Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It happens in NZ too....

Hola Hola!

I just have to tell you this experience - a little over a month ago I received a phone call asking me to go and see a girl who had rung the KH asking for a study. We called around the next day and had the most text book study you could ask for. The lovely young lady had received the BT book about 3 years ago but had only started reading it about 3 months ago - realized it was the truth and so gave up smoking and then called for someone to help her actually study. 
Well that was mind blowing enough but  last week she texted me to say that as she wanted to "do the truth 100%" she would be leaving her partner. Of course I tried to explain that really Jehovah wanted to see them serving him as a family and how perhaps "C" might want to learn how to have a truly happy life too. Well after a few more texts back and forth - she sent me one saying Jehovah had answered her prayers and they were ready to do this as a family!! 

We had our first study with them both tonight and we are so blown away by the interest shown also by "C". He said how deeply moved he was by the fact that even though there is a shortage of bibles here in NZ (no doubt due to the change over etc to the Australian branch) - we had given "K" one of our own bibles so that she could have a copy. Isn't it funny what affects someone? They were planning on coming to the meeting this Sunday but something has come up so will be making there first one the next week. Awesome aye?

What a privilege it is to be able to help these two - I will keep you posted as to their progress. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gidday (typical kiwi greeting there) - perhaps we have been here too long -hehe!

So I just wanted to post something quick because every so often I check the comments on this blog (even though we haven't really been on air, I can see the views from all around the world and it is nice to know that it is still attracting some like minded folks). Any hoo - just recently Claudette and Shirley and JC said they would like some further information/contact details. You can email me at and fire away any questions. If I don't know the answer, then I am sure Aaron and Amanda (who as most know are still in Cuenca) will be able to help. In the meantime I wish you well on your endeavors to move where the need is great - you won't regret your decision to do so.

Quick update on us while I am here. Happily Mark finished the service year (and his time) on a high - his last call was with an Ecuadorian!! On Thursday we also had a lovely visit with a Mexican lady who has just been in the country 4 weeks. She has some strange ideas but is happy to be able to speak spanish with someone - who knows where it will lead.

I am employed again - at my old job in the bank (talk about being sucked back into our old life) - it is casual work but I seem to be getting enough to keep Mark in the style he has become accustomed to, so that is good. It also means that if I don't have to fill in for anybody - I can still go out witnessing with Mark during the week. I can be thankful the bank wanted to employ me again actually, because being a little bit older now, and in the economic climate, work is not so easy to come by here. Jehovah really has looked after us.

Not only is it the new service year today but it is also the first day of spring here in NZ. Looking forward to some warmer weather and fresh spring veggies.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Been a LONG time

Ok I just had to share an awesome experience.

Wednesday: Amanda meets a young guy (maybe 16?) in a resturant who says his brother is interested, and that he is too. Amanda comes out on to the street, gets me to go in and talk to him, and I make arrangements to do a study with him on Friday.

Friday: After the group, me and a local bro go to visit. Turns out the young guy is not there... but the older brother pokes his head out from the kitchen and says he has questions and can we stay. We of course do. He wants to know about Micheal the Arcangel, and so we study the index in the BT on who he is. (he pulled out a well worn copy of the BT and said he had read it all) His mum also wants to know. For some funny reason they belive that there are three Arcangels, Micheal, Gabrieal and Rafael. (anyone heard of that before???) Anyway we finish up arranging the next study to start at the beginig of the book on monday. I ask him if he is interested in coming to the meetings and he says "no estoy en acuerdo con ustedes, entonces no quiero." (Im not in agreement with you guys, so I dont want to) "no worries" i say... "but you still want to study" "yes".

