Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Yesterday, Ookyoung and I visited the town of Puerres, about half an hour or so from Ipiales in order to meet a new contact.  Nelly López works with one of our friends in construction and had expressed her dissatisfaction with her life as it presently is as well as with her religious experiences.  Last November, our friend, Óscar, invited her to attend a day of convention in Ipiales, and upon accepting the invitation, Nelly liked what she heard.  Because of transportation difficulties, she isn't able to attend our Sunday evening gospel meetings in Ipiales, so we arranged to study with her in her home on a weekly basis.  Sometimes we will be able to go on Saturday afternoon after she is done with work.  Other weeks, we'll have to go during her lunch break.  After our first study yesterday, we were very encouraged by her response and look forward to continuing our visits in Puerres.  Again, we marvel at how God brings people into contact with His truth in so many different ways.  He certainly knows what He's doing!

Here's the statue in the plaza in the center of Puerres.  

I hope those back legs are well connected to the wall!  

Sunday supper

It wasn't Mom's lasagna, but it was a very welcome menu change.

Marshmallow tea

My good friend, Jennifer G, sent me some packets of hot chocolate via Laura and Alejandro, so before our study began, Laura delivered the precious package, and my mouth began to water in anticipation!  The next morning at breakfast, I took a packet for myself and asked Ookyoung if she'd like some also.  "With marshmallows or without?"  She chose "with," so I tore off a packet of that variety for her.  At the breakfast table, we both dumped the contents of our packages into our mugs, and I poured water into both cups.  A minute later, Ookyoung remarked, "I've never drunk marshmallow tea before."  I kind of chuckled but didn't think too much about it.  Maybe that's what Koreans call it.  :-)  Then I glanced over at her mug.  The water was clear.  "There wasn't any chocolate in your package?" I asked her.  "No," came the answer.  I ran to the bedroom to get another packet.  There must have been a malfunction in the packaging process.  I grabbed another package and returned to the dining room.  Ookyoung opened it and dumped it in her mug.  Now there was chocolate but no marshmallows.  How strange!  The company really messed up with this batch!  Then I looked at the packages more carefully.  There it clearly says:

                                  THIS SIDE CONTAINS          THIS SIDE CONTAINS
                                    MARSHMALLOWS                 HOT COCOA MIX

Special visitors

When I was in the Carolinas for a short time back in 2012, I met Laura and her son, Alejandro.  Laura hadn't been professing long, so Jennifer Grady and I planned to have gospel meetings within reach of her.  We rented a facility, printed up posters and hung them around town to announce the meetings.  Then I got sick, and we never had any of those meeting.  I saw Laura and Alejandro one more time when I went back to the Carolinas for Special Meeting rounds in January of 2014.  An important detail that I should mention at this point: Laura is from Ecuador.  A couple of months ago now, I got a call from Jennifer Grady.  "We're here at Laura and Alejandro's house on Special Meeting rounds, and Laura says that they're planning to go visit her family in Ecuador in March."  A good part of her family lives in the Ibarra area, which is my field!  So, this past Friday night, Laura, Alejandro, and Laura's sister, Sara, came to the Bible study we had in Sra. Patricia's home after our study at Academic English.  It was wonderful to see Laura and Alejandro again and to meet her sister as well. We caught up on how things are going in their corner of North Carolina and discussed plans to see each other again before they head back home.  If all goes well, they'll come back to Sra. Patricia's this Sunday morning for the meeting, and we'll be there too.  She says that several of her family members plan to come with her, so that will be a real bonus if they follow through!  Maybe I'll even take a picture this time.  :-)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Quimbolitos for supper

Quimbolitos are rather like what we think of as tamales.  They are usually sweet, but Sra. Patricia in Ibarra makes "salty" ones.  They are quite delicious!

Academic English Bible Studies

A couple of weeks ago now, Immanuel and Djolane from Haiti moved to Ibarra.  They had been living in Quito since October or November of this past year.  Immanuel found a job as an English teacher at a private institute called Academic English, and he immediately invited us to have Bible studies with the students as a way for them to practice their English and hopefully, to develop an interest in spiritual things.  We agreed to come each Friday at 5:00 pm to study with any students who were interested.  This past Friday was our first study.  

