"Not to us, but to Your name be the glory!"
My latest favorite hummingbird picture!
?Que hacer cuando no estoy seguro que hacer?
Normalmente quisieramos tener todas las respuestas antes de tomar una decision, ero a veces no es posible. En esos momentos, debemos tener un poco de valentia y atrevernos a elegir,
y poner los resultados en las manos de Dios.
March Information Update
A pool hall in Salento
Pretty flowers and birds are always in abundance!
Mission Trip - Ecuador - 2008
We are looking for 6-10 people that would like to partner with us to work on a construction project for a new church plant in Cheka, Ecuador, a mission church plant from our partner church in Guayllabamba. The church is about an hour outside of Quito and we are looking to build a one story building for the worship service, a bathroom, and two classrooms. We are also moving the family that has donated the land to another location on the lot so the church can have the street frontage location.
You don't have to speak Spanish! We just need people available to help. If you have electrical, plumbing, or other construction skills, that is a plus.
Dates: July 5th - 13th
Cost: Airfare - approx. $800
Lodging, Transportation, and Food - $30 a day
Airport Tax - $42 (needed upon departure)
The Experience - priceless
You do need a passport and check with the health department if there are any vaccine requirements. You will not be in the jungle, only in the Quito area, so you won't need yellow fever.
The dates are flexible if a group has a scheduling conflict or can work out a different week that works. Just let us know!
firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and for further questions.
Right behind our house you can see farmers at work
The old men and women in the streets selling their wares and looking as if they have no hope keep it in the front of my mind that it isn't about me and though I could just sit back and live my life knowing that I have a place in Heaven, that certainly isn't going to get a "well done" from God; it deserves a disappointing look and that is definitely a look I don't want in the accounting of my life. I believe that God has removed our transgressions "as far as the east is from the west," (Psalm 103:12) but I think I will know at that point the sadness of people not being in heaven because of a lacking on my part. There will be no more tears or sadness once we are in Heaven, but there is a time before that where all men will come before the seat of judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
As we head into March, the topic at church has been, appropriately, about making decisions. I have found it interesting that God chose to use individuals with weaknesses throughout the Bible to show us that we can be used and grow in spite of ourselves like Moses, David, and John the Baptist's dad. He also shows us that we need to accept the advice of wise counsel and allow others to be there to support us and and be our wingmen like Daniel and Aaron.
The typical Colombian countryside
For me, the hard decisions are always to try and determine what is God's will for my life and my will for my life. The Bible is full of miracles and cool things that God has done in the past, and yet we often live our lives not expecting anything more to happen. We might not have a reason today to part the Red Sea, but who's to say that something of that magnitude couldn't or shouldn't happen so that others might come to a saving knowledge of Christ? We have typhoon type rain here daily without an ocean in sight and have to decide whether to have wet feet everyday or stay inside and accomplish nothing! Wet feet is a small price to pay to try and make a difference. We missed out on an opportunity tonight to hand out bread and hot chocolate to some homeless folks because of the rain up to the ankles blowing sideways and thinking the group would cancel, but we were able to provide part of the resources. Steve will bring our boots back from home to help us out.
Even the birds have had enough of the rain and what it is doing to their hair!
We have had a lot of opportunity to discuss religion and life with those around us and try to provide support professionally and personally to those that we meet at school, the church, and in the community. Steve heads to the states for a training seminar and is going to be able to talk with several churches about support for our church plant projects in Ecuador. It is disappointing that the leaders in Ecuador are aligning themselves too closely, in my opinion, with Chavez in Venezula and making some poor decisions that are affecting the country's economy. Colombia continues to move forward to surmount its problems and is really the shining light for change in this part of the world.
The hillsides are an interesting combination of vegetation and low income housing
It is frustrating for me not to be able to work full time in the mission field though I know that God has a plan for us to get to that point one day, and the ability to work and live in a foreign country now is necessary for God to prepare us for that purpose. I always feel like time is so short here on this earth that we have to use every minute and reach all those we can so I don't want to waste time, but then God reminds me that the people right now in my life need that concern, compassion, and saving information too. It isn't up to me to decide who God puts in my path but it sure is my decision to reach them or ignore them.
