Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spreading Holiday Cheer

Sebastiao's school decorated the Christmas tree at the hospital for the holidays with ornaments they made themselves. The kids had a great time and the tree looked wonderful. The children also got into the spirit of the holidays by making up gift boxes for children in jungle communities who otherwise wouldn't have received anything for Christmas. Nate Saint Memorail school teamed up with Sele, a private school here in Shell to provide boxes for over 100 children. The boxes contained the usual small toys and clothes, but also some other items I wouldn't have thought of like bars of soap for washing clothes, matches and candles. These things are essentials in the jungle and helped out the families.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Unkthinkable

I must apologize, I have done the unthinkable in Bloggingland, I have gone almost a month without an entry. Please forgive me, life has been crazy here with the holidays, family in town and power and internet outages. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are ready for the new year. I will try to get you all filled in on our holidays in the next few days.
I'll start by posting pictures from the kids school Thanksgiving party. They made really cute turkey cupcakes thanks to a work group who brought lots of candy corn from the states!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Like Ridiing A Bike....

Last night we went to dinner with some good friends here. We know they are good friends because they make fun of us -to our faces- more than anyone else here (the lady at the butcher who laughs at my Spanish runs a close second). Anyway, they let us drive, Joe to dinner and me home from dinner. It was so exciting after 5 months of not driving at all plus all of the time and money put into getting a license, actually getting to drive was amazing. So, "THANK YOU" to Chad and Andi, you made our day, and hopefully spurred my husband on to buy a car more quickly!

This is a picture of Tungurahua, an active volcano near the city of Ambato. We were able to get this picture last month on our way home from Quito.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We Did It!

Thank you all so much for your prayers. We are now valid Ecuadorian drivers! The Lord is good and while waiting in line we were able to share about what we do with several people - plus we left with 2 drivers licenses. WhooHoo!

Update on Driving

Well, we are still in Quito right now and very tired from our LONG day, yet very grateful for the favor God has shown on us today. After spending most of yesterday getting what we thought was all of the documents we needed to get our drivers licenses, we left for the transit authority at 6:50 AM. We got in a line that was already about 50 people long and waited for the gate to open at 8. We were a little tired because we had been up until 1AM studying for the written exam. Most of the questions made sense and were just about the same at the laws in the states, but having the test in Spanish was a bit of a challenge, at least for one of us- you can guess which one. When the gates opened we were pleasantly surprised that the guard only let the line in and not the crowd that had gathered around the gate. The funny part was that once you got through the gate, everyone started running for the line they needed to get to. We joined in and as a family ran for our line. First was the exam and I am glad to say that we both passed. One with a 100% and the other with a 95%- you can guess which one is which. Then we found out that we needed one more document and we needed it notarized- this process is not as easy as it is in the states. The day before getting our documents notarized took us 5 hours and we needed to be back at the transit office before 2 when they closed for the day.
So, at about 9:30 we headed out on our quest. I'll spare you the details of that ordeal, but we did make it back to the transit authority by 1:15, took our eye test and were ready for the last step - pictures and the actual license- when we found out that they were closing at 1:30 not 2:00.... yes, I know so close.
Because of the 3-4 hour power outages in Ecuador, they had to close the office early. We will go back tomorrow morning at 8:00 to get in line and wait for the gate to open at 9:00 and will hopefully leave with a license or hopefully 2.- please pray for us and our patience and that especially when things are frustrating we will show His love to those around us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Blast From the Past

Add Image
Ok, so this has nothing to do with missions, but today Bella checked out her favorite book from the library again. It brings a warm fuzzy feeling everytime because it was one of my favorite books as a child. I loved when my mother read this book to me. I had completley forgotten about it until Bella picked it up one day and asked me to read it to her. The story is about a little lion who learns to read and is able to go on many exciting adventure simply by opening up a book. I bet my mom somtimes wishes I was still able to get my adventure fix from reading and didn't have to move to another country!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Ecuador-Style

