Oh my! I just realized I never got this posted! It’s a year old, but I really, really want to share these beautiful things with you! So, I’m going to go ahead and post it with updated information.
Blessing families with homes
We continue to build houses in San Vicente. Huntington Beach First Christian and a few guys from the Samborondón church helped us build this one for Pepe and Gema’s family. The mayor even came for the house gifting!
Update: I bumped into Pepe and Gema a couple of weeks ago at the Cosecha church in San Vicente. Their son has grown about a foot since I saw him and participates with the teen activities at church. They are so happy to have a Christian community that practices what they preach.
Ana Maria’s birthday
Beautiful Ana María (Pastor José’s cousin’s daughter who came to live with the pastor’s family after the earthquake) celebrated her “quinceañera”. The whole church family pitched in and even paid the travel expenses so her mom, dad and siblings could come celebrate with us. God’s love shines through when we come together to be a blessing.
Update: Ana Maria’s parents decided to have her go back and live with them as she finishes her last few years of high school. Boy, do we all miss her and her sweet spirit. We catch up now and then via Facebook.
After two years of preparation, Fabricio, Landy and their boys have moved to the coastal town of San José to lead the Spondylus church. God is doing amazing things in this family and through this family. The church is thriving and people are being Connected to God, learning what Community is and how to extend Compassion.
Update: The Spondylus church continues to thrive. Many of the church members work at a bakery that they’ve opened to raise money and employ church members. The bread is yummy!
I celebrated my 40th birthday this year. I was thinking low-key. And it was a quiet day until 9 PM when my friend Paola duped me into going all the way to Samborondon (30 minutes out of the way) on a Friday night to show the church to a visiting professor. I can’t believe I didn’t realize anything was going on until the youth group and some other church friends jumped out and yelled “surprise”. That makes a total of two successful surprise birthday parties (my mom was finally successful in surprising me on my 18th held at school because I found out about the one at home . . .hehehe) They had prepared a video, snacks, and cake! I felt precious and loved.
Update: I’m even older but still loved! =)
One of the most precious people I have the pleasure of discipling is Natali. She was going through a rough patch when we started meeting. It’s so beautiful to see how God has taken her broken pieces this past year and how she is thriving. She is halfway through her second year of college studying economics. If she keeps her grades up, she’ll have the opportunity to study abroad once she graduates. What does she want to do with a degree in economics? Learn everything she can to make a company that can help indigent get off the streets and on their feet. Natali is passionate about sharing compassion.
Update: Natali continues to thrive in her studies. She was one of the first to commit to reading the Bible this year. I think we were in the book of Judges when she told me, “I am learning so much! I mean, I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know that is in the Bible. It’s no longer disconnected stories. I’m learning to see God’s plan throughout, of Jesus coming to save us from our sins, so we can be with him again.”
I can’t wait to see what God does with this wonderful girl!
The youth group worship band is growing! They even got to fill in for our adult musicians for a few weeks at Sunday. They were really nervous at first, but we talked about what a great opportunity it was for them to lead the church in such a way. And they gracefully took on the responsibility and allowed God to shine through them. For three Sundays they helped people connect to God by leading them in worship.
Update: We just held our second worship night totally led by the youth. We invited the youth from Recreo church and it was awesome! It was more than a fun night of worship and fellowship. I delighted in seeing these young people put themselves in God’s hands to accomplish something they couldn’t do on their own. I love seeing how their faith has grown. They open themselves to God’s Spirit and let him flow through them to bless others. Jesus shines through these teens and I’m thrilled to be a part of their lives.
I have a dog
Last August I became a dog owner. I had no idea what I was in for. I’ve always been a cat person, but this precious, odd-looking little puppy needed a safe home. I figured I was a better alternative than the mean streets of San Vicente. My sister Sarah says I saved her from becoming a teen mom surviving on the streets. Having a dog is definitely a learning experience. But, I think we get along ok, most of the time.
I finally tried “encebollado”, the fish soup that is a popular breakfast meal. Many recommend it as a hangover remedy. I put it off for 4 years, but when Karolina invited me to try it, I accepted. I am so glad I did! It’s a favorite now. My favorite place assembles it as you order, so the fish doesn’t sit in the broth making it “fishy”. First, a scoop of soft yucca goes in the bowl. Then, the savory tomato, garlic, and onion broth gets poured over. Then, delicately cooked albacore fish flakes go on top. The bowl is then garnished with chopped parsley and lemony sliced onions. You can eat it with “chifles” (plantain chips) or bread. I prefer crushing the chips into the soup and squeezing several limes over the top. A big bowl with chifles and a bottle of coke comes to a whopping $3.00 and it is so good and filling!
Thank you for reading my belated post.
What are the beautiful things in your life?
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