Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day two in Ecuador

Our church has adopted this region in Ecuador. For the last three years, they have gone over to do medical clinics as well as assist some pastors in starting home bible studies. This is, I believe, the first year we go to help do VBS.

On our first full day in Cayambe, Ecuador, we woke up a little late and went to the restaurant in front of our cabins to eat breakfast. We had already been told not to drink the water in Ecuador and not to eat anything that was cleaned in water that wasn't boiled. Like salads.

But we didn't have to worry, because this little restaurant had omelette's, scrambled eggs, pancakes ( Aunt Jemima) and bizcochos. Now those little pastry things were my favorite. I'm sure it was loaded with fat, but boy were they yummy fatty things.

They even had cokes. The fridges they have are not like ours. They don't cool as much. So finding cold coca-colas was not that easy. They really weren't that hot, but they sure weren't cold. By the next day, the people at the restaurant would put some cokes in the freezer just so they would be a little cold. No Dr. Pepper for you that like that drink.

One of the views that greeted us every morning looked like this. God's beautiful creation.
The weather was also wonderful. At night it would get to the upper 40's and during the day it was only in the 70's. We either wore a light jacket or a long sleeve shirt.

We head on over to the molino, the windmill. This is where the pastor and his family live, work and where they were having vbs. It is 5 stories high. The bottom floor is the restaurant, the second floor was like a living room area and the rest of the floors were where they lived. Little to no light and in the evenings it was pretty chilly. They did have a little room on the bottom floor that had a fireplace and they would light that up on occasion.

We arrived a little early. VBS was going to start at 2pm. We introduced ourselves and started planning as to how we were better going to serve them. They had about 80 kids the day before and were expecting more on this day. By the end of the day there were close to 90 kids.
We had several bags with VBS supplies that we brought them. Kennedy and Maria, the pastor and his wife, were quite excited with what we had brought. We even took clothes for the kids. This was one of the needs that they had expressed.
There was a swing that was on a big tree at the front of the molino. That seemed to be a fun swing as it always attracted lots of kids. They would get on the swing in groups, then others pushed them. The joy that they had from this simple, broken swing was something that we really don't see down her in America. There was no fighting going on over how many times someone had already sat in the swing. No fighting over who was going to get on next, or who had more turns than someone else. They were just laughing and having a good time.

When we looked down the road from the molino, we saw lots and lots of kids walking. This was a poor little community and not very many people had vehicles. Old bikes were used a lot, as well as the legs that God gave them and sometimes the bus.
Lots of little kids came with their siblings. Almost all the siblings we saw took care of each other. The older ones held the younger ones hands and made sure they were safe before they left them to go play with their friends.

This swing set was already in poor shape when we got there. At the end of this second day, it was broken. The pastor said "It's better that it mess up with the kids than with the rain."

They had the general assembly outside. All these little kids eager to hear about Jesus. They were ready to soak it all in.

They called us 'missionarios'. Missionaries. They usually call Americans 'gringos', but they were afraid that we would be offended, so they called us the other word.
They introduced us to the kids and then had us go up to the front and do the hand motions to the song they were learning that day. That seemed to be the only song we could remember all week long.

The VBS they were doing was ' A Festival of Colors'. They were doing it based on the plan of salvation. On Monday, it was black. They talked about black being sin. On this day it was red. Talking about the blood of Christ. We also had to come up with a craft.

We were pretty tired by the end of the day. A good kind of tired. Knowing that God was already working in our lives. Ready for a hot shower and bed. Bed was good, but the hot shower didn't happen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our arrival in Ecuador

Well, this trip was wonderful. Nothing like I expected, but everything like I expected. If that makes any sense.

Before I left, I had written that we didn't have a place to stay at in Cayambe. All day Sunday, I had a peaceful feeling. Then in the wee hours of the night, during my anticipation, God just told me to trust him. That all would be well. I slept for a couple of hours then woke up ready to go.

We had no trouble at the airport. We checked in all of our bags that were loaded with VBS supplies and clothes to take to the kids up there. We ate lunch to prepare ourselves for the long day ahead.

