Monday, October 30, 2017

Helping Refugees

Our friend Cristal from Colombia sharing about how to connect with refugees. This one is in Spanish...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

SEW 2017

This past week was our fall Spiritual Emphasis Week for elementary. It was by far the highlight of my time at Alliance Academy so far. SEW is a time when we have chapel and activities every day of the week instead of just on Tuesdays. I was part of the planning committee this year and in spite of many extra hours of work and less hours of sleep, it was an awesome week!

Our theme this year was CAMP AAI and we set up the chapel to look like a forest with several campsites. We had short plays everyday where I acted as Counselor Kazoo with some crazy campers (faculty members) named Poppy, Roxie and Allie. Each day had a different theme with guest speakers who taught about community, courage, perseverance, rest and eternity.

On Wednesday we had a Family Night for students and parents. We packed out the chapel with about 300 people! I had the opportunity to lead worship with another teacher and the singing was amazing! I also got to interpret as another teacher shared about how God able to do the impossible.

Friday and Saturday we were Gaby's biggest fans as her team competed in the AASSA volleyball tournament.

Her team didn't win as many matches as we had hoped, but with no seniors on the squad, they'll all be back next year and should be much better.

Back at home, Naty is very excited to have flowers and ferns planted in these cute flower boxes out front.

I'm stoked to finally have a grill! We had our new school director and his family over for dinner last night and thanks to some tips from another friend, I grilled some of the best meat I've ever made over wood and charcoal.

This morning at church we said goodbye to a Venezuelan couple who only spent a short time with us here in Quito. They need to go back to Venezuela to care for the wife's mom who is sick. The family had planned to stay in Ecuador much longer, escape the economic, social and political disaster zone that is Venezuela these days, but plans changed. They are very grateful for the time they had here and said that their biggest purpose for coming here was to connect with God, something they had never experienced in Venezuela. They are going home with new faith. Naty bought each of them a Bible and we are doing what we can to try to connect them with a church in Valencia so they can grow in their faith and share with others.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We're Never Bored!

The beginning of school year 2017-18 has been very busy for our whole family but it has also meant more stability and picking up where we left off with many relationships and projects that we keep working to develop.

Naty is working with this group of women to lead the Entre Nosotras women's group at our school. They are studying Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk. This has already been life changing for several ladies in the group.

We keep going to Nono once a month to lead others in connecting with God, but also to connect with Him more ourselves in such a beautiful place. We pray that God would draw more people in this town to Himself. There is not a Jesus centered church in Nono yet and we pray that God will call out the people there who will plant a church.

I hurt my knee back in September and couldn't run for about a month. It was good on this day though because I got to take my beautiful wife out for lunch after on of my doctor's appointments!

Every other Friday night I make lots of pizza for this youth group that we are leading with another couple. The group is mostly made up of AAI students as well as some others from the community. We are studying the scriptures to find Jesus in the Old Testament.

Our family took an overnight get-away to Cuicocha lake at the beginning of October. This lake was formed by a massive volcanic eruption about 3,000 years ago. The volcano has been dormant ever since, but you can still see bubbles of gas coming up from the volcano in the middle of the lake. 

October 9 was Guayaquil Day holiday so I had the chance to go for a 20 km 7 hour hike with some friends. Our goal was to go from my house to the top of Rucu Pichincha, (the mountain peak behind me in the picture) but major lightning and a hail storm made us turn around.

We have had several opportunities to keep mobilizing mission workers here in Quito. We led a missions sending service at this church in southern Quito. I preached about being witnesses in Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND to the ends of the earth. So many churches here focus on growing their on congregations and reaching their neighborhood and going "to the ends of Quito" but to obey Jesus' commission we must go much farther.

We prayed to commission the brother in the red shirt as he goes to Spain to study as serve as a witness to Muslim immigrants in Barcelona.

November 13 and 14 we hosted four people at our house and Naty helped organize to host 400 people at HCJB for the "United in the Mission" conference. It was a great time to connect with other churches and agencies in Ecuador who are working to send missionaries to unreached areas around the world.

We keep meeting monthly with Rosedale Mennonite Missions' LAMP (Latin American Missions Partnership) team via video conference. We are very excited about a couple in Costa Rica who is taking solid steps to move to Spain.

We keep gathering with the Quito Mennonite Church on Sunday mornings. Our church works a lot with immigrants and refugees. There seem to be more refugees arriving in Ecuador now that their were a year ago. It has bee great to gather to worship with people from so many countries. We have even had people from Iraq and Afghanistan join us for our worship services. Here I am helping to facilitate a meeting to start a men's group for the church.

This past Sunday we had a family night at the movies to watch this Christian film that was produced by HCJB. Some of the scenes in the movie were recorded just a few blocks from our house!

This week is Spiritual Emphasis Week for the entire elementary school at AAI. I'm helping to present some skits and tomorrow another teacher and I will lead worship for our Family Night with parents and other family members. Many families who send their children to our school are not yet followers of Jesus, so I am very thankful for this opportunity to share with them.