Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not everything goes as planned

Well, pun intended,

I was out in a community called Kiim for the last 3 days and really it was an amazing time.  Kiim is located in the jungle and is really quite a body banging experience just to get there.  2 hours on the paved road, 2 hours on what should be a road if you could find it between the potholes and then a 1 hour walk on logs or in the mud to the community.
School kids learning to make guitars from balsa wood
Men replacing the 500 pound cement lid for the well

Digging the trench from the well to the water tower

Community waiting for the water to be turned on - nothing yet

Trench 1 meter deep and our tower in the background

The people were super excited that I arrived.  They were ready to work and were really focused.  They removed a 500 pound concrete lid by community power, cleaned the well and replaced it, dug 120 meters of trenches, connected the tubes from the well to the water tower and were very ready after 3 days of work (they have already been working on and off for nearly 8 months to get this far) and the moment of truth came to turn on the water.......

After testing the pump for 3 months with the solar panels here in Shell and bringing them to Kiim for final installation - the pump did NOT work.  I spent the next couple of hours with 20 people asking me questions while I was working about why it was not working.  It was 95 degrees, 95% humidity, and quite a tense moment for the people.  Nonetheless, I could not get it to run.

Looks like we have to go back next week, bring parts and repair it.  It really was one of those moments you would like to avoid.  Sometimes its hard to figure out why such things happen, but the Bible says that God uses everything to His good.  I am sure glad he does too.

Thanks for praying and supporting us in our work here.

Until God fixes the pump,


Sunday, October 12, 2014


On July 9 we had the special privilege of being part of our daughters baptism in a nearby river.  She and her best friend along with several other young people dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ publicly through  the immersion of baptism.  The river was not particularly deep nor did it have a strong current but our pastor, who is significantly shorter than Adrianne was concerned that he might not be able to get her back up after immersing her and she would float away.  She assured him that she could swim and would be fine! :)  What a blessing to be able to watch one's child take another step in their walk of faith.
Adrianne and Lydia before baptism.

Eric was able to be part of the baptism.

Lydia, her dad and Angel our pastor.


This past summer (I can't even believe I am writing past) we were able to work with 5 mission minded engineering students for 10 weeks.  It was an intense 10 weeks for us as well as for them.  7 of those 10 weeks were spent in various jungle or mountain communities while weekends were spent enjoying the beautiful country of Ecuador.

Kevin, Emily, Danielle and Sam . 4 of our 5 interns.

One of the communities in which the interns invested a great deal of time and energy was Wayusentsa.  This past week Wayusentsa celebrated the inauguration of their new water system after a year of working with Eric and his fellow water engineers, Wim and Martin.

Monday, June 30, 2014

End of school year happenings

Kevin presenting at the last chapel of the year.

Kevin competing in the jump rope competition.

Joshua and Joshua preparing for the standing long jump.

Running long jump

Official cone collector.

Each year at the end of the school year Nate Saint Memorial School hosts its own Olympics.  Football throwing, jump roping, standing and running long jump, cup stacking and an assortment of other activities make up the day - it all culminates in the red versus blue tug of war.  Fun day.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


In February of each year most of the countries in South and Central America celebrate "carnaval".  Carnaval is the beginning of Lent (the 40 days prior to Easter).  During this time the people throw water, squirt shaving cream at one another and sometimes throw flour and eggs into the mixture.  Each year the Nate Saint Memorial School hosts a 1/2 day water event to go along with the celebration.  Adrianne's friend, Sabrina was able to participate this year - as always the kids had a great time.

Sabrina and water balloon baseball
Ms. Hazlett getting wet after her students threw water balloons through a hula hoop.
Mr Umble getting wet.

Adrianne avoiding the water balloons

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our first visitors of 2014.

In February we hosted our first visitors of 2014.  Sabrina and her mom Jenny flew up to see us from Uruguay where they serve as missionaries. They left behind "dad" with Sabrina 3 siblings. We spent 9 days  visiting and touring and resting.

We met this family while we were in language school in Costa Rica and became friends - especially Adrianne and Sabrina.  They had not seen each other in over 2 years so it was an exciting time for them.
Ready for a quincenera.
On the Equator

Yummy! Roasted Guinea Pig.
Time for a manicure.

One of the items on the "do list" was to play in a jungle rain.
Pailon del Diablo waterfall.

Hot cocoa break in Banos.
After a jungle tour.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Why is it that we rarely seem to be content with what we have?  I'm not referring to the size of our house or how many or the type of cars that we drive or even the clothing we own.  In this case I am talking about climate.

For the past couple of weeks I have been reading through Numbers and Deuteronomy and the 40 years that the Israelites spent in the desert.  I have to admit that I sometimes questioned and scoffed at the Israelites - I mean really?  How many times can a people group complain?  Do they never learn?  I'm hungry, I'm thirsty,  I want to go back.  Are you trying to kill us Moses?  Is God going to leave us out in this desert to die?

Well then I started to think about my attitude regarding all the rain that we have had recently and the resulting mold and mildew that go along with it. (We do live in the rainforest - but really?) It rained for days, weeks even with no sign of sun. It was getting a bit dreary to be sure (and smelly!).  So easy to fall into the grumbly mode.

