Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hello Family and Friends-

We are sorry for being so delinquent in our updates. Our focus over the past couple of months has been on finalizing the sale of our business, attempting to lease the building (now 30% leased), selling our home (still for sale) and fundraising. In the past 2 weeks we were able to compile a list of approximately 600 people that we have contacted in some way regarding our ministry to Ecuador. What a blessing to know that many people! It does help when you live in the same town for almost your entire life and your husband is an extrovert! :)

We will be taking a break from all of the above activities over the next 2 days in order to celebrate our Lord and Saviour's birth. We hope and pray that you will take the time to really celebrate that as well!

Merry Christmas and blessings to you in 2010!
Eric, Renee, Adrianne, Kevin and Joshua Fogg (and Twitter the guniea pig)

Friday, October 30, 2009


Yesterday afternoon we received a call from HCJB Global letting us know that we are now accepted as missionaries with them! What does this mean exactly? Well - HCJB has offered us position(s) in Shell, Ecuador. Generally, the contract runs for 3 years at which time we re-evaluate them and they re-evaluate us. Our job descriptions (they will change I'm sure over time) in Ecuador consist of general contractor for a hospital addition (Eric), leading work teams (Eric), training locals in water filtration unit building (Eric), health and hygiene training (Renee), Occupational Therapy at the Hospital and orphanage (Renee) and managing the guest house (Renee).

So what next? HCJB requires that we raise 100% of our funds prior to leaving the country. This does not mean that we have to have 100% in hand but we must have pledges for 100% of our needs. In other words we will be fundraising for the next several months, speaking at churches about HCJB and their vision/goals worldwide as well as with individuals. In January Eric and I will return to Colorado Springs for 10 days of training that is required.

If our funds are raised and everything here (Holland) is in order then we would hope to begin our journey mid-July 2010. There is a missionary training school for adults and kids north of Colorado Springs that we would attend for 6 weeks and then head off to Costa Rica for 3-6 months of language school. Directly from lanaguage school to Ecuador. That is just a brief synopsis of "our" plan. Only God knows the timing. We will trust Him to work out the details.

In the meantime Eric is busy working for one of his brothers and I am trying to keep up the house as it is now on the market. We have had 2 showings so far and an open house is scheduled for this Saturday. If you remember please pray for the rain to stop!!! Woke up this A.M. to a flooded front yard. Of course the flooded area is the area we just added top soil too and re-seeded. Our house is fine as we put in 7 de-watering wells in May but the yard is not attractive.

We are both also studying our Spanish via computer and I am taking Bible classes on-line to finish up HCJB's Bible credit requirements. We will continue to keep you updated as we find out more. If you would like to know more about the journey God has us on - please give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to share what HCJB is doing globally. Feel free to check out their website also at

Friday, October 16, 2009

Home again

Eric at Focus on the Family.
Airforce academy.

Lobby of Compassion International.

The Red Rocks are part of Garden of the Gods Park. The snow capped peak is Pikes Peak at 14,000 feet.

The day we arrived they had just finished having an ice storm. This was a cherry tree in a nearby park.

Well - we are home again. Arrived last night at midnight after a several hour delay in Colorado Springs airport due to awful weather in Minneapolis. After much waiting in the airport and switching flights we actually arrived home at the same time we would have -had we left on our original flight. We ended up taking one less flight in the process.

The three days of interviews and classes were long but very thorough. We walked away tired, however feeling positive about the experience. The membership committee has yet to vote so we don't yet know our status. We should know by next week if we are accepted as appointees. At that point we can begin fundraising for our language school and work in Ecuador.

After we had our last class on Wednesday we had the opportunity to visit Garden of the Gods park, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Both are very beautiful. On Thursday before we left we stopped at Focus on the Family, Compassion International and the Airforce Academy for very quick tours. We will keep you updated as we hear more. Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Survival of day 1

Hello Family and friends,

We arrived safely in Colorado Springs yesterday afternoon. After a restless night we were up at 4:00 am local time (after all it is 6:00am in MI). Our day was spent at HCJB headquarters and it was a full one. The day began meeting the other 4 couples that are in our discovery class and then 1 hour of chapel. After that we attended 2 - 1 hour classes on the history of HCJB and a class on Biblical submission. Lunch followed and then Eric and I met with HR to go over our mini work profile tests that we took online a few weeks ago. Surprisingly accurate. Another meeting on finances and then on placement. Dinner followed and then we had separate psychological interviews. Believe it or not we are not crazy - at least not certifiably! We arrived back at our "host home" at 7:30. Our day begins tomorrow at 8:00am again with more meetings.

We are holding up well but very tired so if you think about us - please pray for rest during this process. Thank you for praying for us and caring for our kids Mom, Mom, Sarah and Lynelle! We love you Adrianne, Kevin and Joshua. See you on Thursday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hard heads and resignation

Never a dull moment around here! Yesterday Eric was preparing for an outdoor project at his parents house. For those of you who don't know his parents live on Lake Michigan. It was very windy here in Holland yesterday and you can imagine the force of the wind on the Lake. Anyway Eric and a man (Brian) from a local lumber company were unloading 2 sheets of plywood so that a dumpster could be place on it. After laying the plywood down they turned the other direction so they could talk over the wind. Eric said they never saw it coming. The wind lifted up the plywood which struck Eric on the back of the head. When he turned his head to "shake it off" he saw Brian fall face down on the pavement. Brian was not moving. Eric turned him over and realized he was not breathing. He prayed over him and turned him on his side. Brian then took a large breath but did not open his eyes for a few minutes. It was then that Eric saw the golf ball size "goose egg" on the back of Brian's neck. He had been hit with the plywood in the spot you would hit to knock someone out (like in the karate movies). Eric was able to load Brian up and bring him to the medi center and contact his family. Brain did not remember where he was or why his head hurt. Several hours later, after a CT scan, Brian was able to go home and was able to remember everything up to the point of impact. Eric has a lump on the back of his head, which is more from the shifting of his cranial bones than swelling. He took a long nap last night and will be going to see his brother, a chiroprator, this morning for an adjustment. Praise the Lord for hard heads and little lasting damage!

On a completely different note - I resigned from my manager position this past Sunday. It was a difficult decision and an emotional one but I know it is the right one. I have been so busy with the store that there is little to no time to prep the house for sale or begin the spanish study we need to. My last official day will be Friday the 9th of October. Pray for the store as you think of it, during this transition.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It sold!

After much time, energy, tears, and the like...

Holland Custom Metal works sold to Byers Manufacturing on September 11, 2009. We are sorry for the 10 day delay in informing all of you, but there were people and processes that needed to be informed before it became public.

It has been a bitter sweet selling. The business needed to sell to allow us to continue on our journey, but it did not sell under very nice circumstances. I (Eric ) have been working full time since the sale to assist in the transition of the company, but that should be mostly ended by this Friday.

The next order of business will be locating a job, selling the building that the business was in (the people did not want the building) and cleaning up the mess.

Very early October (about the 5th) we are anticipating listing our house for sale. Some of the money will be needed for debt and as we progress towards HCJB's invitation to work in Ecuador, we will not be needing the house here anyway.

