This month we have been blessed in so many ways. I would first like to introduce the newest members of our team, The Antioch Missionary Alliance. (Jungle Kids for Christ and Little Steps of Faith) they are pastor Yulier and his wife, Ayniuris. This amazing couple has brought so much to our missionary family. From their testimony to their involvement and calling to come to Ecuador to be part of what God is building here at Antioch Missionary Alliance.
First, and briefly, is the testimony they bring with them. Yulier and his wife (who is expecting) were sent by a church in a struggling third world country. Cuba, as many Latin american countries, is financially unstable, and their citizens try to flee the country searching for a better lifestyle. Because of this need and desire of survival, there is a revival in the country (Cuba). God is capturing the hearts of those seeking answers. Cuba is building and sending missionaries throughout the world.
Note: We are so thankful for being sent from such an amazing financially set country, that we sometimes forget how God is working throughout the world. Through connections we have been blessed with missionaries from Cuba and possibly more to come.
Yulier (fluent in English, French and Spanish) is the answer of years of prayers. He comes to join our missionary family as a spiritual leader. For now he directs and pastors our little home church every Sunday night. We are so blessed with the Word he brings and helps us stay focused on the Word of God throughout our busy life. He is also a mentor in the school, as he spends time with the children and teachers to guide them spiritually.
We are are so grateful for this team here in Ecuador. We are thankful that we have a solid team that is building each other up.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
This month has been a month of learning and forming bonds to fully give the most to a vision and direction of ministries forming together to be the best for communities nearby in the Amazonian jungle of Ecuador.
Jungle Kids for Christ (www.junglekidsforchrist.org) has a well established relationship with the communities nearby, and we are very fortunate to be able to be part of bring God real to the lives of these kids.
With a month of September focused on meetings and legal paperwork, we would rather let you enjoy some everyday life picture as they can say so much more then anything written here. Check out our new addition to the webpage: This Month in Pictures
It's hard to believe that we've been back to Ecuador for a month now. We are back to work! It's been a busy month, where do we start?
Each country we've visited or lived at, has its own different culture and way of life. Here in Ecuador life would be very difficult if we didn't take time to build relationships. The old saying is so true here,,, "It's not what you know, but who you know". And now, we are understanding that building and keeping relationships is a strength and this is how we can continue to grow.
It's very humbling when the very people you've set out to help out are actually the ones teaching you the ropes. So our prayer is not only that we become a positive influence in the lives of people in this area; but also that through God's grace we can have a deep relationship where we can trust, love and influence one another.
With that, the few relationships we have made already, have been so important at getting us back on our feet as we start from scratch. We have just recently moved into our new home, which we are currently renting in the town that is about 5 minutes from the school. We have made some amazing connections that have really blessed us on this move
God is so amazing and we are so blessed for these relationships as we will continue to build them and grow in these communities.
We are also getting to know our neighbor. She is from a tribe that is about 7 hours from where we are located. She lives here in town and dresses up for tourists who pay her to take a picture with her and sometimes monkeys. She really wants us to go with her to her community some day. So we will see. She has a hard concept of life as she has lost a few of her kids to sickness and her family that she does have is not part of her life much. So again, we pray we can develop a godly relationship with her and her family to glorify the Lord.
To see more pictures of our first month back click here
After our week long stay in Quito for paperwork, we finally made it to Misahualli. The trip down the mountain was a little nerve racking. But God is good and protects.
It's such a surreal feeling to finally be here after these crazy last five months. Last night, we went to bed with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, even though we didn't really do anything; it was God who brought us here safely and for such a time. We just want to praise God today for all the answered prayers, and place our petitions in His hands once more
Thank you all for partnering with us by praying for this ministry and our family. We have witness God answer the prayers of His faithful children. And all the praise and glory be to Him who responds to every one of our needs.
After a rollercoaster plane going through some rough weather entering into Quito, Ecuador; we have finally arrived back home. Well almost.
As Kelvin has been applying for residency, we are going to stay in Quito until Thursday to finish off all his paperwork and then he has his ceremony to receive his residency on Wednesday. We will then make our trip down the mountain to the Jungle.
Even though we are this close to home, we still have a trip that is in need of all your prayer. Monica recently was talking with a friend from the school and she was letting us know of the road conditions.
In the last month there has been an extreme amount of rain for even Ecuador. The roads have been overcome by several landslides. This same road is the one we need to travel down to get to the jungle. Because of these landslides there has been 4 deaths! as a bus was swept off the road from a sudden avalanche. We have one other route to take down the mountain that has been closed off and on due to land slides. This is about an 8 hour trip down the mountain.