We took with us printed copies of Matthew 1: 18-25 in English and Spanish as well as hymns #1 and #8 in English.  We began by reading hymn #1 round robin style.  Each student would read a verse, and then I would read the same verse so that they could hear it pronounced correctly.  After we had read the whole hymn, we sang it together.  I prayed, and then we read Matthew 1 around the table in the same way as we had read "Tell Me the Story of Jesus."  Ookyoung and I both shared a few thoughts, mainly in English, with some clarification in Spanish thrown in here and there, and we finished our little meeting with hymn #8.  This time, I read each verse first so that the students could hear how it should sound before they gave it a try.  We talked about the hymn's meaning verse by verse as well.  

There were five students present, and four of them seemed to understand a good portion of what was said in English.  The other lady said afterward that she hadn't understood anything and that it stressed her out!  We encouraged her to keep coming and said that we would try to use a little more Spanish in the next study.  We hope that the same five will come and that others' interest will be awakened as well.  It's a wonderful opportunity!  

Sweet treat

While I would not have enjoyed this in Cumbal, I was quite delighted to re-experience my favorite soft-serve coconut ice cream in Ibarra on Friday.

Cumbal - part 4 (AKA: The top layers)

Here's what I wore in Cumbal:
2 silk undershirts (one long-sleeved, one short-sleeved), 1 long-sleeved blouse, 1 fleece jacket, 1 lightweight down jacket, 1 wool poncho

I also had on nylon pantyhose topped with fleece-lined footless tights, knee socks and ankle socks.  Oh yes, and a skirt.  

I was not sweating!  

Cumbal - part 3

I was able to take exactly one picture on Thursday morning before my phone ran out of battery.  
Here it is.

Cumbal - part 2 (AKA: Paleface in a Poncho)

I purchased a poncho in Tulcán a week or two ago.  Up until "now" I had only used it in the home where we keep our extra things, but I decided to take it along to Cumbal.  I was very very glad that I did!

This is me, all ready for bed.  I decided to just sleep in my clothes since it was too cold (for me) to even think about changing into pajamas!  

Cumbal - part 1

This past Wednesday, Ookyoung and I went to Cumbal.  We took a taxi van from Ipiales to the town of Cumbal, where we met up with don Éninson, Sra. Doris, Nancy (their daughter), Éric (Nancy's small son) and Márlon (E & D's son).  They had agreed to take us to the home of don Ballardo and Sra. Beatriz, who live further "up the mountain."  There we would have the midweek Bible study and have supper before returning to E & D's for the night.  Ookyoung and I rode in the cab of the small pickup with don Éninson while the rest of the family rode on a mattress in the back.  I don't know how far out of town B & B actually live, but the trip took every bit of half an hour.  Only a very small section of the road was cement; the rest was dirt (actually, mud, since it had been raining all week) with scattered protruding stones.  Before we had gotten too far along, I was rather wishing for my own mattress for sitting since my tailbone was situated directly on top of the seat belt buckle!  Lots of bumps made for a less than comfortable ride!  However, the scenery was beautiful.  Even though I couldn't get too many good pictures because of my riding position, I kept trying to play the part of trip photographer.  Here's a sample of what I took.

Apparently, there are plans to improve the road, so there are piles of rock in the middle of the path every so often, adding to the current travel complications.

Looks like it could rain again!  Good thing there's a tarp over the back of the truck!

This road doesn't look wide enough for two! 
Turns out, it was!!!

Passing a horse and cart

Motor tricycle taxis are the common public transport in this area.

Crossing the river

I kept trying to get pictures of people in their ponchos, but I never did get a good one.  
Some day!

Lots of motorcycles!

Dogs waiting to greet us

And also a horse

If you ever get a chance to visit don Ballardo and Beatriz, I highly recommend it! 

Sweet Sahara

With her friend, Peppa Pig

We now commence to do everything with toothbrush in hand.

Brushing Mr. Lion's teeth

"Maybe I should brush mine now."

