“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you,
saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21

“Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ
loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Friday, June 20, 2014

Remembered in my prayers

Meet the maestros: Jaime, Hernan, and Luis!
Romans 1:8-12 "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith." I am beyond grateful for the service of all the missionaries and Ecuadorian staff at Casa de Fe. I pray the Lord's work continues to increase in this place and that all people encountered may grow closer to God is a personal way. I am constantly humbled, then encouraged in ways only God can build me up! I started the day today much how I ended yesterday, with breakfast and the Beck's and some games. It was the perfect way to start the day. I got up to Casa and went with Christy to welcome the new team and walk them
Christy, Geidi, and Libby!!
through expectations. I had to take one of the new team members up to Casa and while he was being helped I got to say goodbye to some of the tias and maestros. It wasn't too hard to bid them farewell, because in my heart I know it is more of a see you later and even though I don't know when later is I believe it will come soon! Since the team is so big, I got to be a waitress at Alexander's. There are always new experiences here in Ecuador and this one was quite exciting! When I was all done helping Kelcy and I got to take a seat on the couch in the kitchen to eat. It was great eating with him and his wife, we not only got to enjoy the yummy French fries covered in green mayo, but we got to chat and get to know them! I wasn't every hungry after leaving Johnny's, but I went over to Esmereldita's to join up with summer staff for lunch (round 2)! It was nice to briefly meet them before having to leave. I spent the afternoon sporadically saying goodbyes to the teachers and kids at Casa de Fe. I got to hang out, play with kids, have my face painting for the Ecuadorian soccer game. While the game was
Genesis is the sweetest girl! I am beyond grateful for her
the big heart this little girl has <3
going, though I wanted to watch it, I was distracted and trying to say all of my last goodbyes. As I was telling all goodbye it hit me like a ton of bricks that I will never see a fair number of these kids again. I know God has done a great work during my time here and look forward to seeing all He has done in heaven someday! The things He has done is fare beyond earthly measure. As I was hurrying off Christy pulled me aside to pray for me and the tears came pouring out! I was not only overwhelmed with emotions from leaving, but by the understanding of some of my greatest hopes that she was able to speak life in to! The Freeman's took me to meet my ride to Quito and then I was off. It all happened so quickly it was kind of hard to process, I know it will take a while for everything to sink in. I felt fairly nauseous for most of the trip to Quito, the roads here don't always agree with me. Though I didn't feel well most of the time I was blown away by the hospitality of the family who took me right to where I needed to go in Quito and Mandi who graciously hosted me! I've been learning a lot about what it means to be hospitable this last month in Ecuador. Mandi and I hung out for a while before going to bed, thank you Lord for knowing exactly what I need.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Living Water

Evelyn, Caila, and Diana!!! Three of my girls from English class last year.
My last chapel for my time in Ecuador happened this morning! I am so glad I went, the worship and message were so good for the kids. When it was all done I got to take a picture with my English girls from last year. I was so happy to get a picture with them, I just love them to pieces! As soon as chapel was done I walked over to Sharon's to look through more books for the school, then headed over to the Beck's to sew with the Freeman's, Mary, and Vivi. When I finished up, because the thread ran out, it was almost 11 so I went back up to Casa! By the time I arrived I didn't have time to do much before lunch at Alexander's with a group of missionaries. I go to take Evelyn to get her hair cut this afternoon and when we were heading out the door, she asked if a friend could come with! She ran and got Diana to accompany us. It was fun to see how excited she was to get her hair done! We took our time walking back to Casa de Fe and enjoyed to time together. Upon arriving back at Casa I hung out with the kids and starting to tell the kids goodbye. I started to prepare the kids, but mostly myself for leaving tomorrow. I know it is going to be a difficult day tomorrow, it was good for me to emotionally get ready. I stayed up at the orphanage pretty late, then went straight over to the Beck's for supper. They invited Olivia and I over for sloppy joes and cards! I went out for one last evening of guayusa with Jorge and April, it was great catching up with them before I leave Shell. Finally, I went home to chat, clean, pack, and get ready for bed. It was a busy evening of gathering things up, but it went well. John 7:37-38, "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Before Jesus was glorified He told us of the Holy Spirit that we would receive, how great a gift we have been given! It is my prayer that my heart will overflow more and more of the Lord's living water. God calls us to take refuge in Him for every need and He faithfully meets each desire. I have been given so great a gift and long to serve others for God's glory!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

To whom shall we go?