Sometimes the expressions on the birds and the people are priceless.
Life at the school, Gimnasio Ingles, continues to roll on. It is constantly frustrating for me because of the lack of seasons and the feeling that it is always time for summer vacation; I'm always thinking that there are only a few weeks left of school and it is only just the end of February! I really enjoy my students and want very much for them to become life long learners and to think about what they believe and why. I thank God that I have the opportunity to share with my students and bring up religious discussions.
My favorite picture from field day and these guys didn't even win!
There are many events throughout the year at the school and last week included several days of culture sharing and team building activities. If you have the desire to run, and run, and run, and run some more, there are some activities you will definitely want to be a part of, as long as you like mud in your eye of course!
I like to call this the rainbow bird though I'm sure he has a more technical bird name!
I really enjoy walking around town and seeing all the elements that are a part of the city. Where we are in Armenia is very small town to me but it has wealthy and poor sections, a busy downtown, and lots of farms and fields you can see from into each other. You don't see the beggars here that were common in Ecuador and the people of the streets seem more as independent business people because they do all the recycling of trash and garbage materials. The kids are still juggling in the streets but the level of poverty isn't so right in your face as other places we have been.
The shacks close together remind me more of Vietnam or Cambodia than Colombia
but can be found in several barrios throughout the city
Colombia has really become more dear to us the longer we live here and the beauty and friendliness of the people make it very comfortable. You have to look at the rain as a wonder of God and look for the rainbows, though sometimes I'm looking for the ark. My students are waiting for the day for Colombia to pass Ecuador in our hearts and do what they can to make it happen.
One thing I have found that keeps my thoughts on God's purpose for my life is a hallway of pictures I have of kids from every country where we have been. Once you put your pictures in an album you only bring them out every so often and think, "Oh, I forgot about them..." I didn't want that to be me so I took a picture from each trip and framed it so I pass them every time I come home. I see the sweet faces of the kids in Honduras, the kids running from the fields in Ecuador to get a Christmas gift, and the laughs as the kids watch us build an outhouse.
It's fun to see the growth of the coffee beans from their little seeds to the bushy green plants
I will always believe that there is more to life than this earth. Some people believe otherwise and feel that it is enough to be a good person and do what you can for others while you are here and that is your reward. I say that is a great idea, but imagine what you could do with the power of God behind you for others while you are here! If I'm wrong and they're right, I still led a good life, as did they, and did what I thought was right by the God I believed in. But if I'm right, I get to spend forever in a place where my life will be incredible beyond my wildest imagination while they will spend eternity isolated and alone in a place horrific beyond belief with the vision of Heaven close enough to see but never attainable. You have to chose to invite Christ into your heart but the gift is free and for forever. God loves you unconditionally regardless of your choice, but the choice is yours, and it has to be yours or it has no value. God could make everyone believe but what glory is in that? Your dad can make you do something but when you choose to do it for yourself, that is when he is proudest of you.
My prayer for myself and all those I encounter in my life is a closer communion and relationship with God so that our lives are so full of blessings that everyone we meet will want to be a part of it.
Cathy and Steve
Prayer and Praise
- the funding for our church planting projects in Ecuador
- team building and partners with our mission friend in an area of conflict in the world
- Steve's job situation to be defined so we can make general plans for the future
- stability for the country and guidance for the leaders of Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezula
- traveling safety for Steve as he is working throughout South and Central America and Mexico
- continued success in obtaining the paperwork necessary for the church to own the donated land
- more opportunities to support God's work and people here in Colombia
- the other foreign teachers at our school for health and opportunities to share
- unsaved people
- children living in the streets and at risk around the world for safety, love, and hope
- a local church and small group that we can get plugged into and be a part of
- continued good health and okay financial situation
- the opportunity for Steve to return to the states and share with more churches about our mission
- our used car is still running with minimal effort
- answered prayers for our small group and continued blessings in our lives
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