Sunday, September 3, 2017

Very Better T-Shirt's

When Karmen and I were younger and in travel mode, we had the opportunity to visit several countries in which English was not the native language.  One one of these trips, we had the idea to create a company that would produce t-shirts for exclusive sale in the foreign market.  Our corporation would be called "Very Better T-Shirt's", and each garment would bear random English words or phrases, including as many apostrophe's as possible.  (Yes, I did that on purpose.)

Our enterprise never got off the ground, so the idea is still up for grabs.  However, you will have some competition from whatever company produced the sweatshirt with this slogan (seen at the bus terminal in Ipiales not too long ago).

CHAN
     GE
ONE'S
MIND

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Banana lasagna



Lasagna for supper!  I was excited to hear it.  Then she dropped the bomb that it was made with maduros.  My excitement level dropped just a tad, but fortunately maduros no longer repulse me, so it would probably still be okay.  The final verdict was that, while it wasn't Mom's lasagna, it was a nice change from the normal.  The ingredients that I could distinguish were maduro, hard boiled eggs, hamburger and cheese.  I guess the bananas took the place of noodles.  



Who slept there???


Making the bed down here is slightly more complicated than at home simply because they don't tuck anything in.  They just fold up whatever ends are left over and hanging out.  This means that the bed generally gets messier because no covers are being held in place at all underneath the mattress.  My bed this past Tuesday night, however, proved to be an extreme case.  I crawled into bed, exhausted.  I had already turned the light out, so I couldn't see too well, but I just couldn't seem to get the covers where I wanted them.  Oh well, I'll just make do with things the way they are because I don't have the energy to make any major adjustments at present.  I woke up several times in the night trying to figure out what had happened to my sheet and what exactly was that tangled around my legs.  When I woke up yesterday morning, I discovered that the main culprit had been the fitted sheet.  It just wouldn't stay on!  I had to find it several times while I was making the bed, because it would spring off its designated corner and hide somewhere underneath all the other covers.  I think if I see that sheet on my bed the next time we visit that home, I'll do some rearranging before I go to bed!  

You might be in Ipiales...

...if making jello does not require a refrigerator.

We ate lunch with a lady the other day who served us jello as our beverage.  That is not uncommon here.  What is not so common is that it was not actually liquid.  She explained that she had mixed it up the night before and set it out on the counter.  By morning, it had solidified.  Must have been a little chilly in there!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Looks aren't everything.


Recently, the folks of the home where we keep our extra things received this lovely new shower head as a gift from their daughter and son-in-law.  I have to admit, I fell for it.  I just couldn't wait to take a shower.  There would be lots of water!  It would have good pressure!  

There's just one tiny problem.  Because most showers are electric here, you have to choose between heat and pressure.  The old nasty shower head easily reduced the water to a trickle so that at least that trickle would be hot.  This lovely mechanism is unable to reduce pressure sufficiently to obtain water that even resembles hot.  

So, if it was up to me, I'd get this beauty uninstalled as quickly as possible.  
Looks definitely aren't everything!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Homemade popsicles

We've been studying with Álex and Gaby, their daughter, Muriel, and Gaby's mother, Sra. Zoila for several months now.  Álex professed when he was a young boy and the workers studied with his family in Latacunga.  After his mother died, the rest of the family basically lost touch with the workers until now.  It's been good to see their interest.  Álex has lots of memories of the workers from when he was young, but this is the first time for his wife, daughter and mother-in-law to hear such a thing.  

This last Saturday when we went for the study, Muriel announced that she had made us ice cream.  Apparently, she loves to cook, and this was her latest project.  Next time she has promised to make us cupcakes.


Salad for lunch

After getting back from our study in Puerres on Thursday, we went into a nearby restaurant for lunch.   Since vegetables are somewhat lacking in our diet here, I decided to order a salad.  

Here it is.

Each vegetable had it's spot on the plate - cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and onions - with shredded carrots and canned mushrooms covering the top.

Not exactly like a salad we'd have at home, but it wasn't too terrible.  I ate over half of it, though I did leave the onions alone completely.  


Will we make it to meeting?