Monday: Amanda and I arrive, and the whole family is there. Young brother, Older Brother, Mum and Dad. (Dad just sits in the background lisning) and we study the first half of chap 1. we were there 1.5 hours but mum and dad had to leave halfway though para hacer compras. After we arrange study for Wedsday (today)

Wednesday: Me and Morgan go (NZ bro who cant speak any spanish yet) and only Older brother is there. But we have an awesome study finishing the first chapter in 1.5 hours. After the study, prayer and all, we start having some casual talk, about sports and guitar etc, but HE brings it back to spiritual things and says "Que nesecito hacer a ser un testigo de Jehová?" (what do I need to do to be a Jehovah's Witness?" wow i was blown away. I told him again about the meetings and he wants to come!

What a change in less than a week! I couldnt belive he went from saying he didnt agree with us to wanting to be one of us!!!! not to mention he is wanting 3 studys a week? still unbelivable to know our teritroy is being covered every 2 weeks and finding people like him! 

I would just also like to say that we were having lunch with a local family last sunday, and they told us that only in 1979, Cuenca had only a small group of witneses. Not even a congregation. And now we have around 40 only 33 years later! Some sources have told me there is an anual growth of %15 here in Cuenca. Amazing. (if anyone knows any more acurate figues please corect me) There is a massive need for qualified brothers here.... so if you have the curcumstances... come on over! weather its to preach, or to help in the cong!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hola de Nueva Zelanda

Aaron said that I wouldn't be able to resist posting again and he was right.(I'm never going to hear the end of it either). Its just that I have been so moved by the comments and emails I have received - I just have to say a big THANK YOU! We were really thrilled to hear that our experiences have even moved some to consider Need Greating and it is nice to know that we have been able to help out in a small way. I know when we arrived in Ecuador - we did it real cold turkey, we had no one to ask any questions of before we came and it was really scary but of course Jehovah soon sorted us out but that was one of the reasons why I wrote our Blog, so to know that it aided some of you is really special. 

So we are all settled in here in Tauranga - back in our old congo and we have been welcomed back with open arms. It is a bit hard knuckling down to life (ie applying for jobs etc) but we have had some lovely autumn weather so its not all bad. I even had two Spanish conversations last week - one with a study of one of the sisters (who is mightily glad we are here to help with the language barrier) and the other with a young Ecuadorian lady who owns a shop in one of the Malls close by. The goods she sells is so obviously Ecuadorian I just had to say -"¿Hablas español?" From there we had a chat and I took her in the Spanish mags. We are also hoping to go up once a month at least to the Spanish meeting in Auckland (2 1/2 hours drive) - Gotta keep what we have learned if possible.

Oh must just tell you about one little blessing of coming home - seeing our grand daughter Indie. She's at a lovely age (11 months) and was not at all shy of me. I am sure she recognized my voice from all our skype conversations. We are heading off down to see her again (and her parents) tomorrow - got to take all the opportunities I can before I actually do land a job!

Ok - now I will really say goodbye - with a photo of Mark checking out his charges before going to the meeting the other day - Thanks once again for all your encouraging words!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The End Of An Era!

The time has come - well nearly, we leave in 4 days time and so this is to be the final post on "The Ecuador Experience" - sad but true. The video is a quick little recap of our time here (Warning - it is  quite long - about 12 minutes - but then again 4 years have been condensed into  just 12 minutes, so I didn't do too bad really!)
Thank you everyone who has commented over the years - and others who have loyally read and watched our adventures - we hope in some small way to have helped any who have been thinking about serving where the need is great. 
So if you can be bothered checking out the video - I would recommend grabbing a cup of coffee first - hopefully it doesn't put you to sleep. 

Adios, Zai jian and Goodbye

Monday, March 26, 2012

Goodbye again!

Once again we have been thrown another desperdida (farewell party) - how many is that now? Number 50???? Anyway this one was a little different as in they played games, which was quite cute really. In the top photo - we were made to do a presentation, using whatever was handed to us - not an easy thing to do in another language, but I think we held our own - or maybe they were just laughing to humor us! The photo showing Mark with a match burning is a question and answer game - you have to answer the question before the match burns your fingers - nice hah? I had an easy question - name 5 people from the bible, but Mark found it difficult naming 5 different flowers. he found out that no, white rose, red rose, yellow rose etc are not different flowers! He had a few laughs though when he tried cauliflower. Anyway it was good fun but hopefully we won't have anymore goodbye parties for awhile!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When in Ecuador......