We have had so many things happen in the last couple weeks, not even related to the business. Joshua started Spanish immersion first grade in a new school - that was a rough start but going better now. Kevin started 4th grade at the Waukazoo Elementary in the Montessori program (his second year) and its going well there. Adrianne started 6th grade at Calvary Schools of Holland (yes we have kids in three separate schools). Adrianne is loving it.

Church is going well. We are still helping out with kids second hour and looking to transition to the La Roca Spanish speaking church soon while still attending Central Wesleyan first service.

Sunshine's work has been challenging. One of the managers quit, giving her more hours for a few weeks- this has been wearing. Soon though a store director will be hired and her hours will go back down.

The yard is finally dry and I have been taking what time I can to help get the house ready for the house listing.

On the praise note:

!!!! Today we have been officially invited to the HCJB three day interview process on Colorado Springs, October 12-14, 2009. We are in the process of buying tickets and making preparations. We are very excited to have the opportunity and cannot wait to see how God is going to work all this out.

Please let know how we can pray for you and we will keep you informed of our journey!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fast pace living

Many of you have asked what we have been up to since we arrived home from Ecuador 6 weeks ago already. All I can say is we are hanging on for the ride! It has been so busy around here that we have not even had time to fill out the proper paperwork for HCJB nor retrieve our pictures from the laptop with the dead battery.

Eric has been putting in long hours trying to sell Holland Custom Metalworks and yet find work for it at the same time. He also just completed the neighbors deck that he built in his "spare" time and is in the process of fixing my parents deck after removing their hot tub. He has 2 more projects lined up outside of normal business activities as well.

I have been working at the resale store 30 hours a week and putting in extra time at home setting up procedures, volunteer training, etc.. I have also been taking care of the neighbors yard work and adding new landscaping. The landscaping project is almost complete so now it is just maintenance.

Our house has remained dry for the most part since installing 7 wells to pump the water away just before leaving for Ecuador. No carpet down yet in the basement though - just in case. I was able to finally mow the entire yard last week - the first time this year as it was under water until then.

I was able to get away for 3 days to a small cabin with no electricity or running water which was big blessing. It took a day and a half just to stop thinking about all the projects that needed to get done.

The kids have been doing well despite a bout with poison ivy, and knocking out some teeth on the slip and slide. They were able to go camping with my mom and had a great time. They also volunteer at the resale store several hours each week and Adrianne is now old enough to help watch her brothers for a few hours at a time.

As for Ecuador we have not forgotten our goal- we are meeting with the HCJB president and his wife over dinner this Wednesday night in Muskegon and attending an evening conference on Thursday with the past president of HCJB. We are planning on filling out the necessary paperwork in the next 2 weeks and then we are looking into taking distance learning classes through Moody Bible Institute as well as local college Spanish classes.

We are selling items as we have time in preparation for leaving. Eric even sold his 1969 Ford aqua/white truck that he bought at the age of 15! Never thought I would see the day.

Eric's family gave us the gift of a week's vacation on Beaver Island next week so we are looking forward to getting away from the rat race for a little while.

When we come to mind please pray for our family, especially for the selling of the business. It has been very stressful and time consuming.

Thank you for your continued encouragement and prayers - we can feel them!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

We are Home!!!

Good morning all - We are Home.

I would like to thank you for the prayers, e-mails and support we have received along the way. The journey was both inspiring and tiring. Everyone is safe and sound less nasty bug bites and a few bowel troubles.

Looks like the last time we had access to the internet we have just arrived back in Shell from Macuma. Let me catch you up to speed.

We arrived Thursday from Macuma and had a great flight. We went to the Nate Saint house for a small tour - he was one of the 5 missionaries killed by the Indians 50 years ago. Then we walked downtown for groceries and ate a simple meal at home. We unpacked from our jungle adventure, did laundry and repacked for Quito. The weather conditions are so different you almost need to pack for three trips. Colder Quito, Nice Shell, Very hot and wet Macuma.

We had met some great people in Shell, not the least of which was Rick and Sharon LaBouef. They live across the street from the HCJB Guest house and he flys into the jungle and preaches and shows movies of bible stories. We went to their house for dinner and to play dice. Steve & Diane Wilson (HCJB missionaries) also played. We had a great time. Adrianne and Steve were the winners of the two games - we had a blast.

Friday found us packing again for Quito. Sunshine was able to get to the House of Faith orphanage one last time to visit Daly (Dolly) to love on her. We had a great send-off. About 8 people that we have become acquainted with and felt like real family saw us off. It was great. We wanted to get a picture of the send off, but we missed it. The drive to Quito was long. The road is very curvy and up hill from 3,200 feet to 9,200 feet. All of us felt a little car sick. We were able to stop for lunch and had a break before we arrived in Quito about 4:30.

I chatted with Bruce Rydbeck (HCJB community development water coordinator- who invited us in the first place) while Sunshine and Adrianne went to the flower market. They bought 100 roses to take home. They had a blast.

Barely had time to collect our thoughts before the bus came to take us to dinner. We went to Pims restaurant on the top of the overlook of the city. Dinner was at 10,100 feet. The highest I have been for dinner. The view and company were wonderful.

Saturday was another serious travel day. Up at 5:45 am, airport at 7:00 am, suppose to leave at 9:15, left at 9:45. Suppose to arrive in Miami - thunderstorms. Held over Miami in the holding pattern for an hour, low on fuel so off to West Palm Beach. Sat on the Tarmac another 1 1/2 hours waiting for fuel before leaving for Miami. Arrived 4 hours late.

Fortunately our flight was in 2 hours. We went through immigration, customs, re-checked in through security, traveled by shuttle to the terminal and made it there with 30 minutes to spare before takeoff. God sent us an awesome porter who made everything go more quickly and efficiently. Life was not suppose to be this rushed.

Arrived by the grace of God in Detroit at 11:20 pm and was graciously met by Uncle Steve in our car. Loaded up, returned to Ypsilanti to drop of Steve and chatted briefly before leaving for Holland. Arrived in Holland at 3:15 am safe and sound.

Shower for some, bed for others. Needless to say we got up late this morning.

As a very pleasant house warming present, Judy, Tonya and Theresa (Koops side) cleaned the house, washed the sheets and put some food in the fridge yesterday anticipating our arrival. What a blessing. We were so beat, we had forgotten about food in the fridge and - miracle of miracles - there it was. God is good all the time.

Overall the trip was very successful. We really like HCJB and felt right at home. The work is very Christ centered and there is enough work to keep 1,000 workers busy in Gods ripe fields for lifetimes. As we prayerfully consider what to do - please pray for us. We will pray for you as you look for opportunities in the mission field that God has placed you in.

There are some big needs that God is working on in and around our home. As we experience his answers, we will continue to keep you posted.

Thank you and God bless.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Return from the jungle.

We returned from the jungle today about 3 hours ago. Great flight both ways. Not much to see on the way there as there were low clouds. On the way back was mostly clear and beautiful terrain. I would love to say we saw cool critters and bugs but the critters were all on vacation. We did see cockroaches - although not any bigger than in Florida- we also saw a walking stick the size of Eric's hand and spiders the size of my hand -also a locust that was 3 inches long.

