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Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally an Update!

I think that Jonathan and I should win an award for being the worst bloggers. We've had so many huge things happen in our lives since we lost blogged... so many in fact that each is worth of its own post. Since, however, we have waited this long to post, I'll hit the majors so that it won't be too much to read.

My Dad's Election

Jonathan and I were blessed to get off work in Oxford for 3 weeks so help my dad with his campaign for US Congress in Georgia's 7th congressional district. We really enjoyed our time helping my dad pursue such a big challenge. My dad is generally the behind the scene person, so it was very nice getting to be his support.
The primary was held July 20th, and I'm sad to say that my dad didn't get elected to run in November. We knew going into the race that the chance was slim, but this has opened other doors for politics. My dad now has a new hobby to pursue.

Some Growing News...

I was extremely exhausted the whole month of June helping out with the campaign. It didn't take long for us to realize that.... We're having a baby! This came as a complete shock, as we weren't hoping for kids for another few years. However, we are extremely excited about this little blessing that God has entrusted to us.
I had several complications in the early months of pregnancy, and we thought twice that we had lost our little one. God actually used this to help us get more excited about this unexpected change in plans. We waited until my second trimester to start telling people because of the complications, but everything is going great now. I had really bad morning sickness up till week 16, but now my appetite is back! I'm finally packing on the necessary pounds and getting a baby bump.
We are expecting our little Hunter February 23rd (I'm at 20 weeks!). This is just three days after our one year anniversary! I hope he/she isn't early so Jonathan and I can celebrate that day for once without having a little one, but I'm sure by then I'll just want the little one in my arms instead of inside me.
We are getting more and more excited about this new addition each day. I can now feel him/her move inside of me! We have an ultrasound on Thursday, and we've decided not to find out the gender. This way we get gender neutral things for our next little one. We'll post pictures when we have them.

Youth Climbing Team

We started directing Miami University's Youth Climbing Team (YCT) in July with practices starting in September. Jonathan and I love this job and love working together. We both do this job after our jobs at Jimmy Johns and Patterson's Cafe. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we work with elementary aged climbers. This is a lot of fun, and it requires us to be on our toes. They are making great progress in their climbing! On Thursdays, we work with middle and high school students. We love this night because it isn't as programed and we get to enjoy the rock wall with them. We have a total of 31 climbers we work with, so we've been very busy.

Job Changes

We are extremely excited about this new addition to our family. God is so gracious in His provision. The pregnancy doesn't complicate our job with Miami University teaching rock climbing. Currently, I still fit in a harness. When I'm too big for the harness, there is plenty I can do to facilitate the teams.
I've also been able to pick up several more hours working with the team building program. I'm actually meeting with the current director today about taking over some of her responsibilities as she goes on maternity leave.
With all the opportunities at the rec. center, I'm able to quit my job as a waitress. I've only been able to work the 6:30-11am shift because of teaching climbing, and it has made for some long days. I physically and mentally can't handle almost 12 hour work days (with a long break in the middle), so I'm blessed to be able to free up my schedule. This will allow me to get the needed sleep and be able to take care of some responsibilities around the home that I haven't had the energy to do since September. I'm so relieved to have a less stressful day in sight!

So much has happened since we last posted, and we are thankful that we having a loving, Saviour who's seeing us through it all. We couldn't be more excited about the changes that are happening in our lives knowing that God has much bigger and better plans for us then we would have imagined at this point in our lives. Please pray that God continues to show His face and finger prints in all of these changes and that we would be filled with JOY as our plans fade away and His take over.

Let us also know how we can be praying for you!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vote for Jef!

It seems that our first few months of marriage are on the move. We've been away from Oxford almost every weekend with weddings and family visits.

Last weekend, we came down to Georgia to attend a rally in Duluth for my dad. He's running for U.S. Congress. The rally was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed reconnecting with so many people from Duluth. Jonathan and I were able to help out a ton, and we were glad to have the opportunity to serve my dad.

My parents loved our help so much that they tried to convince us to stay. We didn't think it would work out, but we were flattered by the offer. However, we didn't stop thinking about the opportunity. Jonathan and I both had tough days of work the following Monday, and began to consider it more. Surely we couldn't get 3 weeks off of work with such a short notice! We decided if our employers would allow us the "vacation" then we would know we should go.

Jonathan talked to his manager, and he said that Jonathan should take the opportunity. One down, one more to go. I was nervous about asking for time off because I have only been working for three weeks. However, it wasn't a problem at all! So we packed up our things and drove down to Georgia on Sunday.

We've been here 3 full days, and they have flown bye. We've been going door to door telling people about my dad's campaign and handing out absentee ballots. We've been to some meet and greets and have sweated a ton in this Georgia heat. It's been neat to get to support my family and see everyone who is a part of the campaign.

Thanks for reading our updates!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Since we've returned...

so much has happened since we came back from Ecuador. We moved into our new place the same day we arrived. It was crazy, but we were so excited to have our own place. We are living just out of the city limits of Oxford, Ohio. It is just north west of Cincinnati, where Miami University is located. We are excited to be so close to Jonathan's grandmother and serve her as our new ministry.

Moving in has been a fun process. We've been blessed with so many gifts, so thank you for helping us build our home. When we first got here, we only had a couch and a bunch of lamps. Thanks to Oxford college students and some generous families at our church, we now have a full house. It has been so neat to see how God has provided. I kept a list on the fridge of different things we needed. It took no time at all for God to provide. It seemed that as soon as I put something down, we would get a phone call or would find something on our list for an ideal price. All of this seemed to be more confirmation that this is where we are to be.

