Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some favorite pics of Enoch

In an effort to be fair... and in case I ever do another blog book... I thought I'd post some of my favorite shots of Enoch so far, most of which I have already posted on facebook :) Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reflections on Life in Ecuador

This blog has been brewing a long time on the back burner in my brain. There have been a lot of reasons why I have kept pushing it back and letting it simmer: too many things to process in those first few weeks, too busy with settling in, having a baby, taking care of 4 kids, homeschooling when I'm able, keeping up with the house cleaning. And let's get real - facebook is just so much easier! It's a lot easier to spit out a sentence or two and upload a ton of pictures at once. But it seems a week of vacation was just the stimulant I needed to get back into the world of blogging.

But there are some things that can't be said in a few words. Namely, thoughts on our new life here in Ecuador... birth and life with 4 children... new work... living close to family. Where do I begin? Here are 20 different thoughts I have had... in no particular order.

1. Ecuador is much more modern than Bolivia. The malls are comparable to the US... we have Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. There are actual 6 and 8 lane highways. You don't have to check your purse at the grocery store. You can buy frozen vegetables and frozen juice concentrate.
2. Ecuador is still a 3rd world Latin American country. Things may be slightly more organized, but we still have to run circles getting any paperwork done. The driving, unbelievably, is a whole new level of craziness. Traffic moves much faster and you better drive with your window down so you can stick your hand out at a whim, because people do not pay attention to turn signals... and forget merging and yielding. You have to bully your way in. It's terrifying! This is definitely the biggest city I have every lived in, much less driven in. And the roads wind and curve so much - going around and through mountains.
3. We still have to buy our natural gas in tanks (although at least the gas truck comes by our house daily). You still buy your milk in bags. And buses and taxis are still the primary mode of transportation.
3. Ecuador has a coast. I am loving the availability of fresh seafood! Shrimp and fish are so much cheaper and easier to buy.
4. Fresh bread here is beyond comparison!
5. When we first arrived, it rained all the time! Bolivia was an incredibly beautiful country, in it's own way. Ecuador is GREEN and beautiful! And surprisingly, it is colder here most of the time than it was in Bolivia. There is just no telling what the weather will be like... it may be sunny and 5 minutes later, cold and rainy.
6. Interestingly enough, I actually think Bolivia had more foreign import items. I miss Que Barato and my sporadic supply of Dr. Pepper! I have yet to find a can in Ecuador.
7. I am enjoying doing all my weekly shopping in one place. I don't have to go to the fresh market and the supermarket. And the supermarket here has an amazing supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, unlike the ones in Bolivia. Some of the fruits I have never heard of or seen anywhere else.
8. There is a price to modernity: everything is more expensive.
9. Living close to family has definite benefits. The girls are loving spending time at Nana and Papa's and playing with their cousins. And we got to see cousin Addison the day after she was born! A first for me as an auntie. We are loving getting to spend more time with Jauna, Justin and their kids. God is good... he has always had us near one of our siblings.
10. The birthing experience here was beautiful! The clinic and water birth was amazing. I did, however, find it ironic that after having 4 natural labor and deliveries because I didn't want a needle stuck in my back, I found myself getting an epidural the following morning before my surgery. And as the drugs set in, I found myself thinking,"Wow, this is why some women opt for the epidural!" But I definitely did not enjoy the recovery from said drugs. I was so woozy and lethargic the following day, and had major headaches for 3 days in a row.
11. The hardest part of our new ministry is Josh being gone for days at a time. It is also different being involved in a work that has been established for 20+ years. It is a delicate balance, knowing how to get involved and help while not wanting to take charge or change things that are already going well. It has also been a challenge for me, coming into a place and meeting people that know Josh so well, but not knowing any of them! I am still wading the murky waters of learning names and faces.
12. I have great respect for young moms that homeschool. It is so challenging getting anything done with 3 kids and a baby! Consistency has definitely suffered since Enoch was born. A part of me is looking forward to the girls starting school... at least it will get us into a routine! The other part of me feels like the days are slipping through my fingers like water... I'm treasuring these slow and easy days with my children, knowing that I probably won't have time like this very often again.
13. Ecuador reminds me hauntingly at times of Kenya... whether it be the feeling that I must be driving up the Rift Valley ridge... or seeing more black faces on the streets... or sitting on the beach remembering the white sands of Mombasa... or remembering childhood visits to the villages as we visit a local tribal group here. Ecuador is also a lot more like Kenya in the sense that it is very tourist oriented. There are so many places to explore... and means and manner to do so!
14. The soups in Bolivia are better, but they still have the 'almuerzo' tradition... a 3 course meal of the day served at most restaurants for a very cheap price.
15. LIfe with 4 children is not a whole lot different than life with 3. It is nice having a child/children old enough to be able to hold a baby, put a paci in, feed him a bottle, even change a diaper. And it is a whole new world having only 1 in diapers! Having a boy... is not a whole lot different than having a girl... so far. There are still just as many folds of skin to wipe when you change a diaper... they are just arranged differently... and you have to be more careful to cover him up quickly! I will say Enoch seems to be a little stronger... a fighter. And he eats a lot! He also seems to have developed an early case of 'mommyitis'.
16. I have experienced another hard part of life abroad recently. My mom has recently been diagnosed with non-Hodgekins lymphoma. It is really hard being far from family at times like this. Please keep her health in your prayers.
17. It is nice being such a 'short' trip from the US. My father-in-law likes to say we're just 5 hours south of Miami/Houston. It is easy to get here in a day... with only 2 plane rides.
18. I am a creature of habit. I miss familiarity... knowing where to buy things... knowing where to drive... knowing which buses to take... which taxi service to call... I miss my pediatrician. I miss our house. I miss having consistent help in the house! I miss my friends and church family.
19. i am enjoying experiencing new places and making new memories. Our house is finally starting to feel like 'home'. The people here are so friendly and glad we are here.
20. Josh keeps reminding me, in my emotional ups and downs, that God has brought us here at the right time for a purpose. I know he is right, although sometimes I get tired of hearing it. I can see it too, in the way he is contributing to Operation Ecuador and in the lives of his family. To be honest, for some reason, I resist it at times.... I'm not sure why. Am I afraid to put roots down? Reluctant? I am praying God continue to work in me... to open me to what He wants to teach me here in this place... among this people... and to serve in the way He has laid out for me.