This past Wednesday, we were scheduled to attend the midweek Bible study in José María Hernández.  It's a morning meeting with no definite time attached to it because of transportation difficulties; somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 is the goal.  On August 16, Ookyoung and I arrived at the spot in Ipiales where we can catch a vehicle (car or van) on its way out of town headed for José María some ten or fifteen minutes before 10:00.  (We usually count on half an hour of travel time from Ipiales to J.M.)  When we got to the "bus stop," there was no car there, but the lady who does the "dispatching" from that spot called to the terminal advising them of three passengers (the two of us and another man) who were waiting for a vehicle to J.M.  It would be there shortly, she told us.  We waited and waited, and within twenty minutes or so, our van arrived from the terminal (which is some five minutes away).  Okay, we're still good on time if we're going by the 11:00 meeting time.  The problem is, the van was empty of other passengers.  That meant we had to continue waiting until it filled up.  Finally, somewhere around 10:40, we had the required number of passengers to make the trip, and we were on our way.  

And as it turned out, we weren't even the last ones there!  The other man who comes from another little town outside of Ipiales finally had to come on a motorcycle taxi because nothing else was leaving for J.M. anytime soon.  

So, the transportation here definitely makes trying to arrange specific "meeting times" a little tricky!  

Sra. Carmen's house, where we have our study, is at the top of the hill at the "end" of this road.

Schedules and such

It's always fun trying to get a bus from Ibarra to Tulcán when we return to Ipiales on Saturdays.  

This is the schedule posted on the window of the Expreso Tulcán office at the bus terminal in Ibarra.

The hours that they give you verbally are 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, etc.  

The reality is that the buses tend to leave whenever they want.

On August 5, we arrived at the terminal between 10:00 and 10:15 to find that the bus had already left.  There is only one bus company that leaves from the terminal with destination Tulcán, so we just sat around and waited for the 11:something bus.  

The following Saturday, we saw that we were not going to make it to the terminal before 11:00, so we  asked the taxi driver to take us to the bus stop on the edge of town where all the buses from Quito pass by on their way to Tulcán.  There are more options here than at the terminal, but there are also typically fewer seats available, so it's a bit of a gamble.  Since we were somewhat in a hurry that day, we decided to risk it.  And what good fortune we had thought we had.  Not thirty seconds after we got out of our taxi at the bus stop, a Tulcán-bound bus with plenty of free seats pulled up.  We got on and after a short while, away we went!  Before we even got out of Ibarra, however, our driver pulled into a gas station and just sat there.  We weren't filling up with gas, but phone calls were being made, and it just caused a person to wonder what was going on.  However, after about ten minutes or so, we pulled back onto the road and continued on toward our destination.  Not ten minutes more and we were pulled over to the side of the road with no hope of going any farther on that bus.  So now all of us passengers are standing at the side of the road waiting for another bus with available seats to come by.  Nothing.  We waited and waited and not one bus going to Tulcán passed by.  Finally, the driver consulted with the powers that be and agreed to take us back to the bus stop where he had picked us up in Ibarra.  By this time, there was a good crowd of people waiting at said stop, and with all the passengers of our bus added to the group, Ookyoung and I decided to just take a taxi back to the terminal to get a bus from there, guaranteeing us a seat.  

So because we weren't sure whether or not we could make the 11:something bus that day, we ended up on the 1:something bus.  Oh well.  You win some; you lose some.  It's just hard to predict how your luck will go when you're dealing with Ecuadorian buses!  And we did eventually make it to our destination, so the story ends happily.  

And had everything gone smoothly (as we would have preferred), there would have been no story to tell!  So, every cloud really does have a silver lining.  :-) 

Stuck


Yes, it's a picture of a door.  And not a great picture at that.  It's basically to remind myself of the incident.  

We had arrived to Gladys' home after our Tuesday evening Bible study in Tulcán on August 8.  Since the hour was late, and supper wasn't quite ready yet, I decided to get as ready for bed as I could before heading downstairs for the meal.  I closed my door, put on my pajama top, took out my contacts and arranged my things on the nightstand.  Just took a minute or two and I was ready to rejoin everyone in the dining room.  I turned the door knob and nothing happened.  I turned it the other way and nothing happened.  When I say that nothing happened, I mean that the knob itself turned, but the mechanism that opens the door did not move.  "Ookyoung?" I called, not sure if she was upstairs or down.  "Yes."  Oh good, she was still upstairs.  "Are you able to open this door from the outside?"  Turns out, she wasn't.  That meant we had to get everybody involved.  Gladys and her daughter, Luna, joined the party, and after trying a couple of credit cards and a knife, we eventually got the door open.  The bedroom that I use in that home is quite nice, but I wasn't looking forward to spending the rest of my life there, especially considering my slightly claustrophobic tendencies.  We taped the "locking mechanism" flush with the door so that it wouldn't close, even accidentally, during the rest of our stay in that home.  All's well that ends well.  

