Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adventure time!

Brendon took me on one of his studies.... It was up in a small village, about an hours walk (hike) from Mendez. I thought it would be best to document the event with photos.

Oh and soory for the bad quality video - blogger would only let me upload a certain size


Ok so im being a bit of a blog hog here....

I just went to Mendez in the Jungle to visit my amigo from NZ, Brendon Macdonald. It was really cool to visit him there. In this group there are 12 Publishers, but 20 odd people regular attend the meetings. We basically just went field service the whole time. The Group is really nice - we went to 2 families houses for lunch - more on that later.


The View from Brendons Pad
Brendon is a bit of a icon in the town - he is pretty much the only gringo in town.... Cant walk anywhere without people yelling out "hey mister!" and taxi drivers yelling out as they go past "Brendon Macdonalds!"

One of the random people that just have to talk to Brendon every time they see him.
Anyway - the field service was really cool - im going to post another one later about a jungle adventure. But in town we were able to have some success - in fact I started a bible study, with a man that was asking questions like "how do we know this is not a lie, but the truth?" "When is the kingdom coming?" and " we are sinners - this is not possible." We ended up doing only 3 paragraphs - as I had said at the beginning we would only be 5 minutes, we had taken 15 minutes already, so needed to gap it. Wanted to leave him hungering! So the brother I was with, hopefully will have good success when he visits him.

Some weird fruit that looks like small balloons.
One of the biggest adventures we had was getting to and from one familys house for lunch. The house is about 10 or so Km's out of town. The night before the brother had said - "just hickhike out and back" Both me and brendon had never done this before - so were a bit apprehensive. But after one of Brendon's studys, we embarrassingly stuck out our thumbs. 

To our surprise - we were picked up by the first car! we didnt even wait 1 minute! A man was being taken to the next town by his lawyer friend. He was drinking a large Pilsiner beer - but fortunately, the lawyer was driving. The man said for us only to speak english as he wanted to practice. - he was a bit rough around the edges!

So we got there safe and sound, and had a lovely lunch with our brothers and sister. - then we had to make the trip back. out came the thumbs again as we walked - but noone picked us up! So we carried on walking, and walking, and walking.

2 hours down the hill we sat down a spell - but noone was keen to pick up a couple of Gringos. But lo and behold, finally a car stopped for us! Who should it be? the same guys from before - we are instant amigos! So happy! But once we get in, something is different - Mr Rough-around-the-edges that had the beer before is now driving. "ohoh" we thought "hopefully he is sober now" But they need gas - so we are coasting down the hills to save on petrol - not really a safe thing to do! but we finally get to the bottom and find a gas station and they fill the car, and also top up on...... BEER. So the guy starts driving AND drinking at the same time! Needless to say we gave them both a wittness before we were deposited in Mendez once again, safe and sound.

Anyway chow for now


Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Experience

Posting again so soon, as I'm off to Secua to visit Brendon from NZ for the week, and had to share the mornings events while its all still fresh. I got taught a good lesson from Jehovah.

This morning there were very few out - Abrahan, a young Ecuadorian Brother, Jill a Canadian sister who is in our congregation with her husband and kids, and Dad and I. So I ended up working with Jill for the morning.

It all started very depressing - no one was home, and to top it off it was drizziling (bear in mind I had been soaked through twice on the weekend - so rain isnt my favorite right now) So when we rounded the corner on to the busy and bustling Avenida de las Americas (pretty much the main road) I said to Jill "this morning is so terrible, with all the not at homes, the rain - and I really dont like wittnesing on Avenidas Americas - there is so much noise, and all the people are busy trying to run the shops." - How wrong I was about to be proved.

First we went into a small shop, and they were happy to listen. they turned down the radio, and we had a small discussion on the bible.

As we exited, we were approached by a man who had just gotten out of his car. He asked where we were from, and If we were wittneses, and what languages we spoke. After answering these, he explained that his grandmother is a witness on the coast, and that him and his wife used to live there too - and his wife studied the bible there, but had lost contact - and would like to resume. He also wanted her to learn a bit of english too. But he said that they lived close - and would just go and pick her up and bring her to us, if we waited 20 minutes. - So we carried on with the territory.

The next shop for me was a DVD tienda. Great - another shop. Lesson time. The guy in the shop was SUPER interested. We had a great chat - and studied 3 paragraphs. He invited me to come back next week, but come in the morning he said, as he wont be there in the afternoon. Wow - he had told me the best time to get him - no more unsuccessful not at home study. I was even able to do the personal interest thing and have a good conversation - its so good now the people at the doors dont look at me strangely when I speak my Spanish.

So now we had to rush back down the road to meet the man from before - as it had been 30 minutes - not too worried though - we are on Ecuador time, where 20 minutes it actually 30.....