Further confirmation came in the job category. We gathered and filled out as many applications as we could get our hands on. In just 3 days, we both had 2 jobs. Jonathan is working at Jimmy Johns. He's been working deliveries but now might have a promotion as shift supervisor. I got a job working at SoHi. It is a grilled sandwich place. Both of us are now in the sandwich business. In addition to these jobs, we got an absolutely amazing job.

We will both be employees of Miami University's Outdoor Pursit Center. We'll directing and managing the Youth Climbing Team. Basically, we get to teach and supervise students, elementary-senior high, rock climbing. It's amazing to have such a fun job and to be able to work together. The job comes with a great boss and a membership to the athletic center. We're so excited about the opportunities our jobs will bring to encourage other and proclaim Him.

In other new news, Jonathan and I just officially graduated from Moody Bible Institue. It feels so great to finally be done with school. Wearing the cap and gown helped the reality sink in. We're done!!! It was also a great time to catch up with so many great people. It has been so long since we have been around a community our friends and believers. We are so proud of so many of our friends who are going all over the world to serve Christ.


Thank you so much for all of your prayers, support, and friendship. We are so blessed to have so many who love us. We'll try and keep you updated on any new and neat things.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homeward Bound

{Maggie}
It is crazy to think that our time in Salasaca is now over and that we are leaving Ecuador on Thursday. So much has happened during these past 6 weeks, and Jonathan and I have grown so much as a result of the challenges and blessings the experience has brought. So here is our last week in Salasaca and some concluding thoughts...

Monday and Tuesday
I was sick most of the week before, so I was glad to be finally out of bed in time for conulant checking. The translation team had finished the comprehension check of the book of James --where they have a Salasacan read a passage and answers content questions-- so they were ready for the next step. We met with the consultant over Skype, and they went verse by verse through the book. It was a very neat experience. The consultant spoke a great deal of English the first day, so I was able to understand a lot. The next day he spoke mainly in Spanish, but Larry let me know what was going on. James was an internsting book to observe because of all the idioms.
There were several difficulties in the checking because Salasaca Quichua doesn't have several words that are necessary in translating James. They don't distinguish between compassion and mercy, so it made translating James 5:11 very difficult: “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Also, the idea of testing of your faith created issues because the language does not have any comprehension of the idea of testing. One humorous part of the consultant checking was James 3:9, which talks about cursing. Salasaca Quichua doesn't have a word for curse, so the consultant suggested putting a curse instead. They co-translators started sharing all these different curses in SQ. It made for a good laugh.
The consulting checks went by a lot faster than we expected. We spent so much time in the earlier part of the book that we expected it to last through Wednesday. Everyone was relieved to have the book finished by Tuesday. Now the translation team just needs to make some changes that were suggested. Then a meeting with all the translators and the book will be ready! With so many long hours spent on translating, it was a relief to know a job was well done.
On Monday we went with Kris and Andy-- someone who has been in Ecuador for the past 6 months and happens to live less than 20 minutes from where Jonathan and I will be living in Ohio-- to one of the schools. Kris read the Little Red Hen in Quichua to the three different classrooms, and Jonathan, Andy, and I played the roles of the dog, cat, and mouse accordingly. It was a lot of fun. We passed out copies of the Quichua book and gave the school several different Arch books—simple Bible stories that have been translated into Quichua.

Wednesday
I have been working on transcribing a book into Salasaca Quichua. Nancy, one of the co-translators, had read a Quichua story to me about a bird and an ant. I recorded it and transcribed it into both IPA-international phonetics alphabet- and in Quichua. On Wednesday, I had Nancy check my transciption so that I could make it into a book. I got the stamp of approval, so I started making the book. The book will be given out to students as a means to encourage reading in Quichua.
More often than not, literacy and translation go hand in hand. Most Salasacans are not very good Quicha readers. Though Quichua's orthography is similar to Spanish, most people don't take the time to learn these differences. It is extremely important though that Salasacans are able to read their own language, because if they don't, the translation of the Bible wouldn't be useful. In addition to doing Bible translation, the two families also focus on increasing literacy. They have made several primer books which help with the ease of reading. They have also translated Arch books to make the transition easier. Like the Little Red Hen, the book I translated will be handed out at schools.
After Nancy and Juana left, Jonathan and I took on the role as mom and dad. We had volunteered our services so that Larry and Susan could have some time away from being parents. We made hamburgers for dinner and played more legos than I imagined could keep them entertained. Jonathan was in heaven, because the two hours we spent playing legos at his house while in Latacunga wasn't enough. We also invented a really fun way of playing Ticket to Ride with just two teams and watched part of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Thursday
It didn't seem to matter that we kept the kids up late, because they were up and ready at 7 to spend a fun day with Maggie and Jonathan. My cough had woken me up during the night, so Jonathan took over breakfast and let me sleep. I'm so thankful to have a caring husband. After breakfast we played more Legos, Monopoly, and colored. Jonathan and I made brownies for our last youth meeting during some down time.
From the day of being parents, we have concluded that God has his reasons for giving you babies instead of 8 and 10 year-olds. You need all that time to develop the patience and endurance it takes. I'm happy to have just my husband in the family for now.
We enjoyed our last Thursday dinner with the Salays. I think that our Thursdays won't be as much fun without our weekly get togethers. It has been so much fun getting to know this wonderful family over the past 6 weeks. God is using them in so many ways, and He is giving them strength when things get hard. They have been such an encouragment to Jonathan and I in more ways than I can express.