There were six of us going. We had all just met when we were having the meetings to prepare for this trip. The group consisted of 4 women and 2 men. Ages ranging from 18 on up. We started to get to know each other.

By the time we arrived in Quito, Ecuador, we knew each other pretty well. We were all excited to see what God had in store for us. By this time, we had all just let every thing go and said "God, you are in control. Use us however you need us to be used." We had just found out that morning that we did have a place to stay. Our flights were going smoothly, minus a little turbulence at the end, and we arrived on time.

We get to the airport and go through immigration then on to get our luggage. It is midnight by this time. We meet the missionary and the two translators. We load all our luggage in one car and walk over to the rental place to get the other vehicle. We finally get all ten of us situated in both vehicles and at 1am we start driving to our destination. Cayambe, Ecuador.

It was dark and cold and not very many cars on the road. When there were cars, they were driving fast and passing you when the solid double lines were showing in the middle of the road. We kept turning as if we were going through curves, we had no idea where we were going. I had to pull out my crackers and water during this time because I was not feeling the greatest.
I week later, I would understand why all the curves. We were driving through the mountains and you could see down a long ways as well as see mountains all over us. Not as scary driving through there during the day.

Cayambe is an hour drive from Quito. We arrive at our hotel and find that there is a lock on the gate to get in. We finally wake the lady up and she let's us in. We unload all of our luggage and go in our cabins. We were fortunate to get a cabin that had 4 beds. All 4 of us girls were able to sleep in the same cabin. It was fun.

We tried taking showers, but hot water is a little non-existent up there. And when it's 50 degrees outside, the last thing you want to do is take a cold shower. It was 3am before we finally lay down to sleep in order to get ready for the next day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Home, home on the range...............

I'm home!! I'm home!

Ahhhh, it feels so good to be home.

While we did have an awesome week, we were all ready to come home.

Emotions were running wild yesterday. All week long we were busy. Missing our families, but not really thinking about them due to the fact that we were busy all the time. Sunday got here and we were on home mode. We tried to go to sleep at midnight because we knew had to get up at 3am to head on over to the airport for our 6am flight.

I was thinking about being home with my boys and my man that I hardly slept those 3hrs. I wake up with energy thinking that I'll be home with my family that night, only to be told at the airport that we might or might not be in Houston that day. But for sure that we weren't going to be home until Tue. Emotions took over and added with the tiredness, lots of tears erupted.

The plane that was supposed to land on Sunday night didn't. It flew 3 hrs from Houston to Quito, Ecuador, but then headed back to Houston when they couldn't land because there was volcanic ash on the runway. Not many planes were there yesterday.

We prayed a lot. Individually and as a group. I think our group leader was tired of us women crying for no reason at all. I'm sure he was ready to get away from us cry babies.

We finally left Quito, Ecuador at 3:30 pm. We'd only been at the airport 11 1/2 hrs with little to no sleep. To say we were tired and hungry is an understatement.

The planes heads on over to Panama City to fuel up. We are there for 30 minutes fueling up then it's 3 1/2 hrs on to Houston. We arrive in Houston at 9:40 pm. God was taking care of us because we had no trouble going through customs and immigration.

We, along with the other 100 people from the flight that missed their connecting flights, wait for a shuttle to take us to the Sheraton hotel to spend the night. Finally, 3 shuttle buses later, we arrive at the hotel, get our rooms and go find something to eat. Nothing like eating a greasy jack in the box burger at midnight. Welcome home huh?

All went well this morning. Our plane left Houston on time, and made it home a little after 1pm. I was exhausted. I did have me a good nap though.

I am so looking forward to taking a hot shower in my own shower, and sleeping in my own bed.

So thank you to all who prayed for our safe return home and everything that went with it.

I will start writing about what God did this past week in Cayambe, Ecuador.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello from Ecuador

Hello everyone!!!!!

I am still in Ecuador. Our flight was supposed to leave at 6am, but was cancelled until 1pm. Now they are saying 3pm. All 6 of us are exhausted and homesick. We are ready to see our families. Ready to touch them and love on them. But all of us are glad that we experienced what God wanted us to experience.