We saw plenty of snakes but that was because the missionaries who lived in the village collected them to educate the people on snake bites.

I will start from the beginning though.

Monday - Up early for breakfast and walked across the street to the airport. Arrived at the airport at 7.30 and ended up waiting until 11.00 to fly out. Hurry and wait like all airports. Could not see the airstrip so the pilot thought we may have to turn back however there was a small opening in the clouds so we landed in the rain. Adrianne and I got wet and muddy from the water coming in the windows when we landed. In Macuma there is a 50 year old missionary complex that is only partially used today. 2 families still live in Macuma and have for 42 years and 23 years respectively. There is another house used for guests that we stayed in. Considering it is not used much it was in decent condition. The kids all had there own bedroom for the first time ever. They were a little hesitant as we found several cock roaches. Adrianne stood on the kitchen chair while Kevin tried to kill them with a fly swatter. It was rather humorous. Of course cock roaches fly which threw Adrianne off a little. She was not sure where to hide then. After settling in a bit we walked to the center of the village. Not much to see except for mud, mud and more mud. The government had just completed a large covered cemented area though for community activities. The ceiling of which was covered with hand sized spiders. It was very hot and muggy plus due to ankle deep - if not knee deep- mud everywhere you wear rubber knee boots. That makes the heat worse but keeps your feet dry. ladies wear skirts so the pictures of Adrianne and I are real attractive!! We stopped at a little store for something to drink. The stores are not open for customers to walk into - you ask for what you need by going up some steps to the order window. Anyway the lady had 2 cold cokes - it never tasted so good! Visited the missionary couple who had lived there for 23 years and learned the language of the village *Schwa*. He collected snakes to learn from and teach the Indians about so we learned all about them and held a few - non-poisonous- of course. Electricity went out around 6.00 so we cooked dinner by candlelight - on a propane stove. Just enough water in the tank to wash a few dishes and had a couple of cups of filtered water to brush our teeth and wash our faces. Bed early since it was raining and had no electricity.

The boys fell asleep right away - Adrianne was so concerned about bugs that she kept turning her flashlight on and off, on and off. I had a candle burning in our room so the kids could find the bathroom if they needed to without falling down the stairs so I finally put the candle in her room and she fell asleep within a few minutes however I was then concerned about the candle so I was wide awake most of the night. There were also bats living in the attic of the house and they seemed to fly in and out above our room. Initially they sounded like raindrops but then one or two of them would have hard landings and make a loud crash noise and then all the bats would squeak. If I weren't so tired, hot and dirty I would have found it humorous.

Tuesday - Interesting night. Bats in the attic kept Sunshine awake and the baby Benjamin was awake at 3:00 am and screaming. Unfortunately he did that alot. Hard to sleep in such an unfamiliar location with all the racket. Boys and I slept fine. Girls very very little.

We were supposed to leave at 7:30 am for Amazonas -a nearby village- but it was raining. The people here were praying for rain. It had been dry for 4 days and the rivers were getting low. It usually rains everyday at least once but usually twice a day and sometimes all day. Alfredo and I walked to Amazonas (about 40 minutes) and worked on a water tower connecting 4 quantity 550 liter tanks together. Usually it would be nice to place one large tank, but the largest tank you can get in the airplane is a 550 liter, so you use multiple ones. The PVC connections here are all threaded. You can barely buy glue fittings and the people won't use them anyway. Turns out the people cannot get them connected properly without leaking and they are not as strong as the threaded ones. I have to admit, the threaded ones are stronger, but they are as slow as metal steel threaded connections. Project took all day, although it could have been done in 1/2 day if I were at home. Alfredo said that if I were not along it would have taken two days. The people are smart, hard working and clever, but they have little experience with modern tools and methods. They find very clever ways to do something that works with what they have.

I - Renee - stayed back to get the kids ready. It takes a long time as they need to be thoroughly rubbed in with bug repellant and sun screen, have long socks on and their boots, rain gear and hats and umbrellas. With my three kids plus Alex's son it took quite some time. Also Joshua had to be carried for part of the way to Amazonas as the mud was too deep for his boots. I got stuck once and lost my boot but was able to recover it without sticking my foot in the mud.

Renee - When I arrived I went to the school to teach hygiene. The teachers had stopped teaching before we arrived so half of the kids had left already. We still had
40 kids though. Due to the fact that we did not have any idea if we were expected to teach or not I only brought 2 lessons which I dragged out to 3 and still did some games with them. The teachers wanted me to keep going but I was out of energy as all the kids were chasing me and it was Hot!!! Alex explained that the schools are really poor and the teachers let the kids out early every day becasue theri hearts are not in teaching. The kids are also expected to sit and write at their desks and do not think that school is fun at all so the kids had a blast playing the games and participating in the training. I wished I had brought more material although it would have been hard to carry more with having to carry Joshua part way.

Eric- For lunch the village cooked us Yuka, bananas, Papachina- roots that taste like potatoes and sardine soup with a boiled banana base. The bananas are not the ones for export that are in American stores, they are native ones. They need to be cooked to be eaten and although they taste OK they are tough. Turns out there are 8 kinds of bananas here. Needless to say you need to eat them within 2 days as they rot while you are looking at them. I had packed sandwiches for the kids although Adrianne at the soup.

Eric -The lunch was served by 10 women who all cooked over a fire in a common pot, like the old west. Each lady put her stuff in it and everyone ate off a table of banana leaves. Soup was OK, but the rest of the food was so high in starch, that you had to work hard to wash it off after lunch. They have a different sort of community than America, they all work together, live together and eat together. You can see that they are happy. They laughed as they worked all the time and it kept the day pleasant. This community runs close knit though, if you did not build into the community, you are very excluded. Each small group tends to keep to themselves and is very protective of the food, land, water and power. They are not very good at working with other close communities, even when their neighbors live 1/2 mile down the road and have been there for 100 years.

Renee- Alex and I then taught the woman of the village about parasites and malaria. They all speak Schwa so Alex translated in Spanish and then another lady translated into Schwa. It took quite awhile to get through 2 lessons. Initially the ladies said that they did not have those problems but after going over the symptoms they all started talking very fast to each other. They just assume that all children have diarrhea and have bloated stomachs because all of their children do. We left with the kids -who were very bored - around 4.30 to walk back. The power was on - then off - then on again -then off so it made for interesting washing up. I wash able to wash my hair with 5 cups of water though which felt great!! Each kid got washed from the waist up and by the time Eric arrived home there was enough water for him to take a shower.

Eric - Alfredo and I worked in the rain all afternoon to finish the project. By the time we were done, we still needed to walk home another 40 minutes in the rain and try to get there before dark. It's not like there are street lights. When its dark, you stop. We made it home just before dark and had convinced ourselves that the rain was our imagination. I can see that its much easier to just get wet, otherwise you spend 1/2 your time trying not to get wet and you are functionally useless.

