Monday, 22 October 2012

Riding a roller coaster...

That's exactly what the last few weeks have been like, they've been filled with excitement, adventure, new places, new people, tummy bugs and at times feelings of been homesick.

First of all, Jeremy and I are officially married.  I was able to renew my cedula (I.D card everyone has here) and open a bank account. Only a few things left which we hope to get done this week here in Cuenca. No more flying to Quito!  It took us 3 days of running around from one window to another to get it all done, and this is after we had lodged our paperwork. You see you can't pay the person who is serving you, you have to go to a bank window for each payment which requires you to wait in line, then with each step of the process you get sent to a different window even if its only for a stamp, that requires more lining up! Those 3 days I'm sure we spoke to more than 10-15 different people in that same building. Hence it takes so long to lodge paperwork!!

The brother's we stayed with
A little Kingdom Hall we found on the way
Our next stop as mentioned previously was a place called Tena on the edge of the Amazons.  It was hot and humid and constantly raining.  We stayed with a family who gave us their house to use while we were there. Their family owns a tropical flower plantation where the house was, so it felt like we were deep in the jungle. The house here have massive windows with mesh, no glass or curtains, the mesh is only to keep the bugs out and bugs there were... though not as many mosquitos as we anticipated.  The night we arrived several congregations got together to throw us a welcome party, when we got there most had already arrived and had started without us...haha we could hear them singing from the entrance hahaha.. We had a great time!

The following day we went to a river where you can hire a canoe to take you up to tribal villages open to the public.  Here we got to see how they live and try some Chicha (an alcoholic beverage previously made from potato they chewed on and spit into a jar to ferment) today Chicha is made with another ingredient that allows it to ferment without the saliva process! So we didn't mind trying that..   Tasted like tangy light milk with a hint of coconut.. Which could have been a result of the coconut cup!  We also had a photo taken with a Boa (big snake) and a tribal dance.. We also got invited to see the witch doctor there for spiritual cleaning but that we didn't try!

While in Quito I had eaten lettuce that was washed in tap water and although I had realized this I couldn't do anything about it and had to eat it... No surprise by the time we were in Tena I had to go on antibiotics to get better as it was getting worse and worse and no one wanted a repeat of 2009.

That afternoon we went to another river deep in the mountains that had natural rock pools to swim in, I was too sick and weak to attempt to swim but Jeremy being the tough man he is was as healthy as could be and was right in his element... The water was freezing, I don't know how everyone got in but the view was amazing and it was only the fact that it started raining and not to mention it was getting pretty dark that got them all out...  Still no mosquito bites! (Maybe they knew I was sick?

The next day we went on a cave tour, its one hour long and you get to swim in the water holes and waterfall inside the cave, they also get you to put on mineral clay on your face as a mask.  It was fantastic!

Sunday we went to the local meeting. They have a beautiful hall actually nicer than our one in Cuenca, the stage and literature counters were made of stone. They have 100 pubs, 3 elders, two of them foreigners. The public speaker was also a foreigner. Supposedly this is the place to serve for many foreign brothers. The brothers here are doing a great job despite the humidity and constant rain. The congregation had split only two years ago and is looking to spilt again in the future. There is great growth!

Here's a comment from our recent KM " For the memorial in April there was an attendance of 246.958, which is 3.2 times the amount of publishers.  In that same month the first two congregations in the indigenous language Shuar have started to function. In the month of May we reached our new peak of 77.323 publishers, which means a 4% increase from 2011 service year. There has been 135.450 studies reported giving an average of 1.75 studies per publisher. Certainly 'the fields continue to be white for harvesting' (John 4:35). I had to translate that so I hope it makes sense.

On the way back we went through Baños where we intended to stay a night but due to car issues one of the brothers had we stayed two nights. The poor brothers car (a little Hyundai) gears gave out about 40 mins from Baños, another brother had some rope which Jeremy tied to the back of a Toyota ute which belonged to another brother and then towed it up the mountain to Baños. The rope only gave out once due to some sharp edge at the bottom of the ute but surprisingly it made it all the way to a mechanic.  We took advantage of the extra night and booked ourselves in to a much needed massage. A 1 hour full body therapeutic massage and half an hour face mask all worth $35.00. earlier that day we went to the thermal pools and went on a party bus to sightsee some waterfalls nearby (they call them Chivas).  It was so much fun, you get to dance in between stops on the bus which has a open part at the back to fiesta while its going! Very unsafe but very fun! (the sides of the bus aren't closed in from waist height up...) Haha very much in tune with the Latin culture....haha... Here is where the Mosquitos attacked in full force.. all in one night maybe cause by then I was feeling better... It was like Mosquitos had a little meeting and cleared me for dinner.. Jeremy came back without one mosquito bite and didn't even use repellant. I finished a bottle!

Eventually we had to come home....and we hit the floor running again.... Jeremy took the congregation book study last Thursday, his Spanish is getting better and better each day. On Saturday he had a public talk half an hour from here. Funny enough we saw my family there as Dad had been asked to take the WT study since the only elder was not there to take it. So we caught a bus down to where mum n dad live and went to the meeting with them, had to stay the night at their home since it was too dangerous to catch the bus back at night.... This week he's taking the young people ask DVD part... he's really excited about it..

I know... it's hard to move around without a car here, and taxis are becoming a bit of an issue lately especially at night, buses can be a little dangerous if your not careful but this is how most people live and get around, usually without much danger.. but I'm traveling with a Gringo... who can become a prime target for thieves... so we have to be extra careful... We've been trying to walk as much as we can but my feet have been giving me a few issues... so much walking!.... so it's time to get a car... Foreigners!

Well... we are happy to let you know WE GOT A CAR!!!, it's an 06, 4WD, V6 Grand Vitara, normally Suzuki back home here it's Chevrolet.  Only 71000kms, in good condition, grayish/champagne in colour (a point of contention between Jeremy and I, though the paperwork says its grey it doesn´t look like a true grey... Hence it's grayish/champagne...haha)  needs servicing and the exhaust pipe changed but it's a second hand car and most need something done to them after you buy them here. Can't believe it, no more taxis!!

Well that's been most of the news here. We are starting to feel a little homesick (well mostly me), we miss everyone back home and though our apartment is very comfortable, it's all NEW! At times it feels like we're staying at someone else's home.. So, we're hanging some photos all over the place to make it feel more like home... I know... I know... it'll take sometime to get used to everything...

We often look around and think WOW, look at what Jehovah gave us, a year ago no way would we have thought we'd be here, a year ago we were wondering how in the world we were going to make our goal a reality but Jehovah already had it all planed for us, all we had to do is buy the tickets to get here, no joke Jehovah took care of the rest. We've truly seen Jehovah's blessing, "that is what makes rich" (Prov 10:22) in every sense..... by the way our landlord was kind enough to pay our electricity bill for last month while we were away... guess how much.... $3.12.....hmm... can't get any cheaper than that!

Our love to you all.. Month number 2... feels like its been longer... but we're still alive and doing very well...