Friday, October 7, 2011

It's rainy and cold outside

It was a cold rainy day and I decided this was the Day that the Lord has made for Mari to tackle the MESSY JUNKY office.  This office room is near the gate entrance of our Conjunto (gated community of townhouses).  While I am unpacking I am constantly distracted by the sounds of a baby.  I go up to check on Mateo and it's not him so I continue cleaning.  The baby noises continue but go from a content baby to a very upset baby.  So I peak out my window and notice a young lady drenched by the rain holding her baby just standing under our gate trying to keep her baby dry.
Here where we live we are surrounded by mountains so rain usually means the sun is gone and it's very cold and windy.  I continue cleaning and then begin to wonder how I can help her.  She hasn't asked for help or rang my door bell so maybe she was fine.  But she didn't have a jacket on nor did her baby.  So I couldn't stop thinking about how to help her.  I went upstairs and rummaged through our closet trying to find a rain jacket that I could give her.  I looked but we all pretty much own 1 good rain jacket.  I finally went and found some garbage bags(very common to see people wearing these when it rains) and went outside and asked her if she needed them to cover herself.  She looked surprise to see me and was hesitant but then accepted them.  I asked her if the baby was wet and she nodded. Poor little thing would have had to stay the whole night in wet clothes until her mom was done working.

I ran upstairs and found some baby clothes a friend had accidentally brought down from the states that her son definitely had outgrown that she gave to us for Mateo.  It was sitting out just waiting for this perfect opportunity to be used!

 I opened the gate and let her in  and while she walked in I thought well maybe that was a dumb idea I have no idea who she is.  It was too late so I invited her inside the house so she could change her baby inside a warm house not in the out in the cold.  I asked  her what she was waiting for and she said I collect cardboard on your street and was waiting for it to stop raining so I could keep working.  Here in this country the poor collect cardboard on trash day and go through the streets rummaging through trash cans looking for cardboard. I brought her a clean diaper, a jacket and fleece pj's that were a size 12mos but seem to swallow her 14mos old up.  She took the pj's and diaper said thank you and went on her way.

I was so thankful that I decided to clean the office that day otherwise I would not have  heard her baby outside.  I was so thankful that this friend had accidentally brought this baby clothes from the states and had given it to us. Otherwise I would of have had to go through boxes of stuff in our storage room outside to find Mateo's bigger clothes and that may have taken forever to find. Once again I was thankful that the Lord was able to use me in something as simple as me cleaning my house.

Who knew how this Apple Pumpkin bread would be used

I decided to make some Apple Pumpkin Bread w/ Caramel Icing and the batch made 2 large loaves.  That is too much sweet bread just laying around my house so I decided to freeze one loaf.  Not even thinking that God was going to use this for His purposes.

I was at school and over heard a new young teacher sharing that she was leaving home because she was sick.  I didn't think too much of it but felt sad for her because I had heard that she had been sick for several days now.  Well as I was on my way home the thought popped in my head "call her".  I got home and decided I would offer to make her a meal and that would be my call.  I soon realized my day was packed with other errands and that making an extra meal that day would probably not happen.  So I just thought I would do it tomorrow.  Well the thought was still there to call her and suddenly I remembered the loaf of Apple Pumpkin bread in the freezer.  I called her and asked her if I could stop by with some homemade bread.  We had a good time getting to know each other and later she emailed me to thank me and said "you have no idea how your visit and bread ministered to me". 

I really don't but I am so glad that the Lord used something simple that I enjoy doing at home during the day while the boys are at school and Ben is working, to minister to one of His children. 
Such a wonderful reminder to me that He can use me wherever I am at even in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove, just kidding that's not how I view it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What is a Christian Missionary?

"Many people picture a missionary as a middle-aged man who leaves his job in America to evangelize and plant churches in Africa. But that is a simplistic view. Today, African Christians reach out to Muslims in the Middle East. College students spend their summer teaching English in Asia. A family in America befriends and witnesses to international students. A truck driver responds to an international disaster, meeting both physical and spiritual needs. All these are missionaries.

Although missionaries cannot be stereotyped, they each have a call. God calls them to set aside personal ambitions in order to be witnesses of the Gospel. Like Isaiah, a missionary gladly responds, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8b). Often God sends a missionary to a particular people group as Paul was sent to the unreached Gentiles and Peter to the Jews (Galatians 2:8). Although technically a Christian missionary is one specifically called by God and sent out by the local church, every Christian has a mission to make disciples. " (from

I whole heartily believe that our Lord Jesus Christ ask all Christian believers to make Him known, in action, in words and by example.  We have all been gifted in different ways so its going to look different so don't compare the work the Lord has put before you to others work. 

A simple way I answer this question is "we work amongst Ecuadorians and students of different nationalities our desire is to let them know that there is another way to live life and to give them the opportunity and help them see by example that Jesus Christ Listens, Jesus Christ Saves, Jesus Christ is God, Jesus forgives and His Word is real and relevant to our life."  I carefully chose the word opportunity because we don't shove His Word down people throats, we don't stand out in the street yelling "that your going to hell."
Our Missions Pastor shared his broad definition of missions "Engagement with God's mission to help all nations enjoy His glory and forgiveness through Jesus. This would make all Christ-followers missionaries... of course, some do this full-time vocationally."