It was nice that the electricity was on, the rain raised the river level and allowed the dam to produce power. Took a warm shower, ate better food and chatted till bed by 9:00 pm. Everyone went to bed without complaining today. Kids are whooped. Joshua lost his boot a time or two, Adrianne fell in the mud, most everyone was wet and muddy - but not cold. Day was fun, I am getting used to the Jungle. Mud, rain, 90 degrees and high humidity are just part of daily living. This place would be really nice it it were not for the constant mud.

On a personal note: It was very hard to communicate with the people here. I speak some Spanish and Alfredo and Alex are fluent, but the people here speak little Spanish, they speak Schwa. I can see that if you want to make an impact above humanitarian aid, you must learn the local language. I can see that one year of intense language school is a must if we are going to another language group.

I can see that you need to work with the people over a very long period of time to demonstrate how hygiene is done and how they can alter daily life in a way that is clean, but is still culturally appropriate. You can tell they understand, but how that understanding affects daily life is another thing entirely.

Will post more later about Wednesday and Thursday later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saturday and Sunday

Hello family and friends-

This is a short update. Our computer has such a dead battery that it will not take a charge so our lengthy updates are not accesible right now. We are scheduled to leave this morning for Macuma - a village farther into the jungle - currently are waiting for the fog to clear so our MAF plane can take off.

The helicopter never did arrive so no tank in the jungle. Saturday we spent most of the morning doing homework and relaxing. At lunch Adrianne was not feeling well so she went to bed while Eric and the boys and some of the other missionaries went to a water park in a nearby town. After Adrianne woke up she felt better so we walked to the orphanage and spent some time with the kids and did a little therapy. After an hour she was not feeling well again so we headed home to make dinner. Everything takes longer here - the chicken needs to be thoroughly washed in clean water which does not come directly out of the faucet and the oven only heats to 250. We ate at 8 pm. and watched a DVD of the Andy Griffith show.

Sunday- Adrianne is feeling much better so we went to church with some missionaries across the street. He is known as the Gringo Loco - crazy white man because of his flying techniques. Very nice family though. After church - which was very long as I only understood 1 of every 10 words and it went 2 hours we went to a beautiful restaurant near Shell. We had a 5 course meal for $5.00 per plate and then they had a pool in the back that we swam in - it downpoured so the kids had a blast.

After returning we started laundry and packing. Eric took the boys across the street to the Gringo Loco *Rick*'s hangar to watch them work on the plane and then they ended up staying for dinner while I studied my health and hygiene.

We won't be available until Thursday - at least if the planes are able to pick us up then- the weather here is extremely variable due to the mountains so we may not get back to Shell until Friday. Take care and thank you for your prayers and support!

The Fogg family

Friday, May 15, 2009

1 more photo for now

This is Adrianne sleeping in a hammock with Benjamin, the son of Alex and Alfredo (missionaries with HCJB).


The Hospital in Shell run by HCJB.

A beautiful waterfall on the trip to Shell.

The suspension bridge that connects 2 of HCJB´s compounds.


Joshua and Josue - two babies at the orphanage

The öld¨road from Ambato to Shell. It was carved on the edge of a cliff.

More pictures

Our family straddling the equator.

Adrianne with one of the little kids at the ¨For His Children¨orphanage in Quito.

Thursday, May 14

Thursday, May 14, 2009

French toast and fresh pineapple for breakfast this am. Finished up the 500 piece puzzle we started last night and began with the sand washing again.

I washed sand all morning with Alex while the kids did homework and Adrianne watched Benjamin (Alex and Alfredo’s 8 month old) Eric went off to the airport which is across the street to borrow a drill – of course it doesn’t hurt to walk around and talk with the Mission Aviation Fellowship pilots and check out their planes while you are at it!  They fly Cessna 206’s for those of you who know what those are.

After lunch more sand washing while Eric, Alex and Alfredo went to the military base to check on the helicopter that is supposed to deliver a water tank to the jungle tomorrow. (It has not arrived yet so it probably won’t happen) and then they went to the mine again for more sand and built a water filter at Marta’s house. Marta is the breakfast cook and housekeeper here at the guest house.

The kids, Benjamin, Diane (a new missionary with HCJB) and I walked the 5 blocks to town for groceries. We stopped at the meat market first for hamburger and chicken. The grocer was very proud of his meat and said he would sell American ladies anything they needed in the way of meat. Next stop was the bread shop. Everything looked and smelled great. No preservatives in their stuff. Went back to a small market that I had visited on the first day for the rest of our supplies. The proprietor there is very friendly to “Gringo’s” and finds it very humorous that I keep buying baking chocolate for Eric. It is the only decent chocolate around and is quite good – not bitter at all.

Washed sand for another hour upon our return and made dinner. So nice to have the upper floor of the guest house to ourselves. Feels very homey.

Went to Steve and Diane’s house (new missionaries that live 500 feet away) for dessert and to talk about HCJB and the requirements necessary to start.

Tucked the kids in bed around 9:00 – they have been falling asleep within minutes of hitting their pillows every night.

We are realizing more and more how much is involved in the preparation and even the necessary courses and language studies in order to part of HCJB. It is a very well run organization and highly respected around here which is attractive about them. We still do not have clear direction but are very interested in pursuing the next step.

By the way – it did not rain today! People write that on their calendars around here. I was pleasant and overcast this morning and quite toasty this afternoon when the sun came out. I saw my first cockroach today – he was a little one and lots of gnats. They must like the sunny weather too.

Until the next time!

First day in Shell

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sleeping is much better here. Less noise and more comfortable beds. Breakfast is at 7:30. The guest house employs a lady from 7:00 am -2:00 pm and she takes care of making breakfast and cleaning, except on weekends.

After a breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and oatmeal Eric and Alfredo went to a nearby mine to get the materials for the filters. Alex and I went over the hygiene material and talked about what to present in the jungle next week. The kids had a good time running around and playing in the hammocks.

Lunch (the main meal) was served at Alex and Alfredo’s house. It was delicious! Quinoa soup and hamburgers (we are not sure what special ingredient the cook added but they were tasty!) and also fresh papaya juice. The kids are doing much better with tasting everything and Kevin now loves passion fruit. It does taste good but looks like mucous! 

After lunch we began the tedious task of separating and washing the sand. What we wouldn’t give for a truck load of beach sand from the great lakes! This took all afternoon. The kids helped for most of it but they insisted on playing in the rain and got cold. It rained all morning with a 2 hour break around noon and has been raining ever since. You can tell everyone here is used to it. There are a lot of motorcycles on the road and they just wear rain gear and keep going.

We were able to get a clearer idea of what HCJB is looking for with the open position by talking with Alex and Alfredo. It sounds like the position would fit our strengths well, however we need to spend some time in prayer about it. We would need to go to language school and take some Bible courses at a seminary to meet the requirements.

We made dinner here – it was very nice to have the upstairs to ourselves and are now playing board games.