So please continue to keep us in prayer as we still have a "trip" to go yet until we reach our home in the jungle.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." - Ecclesiastes 3:1
This year has been a year of growth for our family, and understanding that there is a time for every matter under heaven has stretched our faith. At first, we were somewhat frustrated that we had to stay in the United States longer than anticipated, when we could be doing so much in Ecuador. And now, we are nothing but grateful to have been back in the states for such a period of time. We never planned to be here this long, but how amazing to experience God's redirecting us to His perfect timing. This perfect timing for us to be with family and to experience the highs and lows of the seasons in life.
We made it back to the states just in time to bring in new life and be blessed with a baby boy.
Our daughter was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome as we were about to leave.
We have spent some amazing extended time with grandparents as this time is so precious for us all.
As we may not understand why life may be difficult at times, we do understand that there is a time for everything. We have been so blessed to be able to be with family and with so many of you who have continued to follow and support us during this extended stay in the states.
This last week has been a roller coaster for our family. We have been so blessed to be able to be back in the United States and share what God is doing and our family and the work ahead of us. We can't thank you all enough for those who have been so encouraging and welcoming in this Journey.
This trip has also shown to be a time of growth for us as we were faced with trials. We may not understand why these things happen, but we trust in God's sovereignty and that He works all things together for our good and His purpose. We also understand that through these times we have seen how much more we need to depend on our Heavenly Father.
3 nights ago we took our daughter Kelly for a check up because we were noticing some swelling in her eyes and in her belly. We thought maybe allergies and maybe even because of a different diet since we moved from Ecuador. After some routine check ups they found there were fluids in her abdomen, so we were referred to the children's hospital. After two nights in the hospital, she was diagnosed with Nephrotic syndrome. The short explanations is that her kidneys are not working properly, and they are leaking protein. She is on a steroid treatment to help heal up her kidneys. Please keep her in prayer.
We will have to reschedule our return to Ecuador in about 6 to 8 weeks from now until the treatment is complete. We are trying to do a lot of last minute plan changes as this was so unexpected. We don't understand a lot of what is going on right now, but we do know God is in control. It is a hard time for us as a family, more for Monica and myself than Kelly. Besides the doctors poking her with needles to draw blood for lab work, she has been an amazing, cheerful, beautiful, strong girl throughout all this process.
What we do know, is that there are things in this life that we may not understand, but if it gives us a chance to depend on God more, we will grow. This has been the story of our journey from the beginning.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths
We are in the States! We are so grateful to be here and enjoy the comforts of home, and being able to have had a baby where our family can be close. We are so excited to welcome Kit to our family. He was born on March 30th, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz and as healthy as a new born can be.
Now that he was born, we can start visiting and catching up with our friends and family. We'll be in the Twin Cities until April 24th, up north from then till the end of May, and in Seattle May 9th to the 12th.
We hope to see as many people as we can while we are here!
Deciding to have a baby wasn't hard.... now the decision of WHERE to have him has been the tough part. At first we thought to have him around family in Guayaquil, where I (Monica) would be comfortable and in trusted hands. But after going through the 10 hour trip from the coast to the jungle, largely pregnant, we scratched that option off.
The second option was to have him in the hospital in Tena or in the Jungle. Just 45 minutes away from home, this seemed like a no brainier. Until I heard the maternity ward is just what it sounds like... a WARD! All kinds of expecting mothers in pain in the same area together. Therefore, no men allowed. This means i would have to face childbirth all alone without the only person i would want there anyway, Kelvin. No way, not for me! i know i need all the support i can get.
Ok, option number three. What if we have the baby in Quito? Quito is only 4 hours away and has great hospitals. Here is the deal breaker, we would have to rent an apartment for a month plus the cost of the birth would have been too much for us to handle.
So last minute, we opted for something that hadn't crossed our minds, but makes so much sense, to have the baby back in the States. It works so great since we were already planning to head back to MN in the summer.
Yes, we had to change our plans around once again, but we trust that God's timing is always right, and there are reasons why things turned out the way they did.
So we are heading back home as we speak! (we are a little late on posting this entry). We are excited to see everyone again and of course, to give birth to our little bundle of joy back with our families in MN.
Please pray for us through these next few steps we are currently pursuing. We are in search of where God wants us to locate Little Steps of Faith. The property hunt is quite stressful as there are several things to consider before you make these decisions. There is also the connecting and building of relationships with "MIESS" (the child services here in Ecuador). This is very important on understanding how the government wants things organized and what steps we need to go through before they will consider us an option to take in kids. These are very delicate issues and need wisdom. We ask for all your prayer and keep us in minds as we continue to pursue these next steps.
We once again thank you all so much for making this possible for us to be entrusted to do this work here in Ecuador.
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer!