Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" Psalm 119:9

Tt is Sunday, and all of Ecuador is quiet…the only traffic heard is the police routinely patrolling the area for delinquents. Everyone was asked to stay in their homes in order to participate in the national census. We received our visitor, a jolly high school boy, at about 9 am. He asked us all kinds of questions about the house, our work, etc. We were grateful for a day of rest and peace, without any visitors. We napped, put the house in order, made phone calls for our meeting Monday, and even watched a movie!! It was an especially welcome break since Noele and I have been a bit sick to the stomach the last couple of days.

The conference went well, despite the fact that we only had a fraction of the folks from Cuenca, which was one of our main purposes – to share with them what it takes to run a camp. We had to let God do what He had in mind, which was to invite the entire youth group which was meeting at the same time, to listen to the teachings. It was a refreshing time of fellowship with our friends from Guayaquil, and a good time of connection for all the team members who were present. Everyone left on Sunday afternoon, and we were exhausted. We went to a friend’s birthday party, and spent Monday resting and readying ourselves for another busy week.

We had been planning on spending Thanksgiving with our friends in Guayaquil, who have an annual gathering. We had thought that it was going to be on Thursday or Friday, which would have given us plenty of time to get back for the worship practice on Saturday, and the Census. Well, plans changed somewhere along the line, and our friends decided to have their Thanksgiving on Saturday. So, stayed put and had our own on Thursday. We invited a few families and friends that we thought deserved to be especially spoiled, bought an enormous (and expensive!!) turkey, and made all the trimmings. This was the first time I had ever put together Thanksgiving on my own (of course, I had my lovely assistant, Noele, with me to chop, dice, set the table, and offer moral support!), and, though there were a few extra hoops to jump through, due to different products and such, it came together in the end, everyone enjoyed it, and was thankful for the good (though different!) food.

Noele and I are missing our families a lot during this time, but are excited about the upcoming visit of her sisters. We have many things on our calendar these next few weeks, and ask that you please keep us in your prayers.
Tomorrow, Monday, we meet with the head honcho of Samaritan’s Purse, we have a meeting to practice dramas, puppets, songs, and such for our programs on the 1, 5, and 8 of December. Please pray that we have people who will come to volunteer these days, because they have been a bit sparse at the meetings lately. Also, continue to be in prayer for the situation with Flor and the other children at the orphanage in Guayaquil. I am waiting to receive her paperwork so that I can present it to the director to ensure that she can get a space in the new facility here in Cuenca.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Next Chapter...

"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" Psalm 27:14

I am really sorry to all of you who have been anxiously chewing on your fingernails waiting to hear if there is good news or bad. Please forgive me. My only excuse for not writing in a while is that we have been so busy!!! God has been faithfully answering our prayers and we are running to keep up with Him!

I am excited to tell you all that things have been going on and ask that you please keep us in your prayers!!

It is early Saturday morning as I write this, and it is a bit difficult to focus because, in a few short hours, we will begin our first annual Cristo Vive conference! We have 8 people coming from Guayaquil and Quito, and I am hoping for at least 10 from Cuenca. Noele and I are the official hostesses, which is part of the reason we have been so busy lately. It will be a good time of fellowship and bonding between our teams, and I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord will accomplish.

You have read about Flor and my burden for her. Well, a few weeks ago, the Lord surprised me with a message from one of my friends in Guayaquil saying that they had been seriously discussing moving her to a facility in Cuenca, where she would be better taken care of, and close to ME! You can imagine my joy! The orphanage where she is right now is being taken over by the government in January, and there is talk of all of the kids that have family being forced to go back to them, therefore it is going to be necessary to move her because she has no one, and needs advanced care. We have come in contact with a place which just so happens to be opening a new facility for children with severe disabilities…in January! Flor has made it onto their list as number 27 of the 30 they will possibly be taking in. Of course, nothing is a sure thing yet, but on Monday, I will be taking a folder with all of her information to the director of institution, which is called Mensejeros de La Paz (Messengers of Peace), and they will assess the situation from there. PLEASE PRAY!!! Obviously the Lord has already shown us that He is listening, and that He is holding Flor in His hands, He being the only one who really knows what she needs!

Our team here in Cuenca has been busy as well, raising funds for our activities in December. We have had two successful hot dog sales, a rummage sale, and even offered to paint nails to raise some money! We have huge bags of candy and animal crackers sitting in our living room, waiting to be made into gift bags for 250+ children. On November 29, Noele and I will go to a meeting with a representative of Samaritan’s Purse and present a request for 250 Shoeboxes.
The dates to remember in your prayers are December 1st (two foundations), 5th (an open-air program in the center of a small town called Paute, in conjunction with their school for Special needs kids, and the 8th (another school in Cuenca).

On a more personal note, I have decided to join the worship team here at Calvary Chapel, the church we now call ‘ours’. It has been a challenge because of the language and the need to learn all of the songs from scratch, so it has been a slow process, but I so enjoy being a part of the team and the ministry that I don’t care if I ever sing in one of the services. This also presents yet another item to consider as we plan out our schedule. And what does the Lord continually remind me: to rest, to guard my time with Him, and to put everything in His hands so as not to end up an overwhelmed, frazzled, exhausted mess!
Noele and I, along with the help of some of our friends, have managed to get this house looking a feeling much homier just in time for the conference. We have cemented holes and cracks, laminated old, ugly countertops, caulked, painted, cleaned and moved furniture. PHEW!
My ankle is finally feeling mostly normal. I would love to get out there and run again soon, but I am trying to take my time and be wise about it…I really don’t want to reinjure it!

Thank you all once again for your continued, faithful prayer and support!