Friday
It was hard to believe that this would be my last day doing linguistic things for my internship. Our final language session with Bertha was a lot of fun. We went on a walk and used the Quicha that we knew: “There are 2 sheep”; “That is a flower”; “What is this?” We have really appriciated Bertha's patience with us as we've been learning. She has always been so encouraging with all of her allimi (good job). I, of course, got sunburned during our walk. I'm now supporting a v-neck tan.
I spend the rest of the day finishing up my book in time for kids club. Jonathan has been working on all the necessary adult things that we need to have by the time we return to the states: renter's insurance, car insurance, health insurance, and all the other fun things you can imagine. Why can't we stay in Ecuador where we can live for $5 a day?
With my book finished, we helped Larry out with Kids' Club one last time. Jonathan led them in a game of Spud after we had finished playing all the boardgames. Larry read them the story of Jericho, and I had drawn a picture for them to color. It was my last piece of work, and sadly Jonathan's coloring job was only able to be displayed on our fridge for a couple of days.
Friday's are our most exausting day, because we only have an hour between kids' club and youth group-- or we are only supposed to have an hour but everyone shows up late. Larry, Jonathan, and I decided that we attempt to climb Illiniza Norte (just under 17,000 feet) the following day. This meant we would have to leave our place at 4:30. It was going to be a short night.
The youth started to arrive at 8. We ended up with 15 students, which was our lowest number, and most of them were from church. We played this really fun game where everyone is a statue except for a tourist and a tour guide. They walk around with a flashlight, and if they see a statue move, the statue joins them as a tourist. This was the perfect game with the number we had. We also played 4 corners – I was surprised by how much they liked this. Jonathan gave a wonderful devotion about hitting the mark. He had them throw darts and then tied it to how we are dependent on Christ. It was wonderful!
Nancy had asked us the day before if we could stay in Salasaca longer to work with the youth. The whole church has been greatly concerned with what will happen once we leave. We invited the president of the church, the pastor, and other church leaders to come to our last meeting. They all did, and after the youth meeting, everyone-- youth included-- discussed what would happen. Jonathan encouraged them to continue meeting. The hard part had been done- getting everyone together-- and the meetings could easily continue with a little effort from the youth. We encouraged them that they all could play a role in leading. We also encouraged them to pray about it and to trust God to take care of the details. Salasacans often want to do things big or go home, but they could easily maintain the meetings. They finally decided that they would meet the following week. Lord, please let these meetings continue.
Jonathan and I went to bed after 12. It was a short night.

Saturday
We really wondered what we were thinking when we decided to climb a mountain after so little sleep. It didn't help that when we got to the foot of the mountian at 7:30 that there were clouds overhead. I was still recovering from my bad cough and congestion, so we took things real slow. We were doing very well at first, but then came the steep up hill. We were completely in a cloud, and were soaked before we knew it. The cold breeze didn't make anything easier. We were ¾ way up, when the cold and my cough started to get to me. We weren't really prepared for the cold weather-- we thought it would be a sunny day-- so we decided to turn back. It took us forever to get down the steep slope. I have a huge bruise on my rear to show how hard it was. Though it was difficult, we all really enjoyed the experience. It was a nice hike 95% of the time, and we will all have to summit when Jonathan and I return to Ecuador.

Sunday
Our final week in Salasaca flew by. We couldn't believe that Sunday came so fast. Jonathan and I had spent a lot of time deciding on our final lesson topics. We settled on 1 Corinthians 12-- talking about us being a part of the body-- and warning about false teaching. I spoke on 1 Corthians 12, and Jonathan taught on the other topic. We tried to encourage them that God gave them gifts that they can use to serve the church. They can also use these gifts to keep the youth group running. Jonathan's topic was really necessary because of the influences around them. He encoruaged them that they need to always go to the Bible to varify things they hear.
The sad thing was that half of the Sunday school class was working on throwing us a good bye party-- called a Despedida. We generally keep on teachign Sunday school till we hear them singing in church, but this time someone came in to get us. The church wanted to say good bye to us. Jonathan played a song with one of the students, and then said a thanks to everyone. The church gave us some nice Ecuadorian bags. After that, we went to the youth's party. Sadly, they separate the guests of honor, so Jonathan and I sat on the opposite side of the room as everyone else. Several students gave speeches of how they will miss us, and Jonathan and I were able to express our appriciation. We had cake, jello, sang songs, and said all of our good byes. Please be praying for the youth of Salasaca as they continue to meet. Pray that God will raise up leaders within them and will encourage them to serve.
We had a good bye lunch with the Salays and Waskoskys afterwards. We are really going to miss theses two families. We packed up our things and headed back to Latacunga.

We have really loved our time in Salasaca, and we are glad that we will return to Ecuador some time in the next 18 months. Please continue to pray for all those we have met.

We head back to the states Thursday evening, if we can catch a flight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

God Steps In

More Youth Ministry
[Jonathan]

On Friday night we had some thirty students come for our second youth meeting at the translation center, probably half of them aren't believers, and maybe 7-10 of them I've never seen before. It was exciting to see so many people come. We played games as best we could, crammed into the room we had at our disposal. We barely fit everyone in, but fit we did! Afterwards we had a time of singing and a devotional. I talked about either being slaves to sin, or slaves to Christ. About 10 people left when we took out the Bible, unfortunately, and they came back after we had finished. I was a little discouraged by that, not for myself as much as for their own sake--I really wanted them to hear the truth and the good news. I keep praying for them. Please pray with me in this.