If you think of us please pray specifically for:

1. Clarity regarding whether or not to accept the position
2. For the kids (especially Kevin) to eat and enjoy the food. Our peanut butter will only last so long and we are traveling to the jungle on Monday where we eat what we are served. (It could be Monkey or Armadillo!)
3. Continued health for us
4. Safety as we travel:
a. by helicopter to the jungle on Friday to deliver a water tank and then returning the same day
b. by plane to the jungle on Monday –we return on Thursday.
c. We will be walking approximately an hour once we are dropped off by plane to reach a village.
d. Returning by van May 22 to Quito
e. Flying out May 23 to Miami and then Detroit.

Thank you so much for your continued support. If you read this we would love for you to leave us a comment so we know what is going on with you also!

God Speed,

Eric, Renee, Adrianne, Kevin and Joshua

Driving to Shell

Tuesday May 12, 2009

Lots of travel and interesting things today.

We all got up early and I was out of the house and at the office with Bruce by 7:30. It’s another travel day and we are off to Shell, Ecuador today. I took some seats out of the van and loaded it with the items needed for the hospital in Shell.

Bruce and I stopped by our apartment just after 8:00 am and loaded all of our personal items in the van. Sunshine had completed the move out the apartment as we are permanently moving and will only return to Quito for one night and will stay at the guest house just before catching the plane.

The drive to Shell was long and very, very pretty. It took nearly 5 hours of stop and go traffic, so many speed bumps I cannot count and multiple stops along the way. After the village of Ambato the road was incredible. Lava flows near one of the volcanoes, dense jungle and water falls. After the mountain pass at about 12,000 feet the land drops off 9,000 feet in about 100 km. The road is very curvy, has 6 tunnels blasted through the rock, deep gorges and has incredible scenery. The kids got a bit car sick and Sunshine was not that fond of the road being so close to the edge of the unprotected cliff but it was beautiful.

We arrived in Shell about 1:00 pm and had lunch at a small local street restaurant. The food was good and it was $1.50 per plate. Even the kids are now eating the chicken and rice (main staple here). We then moved into the guest house on one of the HCJB complexes. This “house” is set up more like a dormitory but still very homey. There is a group of men from Tennessee on the first floor and we have the second floor to ourselves. We have 2 of the 4 bedrooms and a common living area. The large kitchen and dining room are located up here as well with 5 individual showers and toilets.

After unloading we returned to the “town” for groceries and filter parts. The town is small and much more homey than Quito. Eric was thrilled to find decent chocolate. Ecuadorians are not big sweet eaters. The kids were thrilled to see grass and to be able to cross the street without us holding their hands and running like mad. In Quito, as the saying goes, there are 2 types of pedestrians – quick or dead. Here the only things you have to watch out for are the busses. Every corner is a bus stop – not 50 feet from the corner but right on the corner so the busses stop half way in the intersection if they are turning to pick up people.

We spoke with Alex (a civil engineer from England) and her husband (a civil engineer from Ecuador) about the projects, how Shell began, etc. for an hour and then toured the hospital and surrounding compounds. The hospital is about 30 beds and very modern for where we are. The organization is obviously very well run and has a vision for the people and the area. We went into the next city, Puyo (means fog in Spanish) with Alex and Alfredo and Bruce for Italian pizza (different from Ecuadorian pizza I’m told). The owner is Italian and his wife is Ecuadorian. The food was excellent however the kids were almost asleep by the time the food came. It took an hour after ordering to receive it.

Kids are now showered and in bed. Everything takes a little longer here as the water is not drinkable and the showers are like camping – except much cleaner!

Adios for now!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flower photos

more photos





Monday, May 11, 2009

Another beautiful sunny 80* day.

Sand washing and more sand washing. Eric, Joshua and I washed 6 more bags of sand while Adrianne and Kevin worked on their school work. This took 3 hours to complete and then we ate a quick early lunch and headed North to the equator via the bus. The bus system was crowded but not nearly as bad as the trolley system. We had to switch buses at the terminal. It took an hour to get there.

The monument park was not busy at all and we had a nice time wondering around and taking pictures. As it turns out there are 3 equator monuments and only 1 is exactly on the equator. We saw the most popular one – not the precise one.

We returned via another bus – good thing we had a map. No terminal this time and we had to walk about a mile to out apartment – thank goodness it was downhill! After a week here I can tell my body is getting used to the elevation – I am not nearly as winded as initially.

When we returned from the equator we spent 45 minutes going over filter information with HCJB staff and then were picked up by Clark who has run an orphanage here for the past 19 years. He took us to see it and we had an opportunity to play with and feed the kids. It is one of the nicest orphanages I have ever seen. They have approximately 50 kids right now – most below the age of 4. They do have 10 older children, 8 of which are handicapped in some way (moderate to severe Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome). These children are considered un-adoptable and therefore will probably spend the rest of their years in this orphanage. The other 2 older children are healthy however their mother will not sign over her rights.

80% of the children will be adopted by Ecuadorians. This process can take up to 4 years. The government will only allow handicapped children to be adopted by non-Ecuadorians but they make this very difficult. The orphanage does not receive any government assistance – yet the government does not want the children adopted out either.

We returned from the orphanage around 7:00 pm and put together a “unique” dinner from the little food we have left in the refrig. We did some laundry, packed up a bit and are heading to bed. We are scheduled to leave tomorrow for Shell at 8:00 am for further filter training.

Thank you for all of your prayers. We definitely are feeling them. We would love to post pictures but our signal is weak. We are hoping that it gets stronger in Shell so we can share.

Foggs – from the middle of the earth!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother’s day! Out day started a little later today. 6:30 as even the dogs sleep in on Sunday!

After breakfast we were able to call our mom’s via Skype. We have a very intermittent wireless connection. The best location is the roof of our apartment building in the NE corner. We still do not have a strong enough connection to download pictures so we will have to wait until tomorrow and hopefully we can get connected on a computer at HCJB headquarters.

We walked the 100 feet to the English Fellowship Church. Our apartment complex shares a fence with the church. There were about 200 people there. I would say 75% North American/United Kingdom and 25% Ecuadorian. The message was on humility. It was quite good and the pastor was passionate about the subject. They also gave each of the mom’s a single rose. It turns out that a large amount of the roses imported into the USA come from Ecuador. Roses are about $3.00 a dozen here. I’m told the rose’s shipment arrives in Quito on Saturday’s but we are not familiar enough with the city to try and locate it.

Our plan was to take a bus to the Equator Monument but the family (especially me) is in need of a day of rest so we are hanging out at the apartment right now. Eric and Joshua made dinner. It was a conglomeration of stuff as half of our food froze in the refrigerator. I’m thankful not to have to cook though.

Kevin and Adrianne took an hour to wash the dishes but had a great time singing while doing so.

The day is beautiful – we have not had rain here for 2 days now which I’m told is unusual. We’ll take it though. Perhaps tomorrow we will go to the equator.

While Sunshine rested, the kids and I played in the church yard next door and played cards. It was quite a nice time. You still have the urgency to do something outside because the sun is out – but it is out all the time.

After a nice, much needed nap (by Sunshine) we walked to the grocery store to get milk and then took a little walking tour. We handed out packets of Oreo’s to the armed guards and produce sellers as we walked. I think we made a few friends.  There are more armed guards in six blocks than the police department for the city of Holland. We saw some beautiful flower arrangements and stopped to take pictures of them. Turns out they were funeral arrangements. I think the guard thought we were loco. The flower attendant did not mind as we gave her Oreo’s.

