Thursday, June 23, 2016

¡Me Hallo! - I've Found Myself! - WE'VE Found OURSELVES!

Way back during my REACH time in Ecuador in 1997 I remember learning the Spanish phrase "me hallo" from my host uncle Tío Humberto. He was asking me about how my time was going and how I felt about being in Ecuador, eating the food and learning Spanish. I told him I liked it and it was going well. He said ¿Te hallas? I didn't know exactly what he meant and I needed to look it up in my dictionary back then. But when I found it, I agreed. ¡Me hallo! I had found myself, I fit in, I belonged there. That's the way I felt back then, after being in Ecuador for several months and that's what I'm looking forward to about going there again.

That's also how we feel where we are here in Houghton, New York at PFO.

 PFO is dedicated to teachers and their families going all around the world to international schools. So far we've met teachers going to Ecuador, Suriname, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, China, Taiwan, Germany, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda. It is amazing! WE BELONG! All of these people are passionate about Jesus and passionate about teaching kids from all over the world! We've loved every minute.

We moved in on Sunday and will be here until next Friday, almost two weeks. At first, I didn't want to do this because of how much time it takes, but Naty insisted and now I agree. This is so worth it. 

 All the classes are on the campus of Houghton College. I'd never heard of it before, but it's a great place...

in rural western New York. I've loved biking and running here in the evenings. Great for soul care!

We've had classes every morning and afternoon with topics such as: serving with humility, understanding culture, TCKs Third Culture Kids, the TRANSITION experience, cultural differences, personal differences and professional strategies. We also have mentoring/advising times with the recruitment coordinator from our school.  

Gaby and Marcus have also had classes about their identity and preparing to move to other cultures. They are also making friends with other kids moving or already living all around the world. The kids with them in this picture are also moving to Quito and their flight date is the same as ours, July 25!

It has been so good to see them making new friends and enjoying this time too.

We definitely feel at home with these folks and more and MORE convinced that we are going exactly where we need to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Visas Part 2

We are very happy to have received this Email today:

Dear volunteers,

This emails is to inform you that this morning I talked to the consul and she confirmed that all your visas have been approved and are on its way to you.

She posted them yesterday. Please let me know as you as you got then.

Thanks for all your help!

YESSS!!!! Thank you Lord!

Our DAYcation

It's been challenging this year to see vacation pictures of friends and family on Facebook and know that we can't have a vacation this year. However, this past weekend on our way here to Houghton, New York we made time for a family DAYcation, about 24 hours to relax and enjoy life a bit in the midst of a lot of transition.
Instead of coming straight to Houghton College for our Pre Field Orientation we went straight to Niagara Falls!

We got to see the falls a bit and walk around Niagara Falls State Park, but the best part was connecting with our friends Randy, July, Rachel and Josh Sunderland from Dion's hometown! We had dinner and then ice cream together and got to walk around the falls area on the American side. Our family couldn't go to the Canadian side because we don't have our passports back yet. It was so good to catch up with Randy and Juli and our kids had a great time with their kids too.

We spent the night in a motel, that was probably the worst we've ever been too! Then the next day, after a hearty Bob Evans breakfast, we set out exploring. Our first stop was to see a lighthouse in Buffalo, NY that Naty wanted to visit.

Then, since it was Father's Day, my request was to go to a beach, which we found in Hamburg, NY. It was great to swim in the crystal clear water of Lake Erie and soak in the sun for a little while. 

After that we started heading east through hills and valleys of farmland to make our way to Houghton College in Houghton, New York for our PFO. In some ways, it felt like going to Belleville!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Today is the day our package with our passports, birth certificates and marriage certificate arrives in Boston at the Ecuadorian Consulate. Please join us in praying that the consul looks on our applications with favor and grants us the visas without any issues.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dinner + Silent Auction

Sunday evening we were blessed again by about 60-70 people who came together to support us through a fundraiser dinner and silent auction at the Rosedale International Center. The meal was led by Ulises, a young man from our church who is quite a chef. He and his family made salad, chicken parmigiana, roasted rosemary red potatoes and brazed asparagus with a hint of red pepper flakes. We also has tres leches cake for dessert. It was amazing!

Carlos and Uli getting the cake ready to serve. 

This family is an incredible team! They all worked together to buy all the food and make the meal for all of the guests. 

We charged $25 per person for the meal and there were some people who gave even more

We sold more of our things by way of a silent auction during the evening as well. 
Altogether we raised $2457.00!

That came just in time because we needed $1,200 to apply for our visas today.
We are so grateful for all the support we are getting. We are now at 52% of the support we need for our first year!


Just Like Family

This past Sunday morning we visited with New Life Church in Hilliard. Our friends Matt and Charity Chittum pastor the congregation there and Felipe and Juliana Carmona pastor a Hispanic congregation that shares their building. We had a lively time of bilingual singing and an encouraging meditation from Isaiah 35 shared by Pastor Felipe. 

Reading Isaiah 35 in Spanish and English

Then Naty and I were able to share about our plans to go to Ecuador. We were blessed by the closeness of community we felt. We've only visited these churches a few times, but it felt like we were family with them. Both churches are supporting us by coming together on June 25 to have a yard sale and give us all the proceeds! One man from the church even said he has a car he plans to sell and he wants to donate the amount he gets to the church for our support!
We have been very dedicated to gathering with our church in house churches to maintain a strong sense of spiritual family. I was impressed with these churches too because they do meet weekly at a building, but it was obvious that they treat each other just like family too. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Making Space

This process of getting ready to move has been more stressful than I thought it would be. There are so many details to process and things to do. It's overwhelming. My greatest concern in all of this has not just been for Naty and I but for Gaby and Marcus too. If I'm stressed, it doesn't do any good for our family. Yesterday in spite of all that we need to do to get ready for a church visit tomorrow and our fundraiser meal, I decided to take a tandem bike ride with Marcus. It might be the last one we get to take since we are planning to sell it. So, we had to make it good!

We rode to London and had lunch at McDonald's then rode back. Marcus was actually the captain (driver) for most of the ride!

Today was extra hot, but I got to watch Marcus and his team win another baseball game.

Small breaks that help us feel normal breathe peace into the stress!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Yard Sale #3

We were a bit concerned by spritzing rain this morning but it soon went away. Naty said this yard sale was more relaxed. Maybe we're becoming experts!

I've been thinking a lot about the man that Jesus told to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor. He didn't do it and it's easy to see why not! Getting rid of all your stuff takes work!

We need normal times too. It was nice to take Marcus to his baseball game to just be normal for a few hours this afternoon. He had two good hits and two walks helping his team to a 15-5 win!