On Saturday night, late, it all of a sudden dawned on me that I hadn't planned the lesson for Sunday! I was falling asleep and felt rather ashamed for having overlooked one of the most important things I'm doing here in Salasaca. I knew I wanted to talk about salvation by Grace alone, but didn't have a lesson plan or anything. Sunday morning I woke up praying for a specific passage to teach on. I was lead to Ephesians 2, and a couple ideas popped into my head of how to illustrate this passage. I briefly studied up on it, grabbed a whiteboard marker, and left with the Waskoski's for church.

I was quite aware of the importance of this principal and wanted to communicate it well to a people who lean towards legalism and works-based salvation. I prayed a lot during the worship service.

When the students came in another idea hit me. I wanted to explain to them the importance of why I was teaching seemingly abstract beliefs rather than "applicable" teachings on dating, obedience, alcohol abuse, or other things these youth might be facing in everyday life. I drew a pyramid on the white board and divided it into three horizontal sections, and labeled the sections (from top to bottom) beliefs, values, actions. They picked up really quickly on how our beliefs form our values, and our values direct our actions. They also agreed then that if I only told them to do certain things, one ever week for the six weeks I was with them, that they would listen for maybe that week. But if their beliefs lined up with Scripture, then their values and actions would follow. From there we went into our verse by verse study of salvation by grace and not by works in Ephesians. I don't remember everything I said. What I vividly remember is seeing their eyes locked on mine, their heads nodding with understanding, and the look on their face that they were still thinking a lot about what they had just heard. The kind of thing that excites a youth worker. The kind of thing that makes us tick. I knew they were glad to hear this news, and I knew they understood what was studied, and I knew I had very little if nothing to do with it. I walked away with my heart singing silent praises to a gracious God who loves these kids fathoms more than I.

Friday, April 16, 2010

We've Only Just Begun...

[Jonathan]

Many things have happened in the last two weeks that make us feel like we're finally beginning our ministry here in Salasaca. It makes it hard to think that we are leaving Salasaca in only 10 days. We've had more cultural experiences, deepened relationships, learned more of the language, and have grown even more, and it feels like we've only just begun.

Linguists Hard at Work

The back translation for the book of James has been sent in to the consultant. A back translation is the Quichua translated back word for word (pretty much) into Spanish. This is then checked for accuracy by the consultant before going to a committee which will then further check it for accuracy. Maggie got to sit in on the comprehension check of James: The book was read in the Quichua and a young man answered comprehension questions based on what was read.

Maggie is currently hard at work on a tri-linear story using IPA, Quichua, and English. This short story about a bird and an ant serves as her official academic project.

She also continues to work on transcribing a story from co-translator Juana concerning ropemaking. This book will be added to the Quichua library encouraging new Quichua readers to practice their Quichua.

I am working on a how-to book on how to make a Baita (the woman's shall). I solicited the basic instructions from Nancy, a co-translator, in spanish, then translated the steps into English. Larry will translate the steps into Quichua and this tri-lingual book will hopefully interest Salasacan new readers as well as supporters in the States. We've only just begun!



Youth Minsitry

What if you only had six hours to convey as much of your Bible knowledge and spiritual growth to twenty teenagers? What would be at the top of your list?

Every Sunday we've taught a Bible study to the youth of the church. They are very bright and are quick to search the text for answers to questions. There really has never been a youth focused study or youth group in the history of the church, and there is a need for one. The Gospel was the topic of the first three lessons. If anything else, when we leave I want these students to know the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes Rom 1:16b. I pray that if nothing else, these students will know the gospel well enough to take to heart and share with others.

Last week we had invited everyone from the Bible study to our house for a snack and some games last Friday night at 7. At 7:45 when no one had arrived yet we were doubtful that anybody was going to come at all. But by 8 we had some 20 students, and more trickled in afterwards. We had a great time playing group games, singing worship songs and I taught a devotional on worshiping God no matter how you feel at the time. It was only afterwards that Edison, one of the guys I've gotten to know told me that there were a considerable amount of unbelievers there and asked me to share the Gospel message with them next time. We laughed and had fun until eleven when I finally kicked everyone out, exhausted from a full day (kids club had been all during the afternoon). Nobody had ever had an experience like that before and everyone wanted to do it the next to Fridays we are here: Today and in a week. Please pray for this excellent witnessing and discipling opportunity. We've only just begun!



Cultural Experiences


We have had some exciting new experiences in the last couple weeks. First, Juana taught Maggie and I how to hand spin! The women of the area are always walking and spinning wherever they go. Juana made Maggie an authentic Huango (pronounced Wuango), a drop spindle. Maggie is now beginning her career in spinning wool to make ponchos and baitas (shalls the women wear). We also got a chance to begin plowing a field using two bulls yoked by the horns. a long wooden shaft then comes down between them and a piece of metal serving as a plow is attached to the shaft. Someone leads the bulls and some one plows. Maggie is a significantly better plower than I, and will be offering classes upon returning to the states. We've only just begun!


