Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Well here we are in all our glory...

It's cute that the pioneers in the Quechua group dressed for the occasion - although Michele wasn't that keen.
3 days to go and while it will be sad when it finishes - my brain sure could use a good rest!

For Kami - Pictures of the Drama

Its up to you to figure out who the actors are!







 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments and emails. Third day in and whew - it is hard work! Concentrating all day on the Spanish then coming home and studying for the next day - as I say - WHEW! The first day I decided to write all my notes in English - but that didn't really work so now I am doing everything in Spanish and it is a lot easier to keep on track. Michele was picked to do a demonstration today and I seized the opportunity to be her householder as I can understand her Spanish. And of course Michele was happy because she knew that I would not be able to throw her any curve balls. So we have done our part - we should be let off the hook for any future role plays!
Amanda is being so good to us - instead of having parties all day while we are out she is looking after us by cooking and doing the dishes - we'll keep her on.
So just wanted to let you know how we are getting on - so far even with the hard work - we are really enjoying it - in fact it  really is a privilege to be doing this course - I remember Ryan coming home after his, saying - "Mum you have to go pioneering so you can go to the school"! I now understand why he was so enthusiastic about it and so happy we took his advice!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just to prove I did go to the convention - here is a photo of me with one of our young friends, Natalia. I decided today though (Saturday) that I really better have a rest day. It was pretty hard sitting all day yesterday listening to spanish (I did understand a lot of it but when you are tired - it is very easy to zone out). We have 2 heavy weeks coming up so I am home for the day - it's so quiet here without the troops (oh and the construction workers). Amanda and I will go up tomorrow afternoon to watch the drama as there are quite a few members of our congregation involved in it - can't miss that!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hola World

It's been an interesting few weeks since we have been back. Mark and Amanda have been busy in service most days but I have been stuck at home a lot of the time because of illness. Then last week - while preparing to go out witnessing, I managed to do my back in. However now I think I am back on top of things but who knows what is round the corner (I'm trying to be positive here). 
We have had a couple of WT and PT meetings with the congregation divided and I have to say - I love that there is only around 80 people there. It is so nice to be able to actually talk to everyone - with the congo as a whole, there is sometimes over 200 people attending and it gets difficult even to say hello. Mark has gained more confidence with his spanish and took the WT the other night, the best I have ever heard him. Speaking of gaining more confidence with spanish - it is so nice to be able to hold conversations with my sisters. I may not understand everything they say but I at least don't feel so lost any more. I am also able to make friends with the kids better - being able to ask them questions they actually understand and can reply to is a great help. Most of the kids are so adorable - and you know me with kids - I can't help but love them.
We are looking forward to our convention this weekend (spanish one) and also our big news is - right after the convention we start pioneer school!! We have decided that we may not ever get a chance to do it in english so are going for it. The great thing is Chad and Michele are also going (their 2nd time) and Mark and Becky McLesky as well so I am sure if we get completely lost - they will give us a helping hand. So we will be even more busy for a little while but "having plenty to do in the work of the Lord" is what it's all about eh?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To the ends of the Earth...






Friday was a vacation so the whole group went for a drive to find some Chinese people. Left at 8, 12 hours later we got home good and tired. I have a feeling there are more adventures to come, maybe to the Jungle next???

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I see these goats walking through town and I feel sorry for them. If you look closely you'll see how uncomfortable it must be for them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not everyone has this in their front yard


One of the reasons we are looking for a new house is because of the construction going on outside our front door. They are making a tunnel to ease traffic and while it is quieter at night with no traffic going past - during the day it is very noisy with all their machinery. Not great when you are having to  be home, sick or wanting to rest up a bit!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kichwa Group Graduates!

TThe whole group in their traditional dress

I got to be the representative of C & M's gringo family - so proud of them


Graduation hat
Map of Ideas - everyone worked hard on their projects
Aren't they cute!
We got some good ideas to adapt to our spanish lessons


Mark serving the lunch yesterday



So the Kichwa course has ended and now they are all on their own - I am sure they will all do well. We were privileged to go along the last two days and feed them lunch so we got to know some of the others on the course, which was nice. It has been very full on for Chad and Michele and we haven't seen them much although I think it is going to be that way from now on as we are of course in different congregations. Our house maybe should be called a half-way house for other language learners. Anybody else want to join us?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frustration