We fly to Houston and then have to spend the night there tonight and catch a 5am flight home in the morning.

Please continue to pray for our safe return home.

Until later my friends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's almost time for Ecuador

Wow! My trip to Ecuador if finally here. Of course it's late and I'm still packing. I keep forgetting stuff. I sure hope people don't mind how I smell. Just kidding.

I've been pretty busy lately. I mean, I am leaving out of the country, and it just clicked in my brain Thursday. I went to pick up my mom so that she can stay with the boys while Hubster works. Then on Friday, we went to spend the day getting last minute stuff that I needed and stuff that I didn't need. Hubster and I even went on a bike ride on Sat. morning.

Yesterday I spent the day stocking up on food so that no one will starve while I'm gone.

So today I'm packing.

As of right now, this is what I know. We arrive in Quito, Ecaudor at 11:30 pm (same time as this time). We get our bags, hoping they all arrive there. We get the rental vehicles, pick up two translators and drive 1 1/2 to 2 hrs to our destination, Cuyumbe, Ecuador. We then arrive at a hotel ( right now we don't know if we have one). But hey, I'm taking me a pillow, blanket and sheet. I'll sleep at the airport if I have to.

The church we are helping do VBS has already got the ball rolling. They made radio announcements, made fliers and are actually starting tomorrow. They are having VBS from 2-5pm, so maybe we'll get to sleep a little mon. night/ tue. morning. They are already estimating about 100 kids ages 7-12. Six of us, one missionary, the preacher and two translators for 5 people. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us.

I'm not sure if I'll get to post from there. I don't have a laptop, but there are some Internet cafes around. Just keep us all in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The ugly birds that grew up

This is the second batch of swallows. The first batch was back in May. Mom and Dad swallow sure have been busy.

They are so ugly, that they are cute. That fuzzy hair on the top. The wrinkly neck. Big oversize mouth for their little bodies. All wanting mom to come take care of them. A mother's job is never done.

I think this time, these little birds are learning Spanish. Want to know how I know? Because here they were saying, "Ai, Ai, Ai, Ai"

Here, he's got some back up while he holds that note. He's actually rolling the tongue to make that rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound. I think I even heard some Mariachi music in the background.

The sad look on that one means that his rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr's got mixed up with a bug that mom came and dropped in his mouth. The other ones are still holding their notes.

But see, then in a couple of weeks they grow up to be pretty little birds. I think they are used to me with my camera. They don't even budge. They just sit there and think that here comes the weird lady.

All six of them have flown the coop. I tell them that I'm their Aunt. All they say is "Eres loca"
(you're crazy)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I can see 'clearly' now

I know I'm reeaally late in posting this, but it has been a 'clear' kind've day. And just because I'm me, I'm going to tell y'all about my clear moments.

The day started off good. I had a hair appt. this morning. All went well with the boys being there. No mishaps this time.

We then drive over to the Health Dept. to get the shot that I need for this trip. I inquire about it and the lady at the counter informs me that they only administer this type of shot on W,W & F and only on certain times. Oh, she says, you do realize that if it's for you, there is a price. Well, I had called a couple of weeks ago and asked about this particular shot. Remember, procrastination on my part. When I had called, the person on the other end of the phone told me that they do administer this shot and she told me the price. Nothing was said about certain days and time, but oh well. So yes, I said, I'm well aware that there is a price. Of course, under my breath I was muttering other things.

To the car we go. On to my favorite place in the world (sarcasm inserted here) Wal-Mart. I send AB to get a shopping cart, he comes back with one that had obviously seen better days. I send him to get another one. He comes back running like he's on Supermarket Sweep or something. He makes a sharp turn, barely missing the display of something in the garden center. I just give him the look, take the basket from him and continue shopping. No mishaps here either.

On to the swimming pool. The church is having swim days at the public pool from 1-3. We rushed over and I look around. I have never been to this pool. There are no chairs to sit on. No benches, no curbs, no nothing. Only the hard cement. Now, I'm no snob, but I'm not going to sit on hot cement for 2 hrs. I rush back have to get the chairs. My glutus maximus thanked me.

