Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rice and Beans

So while I was in NZ I made this dish quite a few times.My sister, Lynne wanted me to put it on the blog and finally I have gotten around to it. I actually learnt how to make the recipe from Lisa because it is more a Southern North American thing with a little bit of Ecuador thrown in. Sure is a filling dish and quite cheap here. While in NZ I had real difficulty finding the beans - obviously beans are not a staple dish there but finally I found a great range at an Indian shop so that is my recommendation if you do want to give them a go. Hope you do cause they really are quite delicious!

By the way if you want the beans spicey - just add some chilli powder to taste!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Something we have to do a lot of here...

Back home in NZ I have a few types of witnessing that I don't enjoy i.e - telephone, intercom, business and street witnessing. Guess what I have to do just about all of that here (telephone witnessing will be next on the agenda with Michele working on the phone book as we speak!) Stepping out of my comfort zone in more ways than one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Election Day

Today they are holding elections and because of such the meetings and meetings for field service have been cancelled. All Ecuadorians are required to vote so it is a big deal here. If they don't front up they don't receive the very important documentation saying they have voted. They need to prove they voted in order to conduct any kind of business, get their kids into school etc..Interestingly the sale of alcohol or drinking is prohibited from Friday noon till Monday morning -as Mark found out when he went to buy the necessaries for a Pisco Sour on Friday! Anyways it is nice to have a bit of a loungy day although we did go out to the study with Luz (only to find her not there even though on Thursday she promised she would be -rrrrhhh!).

Hey well I guess it is about time I showed you our new digs - Amanda pointed out it is hilarious that her parents have gone flatting at this stage in life - but it seems to be working out just fine. We really love being here, aside from the fact that we don't have to walk up a huge hill just to to get to our territory etc, Chad and Michele are just like having our kids with us - in fact I am sure Chad is Aarons twin, they are very alike. Way to counteract the empty nest syndrome - just adopt a couple more kids!
Me with a very nice picture of Marks shoe - as you can see we have yet to buy ourselves a bed

Look how lovely and sunny the place is too, it is so much warmer than any place we have lived in here - one drawback though is that is has electric showers so we have to time our morning ablutions so as not to interfere with anyone else - if a toilet is flushed or water turned anywhere then there will be screams! We also have to wash the dishes in cold water - just doesn't feel right to us somehow but something that is done all over South America!

Last night the congregation here in Banos said goodbye to Agenor (the coordinator) and Patricio (secretary) and our very most favorite family - Bernardo and Racquel. They are all going to new congregations and we are very sad to have lost them. Now Doug and Mark are the only 2 ancianos (well Mark is really only 1/2 of one, due to his language impediment) so they are going to be very busy. We had B & R and the kids over for cake after the meeting and enjoyed some time with them - one thing about Ecuadorians though is they seem to think it is rude to leave too early so we didn't get to bed till around 1pm - good job we could sleep in a little this morning. I think some of the young ones are coming over tonight too so it will be another late one. Time for a nap!
Bernado, Racquel, Eric, Shirley and Frank (oh and of course our little family too)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pedro (a slightly not right child) showing his plane that we brought for him.

Today was a bit of a depressing day really. First Mark and I went out at 7.15 am to the study up the mountain and that always brings home to me how fortunate we are - dirt floors, no windows etc etc. The kids that piled out of the house really looked they needed a good bath and maybe a good dinner too. While we were there we had a phone call from Doug give us the news that Blanca (our neighbour from the first house we rented) - her Mum had died, so we needed to go visit her.After that very sad situation, Michele and I had an arrangement to go to study with Luz - that's her with 2 of her boys at the top. She looks very happy in the picture but the reality was she was very troubled today. Awhile ago she had taken in her nephew and his 15 year old girlfriend and they had all been selling fish to make some money over the Easter period (Catholics eat a lot of fish during that time and no meat, so it was a lucrative deal for her). Well the little brat had taken off with all the money so Luz is in dire straights. Poor lady was crying most of the time we were there.
Young Patricio, who you can see in the video showing us his dance moves, was getting ready to go dancing, something he loves doing. Nice that he has a bit of an outlet because he seems to be the man of the house. He is the only one able to go to school but when he has a vacation from classes, he has to spend the time selling CDs at the market (from 8 am till 8 pm, everyday).
When we arrived this morning, he was mopping the floor and doing a fine job too I might add. So I'm glad he can find some time to do something he loves - he deserves it

So tomorrow we will be attending another funeral - Mark is down at the Salon del Reino now (its 9pm) and has been most of the afternoon. I think I told you when Joanna died we learnt what they do when someone dies. The body is not embalmed so they need to bury them quickly but first they have the body at the KH for the what I would call a wake. People just file in, sit around for a bit then leave. The family stay there pretty much the whole time. Of course someone reasponsible needs to be there to look after the Hall and shake everyones hand as they come in and when they leave so Mark and Chad are filling that role today.

So a not so happy day all round - let's hope things pick up, if not tomorrow then the next day. Chao!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A couple of Experiences

Even though we have been busy moving (and still are - very difficult process when you don't have a car and it rains all week) we have still been going out in the field each day. We have a lot of fun - mostly with our bloopers of course. Funny thing happened the other day when I walked up to a man watching some other guys working on some placards (they are having elections here soon and there are placards everywhere). After my presentation about predestination and reading him Eccl 9:11 he took the magazines. So of course I asked him his name for next time and he just pointed to the placard - there in living colour was the man's face and his name in BIG letters. It was hilarious!

