Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're not snowed in - we're couped in!

Today we are housebound as the country is under a state of emergency due to the police going on strike. Obviously there is a lot happening in the main cities - Quito and Guayaquil with looters having a field day due to absence of police, but here in Cuenca the streets are prettty quiet so far. We have been told to stay at home so that is just what we are doing. Oh except Mark has gone with Damaris to collect some clothes for her to stay with us tonight but they will be back soon. Our field service group and telephone witnessing has been cancelled for tonight and we will just have to wait to see what tomorrow brings. But for now folks - be assured when you see the news about Ecuador that we are safe and well. I will keep you informed as to how things go.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good news

Well we have found a house and signed up for it so that is a worry off my mind. Especially as our son is coming to visit with 2 friends in December, so there just would not have been space in our cosy little apartment. The new place has 5 bedrooms , a study, separate dining room, 3 bathrooms and an extra toilet and all for 105 more dollars per month! The landlord tried to be a little sharky though because first off his price was $320 per month (when talking to our agent, Fernando) but when he saw our faces (being gringo) he hiked the price to $350! After some negociation we finally settled on $330 - as I said it is just $105 more per month so that is not too bad. Not really looking forward to the next part - moving!! Such a pain but hey at least we don't have all the junk here that we had back in NZ!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oriente!




Having a cook up next to the river



We have the Chinese Convention coming up this weekend, so we took it as a good opportunity to go to the Oriente to invite the Chinese in some smaller cities. Half the group went to Loja and Zamora, but Damaris and I went with Jenny to stay with her Grandparents (about 6 hours away from Cuenca). We visited Sucua and Maccas and had some good success.
The next day we went to a Cacao plantation with Jenny's family - a real highlight. I think I've found my dream job because this is where CHOCOLATE comes from. When you open the pod, the beans are covered in slimy white flesh which you can suck on (it tastes kind of tangy, sweet and delicious)
So you put the beans in a bucket and let it ferment, then dry the seeds. These particular beans go to Germany to make organic chocolate. Heres a short video of the process.


1st official meeting in Mendez
video

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yay for Monday's

Well today was the first day out for me in 4 days and I have to tell you that, it's very hard to be cooped up that long and not go stir crazy! Jehovah always knows what you need cause he gave me such a boost this morning. I went to see a call first thing before hitting the territory and she invited us inside. We were able to start considering chapter 11 and before long her husband came and sat down too. After and hour we wrapped it up and he said he really enjoyed it and to make sure I came back next Monday as it was his only free day! Oh you better believe I will go back Monday! We called on another RV after that and I was able to study some more with her, when we left she said - when you come back next time please remember to bring me  the latest Watchtower and Awake magazines - so I was pretty pleased with that too. But what really gave me a lift was that my partner said to me - "Thank you for taking me on those RV's - I have learned so much from you about starting studies!" That kind of comment means to me that we are no longer a burden to those whom we are sent out with and we are actually helping our brothers and sisters too.
Anyway it seems Monday morning is going to be extremely busy for me as when we finally got to the territory, Mark said he had found a very interested lady for me who would like to study too - Mondays at 10am. Que Bueno! (He also found a man for him to visit next week so it's not all about me.
As you can see I am full of the joys of life today and with good reason. It is such a privilege to be part of this life saving work here - one morning out is all it takes to dispel the blues in this place.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cooking lesson: Temales!


video
STEP ONE:  Take some washed banana leaves and deal to them


 
STEP TWO: Cook up some interesting ingredients
 

 STEP THREE: Put everything into the aforementioned banana leaves
STEP FOUR: Into a pot to steam

STEP FIVE: Wait patiently
STEP SIX: Enjoy (while feeling a little guilty that your wife is home sick!)

 I was really looking forward to Saturday afternoon - we had been invited to make Temales - but sadly I have had the dreaded South American Belly (known in NZ as Dehli Belly) and have not been able to leave the house for 3 days. While great for weight loss - not so great for the social life! Anyway Mark represented for us and he did a good job taking photos for me. The sisters must have had a laugh when  he turned up with 2 lbs of lamb instead of  the 2 lbs of peas they had asked for- I really don't know how I got those instructions so wrong - the words don't even sound alike!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yo no lo puedo creer!