Then - THE SUN!   Yes this past Monday we had SUN and not just a little bit - but a WHOLE lot of sun - to the point that I put outside every drawer, every shoe and almost every article of clothing we owned - just to get rid of the damp, musty smell.   AAHHHHH - glorious sun.  Well the glorious sun has continued throughout this week and it was grand.

Then - yesterday.....(dum dum dum dum.......).  I returned home from the orphanage smelling much like the little ones who I work with and are still in diapers and drooling- only to find out that we have no water - not a drop.  Hmmmmmm........   Handy (and handsome I might add) husband is in jungle, handy maintenance man is in jungle with husband.  What to do -  call neighbor man of course!

After an hour of investigation it was discovered that a road crew who had torn up the road broke the water pipe. The road crew broke it a MONTH AGO!   This whole time we along with 6 of our neighbors have been using water from a cistern that was being filled by the RAIN.  No rain for 5 days equals an empty cistern.

The road crew was off duty by the time the break was discovered and said they would fix it today - Not to be - perhaps Monday?  The urge to grumble was on the tip of my tongue but I was again reminded of the Israelites.  Rain, Sun, Manna, Water.   OK Lord - thank YOU for the rain and the sun AND the fact that we can go to our missions guesthouse and get filtered water to drink, take a short shower and fill up buckets with water to flush our toilets.

Our morning consisted of several trips back and forth with containers for drinking and containers to keep next the the toilet (I'm sorry but yellow can only mellow for so long!  :/   ).  What a blessing to have that available.   Then - yes another then- the storm clouds rolled in and my neighbor and I went to work -  Containers!  We need containers!  Buckets, garbage cans, pots, pans - you name it and we put it out to collect water.  Our daughter even put on her swimsuit and grabbed the soap and shampoo to shower outside - why not.....

So what is the lesson I'm trying to learn (again) - thankfulness - give thanks in all circumstances. (And it wouldn't hurt for me to put out a rain collection barrel so that I have a back up plan!)  :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Michigan - our 1st home.

Throughout the hospital closing process this past fall we were also in the midst of preparing to head back to Michigan after a 3 year absence as a family.   A file folder full of documents, a multitude of trips to various Government offices and a series of miracles allowed us to take our foster son, Jacob with us.

Prior to leaving our 2nd home (Shell) we had each of the kids make a list of things that they wanted to do and people they wanted to see while in MI.   The list was not as extensive as we thought it would be - but it did grow longer once we arrived!  On the list of things to do were: 
 1. Drink water from the faucet. (completed - everyday)
 2.. Flush toilet paper down the toilet. (yup - no problem there)
 3. Walk barefoot on carpet. (it felt great1)
 4. East sharp cheddar cheese and real Mexican food. (done - several times)
 5. Get my drivers permit. (all the boys wanted to do that too but only Adrianne was eligible)
 6. Play in the snow (we were blessed with 5 of our 6 weeks filled with snow)
 7. Ride on a motorcycle (Does a quad count - especially right before it sunk in the "almost" frozen pond?)
  8. Spend time with all the relatives and catch up with a few friends.
*We celebrated Joshua's 11th birthday while in Michigan.
* Kevin had a chance to hang out with his good friend Jamesohn - who literally grew 12 inches in 3 years!
 The boys received their Red Riders and got a little lesson from Uncle Ryan.
 Alpaca scarves for sale to raise money for Iwia a small jungle community without a clean water source.
 Snow!  Snow! Snow! - although we can see snow on top of the volcano from our house we had not felt and played in it for 3 years.

 Thanksgiving feast with all the relatives.
 Cousins night with ornament making, pedicures and movies.
 Had dinner with members from the last team that came down to visit us - they all wore their Ecuadorian leather hats and sweaters.

Christmas photos of the grandkids.
Unfortunately - Eric hurt his back while there and  could not stand up straight.  Jacob just had to mimic him.

Ready for the snow!

We had a surprise visit from Janae who lived with us in Ecuador for a month and flew up from Atlanta right before Christmas.

Jacob had a date with Grandpa jack - they went to Bob Evans.

We did a lot of baking!

The time literally flew by- we did not think we would be quite to busy and knew that we left several people "unvisited".  While in MI we home schooled the kids to keep them up to date with their classes which kept the days occupied along with various breakfast and lunch appointments, Drivers training classes for 3 weeks, picking up all those things that aren't available in Ecuador and un packing our 25 barrels that we left behind in storage.  We then had 2 garage sales and decreased of "must keeps" to 15 barrels. Nothing like having a garage sale in the dead of winter!

Evenings allowed for time to share what God is doing  down here with large groups of people, individual families and couples while eating of course!  With Christmas in full swing there was an         abundance of food everywhere- which was noted by Jacob who I am pretty sure ate is body weight in food everyday!

Overall we had a good if somewhat tiring time. It was good to feel loved and missed by so many and for those of you we did not get a chance to spend time with - we apologize. Lord willing, sooner rather than later we will return to our first home and see you then!

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