Wednesday, December 17, 2008
As I have shared before I have the joy of visiting a government hospital here in Ecuador that is for children who are low income. Today we got to be Santa Claus. We did a very simple role play of the story of Christmas and then we would sing (we sounded horrible) and finally we passed out gifts to the children w/ homemade cookies and left tracts with them. It was so much fun to see them light up when they opened up their gifts. Some of them weren't to excited about their gifts b/c some of the gifts weren't that great but we had no say in that. Either way many kids were happy to recieve a little something.
Here's a happy camper!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Kids Helping Kids Around the World! Have you underestimated the power of the brown bag? I'll bet you didn’t know that a brown bag could help in the fight to end hunger, or that it could bring God's love in a very real way, or that it could be the first time a child gets a message of care from another child.
Just as we underestimate the power of a brown bag, we sometimes underestimate how God can move through our children. Join us and see how God uses your child's work across continents!
"Every year, thousands of children are pulled into life on the street due to financial difficulties at home, problematic relationships, commercial exploitation and poor access to schools. This group of children become unprotected working children who are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. There is a significant problem of street children in Ecuador, particularly in Quito, the capital city. Hundreds of children work daily on the streets selling cigarettes, chewing gum and sweets to passersby, or juggle in front of cars stopped at the traffic lights. Many shine shoes for 10 hours a day to buy food each day." Mashi Foundation
We are looking for adult facilitators who can help get this going in their classroom (teachers or parents), daycare, preschool, church, homeschool or school. If your establishment is not Christian they can still do this and God can still use them!
So what do you need to do to become a part of Operation Brown Bag?
- Have the children draw a picture on the bags & a message and put $1 in it. (attach a verse if applicable)
- Have one adult collect all the bags from the group and mail them to us in Ecuador.
- Contact me for specific instructions and details: firstname.lastname@example.org
The dollar will pay for one child’s lunch, which consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, milk and yogurt.
Once the bags arrive in Ecuador they will be distributed to:
-Street kids in the city of Quito
-children in a low income children’s hospital
This project was started because, as a mother, my heart hurts for the children who are sprawled out on the concrete sidewalk everyday waiting for their parents to make some money to feed them. Kids as young as three years old are out selling fruit or candy to make ends meet. We see little ones on their mother's backs as they dig through the trash. Also, it bothered me that my children walk past these children everyday slowly becoming numb to this. So I wanted to find a way to help them be Jesus to these little ones.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Ethan got picked to go up on stage for this also, unfortunatly, we missed seeing his response to the person behind the sheet.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I have been trying to figure out ways to minister to the mothers here. So I decided it would be fun to have a party and have the kids play with Ethan and I can chat with the moms from Ethans class. Little did I know that in the culture of this group of people at the school it is customary to just drop off the kids at a party and parents don't show up. I realized this yesterday as parents called me to ask when they can pick up their kids. I was shocked because it never crossed my mind that they would not accompany their child. So today I had a group of nine 4yr olds join us for Ethans Fall dress up jungle party. Actually one mom did show up. It was great fun for the kids but I was wiped out by the end of it.
So now I know for next time that I need to specifically request for parents to come if my goal is to reach out to the moms. I am sure I have many lessons to learn about the Ecuadorian culture but also the culture within the school.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
That is exactly what happened it broke my heart to see this little girl lying in bed in a cast from her waist down b/c she was just operated in hopes that she would finally be able sit up. She had been living her whole little life on her back unable to sit up. As I walked over with a balloon in my hand she gave me a croocked smile. I tried to be cheery for her though it hurt to see her like that. She was also mentally challenged so she couldn't talk she just grunted with her little lopsided smile. I was glad that a balloon would bring such joy to her. I walked away holding back the tears and reminding myself what Mother Teresa said trying to be content with having given her the best I had and that was a green balloon with red ribbon.
Here is a large room with 8 kids and their families. As you can see the beds are very old though I was glad to see an old chipped cheery murals on the wall.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Ben will be leading a discipleship group of 7th grade boys and Mari will be leading a discipleship group of 10th grade girls. Mari is also a sponsor for a group of High School students who want to learn to help others called Peer Helpers.
Mari will be visiting weekly a childrens hospital here in Quito that serves the lower income families. We will have opportunities to share the gospel with the kids and families, to be Jesus to these families who have little ones there by praying, listening or just being a peaceful presence and to give the kids at the hospital a sweet treat, balloons or color with them.