 Aaron's friend, Joel, is here visiting for a couple of weeks and today we went with them for lunch to see him have the ultimate Ecuador experience - eating guinea pig! I was very impressed by his fortitude - he even tried a bit of the brain! (He said later though that maybe he took it too far doing that).

 Also visiting from Canada is Sarah (she is staying with Megan and Britney, who have been here for a couple of years). Obviously, as the photo shows, Sarah was pretty game too - to the disgust of Britney (love the look on her face).

Amanda shows she is an old pro at eating the ratlike creature by breaking off it's paw and chowing down on that!

Something much nicer to eat was Joel's lasagna that he spent hours and hours making for us. The don't have fresh pasta here so he lovingly made the pasta sheets from scratch - believe me it was the best lasagna we had ever tasted! He can come back anytime! (Or to visit us in NZ as the case maybe!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Visit from the Coasties!

Just finished a really lovely week (last hor-rah) with our friends from the coast - David and Abbi, Stephanie and Chad. It was a week filled with delicious food, touristy stuff and lots of laughs. While we were out in town one day, we met up with the Kelly's and another sister from the english congregation, so I snapped this shot of them all. While acting as tourists, something we really haven't done in Cuenca before, we found a lot of interesting places (mainly eating places, hehe) so it was nice checking out the city from a different prospective!
Aaron's friend, Joel, arrived too this week so - it's been a busy old household. I suppose I really should try and work out how to fit our lives back into 4 suitcases soon  - countdown has begun!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jamin gives his first talk

This little fellow is so cute - I just had to share his first talk with you (shortened version). As he says in the video - he is six years old and he and his family have only been in Ecuador for just over a year. This just goes to show how a childs mind really is like a sponge....oh if only that were true for adults too! Anyway we were very privileged to see his first ever talk - well done Jay!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Busy few days

Well we are back in Cuenca with all our worldly goods - thank goodness there are these guys wandering around the bus terminals looking for work - throw them a couple of bucks and they do all the hard work.

Its been a hive of activity since we arrived. First off, and most important, Haircuts! Then Aaron had his first Public Talk in spanish so it was awesome to be able to hear that. Next day - we moved house! Chad and Michele found a house almost the same size as the old one for $100 less a month so we couldn't pass that deal up. I unpacked our suitcases, which is just fantastic because we have been living out of them for  nearly 5 months. Of course I will have to repack in a months time, but it feels good anyway to have drawers and a wardrobe for now.

I have also been to physio a couple of times but before he does any more treatment on me, he wants a second opinion from a specialist - I have that appointment today so I am hoping that he doesn't want to put a pin in my foot or something equally horrible. I had to have a new set of x-rays taken yesterday, 3rd time so far - but here in Cuenca the equipment is a bit more up to date (I'm not sure if I have ever seen anything so old as the one in Manta-it looked like it was out of WWII or something). Anyway at least all the places I have had to go to have been within a bus or taxi ride - I can't imagine having to go up to Manta everyday for physio, it would have been horrendous! Yay for Cuenca!

Update on the foot - Seems that it is now too late to do anything for my foot - it should have been operated on straight away apparently, but now that it in the healing stage, the doc thinks we should wait and see how it goes. If not, then it would have to be broken again and pinned - of course I am quite happy with this news although, if I had seen Xavier (the bone specialist, who happens to be a brother in a neighboring congregation - great aye) earlier, no doubt it would have healed faster. Anyway I am back with a walking stick for two weeks and to carry on with physio - so I will no doubt get yelled at again when crossing the street "Muevete Mumita"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Last meetings are always so hard...

One last beautiful sunset to send us on our way - 
Thank you Puerto Cayo!

