Greetings from Quarantine!

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

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Greetings from Quarantine!
Praise God, my host family and I are all healthy and doing well. It has been quite an adjustment to adapt to all the new coronavirus regulations, especially since they seem to change every week.

The entire country has been in quarantine for about three and a half weeks now. Only one person per household is allowed to go out for groceries and other necessities. The rest of us are not even permitted to leave the house for exercise. This has been a challenge, but thankfully the house has a small garden on the side where we can enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

In addition to taking Spanish lessons online, I am finding plenty of other things to fill my time. Because I cannot go out to walk around the neighborhood, I am exercising at home (some days!). I am also catching up on reading, taking an online course in psychological first aid, and talking with friends and family. It’s been wonderful to have more time to catch up with loved ones! My host family has also been finding things to do together – baking goodies, playing games, and watching movies!

Spanish Progress
This is my fourth week of taking Spanish lessons online via Skype. Though this arrangement has its own challenges – including power outages, weak or inconsistent Internet connections, and malfunctioning microphones and video cameras – it has been working well so far.I am continuing to practice grammar and verb conjugations in particular, and I am learning to express myself more precisely and hold more complex conversations. I am even practicing translating English texts into Spanish to get a better feel for the “sense” of Spanish, rather than translating exactly word-for-word!

Parents’ Visit
My mom and stepdad visited me here in Quito at the beginning of March! I am so thankful I was able to see them before this quarantine began. We explored Quito, Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, Mindo, and Baños. I enjoyed spending time with them and taking a much-needed break from my Spanish lessons. I had a ton of opportunity to practice my Spanish during our travels! I was able to understand just about everything I heard spoken and read on signs, and I didn’t have any problems making myself understood when I spoke. I’m taking that as a good sign!

Bored at Home? Need Prayer?
Send me an email at angreenway18@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebook! I’d love to use this time to catch up with you. Let’s pray together and encourage each other!

Thanking God for You!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my new life with you and show you a little bit of this beautiful country whose people I love so dearly. Thank you for your prayers and support as I follow God’s calling to share Christ with the Ecuadorians and others I meet along the way. This work would not be possible without you! I love you all and pray for you continually.

Learn more about Jungle Kids for Christ at
junglekidsforchrist.org

Prayer Requests

  • For unity, peace, patience, and gentleness among my host family as we continue to be quarantined with each other!
  • For the national and local leaders here in Ecuador as they face incredibly difficult, weighty decisions.
  • For the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers as they face the constant risk of contracting the coronavirus while they continue to treat the sick.
  • For the grocery store workers, truck drivers, and other essential workers as they face long days and frustrated customers.
  • For small businesses and all the individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet without work.
  • For the administrators and teachers at Antioch as they face difficult decisions and new challenges.
  • For the students and their families at Antioch as they adapt to a new way of doing classes.

Praise God with Me!

  • My host family and I are completely healthy and doing well!
  • My mom and stepdad were able to come visit before the quarantine went into effect here!
  • My Spanish is continuing to improve and I am growing in confidence for speaking and writing the language!

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Excited About God’s Work in the New Year!

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

 

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Looking Forward to the New Year!
No, you didn’t miss the January newsletter – I’m a bit behind in sending this update! I have so much to share with you. God has been doing so much in my heart these past couple of months, and I’m so excited to see what this year holds for this ministry!

Before I catch you up, I have a very exciting announcement! I will be returning to the U.S. for a visit from July 14 to August 19!!! I will be visiting my home church and other supporting churches to give an update on my journey so far.

My Spanish is coming along well! It’s harder to measure my progress now, but both my instructor and I have noticed that I have a broader vocabulary and some of the concepts that were a challenge for a long time are no longer difficult for me. A couple weeks ago, I learned the last two verb tenses, so now I can theoretically express any idea I want. I just need to keep practicing!!

Visit to Misahualli!
I took a short break from Spanish classes in early February to visit Misahualli for a few days! I spent the time getting to know the students, teachers, and missionary staff at the school, shadowing the other two counselors, and getting an inside view of life in the jungle. It was amazing to return almost two years after I first visited the school in 2018. I had a feeling of coming home, even though I don’t really know this place yet. It just felt so comfortable. I didn’t want to leave, but this time it was a little easier knowing that I will be back very soon.

I’ve included a couple photos of the school grounds. The photo of the jungle is the view from the counseling office! The first photo is in the town center; the official name of the town is Puerto Misahualli.

Christmas Celebrations!
Christmas in Ecuador is a month-long celebration! I started seeing Christmas decorations the week after Halloween.

The week before Christmas, the staff and students at the Spanish school helped throw a Christmas party for some of the children at a local hospital. We had a blast singing and dancing with the kids – and serving a TON of cake!