We get there and he pulls up at around the same time - with his wife. So Jill starts making the arrangements - and during the conversation the question is raised "how many times should we study a week? once or twice?" Wow - who says that on the first visit? Also after saying wednesday night was not good cos we have meetings then, but she is welcome to come, she expressed interest in coming along. So now it seems Jill will have a study that she can also talk to in English - what a blessing!

So in the end - our cruddy day of rain, not at homes, busy street - was really fantastic. I have learned not to complain about the day, or be uncomfortable on busy streets - Great lesson!

Well - gotta catch the bus down to Secua now. Chao for now


Ps - Sorry for my improper grammer and spelling - english was never my strong point in school - maby i should have done spanish then!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Odd Field Experience...... Continued.....

Well its not really odd anymore, but its super cool.

We have had the circuit overseer this week, and the brother organizing the week scheduled me to work with the CO on the Friday afternoon...... hmmmm I didn't really have any calls or study's to take him to at that time. But fortunately on Wednesday, when I went to see "repeat my prayers man" study (Who by the way his name is Jaime, pronounced hi-mie) said he didn't have time for a study - but could I please come back on Friday afternoon. Perfect! I thought. So I explained to the CO that with my limited Spanish, it was hard for me to politely tell Jaime not to repeat me, without offending him. So the study went well - CO explained about prayers, and now we are all good.

I also invited him to come to the meeting on Sunday night (at 6pm) and to my surprise he said he would like to come - so I made the arrangement to come at 530.

Unfortunately, it was a little drizzly tonight - but I decided to walk anyway as it wasn't that bad. In fact, I got all the way there without getting a drop on me. But as I predicted, I had to wait for Jaime for about 25 minutes to get ready. We finally left his place at 5:55 - with a 5 min walk to the Hall. Guess what happened halfway there?

Yes - the heavens opened up - and IT POURED. So here is a tall lanky white guy, and a short older Ecuadorian - hoofing it to the hall. It must have looked so strange - especially to the Mormons we passed on the way! We got there soaked - just as the meeting started, and took some seats.

It was hard helping Jaime though the meeting as he insisted on finding the scriptures by himself, and it took ages - many times he found it - at the same time as the next scripture was stated! But afterward, he said he thoroughly enjoyed it - and asked for a song book, so he could practice for next week. He said he wants to come every Sunday. He loved meeting the brothers and sisters afterward too.

Well needless to say - we called a taxi for the way home - wasn't going to risk that again!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally someone who can play 500!!

Aaron was so happy to have some Aussies come to stay because he has been wanting to play 500 with someone other than us since he got here. Australia rocks!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chinese Group Update

 I almost forgot to share the good news! Last Thursday Yan Jiao Yu (on the left) gave her first talk, and she did a fabulous job too. She didn't even have to look at her notes. We are all very proud of her.

Heres a couple of pictures from the last few weeks. We met a girl travelling from Taiwan on the street the other day so invited her to have lunch with us before she left. She had never seen the magazines before. We seem to be bumping in to new Chinese speaking people on every street corner lately - some just visiting and some that are involved in a Dam project. Its great to have some fresh territory!
Below: Showing the Creation DVD in a restaurant while there were no customers.  

Progress Report

We might not be well traveled but our papers certainly are. Having to get Birth Certs etc legalized and sent over from New Zealand - we worried a bit that things wouldn't go too smoothly however thanks to my sister Ann getting them all organized (thanks again for that) they left New Zealand last Wednesday and arrived safe and sound on Tuesday. They went on a merry trip though - first to Australia, then to Los Angles, on to Cincinnati, Panama, Guayaquil and finally Cuenca. Amazing! Of course we had a little trouble finding the office to pick them up at - but we're kind of used to that.

It's been a crazy week - first of all we have our CO visit so meetings everynight. The lawyer working on getting the land value raised, said that the Municipilidad (Town Council) would not consider the application without a surveyor's report. "Great" we thought, "that is going to take forever". However, the lawyer contacted a guy and he came right over and arranged to go with Mark to view the land. Mark also went out with him yesterday to be his worker and we are told the report will be ready today - and all for only $200! That would never happen at home - you would wait for weeks and then add a couple more naughts to the price, or at least one.

We have also had visitors - a couple of lovely girls from Aussie. Enjoying their company very much - just wish we weren't rushing around like headless chickens!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I think we will fit right in....

Had a nice visit to check out our new place to live and we are glad to know they recommend swimming at our own risk at the beach!

 Time to get as many into the truck as possible to go on the 30 minute ride to the territory for that day.
Seems there were more little piggies in this village than people (and they were nicer than the people we found too - it's a village where the Priest has a lot of sway with the folks - some of the ones we did find at home were too scared to even tell us their names).
Now this is the life - well it will be!
Puerto Cayo sure is sleepy but really pretty!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Odd Field Experience

Yesterday I had a study scheduled for "Despues Almuerzos" - Which is after lunch.... who knows exactly what time that really is.....