Happy Birthday, Ashley!

August 2

Happy 30th birthday to my little cousin and Mama Extraordinaire, Ashley (Gordon) McPherson!


More sweetness

We started studying with Daniel and Alicia back in March or April, just before I went to Peru for Special Meetings.  They know some of our friends in Cumbal, about an hour from Ipiales, and were impressed by what they have seen in their lives.  "They don't have a lot of things, but they have peace," Daniel told us.  D & A have a home in Ipiales and also in Tulcán.  They are currently renting their house in Tulcán to Patricio and Socorro with their three children.  So, that's how we started studying with both couples.  It's lovely to see their hunger to learn more and their desire to apply what they are hearing to their daily living.  We study with them every Tuesday night, and more recently several of Socorro's family have joined us for the study.  

The last Tuesday of July, Daniel asked us if we could spend the night with them that night.  Since we had previous plans, we said that we would stay with them the following week after the study.  So, on August 1, Ookyoung and I spent the night in Daniel and Alicia's Ipiales home for the first time.  They gave us their room, and all four of them slept in the little girls' room.  We had a lovely time and hope to return when we get the chance.

Daniela and María Belén

A couple of weeks ago now, when we were in the car with D & A coming back to Ipiales, I had both girls on my lap and started singing "Cuenta la historia de Cristo" ("Tell Me the Story of Jesus").  To my surprise, they were able to sing the entire first verse with me!  I think we've only sung that one in one or two studies, but apparently it stuck.  

I can't stand all the cuteness!


Ezequiel Alejandro

Born July 19, he's the newest baby in our field.

Here he is on the 24th, our first time to see him.
He wasn't due to make an appearance for another month or so, so he's a tiny little package.


No worries; it's just a yawn.





And the next day...
Slightly more uncovered

He has TONS of hair tucked beneath that hat!



Rainbows Galore

We saw four rainbows on our trip from Ibarra to Ipiales on July 22.  The last one was the brightest and the longest lasting.  Rainbow watching is always an excellent alternative to nasty movie watching when you're on the bus!  







It costs HOW much???

Paying to use a public restroom is common here.  Usually it buys you a length of necessary paper.  Here's the cost for the restroom at the bus terminal in Ipiales, children not excepted.

Fortunately, it's the price in pesos, not in dollars.  One dollar is equivalent to approximately 3000 pesos.


Heading back to Ipiales

It didn't turn out so well, but there's a rainbow in all three of these pictures.




Granadilla: It's what's for breakfast.


 
This is the picture that I sent to my family.  They were singularly unimpressed with my breakfast choice, several of them thinking that I had sent them a picture of fish eggs.  

I still don't know what this fruit is called in English.  If you look it up online, it will show that it's English equivalent is a passion fruit.  This, however, is erroneous as best as I can tell.  Perhaps it belongs to the passion fruit family, but passion fruit in Spanish is maracuyá and has a much different flavor - acidic, where granadillas are quite sweet.   

Skipping a little ahead

What comes next chronologically in this blog (and in real life) is the visit from my mama, my grandma and two of my aunts.  However, I'm going to skip over that portion of time temporarily for lack of pictures.  When my photographic contributors get a chance to send me their photographic contributions, we'll rewind and share the happenings from the first two and a half weeks in July.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A few thoughts from Lago Agrio


  • As we allow God to write on our hearts, we become a letter of recommendation for the gospel, giving evidence of what the gospel produces in yielded lives.
  • Sometimes things that seem negative can be opportunities for God.
  • Forgiveness and mercy have been extended; we receive them through our repentance.
  • The work of God in us is to produce abundance.
  • The devil is working hard to trip up those who are the closest to God.
  • Great or small, sin is sin.
  • There is no perfect church, but there is a true church.  It's the church that is following in the perfect way.
  • There's a right message and a right way to deliver it.
  • Not only did Jesus not seek honor from men, He didn't even accept it when it was offered.
  • Our sacrifice does not make our life acceptable; our life makes our sacrifice acceptable.
  • The promises of God will be fulfilled, but sometimes we have to wait for them.