On Top of the World

Just this last Monday Maggie and I set out to meet up with Rick Borman, a good friend of ours, to join him on a mountain climb up Sincholagua. Rick was leading a group of some 15 people, and two more didn't add to the load. On Monday we hiked a good two hours through some mud and up steep paramo countryside and camped on top of a ridge. We slept until 3:45 AM, took a bite of cold oatmeal, changed into warmer clothes and at 4:20 started up the massive 16,000 ft pile of rock. We pushed ourselves hard and arrived at the summit of Sincholagua at 9:17 AM. The climb was beautiful, and it was Maggie's first time climbing with me. There's nothing like feeling as if you're standing on top of the world!


Prayer Requests:
Please pray for us in the following ways.
- Health. We've been on and off with stomach bugs and strange coughs. Please pray that God would keep us healthy the rest of our time here.

- Travel. Traveling in Ecuador is always risky buisness. Weather we're visiting my folks up in Latacunga or just going into Ambato, the nearby city. Larry (the missionary we're working with) wants to make a video game out of it, it's that bad.

- The Youth. With only a week and a couple days left, pray that we would be able to leave them with even one thing that they can hang onto in the years to come. Pray for their growth, and that they would find courage to witness to their unbelieving friends.

- Jobs. We head back to the US at the end of the month and though we have a place to live, we don't yet have a place to pay for it. But we're not worried! God has and will provide. Pray that he does so in exciting ways.



Thank you for all your prayers. Please contact us in any way-- we love to hear from you! God Bless!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?

Week of March 21st
[Jonathan]
Ok, so it wasn't black but it did have over three bags full! On Tuesday we walked down the valley to Chilcapamba to Juana's house. We had earlier helped her wash her sheep, and now it was a perfect day to take some shears to it. We met Juana at her parents place and were fed a hot breakfast of salty oatmeal mixed with potatoes, barley flour, and a piece of beef. We ate as we sat in the building that functions as a cooking area, 'kitchen' would not be the word to describe the cement block building with open windows, no doors, and a fire on the floor. Juana's dad hurried us to finish our meal. We stepped back outside onto their cement patio where he had tied the sheep. We pushed it onto it's side and tied it's feet together. Then came the process of slowly but surely cutting the wool off of the sheep, making sure we kept it all in one large piece. We used kitchen scissors, and with two and sometimes three of us working on it we got the whole sheep sheared in two hours. Larry got there half way through the shearing. On the way back up the hill we got to talk more with Juana and learn some more culture. For example, a person only greets another person if that person is already married. Otherwise it can be taken as an insult that they should be married. This came up as I, meaning to be friendly greeted a young woman we passed along the road. She only gave me a strange, blank stare. Juana laughed and told us this custom of theirs. "How do you know if they're married?" I inquired, since in the rest of the country it is considered more rude to -not- greet someone. "Sometimes you just don't," she said. I asked, "So then you don't greet people you don't know yet?"
"That's right." It seems like it's not easy to get to know new people then, if you can't greet those you don't know. But lucky for us, the church members know are not so strict with this cultural rule and so we can easily get to know them better.

Who would have thought?!
All in day in Salasaca.



washing the sheep




Shearing the sheep




A LOT of wool!





still alive and kicking!


Week of March 28th
[Maggie]
More youth came than expected to Jonathan's Sunday school class. We knew that more youth were showing up each time, so we printed more material than we thought we needed. We needed much more, for there were 22 students. Jonathan taught about the components of the Gospel mentioned in 1 Corinthians: Christ died on the cross, was burried, ascended into heaven, and then returned with over 500 witnesses. The spanish words for Evangelical and Gospel are very similar, so the youth previously were confusing the terms and not grasping the Gospel. I think Jonathan's message really helped-- we at least pray that it has.


After church, we left for Shell. Shell is farther south from Salasaca, and it is just right outside of the jungle. This is where Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and the other 3 martrys lived. There are tons of missionary families living in shell with most of them working with Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) of the hospital system. Kris and Shedd, the other translator family we are working with, live in Shell because of the lower elevation for their son.


On Monday, Jonathan and I woke up to a thunderstorm with rain pelting the tin roof. This is one of our favorite sounds, so we were both in heaven. We went in the morning to the Nate Saint school for missionary kids. This is a K-5 school where most of the missionary kids attend. They did a neat little Easter program. Afterwards, we met several Moody graduates who are now serving in Ecuador. They were excited to meet Jonathan and I to exchange Moody experiences. Afterwards, Kris taught Jonathan and I a lot about the different projects she is working on for Salasaca. One of the things she does it take old Arch books (well over 100 different books that tell different Bible stories for kids) and translates them into Quicha. Other than what the translation team has done in Salasacan Quicha, there is little to no reading material available in their langauge. These books give a little easier of a read in preparation for reading the Bible.


We were also able to get a tour of the MAF hanger. This was the highlight of our time in Shell. MAF transports missionaries into the Jungle to do ministry and humanitarian project. They also fly the extremely sick and injured villagers out of the jungle to receive medical attention. While we were there, we heard something that really tugged on our heart strings: pretty soon there will be no missionary families that are living full time in the Jungle's interior. The one family who is there now, will be returning to the states soon—she has cancer. Jonathan and I both felt the impulse to jump on a plane and go to the interior and stay there. We both have the desire to serve in the jungle, but we are trying to discern wheither it is God's desire or our own. Maybe it is both! We still have a lot of praying to do about the whole subject. Plus, we are thrilled and excited about our time in Ohio with Jonathan's grandmother. So we think God is being intentionally vague right now.