As a family we love to host. It really is a family thing. Ethan loves to have company and to entertain as much as we do. So we try to have someone new over every week.
We have found a church that is predominatly Ecuadorian and is only Spanish speaking. Pray that we would be able to settle in and be a part of the church even though there is a language barrier for the boys and Ben.
The question that always comes with this is "How are you all being fed?" Mari prays with another wife on a regular basis, Ben & another guy keep each other accountable, Ben is also involved in a guys bible study and we have family devotions everyday(or we try) outside of our own personal devos. Ben has enjoyed listening to Mens Fraternity that is now avail. on the web great idea MMBC!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Does it cost to receive a package? Yes and no. Yes if it's a box and depending on the size. No, if its in package envelopes sm-lg size. Also, it doesn't cost to receive letters. Always put a $1 value and that it's a gift.
Where should you send it to? Alliance Academy International, Attn: Ben/Mari Tuten
Casilla 171106186, Quito, Ecuador Please make sure to write it to our attention since we live at the school they will assume its school stuff if it's not in our name
How should we package it? Please send it in a package envelope not a box. A med-lg size envelope is fine. After you have addressed it cover it in clear packaging tape if your using the paper envelopes just to make sure the envelope endures the trip.
What can we send you? All of these things are treats. Nothing is a must have. We really could manage to live with out them: If the item is not listed anymore that means someone has already decided to send it to us. yea!
Thanks so much for wanting to bless us with a small package of love!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here are some pictures of Ben making our bedroom furniture. I mean Ben and Ethan. Ethan always comes home telling me that he was working with daddy making a bed for me.
This is one of Ben's friends Dan making a coffee table.
They are using the school wood shop to do this. They pay them for the wood and they let them use the tools for free.
Just in case you're wondering why Ben is making furniture, it's not because there is no furniture here - it's just that it will be more cost effective and he enjoys it. His father would be proud. I am!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We start school on Thurs.
We found a sitter for Aiden while I am at school!
We are headed out on our 1st date since we got here!praise God!
Ethan starts school on Thurs (pre-school).
Our boxes are still in customs, boo hoo.
We are looking for a church, pray that we find one as awesome as Mckinney & WHCC.
I will address the school on Biblical Conflict Resolution Monday.
We are doing a 10k next weekend.
Ben has started a Spanish class that the school offers for gringo teachers.
We are trying to get Ethan to stop peeing in the bed at night. Any suggestions???
We are shopping for living room furniture.
Ben is building our bedroom furniture.
We need to decide on how we are going to be involved in the lives of our students outside of school. Plz pray for that there are so many opportunities.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Every morning that I have gone running it amazes me to see how full the park is. I wonder don't these people have jobs to go to(grin). They do but they have a way of making time for family and fun. As I run around the park my tummy is awakened with the aromas of the little restaurant huts in the park who have their grills fired up ready for the morning traffic. The park is packed with men in their suits out playing with their kids before their day gets started, with 50yr old men playing basketball, with young and old zealous soccer players moms and kiddos going on their morning stroll. On weekends it really is packed every inch of grass is covered. They have little carnvial rides, horse rides, boat rides, cotton candy, this is a new one -bebe gun shooting, stunt bike riders etc...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
-First couple of weeks it was just catching up on our sleep, getting unpacked, going to the airport everyday to identify our lost luggage and settling into our new home.
-Now that we're past that we have been venturing out into the city on our own. We still haven't ventured out too far - no more than 10 miles from our home. We're baby stepping. Walking everywhere with 2 kids keeps us close to home.
-We took a trip with our school to a nearby village. (see pictures below in the other post)
-Ben started Spanish classes
-Going grocery shopping at least 3 times a week because, as I am cooking, I realize I don't have what I need. Starting your pantry and kitchen from scratch again is quite the task.
-I visited the local City Dump where there are families that live on the property and go to work there. We did a bible study, craft and songs with the kids.
-I hosted our first girls nite out with our new friends and neighbors while Ben went out with the men.
-Ben has been getting ready for class: preparing his room and lessons
-I am preparing for my first staff session on Biblical Conflict Resolution.
We have been enjoying our time here. And we feel blessed to have the Lord lead us here and use you all to get us here in so many ways! Gracias!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This picture below is our team having breakfast at a cute little hotel we stayed in.
