Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interview with an oldie but a goodie!

This morning I wasn´t feeling the joy like I was yesterday - Mark went up to the assembly hall and none of the other possee was going out so that meant I would have to walk over to the group by myself and I am afraid it just didn´t happen. I tried but was soon back home again feeling a little lonely. Oh well at least I got to finally put this video together - an interview with my mum. While in NZ I had great plans of interviewing people from our lives but I don´t know where the 6 weeks went - probably too many muffin and coffee breaks! Anyway I hope you enjoy meeting my mother - she is a pretty cool seƱora!
We are going away tomorrow (oh what a life eh -holiday after holiday) with C & M and the Willis´- we are off to check out Loja and staying at what looks like a pretty cool ¨Resort" I know we have only just got back but if we don´t go now we may not get another chance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend Work

We have been eased back into the system slowly over the last few days with me going with Michele on Saturday to the study with Luz. When Jonathan, the middle son saw me it was quite cute as the look of regognition came on his face and he rushed to hug me - aaawwwhh! Anyway after the studies Michele was telling Luz that she couldn´t come for 2 weeks and me and my big mouth jumped in and said that I could come. So now I have to take 2 studies without back up - what an egg I am!
On the way home that morning Mark and I stopped in to give Nery, our neighbour, a bible and she invited us up to her apartment. Well after an hour (of intense concentration, I have to say) we had demonstatted how we study and read a number of scriptures to her. Nery said she prayed to God thanking him for sending us. It just shows you that if a person is drawn to the truth, it doesn´t matter that you can´t speak the language properly.
On Sunday we started out at 7 am to meet up with Bernado. He has a study way up the mountain and it took us 2 bus rides to get there. We sat at the entrance to this half constructed house and studied with a couple who have problems with the husbands alcoholism. Every so often the door would open and out would come someone different. I asked later how many children they had and the answer was ¨Bastante¨(lots). She sure was right as in total there were 9 kids and 3 gradchildren. I was able to look inside once or twice and when I said the house was half constructed I should have said quarter constructed - dirt floor no windows etc etc. How very sad! We can only hope Manuel takes the council and gives up his drinking, then no doubt his families lot will be improved.
So off we toddle to another person and this time Bernado says to me that I can take a study with the little girl of the man. I wanted to say "you´re kidding right?" but there was no question about it and I was soon inside trying my best to communicate with this wide eyed child - who must have thought - you´re kidding right!! He he! I gave up before too long as it was really difficult for me and of course her too so I just tried to teach her the fruits of the spirit.
It was a great weekend though and we are very happy to be back into it. We both kind of hope the assembly hall thing doesn´t eventuate as we would be fairly isolated up there and miss out on all the fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We´re back!

Well we made it back - even if it did take 47 hours from the time we left Tauranga till arriving in our apartomento in Cuenca. Of course that did include some sleep time in Guayaquil but not before we had travelled 25 hours with hardly any. For some reason the passengers on the plane were very busy and we would finally drop off and someone would either open the window shade, turn the light on or bump my arm as they walked past. Even Mark only got about 3 hours so that was really different for him. On the plane up from Chile the Junior NZ surfing team were sitting right behind us and could not contain their excitement so sleep was out again. Anyway we had a nice surprise when we got to Guayaquil when Chad and Michele and Chad´s parents were there to meet us. Made it feel like we were coming home.

Talking about home it was difficult to leave the family this time and by the time we made it through the checkpoints (of course after my customery random pat down and explosives check - why do they always pick me?) I was pretty wiped out. However my crazy family made us laugh when they got other people to wave at us and pull funny faces! Had us chuckling again.

We got on the bus at Guayaquil and usually it takes only 4 hours to come to Cuenca but for some reason the bus went the other went the other way so it was a five hour trip - it didn´t matter though we got to see another part of the country. Of course it was raining when we pulled into Cuenca but hey we can cope with anything now that our treats draw is restocked.