Today while walking home an old man sitting on the side of the road asked us if we were Testigos de Jehova and then wanted us to give him a magazine that talked about Jehovah. Very cute.

We were in the mountains today and it is a totally exhausting morning however the very ugly shoes that I brought from the sports shop in NZ are so coming into their own. I have had a real problem with tendinitis and worried that it will get worse, however I managed to get up and over the mountains in my new "tires" quite nicely. A good investment for sure! Another good investment was the Pineapple Lumps we brought back with us. Have they gone down a treat with the Americans? - Yay one up for little old New Zealand!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A little look at our few days in Paradise

We just loved this place but unfortunately it is a bit of a bother to get to - 5 hours of bumpy, windy roads so it is probably the only time we will venture there. It is actually not too far from the border of Peru.

We are moving again - this time to a apartment with Chad and Michele. They needed to get out of their place as it had a bad mold problem and of course I was desperate to not walk up the hill anymore so it was a good solution to both our problems. The new apartment is very central and this morning when we walked to the group it only took 10 minutes and flat. Very different from having to walk up and over a hill which would have taken about 1/2 and hour. Now I can use my energies where they are supposed to be used.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hi everyone - sorry there seems to be a big gap in my reports of late but this week we have been very busy with the Memorial and getting back into routine etc.
Our congregation was assigned to a rented hall this year and it was held at 8pm. There were 341 in attendance and that is over double the usual attendance at the meetings. There were so many people there that were at a meeting for the first time so that was cool to see. Esperanza, the study I handed over to Becky went to the memorial with her husband, which makes me very happy.
This week we have been getting out again in the ministry and that has been great to get back out there regularly again. Yesterday we spent the morning with Mark and Becky and we had an awesome time. Becky started a study with a young mum and even though we were climbing up the mountain again - I enjoyed the time with her immensly. Mark and I find them easy to listen and learn from as they speak spanish with their Texan drawl so it is nice and slow for us. When they took us home, I asked Becky to come in with me to see Nery (our neighbour) and we were there for quite awhile - she is a very interesting and compassionate lady and very interested in the bible. I don't know if I told you this before but she said she has been praying to learn about the bible and feels that God has answered her prayer when she met Mark and me. It's so awesome to be able to share the truth with these people - they are really sighing and crying about the problems in the world - not just because it effects them personally but because they can see there is a bigger picture. I think sometimes in NZ that is the problem, we are so far away from everyone else and of course our country is beautiful so apart from the crime problem and now the economy - there is an attitude of I'm alright Jack. Let`s hope more take the opportunity soon to learn about what is going to happen in the future!
I will post some more pictures and a video about our trip soon - I have to tell you about the "Easy" hike we took and how Mark got a little bit of Butt Burn!!! Hehe!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well usually when you start reading a book - you don´t skip to the end but seeing as that is the most exciting part of our trip, no doubt you are wanting to know how we got on. So the trip was going exceptionally well as we were having the greatest time. We felt we had a glimpse of Jehovah´s promised paradise where we were staying. The only negative about the place was that it is very popular with the backpacking variety of people and you would think they would be health nuts with all their hiking but they all seemed to smoke like chimney´s. Too bad so sad! Anyway on Saturday morning, the day we were due to leave, we came to breakfast and heard the news that there had been a mudslide on the only road out so we would be staying a while longer. Yippee, we can stay a little longer in paradise, I thought, but I came down off that cloud real quick when we also heard that Michele and her Mum-in-law were pretty crook with a bug and that we would also have to find other accomadation for the night!

We did manage to find a place to lay our heads and it was nice but no Izcalyma (the 1st resort). We also thought we were in for a long night as there was no electricity - however that was rectified at around 6pm. As you will see in the video it had started pouring when we took a taxi down into the town - poor Mark was sitting on the back, so he got a little wet, of course he just smiled his way through it. Michele and Judy stumbled into bed, they didn´t really care where they were as long as they could lay flat, and the rest of us took a stroll around the metropolis (ah not!).

We were all geared up to walk over the slip - everyone kitted themselves out with new gumboots from the one shop that carried them - but in the end the van we were in managed to get through - talk about anticlimax eh! It seemed an excruciating long ride home too - I don´t think I would like to live in that place as the roads are terrible (one positive is that they are working on them so by the time Ann and Catherine come to see us - they may be good enough for us to take another visit to paradise).

I am rethinking this no internet in the house thing as when I walked down to the cabinas close to our house yesterday to post - they were not working, so sorry about not letting you know sooner. Hope you weren´t too worried about us!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Watch this space for a travel story and a half! We have only a minute to be on the internet but I wanted to let you know we are safe and sound. We have been stranded in a little village by a mud slide! Would not be so bad cause this area is very beautiful but we have to get Chad´s folks back to catch their plane home to America tomorrow. At this stage we are waiting till 10 am as there is a rumour that the mud will be dry enough for cars to pass over the top - the slide is 2 blocks long and 2 stories high, so we have our doubts. If it is impassable by car we will be walking over and catching a ride on the other side - will let you know tomorrow how we fare. Until then Hasta luego!!