Well for Thanksgiving we are going to Quito to once again try to get drivers licenses. We "thought" we had a handle on the situation, but... well... we were wrong. We are going to spend Thursday and Friday standing in lines, getting copies of documents that aren't really needed and taking a test on laws that are very similar to those in the states, but will never be enforced and in no way prepare you for the defensive-style of driving needed for Ecuador. So, please pray we make it through the weekend and come out with at least 1 valid drivers license.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Barbasco intoxication

When working with patients from the jungle you typically run across some of the same issues that you do in the States, but there is always a twist. This young lady was admitted to the hospital because of an acute poison intoxication - something seen fairly frequently in the US.

She lives in Shuar jungle community and was flown in by helicopter after ingesting the sap of a Barbasco tuber. It is a type of wild yam. She had apparently gotten into a fight with her family, felt frustrated and found the Barbasco root. She pounded with a stone and sucked on the sap with the intent to kill herself. Fortunately her family found her and got help. Patients who ingest the toxin will often develop a slow heart rate, become weak or paralyzed, convulse, and die.

The Shuar (and other tribes) will use it while fishing. It's a tried and trued method used around the Americas
. Several will be upstream and pound on the tuber to release the sap and then wave it in the water. It’s strong enough to paralyze the fish downstream and they’ll float to the surface and be easy pickings. It is a safer way to fish than dynamite, which is sometimes used as well. Fortunately for her she got better and was able to return home. When questioned about what she had done she wouldn’t admit that she was trying to hurt herself.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Family Adventure- Brady Bunch Style

For the last few weeks we have been without power for about 3-4 hours each day. The power outagaes are the result of the worst drought in Ecuador in about 40 years. The outages haven't been too bad and for the most part we know when they are coming and plan accordingly. When the power is out at night, it is obviously the most inconvenient, but we never thougth it would also be the most exciting. Friday night, Sebastiao and Bella were watching a movie on my laptop during the blackout (they are very grateful for battery power.) All of a sudden, Sebastiao came running down the hallway screaming about a tarantula. Joe and I both thought he must be mistaken and Joe went down the hallway with a flashlight to convience him that it wasn't a large hairy spider....
For many of you who know our son well, you already know that once again, he was correct! There was a very large (for us at least), very hairy and very angry tarantula on his bed. It has crawled up Sebastiao's leg and was claiming the bed for his own. The entire family then spent the next 10 minutes with 2 flashlights, a large box and a piece of cardboard trying to convience the taratula that he was more scared of us than we were of him!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Day

Friday was a big day for Sebastiao. He lost a tooth Friday morning and then had poetry night at school Friday night. He did a wonderful job reciting his poem, Good Night. Hope you enjoy

The poem is: Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbug, tick or louse suck blood from you, hatch its eggs, and then develop the larvae on you , alright?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Joe's Birthday

Thanks to everyone who made Joe's birthday so special. He especially appreciated the cards. Thank you so much for thinking ahead and getting those in the mail early. The residents and interns wanted to have a surpise birthday party for Joe. However, in a culture where 30 minutes late is on time and there is no such thing as late, a surprise party was challenging. They told me to have him there at 7:10, but when we arrived, the door was locked and there was noone there. I sent Joe onto the hospital and waited. Finally after about 20 minutes some people arrived and after about 30 minutes Joe came back....not exactly a surprise party, but it was wonderful. Here is a picture of Joe with the other August birthdays people who were there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Ok, so the jungle trip was completely different than anything I have ever done before. The jungle was like Texas in August, unforgivably hot, with an intense sun. We did have one day that was cloudy with a breeze, and that was a blessing. It was the day we did the parasite study, and I was very grateful for the wind. On the trip were Alex Griffin, an engineer who heads up the water projects in this area, and Tannia Lascano, who teaches health care and hygiene in villages here as well as in the mountains. Here is a picture of Tannia teaching the school children.