Giving kisses


Peppa goes for a ride.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dulce's prayer

Dulce is 4 years old.  Her grandparents told us about one of her recent prayers.

"I know that I have to be a sister worker, but may Thy will be done."  

Maybe we'll be companions one day!  


Monday, March 13, 2017

But first it's off to Peru

I found out a couple of weeks ago that I'm scheduled to attend Special Meetings in Peru in just over a month from now.  I'm supposed to arrive in Chiclayo on April 17 to begin the visiting schedule before meetings start on April 23.  The last meetings are on May 28, so I'll be there for a full six weeks, arriving back in Ecuador just in time to begin our own Special Meetings.  I imagine I'll be ready for a few days of rest by the time our rounds end on July 3!  

Here's my schedule for Peru:

23 de abril - Ramoscucho
30 de abril - Tarapoto
7 de mayo - La Flor
14 de mayo - Cajamarca
20-21 de mayo - Olmos
27-28 de mayo - Coyunde

I don't know much about any of these places, except that Ramoscucho is supposed to be very cold and Tarapoto is very hot.  Should make packing interesting!  I'll be the only visitor at the first four places on my route.  Supposedly there will be another visitor at Olmos, but that's not a certainty as of yet as far as I know.  All the workers are together at Coyunde.  I'm sure this trip will provide me with a few more things to blog about and a whole lot more!  

Just in case you'd like to come...

Special Meetings 2017

Pasto, Colombia - 28 de mayo
Ipiales, Colombia - 3,4 de junio

Montalvo - 28 de mayo
Las Mercedes - 9,10,11 de junio
El Cristal - 16,17, 18 de junio
Quito - 23,24,25 de junio
Quevedo - 25 de junio
Aguas Negras - 28 de junio 
Lago Agrio - 1,2 de julio
Cuenca - 2 de julio
Ambato - 1,2 de julio

You're welcome to come, either in person or in your heart, but I thought I'd share the dates with plenty of anticipation in case you'd like to come in person.  That requires a little more notice!  😊


On Saturday, Ookyoung and I traveled from Quito to Ambato to attend the funeral service for Hank Burkhardt.  Hank and his wife, Pearl, are both from the States but have lived in Ecuador off and on for the past seven years or so.  

Hank was born in 1948 and was diagnosed with MS at the age of 31, and in the mid to late 90s moved into a nursing home in order to receive the care that he needed because of his condition.  As it happened, Pearl was working as a nurse at that nursing home, so that is where they met.  They developed a friendship there, and Hank ended up professing in November 1997.  He and Pearl were married in April 1998.  After that, Pearl was able to remove Hank from the nursing home to continue caring for him at home.  

Hank and Pearl arrived in Ecuador in 2010 and from that time on traveled back and forth between here and the States, spending several months at a time in each country.

Hank had been in a wheelchair since 1991.  When Hank and Pearl married, Hank could still use his right arm and hand somewhat, but in 2005, he lost even that.  Since I knew him, the only part of his body that he could move was his head, and that, only slightly.  

The thing I'll remember most about Hank was that he always seemed to be smiling.  He had a lot that he could have complained about, but he didn't.  He chose to be content.  And so, that's my lesson from Hank.  Happiness doesn't just come our way; we choose to be happy, even when life is difficult.  

And although death brings sorrow because of separation, victory is always sweet.

In Ibarra

Lots of goats for sale today!  
Or maybe they're milking them and selling the milk?  
I'm not sure what the actual negotiations were, but the railroad tracks were lined with goats as we passed by.  
We didn't stop as I wasn't in the market for anything goat-related that day.

A few shots from our trip to Ibarra

I don't want to show you a million pictures that all look the same, but every time we travel, I'm in awe of the landscape.  Here are just a couple of photos that I took when we traveled to Ibarra on March 7.

Sarita and Lucas

Singing hymns in the evening
Sarita felt very important with her own hymnbook.

Trying to get a non-blurry picture of an active puppy (Lucas) is a bit of a challenge.


And again

When Sarita saw us brushing our teeth in the morning, she ran to get her own toothbrush.