Friday, May 29, 2009

For Amanda and Tania

Amanda and Tania
My baby (oops I mean my very grown up daughter) is heading off to Taiwan with her friend Tania, on the 11th of June. They are going for 5 & 1/2 months to further their learning the Chinese language with the view to aiding Chinese people in NZ to hear the truth. I am so glad we came here first as no doubt if I had not experienced serving in a foreign land, I would be terrified of them going. However now I know firsthand that wherever you go in this world, there will always be the loving brotherhood of Jehovah's organization and you will be just fine.
Anyway I hear Aaron is putting on a party for you tonight (NZ time) and no doubt you will have a blast. Sorry we couldn't be with you to dance the night away but here is a little something from us to send you on your way......Big kisses from Mum and Dad, Amanda and Big Hugs from your surrogate Mum and Dad, Tania!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thinking about you in NZ

I hear you have had some bad weather lately and I just thought you might like to think of us - here we are at 5pm last Monday enjoying a delicious ice cream and a sit in the park. The weather here is changeable as I have told you many times. Today while I was doing the grocery shop - the thermometer said it was 24 degrees. Of course it has rained off and on throughout the day but at least it is still warm. So hope I haven't rubbed it in your noses too much NZers - keep warm won't you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's about time...

It's about time I told you what's going on in our ministry here:

To begin with I have to tell you that living with 2 pioneering "dynamos" (Michele will hate me for saying that, but it is true) is a great encouragement. Chad and Michele's commitment to finding deserving ones and keeping them motivated is amazing. I really enjoy going with Michele on her studies because I learn alot. Having said that I have been praying that I could find someone myself, but I wasn't sure if I was totally ready to go it alone. Well this morning I worked with Fanny, a lovely pioneer sister but a little simple and when I went with her to her return visit, I kind of had to take over to start the study off for her. It felt good to be able to do it all without too much hiccup. Then when we made it back to the group (3/4 of an hours walk back, through mud and up lots of hills), we found they had finished the territory. Thankfully I was feeling very motivated and as we were passing a house that I recalled Bekky M had placed a book at (she is not in our congo, so I wasn't stealing her call) Mark and I called in. The girl is very interested and so we started a study right there and then with her. A good morning all round, even though I am now exhausted from all the walking.

There is good things happening in the English group as well. The brothers witness to anyone that looks like they speak the lingo - usually they are tourists of course and not here for long. However at the last English meeting a couple from America accepted the invitation to attend. She had been praying to understand the bible. Of course they received the BT book and when someone said to her that she could ask the witnesses when they next called at her door, she said she had never been contacted before as her house is very difficult to find. How cool that while on vacation here in Ecuador, Jehovah made it possible for her to find the truth. At the same meeting there was a family from Pakistan although they got an urgent phone call that meant they could not stay.

Someone that has been on my mind is Nery (our neighbor from the old apartment). Because I had been sick we haven't caught up with her for awhile but this afternoon my conscience would not let up any longer so we trudged over to see her. She was so excited to see us and did she have some hard questions for us to answer. One thing for sure is when you don't have a spanish speaker with you it really makes you work hard. But we answered her questions about the soul and also the real doozy that she threw at us - "what do I do about the bad spirits that are affecting my sleep?". Hopefully we gave her some good advice but the best thing was that thankfully I remembered the article in the May mags about such things.

We have great excitment happening soon with the remodelation of our Salon del Reino starting the the 11th of June. We will be very busy for 4 to 6 weeks. I will fill you in on that soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A smile on my dial again

Well what a good day today is. As you know I have not been well for a couple of weeks and when that happens a strange phenomenon occurs ( not just with me but with lots of other needgreaters I have spoken to) - you get extremely homesick! I don't know whether it is because you want to be surrounded by your loved ones or what but you just get to be wondering why on earth you are doing this to yourself. So I get better from my flu on Wednesday but poor Mark had a terrible night with tooth pain so off we had to go to the dentist. He ended up having to be sent to an oral surgeon for a root canal - ouch! Even more ouch is he got through the whole thing without anesetic! (We now know you have to actually ask for the stuff). Thursday came around and to make my week even better - I woke up with a migraine. So by now I am really wanting to get on the next plane out of here!
Finally though today I seem to be over everything and back on deck. It only takes one morning out in the field to be thankful again that we have this opportunity. We were due up in the mountains for Marks study at 7.30 am and usually it is quite cool that time of the morning but today the sun was shining (and has been all day) so as I have said before - you can't beat Cuenca on a good day, it really is beautiful. Life is good again!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another strange tradition here during May is early morning processions carrying candles and someone singing a mournful hymn. May is the month dedicated to Mary and twice now we have heard them pass by our house at about 5 am (what is it with these people and singing early in the morning?). The first procession that went past was with about 20 or so people but today I think there were only about 3 in total (I could be mistaken as I had been woken up of course from a very deep sleep). Unfortunately I could not find any information about this crazy tradition but it is definately something to do with Mary worship.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swine Flu Song

So I'm still feeling lousy and thinking maybe.... then I watched this video and so how could I blame the cute little piggy. Very cool song and video (clever chap who put it together is all I can say) so worth a look and hey even the NZ news made the cut.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Really it's Mothers Day Again???