I didn´t sleep very well last night and so was in bed till around 10 o´clock (stupid different time zones). We have come out to buy food, use the internet and finally get Mark´s haircut (he refused to pay $20 in NZ and waited for a $2 one). On the way we had the coolest experience - we started a study!! Remember the neighbour that we placed the book with a while ago and Mark had a nice discussion with her before we left - well she was the first person we saw when we stepped out of the building. She told us she loves the book and looks up the scriptures in a small bible that is difficult for her to read. Of course I said we would get her a larger one and she was very happy. Then I suggested that I bring another sister back who speaks better spanish and so an arrangement was made for tomorrow to discuss study options. The thing is she is the mother of the president of the apartments and witnesses have not been able to go in and talk to people in the past so you never know this may be the way Jehovah is opening other doors!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Well Today is the Day - off we go back to Ecuador after having a very busy but enjoyable 6 weeks here in NZ. I am feeling a little apprehensive - especially about going back to spanish - I am worried I will have forgotten everything I have learned last year! Mark is his usual calm self so no doubt he will keep me positive. I have copied and pasted an experience from Michele and Chad - it reminded me why we are going back - you will be able to understand a little too after you have read it:

The first month that we had the special day of offering bible studies with the direct approach, our friend Beth, who is serving here from New Zealand, started a study with a lady. She had her study every week for about 3 weeks and then Beth and Mark went home to NZ to visit for 6 weeks, so she asked me to study with Luz while she was gone. We have been having the study pretty regularly for the past 5 weeks. She has 3 boys, ages 11, 9 and 6. It really is a sad story. Luz is very poor and is a single mom. The oldest boy, Patricio, has always attended school and is very smart. The sad thing is that the 9 year old, Jonathan, has never attended school because she doesn't have the money to send him. So, although he is sweet as sugar, and super friendly, he can't read.
Jonathan has touched my heart since the moment I met him. The first time that I went there, I studied with his mom, while he cleaned the whole kitchen and looked after his 6 year old brother, who we think has autism. He was so interested in the fact that we were studying the bible that I told him the next week I could bring my husband and he could study with him. His eyes lit up and he excitedly said he would love to study!
So, Chad came the following week and studied with the 2 younger boys (well, he studied with Jonathan, and tries to keep the 6 year old, Pedro, from interrupting his mom's study). Chad also fell in love with little Jonathan. So, the next week, Chad bought notebooks and pencils for all the boys and gave them to them. His goal though, is to help to teach Jonathan how to read and write. When he told Jonathan that he would like to help him, Jonathan had such a HUGE smile on his face and excitedly began to practice tracing the letters that Chad wrote on the first page.
Anyway, we have been studying with them while Beth is gone. I study with her in the living room, and Chad studies with the 3 boys in their bedroom, and then afterwards he gives Jonathan a little lesson in reading and writing. They are PRECIOUS little boys. Patricio, the 11 year old told us that he has vacation from school this coming week, so Chad tried to set up an extra study with him during his time off. I almost cried when he told us that he can't study because he has to work...Work? He is 11! He told us that all week, he will be working from 8 am to 9 at night selling CD's. My heart just bleeds for these kids....they just don't have a childhood. Such a sad life....

Anyway, today we went for the study, and the older boy answers the door and says, ¨come in , come in...¨ so we did. When we walk in we see Luz´mom and dad in the living room, then another really young couple comes down the stairs. I thought, oh boy, they probably can't study today since they have visitors. But, much to my surprise, they all start grabbing kitchen chairs and pulling them into the living room in a circle around me! YIKES! So, the boys drag Chad into the bedroom for their study and I have 5 people sitting there looking at me! Evidently, Luz told them that we were coming and that they all should sit in on the study to learn something about the Bible. Luz and I had already studied the chapter on Suffering that she had started with Beth, and so we had just started in the beginning in Chap. 1, but we had studied about 1/2 way through. But today she told me that she wanted to start from the beginning with the whole family...so that is what we did! We studied for an hour as a group. The mom and dad can't read very well, so they mainly just listened, but the younger couple was very attentive and answered the questions. They were excited to learn how to find scriptures in the Bible. It turns out that it is Luz' nephew and his girlfriend who live on the coast, but they came to live with Luz for the next 3 months. I guess he implied that he has some drug problems and drinking problems, but that he would like help to quit these things. So, I mentioned that studying the Bible regularly can give us the strength and desire to stop doing these things. I asked them if they would like to continue their study and they readily said yes. So, next week we have plans to go an hour early and study with the couple first, and then study with Luz....how exciting! Particularly the girlfriend showed a lot of interest. She is sooo sweet, and they both said that they had never spoken to Jehovah's Witnesses before. I gave them all an invitation to the Memorial and the young couple right away said that they would like to come, so we will see what happens.....Beth is going to have her work cut out for her when she gets back!!! (Get ready Beth!)

