Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's Off To the Convention we go
With a Notebook and a Pen
And Only Speaking English Again

Catchca next week!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It was a beautiful dream but...

The house we were looking at to rent which was gorgeous - with 5 bedrooms, office, 2 extra living spaces and only just a few minutes walk from the KH - has now been sold!
 Mark and Chad went to see the landlord on Monday night and we were told he really wanted to rent the house to us - he just had to run the fact that Mark only had a copy of  his passport by his lawyer for the contract. Chad rings this morning to be told the guy had accepted an offer to sell the house! WHATEVER!
Oh well it was a bit of a sacrifice to be having to live in a mansion! I mean we are used to living in a shed and Chad and Michele a trailer!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Morning

1st time for Amanda and I preaching together in our territory

Amanda looks back at some of the hills we climbed
This morning just Amanda and I went out - she didn't have Chinese witnessing today so I got to have her company  We were up in the hills and my lungs are still not used to the altitude so had to come home a little early because I was feeling really dizzy. We didn't get to talk to many people - the first 20 houses were part of an apartment block and we had to use the intercom - pretty hard to get people to come down to the gate and even the ones that said they would, didn't show! We talked to a couple of Senoras  who were more interested in finding out where we were from but at least we were able to converse with them ( a year ago I would have floundered a lot more - progress!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I've finally got some pictures to share with everyone. This was our group on Friday, give or take a few. Had two Japanese sisters visiting. Four of us went to Azogues about 40 mins away on Bus, and so the adventures begin.
Visited four or five Chinese shops in that area. Walked up and down hills for no reason whatsoever - thats all part of the fun. As we were looking for some lunch a lady stops and says "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses? Can I have some of your magazines I really like reading them..." apparently its quite common here.
It was all good fun so I pulled out the Cadbury Chocolate just to make sure they take me next time!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First day in Service

Today we finally got out in service. Amanda has been rocking it with her Chinese Group but we have had lots of things to take care of so we have not been able to go out before now. What a great morning we had too - I got through my presentation twice - I was using the 3 reasons we have problems in the world (otherwise known in NZ as the Jack presentation) and have an appointment on Saturday morning to return and help the lady understand why God has not put an end to the suffering yet. Then Mark and I went and found Flora and Lucia who we have studied with in the past. We had handed them on but with one thing and another both had not studied for awhile. Flora - I am not sure about her, she said she would continue but I just got the feeling something was going on with her however Lucia was very happy to make a time and date for next week. So happy days - we are definitely back - my feet sure are telling me we are too - I measured how far we walked this morning and it was 3.3 k's - not really very much but enough to make my feet hurt!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fiesta de Bienvenida y Despedida

Miss Piggy makes her way to the Picnic

Bus ride - those at the back stood all the way there, including Amanda and Mark

Mark surveys the beautiful countryside

Anna took a shine to Amanda

Amanda makes friends with some of the local sisters
Of course I had to get them to do a crazy shot
Ok well where should I start regarding the picnic? I have to say when they get organized - they get organized!What an amazing job they did getting the whole congregation transported, fed and entertained!
Amanda in the food queue

Long long windy road on which we walked (why?-I do not know)

The walk took it out of Mark

Mateo and friend - chow down

mmm - Miss Piggy was delicious
We were told to be at leaving point by 8a.m which of course we were but the bus didn't actually leave until quarter to nine - understandable with the amount of people involved. There was the bus - 2 smaller vans and then umpteen dozen cars. The trip was about 2 hours long, stunning countryside, then we had to find the place (which only took about 3 stops) .Then after a bit of milling around we were served with lunch - pork, rice, potatoes, mote (old corn), and masses of salad - oh that pork is sooooo good! After dancing the afternoon away (a video is attached of Amanda's induction to the much  loved  "Moscow" song) we were then served up the next delicacy - sorry to say it wasn't my cup of tea at all.
       Now doesn't this look delicious? Vegetarian sausages made with Miss Piggy's intestines!                                                             

After a lovely day - we then piled into the bus to come home - not quite sure how the 2 hour trip became a 4 hour trip but we did make it home finally at 9.30 albeit very very tired and grumpy. Mark had a 6 year old fall asleep on him, me an 8 year old and poor Amanda an 11 year old! Definitely not easy holding a sleeping child while going round those scary corners! Anyway as I say it was nice to be with all the lovely brothers and sisters again - I am pretty much hugged up from all the hello's - even the lady at the laundromat was happy to see us and gave us the biggest welcome! It's so good to be back!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just an update on Mum's chinese, we went back to the same shop today because the lady is one of the Bible Students that comes to the meetings. Shes so cute!
Sorry I haven't taken many pictures yet because I've been too shy. Soon I promise.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday night and all is well