Lago Agrio Especiales - 1-2 julio 2017

sábado
2:00-3:30 pm - Percy Broughton, Karen Morton, Alberto Basurto
4:00-5:00 pm - Héctor Díaz, Lilia Latorre, Ingrid Mendoza

domingo
10:00-12:00 - Percy Broughton, Lilia Latorre, Kamela LiaBraaten
1:00-3:00 pm - Héctor Díaz, Henry Arias, Lois Pelchen

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A day in bed and then back at it

Those of us who were on the list for the meetings in Lago Agrio for the last weekend of Special Meetings were scheduled to leave Quito on Monday morning to make the journey east.  I arrived at the designated meeting point at the appointed time, though I was not feeling especially well.  Before the bus arrived, I had decided that perhaps seven hours on a bus would not be the best idea under the circumstances.  My ticket was changed for the following day, and one of the friends came and picked me up and took me home.  Upon arrival there, I immediately went to bed, and essentially slept for the next sixteen hours or so.  When my alarm rang on Tuesday morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck but figured I could make it to where I needed to go.  (It's hard to not follow the list on Special Meeting rounds even when you don't really feel like it!)  

I think I spent most of the bus ride in a semi-conscious state.  I don't really sleep on buses usually, but I must have made an exception on this particular trip because it seemed a lot shorter than seven hours (or whatever it was).  

It looks like I even woke up long enough to take a couple of pictures along the way!



Levi's Ecuadorian counterpart

My cousin Ashley's little boy, Levi, is into all things vehicular.  I think he would get along quite well with this little fellow.  


A few thoughts from Quito Special Meetings


  • Jesus did His part to heal the blind man in John 9.  If the man hadn't done his part in obeying, there would have been no miracle.  It didn't matter to the man that they cast him out of the synagogue because he hadn't received any help there anyway.
  • Allowing God to work in our lives can speak to others without words.
  • As we walk by faith, we prove that what God chooses for us is best.
  • Jesus didn't shed His blood so that we could enjoy the best that this world offers, but rather so that we could enjoy the best that heaven offers.
  • We show by our lives what is most important to us.
  • Life becomes simple when we learn to follow Jesus.
  • A true revelation unites God's people throughout the ages.
  • Do we listen to the gospel to examine ourselves or to justify ourselves?  What we receive depends on how we listen.
  • The rest of God is hidden in the yoke.
  • Many people say, "I have to see it to believe it."  In the way of God, we have to believe it in order to see it.
  • The doctrine of Christ is not subject to opinion.
  • As we wait on God, we can receive power to become willing.
  • The rich young ruler bent his knee but not his will.  As a result, he went away sad.
  • The footsteps that we are following determine the footsteps that we are leaving.
  • In every decision that we make, big or small, we can either honor or dishonor God.
  • There's an afterwards to everything.
  • A man was constantly complaining to the authorities in his town about all the bad things that went on around him, all the wrong things that his neighbors were doing.  The government official gave him the task of carrying a glass of wine filled to the brim all the way around the town without spilling a drop.  When he returned, the official asked him what he had seen while he was walking around town.  "Nothing" was his reply.  What we are carrying in our lives will help us to not be so concerned about all that is going on around us.
  • Does what is in me help or hinder others?
  • Although perfect, Jesus was and is willing to identify Himself with an imperfect people.
  • I am responsible for my actions and my reactions.
  • Under stress, Jesus could commend His spirit to His Father in perfect condition.
  • Our doctrine is Jesus.
  • God doesn't want an isolated people; He wants a separated people.  Jesus showed us how to live that way.
  • May our faith in the blood of Christ be greater than our feeling of unworthiness.
  • Remorse only brings pain.  True repentance brings peace.
  • The world can fit into our hearts, but it cannot fill us.