I spent Christmas Eve with my host mom and her family. At my host mom’s request, I made another sweet potato casserole, since it was such a hit at Thanksgiving! We stayed up very late eating, exchanging gifts, and singing Christmas carols (both in Spanish and English). I had a wonderful time and felt very welcomed and loved even so far from home.

Food Adventures!
I’m thinking this section might need to become a regular part of my monthly newsletters. There are so many delicious (and sometimes odd!) dishes here and I love sharing this part of my adventure. The first few photos show the process of making empanadas de pollo y queso – empanadas with chicken and cheese! We make these for dinner every few weeks in my host family. We buy the empanada “wrappers” from the store, then stuff them with the chicken and cheese. Then they’re fried in oil, and we eat them hot with aji, a spicy sauce that we make at home with tree tomatoes, onions, and aji peppers. We put it on everything!

The school has cooking classes almost weekly, which are a great way to meet other students and practice Spanish together. A couple months ago, we learned how to make empanadas verde, which involves steaming and mashing green plantains, rolling balls of the mashed plantain into an empanada shape, then stuffing them with cheese. Again, they are fried in oil and eaten hot. The taste and texture are incredible, but it’s a very messy process to make them. Sadly, I do not have photos of these ones!

A few weeks ago I attended another lesson to make llapingachos, fried potato pancakes that are stuffed with cheese and served with a peanut sauce. We also made fried eggs and sausage to accompany them. They were delicious!!

Last but not least, I’ve also been trying my hand at making baked goods to share with my host family. It’s no small feat to bake at 10,000 feet above sea level! Because of the lower air pressure, foods take longer to bake and liquids evaporate faster. Each recipe typically requires several adjustments to make the final product turn out properly – or at least edible! I’ve tried a few different cakes, orange yeast rolls for New Year’s Day, and chocolate chip cookies. I think the cookies turned out pretty well, and my housemates seemed to agree. The cookies disappeared in two days.  🙂

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Thanking God for You!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my new life with you and show you a little bit of this beautiful country whose people I love so dearly. Thank you for your prayers and support as I follow God’s calling to share Christ with the Ecuadorians and others I meet along the way. This work would not be possible without you! I love you all and pray for you continually.

Learn more about Jungle Kids for Christ at
junglekidsforchrist.org

Prayer Requests

  • For continued perseverance in learning and practicing Spanish.
  • For renewed strength and energy as I continue to adjust to this new culture and my life here in Ecuador.

Praise God with Me!

  • I enjoyed a productive and re-energizing visit to Antioch earlier this month!
  • I have a plane ticket for a visit to the states this summer!

 

Thankful

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

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Sustained in Perfect Peace
You may have noticed that this month’s verse is the same as last month – that was deliberate! These past few weeks have been a bit busy and stressful, but I’m constantly reminded of God’s care and provision for me.

Language Progress!
I have been taking language classes for seven weeks now, and I am still making steady progress! My Spanish is not perfect yet by any means, and there are still days when I go home from my lessons exhausted and frustrated. There are even times when I don’t know a word in Spanish and I can’t remember it in English, either! But those days are fewer and further between than they were for my first few weeks. I have reached the point where I can often recognize when I have made a mistake in speaking or writing, and correct my mistakes much of the time! Sometimes I can even understand a joke in Spanish, or figure out a new word in a conversation by context alone. These seemingly little milestones have been encouraging, especially since I know I still have such a long way to go!

Food Adventures!
I finally had the opportunity to try roasted Guinea pig, a traditional dish in the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Here it is known as cuy, a word from the Kichwa language that describes the high-pitched sound the animal makes. I did not care for the taste or the texture, but I’m happy to have tried it! The other photo is tigrillo, a fried mash of green plantains, cheese, and peanut butter! Served with a fried egg, it makes a delicious, hearty breakfast. By far one of my favorite meals so far!

More Hellos and Goodbyes
One of the Yay Duck/Yuck Duck experiences of doing a homestay with other language students – the constant cycle of hellos and goodbyes. The photo on the left is me with my classmate from Germany. The other is me with my most recent roommate – from Arizona! It’s always fun to meet another American!


The photos below were taken at the stunning Iglesia de la Basilica, a large neo-Gothic church in Quito’s historic center. Although the first stone was laid in 1892, the building technically remains unfinished. Local legend claims that when the Basilica is completed, the end of world will come.


The Simon Bolivar Spanish School! The facility has several classrooms, a sitting room, and a kitchen (which is always stocked with fresh tea and coffee!). In addition to Spanish classes, the school also offers cooking lessons, dance classes, and other opportunities for students to learn and practice Spanish.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!
The holiday is not typically celebrated here in Ecuador, but I wanted to share some of my family’s recipes with my host family and the other students staying in the house. I spent the day cooking several of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes – a roasted turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It was a monumental task, made possible only with the help of the housekeeper, who lovingly laughed at my terrible Spanish as I tried to explain the recipes. After dinner I was able to see some of my famiy and friends back home through a video call.

