Monday, April 27, 2009

I need to shower...hope I make it out alive!

The good news is that I arrived safely last Monday with all my luggage present and intact, my flights went smoothly and there was no crying or sprinting from one gate to another with people yelling at me to hurry because I was late and was going to miss my flight, AND...there were no stops in Lima!! (Any trip with no stops in Lima is a breeze)

The bad news is the humidity is intense and the mosquitos bite hard and often. I'm getting accustomed to being here again, but it's a process that takes time and I find myself missing home a lot even though when I was home I was missing Ecuador. Having the opportunity to go to different places in the world is such a great blessing and it has filled my heart with so much joy. And yet, it's so difficult. I've come to have family and a home in a lot of different places and while I love being in each of those places, I long to be in the others. I look forward, with much anticipation, to the day when there will be just one place, one home, and we will all be in it together. I guess that's my way of saying I'm homesick for you.

My days here have been blessed. I live with a family in the town of El Recreo who has welcomed me into their home as if it were my own. The house is typical for this town. It's made of cinderblocks, and has no glass in the barred windows, only curtains to keep the bugs at bay. I have my own room and a big, comfortable bed, with a top-of-the-line mosquito net that was a gift from Ismael's parents. I have enough to eat each day and am genuinely enjoying my time spent in the house. There are ten people living there, not including me, and they are a really loving family. Gregorio is my old friend who extended the invitation las year for me to live in their home. I live with he and his son, his mother and father, his sister and brother-in-law, and their three children, and his niece (the daughter of his brother who does not live there). Gregorio's parents are the only people in the house who do not attend the local church, but just this morning I had an interesting conversation with his mom about the Bible and what's written in it, and I hope to be able to show his family the love of God while I'm here.

Yesterday I went with Ismael to the city of Los Samanes, about 45 minutes away by bus, to meet a missionary couple who oversee 5 different churches in different towns in that area. We went to a church service with them in the town of Torre Fuerte and afterward, they took us to see all the different churches they work with. I met a woman named Monica, who attends the church in Los Samanes and beginning next week I will have the opportunity to go stay in her home for a few weeks in Los Samanes. This is a blessing because living there, I will be able to meet people in her church who work for the university and other organizations in Guayaquil who I will be able to talk with about the University Project to get input and information about the school system and the requirements for non-profit organizations here in Ecuador.

I am hopeful that this week I will be able to spend more time catching up with old friends and less time feeling homesick and itchy.

Please pray for my stay with Gregorio's family; that my presence there will be a blessing to them as it is to me. And for the University Project so that we will be able to gather the information we need to make decisions about the program we want to set up. And for protection as there is actually warm, running water in the house for showers...

...but it's definitely wired, and in such a way that makes me think each shower could very well be my last. HA!

Thanks for checking in with me! I miss you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One week to go

This is the hard part; the scary part. This is the part where I can't sleep at night because I can't stop thinking. And all I can think is "what am I doing? How am I gonna do this?" over and over again. And it makes me nauseous.

And I don't want to go. I don't want to be away from my family. I don't want to stop going to my small group. I don't want to miss out on Meatball Mondays and Tuesday morning scrabble games and watching all the shows on the DVR with my mom and dad every week. I don't want to leave what's familiar...because doing that is risky.

And maybe I won't be able to find anyone at the university who can tell me how much it costs to study 6 years of computer programming or kindergarten education. And maybe I won't find any way to get a visa that would allow me to stay in the country longer than 90 days. And maybe I'll never be able to communicate effectively in another culture and no one will want to work with me. And maybe this is all a bust. And then what?

It happens this way every time. This week is always the hardest part. But I have hope, because so far I've chosen to get on the plane anyway, every time...and just go. And every time it's been more worth it than I could ever have imagined. Minus the mosquitoes and crickets.

And I sure do hope I can avoid the lice this time around...

Ok. Having said all that, I think I'm ready to go. This is going to be really exciting and I'm glad I can share this experience with all of you. Thanks for being here with me. Please pray that God will remove the unnecessary obstacles. And that He'll help me find a place to stay (my living arrangements are re-arranging on me). And most of all, that He'll make happen what He wants to happen and that I'll get on board with all of it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I got my plane ticket!!!

I leave for Ecuador on Monday, April 20th which is approaching rapidly! Hopefully I can get everything ready in the next couple of weeks without too many obstacles.

I am so excited to go back to El Recreo! There is a lot of work to do over the next couple months and it will definitely be a challenge, but I'm really looking forward to it. There are a few specific objectives for this trip:

  • Find out as much information as possible on the cost of education at the University of Guayaquil
  • Make contacts with other pastors from other churches in the Guayaquil area
  • Get really good photos, video, and interviews of prospective students which will help communicate the impact this project will have on this community in Ecuador
  • Administer the University Project program for the students currently involved

I'm so excited! I'll be sure to keep you updated on how everything's going. I plan to be there until the group from DFCC comes down for their summer mission trip, and I'll come back home with the group.

There have already been so many obstacles with this project, but God is so good and has been faithful in helping us move forward even with the difficulties. Please keep this project and this trip in your prayers. Your prayers are really appreciated! Also, buy Terra Nova: The Search! Everybody's doing it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009 you not see the volcano over there? It's erupting.

So I had this terrible nightmare last night. It started off nice and peaceful. I was up at Angeles Crest Christian Camp with Michele and Nathan...apparently, this was way back in the day when we were The Burn staff, and we had a group of jr. highers up there for a summer camp.

Then all of a sudden, we look over to a neighboring mountaintop and see that there is thick black smoke coming out of the top of the mountain, and it's really billowing out, filling up the sky. And then we realize...that mountain is a volcano. And it's going to erupt any time now. So me and Nathan are like, "Michele, let's just get in your truck and get out of here before we find ourselves being chased down the mountain by lava!" and Michele says, "Let's just wait and see what happens. Maybe we can get through the next couple days of camp before it erupts. I'd hate to leave early."

So...I'm sure that speaks volumes about my sub-conscious' concern for the safety of others. Also...will try not to read my new book right before falling asleep again.