We had a tour of the hospital on Tuesday morning. While there are medical missionaries serving in the hospital, they are slowly trying to transition it over to the Ecuadorians. Thankfully, the hospital wasn't full, but the clinic was very busy. After our tour, we helped out with the Arch books. We cut the labels that will go over the English text. We then caught a bus to take the Waskosky's son's tutor to Quito. Sadly, she would be flying out the next afternoon. It was almost a 6 hour bus ride. Thankfully, this bus ride didn't end with us being green, but we did have a fun little experience. Oftentimes, someone will get on the bus and act like the person who collects the fairs. Once he's gotten your money, he exits the bus. Generally, the conned passenger doesn't realize it until he or she is later asked for his or her fare. This happened to two people on our bus. When they were asked to pay, they got extremely mad, because they had already “paid.” We ended up having to pull over and have a cop get involved. Suprisingly, the cop sided with the bus. He said something along othe lines of “Don't you ever travel? You should know better!” Thank you Jonathan for translating the yelling.
Wednesday


Larry had arranged for us to meet with Rick Ashman. He is very knoweledgable of the different dialect of Quichua. He has studdied them all and is currently working on identifying their grammar system. He has also created a Quichua spell checker that will be extremely helpful for the Salasacan Bible. Rick has taken the time to identify all the different possible suffixes and combinations in Quichua. There are 19 different suffix slots that can be added to a Quicha root word. Quichua is an extremely derivational langugae, so just adding a suffix can completely change the meaning of the word. As a result of these 19 different suffix slots, there are well over a TRILLION possible Quichua words. Rick once added 14 different suffixes to one word and used it in a sentence. The Quichua man he was talking to said that the word fit well. No wonder Jonathan and I are only touching the surface of Quichua.


In Ecuador they take off a lot of time for Easter. They generally have Thursday through Sunday off. As a result, Jonathan and I caught a bus to Latacunga to spend some time with his family. It took us about the same amount of time to get to the bus station as it did to take the bus from Quito to Latacunga. They moved the station further south, so it also cost more to travel through Quito than it did to travel 6 hours—crazy!


Jonathan and I have learned a ton this past week, and we also have a lot to pray about. We have been discussing and praying whether we should go somewhere where there is an already established missionary family and help with their work or go where missionaries are not. The first option would allow us to be more “effective” early on because the missionaries experience would save us a term's worth of cultural learning. All of this in hopes that the people will be reached, and that there will no longer be a need for missionaries in that community. The second option: starting a new field somewhere where the people haven't really been reached and where no missionaries are currently working, is also necessary. The jungle situation both caught our attention. We know that this type of experience would present much bigger challenges in language and culture learning. It wouldn't allow us to be as “effective” early on. We also would be alone. Paul wanted to go where the gospel hadn't been preached, and we are more than willing to go wherever God leads. The problem with all of this is that God doesn't call us based of “effectiveness.” In fact, we can't be effective in missions! It is all God's doing in the first place. Jonathan and I just toying with these two options and asking God's eventual guidance and direction on the subject. We don't know how far away we are from the mission field, but we want to be prayerful about it now. Please pray with us as we seek the Lord's guidance. Thanks:)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

We don't mean to bug you...

Friday morning, Jonathan woke up at 5:30 with a stomach ache. It was so bad, that he had to stay in bed all day. We really don't know what it could be from, but we are guessing that it either has something to do with the Ecuadorian Pizza or water. Considering Jonathan was out for the day, I had quite the experiences. I had to take our bike--which has a permanently flat tire and the chain comes off the gear every 5 minutes-- into town to make copies of our language lesson. I'm proud to say that despite the embarrassment caused by the bike, I was able to get the copies I needed and a Sprite for Jonathan with my Spanish skills. It was quite an endeavor because I had to follow directions to another copy center because the place we went before was closed.
In addition to using my Spanish there, I also met with Bertha, our Language teacher, for an hour. I had to communicate instructions to her with my mad pointing skills and Spanglish. Somehow, it worked out. I was rather happy about it, so I had a huge smile on my face when I walked into the other room in the translation center. The two co-translators, Nacey and Juana, asked Larry how I could be so happy when my husband was sick. It made me laugh.
After doing some translation things-- going over Idioms in James-- I was able to spend some time taking care of my sick husband. Then we had Kid's Club. 14 kids from the community showed up. We played boardgames, soccer, kickball, read a Bible Story, and handed out vitamins. It was a lot of fun. Half-way through Kid's Club, though, my stomach started aching... Not the BUG! Jonathan and I went to bed soon afer Kid's club to kill the thing.
Saturday we celebrated our one month anniversary by drinking this nasty, chalky medicine to help our stomachs. The place we are staying lacks comfortable seating, and we were tired of laying in bed. So we decided to go to his house in Latacunga. This meant hitch hiking to the center of town. It was my first hitch hiking experience, and I was so happy! We then tried to catch a bus, but they are doing construction on the major road by Salasaca. So we ended up paying a truck to take us to the next town to catch a bus there. Crowded, stuffy buses was not the best idea for our stomachs. For some reason, Ecuadorians believe that if you open your window to have a draft that you will get sick. Not having the windows open made Jonathan and I even more sick. Once we reached Ross's and Mary's, it took us a while to lose our green tent. We spent the rest of Saturday catching up and playing Ticket to Ride.
Today, Sunday, was another full day. We went to the Quichua church here in Salasaca. Last Sunday they were complaining that no one had prepared "special music." This week, Jonathan played a Spanish song that is similar to "Better is one day in your house." After worship, Jonathan and I met with the youth for Sunday school. There were 16 teens who showed up. We went over the Gospel, and how it is something that we need to be really familiar with. They had a lot of questions and were very interactive. After the lesson, one of the girls asked if we could have a Bible Study on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. She wanted to learn specifically about dancing in the Bible. We agreed to Tuesday and Thursday, and we said we would see about Friday. Dancing is a big issue in the church right now. Teenagers are discouraged to go to social gatherings that include dancing. Please pray for Jonathan and I to be able to clarify what Scripture has to say but to not go against the church leaders. This could be very complicated, so we would greatly appreciate your prayers.
After church, we went with the Salays to the country side. My stomach was still bothering me, and I really debated going. We hiked for about 2 hours to see these beautiful views and lakes at 13,000 feet. It was really fun, but my stomach isn't too happy now. Tomorrow is a whole other full day, so hopefully both of our stomachs will be better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Maimurringi?

