order to eat.  Here is Abby with her table one of the nights.  It was more complicated than it had to be to get food on the tables because the kids had to choose a table each meal! Keeping to a schedule is not really the priority here.

This Young Life camp is evangelistic.  Kids are not allowed to come a second time unless they bring 2 friends.  At first the games and songs are silly or just fun.  Later in the week, they start playing more worshipful songs.  Also the campers all get in lines with arms around each for every song that doesn't require jumping. :)

Games!!  They played lots and lots of games!  Here they are doing relay games.  In this one, each member of the teams had to kick the ball to the end and back while they were jumping in a sack.  

This is the end of the bike ride I was dreading!  I didn't end up having to bike it and I so thankful.  8 km up and (a little down) part of a mountain.  Abby was amazing though as she did the bike trip and then we all (almost all 134 of us- workers, leaders, and campers) went rafting afterwards.  It was my first time white water rafting. The river was a bit wild (at least to me!), but we all survived.  It was fun, but very cold and exhausting.  Abby and our friend's raft flipped and it was scary for a bit, but in the end all were safe.  

One night we did a "fair" for the kids.  There were games set up where the kids could earn "dollars" and then use them to buy snacks.  They could also use their money to purchase water, flour or eggs for the purpose of throwing them on their leader.  I am glad I was a worker and not a leader this night.  Here I am with some of my new friends in our costumes for the night.  All the workers were dressed in silly costumes, a bit like clowns.

The last night was my favorite.  It made all the hard, hard work and sleepless nights worth it.  The speaker, who has talked about Jesus already, clearly presents the gospel.  Then they kids are challenged to give themselves fully to Him, and there is a time of real worship music.  After this club time there is a 15 minute silence in the camp as the kids are ushered to chairs that have been distributed in an area of the camp and are encouraged to spend that time reflecting and praying.  It was powerful and many of the kids said they had decided to commit their lives to Jesus during that time.  Now... I am going to bed.  I am one sleepy girl.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A New Adventure... Shell, Ecuador

Abby's Ecuadorian Adventure is under way!  We are getting settled into our friend's home. Camp starts tomorrow.

The OMS Guest house in Quito where we spent our first night.

If you look closely you can see the snow covered mountain in the background behind the clouds. It is a volcano named Cotopaxi that just erupted last week.  There is still much smoke and ash in the air and on the plants and the ground in the surrounding area.  It is south of Quito and we drove by it on the way to Shell.

Quito is surrounded by mountains, many of them volcanos.  Here is a view as we are nearing Shell.  We had to stop because there had been a landslide and they were cleaning up the road.  I  got out and took a few photos. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


As promised here is the Spring post!  By the way...God is amazing!  In this season He wakens the world to life and color.  Hope is birthed in Spring.  As we wait, longing for relief from cold, dark, and lifelessness, the seeds of hope is birthed.  Hope is the certainty of things we cannot see.  Spring reminds us that all the promises of God are true and certain!
To enjoy the beauty of the new season and to celebrate the end of David's first year of nursing school, we went on a couple of hikes.

Here are a few more cute ones from the past few months.

Sarah's brothers love her so much!  Here Nathanael is reading to her.

CHICKENS!  In addition to the dog, we added chickens to our household.  

The 4 youngest swinging on the porch swing.

My long-haired boy got tired of it so we buzzed it off to give him a new look.

Abby participated in the ballet again and my parents were able to come  up to see it.

After several years of asking, we finally Micah dance, also.  Here he is after the performance with his class.  He did a great job, and loved it!  He even got to do a lift! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shame on Me! It's been almost a year!

Shame on me for not keeping this blog updated.  For some reason it has become work for me instead of fun, and I have enough work to do already!!  But for those who are far away and want to know what is happening in our lives, or want to see how the kids are growing, here is pictorial update.
First, we went to Oregon last summer.  It was wonderful to see family and explore the beauty of the area.
We spent a somewhat rainy day at the coast.  This is us in Newport.
We are eating at Mo's- a locally famous seafood place on the ocean blvd in Newport.  David used to go here as a kid!

Keenan by the beautifully rugged coastline.
One fun thing we got to do in Oregon is to play with cousins!  Here Silas is with 2 of the crew!
Abby receiving an AWANA award from Grandma.  She memorized hundreds of verses to qualify for the award.  Rachel also received an important AWANA award while we were in Oregon.
Silas turned 6.
Rachel turned 16 in October!  IT has been a big year for her!  Lots of new experiences!  We celebrated her birthday with a big scavenger hunt and game night.

Abby celebrated her 14th birthday with a the camping party she never got to have the year Nathanael was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes!

 We took fun pictures under the ginkgo tree at Asbury Seminary.  It is a favorite picture spot for many.  We got there as it was getting dark, but did it anyway for fear they would rake up all the lovely golden leaves before we could make it back!

Keenan got a dog in late summer!  He had been asking for one for years and saving his money!  He has done a great job being a pet owner!
Keenan las got to play basketball for the first time and LOVED it!

December is Keenan's birthday month!

 Here are a few from Christmas.

We got 2 really big snows this year, each 12 in. or more.  Here Micah is trying to dig out his bike!

Easter Sunday!  Sarah is out for a stroll in her car.  And below having fun with her basket of eggs! 

The boys playing ball.

I'll post more of the past couple of months soon.  And I really do mean soon! :)