It's kind of hard to tell how steep this hill is to get to and from our Cadeate home. I much prefer walking up!
Monday, April 25, 2016
The trigger on the camera goes click, click, click
All along the coast on the way from Santa Elena to Cadeate
I'm honestly not sure if this is earthquake damage or just the way it's "always" been. :-)
One of the friends in our field had a sister worker convinced that this was a bridge they were building to China. After observing the lack of "progress" over the course of the year, she wondered what was taking them so long!
A pretty tranquil drive! (Depending on your driver)
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Just to save myself a little time and energy, I'll paste here the e-mail that I sent out to several today with a report on how things are going here after Saturday's earthquake.
Greetings to all,
I should begin this e-mail by saying that we are fine here. A number of you have written inquiring about our well-being since the earthquake here in Ecuador this past Saturday evening. We haven't had reliable internet connection or even cell service where we've been since that time, so this is the first good opportunity I've had to send a general note your way. And we are fine!
Most of you probably know the facts and figures related to this event better than I do since we've basically been incommunicado since it happened. The basics are that the coast of Ecuador was hit by a 7.8 earthquake just before 7:00 this past Saturday evening. The area nearest to the epicenter of the quake is, fortunately, quite sparsely populated, but damage was widespread. The latest casualty count that I've seen shows the death toll over 400 with more than 2500 injured, making this the deadliest earthquake to hit Ecuador since 1979. Of course, those numbers are expected to climb further as rescue efforts continue, although I imagine that not many survivors will be found at this point.
Marsha and I spent Saturday night in the home of Arecio and Victoria Aguiar near the little town of Catazacón (near Quinsaloma, if you an find that on a map). We were at the supper table, talking, when the house shook a little. I thought at first that it was a big truck passing by on the main road in front of the house, though the movement was enough to stop conversation. Within a couple of seconds, the house started heaving, and I realized this was no truck! We all got up from the table and carefully made our way to the doorway of the kitchen. Arecio and Victoria's house is a two-story cement structure. The living quarters are upstairs. Below is space for crop storage and living quarters for the hired hands. The stairs are right outside the door of the kitchen/dining area. At some point in all of this, the lights went out. José, Arecio and Victoria's grown son who lives with them, had his telephone and was able to activate the flashlight, giving us a little light by which to navigate. Don Arecio made it down the stairs, but Sra. Victoria wanted the rest of us to stay in the doorway because she thought it would be safer there. (Don Arecio had apparently nearly fallen as he descended the stairs.) At this point, I was definitely wishing to also be outside. The floor and walls were moving, making it difficult to keep steady. I could hear glass rattling behind me and was hoping the walls would hold! After what seemed like kind of a long time, the house stopped moving, and we all made our way down the stairs and outside. Getting down the stairs was still a bit tricky because my "leg quake" seemed to last longer than the earthquake did! We waited outside for awhile, wondering if we would feel aftershocks and not really wanting to be inside the house if they came. Eventually, we all went back inside to get ready for the meetings on Sunday and go to bed. We did feel one aftershock at about 2:00 in the morning, but it wasn't worth getting out of bed over according to Marsha and me! By morning, power was restored to our area.
So, basically, where we were, the earthquake simply made for a couple minutes of uncertainty and an interesting story. It's not like that everywhere in the country! The province where I spent most of last year, Manabí, was the hardest hit. I look at the pictures of the destruction there, and my heart hurts. Looking through some pictures today on the news, I recognized a few places that we passed by frequently in our travels last year, and I can hardly take it in. The good news is that all of the workers on our staff are okay, and though a number of our friends suffered property damage (some quite major), they all escaped without serious injury. It's been good for me to talk to some of them personally on the phone yesterday and today and to just hear their voices, reassuring me that they really are alright.
We hope that this situation, though tragic, could have some kind of positive effect on people here as they are reminded again of the uncertainty and brevity of life. It's definitely given me some serious thoughts! I'm sure that every person who lost their life in this disaster had plans for "tomorrow." While it's necessary to make plans for tomorrow, I want to live today prepared for the possibility that tomorrow might not exist for me. And I'm certainly grateful for an unfailingly sure foundation in Jesus!
I hope this finds you all well where you are. Thanks for thinking of us here. This feels like home!
Thursday, April 14, 2016
On Tuesday of this week, we studied the first chapter of Acts in the home where we stayed. I love that chapter for a number of reasons, one of which is that it contains one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. As the disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven, two men who stood by in white apparel spoke to them. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." I think from that day forward, they would have prayed, "Let today be the day!" Because He was their best friend. And it would have been a wonderful comfort to them that He would be the same. Nothing about Him would be different. He would still have the same spirit, love the same things, uphold the same standard. Everything they loved about Him, everything they depended on Him to be would remain unchanged. The same Jesus that they knew would come again.
Earlier on Tuesday, we had a Bible study with an elderly couple who are no longer able to get out to meetings. We took the new hymnbooks that we are now using in our gospel meetings and studies. When we told them that the numbers of their favorite hymns had changed, Sra. Barbarita's face took on an expression that I would describe as panicky. "The things of God can't change!" We quickly assured her that nothing about God or His word or His way had changed. We just have new hymnbooks. Sra. Barbarita can't read; she never learned. But the word of God is in her heart, and it means everything to her that nothing about it would change. She's lived a long life. Many things have changed. But God has not. Jesus has not. And they will not. We can count on that, and it can be our comfort and stay.
This same Jesus is coming again. Let us keep that always in our hearts.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Friday, April 8, 2016
I don't have a huge appetite in the morning. In fact, I would be happy to skip breakfast all together if it was permitted. I know. I know. That's not good for you. You should eat breakfast like a king, your midday meal like a prince and supper like a pauper. I'm happy with the prince and pauper thing. It's the king part I have trouble with. Anyway, if I skimp on breakfast on occasion, what we're served on other days more than makes up for any previous "lack." Here's this morning's offering.
The two eggs and two bolones (verde & cheese) in the foreground are all, yes all, for me. The cheese sandwiches in the background are to share - one for me and one for Marsha. To drink we have coffee, papaya juice and water.
*And for the record, I managed to eat one egg, half a bolón and half a sandwich in the food department while downing all three offered beverages.
I have yet to figure out what's so special about my left elbow. While it's not the exclusive biting-spot (as my other arm, my hands and fingers, my legs, feet and toes, my neck, my stomach and my back will testify), it seems to be a favorite of the bugs here.
It's a little hard to distinguish all 16 bites, but let me assure you, they all itch!
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Back in Cadeate
Our neighbors to the back (away from the ocean)
The name of our residence
Walking on the beach before our Bible study
When I went to download my pictures from yesterday onto my computer, I thought to myself, "Wow! I didn't think I had taken so many!" Turns out, when you carry your phone in your pocket during your walk on the beach, you end up getting a number of shots that look like this:
And some that look like this:
We got back "home" just in time to watch the sun set over the ocean. It didn't take long for it to sink below the horizon, but those few moments were spectacular!
And it's gone for another day.