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!

 

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