Sweet Telmo!
I am continually reminded of my dependence on God for absolutely everything in this wonderful place. Daily I am humbled and reminded of my deep need for everything I do, I cannot get through the day without full reliance on Him. John 6:68-69, "Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." I know the Lord has done great things in this place and that He will continue to move, I am honored to be a small part of it and am eternally grateful for the work that has been done in my heart. I grow a little more in trust every day, He faithfully provides! As I walked up to Casa de Fe this morning I heard the kids singing praises in chapel. It was a beautiful sound pouring through the windows and echoing around me. Then the day got even better with staff prayer time before beginning work! I spent the morning working on sponsorship stuff and visited the kids in the special needs room. I love spending time with them, they just need to be loved and simply holding them speaks volumes. Woohoo my prayers were answered, I am grateful to say I have a ride to Quito and a place to stay! My ride is leaving Friday night and has graciously allowed me to ride with them there. Also, my friend Mandi has offered me a place to stay, praise God! I was blown away at how intricately God works things together when I found out I was an answer to her prayers. God is good! I enjoyed lunch at Las Carnes with a bunch of missionaries. I got to go o Bible Club one last time and on the way Genesis was falling asleep in my arms. She is SO precious! As usual there were great worship songs for little kids to dance around, a message, and outdoor games. I really enjoy going to Bible Club and hanging out with the kiddos, I especially appreciate it now that I don't get to spend much time with the school aged kids! For my despendida a small group of us went over to Puyo for Volquetero. It is hard to start saying goodbye, but having my favorite regional food with people that I care about greatly was such a blessing! Nice Cream was another stop on the way back to Shell, the Kelcy, Olivia, and I stopped at Johnny's for guayusa. I was going to go by myself, but I couldn't have been more thankful these two ladies joined me!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Be hospitable

Geovany just being precious!
I began my journey to work and took a break midway to have breakfast at Cheralyn's! It is always constructive to start the day with a good friend and positive discussions. I spent the morning in the office continuing work on the new sponsorship task, although it is very repetitive and mundane I know it is beneficial. There were a huge group of missionaries at Alexander's for lunch. Right as we finished up a tasty meal it started teranchal raining. Now although it rains all the time, it was the first time I have ever felt the mist while I've been inside! It was misting all over in Alexander's, I'll have to add it to my list of unique things that happen in Ecuador. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the same task, then as I was getting ready to leave I spent a bit of time with the kiddos! We were all in the front of the multiuse building and the kids decided they wanted to try flying, so they would jump into my arms, I would spin them in a circle and set them back on the bench. There was a whole mob of them wanting a turn, so I got my arm workout for the day! It was extra adorable when they would flap their wings as they prepared
These are a couple of the little "flying" guys!
to "take off"! My final task for the day was to pass out the necklaces they made and I baked last week. I will admit it was pretty stressful, all of the kids were grabbing at the tray and trying to get the one they wanted, but it was all fine in the end. As I was passing them out I learned very quickly what would and although it was kind of a mess all of them got a necklace if they wanted one! We had our second supper at Patti Sue's for the volunteers tonight. It is nice gathering as a group, talking, and simply spending time together! After our potluck meal I stopped by Kyle and April's had a little break down. I am thankful for their willingness to be there for me at any time. It speaks so much of Christ's love into my life, I appreciate them so much! Hebrews 13, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it". We must TRUST the Lord to bring us through each of life's challenges. He is drawing us closer in the daily joy and struggle! Jaime, his father, and daughter also stopped by to see them while I was there. I really like how friends just stop by each others houses to visit here, of course they use other modes of communication as well, but personal visits are always nice!
Nayeli and Evelyn have stolen my heart!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Prayers for You!

After the cake fight!!!
Right away when I arrived at work I had great talk about life with Kyle. I am beyond thankful the continual prayer outreach that takes place here, it is overwhelming to know how supportive the families here are! Prayer is powerful. God has given us all the great privilege to communicate with him and it is magnificent! 2 Corinthians 9:12-15, "This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" I am thankful for all of you near and far the continue to keep me in your prayers, it is appreciated far more than I can ever explain! We had a nice girls lunch going on at "Las Carnes', also known as the red restaurant, with Kelcy, Cheralyn, Bailey, and I! When I got back I continued working on the new sponsorship task, checked in at the school, and stopped by the bodega. Jeff was busy repairing the washing machine, so I had a mini lesson on how to fix the washer. I like learning new things and it was fun to see how things were taken apart and tested. As soon as we go back to the house we were celebrating his birthday party! Of course birthday parties are always fun, since I like birthday's so much, but there are some cool traditions here in Ecuador too. The birthday boy or girl takes the first bite of the cake (with their face) and depending on how skilled they are they can get away without their face being shoved in the cake! It is entertaining for sure. This party turned in to a bite of a cake and confetti fight, which is fun too! I hung out with the kiddos for a while before going over to Tracy's. She had supplies to make some tasty iced coffee and we had great conversation. She is so hospitable and an awesome woman to listen to, she is incredible! Time flew while we were there and in order to make it to zumba I stopped at home and had supper on the go. Oh how I have missed zumba at the Coliseo, I joined Kelcy and her friend for the dancing and we lounged in the park for a while afterwards. At last the day concluded with another evening hanging out on the roof and sharing life!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Genuine Forgiveness