I am thankful for my family and friends all over the world, as well as my new friends here in Ecuador. And I am grateful beyond words for a God who is always present with me.

Thanking God for You!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my new life with you and show you a little bit of this beautiful country whose people I love so dearly. Thank you for your prayers and support as I follow God’s calling to share Christ with the Ecuadorians and others I meet along the way. This work would not be possible without you! I love you all and pray for you continually.

Learn more about Jungle Kids for Christ at
junglekidsforchrist.org

Prayer Requests for November

  • For God’s continued peace and comfort as I face homesickness.
  • For continued diligence and perseverance in learning and practicing Spanish.
  • For more opportunities to share the Gospel!

Praise God with Me!

  • My comprehension of Spanish is growing, and my host mom has commented on my progress!
  • I feel more settled into this new routine and life.
  • I have had several opportunities to share the Gospel!

 

Because I Love Jesus

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3
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Finally Back in Ecuador!
Words cannot explain how excited I am to be back in this beautiful country, this time knowing that God has a specific calling for me here.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers, encouragement, help, advice, and love as I’ve spent just over the past year preparing for my return to Ecuador. I could not have done this without you!

Journey to Ecuador
The trip to Ecuador was quite possibly the smoothest and most uneventful journey I have ever experienced. We encountered very little traffic on the way to LAX, and I made it easily through security before arriving at my gate in plenty of time. After landing in Quito just before midnight, I passed through immigration, collected my luggage – all of which arrived intact – and went through customs all without an issue. God certainly blessed my travels, just as He’s blessed every other part of this process.

I’ve resolved to be more intentional about seeing God’s blessings, large or small, and thanking Him for them. At LAX, the gate agent asked if I would be willing to check my carry-on for free. I quickly agreed, which meant I didn’t have to haul that thing around the Houston airport!

How to Stay in Touch!
Since I arrived in Ecuador, a few friends and family have asked about the best way to contact me. I will continue to send out a monthly newsletter with updates, and next week I will resume posting on my Facebook and Instagram pages so you can follow along on this journey with me.

Please contact me directly if you would like my mailing address or my new phone number. My old phone number is no longer in use, so I will not be able to receive messages at that number.

The Pululahua Volcano Crater; on the equator line at El Museo de Sitio Intiñan (top) and at Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (bottom).

Situation in Ecuador
In early October, the Ecuadorian government implemented several changes intended to stimulate the economy, including ending a gasoline subsidy that had been in place since the 1970s. Gas prices and transportation costs greatly increased, and the country’s transportation unions went on strike. The strike ended quickly, but other groups comprised mostly of indigenous communities and students continued to protest, blocking highways and roads. Many of these protests turned violent, and there were several confirmed deaths.

As you may know, my organization initially asked me to postpone my departure due to safety concerns. Only a couple days later, Ecuador’s president struck a deal with the indigenous leaders that included reinstating the gas subsidy, signing a peace agreement, and working together on future economic policies. As Ecuador returned to normal, my organization allowed me to continue with my plans. All has been calm here since my arrival.

Please be in prayer for the people and leaders in Ecuador, and for peace and safety throughout the country.

Homestay and Host Family
My homestay is less than a minute’s walk from the language school, and about a five-minute walk from La Plaza Foch, a popular tourist center due to its concentration of restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and hostels, and stores. The bank, grocery store, and laundry place are also within walking distance. I’ve been doing A LOT of walking, which will keep me healthy and help me acclimate to the elevation! I’ve also had a few opportunities to explore the city and many of its popular attractions (a few of which are pictured below!).

My host family consists of my host mom, her elderly mother and two adult children, the housekeeper, and a few other students who are also studying Spanish at the language school. The house is always busy, which means plenty of opportunity for me to hear and practice Spanish! My host mom speaks both Spanish and English, and will often chat at me in Spanish to let me hear the language. She uses English only if she is explaining something complicated or when I do not understand her in Spanish. She is also teaching me how to cook like an Ecuadorian, particularly with the ingredients that will be available in the jungle. Last week we made a delicious soup with yuca, green plantains, and corn, and this week I learned to make two different types of empanadas!

Stunning views from the top of Cruz Loma after taking the TelefériQo sky tram up the side of the Pichincha Volcano. The sky tram ascends from just over 10,000 feet above sea level to nearly 13,000!

Language School
I started Spanish classes a couple of weeks ago and have already noticed some progress! My instructor is a funny and effective teacher. He facilitates a safe classroom environment where I feel free to make mistakes and ask questions when I don’t understand, something I had specifically been praying for!

For the next few weeks, I have lessons in the afternoon with one other student, a sweet young girl from Germany who is also volunteering in a hospital here. At the end of November, I will switch to individual Spanish lessons and will hopefully be able to utilize some of the activities that I learned at the missionary training program in Colorado.