Looked at Aidens hair it was pretty windy up there. Here we are going back in time to some of the customs and traditions of the indigenous people at the market. This craft market is one of the most spectacular in South America. Yes, this is a pig on a large hot pan that is being served on plates for hungry shoppers at the market. I think I lost my appetite.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We wanted to share with you our home here in Quito! We are the only family that lives on campus besides the dorm parents. There will be 9 students that will live in the dorms, just above us. We live in the basement of the dorm. We have a nice 3 bedroom, 2bath apartment with a good-sized kitchen and living area. We pay a reasonable amount for rent, which I guess it would be equivalent to the States, around $700 utilities included.
We live in the capital city of Ecuador, right in the smack dab of the city. So, as in most big cities, it's really hard and expensive to own a house - so everyone pretty much lives in an apartment building. Similar to NYC, there's one big tall building after another with lots of apartments on each floor. Another thing about living in a big city is that you always need a guard outside your home. So whether you live in a house or apartment, you have a guard. Because we live on the school property we have 2 guards since the school has 2 entrances. So we feel pretty safe in our new home!
Our apartment is provided by the school and is temporary. We can only live in it for one year. So by next summer, we will be transitioning into an apartment near our school. I have gone out to price furniture and it seems pretty equivalent to the States, but without the sales :( But, there are so many other inexpensive things - like flowers, fruit and bread, which are some of my favorite things!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Really it wasn't as bad as I make it sound. The worst part of it was uncontrollable crying from our baby. And at times I wanted to join him. Under the circumstances they really did great! God was good in answering our prayers for us not to get stuck in a foreign country w/ all our luggage and kids. I really think this was His way of answering it. I would rather get layed over in the middle of the night in the U.S. than in a foreign country any time.
Our second day in Quito I was stopped by some tv reporters for an interview. I told them I had just arrived and had no idea what they were asking and declined the interview. They persisted so I gave in. The question was a political question about the president. I had no idea what they were talking about but I said " no I didn't agree" As soon as I said that they looked at each other in shock that I said no. As I walked away I began to wonder if I made a dumb mistake by answering. Images of the president hunting me down for answering against him began to take over. Next time I will keep my ignorance to myself instead of broadcasting it to the world.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Big prayer request for tomorrow-
Quito is surrounded by mountains and at night it gets very cloudy and windy therefore making our landing conditions hard. We are landing at midnight and there is a big possibility that they won't land our plane in the Quito airport but in another city which means we will need to spend a night there and catch a plane the next day. So please pray that we are able to land in Quito. It will be chaotic to land in another city that we don't know with 6 very large pieces of luggage, a stroller, 2 kids, and 3 carry ons trying to find a hotel in the middle of the night and a taxi that will have room for all of our stuff.
How to contact us:
817.294.9870 OUR HOUSE # IS THE SAME SO IF YOU WANT TO CALL US YOU CAN WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY INT'L RATES .
Our cell # is no longer any good.
Also, please don't send any support checks to our Ft. worth address send them directly to RCE, PO Box 4528, Wheaton, IL 60189 made out to RCE with only our account #3928 on it not our names. Thanks so0000 much!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The "S" word we didn't want anything to do with this word when we were looking into going as missionaries. We thought this was not for us. Well, God had other plans.
God put on our hearts Alliance Academy Int'l. A perfect fit for our family but guess what? We had to raise support, $2,500 a mth. Read on as we share His provisions for us:
-We began by sending out over 100 letters to friends and family. After a month into it we still had not heard from anyone. Though it was a slow start the Lord knew what He was doing and 2.5 months later we are at full support!
-After our estate sale was over this couple comes the next day and said "God had put us on their mind and they felt like they needed to come back and pray for us." Here's God bringing people along to encourage us.
-Our church was one of the first to come along our side and decide to support us not just finacially but also with moral support. The Body of Christ unites with us.
-This lady who has no idea who we are randomly comes across that we still needed support and she felt like the Lord was leading her to give. God working in the hearts of total strangers.
-We presented at a church of about 50 people we felt bad asking them to support us since they were so small and probably didn't have the budget to. Well to this day they are our highest supporters. God works in the unexpected!
-So many of our wonderful friends and family have given sacrificially of their time and money to help us get to Ecuador so we could spread the Gospel to students! This has been humbling and amazing to see His people at different stages of life: young, single, old, married, divorced, poor, rich, christian and non-christian (yes he even uses the non-christian to answer our prayers).... The body of Christ coming together is an amazing thing to see in action.