Watching Ecuador play with the kids at Casa de Fe!
I went to church here in Shell this morning, it is the one Marcela's husband is the pastor at. It was fun going there and seeing a few other workers from Casa de Fe too! God is doing great work in this city for both the kids and staff at Casa de Fe. Right after the service I stopped by a bakery to grab some food, then went up to the orphanage. I hang out with the little ones watching Scooby Doo while I waited for the soccer game! The kids just want to be near you and feel loved, they all want to be the one sitting closest to you. For example, this morning a little girl named Evelyn came up to me and sat on my lap, then another little guy named Samuel decided he could sit there too. While those two were sitting nicely a different little boy sitting on the chair next to me leaned his shoulder against my arm. There is an extensive space in their hearts to feel the love of a parent and though we love them as much as we can their longing cannot be satisfied until they have parents that can take care of them 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It never ceases to amaze me how special these little kids can make me feel loved too. By the end of the movie it was Nayeli's turn to sit on my lap and she kept telling me I was beautiful, when I would tell her the same she would giggle and her face would light up! I started dancing like the actors in the movie were at the end and pretty soon Nayeli was getting really into her own little dance as well! 11am was game time and after a couple of minor technical difficulties the game was on! Ecuador scored the first goal, then it was tied up for the whole second half until the last few seconds when Switzerland pulled ahead. It an awesome game to watch, but crushing to see them lose at the very end. I have been meaning to make it to the Balsa Wood Store in Puyo for a while and the time was now! I hopped on the bus and took an adventure on my own. I spent I while looking at all of the stuff around the store and enjoyed this relaxing Sunday afternoon on my own, it was the perfect opportunity to take a little trip and re-explore the area. It's crazy to say this already, but I began repacking my suitcase. I still have this coming week here in Ecuador, but I know it will go all too fast and I didn't want to worry about trying to pack when I am trying to say goodbye to friends. I had just enough time to bake cookies before a Bible study/prayer at Dwight and Tandy's. The whole staff was gathered up there and the lesson was about freedom that comes with confessing our sins to those we have hurt. It was a good reminder and important lesson about self-righteousness that can get in the way of genuinely asking
We lost at the very end, this is how we felt.
for and freely giving forgiving. It is an invaluable and ever important topic to reflect on. We are not called to look at people's actions and compare others or ourselves to them, but to look at Christ and the life we have been given from Him. At the end there were prayer requests and they prayed for me as I already prepare to leave Shell. It was a much needed prayer and reminder to continually turn to Christ in my need, not looking to external things for comfort, and seeking God first. The evening ended with a tea party on our roof watching the stars and clouds in the sky, I even saw a distant shooting star.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Eternally Rich

Some of the missionary ladies with the birthday girl! Happy Quincenera!
It is Quincenera day, so there was no time to waste. Christy and I started bright and early by going to the flower shop to get the much anticipated greenery. We spent the whole morning working on the arrangements. Since the roses, buttons, and babies breath all came in large groupings we started by clearing the stems and prepping them. When all the flowers were ready to be arranged, we separated them by colors and began the pretty arrangements! It was a lot of fun to arrange them, who knows maybe I'll be a florist someday! We made a quick trip to Puyo for last minute supplies, then finished up decorating before going home to get ready. The party started at 3pm with a short procession where the birthday girl in her fancy dress is revealed! There was an introduction, then the Quincenera's first pair of high heals were put on her feet. It is a very important step in to womanhood in Ecuador when the young woman gets her high heels. When her shoes were on the dance with her father figures, the missionary men and workers at Casa de Fe, took place. The festivities end with pictures, then a large social with food! As I was observing the crowd during this time the kids that are alone always jump out at me. Here and in all places there are certain children that tend to be more secluded from groups and it breaks my heart. All people are God's beautiful creation. At some level all of us know what it feels like to be the one left out or cast aside, knowing that feeling and seeing it happen to kids breaks my heart. It is my prayer for all people to feel loved and cared for, even when loneliness sneaks in the Lord is with us and will always come through. We long to be cared for and accepted by others, but in the times we are let down or crushed God has a plan. I know do not see everything that happens nor do I understand everything these kids are going through, but if there is anything in my power to show God's love to these beautiful children I want to be a part of it. Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners". The Lord has given me eyes to see like He does and it is my great privilege to serve those who need love and attention. God does not take care of us based on how many friends we have or how nice we look on any given day His love and
Patti Sue, Geidi, and I!
care is UNCONTITIONAL. In Christ we are RICH in all things eternally valuable! Isaiah 61:3, "And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor". It is my prayer that all of those who are brokenhearted, poor, imprisoned, grieving, mourning, or in despair may be made whole! In Christ we have been given an identity, my identity comes from Him. It is easy to find my identity in other people at times, but it is all in vain because my worth is in Christ alone. I am humbled daily and reminded I cannot rely on my own abilities, or lack there of, I need more of God every day. Before calling it a night, Cheralyn, Christy, and I went to the brand new Mexican restaurant to pick up supper. It took a while to get the food, but we got to watch Italy win their first soccer game while we waited! We took the food home and were joined by Rick & Rebekah, Kelcy, and Anna. Once we were all done eating we played a card game called "Bang" and enjoyed some chocolates and popcorn. It was so much fun.