I hope this gives you a basic idea of what is a Christian Missionary.
My response in a picture form below: The world, His Salvation, His people.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ben- 6th Grade

Ben ended the 2010-2011 school year with co-directing the Life School Musical for the 6th grade class, planning the 6th grade graduation, planning and taking his students on their last fun field trip and in the midst of this we were moving to another house and packing to leave to the U.S for our first furlough.  Wow! I am amazed at how well Ben handled all that pressure, tasks and people.

He will be starting the 2011-2012 school year with 18 wide eyed bushy tailed 6th graders.  He will also have a new co-teacher who has not taught at AAI before.  This will be his first year being the department chair and training teachers.  We are excited for the new opportunties for him to excel in what I (Mari) feels he is gifted in -teaching!  Pray for him as he leads his team that God would give him boldness, confidence and time management.  

Child Protection Committee at Alliance Academy

One of the things that the counseling department at Alliance Academy has been working since I have been there and I am sure before I was there was educating and empowering parents, students and teachers on Child Protection. 
The statistics on Missionary kids, Missionary schools and Missionaries encountering these abuse situations is alarming. I (Mari) for the past 2.5 years have been heading up the training in this area.  Our goal was to go into every classroom and share with each student and then to have follow up parent training in which we shared the same things with the parents.  Our goal was to have student, teacher and parents all on the same page on how to encounter situations. 
This past year a committee was formed to review and address gaps that were in our student-teacher policies.  What came about from this committee was a year of meetings, meetings and more meetings in which a plan of action on how to prevent situations, how to protect the students and teachers was proposed and approved!  This was a gargantous task and we are praising the Lord for how much support and help we received from the school leadership. 

I will start the school year off with an orientation for all staff training them on Child Saftey Procedures on campus.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mari's last 6th grade Chats

One of the things I was able to start through the counseling department was the 6th grade Chats.  I met with the 6th grade Girls and some times both boys and girls and we discussed topics like: friendship, boys, body image, self image etc....  I really enjoyed this aspect of my job because not only did I get to do what I enjoy which is doing counseling seminars but I also got a chance to connect with the kids Ben spends time with and build relationships with them.

Our last session was a fun crafty one and we made T-shirts for their moms using a DIY screen printing process. 
These shirts were left over from the 2010 Womens Team that came down.  I was glad we were able to put them to use! My in laws brought down freezer paper for us which is what you need to do the screen printing process.

Sixth Grades Video Project

Ben's 6th grade class worked really hard to put this video together.  They give you a tour of the historical city of Quito.  It's in Spanish but either way you can see the beauty if you don't understand.

Every now and then you get a peek of Ben.  These are all his students.  His class is so culturally diverse there are kids from Korea, Chinese, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Jaimaca and the U.S.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Celebrating in March

As most of you know Ethan and Aiden celebrate back to back birthdays in March.  One of our family traditions is to give the b-day boy a birthday breakfast.  We were singing to Ethan Happy Birthday in Spanish and when we got to Happy B-day to Ethan Aiden says Happy B-day to Eastons.  You may ask why well here in Ecuador this is how many people pronounce his name as Eastons.  So our clever little 3yr old soon to be 4 decides that since were singing in Spanish we have to pronounce Ethans name like they would here in Spanish.  See for yourself how all grown up they are now, bittersweet!
Our precious boy Ethan who is now 7!

Our sweet boy Aiden who is now 4!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Decision Made!

The looming feeling that hangs over you when you have an important decision to make has left me!  The Lord has given me peace about not working at Alliance Academy.  It was a hard decision because I enjoyed my work but I think this is the best thing for my kids, husband and me.  This coming week I will be cleaning out my office, ughhhh not looking forward to that :).

Thank you so much for lifting this up to the Lord on our behalf. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sharing Gods Love with Happy Meals on V-day

 On February 13th our family prepared some v-day hearts with a verse and put them on Happy Meals for the street kids.


She could barely reach my car window but I heard a little voice saying "compre vamos compre" (buy something come on buy something).  Our boys are in the back seat waiting with excitement for me to roll down the window so they can give her a Happy Meal.  The little girl (not bigger than 3yrs old) smiles big and says "Dios te pague" (may God repay you).  She runs back to her little dirt mound where her bags and babysister are at and she quickly begins to eat.  My heart stirs with gladness to see her little face light up as she receives her Happy Meal. 

I can't even begin to put into words the joy it brings me to see our boys get so excited to give some food to the street children.  I don't really know how much they grasp on what is going on in the lives of these street children but I do know and see the enjoyment they get from giving!  Praise the Lord for using our little ones!

Here in this picture we got out of the car because we knew that at this artisan market there are a lot of indigenous kids walking around begging the tourist for money.  As soon as we got out of the car they came swarming around us (this is why we did our happy meal deliveries from the car).  Thankfully, Ethan and Aiden weren't scared by the group that gathered around us.  They just started passing out the meals that they each had in their hand.