When we leave the swimming pool is when things started going clear for me. I'm thinking that I should have stayed there.

We come home so that the boys can change and get ready to go to karate. I had bought some sort of medicine for our trees. They are not looking too healthy. I start mixing the stuff with water and pour it down the tree. I finish and we load up into the car because we are already late. (No surprise there)

We come back from karate and we get into Hubster's brand new company truck to get some gas for the mower. I was mowing last night and I ran out of gas, so I had to push this riding mower all the way into the garage because no way was I going to push it up the hill into the shop. I was having a hard enough time pushing it into the garage.

We get to the gas station and I open the tail gate. I pull the gas container to the top of the tail gate. Don't ask me where things went wrong because I couldn't tell you. All I know is that the nozzle somehow got out of the hole of the container and when I tried to put it back in, silly me didn't shut it off in time. There was some gas on the tailgate of the truck, but somehow a lot of it got on my right arm. Gasoline, the new kind of perfume.

I go home and try to get the mower out of the way in order to clean off the gas off Hubster's truck. I get the gas container out of the truck and fill up the mower. I turn the key and nothing happens. I make sure all the buttons are where they need to be. Still nothing. I call Hubster cuz he's out of town. He says that maybe I forgot to turn the key off. I don't think so I said, but OK. So I go to my neighbors to see if they can jump me. He comes over with his cables and plugs them in. There are sparks happening. He says that it can't be the battery.

He sits on it to try to see if he can get it to work. As I'm standing there watching, I realize that I had forgotten to push the lever back that starts the blades. The mower won't start if it's not in it's proper starting position. I apologize for wasting his time, shake my head and get the bucket to start washing Hubster's tail gate off.

I get the hose and realize that when I was tending to the trees earlier in the afternoon, I had failed to turn the water off. At least my flowerbed won't need water for a while. The boys were floating some stuff in that water.

After I finish washing off the gas, I get on the mower. But I guess I forgot how to use it because it kept turning off on me.

Then I sit here to type my clear moments and start typing, only to realize that I wasn't connected. I had to start all over again.

I think I'm going to go put some kids to sleep and go wash off this lovely new perfume smell I have, then I'm going to watch a stupid show with people doing stupid stuff so that I can feel better about myself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

One more week until Ecuador and other stuff

I leave in exactly one week from today. It's almost here. We are getting 250 bags together with toys, candies and such to take and pass out. We are waiting for some stuff to come in and then we can finish the bags. The kids at VBS last week collected lots of toys for us to put in the bags.

One of the other ladies going has already got her bags packed. We were giving her a hard time because she's had this bag packed since last Wednesday. Not me. I'm the biggest procrastinator there is. I wait until the very last minute to get things done. I work better under pressure. Ha Ha I do have some stuff ready, but not my big suitcase. I'm getting my backpack ready with snacks. I've got priorities here.

The weather here has been strange. Hot and sunny some days. Hot and cloudy some other days. Rainy and humid on yet some others. UB's asthma doesn't know whether to hang out with him or just leave. It's like an uninvited guest, it just needs to leave. Anyway, we were working outside and UB spotted this rainbow. It was coming out through the clouds.

UB is explaining to AB that the rainbow means that it is a message from God telling us that it has already rained. AB is trying to tell him that a rainbow means that it's God's promise that he will never flood the earth. Needless to say, there was a big discussion about the rainbow and what God was really saying at this time.

But in the end, they both agreed that God is the one that made the rainbow and eventually UB said that AB was right. Brothers!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekly Winners

For more Weekly Winners go here.

Preparing for lift off Daddy consoling sick child

Playing with dandelions

Little blue horse fly

pretty yellow flower

Friday, July 11, 2008

VBS in Ecuador

We just finished a week of Vacation Bible School at church. There were over 200 kids there each day. There were also close to 90 helpers.

Now that I've got that out of the way, let me tell you why those numbers scare me. Yes, that's a bunch of kids and lots of helpers, but that's not what scares me.

What scares me is that when we go to Ecuador, there will be close to that many kids doing VBS and only 6 American helpers, the Missionaries(husband and wife), the pastor and his wife (from Ecuador) and only a handful of other helpers.