We have been very busy the last few days and now it's Friday night and we are exhausted. Hopefully tomorrow though we will be able to get back out in service - it seems a long time since I have been witnessing.
 Have caught up with a few of the friends but tomorrow is our meeting so we will no doubt be "spanished-out" by the end of the day. I forgot how difficult it is to be immersed in the language but thankfully I think my brain has had a good long rest and will be able to get back quickly to where we were before we left. Hey I even had a go at chinese today - well actually I just said my name was Mrs James to a chinese lady in a shop but she understood me (or maybe she just pretended). 
Chad and Michele are out at their meeting - some of you may not know they are now going to a Quichan (native language) congregation. Amanda is going to meet with her Chinese group tomorrow for service and she has her meeting Saturday night like us. Aren't we a multi-lingual household - Chinese, Quichan, Spanish, English and Kiwi - fantastic stuff!
I  should have some new photos soon - we are going with the congregation somewhere on Sunday by bus. They are having an all day breakup party for the congo (it is splitting very soon) and word is they are combining it with our welcome back. Should be fun - but I better get some sleep to be ready for it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mateo and Pablo with their welcome home sign.
So we arrived safely as you know but not without some hiccups. We came through the immigration in Guayaquil and once again were the last out. We realized after getting our passports stamped that Amandas did not have the correct stamp (she needed it to say she had 2 years). The guy had been distracted by some dodgy characters in the next booth so I guess it was understandable. Anyway we went back in to get it changed but by then they were going home so the chappy wrote her details down and promised to put it in the computer. Yeah right as the Tui add in NZ says!
Anyway that meant the next day (after a long hungry night - we had arrived too late to get any food, thankfully we had some licorice to get us by) after going to the Bethel to get Amandas visa sorted, we would have to go to the immigration dept. When we saw the queue of 20 odd people I thought "oh blow this - I'm playing the ignorant gringo card" and just went up to the counter. Upshot is we were there only about 20 minutes so I like that card!
Then Hma Mena helped us find our way to a transport company which for $80 took us and our copious baggage up to Cuenca. It was a bit of a hairy trip as there was times when the driver had hardly any visibility and also very poor judgment as to when to pass other vehicles. Oh well we made it!

Chad and Michele had made us a delicious lunch/dinner and the Ochoas were here to welcome us, so it was nice. Even nicer to fall into bed though!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just wanted to let everyone know - we have finally made it to Cuenca. NZ time 9.30 Thursday morning. To those of you who will be waiting to know how we are -I will call as soon as I get back online - just thought this might be the quickest way to let you know we are OK. Missing you all already!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chilling in Chile

Hey just to let everybody know on both sides of the pacific that we are fine and well. We are in a nice hotel in Santiago and we had a good sleep. Just going to breakfast so this has to be quick but I have to tell you about when we were coming through the security at NZ. Of course our carryone bags are way over weight and they weighed them. Well after some to do we we going to have to check one bag but rearrange the others which we did in front of the lady. She saw our books and said are you what they say you are. She is a sister from the samoan congo and said that she would not dear make us pay for Jehovahs books. Very cool eh.

So at the Chilean airport we had a little bit of confusion: we had to pick up vouchers for the hotel so stood in line  but then someone from Lan came and took us after about a half hour wait. We had to go through immigration so he told us to meet him on the other side. Well of course by that time another plane had arrived so we had another long wait. When we finally got to the counter the woman asked us why we were there so late as our plane had arrived a long time ago! I wanted to say to her that they really should have more than one person processing a plane load of people! Anyway we get out the door and are accosted by hundreds of taxi drivers. We couldn´t find our guy so we were a bit concerned they had left without us. These two taxi guys spoke a little english so they were trying to get us to go with them. They were being very helpful but when we finally found  a Lan office they wanted payemtn for their help. I didn´t have anything much and  as we are not from a nation of tippers, I wasn´t willing to give up my precious Pesos to them. We never asked for their help so I don´t feel so bad. We finally arrived at our hotel and after a quick dinner - crashed for the night.

Anyway we need to get going to the airport again - so hasta luego!

Ruben if you read this - I am so sorry we didnot have time to contact you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Best laid plans ...

... are apt to go astray. Last night we were getting ready for our final night sleep - thinking that it would be all go in the morning as our shuttle-bus was arriving at 10.45 when we get a call from the airline to say that our flight would be delayed. Of course that has given us more time this morning but now we will not get our connecting flight in Chile so we will have to stay overnight there. And of course that puts our plans to be picked up in Guayaquil. Oh the joys... Anyway see you on the other side. Hasta Pronto!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Par-tay with Pioneer type People

We were treated to a lovely night with those who we have gotten to know so much more over the last seven months. I made them a cake (if you can't read it - it says "the harvest is great and the workers are .... pretty great too) to show our appreciation of their support. They are a lovely bunch and it is not hard to see they are having a lot of fun in what they do. So much interest now here in Tauranga - everyone is having great experiences in the field. It has been lovely seeing that happen here in our home town.

So long you crazy lot - keep up the good work!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

So over farm life!

For the second Sunday in a row we have had to jump out of bed early to go chase cows! The one morning we can get a bit of sleep in and the little brats must know Farmer James is not watching so they get themselves into trouble! Last week they got into the neighbors which was a bit of a disaster as they are Rose Growers - oops! Anyway only one Sunday left here after today so it won't be our problem for much longer