Some of you may remember I have had a problem in the past with the identification card we are required to have here. (Called a Censo). Well things haven't changed in 2 years cause we have just had the most frustrating day ever!
This kind of looks like me today
When we renewed our visas last year - we tried to renew the censo at the same time which they told us we couldn't do. Today they tell us that Mark (not me) has a $200 fine because it has expired, so go to the  bank and pay it. I asked for the account number but he said just go to the bank. Off we go to the bank - wait in line for 1/2 and hour then get told we need the account number!!! Grrrr! So back we go to the censo office (now don't forget these places are not close together, either a bus or taxi ride needed). We get back there and of course the place is closed for siesta and not open again till three. That's ok we'll pop down to the cafe and have a coffee while we wait. 
Whatever Trevor - no coffee available!!! 
Anyway that's a side point - finally back to the office and after another long wait we ask politely for the account number. The same guy as we had this morning says to us "we need to see your passport" (of course by this time we only have the copy of his passport with us). Without blowing my stack which I feel I have every right to do - I said "why didn't you give us the number this morning?" but he just looked at me blankly and said "we need to see your passport". In other words there is nothing you can do - I am not going to give you an account number to put money into just because I have the power to do and say whatever I like! So tomorrow morning we have to start the whole process again and it is such a waste of time! As far as I can see it is a completely pointless piece of paper too but what can you do - it is the law to have one.
So my advice to anyone thinking of needgreating in another country - you have to be prepared for days like this - nothing will ever go the way you think it should go. A brother just reminded me of this fact which is so true: "Satan cant' touch you spiritually.  The only way he can touch you is through his bureaucracy. When you are serving in a foreign land with all the benefits of bible studies coming out your ears etc - he has to use other means to cause frustration and irritation." Well let me tell you - Satan ain't gonna beat me today!
To prove my point I have just been out witnessing with the evening group  - life is all sunshine and flowers again!

UPDATE: 
We are now legal and guess what - after 4 hours in and out of the office - we ended up not paying a fine! We don't really know what happened but we had resorted to calling Becky McLesky for some translation help and his attitude changed when he talked to her (obviously she is a real sweet talker). One new problem that no one else seems to have encountered  though - we had to go away and get photos, frontal and profile, so we will have to let everyone else going for their censo that it is now a requirement. It was quite a moment when he finally started doing the paperwork and said - "give me your photos"- um sorry bud, we don't have any!
So as you can imagine it was an extremely satisfying moment to be each handed our cards - we thought we really had earned the yummy lunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate!
Maybe now we can concentrate on what we are here for!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Convention in a nutshell

 Ok - without giving too much away - the convention was just great and we enjoyed every minute of it. It really reinforced why we have sold out house and come to serve where the need is great and given us greater impetus to carry on. What a wonderful organization we belong to - we met so many different nationalities - in the assembly hall and out of it - yes Aaron - we wore our badges and it did open up some lovely experiences for us. To relate one  -last night when we walked down to the Malecon (waterfront) for a fish dinner - there were some brothers there. Naturally they came over to say Hi - turns out they are in the Chinese group and of course Amanda was able to speak to them - you should have seen the looks on their faces when this little white girl started speaking - I was so proud of her. It's funny to think how we can identify and be friends immediately with our brothers all over the world - can't quite imagine a group of Catholics, Anglicans or Baptists going up  to strangers and getting the same reception! (Amanda has a photo of this group - hope she puts it on for you to see)
Something real special about the English convention is that here in Ecuador there is so many needgreaters like us and the happy spirit was infectious. on all 3 days. In one of the talks the Brother asked all those in the audience, who were in some form of full time service to raise their hands - nearly brought tears to my eyes to see over 75% of the audience put their hands up (out of around 900 people). No wonder everyone is so happy! If anyone is thinking of doing something like this - I have said it before and no doubt will say it again - get yourselves over here - you will never regret it!
So this year it was very very hot and I couldn't get myself cool enough to take many photos - had to take the customary kiwi photo though and have included on or two others you may find interesting.

Customary Kiwi Photo - a little down on the previous two years. Come on Kiwi's we need more of you here!
3 of the familia Scarborough - I am sure I haven't given anything away here with the book - you can't tell what it's about!
The Scarboroughs you may remember came  to Cuenca from Georgia - they now serve on the coast
Really didn't eat this - but if I was braver I might have(yep don't think I will ever be that brave). Kid on the bus selling "Choclo con queso" ( maize and cheese)
But I did get to enjoy a yummy mango swirl pina colada (obviously one was enough)
Chad shows how much he enjoyed his food at Tony Roma's
Amanda got to enjoy riding in the back of a truck in peak traffic - it's quite fun really except for all the exhaust fumes - our lungs will never be quite the same!
Quite a few are now learning Quichwa - this young sister is dressed in Native Otavalan Clothes (she was one of many)
Pick a random girl at the bus station and make her point at my son's name - hehe (actually she's not random - this is Megan, one of two chica's who are serving in our congo - from Canada)