[Jonathan]
Where are you going? This standard greeting in Salasaca is rolling around in my head with about a dozen others like a song that, no matter what, you can't get out of your head. Language learning has bee really good and my comprehension and speaking abilities have jumped an enormous amount since we've been here in the past less-than-a-week. Maggie and I helped wash one of the Co-translator's sheep in a ditch so that they could shear it in several days. We each held a leg, and one man held the sheep by the ears, and there it was, laying on it's back as we scrubbed it with laundry soap (Which I reflectively thought appropriate). That was a very neat new experience. I have been working on a study to give to the youth on Sunday--we'll be going over basics of Christianity, starting with what the Gospel is all about. I feel like this is an ambigous term for so many people, when it is the core of our faith! So we will be covering Rom 1:1-6 this week, and probably part of 1 Cor 15 next week. I'm looking forward to it, but am nervous as well.

In other news, Maggie is NOT pregnant, contrary to comments on my facebook wall. My old buddies from work (and I usually with them) tend to spread rumors about people's single/married/engaged status quite boistrously (if thats a word) and this is my friends, well, being my friends. Love you guys. That's kinda what's been going on here and all I really feel like writing tonight. God bless and tupungachi!

[Maggie]
I had written a post 2 nights ago that was quite detailed, but somehow it is forever lost in cyberspace. Our time in Salasaca has been anything but boring. We have learned a ton since we have been here. Quichua learning is going extrememly well, but also slow. We are using a different approach called the "Growing Participator Approach." This approach focuses more on comprehension than speaking. Jonathan and I now have around 100 words that we can recognize and comprehend. It is kind of funny, because we can pick up a couple of words in people's conversations about sheep, coming, going, cows, and a couple of other things. I have a terrible memory, and there is no way that I could have learned 100 words by using my rote memory. I'm happy with this new approach despite all the ambiguity it brings.

Jonathan told you about washing the sheep, which is one of my favorite activities so far. I have also enjoyed all the linguistic elements. We have learned all about all the changes in the Salasaca Quichua dialect. I have also learned the Quicha alphabet and some of its suffixes. Quichua words tend to be really long because they put suffixes on everything to add to the meaning of the word. It has been fun trying to figure them out.

Tonight we went over to the house of the missionaries we are working with. We had a lot of fun eating pizza and playing Ticket to Ride. It has been really neat to see another missionary family that deals with a whole other area of missions.

Please be praying for us to develop relationships with the people. Linguistics isn't always as interactive as Jonathan and I would like. Please be praying for the Salasacans who are working on the translations. They have an important task of communicating God's Word. Also, please pray for Jonathan and I to find jobs when we return back to the States. I was sent an email yesterday about interviewing for a job that saw my resume posted online. I told them I am out of the country and won't be back till May 1st. I don't know yet if they will let me do a phone interview. Thank you for your support and prayers through this learning experience.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Honey, I'm home!





[Maggie]
At last, we are finally in Salasaca, Ecaudor. I have been waiting to do my internship for quite a while, and it officially started today. We left Latacunga Saturday afternoon to drive down to Ambato, where the missionaries we are working with live (they are the Salay family). We had dinner with them before heading over to our little place in Manzanapamba Chico area of Salasaca. Manazanapamba Chico means "the small apple valley". It is so beautiful here; as far as you can see are little fields of crops and little homes. It is great.
Today we went to the Quichua church service. Shedd and Chris Waskosky, two other missionsaries, took us to church. It was suppposed to start at nine, but when we arrived at 9:05, we were the first to arrive. The service actually started about 20 minutes later. I'm glad I will never be late. More and more people arrived as the service proceeded.
We sang several songs in Spanish and Quichua. Jonathan and Larry did a good job of letting me know some of the lyrics. We clapped a lot, and I was glad to have some means of participating. There was also plenty to see-- a man with a large stick was chasing out the dogs roaming the sanctuary. Back to a spiritual note, they also had 2 long times of prayer, and it was so neat to hear so many Quichua voices being raised up to God. One of the missionaries read a passage from the Salasaca Quichua Bible. It was so neat to later hear the pastor say how much easier the Bible was to understand when it was in his own language. Then came the sermon, which was lead by a Quichua pastor. He is an older man, who just completed his high school diploma. His sermon was about Jesus choosing His people and providing for them. Larry kept us up with most of the points.
After the sermon was an offering and announcements. Larry stood up and introduced us. He told them what we would be doing while in Salasaca. He also gave Jonathan a chance to speak. I honestly don't know what Jonathan said, but I smiled really nice and laughed when I though appropriate. Hopefully I will learn some of the langauge soon in order to avoid being oblivious. The service ended with some more worship time in both Spanish and Quichua.
After the service, Jonathan and I met with the youth in the church community. There were about 12 of them, and they said that they were interested in doing some type of Bible study. The church is currently in the process of trying to build up a youth program. They have an out-of-town pastor meet with the youth leaders to train them. Right now they only have four of the six leaders they need. The whole conversation with the youth was another one of my oblivious moments. Jonathan spoke in Spanish, and Guillermo, the worship leader, clarified in Quichua. I could understand about half of what Jonathan was saying... I think my Spanish has improved in the past couple of days.
After church, we went with the Salays out to eat and to the grocery store. Ecuador has amazing prices on food. Jonathan and I spend just under $20 and got most of what we will need for the next several days. Yeah for being able to afford food! After the grocery store, we went to a park and played with the Salay's two kids for two hours. It was such a beautiful day.
I write you now after having a wonderful dinner of pancakes and eggs. It is great to have a place of our own. I can't wait till tomorrow when the linguistic part of our internship starts.