The children brought their samples the second day we were there and we got started on processing them. The children went back to school and later came back for Tannia's teaching and then they got a chance to look in the microscope at some of the parasites I had found. The microscope was a new tool for them, but many got the hang of it quickly. Several of the girls actually stood and watched Tannia prepare the samples and me looking into the microscope for hours. Fortunately (I guess) I found lots of interesting parasites to show them. In total, we found that about 68% of the children had parasites, which I am told is not a bad percentage for jungle villages. Most of the parasites we found had nothing to do with clean water, but hygiene. Our last morning there, before we gave out the parasite medicines, Tannia got a chance to teach one last time the importance of using the latrines and washing hands. You can never underestimate the power of a little soap and water!
Below is a picture of Rebecca, the health promoter for Amazona. Most villages have a health promoter which is a volunteer from the community that takes classes given by missionaries on basic health care. Rebecca was exceptional and made sure that each child actually swallowed the medicine we were giving them!

Here are some pictures of the crowd we acquired while there. I tried to be discreet about shooting photos, but once they saw the camera, I had lots of willing subjects.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My First Trip to The Jungle

Please forgive our lack of blogs lately. We will be without power part of each day for at least the next week. However, when we have power we aren't guaranteed the internet will be working, so I will post whenever we have both at the same time.

For the last few weeks I have gotten to work in the hospital laboratory preparing for a parasite study in the jungle. The HCJB Water Projects team, lead by Alex Griffin, have been working in Amazonas for the past year building a clean water system, and latrines. We were interested in finding out how many and what kinds of parasites the school children had. I do not enjoy flying and was especially not excited about a VERY small plane. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) flew us out and our pilot for the day was a good friend of ours, Chad Irwin. Here he is pulling the plane out of the hangar, and preparing for the flight.

Amazonas doesn’t have an airstrip, so we were flown into Makuma. Alex was very kind to me on my first trip to the jungle and we slept in real beds in Makuma and then walked about 45 minutes each day to Amazonas.

I will post more tomorrow of the walk to Amazonas and our time there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Sorry we have been away for over a week, but life has been crazy. We went to Quito for a few days to celebrate Joe's birthday and then I was in the jungle for 3 days. We will fill you in more tomorrow, but for now please pray for rain for the entire country of Ecuador. We are having the worst drought in 45 years and as a result are running low on electricity. Because of the normally high amount of rain here, the electricity comes from several hydroelectric plants. Without rain, electricity is running low and the country is rationing. The entire country will be without electricity for 4-8 hours everyday until the problem gets better. Fortunatly right now we are getting enough rain here to have water in our homes, the real problem is further up in the mountains where the hydroelectric plants are. Please pray for rain there.
I will add pictures of the jungle trip and the reason I got to go tomorrow. I think there is a football (soccer) game today so the power should stay on so people can watch it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Our latest newsletter was sent out yesterday. If you are only on our USPS mailing list but not our email list, you should be getting your soon. If you are not on either list and would like to receive our newsletter, please either leave a comment here with you email address, or email me and I will get it to you ASAP. Thank you guys so much for your support and prayers. That is something we cherish daily and could not do this without you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Missions Projects

OK, so I have had this idea for about a month now and just never got around to sharing it. Then a few weeks ago I got an email that reminded me so here we go.... I have a few ideas for mission projects if you have a group that needs one. I think both of these ideas are good because your children can get involved.

#1 Collect Childrens DVDs for the Nate Saint Memorial School Library: The mission school here, Nate Saint Memorial School, has a wonderful library, but like most mission schools it doesn't have a lot of resources for new items. The video collection is about 98% VHS and I think only 1 or 2 families have VHS machines. Most of us use our computers to play movies (DVD)anyway. The school has decided to get rid of the VHS collection. That will leave the library with about 5 movies. Your group could collect new or used DVDs for the library (veggie tales, cartoons, ect)

#2 Collect Kids Meal Toys : The hospital always needs small toys for children who have been hospitalized. Your group could collect the wonderful toys (that usually end up on the floor of your car) and send them to children in the hospital. The above picture of of Isabella at a McDonalds in Quito (she was so excited). She still does not understand why we don't have one here in Shell and keeps giving us reasons why we should. I have to say she has a strong arguement.