We are going to Ecuador to help a church do VBS. This church is also a restaurant and home to the pastor and his wife. We are going to teach the church people there how to conduct a VBS. There are roughly about 50 members of the church. I believe that includes adults and children. Maybe even a dog or two.

So see? That's what scares me. A church with over 200 kids and 90 helpers runs smoothly, chaotic and crazy. What do you think a VBS with close to 200 kids and 10? adults mean?

We are going with little to no resources from here. We are planning to buy everything over there. That way, the people can know what's available to them. We are going with no curriculum, only plenty of Bible stories.

I'm a little nervous, but I'm extremely excited to see God's work in all of this. I know that He'll provide everything He needs for us to accomplish his mission.

And knowing that God's hand is in all of this makes it a lot easier to see the big picture.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just a little rambling

I've sort've been on a vacation from posting. I just needed it. Besides, nothing interesting has happened here.

On the morning of the 5th, Hubster receives a phone call at almost 6am to tell him that a car had crashed into their office building and police needed him there. We find out later that a girl was driving and ran off the road, ran into the 6 ft fence, actually ran through it, and ended up in the warehouse part of the building when she crashed into the forklift. She apparantly fell asleep.

Later that evening, we had a get together at a friends house. They were going to have a huge fireworks display when it got dark. It was very good too. Probably one of the best fireworks shows I've seen in a while. It even lasted a good 20 minutes. The boys have always been frightened, but they did well.

On the way home at almost 11pm, the boys were exhausted and were falling asleep. I put on some 80's music, because you just can't go wrong with that kind of music. We ended up listening to Madonna's Get into the Groove song. We were jammin'. I had that radio cranked up as loud as we could handle it. When we got home and I turned the radio off, the boys were disappointed.

Anyway, yesterday in the car, we were playing a game. UB had some points and I had some as well. As I was driving, I kept getting more points. AB said, "Gosh mom, you are getting into the groove just like the song said" I thought that was pretty funny.

I've been helping at church with VBS. We live in a small community and it's just awesome to see that their are over 2oo kids attending VBS. I'm just helping in crafts, but almost all those kids come through the craft rotation. I'm pretty tired by the time 12 rolls around. So I just come home, and just want to chill. But today I can't because Hubster has been out of town and is coming home. Which means that I have to clean my house before he comes home. I have to make it look like I've actually been doing something while he's been gone. Hi Honey!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Weekly Winners

June 29-July 5
For more weekly winners go here.
It's trio time!

Waiting patiently for mom

Doggie kisses

More doggie kisses

4th of July yummy cake

Be the moon...........Reflect the Son!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

So toda I'm going to be joining everyone here and post recipes that requre 5 ingredients or less.

Breakfast Sausage Roll
1 package Jimmy Dean (or other brand) sausage
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 big and flaky crescent roll

Brown sausage in skillet. I add onions and garlic. Take off heat. Add cream cheese to cooked mixture. Spread out crescent roll then spread mixture on top of crescent roll. Roll up like a big cinnamon roll. Slice and bake until brown in 350 degree oven.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb hamburger meat
1 can cream of mushroom
1 package frozen tater tots
1 small package shredded cheese

Brown hamburger meat. Add spices to your liking. Add cream of mushroom soup. Arrange a layer of tater tots on the bottom of a casserole dish. (if you don't like that many potatoes, just leave them out of the bottom layer.) Add your hamburger mixture. Spread cheese on top of meat mixture, add another layer of tater tots to cover it up. Bake at 350 degrees until browned. Take out and add more cheese if you want to.

Another option is to substitute doritos (corn flavored) instead of the tater tots. Yummy!

Strawberry Delight
1 angel food cake
1 can of condensed milk
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 8 oz tub of cool whip
1 tub of frozen strawberries w/syrup ( You can also put strawberry pie filling, or fresh strawberries)

Mix milk, cream cheese and cool whip together. Cut of pieces of angel food cake and put on the bottom of a dish. Add cool whip mixture to the top of that. Top with strawberries. Repeat layers, ending with cool whip mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.