I found this piece about the strange custom they have on Mothers Day here:

At around 9pm groups of men convene, some with pick-up trucks packed in with microphones and amplification, others equipped only with their walking shoes and guitars strapped on their backs. After milling around for
a while, the night's journey begins. The first mother to be surprised is usually the one whose son has lent his car or equipment. The group pulls up to the house as quietly as possible, hooks up the instruments and mics, and starts strumming the first set of tear-jerking chords. Around mid-song, the mother usually comes out of the house, accompanied by a daughter, tears in their eyes. The son gives a short and sweet Mother's Day dedication, then continues on with the second song. At this point shot glasses are brought out from the house and filled with canelazo , a warm and potent traditional Ecuadorian drink.Now, with a quick burn in the throat and the blood a bit more alive, the group of men play a song or two more, then move on to the next mother. Since some of the men may live in the country-side, the drive or hike might take up to a half hour. Arriving at their destination, out come the instruments, with a repeat of the same Mother's Day songs, an emotional mother, and more alcohol. By this time it has reached midnight but there are at least three more stops to make. For the next stops, the serenaders, fired-up by drink, are notably more confident in their singing and off-chords are barely noticed. As the night gives way to the wee hours of dawn on Mother's Day, mother-themed songs can be heard echoing from the nearby hillsides of the Ecuadorian Andes. Unsuspecting mothers are awakened with the hear throbbing music, light switches flick on and matches light stovetops to prepare the steaming canelazo. With drunken hugs and warm wishes, sons reaffirm their love and appreciation for their mothers with the picked out tunes of guitars and bellowing voices. The last of the mothers are awakened at around 6am, just in time to prepare Mother's Day breakfast. By this time the serenaders are exhausted and hungry, but are able to squeeze out the last few songs of love before they collapse, ready to sleep. Although many mothers spend the eve of Mother's Day alone with their children while their husbands serenade the town, they are always filled with joy to wake to the rustling sounds outside their houses and the first few notes of a sweet serenade.
All I can say is these poor women who work like dogs all year round till they are bent over and supposedly this is the one day they show them any kind of respect yet what do they do??? Wake them up at an unearthly hour with stupid serenading and then expect them to cook them breakfast! The blokes in our area seem to only start the singing at 3am so with that and the flu I have - I am one grumpy individual today!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Drama, Drama, Drama

The BaƱos Performing Arts Group
Last Sunday night the congo put on a "despedida" (farewell) for the ones leaving (Barbara included, who went home to California on Monday) and the young ones performed a Drama about Enoch. They had been practicing for months because they had wanted to perform it for Chad and Michele when they returned at the end of last year. Things had happened that had meant the party was always cancelled, i.e Joanna died, one of the pioneers had a car accident - etc, so on Sunday they were finally able to get dressed up and do their stuff. They did very well and it was fun to watch. Then of course the dancing started and Mark and I were a hit with the under 5's - they exhausted us though, we must be getting old.
Today has been a bad day as I have picked up a flu (no I don't need to go rushing out to buy oinkment). Stayed home and so far have watched 4 movies - how depressing. So lets hope tomorrow is a better day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the Answer Is...

Catherine guessed correctly - we finally tried guinea pig or as it is known as here - cuy. I am afraid I just couldn't get past the fact that back home they are pets (or that they look like rats on a stick while cooking). The flavor itself was quite good but I didn't really like the texture either. Oh well at least I can say I ate it!
The family that invited us are dirt poor and as you will see in the video - they don't have much. They are so kind though and very clean even though they don't have two pennies to rub together. We feel privileged to have been invited.
The two girls featuring on this video are Kami and Sara, visiting from America. We met Kami last year as she was visiting C & M when we first arrived so it is like seeing an old friend. She serves in a sign language congregation back in California so has some stories to tell too. It is very cool to meet all these different ones - I am talking up NZ so they may get the bug to visit us over there sometime and then you can meet them too!