Always manage to find myself a special little girl in every congregation - this is my Puerto Cayo granddaughter - Maritza 

Mark and his possie of fans

Abran - so adorable just had to share his photo with you

Another one bites the dust - last meeting that is. The older I get - the harder it is to say goodbye - I hate it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Very sad story

Major Bus Accident in Ecuador Today Leaves at Least 27 Dead and 30 Injured

Major Bus Accident in Ecuador Today Leaves at Least 27 Dead and 30 Injured
Photo Credits: Deadly Ecuador Bus Trip
 At least 27 people died and 30 people died and 30 others were injured Sunday in a bus crash in the northern Ecuadorian province of Imbabura, Victor Bazantes, with the fire department in the city of Ibarra, told Efe.
Based on the statements of survivors, Bazantes said that apparently the bus in which they were riding had a problem with its brakes and crashed into a wall, then rolled down an incline.
The accident occurred on the Ibarra-San Lorenzo highway linking the provinces of Imbabura with Esmeraldas, the latter on the border with Colombia.
Three children died in the crash, which occurred near the community of Cuajara, near the city of Ibarra, the capital of the same-named Andean province.
The injured were taken to nearby medical facilities, but two people were transported by helicopter to Quito, Bazantes said.
A relative of some of the victims told the daily El Comercio that the people on the bus were Jehovah’s Witnesses who were traveling to a church service in the parish of Lita.
Me speaking now:We have been told that 7 of our brothers lost their lives (5 regular pioneers) and 11 are in hospital, 2 with serious injuries. We sure need to keep the families and the congregation they were from in our prayers - it will be a very hard time for them.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carnaval time

It's that time of year again - crazy Carnaval (spelt the spanish way) - where if you go out side you are likely to be pelted with water balloons or drenched with a bucket of water. Here is Puerto Cayo - that's not such a bad thing because it is the hottest time of the year and believe me - it's hot! The streets are packed with people and cruising cars, so this sleepy little town has come to life again. We couldn't believe it when we checked out the beach yesterday - a shanty town has grown up overnight! Also of course they have to have fireworks at midnight so last night sounded like we were in a warzone (most of their fireworks are about noise - not pretty colours). So - one night down - 3 to go!

On a bright note - guess what I did the other day? I went preaching! Shocked you all didn't I? Yep for the first time in 7 weeks, I actually went out with the group. Of course it was a little easier because I was in the Bidencope's car and was able to rest up after each couple of doors - but it felt sooo good! It was nice  to know, I haven't forgotten all my spanish - phew!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's just the way we do it here!

We have been told that it hasn't rained so bad for so long in 17 years here. The dry hills are now green and new life is everywhere. The problem is, of course, as we are not fine weather Christians - the preaching work still goes on - and it can get pretty hairy out there. (Well so I am told anyway - while everyone else is out there contending with what is shown in this video - I sit at home with my feet up - such a hard life!) 

Few Random Shots

Abi and David Bidencope - the lovely Aussie couple 
that have opened their
house to us, while we are still in Puerto Cayo
This is Courtney from NZ and Maxine from Aussie
They live in the next town over - cool chicas!

Pioneers from Puerto Cayo with the substitute CO's wife - Tess.
 Really nice couple that are leaving Ecuador in April too
 to go back to the States.
The difference is - they have been serving here for 15 years!

Mark and Jose (Puerto Cayo Coordinator) - so cute that he tried to
 play a duet with Mark (no, he doesn't play the pia

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looked like we were being invaded the other night when the navy came to town - there were four ships out in the bay and it looked kind of ominous!
Meanwhile I can see my right foot again - took the boot off today and had a little walk on the beach - felt good to be free!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Meanwhile Mark enjoys the preaching (and the mud)

Its been raining for days here in Puerto Cayo but the pioneers have just carried on regardless.

