Wednesday, July 27, 2016

¡Hasta luego Columbus!

 After 12 amazing years living in Columbus the time has come to say goodbye. We have loved this city and are so grateful for all that we have learned here spiritually, as a family and professionally. It's strange moving on to something so unknown and we will really miss this place.

 Our last week was so full that I barely had time to think! We closed the sale of our house on Friday July 15 and were so thankful for a smooth sale of the property.

Gaby and Marcus went to week two of Choral Camp at Rosedale Bible College from July 18-22. They had a great time spending their last few days in Ohio with many of their friends. We loved going to their recitation at the end of the camp and have enjoyed hearing the songs more and more.

My parents came on July 20 and helped us so much with running around to get things and give away other things. With some help and wisdom from my dad, we sold both of our cars in our last few days in Columbus.

On Saturday afternoon July 23 we left our house for the last time and turned it over to the new owners. We were again very grateful for a friend who let us borrow his work van to haul all of our suitcases.

We spent Saturday and Sunday night at a motel close to the airport so that we could take a shuttle to the airport when we were ready.

Sunday morning started with an empowering worship service at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Hilliard, Ohio. We heard an inspirational message from Kenyan disciple maker Aila Tasse and then our friend Brian Jones prayed a commissioning prayer over us.


Sunday afternoon and evening was a moving time to share with our church and many other friends for one last time. We met at Westgate Park, the place where our micro-church Luz Viviente really got started several years ago.

Several men from our church grilled all kinds of delicious meat and tortillas.

And we had a wide variety of other potluck food.

After we ate a ton, they also had an amazing tres leches cake with our picture on it for dessert. Marcus really enjoyed eating a piece of cake that had his face on it!

Our church leaders gave opportunity for others to share stories, memories and encouraging words with us. It was an incredibly humbling and empowering experience.

They our church laid hands on us and prayed to send us off. We all agreed this wasn't a time to say goodbye, but rather a time to send us off to the next place where God is calling us to serve. If all goes well, we are planning to come back to Columbus for a short trip again next summer.

Monday July 25 was fly day. It took two trips in the hotel shuttle to get all of our luggage to the airport!

After that we had a very meaningful send off with my parents and our mentors Joe Showalter and Mim Musser. Joe shared an encouraging scripture from Isaiah 40 and then we had a moving time of prayers and saying goodbye.

Then we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in planes at the Port Columbus airport! Our flight was delayed. Then, a hydraulic pump went out and we had to deplane the aircraft. After about 3 hours they brought another plane for us. 

Then, on the second plane they had fueling problems that took extra long before pushing back from the jet bridge. Then as soon as we were out on the tarmac we were informed that the Houston airport (our connecting airport for Quito) was having severe thunderstorms and no flights were going in or out so we would have to wait another hour on the plane before taking off! We were quite frustrated, but there was nothing we could do. So we took it in stride and became friends with the crew and pilots. Marcus even got to go sit in the pilot's seat!

Eventually, by about 8:00 PM we arrived in Houston. However, we missed our flight to Quito, so our friend Kique came to pick us up and take us to their house.

We found out that the only flight from Houston to Quito for today (Tuesday) was already sold out, so we would have to wait until Wednesday to fly on to Quito. We were so thankful for Kique and Kim and their willingness to host us for two nights in Houston!

It has been so good to be with them and their new son Hanan who is about 14 months old. They are such dear friends and we have missed them so much since they moved away from Columbus about three years ago. Now we had a chance to reconnect before we move on to a new city as well.

If all goes well, we should be at the Houston airport at about 3:30 in the afternoon and be on a plane headed to Quito at about 5:35 PM. This is taking much longer than expected, but we are taking it in stride and know that God has his plans that are better than ours!

Here we go!

This is real! After a long lay over and break with friends in Houston, we are boarded and ready to fly to Quito. Next time I write, we should be in Ecuador. Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Farewell to Belleville

We traveled to my hometown of Belleville, PA this past weekend to say goodbye to friends and family and also have a fundraiser at Locust Grove Mennonite Church. It was a great time of reconnecting with lots of people and sharing our vision for ministry in Quito. Our "adopted" daughter Victalina and her two kids Ismaelito and Dayana came along with us.

It all started out on Thursday night when we packed up a U-Haul truck with all the things we wanted to store in my parent's basement. It was great to have my cousin and his girlfriend with us to load the truck and then have some homemade pizza for supper.

We got to Belleville Friday evening and after a quick supper at my parents house we went up to the church to start working on the meat. First we had to cut off the extra fat from the pork shoulders.

 Then we rubbed them down with mustard and my brother Daniel's secret recipe dry rub.

We packed them up in a homemade cooler for several hours until 1:30 AM on Saturday when Daniel, Marcus and I got up to put the meat on the smoker.


Daniel spent the night outside in a lawn chair recliner and then at about 10:00 AM Gaby, Marcus, Victalina, my dad and I helped to take the meat and put it into pans with butter, apple juice and apple cider vinegar so it could moisten and cook completely.


Finally at about 3:30 in the afternoon we took all the meat off the smoker and up to the church to start pulling it off the bones and shredding it up. We had lots of people helping out so we got all 42 pork shoulders pulled in about an hour!

After that we went to Bob and Emma Templeton's house with the rest of our MST. We have been meeting with these three other couples over Skype for several years to share about what all we are doing in ministry. It was great to be together in person and just hang out and get to know each other better.

On Sunday morning, Daniel took his smoker up to the church to start warming up all the pans of meat.

Naty and I shared with the congregation about our vision for ministry in Ecuador and several people came around us to pray for us in each of the two morning worship services at Locust Grove.

After that we had our fundraiser meal. About 450 people came to have pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw, Hartley's chips, veggies, desserts and Neil Renno's homemade ice cream.

We were overjoyed with everyone's generosity. Donations for the meal totaled $9,039.00!! God and his family are SOOOOO good!

Sunday evening at 7:00 we gave a presentation at Allensville Mennonite Church and were very encouraged to see several other ways their congregation is serving in missions.

Our friends Nubia and Armony came all the way from Philadelphia to see us and say goodbye on Sunday. It was great to see them again after many years.

On Monday morning I took my last bike ride for a while. I'm hoping to buy a bike in Quito, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to bike there.

On Monday evening we had a goodbye meal with the Yoder family.

After dinner, we helped to rescue a runaway calf and find it's owners. That was an unexpected experience!

Finally it was time to say goodbye. Nobody wanted to let go!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Goodbye Coffee

On Tuesday night we said goodbye to Coffee our wonderful friend for the past 14 years. When we got her as a puppy we had no idea what would be ahead for our lives! She had got to a point where it was very difficult for her to walk and even to stand up sometimes so we decided that it was time to have her put down. All of us shed lots of tears as we hugged her and told her all the things we were thankful that she did for us over the years. What a faithful friend!

Our dear friends Derrek and Carla invited us to bury her in their backyard so she will be somewhere that can go back to see her resting place. Naty had the great idea to plant a tree in her memory, so of course we planted a peach tree.

Rest in peace dear Coffeecita. July 2002-July 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


During our training in New York we learned that we need to think about building a RAFT to float across the waters of transition. So we are working through these phases.

R - Reconciliation: Restoring relationships that have been challenging.

A - Affirmation: Speaking words of encouragement and validation to the people around us who have impacted our lives.

F - Farewell: Taking time to say goodbye to Places, Pets and People that have been special to us where we are.

T - Think destination: Take time to set our vision and make plans for where we will be going.

All of these steps take time and intentional action. We are down to 20 days until we fly so we are trying to do all of these the best that we can.