Last week I was able to take a taxi, get change from the bank, buy a few groceries, and take my clothes to be washed – all with my limited Spanish! Little victories like that help to offset the days where I can’t seem to get anything right in class and go home feeling discouraged only to feel more lost during the conversation over dinner!

As a friend wisely observed, “It starts with taxis and leads to therapy.” One day at a time!

Because I Love Jesus
One of the first questions I learned in Spanish was posed to me countless times in my first few days here.

Que vas hacer en Ecuador?” What are you going to do in Ecuador?

My preparation to move overseas has been anything but simple. First there was an application process and a psychological evaluation, then the visa application process and raising support, then a month of missionary training, then the absolute chaos of packing up or getting rid of all my belongings, and finally making the trip to Ecuador. Phew! In the midst of these details and the inevitable hiccups and stress, it was sometimes terribly easy to forget just why I was doing all of this.

The reminder came in a funny but poignant way last week in Spanish class. The instructor asked me, as I’m sure many others have wanted to, why I would move to Ecuador and go live in the jungle. It’s a beautiful place to visit, but not to live in, they tell me.

I explained that I am a missionary, which is a person who goes to another place to tell people about Jesus (remember, I have the language ability of a child right now!). My classmate asked me why I would do that.

I turned to our instructor and asked how to say “I love.” I thought I knew, but wanted to make sure.

“The word ‘love’ is very profound, no?” he answered. “You could also say you ‘like’ or you ‘want’ something.”

Porque amo a Jesús,” I started to explain, amazed that I already had such a clear opportunity to share Christ. I stopped, searching for the words to continue my answer. The instructor, with his back to me, interpreted my silence as the completion of my sentence.

Porque amo a Jesús.”

Because I love Jesus.

That’s really a complete answer in itself, isn’t it?

The  Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco; Virgen de El Panecillo, a stunning statue that tops El Panecillo, a loaf-shaped hill visible throughout the city; Basílica del Voto Nacional in the historic city center. 

Thanking God for You!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my new life with you and show you a little bit of this beautiful country whose people I love so dearly. Thank you for your prayers and support as I follow God’s calling to share Christ with the Ecuadorians and others I meet along the way. This work would not be possible without you! I love you all and pray for you continually.

Learn more about Jungle Kids for Christ at
junglekidsforchrist.org

Prayer Requests for November

  • For persistence, courage, and energy as I learn and practice Spanish.
  • For humility as I learn about the culture here and assimilate into it.
  • For opportunities for me to share my testimony and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • For the people and leaders in Ecuador, and for peace and safety throughout the country.
  • For the Gospel to spread like wildfire through this beautiful country and for its people to be saved!

Praise God with Me!

  • I MADE IT TO ECUADOR!
  • All of my luggage arrived intact!
  • My host family is wonderful and so kind about helping me learn the language, explore the city, and assimilate to the culture here.
  • My language instructor is funny, warm, and a very effective teacher.
  • No illness so far!

 

Amazed by God’s Work

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

Almost FULLY Funded!
Because who doesn’t like good news?

As of today, my funding stands at 75%! That leaves just $625 to raise in recurring monthly donations!

The verse from Ephesians that I chose for this month’s update is one of my favorites. It’s a distinct reminder that God is the source of all our blessings and the cause of our accomplishments. This verse also reminds me that God is capable of far more than I can even imagine or think to ask of Him. I have a tendency to limit my prayers based on my human understanding of a situation, but God repeatedly shows me how much more He can do. I have been continually amazed by God’s power and provision throughout this process. He has raised up many supporters who are generous and excited to partner with my ministry, some of whom were complete strangers!

Although I don’t have an exact departure date yet, I am anticipating leaving in early October! The missionary care coordinator in Ecuador is making the final arrangements for my language training and homestay placement. As soon as I have a final date, I will share that with you!

If you’ve felt God’s leading to partner with this ministry to support me financially or through prayer, now is the time to do it! I would love to tell you all about Jungle Kids for Christ and my role with them.

THANK YOU!!
To everyone who has supported me so far, whether financially, emotionally, or through prayer, THANK YOU. I am so grateful that you’ve chosen to partner with me in this ministry to empower children in the jungles of Ecuador through a personal relationship with Jesus. You make this work possible and I am blessed to have you alongside me in this journey.

Learn more about Jungle Kids for Christ at
junglekidsforchrist.org

Prayer Requests for September

  • For diligence and energy to continue raising the last of the support I need!
  • For God’s blessing and peace on all the details of packing, buying plane tickets, and other arrangements for my departure.
  • For good “goodbyes” with family members and friends.
  • For God to prepare my heart and mind for all of the changes He has in store for me in the coming weeks and months.