Zoe smiles her way up the hill

Jess decides its easier to carry her shoes rather than leave them in the mud

Poor little old lady

Haha! When we went to the supermarket the other day - the assistants rushed up to me and gave me this thing to drive around -  I had such a great time darting in and out of the aisles, and trying to run hapless gringos over! So Mum - I beat you to it (using a electric mobility scooter that is)!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the road again

Dave - still smiling after about a 100 trips up and
down the millions of steps at the Casa Blanca
Well actually not quite on the road - more like just a quick drive around the corner. We have been taken in by  the lovely Aussie family living here and so all our worldly goods were packed up and carted around the other day. We will be staying here for a couple of weeks, then head up to Cuenca to spend a little time with Aaron and Amanda and Chad and Michele, before we have to really get on the road and travel back to NZ.
This week is a busy week as the CO and his wife are visiting - sadly I won't be able to enjoy it as much, being that I am still on crutches (for at least another week). Went to see the doc yesterday and had more x-rays - of the whole foot this time (found out the first Doctor, only really x-rayed the ankle, which he correctly said wasn't broken), and it showed up that I actually had 5 fractures - no wonder it hurt! So I am still hopping and dragging around this big boot thing. Oh well them's the breaks (scuse the pun)!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A little help when needed!

Peter and Bryan
AWH so cute! This is Diego and his bible student  - they came around today so I could sit in on the study. Last night I was handed a report slip and I suddenly realized that I actually had no time to report this month. So I said to the Brother - "I am so sorry but I don't need one this month. It's probably the first time since I started publishing when I was 9 years old!" He felt bad for me so he immediately arranged for people to come over today and help me out.  Isn't that just awesome? 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What do the streets look like the morning after the hugest street party ever?

Well I guess - they neatly arranged the empties!
Well I don't actually know cause I have been stuck in Prison for ever (not literally, it just that this house is like a fortress), but if the house across the road is anything to go by - they don't look good! This weekend was the "Opening of the Ñawi Bar" Fiesta - something that only happens 4 times a year here in Puerto Cayo (thank goodness) and it was just crazy! I couldn't go to the meeting last night because there were so many cars lining the streets - there was no way a vehicle could get me close enough to the house, so I had to stay indoors and listen to the blearing music - which went on to, wait for it - 9a.m this morning!! I am told that people come from everywhere for this party and all they do is get drunk and act like idiots. Then they sober up for a few hours and head back to wherever they came from. But hey "What Fun" (I am saying that sarcastically BTW)!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Is the sun setting on our Ecuador Experience?
This week has been a week of decision making and we have made 3 very important ones:

1) I am a complete idiot for breaking my foot - honestly there couldn't be a worse time for this to happen. It is so hot and sticky and this great big boot thingy is making me hotter. Also this house has so many steps and it is such an effort to go anywhere!

2) We have decided to terminate our employment here in the Casa Blanca. Sadly it just isn't for us.

And Number 3) - the biggest decision yet - the end, at least for now, of our Ecuador Experience. We are going home to help Mark's Mum for a bit and we leave on the 4th of April! While we still have goals to  come back some time - we don't really know what the future will bring, so it feels like the end to me. 

So as we are stopping the residency application - we now have land to sell. We are hoping that another Gringo couple will be interested in it, as all the paperwork is nearly completed to have the value raised enough for residency. As you know, that process has taken a long long time, so we think that it may be quite attractive for someone else to be able to use it straight away. 

Life really does throw some curve balls doesn't it? We may have plans all set in motion but they can be swept away in an instant. We are so incredibly happy though that we have had this opportunity and we have learnt so much from it. The biggest lesson which keeps getting hammered into us is that Jehovah will ALWAYS look after us and we have only to leave everything in his hands and things will work out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back again

UPDATE TO THIS POST: Been to the doctor today and my foot IS broken, and should not be putting any weight on it for another 2 weeks. At least now I am on crutches and with a better brace, so much for the first doctors prognosis! I am just about going stir crazy though - there is only so many DVD's one can watch!

Thank you everyone for your kind comments - we appreciate the international brotherhood we have so very much. And while it has been very hard to be over here while our family has been going through trauma - we also have been very thankful for the love and kindness shown to them by the local witnesses. 360 people were at the service for Lloyd plus us four in Ecuador. The skype video call worked very well - after the service, we were also able to see and talk to many of our old friends - once again, thank goodness for modern technology.

