Everyday is a lesson in humility and patience…have we mastered it? Of course not! Maybe after a millennium…or two, smile. The lessons come in when our false expectations run straight into reality. “Oh, yeah, well everybody (including friends who’ve been here for 20 years) is saying it will take 3 to 5 years but we’ll be different, surely it won’t take us that long!” Haha! FALSE! it’s gonna take at least that long. And you know what? It’s ok. We try to sit back and enjoy the ride. Calm down, embrace the culture. We remind ourselves we’re in a marathon, not a hundred yard dash.
Chet says he goes a little crazy sometimes over the cash based system here, all our bills were taken care of in the States with online banking. We paid about 20 bills online in the States, we are down to 4 now. The landlord shows up for the cash rent the first of every month, that was very weird at first! Purchasing appliances, furniture, etc. you’ll get a deeper discount with cash and most stores don’t even accept cards. We are learning to adjust. We try to relish the language and laugh at our many bumbling mistakes like telling someone I made a dish with “roasted eyes” when I meant to say roasted garlic! Or that my spouse and I are birds instead of telling them we are a couple! And if you ask for manzanilla on your toast, please expect them to look at you strangely and bring chamomile tea, not butter. Butter is mantequilla. All of this has made for some great laughs with the friends and openings with locals about who we are and why we are here.
Our lives have speeded up quite a bit, as we are very busy now in service, endeavoring to take advantage of all avenues of the ministry including public witnessing with the cart at the big Mercado near our kingdom hall and evening service here, which is a treat being able to work casa a casa (house to house) at 8 and 9pm at night. Not all the friends in all 60 congregations here work their territory at night, but we live in a relatively safe area for evening witnessing so that’s a blessing. There is 12 hours of daylight here year round, about 5:45 a.m to 5:45 p.m so early morning witnessing in the park is nice too. There are lots of people out in the park, jogging and working out on the equipment that the city has built into a lot of the parks. Although it is still a challenge to get our time because we have very little return visits, I do currently have 3 studies and we are praying for more!
Fridays finds us working on the Assembly Hall in Racar, about a half hour from home. Huge storm this past week shortly after our arrival, Chet and Luis, the assembly hall caretaker, look anxiously outside as hail begins to fall. Just an hour prior it was a beautiful sunny day!
Our congregation’s newest and youngest unbaptized publisher is Darla. She is 3, will be 4 in January. Darla, her mom and grandmother are regulars in evening witnessing which meets on Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m, despite her single mom and grandmother working all day until 6pm. One day Darla asked her mom why she couldn’t fill out a field service report? Her mom explained that she couldn’t because she wasn’t a publisher. So Darla said, “Well, then I want to become a publisher!” Her mom explained that she had to talk to the elders about that. So at the next meeting…and the next one Darla approached the coordinator and asked when she could talk to him about being a publisher. No joke! This past Sunday, Darla had her meeting and was approved to become an unbaptized publisher. Darla told the brothers that she wants to serve Jehovah forever.
The picture below is of our service group. Christian, the young man in the wheelchair is 21 and frequently auxiliary pioneers. New service groups are in the wings and this weekend we will start having 2 combined groups at our home for the field ministry.
Tuesday afternoons is the opportunity to strengthen my Spanish with these two lovely companions…Micaela and Daniela, 11 & 12 years old. This picture was taken as we did public witnessing on a path near the river Tomebamba. They are such a source of encouragement and fun! Micaela, the shorter of the two, is a stickler for correct pronunciation and meaning, and of course I need it desperately!
In other news the weather is so beautiful here its really warmed up, not as chilly as when we arrived and it’s sunny most days with low humidity, sometimes showers in the afternoon and then cool again at night. Next month the friends here are looking forward to going to the district convention, the International one will be held in Quito but mostly English are invited to that here in Ecuador. The Spanish convention will be held in Azogues. Lots of excitement among the friends as they have waited for months for this!
Chet thought it would be great to mention that we both visited the dentist this month for thorough cleanings for under $60. Total! yep. Also, chiropractor visits for $15. Nice, hmmm? Lastly, here’s a recipe for a hot spiced beverage typical of Ecuador, Canelazo (pronounced Cahn-eh-lasoh).
It can be served with or without alcohol so everyone can enjoy it. Canela is cinnamon in Spanish, thus the name. Buen Provecho!