We then discovered a Dominoes Pizza so we stopped for a pizza. The prices are similar to the US but the ingredients tasted slightly different. I’m sure the ingredients are healthier as everything is made from scratch here. The pop also has cane sugar versus high fructose corn syrup in it so it tastes much better.

Back to the apartment for laundry and boiling water. The city of Quito does have some chlorine in the water but still can contain parasites so we boil it and then let it set overnight.

Kids are watching a movie and settling in for the night. More sand washing tomorrow!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dogs and screeching tires (thank goodness there was no “crash” sound after that) were our wake up calls this morning.

Bruce picked us up after breakfast and we drove to the village of Papallacta (2.0 hours) where HCJB had built a hydro-electric dam in the early 80’s and where there are hot springs fueled by the Antisana Volcano.

It was a beautiful drive up through the Andes Mountains. We crossed the pass at 11,200 feet through light rain and fog. Bruce has lived here for 25 years and we could tell based on his driving. It was quite an adventure on the 2 lane winding road with buses and semi’s and the occasional rock slide or broken down vehicle. The kids felt a little “woozy” but soon recovered when we stopped for gas and to check out the dam.

The hot springs were beautiful. At 10,800 feet up it was raining but the pools were a beautiful temp. There were 5 pools, some hotter than others. There was also a river pool which literally dumped some of the river water into a basin. It was a shock to our systems but fun to quickly dunk in the river water (about 50*F) and then jump in the hottest pool (about 100*F). The kids had a blast swimming.

On the way back to Quito we stopped at a little restaurant for lunch. $4.00 per plate and the plates were huge! The kids ate 1 plate between them so we have a lot of leftovers. They have started to complain about “icky” stomachs so they are resting now before we go to dinner at a HCJB staff’s house. They really have done well – although they are not fond of the beans and rice side dishes. Thank goodness for good old Skippy Peanut butter. Peanut butter is very expensive here and they only carry one brand so I followed the advice of a former ex-patriot to Ecuador and brought my own from home.

Dinner was with Martin and Ruth Harrison from England and they also invited Jeff and Tammy Kooistra and their kids. The dinner was very pleasant. We talked of home, the Harrisons are from England and the Kooistras are from Grand Rapids. The dinner conversation was light duty, but very lively. It was refreshing. The Harrisons leave next Monday for England for a 3 month furlough and the Kooistras have been here 11 years. The kids had a great time playing together and got along great.

Kids are tired and getting ready for bed, story time is “Bud not Buddy” that Sunshine is reading to the kids and everybody is glued to the story.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday, May 9

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dogs and screeching tires (thank goodness there was no “crash” sound after that) were our wake up calls this morning.

Bruce picked us up after breakfast and we drove to the village of Papallacta (2.0 hours) where HCJB had built a hydro-electric dam in the early 80’s and where there are hot springs fueled by the Antisana Volcano.

It was a beautiful drive up through the Andes Mountains. We crossed the pass at 11,200 feet through light rain and fog. Bruce has lived here for 25 years and we could tell based on his driving. It was quite an adventure on the 2 lane winding road with buses and semi’s and the occasional rock slide or broken down vehicle. The kids felt a little “woozy” but soon recovered when we stopped for gas and to check out the dam.

The hot springs were beautiful. At 10,800 feet up it was raining but the pools were a beautiful temp. There were 5 pools, some hotter than others. There was also a river pool which literally dumped some of the river water into a basin. It was a shock to our systems but fun to quickly dunk in the river water (about 50*F) and then jump in the hottest pool (about 100*F). The kids had a blast swimming.

On the way back to Quito we stopped at a little restaurant for lunch. $4.00 per plate and the plates were huge! The kids ate 1 plate between them so we have a lot of leftovers. They have started to complain about “icky” stomachs so they are resting now before we go to dinner at a HCJB staff’s house. They really have done well – although they are not fond of the beans and rice side dishes. Thank goodness for good old Skippy Peanut butter. Peanut butter is very expensive here and they only carry one brand so I followed the advice of a former ex-patriot to Ecuador and brought my own from home.

Dinner was with Martin and Ruth Harrison from England and they also invited Jeff and Tammy Kooistra and their kids. The dinner was very pleasant. We talked of home, the Harrisons are from England and the Kooistras are from Grand Rapids. The dinner conversation was light duty, but very lively. It was refreshing. The Harrisons leave next Monday for England for a 3 month furlough and the Kooistras have been here 11 years. The kids had a great time playing together and got along great.

Kids are tired and getting ready for bed, story time is “Bud not Buddy” that Sunshine is reading to the kids and everybody is glued to the story.



Friday, May 08, 2009

Up early this morning (6:00 am). Not necessarily our choice but the dogs think it is their job to awaken everyone. The city starts to wake up about 6:30. Quito has about 2 million people in it. They are sandwiched in a valley in the Andes Mountains, so the city is about 4 miles wide and 35 miles long.

We are about 6 blocks from the HCJB headquarters so we walked there this morning to prepare for the filter training with 3 staff from HCJB, 1 staff from Samaritans Purse and 2 Quechua Indians who are in charge of the development of 3 villages in the mountains. We have had to wash all of the sand which is a time consuming task as we only have one hose and 6 small containers in which to wash it. The kids are getting pretty good at it although they do get distracted and start making sand castles in the containers after 3 or 4 washings.

All morning was spent washing the sand and then Eric instructed the participants on the ‘biology’ of the filter while I worked with the kids on their homework in the shade.

The day is beautiful right now – sunny and 75-80* with a little breeze but we can see the clouds starting to build up over Pichincha Volcano. It will probably downpour in the next 3 hours or so.

Apparently I don’t know anything – it did not rain. It is now 5:30 and we are waiting for our supervisor to pick us up for a tour of “old town” Quito. After 8 hours – 2 filters were built – much different than in Mexico. We underestimated the amount of sand and gravel washing necessary to prevent filter clogging. Makes us again realize how blessed we are to turn on a faucet and have clean water come out.

Eric was able to have lunch with the participants – he ate liver soup and cow tongue – good thing I took the kids back to the apartment for PB & J. I think they would revolt if they knew about his lunch!

The rest of the day was spent cleaning up and adjusting the filters to flow properly. I am glad we made a few samples before working in the communities.

We all retuned to the apartment, cleaned up and Bruce came by at 6:00 to take us into town. We rode the trolley system. What an experience. The trolley cost .25 cents per adult, 12 cents per kid. The trolley was a double long model with a bellow hinge in the center. The trolley was so packed with people you could barely move. The kids were exposed to more of the big city life than they wanted. On the way to town, Bruce had his wallet stolen and that put a damper on the trip. Looking back we could identify who did it as the guy came out of nowhere and rushed off the trolley. The trolley only stayed at each stop about 15 seconds and then departed, so he got away. Not much money in it, but high frustration factor. This will delay our departure to Shell by one day as Bruce no longer has a driver’s license and needs to get another one.