So we came back to the coast yesterday after a lovely few days with Aaron, Amanda, Chad and Michele and their visitors - just what I needed a lot of noise around me. The bus trip back was unadventurous, was able to sleep most of the way with my foot up on Marks knee. It is still hurting me somewhat so I think I will go back to the doctor tomorrow to see what else, if anything, can be done.

One thing about bus travel here is at every stop, vendors will get on the bus to sell their wares. Sometimes it can get annoying, cause their voices are very loud. Yesterday when we arrived at Jipijapa - I counted 7 different guys - all clambering to sell their product at the same time. Water, Juice, Fresh Oranges, Hot Choclo (or old corn on the husk), empanadas, balls made of crushed plantain and pork fat, and for dessert Jello with a splash right out of the can of condensed milk! Some of it did smell pretty good, but I would have to be really hungry to actually buy and eat something from them. Can you imagine how yummy food, sitting around in the heat and close to all the bus fumes all day, would actually be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sad, sad news from home.

The photo we had taken with Lloyd and Maureen before Aaron and I left New Zealand June 2011
We had some shocking and sad news last night - Marks Dad passed away yesterday. It is very hard to be so far away from home at a time like this. Lloyd was very dear to all of us and it is difficult to imagine home without him being there. He was a typical kiwi "cow cocky" and loved nothing better than being on his farm, or being with his family. It is evident by his life course that living according to Jehovah's guidelines was very important to him and his family appreciate all that he taught them. And he taught them well - all of his boys serve as elders and along with their respective families, continue serving Jehovah faithfully. We look forward to the day we welcome him back, what a party that will be!
So what do you do when you are thousands of miles away and something like this happens (and I am sure it has happened to many other needgreaters and missionaries in the past)? Of course the first thing I want to do is get on a plane and head back but that really isn't practical. To get back to NZ fast is not impossible but not easy either (let alone the expense). My dear mother-in-law is very understanding and wants us to come home when she really needs us - right now she has all her extended family helping her and we can be linked into the Service from here via Skype. Of course we want to be with Aaron and Amanda, and so either we will go to Cuenca or they will come here. I am so glad we have them here in the country with us - family is family after all.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Room with a view - not!

So how do you like the view I have and will have for the next 15 days? Great aye? I just get myself all better from the last back incident and now look what I have done to myself! I was coming down the stairs the other night and slipped on the last one and bang - really thought I had broken my foot as there was so much pain but turns out it is  badly sprained. Going to the Emergency room was an experience - of course it is in Manta (an hour north of here) and it certainly wasn't on a par with Cuenca  hospitals. We were ushered into a room straight away - which was a good thing as I didn't have time really to look around and evaluate. The doctor came and poked and prodded my foot, and of course decided the best course of action was to x-ray it. Then he sends in a nurse with an injection for me - bear in mind that still no particulars had been taken down about me - not even my name! I guess they just  trust that I wouldn't be allergic to the medicine. Anyway the radiographer was going to be about an hour so while we were waiting, we were able to take in the surroundings. Thankfully they had an air conditioner - it was dripping into a bucket that had overflowed before we left. Blood from the last patient was still on the table and bloody sheets thrown into the shower. Nice! I'm just glad that the injection she gave me did come out of a sealed packet, because I have heard of stories with them reusing syringes! EEK! Talking of injections - I have to have 2 more shots (we brought them along with the pain medication, I was prescribed) and so I have been doing research for Mark this morning on how to give injections. I am extremely worried about that too as you can imagine. He is all excited at the prospect though!

We get home eventually and poor old Mark had to carry me up the never ending stairs of this place, first time he had ever got to carry me over the threshold. I was so worried he would hurt himself but  he seems to be alright. And so now I am cast here on the bed looking at the blank wall in front of me. Such a shame because downstairs there is a big screen tv wanting some attention. Would be nice if it was on my wall aye?

So if anyone has some quick fire ways of getting back on your feet after an injury like this or any tips on giving someone a painless injection - please share - I will be very grateful!