#3 Collect Haribo Gummy Bears: While this idea has no ministerial value at all, I think this is the best idea because that is exactly what I am craving right now. I can even tell you what aisle they are on at Target if you need any help finding them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enjoy the Music

A few weeks ago we had a sending service for some of the hospital staff who are going to Congo for a few months for missions work. Yes, the mission hospital is sending missionaries to another mission field..... that how we do things around here. Drs Eckehart and Klaudia Wolff and Dr. Juan Panchi are going to be in Congo until the end of December. This is part of their sending service which was the hospital band playing. We hope you enjoy this traditional Ecuadorian music.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Update on the Children

Well, the father came into town yesterday and met with the missionaries. He does not want the children and was given a few options for them. Please pray for him and especially for the children (Tatiana and Richard). There is an Achuar couple (same tribe as the father) who may be interested in adopting them. God has a perfect plan for these young lives. Please pray for Dawn and Beirget as they make decisions for the children, for the father that he can come back to the Lord and for a family for these children.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And the Winner Is...... Plus a prayer request

Well, after lots of comments (thank you all very much), we have a winner in our first give-away. Christine Scott is the beautiful necklace. Thanks so much for all of the kind words and encouragement you guys left last week. It helps us feel a little closer to home.

Please pray this week for 2 children they are taking care of at the hospital. Late last week, another missionary who works in the jungle was approached by a man who said he no longer wanted his 2 children ( boy and girl ages 2 & 4). The mother had left shortly after the birth of the boy and there may have been some physical abuse from an aunt. They were both very under-nourished when the missionary brought them in to see Joe on Thursday. The little boy ended up being hospitalized for the entire weekend. Their father is supposed to come into town today to decide for sure if he wants them or not.
Please pray for this situation: that God's will be done, that the father can come to know God through this and that the children will be exactly where God wants them to be. Please also pray for the 2 missionaries, Dawn and Beirget, who are working with this family.
While this is not a "normal" situation, jungle people don't usually just give away their children, it is not "taboo" like it would be for the western world. We have been asking lot of questions wanting a better insight into the thought process and while we will never be able to justify this action, we have a better understanding of the situations and the hard life people lead here. I think that the main issue is that without the knowledge of a Savior or the thought of one God (not multilple, or animism) who is over everything, things like this can happen very easily.

Friday, October 16, 2009

You Know You Live in Ecuador When...... #2

You know you live in Ecuador when you start to haggle with the flower lady when she tells you the 2 dozen roses you want to buy are $5 this week and then feel "jipped" when you walk away having paid $6 for everything.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A New Car

Ok, so this isn't our new car, but I bet it got your attention. We think we finally have gotten the Ecuadorian drivers license stuff under control, and "think" is the operative word here. So we need to begin looking for a new car. Please pray for us. We know that like everything else we have done in preparation for Ecuador, God has just the right car out there for us. Please pray for guidance and wisdom in what kind of vehicle, new or used, how much to spend and when to make the purchase. We are so grateful to our supporters for even making it possible for us to purchase a car this early on and look forward to driving many of you around when you visit!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Ok, so I read a few blogs on a regular basis. Some of them are important missionary blogs and some of them are just for fun blogs about SVG files or something crafty, but the one thing I have noticed is that they all have a lot more comments left by readers than our has. So.... I am not above bribery. Recently my sister-in-law had a give-away on her blog, so we are going to start doing the same thing. The counter on our blog is set up to only count first-time-visitors, and the count continues to go up, so I know you guys are out there. About 2 weeks ago, I thought about not blogging anymore because it didn't seem like anyone was reading it, but then I got a few emails from you guys saying you keep up with it, so this is your chance to prove! Each give-away will be something Ecuadorian and if you have any suggestions of things you would like to see on the give-aways, just ask.... just remember I can't send a blow-gun through the mail.