We got off at the “big plaza” stop and walked around the old city. The governor’s palace, the Roman Catholic arch-bishop and the high government officials are there. We walked around and saw several very old churches, and stopped to eat. Food is very reasonable here. You can get a nice meal for $2.00 - $4.00 per plate. Very few of the low cost restaurants offer a menu choice. Just sit and eat.

The center we ate at had local dancers performing folk dances. We watched them for awhile and really enjoyed it. Turns out that people here were just above slaves – more like permanent servants without land or rights until 1964. Lots of history around here, they are working on their 500th anniversary and 800 years of Spanish influence.

The ride home on the trolley was not as eventful, but the trolley was over packed with people. We tried to get a picture of the door attempting to close because of the people in the way, but just missed it. It’s not like there were not enough trolleys, one came by the station about every minute or less – just lots and lots of people. Sunshine did have someone reach into her pocket to try to grab something, but she was not carrying anything in it. Big city life I guess.

We walked back to our apartment, the walk was nice, weather stunning. We are going to the hot springs tomorrow in the morning and we are going to Martin and Ruth Harrison’s for dinner (they are from England) and spending the evening with them.

Overall – a nice day, learned much about washing sand and filters today, nice evening and tired.

Thank you for praying for us,


Thursday May 8, 2009

Thursday May 7, 2009

Started the day out on the roof of our apartment. The roof is flat and quiet. I was able to get in some quiet time and some reading before the kids got out of bed. The day proved to be a busy one – but a good one. The kids did the hokey pokey on the roof while we attempted to connect to the internet.

Not a bad day – just dirty. Today we made preparations for the filters The dirt needed to be sifted, sorted and washed. I worked with the maintenance people to make a frame to hold the screen we bought. The dirt still had a significant portion of silt, so we had to wash it 3 to 4 times.

We started this process after breakfast and despite a break for lunch, we kept at it all day. Everyone is tired and sore. The kids helped wash the sand and we made a huge mess in the parking lot of HCJB. It was good though.

After the cleanup from the sand, we went to the local grocery store. The place was packed with people and was quite a nice store. We saw several kinds of fruit that we had no idea what to do with and the prices were very reasonable. As we were checking out it started to rain, you know your standard downpour. We had one umbrella, but only Sunshine came out mostly dry. The rest of us ran in the rain. It was fun as we went through traffic the 6 or 7 blocks home.

All in all Quito is very nice for a big city. No bugs to speak of, lots of resources available and semi-pleasant people. Traffic is bad, but not any worse than Chicago. The kids miss the green space. The houses, business’s, and schools share walls. No place to play outside. They are looking forward to going to the village of Shell on Monday and then into the jungle to get away from the concrete.

The family is winding down and Sunshine and I are ramping up for our first filter build tomorrow (Friday) at 8:00 am. This small group of engineers from HCJB and Samaritans purse will be highly influential in how the filters are setup throughout the country.

Please keep praying for us as we have a long way to go.

Thank you,


P.S. – We have a view of the highest active volcano right out of our window.

wedenesday may 6

Wednesday May 6, 2009

Early to rise, well not that early. We made it to breakfast at 7:30 am with the kids. We stayed at the HCJB guest house, its like a small hotel with 8 rooms. It was very nice. The shower was hot and the water pressure was high. Life is good.

We were the only guests at the guest house and a local lady made us pancakes from scratch, some fruit I had never heard of, tomato tree fruit to drink (its like a mixture of orange juice and yellow tomatoes) and brownies. We sat and ate with her and she told us all about her family, her growing up years in Los Angeles and her father who still lives in Chicago.

After breakfast we met with Bruce (our host) and we were off. We toured his office, met with his office staff, met with another lady for our arrival interview, received an 1 ½ tour of the HCJB compound and the hospital. The hospital is about the size of the old Zeeland hospital (75 beds) and is very modern for Quito. They also have a large number of clinics around the city that assist in care. They see about 15,000 people a month.

HCJB is very, very organized. The original mission of short wave radio has been altered significantly in 2007 as they transitioned to help others start local FM stations in their countries. They have 300 partner stations so far in nearly 100 countries.

After all the touring, we had lunch at a small café. It was nice, they only offer one menu for each meal. Basic idea – do you want something to eat? Your answer is yes or no. It was home cooked and $3.00 per plate. Very good.

The afternoon was split up. I went with Hugh (another water person here), to find materials to build filters. We bought 3 different sized containers, screen to sift rocks and sand, fittings and small tools to complete the project. It took all afternoon. Quito is nearly a 1st world city. The hardware store was very impressive and the prices were not more than 10% over the US costs. There is very little you want to buy that you cannot find here. The filter training scheduled for Friday is for very educated staff of HCJB and Samaritans Purse. They want to see the filter, how it works, how much effort it takes to build it and how they can use it in the field.

The US dollar is the official currency and they are currently on Central time. They vary between Central and Eastern as they do not do Daylight savings time. The power is 120 volt 60 hertz and they drive on the same side of the road as the US.

While I was shopping for hardware, Renee met with Tannia (pronounced Tonya) about health and hygiene and went grocery shopping. She will have to tell you all about that, but we are trying to see how the hygiene training can be incorporated into their current teaching.

For dinner we went to Bruce’s house and had tacos. We had a very nice time and chatted till the kids were tired.

I almost forgot to mention, that we moved from the Guest House to an apartment. The apartment is a nice, two bedrooms, two bath, with a small kitchen. It will be great for our week here in Quito and only costs $16.00 per night.

Houses here do not have heat, air conditioning or insulation. The houses stay between 60 and 66 degrees all year long. The sun is intense, but its not hot. At 9,300 feet above sea level, its cold every morning, nice all day and chilly at night. It rains nearly every day about 2:00 pm and I am told it can rain very hard.

Oh – the water does go down the drain the other way here (clockwise).

Thank you all for praying for us – please keep praying.


From Kevin’s journal:

When we got up the next morning we got into our clothes, we went downstairs to eat breakfast. We had pancakes for breakfast. When we finished breakfast we went upstairs to brush our teeth. Then we got a tour of Quito Ecuador. First we walked around and had a tour of the hospital. We went into a lot of different rooms. We went into a library in the hospital. After that we went to a restaurant called Bone Knife (Bon café). After that we went back to the Guest House to pack and we left there to go to an apartment. When we got there we had to unlock a gate, and then a door, and then another door and then we went upstairs and unlocked our room. We went inside. After that I started reading a book, we watched a movie had a snack and watched another movie. After that we went to someone’s house to eat dinner. We had tacos and boiled bananas. Then we went back and went to bed.


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Preparation Monday, May 5, 2009

Thank you all for praying for us – we need it. Let’s start with the praises. Last Monday I wrote down a list of “things that were going wrong” 10 items long. Some of them were very significant and out of my control completely. God is good – by yesterday 8 out of the 10 were either fixed or on the way to being fixed. This is no small thing. God is good.