Quito Especiales - 24-26 junio

viernes
7:00-8:15 pm - Percy Broughton, Linda Ogden, Ingrid Mendoza

sábado
10:00-12:00 - Héctor Díaz, Lilia Latorre, Kamela LiaBraaten
2:00-3:30 pm - Percy Broughton, Lois Pelchen, Damaris Báez
4:30 - 5:30 pm - Vaughn Ellingson, Brett Hammett

domingo
9:30-11:30 am - Percy Broughton, Lilia Latorre, Luz González
1:00-3:00 pm - Héctor Díaz, Karen Morton, Alberto Basurto


*The crowd at Quito was unusually large this year.  We served 211 at Sunday lunch and ran out of beds in the women's dorms.  There was room for NO more chairs in the meeting building.*

The tuna salad deserves its own post.

 To read about last year's tuna salad experience, click here:

I was in charge of making the refrito (tomatoes, green peppers and onions).


We didn't get quite so much food on the floor this time.

Summary: 
This year's tuna salad experience was a bit calmer than last year, but we missed two meetings as opposed to one.  And although we got good reviews on the final product, I'm still not a big fan of tuna.  

Cooking at Quito

My name appeared on the Quito work list under Menu, Shopping, and Supper cook.  Being the non-culinary person that I am, it seemed a bit overwhelming, but fortunately, the menu needed only minor changes, the shopping list from convention time was still fairly accurate, and Luz would be with me in the kitchen.  

Friday night supper is spaghetti.

All set up and ready to go

Menus, recipes and crowd numbers






Dishwashing area just outside the meeting building
Kitchen / dining is right behind me.

Here's what we serve for supper.

THURSDAY
CHICKEN TACOS/FAJITAS 

2kg chicken breast, cut into strips 
2 red peppers, strips 
2 green peppers, strips 
3 onions, strips 
garlic 
1 pkt (2 heads) frilly lettuce 
5 tomatoes, chopped 
2 x 300g grated cheese mixture 
2 x 250g sour cream 
200mL limón 
3 pkts t seasoning (or chili powder etc) 
8 avocados or 2 pkts prepared Guacamole 
24 corn tortillas, 12 corn tortillas  

Heat oil in a large heavy based pan and cook chicken on high heat until no longer pink.  
Stir in water and seasoning mix. 
Add onions and peppers, cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.  
Heat the tortillas on a hot skillet. 
Serve with shredded lettuce, grated cheese, salsa and sour cream. 

Preparation time: 45 minutes 
Cooking time: 40 minutes 
Serves: 13 - 16 people 

FRIDAY
PASTA WITH BOLOGNESE SAUCE 

6kg ground beef 
5.6kg “Spaghetti 5” VITTORIO brand (14x400g) 
12 cloves garlic, crushed 
3kg onion, chopped 
1 kg green pepper, chopped 
7kg tomato, chopped 
800g sliced mushrooms 
6 x 400ml spaghetti sauce 
2 x 400g tomato paste 
Oregano, basil, salt & pepper taste 

Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta. 
In a large heavy based pan, stir fry beef in oil until no longer pink. 
Add garlic, green pepper and onion and cook for a minute or two. 
Add tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms  and herbs to the pan, add water if necessary, mixing well. 
When boiling, lower heat and allow to simmer.  
Add peppers, then salt and pepper to taste.  
Serve Bolognese sauce over pasta. 

Preparation time: 1 hour 
Cooking time: 1 hour 
Serves : 75 people 

SATURDAY
TUNA AND VEGETABLE NOODLES 

7kg spiral pasta VITTORIO brand (17x400g +250g) 
10 x 900g tinned tuna, drained 
10 tins sweet corn 
4kg peas 
5kg carrots, cubed 
10 red peppers 
4kg onion, cubed 
6kg tomato, chopped 
8 Maggi cubes, vegetable flavor 
Salt and pepper to taste 
White sauce:4L milk 
240g butter 
2 tazas flour 

In a large pan fry the onion, red pepper and tomato. 
Cook peas & carrots separately until just “al dente”. 
Mix tuna, corn and veggies with onion, red pepper and tomato mixture.  
Season with salt, pepper. 
Make white sauce and mix with tuna mixture. 

Cook the noodles in 2 large pots.  
Drain noodles and divide between 4 pots, ready for mixing. 
Divide the fried mixture, tuna and vegetables evenly between the 4 pots and mix well.  
(If necessary make a broth with Maggi cubes, and before serving add this evenly to the 4 pots.) 

** Starting with boiling the water… it takes about 1 ½ hours from starting to cook the vegetables until finishing mixing everything together.*** 

Serves: 150 people