Sunday, September 17, 2017

Starting School Year 2017-18

The night the Naty and I got back to Quito, I ran the 10k Ruta de las Iglesias race with some friends from AAI.

And the next day, I led a group of friends to the top of Rucu Pichincha. The last day of my summer vacation was the same as my first, the summit of Rucu!

I decided to make some Pan de Jamón (Venezuelan ham bread) to welcome Gaby and Marcus back the next day.

On August 29, Gaby, Marcus and Thea all made it back to Quito. Boy were we happy to see them again!

With some help from all of our family, room E101 was once again ready for new second graders.

The weekend before the kids came back to school our family traveled to the coast again for Impacto Mundial's Mobilizers Seminar. It was a great time of training and connecting with about 150 other Ecuadorian preparing for global outreach.

September 4 was the first day of school for our family. Marcus is now in 8th grade and Gaby is a sophmore!

And I'm the proud leader of 18 wonderful second graders!


On Saturday September 9 we celebrated Naty's birthday by going with several friends to Nono.

We facilitated a discovery Bible study centered on hope.

Marcus and Gaby were glad to get back on the horses again, even in the rain!

At our first staff meeting of the year, my new colleague Miss Oliver and I each received awards. She was given the spiritual formation award and I was granted the leadership award. What a great way to start the year!

This past week Naty hosted and facilitated two different missions workshops led by a missions mobilizer from Costa Rica. We are hoping these gatherings can lead to getting more mobilizers together for Impacto Mundial Quito.

It's been a crazy ride for the past few months. Even with all the extra hours at work, it feels good to be back in a routine again.

COMIBAM in Bogotá

Naty and I got back to Quito where I worked in my classroom for two days and then we caught a one hour flight to Bogotá, Colombia.

We spent the extended weekend with our friends Valdemar, Sobeida and their kids. They hosted us for the week along with our friend Flor from Mexico. 

We took a short trip to Chía to visit Andres Carne de Res the most amazing restaurant I've ever seen in my life.

Bogotá is a great city, but I still think Quito is more beautiful.

COMIBAM is an international missions conference bring together international workers from all over Latin America. It was very motivating to join 1,800 Latinos all focused on taking the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth. 

It was good to visit with people we know and also meet more people from Ecuador and all around Latin America who are working to mobilize global workers, just like us.

This was a gathering of COMEC, Ecuadorian believers working to promote and send workers to the world.

One highlight of the conference was meeting this Cuban pastor who lives in Miami and is sending workers to the jungle of Ecuador. We are hoping that some day we can go into the jungle with his team.

After COMIBAM it felt so go to be back in Quito to stay.

Back in the USA!

We landed in Columbus, Ohio on July 21 to a great welcome from some of Gaby's best friends from her school there. She was so happy to spend the afternoon with her friends again.

That same night Marcus and I went to watch a Clipper's game. It was a beautiful evening for baseball and a cool surprise was that I actually knew the starting catcher for the Clippers; we went to EMU together!

On Sunday we got together with our church, Columbus Network of Microchurches. We brought along some Ecuadorian jewelry to sell to help us raise more support as we support local artisans from Ecuador.

The next week we went to visit friends in Johnsville, Ohio and then on to Conservative Mennonite Conference in Kidron.

We got back to Columbus the next Sunday for another picnic with our church.

Monday all day Naty and I got together with the LAMP (Latin American Missions Partnership) team in Hartville, Ohio where we met some new potential international workers from Costa Rica over Skype.

From Ohio we headed east to Virginia where we stayed with our friends Russ and Melissa and their family.

We invited several friends and supporters from the Harrisonburg area to join us at Taste of Thai restaurant and we had a great time reconnecting with many friends there.

From VA we headed to PA and spent the first few nights with Naty's Belleville family and also her sister and her family.

It was Thea's first time in Amish country!

She loved seeing all the country. I sometimes wonder if she thinks she's a Holstein cow since she's also black and white!

We were glad to visit with (great)-grandma Hostetler.

We spent two days and two nights camping with all of the Peachey family near Lancaster, PA.

I finally had the chance to relax. This was probably the highlight of the trip for me!

After camping we got to visit with some of our great friends, the Tutens, from AAI. After 9 years in Ecuador they moved back to Pennsylvania this summer. We will miss them dearly, but are so glad they live in PA so we can see them when we get home in the summers.

After camping we went back to Belleville where we got to take in the fireman's parade and festival.

They were throwing Hartley's chips?!? What a treat!

I was glad to get back on a road bike again.

At 12:00 midnight, Marcus and I got up to help my brother Daniel start cooking pork shoulders for our second annual pulled pork fundraiser.

The next day we had more of the family involved in the smoking process.

Then Sunday, with help from lots of others at our church we fed over 350 people and raised $6,500 for our support for the coming year.

We ended our time in Belleville visiting with our pastor and mentor Max.

And also with some other great friends and supporters.

After that, Naty and I flew back to Ecuador and Gaby and Marcus stayed in Bellville for almost two more weeks.