Unfortunately our family was so busy and strung out with the things left to do, that we barely took time to thank the Lord for the 8 things. Despite our best effort to keep on track, yesterday the wheels came off. We were able to accomplish the task – but we were so exhausted when we finished that it took all the fun out of it. The kids were the one bright spot. They were playing on the porch, laughing and singing praise songs as part of their game. We sat wiped out listening to them. The little ones shall lead them!

We ended up staying at home last night and driving to Detroit this morning at 2:00 am. versus driving last evening and staying overnight near the airport.

All in all it worked out very well – but the process was amazing.

The new well system that was installed at out house dried up the basement, the ants have been vacuumed up, the shop is left in good hands with Al, all the kids school events (4 this week) got attended and no less than 5 people have offered to check on the house, get the mail and love on us – thank you all.

As I write this, we are on the plane to Miami. Uncle Steve Allen graciously drove us from Ypsilanti to the airport at 5:00 am this morning and dropped us off. They have allowed us to park the car with them and to pick us up again when we return.

The kids found the airport fascinating, the seats on the plane fascinating, the trays on the seats fascinating – you get the point. Joshua is messing with everything trying to explore this new world. Kevin and Adrianne took books along and once we sat on the plane we have not heard from them since.

The plane ride is beautiful, the clouds are towering up to 35,000 feet in huge billows – God really did a nice job. We will try to keep you posted. We anticipate spending the day in the Miami airport and arriving in Quito later tonight.

Please do not stop praying for us – the eternal part is just beginning.



Miami Airport is not that nice, but the sun is. We landed safely and spent the afternoon in the sun. We grabbed a bite to eat and sat out in the sun for an hour or more. We have not seen the sun in so long, we all got a bit pink, felt nice though.

We met a guy named Eric Lars whos relatives run an orphanage for a church in Bolivia. He was a great guy and had two God stories over the last trips he has been on. Story #1 – we asked him about learning the language (he spoke Norweigan, English, German and Spanish). He was describing a tme when he was very frustrated with learning Spanish and was unable to get it when he took a couple days off from the orphanage to go to another small villiage. He asked God to allow him to run across one person who spoke a language he did so he could rest from the strain. While in this small town he met a lady from his home church in Norway who was just passing through for the day – God is good.

His second story was equally good showing how God works all things together. He watched a DVD of a documentary and wanted to bring it to another orphanage but lost the phone number to it and could not find it. God told him to bring the DVD from Norway on his next trip to Bolivia and that he would meet the person who made the DVD in the airport. Through a long chain of events including him going to the hospital to have his heart checked out (it was fine) he missed his plane and met the lady in the airport on a shuttle bus. Wow! It was very encouraging to talk to him as all the things that have been going wrong, just gives encouragement that GOD REALLY IS IN CONTROL!

God told us that this trip was just part of the process. That’s all we received. We are looking forward to see what process he has in mind. We will let you know more when He reveals it.

39,000 feet on the way to Quito (central standard time)


Sunday, May 3, 2009


Hello all-

Wow! That is about all I can say for the amount of "stuff" that has happened over the last few weeks. We are scheduled to leave for Detroit tomorrow afternoon with an early flight to Miami and then Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday.

We currently are only partially packed, have carpenter ants in the kitchen and a sizable pond in our front yard due to flooding. It has been quite an adventure. This week we did have an exterminator come out so hopefully the ant population will significantly decrease while we are away. Eric and De Wind Dewatering put in 7 wells 2 days ago in the pouring rain and Eric and my dad hooked them up Friday so that we can pump the water away from the house in order to keep the basement dry. So far it is working well and the basement has been bleached to kill any mold. It is the first time since mid December that we have had a dry basement.

We hope to keep you informed via this blog during our time in Ecuador however we are unsure of internet connection capabilities. Our first week will be spent in Quito (mountainous) at the HCJB Complex providing the staff with filter building training. Our second week will be in the village of Shell (jungle) training locals in filter building and some health and hygiene. Our third week will be spent farther in the Amazon jungle again doing filter builds.

If our family comes to mind we would love your prayers as we and HCJB Global are evaluating if our family fits their needs on a longer term basis.

Thank you and Adios!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The next step on our journey appears to be Ecuador. Our family will be flying out May 5 to Quito, Ecuador and returning May 23. We will be working with HCJB Global and possibly some with Samaritans Purse. We will be spending 1 week in Quito working with the staff on filter building and health and hygiene training then moving on to Shell, a small village community. We will be in Shell for a week and fly out of there to visit some jungle communities where we will be teaching the same thing.

Our goal while we are down there is to pass on what we know about clean water and health and hygiene and also to check out HCJB's organization. HCJB's goal is to see if we are a good fit for a 3 year position with them involving clean water projects and community development.

We were a little "gun shy" about taking this project on after our last disappointment - however we do feel like this is part of the process. Back on the home front we are both working (Eric full time plus at Holland Custom and Renee part time at Africa's Child resale shop) and trying to eliminate the water problem in our basement as well as prep for the trip. Kids are doing well and enjoying school. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Change of plans

Hello Friends - Here we are again with an update. Not a great one unfortunately, but an update none the less.

Eric was scheduled to leave for Angola in 6 days. He has spent the last 4 months preparing and training for the trip. Last week he spent 2 days in Houston packing equipment to ship ahead of them. This past Thursday we received an email from the sending organization that stated that Eric was no longer going. It was very disappointing and hurtful at the same time.

We have been praying for clear direction and I guess you can't get clearer direction than that! In the mean time we have enough to keep us more than busy over here. Our basement continues to leak water, our hot water heater went out last week so we just changed that, Eric has returned to work full time at our company in hopes of boosting sales in this sagging economy and I (Renee) started working at a not-for-profit resale shop where all the profit goes to assisting orphans in Africa. Just a plug for the store if you live in the Holland area. Africa's Child is located next to Goodwill on Lakewood Blvd. They are a "higher scale" resale shop, so the products are in really good condition and the store does not have that "used" smell! Visit us M-F between 10am and 6pm. If you have good quality items please feel free to donate to us also! OK - done with my plug!

This journey to full time missionaries is longer and more tedious than we expected, however God has a plan and we want to be where he wants us -for now that is in Holland.

Blessings to all!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dominican Republic

My sister and I in the Dominican Republic.

My sister Tonya, Danny our safari guide, my mom, me and my sister-in-law Theresa.

The view from one of the restaurants at the resort.

Lunch!!! This is meat hanging in front of a store - for sale in one of the villages we passed through.

Hello Folks-

I have returned from a glorious week in the Dominican Republic with my mom, sister and sister-in-law. We had soooo much fun. We laughed until we cried and our sides ached. I figure all that laughter helped to burn all the calories we consumed at our all-inclusive resort.

The dominican people are all so beautiful, happy and friendly. They made us feel very welcome.

We were able to take a catamaran to another island for massages, take a safari into the mountains to learn about coffee and cocoa plantations and I went parasailing. It was a blast!

The island is beautiful and the temperature was 85* everyday and sunny. My family survived well while I was gone. Eric even had roses for my arrival.

Our next journey will involve Eric traveling to Angola in Mid-March. He is scheduled to be gone 3 weeks for drilling a well at an orphanage in Luanda.

Take care and thank you for your continued prayers as we travel on this journey.

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