[Jonathan]
Last night when we got in to the translation center (where our little apartment is) I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a decent amount of room. Though, after living in Culby for 4 years, that not necessarily saying too much. When you walk in the door to the building you come right into the translation room where Larry works. A curtain separates this from the rest of the apartment. Going behind the curtain you would find yourself in a small kitchen with a small fridge and a full size stove with a broken oven-- but all four burners work! Who's complaining? This opens into the sitting area with a couch, two chairs, and a tiny tv and dvd player where we could watch movies if we had any. Against one of the walls is a bunk bed which is functioning as a storage shelf for other missionaries. The bathroom and bedroom are off of this room.


Church this morning was pretty much what I have experienced in a typical Quichua church service, although the speakers weren't blared too much, and pastor Carlos smiled a lot when he preached. Everyone, even the older folks looked me in the eye when they said hello, which is not typical, as the Quichua people have a long history of being more servants than equals until 50 years ago, and looking someone in the eye was considered more of a challenge than courtesy.

I must say I was nervous when Larry handed me the mic after introducing us in church. I wasn't sure what I should say. Only an hour ago what I had thought meant "God bless you" in Quichua I had found out meant "May God not bless you." Oops...........

So I said hello in Quichua (which is about 1/7 of what I know) and told everyone that we were really glad to be there.

Speaking with the youth after the service was great, although I was quite nervous. I don't know much about these students and what they are facing at all (Although Larry and I talked about it later in the day). I could't speak their first language (Someone had to clarify what I was saying a couple times), and I only had another 5 weeks to do something with them. In one of our youth ministry classes we wrote out a Description of a Discipled Person (DDP) which is pretty much all the things what we invision a person we've discipled learning. My DDP would probably take around 2-3 years to complete. What can I give in 5 weeks? I might just be learning their names! We meet next Sunday for a Bible study (on I don't know what yet--Please Pray!), and I hope that by the time we're done here I can at least have everyone's name learned!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Salasaca

Salasaca is located South of Ambato on the way to the city of Banos. According to The Joshua Project there are 16,000 Salasacan Quichuas, and we know that there are only two evangelical churches. The majority of the area is syncretistic Roman Catholic. For the linguists out there, Salasacan Quichua is lexically distinct from Chimborazo Quichua (who already have a Bible in their language). For the rest of us, this means that the vocabulary of the two dialects of Quichua is different, resulting in the need of a Bible translation specific to the Salasacan Quichua people.

The Bible translation project began 20+ years ago, and it is this project that Maggie will be working with. The two missionary families in the translation team are the only missionaries working with the Salasacan Quichua people and the church.

Maggie and I are excited to work with these missionaries in the translation project and the church. We hope to learn a lot about a new culture, new language, and the same God who loves them, us, and you.

Sources:
www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ec.html
www.ethnologue.com
www.joshuaproject.net

Are We There Yet?

[Maggie]
Jonathan and I have now been married for 20 days, and we have been traveling since we left the Church. First it was to Florida for the wonderful honeymoon, then to Georgia to pack up the rest of my things. Then it was a trip up to northwest Georgia to explore a cave. Then 6 hours later, we were in Ohio for a few nights... just long enough to unpack from Georgia, pull or stuff out of storage, and pack again. Finally, we made it to Ecuador on Tuesday evening.
We are so thankful to be here in Ecuador for me to complete my internship. I am just 6 weeks away from graduating and couldn't be more excited. We are both ecstatic about doing my internship in Salasaca. I will be able to do some linguistics work, and Jonathan will get to work with the church. It couldn't be a better match. We can't wait till Saturday when we actually get to settle down for a little while.
We hope that this blog will allow you to be a part of our trip and allow God to teach you as He teaches us. Thank you in advance for your prayers and encouragement as we enter all these new experiences... newly married, new to Salasaca, new to the Quichua language, and Ecuador being new to me.

[Jonathan]

My Spanish was rusty last night as I talked with my old friend Marcos. I found myself hesitating every third sentence or so, and racking my brain for words that I had stored somewhere in my head, but refused to come out again.

Almost four years ago I left Ecuador to go to school at Moody in Chicago. Now I'm delighted to be able to come back for my new wife's internship. But even after living in Ecuador for some 12-13 years, this will be a new experience for me!