(or in english - I cannot believe it!)

I have known for 3 weeks I have a talk next week and so have it all prepared - translated - checked and practiced (in other words - lots of time spent on it) only to find out today that I don't have the number 2 talk about being mild-tempered but have the number three talk about fearing Jehovah! Oh woe is me! (Good thing I had all that information about being mild-tempered eh?)
Speaking of talks - I am assigned to being a householder the week after my own talk and I notice the practice of making your more experienced householder (maybe in english - sure but I am pretty certain that I am not more experienced in speaking spanish than a native born Ecuadorian) prepare the talk is still done here. The sister came up to me the other night and even tried to give me the talk slip! I told her that I would only be able to HELP her do it - not prepare the whole thing. But that obviously didn't get through because at the group yesterday - she asked if I had finished it yet???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I think we're alone now

Chad and Michele pretend to be sad as they walk out the door  but we know they were really excited to see their family and friends. We will miss them while they are gone (6 long weeks) but I suppose we can share! Have fun guys!

Ah ha - proof! Just look at those smiles!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meet some special people

Jacob and Inga
We had the honour of having Amanda's CO and his wife around for lunch  yesterday and what an inspiring couple! They serve the language groups and congregations in all of Ecuador! 7 Different languages in total - not that they know 7  different languages but are well on their way with chinese, english and spanish! Although they are new on the circuit- they told us of some of the things they can expect. One of them I have to tell you about...
In the far north there are still tribes that don't wear any clothes. Well the brothers arranged for the women of one of the tribes to recieve blouses to wear to the meetings. Can you imagine the surprise when they did indeed turn up wearing the blouses but with certain changes. I mean how could they feed their babies wearing shirts...well they just cut holes in them  so that the necessary feeding areas are free as a breeze! I can only imagine the poor brother giving the talk - Mark said he probably kept his eyes on the clock on the back wall - hope he wasn't counciled later on for no audience contact!
So we are really looking forward to Jacob and Inga's next visit - I bet they will have many more hilarious stories to tell.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And a great time was had by all...

...but probably mostly by me! 
Mark, Chad and Michele have been helping the Ochoa family build a Garage on their property so they have been very busy all week while Amanda and I have been out in service. It seems to me that we have not been in a routine since at least 6 weeks before we left New Zealand so this week has been awesome - being able to get some sort of normal life going. I have just come home from climbing the mountains and although it makes me very tired (need my siesta) I am extremely satisfied with everything. I placed 2 mags and a book this morning, did 2 doorstep studies with calls and made arrangements to take back 2 bibles to different people - and the best part about it - my partner did not have to help me out at all with my presentations. 2 weeks of intense spanish training in pioneer school must have paid off!
Anyway off to grab forty winks now - hasta luego!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Announcement!

One of the Chinese students gave her first talk tonight...in front of the C.O. and wife! We are all super excited! She did a great job, and I asked her how she felt afterwards - she said she was so happy. Everyone else on the school did really well too. Looking forward to the next one!

It's going to take a long time...

... we laughed the other day when we looked out the window to see this chappy hiffing dirt into the big hole - it seems to us that he was trying to fill it in by hand!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Do we look like we are sad it is all over?

Well it's over  and we survived! It was a very intensive 2 weeks - not only all the study involved but also listening and (trying) to talk Spanish for the whole time - it was like a spanish class! 
Marco y Mayra - he was the 2nd intructor

C.O. - Manuel y Ester (from Spain)
So now we can get back to normal - but then hey what is normal around here. Mark is giving a talk tonight in Amanda's congregation so that should be interesting. He says he's ready but I am not too sure - it remains to be seen.

Monday is the official start of our new congregation so we are excited for that to get underway. It will no doubt mean lots of work for Mark but that's what we are here for. Let the games begin...

For all those worried about our family and friends in NZ after the big quake - reports from home (our family mostly live in the North Island and the quake was in the South Island) say that everyone is fine and not too much damage done to their houses. I was extremely pleased to hear that too.

PS back home from the meeting and Mark did an awesome job - one of the sisters came and told me she was impressed that he read the scriptures with the right emphasis etc. So I really shouldn't have worried!