Ok, so what do you have to do to be eliglble to win? Just leave a comment on any of the blogs this week. You can leave a comment by clicking on the "comment" link below any of the posts. I will have one of the kids randomly pick a name on Saturday and then inform the lucky winner. The first item is this beautiful necklace. The pendant is carved from the stone of a vegetable much like an avocado.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Weekend

Today is an Ecuadorian holiday. 9 de octubre is independence day for Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. For us, it just means the beginning of a LONG call weekend for Joe. Please keep him in your prayers this weekend as he will start off with many complicated cases that are already in the hospital. One of these involves a family and a shamam (witch doctor) and a kidnapping... very complicated and something we will fill you in on more later, but for now please pray for God's protection, discernment, wisdom and longevity for the long weekend ahead.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


While we were in Quito, we took a day trip with some good friends to Otovallo, a small town in the north western part of Ecuador. The first picture of of our friends, Lauri and Mara Nelson. Mara is an experineced "haggler". Otovallo is about 2 hours from Quito and looked completely different than Quito or Pastaza (where we live). The mountains, and terrain reminded us of northern california. It was beautiful. Otovallo is known for its indigenous markets where you can purchase lots textiles, pottery and paintings. We had a lot of fun and many of you will be recieving some of our purchases. While there we bought a tapestry for our wall, a rug for our bedroom and lots of presents. I hope you enjoy the pictures of this beautiful town and its people.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Know You Live in Ecuador When....

Ok, so the other day Isabella was "cooking" in her room. She was busy making all kinds of good treats for us. When she finally came out with a tray full of food and presented me with a plate, I asked "what is this" She replied, "salchipapas!"
Salchipapas is an Ecuadorian dish that is basically deep-fried hotdogs and frenchfries. It is served almost everywhere and is one of Bella's favorites. I'm sure she would be glad to fix it for you when you visit. Oh, by the way for you FaceBookers, Salchipapas even have their own fan club on FB! How is that for a crazy world?

Friday, October 2, 2009

First Trip to Quito

A week before school started, Joe finally had a few days off and we took our first trip. We went to Quito so spend a few days. This is the bus we traveled in for the 5 hour trip.

This is breakfast on the bus.

This is entertainment on the bus.

This is a nap on the bus.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spanish Lessons

Ok, so we have been in Ecuador for 2 1/2 months now and I have had my tutor for about 2 months. A friend showed us this video a few days ago and while it is funny, it also hurts a little because this video contains about 1/2 of my complete Spanish vocabulary. If you enjoy it there is also a 2nd Semester of Spanish video on Youtube.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Bad Day to Gather Bananas

Last weekend Joe was on call Friday-Monday. When he took over the hospital there were 3 patients, when he got finished, there were 21! Yep, only my husband could multiply patients that quickly, and these weren't just normal things either.
-A boy had climbed a banana tree to harvest the banana, he accidentally fell out of the tree and landed on a spear they used to fish with. It went in at the base of his neck and remained embedded near the base of his skull. Fortunately the spear missed his brain and major arteries, but he still needed surgery.
-Another man had already cut down his bananas and was in the process of throwing them over his back to carry them home, when a snake that was in the banana bundle bit him.
-Not banana related, he delivered 6 babies, diagnosed a few people with cancer, and maybe slept 12 hours the entire weekend. But in the end, he was given a bunch of the bananas! can't wait to cook them up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Class Mates

The 9 Ecuadorian children in Isabella's class are all from the local orphanage, Casa de Fe (House of Faith). There are amazing children with amazing stories, amazing strength and amazing love. They are taken such good care of and truly loved at Casa de Fe as well as school. I thought I would share a few pictures of them I took on the first day of school.