This journey has been hard as He has had to strip us of our illusion of control, our pride in our independence, our illusion that we have it all together and the hardest our illusion that we totally trust in Him. But He has been so merciful, compassionate as He works in us- a work in progress molding us as people after His own heart not our own desires. Though it has been hard I wouldn't trade it for the sweet times we have had with the Lord individually and as a family!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Part of our Pre-Field Orientation Training fun was visiting with our future co-workers. We were in classes all day and then would meet at our house for games in the evening.
The people there were just like us, getting ready to embark a whole new world as missionaries. We were a smorgasbord of ages, cultures, languages and lifestyles. It was fun to interact with everyone and hear how the Lord brought them to this point in their life.
Here is Ethan with his new little friends from class: Tavin and John who will be serving in China.
Everyday our meals were in the cafeteria with about 150 people. We realized that Ethan is definetly an extravert. He would go around to different tables asking people their names and conversing with them. He would leave our table and say, "I'll be back. I need to go say hi to my new friends." This sweet couple, Cameron and Elisa, are going to serve in Tawain and are one of the couples Ethan befriended. We got to know them as a result of our child's extraversion. We were known as Ethan's parents by many for the past two weeks.
Friday, June 27, 2008
So we have spent the last week here and have one more week to go. We are learning a lot about how to transition into another culture, how to work with other cultures and how to be flexible. Our classes are from 8-5p.m. everyday except Sunday. Ethan has some culture transitioning classes also and Aiden is in childcare. The schedule is strenuous on our family but the information has been great. We have had the pleasure of meeting part of our mission team and that has been great fun. We are excited that we will get to minister beside these people who also have a heart for God's kindgom.
Pray for us: Ethan and Aiden are totally out of their element, schedule, environment, food etc... and I know it's been hard on them physically and emotionally. Ethan has forgotten that he's potty trained, he is constantly having tantrums and Aiden cries about everything.
It may get worse from this point on because our whole life will be in transition until we get to Ecuador. So pray for wisdom, patience and lots of love for our boys.
Friday, May 16, 2008
We are at 100% of our budget!
Praise God! Thanks to all of you who have sacrificially given and prayed!
1 person…………..…………………………. $200 per month
O O .............…………………………………$175 per month
O O O O................…………………………..$150 per month
O O O O O O....................................……$100 per month
O O O O O O...................................…….$75 per month
O O O O O O .......................... ....………$50 per month
A total of 25 people to help us reach.... $2,500 a month
If the O is red that means a person has pledged for that amount a month!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
We believe wholeheartedly that the Lord will provide. It may not look exactly like we had envisioned but I know that he will open doors if He wants us in Ecuador this Fall. So pray my friends and family that we will have wisdom as we make decisions and that we would clearly see His leading and have His blessings from the smallest of decisions to the big ones.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Now that we are in the same place as those missionaries. I want you to know that we understand if you don't feel this deep connection toward the Youth in Ecuador, or for that matter a deep connection with us but we do hope that you have a deep connection for Gods heart and that is, His lost sheep. So connect with us because we are going to feed His lost sheep. Pray for us because the enemy wants to destroy all those who are going to thwart his plans. Join us on the battlefield because simply put we can't do it alone. We may be physically going but you go with us through your prayers and your financial support. For His kingdom and for His glory!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The more I think about this opportunity the Lord has provided for us I am amazed at how this is such a great fit for our family, how we are all so perfectly plugged in. God took our hearts passions, skills and giftedness and sent us to a place where we can use them for His glory!
Our Job: Ben:6th grade math, science and Bible teacher, Mari: counselor(part-time)
Our Heart and our Responsibilities: teaching, discipling, counseling and evangelizing
Our Children: The school has a 4yr old program so Ethan will start school this fall. This school is one of the top English Schools in Quito so Ethan will be in an awesome learning environment. Aiden will have a sitter on campus the days I work.
Housing:We will live on campus in the dorms. Ha, who would of thought I would end up back in the dorm life.
Transportation: Public transportation or walking will be our means of getting around.
Economy: Ecuadors currency is the U.S. dollar. The cost of living is very high. Here in the U.S. $35-40,000 yr you can own a home and a car. In Ecuador for that kind of yearly salary you can rent a 2/3 bedroom apartment and not own a car.
Stuff: We will try to cram as much of our stuff into our allowed 6pc of luggage. We will pretty much be starting from scratch again. Ecuador unlike other foreign countries doesn't have the big stores like Walmart, home depot, etc.... Therefore, everything imported cost about 3x as much. So arriving in the dorms is good because it will give us time to buy everything we didn't fit into our 6 pc of luggage.
Religion: Catholicism is the dominant religion.