Anyway, I decided to go around 2pm. When the time came I asked around who wanted to come with me - and no one could. Yikes! I didnt think I could quite manage a study on my own yet. But I went any way - and prayed that all would go well, secretly hoping the gentleman would not be home (like all the other 5 or 6 studies I have started so far).

I got there, and after knocking and waiting for 5 minutes, he came out and told me to wait. And so I did, for about another 5 minutes.... He then came out and ushered me inside. Gulp.

So then he went and got his bible and bible teach book and we sat down. Then he says - "ok lets start with prayer" And this is the STRANGE part. As I started - he repeated everything I said! It was so off putting - Especially since my Spanish is only in the basic stages... Later when I told Dad, he said this is actually quite normal.

So then we did the study ( 8 Paragraphs of chapter 3) had a bit of a chat about his situation, and I said it was time for me to leave. I just got ready to pray closed my eyes, and he taps me on the shoulder and says "Hey - Make sure you include my name and my family in this one!" - whoops - I must not have done a good job of the first one.....

All in all though - I left pretty happy to go to some other R/V's / doorstep studies - and guess what? Not at Home.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ecuador's got Talent!

Well I just had to share this.

Last night we were invited after the meeting for dinner with a family in our congregation. Mateo came up to me right after and excitedly said "Puedes traer su trompeta a nuestra casa?" (Can you bring your trumpet to our house?) I had to explain cos it was so late (930pm) it would not be a good idea to annoy the neighbors.

When we got to his house - He showed us his skills on the piano - and he is REAL good. Bear in mind Mateo is only 10 years old - but has been playing since he was 5. Check it out:

Awesome aye! It has to be also said - When he reads the bible for his assignments - he is an awesome reader. Blows my skills away!.....


He's probably going to give me a burst for posting this but I think it is a momentous occasion to do your first part on the meeting, in another language. He has a question and answer this week, that will be interesting with all the different tongue twisting names here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A faith strengthening week!

The view from one of the house sites

 Well it's been a very emotional rollercoaster this week and one that really has shown us the Jehovah is looking after us. First of all about the land - the Vendor of the last property called us back and said we could have the property for $11k - well ok we thought we would still  do it, so Mark went off to get the papers for it and took them to the lawyer. However we were not very happy that he was upping the price and were unsure it was all totally the right land to persue. Anyway the Brother who was helping us rang and arranged to come an pick us up again today because he had found something better for us. So we went for a look-see and as you can see from the photo - it really is beautiful. If we buy it, it will be helping the vendor (he is a witness too) because he has just learned he has cancer and is very worried for his children if the worst thing happens (his youngest is only 4 years old). He only put this property on the market this week, so let's hope it all works out for both our sakes.

One thing that has been worrying me a little is that if we buy the land we are virtually sinking all our living money into it so we knew we would have to get a job as soon as possible. Well once again the unbelievable happened - we have received a job offer - to look after this very beautiful house on the coast! It will only take 2 days a week to care for it so it will not interfere with our primary objective - teaching the  only solution to the worlds problems. Coincidence? I think not!

While it will be sad to leave Cuenca and we will miss it and our life here - the opportunity really is too good to miss.We will be getting paid as well as free rent, utilities, internet etc. So we start in November, which gives us time to get the visa, and break it gently to our congo that we are leaving.

The kids are going to stay here in Cuenca - Amanda needs to stay with her Chinese group and Aaron will look after her of course. An amazing thing happened for her too this week - she had signed up to teach english to chinese people by the internet and got her first student. When he found out what she does here in Ecuador, he asked if one lesson per week could be a bible lesson! AHH YES!!! Isn't that awesome?

As I say - Jehovah really is showing us that we can have every confidence in him and it sure builds up your faith when you see it in action. So we are about to start a new adventure  in our lives - what do you think?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It did seem to be a little too easy....

Well we thought we had the answer to all our problems the other day when a very kind Brother came in from the outskirts of Cuenca to pick us up and take us to see the above property. It was just over 3 acres and had the most beautiful view you could every want and the makings of a little house on it - all for only $10K!!! We went straight to the lawyer and got things underway - we only had to wait for the papers of the seller to do a property search etc. Well today I rang him to ask how that was going and when could we pick them up - only to be told his neighbor had decided to buy the land - (must have seen us poking around the other day and decided to act) - so we are back to square one and I must admit I am a little downhearted. Not because I was so in love with this land and wanted to have it - but because it is so overwhelming to know where to start again.  One thing I do have to keep in mind is that it obviously IS possible to find land for the money we have - just wish it would land in our lap like this 1st one seemed to do. Oh well we are in Ecuador after all....