How cool is that eh? Of course I have told Michele that these folks will be way beyond me now but I am happy to have shared a little in it.

We would like to say a big thank you to our family and friends who have made our trip home great especially Maureen and Lloyd who had to put up with us coming and going from their house for the last 6 weeks. Maureen has not been well either so she will be looking forward to some peace and quiet.

Hasta luego mis amigos - see you on the other side of the world!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finally - Fish and Chips on the Beach

3 days before we go and finally we make time for the best NZ experience - Fish and Chips on the beach (or in a Kiwi accent - Fush and Chups). It made us all jump for joy... or was it just the overload of fat coursing through our veins?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Special Assembly Day

Here we are at the South Auckland Assembly Hall for the Special Assembly Day entitled "Keep Watching the Ministry...that you Fulfill it!". It was an awesome day, really enjoyed it - quite possibly because it was all in English!! Hehe!
We spent the day with Aaron as it was his circuit so it was neat having time with him. Not so neat was when we got back to his flat and his flatmates where having a bit of a do! No sleep for us but hey that's the chance you take when you stay at a boys flat!
I thought I would post these photos for you to see the assembly hall - a little different to the one in Cuenca eh?
Also I wanted to introduce you to this nice new young sister - Shweta from India. She came to NZ about 7 months ago as she was studying in India but was unable to progress in her home country. Her family is Hindu.Her goal was to get baptized and she realized that yesterday so how cool is that?
Have been thinking of our friends over in Cuenca - they are attending their 2 day assembly and I just heard today that 9 from Banos Congo got baptized. 9 from the whole circuit were baptized here so the ratio is a little better in Ecuador.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

And this is...

I want to introduce you to our friends Martin and Louise. They are the reason we choose to try needgreating in the first place as they planted the little seed needed for us to get out of our rut here in NZ.  I remember when they first suggested to us moving where the need is great - I made the comment, "we are too old for that". Well maybe we are a little past our best but if there is anyone out there considering doing something similar - J.D.I!!! We can testify your life will be greatly enhanced by the experience.
Martin and Louise are heading to Bolivia in the near future so we have made plans to meet up for la cerveza y pizza in a foreign land - how cool will that  be?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Huhu grub for dinner!

Even though Mark is a white maori and he eats fish head soup, sucking the eyes and all, he couldn't quite eat this bug. Lots of people here in NZ do though!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kingdom Melodies Annual Picnic in the Paddock

Scenes from last years "Picnic in the Paddock"

Well - it sure wasn't in the paddock this year. Another cyclone blew through on Saturday and so things didn't work out as intended but it was still a good time. For those not in the know - every year Mark organizes a picnic on his folks farm (as the photos show). He gives a call out to all the musicians across the Bay and beyond and they come and play only Kingdom Melodies. Then an audience arrives to listen and to sing along if they so desire.It is an awesome night and you can't help but feel good afterwards.

The weather has always been good to us but this year it was not to be. Unfortunately too, lots of people travelling had to turn back home cause the roads were flooded and closed, so we were down in numbers but there was still around 150 there to enjoy the fellowship. Sadly some of the musicians couldn't get through either. Oh well - hopefully next year will be better! (Providing of course that we are home again to attend ourselves - Aaron no doubt will have to take charge again).