We met this gorgeous couple through mutual friends while we were in Australia almost 2 years ago.... Oh my.... it's been that long since we've been back, that made me a little nostalgic lol..... anyway.... the changes across the worldwide organization were taking place and after many many years of special full time service Michael and Simone were no longer on the special service list. The amazing thing about Michael and Simone was their attitude towards all the changes that were taking place.... Although a little worried about what the future would be like for them, they seemed very optimistic and excited about what these new changes would bring. They mentioned that for the first time in years they could choose and decide where they could serve Jehovah.... and well, they had been thinking about...... Ecuador of course!
Later that year they were visiting us in Ecuador for their first tour..... as a side story, my family were on their way back from Australia to permanently live in Ecuador and the airline rules had changed. This meant they could no longer bring the amount of bags they had been told previously. Michael and Simone, gladly agreed to bring all the bags with them and so my family got everything they had packed a few months later.
After traveling around some of the areas the Branch suggested as possible places of serving in the future, they decided they would move to Ecuador and that the city of Ambato would be their next home...
But it's better you hear the story straight from them.... so here goes:
"With the door of special pioneering closing we looked at what doors could possibly open now. We prayerfully wrote to all branches in south and central America and narrowed it down to Ecuador based on their answers to our questions on security, possibility of getting a visa, cost of living and relative government stability. Absolutely invaluable was getting in contact with friends of friends, Jeremy and Katherine. When it comes to encouragement, tips, information and help, they are solid gold.
Planning: The branch asked where we would like to live: coast, mountain or jungle. We chose the mountains and they gave us 3 choices of congregations. Considering the cost of getting here from Australia we did think about not visiting first but simply moving permanently. We are glad we didn't. In February we visited for 5 weeks and did a circuit of the congs the branch suggested. At first we felt quite overwhelmed by a lot of things, fear of being sick, robbed, drugged and robbed....but with the experience gained by our recent trip, and a huge amount of prayer, we thought that we could do it. You really need to come and visit to get a taste for how things work. Some things are just like home, some are even better, some are more challenging. Visiting helped us greatly to know what we would likely face. Also finding out what things we couldn't get here and what were the "must haves" for our suitcases.
|Cart Witnessing in Ambato|
As far as getting rid of our possessions in Australia, we followed good advice of others. We sent an email to everyone we knew nearby listing our stuff with a disclaimer: "Here's what we have to sell/give away. Please don't buy anything out of sympathy." It all went. The final big thing to sell was our car. We had it for sale many months, and no one showed any interest. You know what happened. It sold 2 days before we left.
Living Expenses: Prov. 16:3. One concern we had was how we would support ourselves living in Ecuador. It was only after committing to coming here that Jehovah made things work out. The waters didn't miraculously part like the Red Sea, but they did incrementally as we stepped into the Jordan. People told us that you can live in about US$650/month. So far that seems about right for, the cost of running a household (rent, water, gas, electricity, internet & phone plans), food and public transport (living very carefully). But sometimes you need to go the dentist, go to an assembly or other extras which would be on top of that." - (Ambato is not an expensive city to live in, you may need more for other cities).
"Language: Despite our attempts to learn while still in Australia, we didn't make much progress with the language. Since coming here (even in our first visit) our Spanish has improved dramatically. Try it."
It's a privilege for us to have the opportunity to meet these awesome brothers and sisters... we are so happy we can help in a small way...