Monday, December 14, 2009

Kids helping Kids!

these are our kids from the Quito projects singing and serving
this is our students from Alliance. we go out weekly to do a bible club in the Quito projects

the kids from the dump are patiently waiting at the table for their opration brown bag lunch. Recognize any of those bags kids?

Ethan loves being my little helper when we go out and help kids!!!

Its packed with over 100 kids, crazy if you would see the size of this room.

Cowboy, fireman and construction guy help decorate our tree

Our little helpers
We are sooooo glad that we can get Christmas trees here in Ecuador and not only that but this huge tree that touches our ceiling cost us $30!
the lower, left part of the tree was inundated with ornaments thanks to our little helpers

Our boys hamming it up!

In this country the month of December is kicked off with "Quito Days" its a weekend celebration of their independence. Aidens preschool had a Quito Day program for the parents. They had to come dressed up like little gentlemen and ladies "Chulleno y Quitenas".
Ethan with his kindergarten class during a thanksgiving performance.

My sweet boy!

Turkey, sand and friends

Our thanksgiving spread! We were thankful that this country imports turkeys so we can keep on our tradition.

We spent thanksgiving at the beach! It was a first and it was fabulous. One of Bens students was so kind to offer their beach house to us!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Celebrating Alliance Academy 80th Anniversary!!

On November 3rd, 1929, the "School for Missionaries' Children of the Christian and Missionary Alliance" (MCS) opened it's doors. Eight students, a dorm mother and a teacher met in the Alliance mission home in downtown Quito. Two months later, MCS moved to Quinta Bustamante, a large estate home where MCS functioned until 1939, when the school moved to its current location. After that move, MCS was renamed the Alliance Academy (AA), and more recently, the Alliance Academy International (AAI).

For 80 years the Alliance Academy has provided education and community to thousands of young people and families who have lived and worked in Quito, Ecuador at some time.

Today we celebrate these 80 years of impact!

And 79 years later, July 1, 2008 the Lord called the Tutens family to a part of this legacy. Were honored!! Thank you all for making this possible its truly a blessing to be a part of this life impacting, heart changing, mind forming institution.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mr. Tuten sharing in chapel

Mr. Tuten had the joy of sharing in chapel a devotional and also using his "mad" science skills to share a spiritual truth. The kids love watching science experiments.

Monday, October 19, 2009

devastated and amazed

Once upon a time there was a group of ladies whom the Lord was working in their hearts to come and minister to His lost children in Quito, Ecuador. These lovely ladies were all from different phases of life and for different reasons felt called at this time to leave their families for a short time to come and serve.

The plan was to go minister at a school in the projects of Quito to children who have very little to eat and have very little education. As they prepared their hearts, their lessons, their material the Lord was doing some rearranging of their plans, that was news still to come. A week prior to their arrival the Lord changed the plans. A child from the school had been diagnosed with H1N1 and the school had to close down. We were devasted! This project had taken months to plan for and now where would they go?? He sent them to another area in the projects of Quito, the city dump. In the meantime they had gathered over 100 things of material for their lessons. The dump only had 18-40kids which was a blessing in disguise. Therefore, they were able to leave a lot of material here in Quito to be used somewhere else during the school year. This material is like treasure in the hands of a ministry here in Ecuador. The material they left you can't find here and if you did it would cost a tons. It was really neat to see Mckinney our church share all of their VBS stuff with us instead of having it collecting dust in a closet.

Lets fast forward to September- The directors of the school we mentioned above happen to show up at the school that we the Tutens work at. They were there to do a presentation to see how the teachers could partner with them. Mari had wanted to work with them in some form or fashion but she just got overwhelmed with all that there was to do so she never pursued it. The next day after the presentation a teacher from the school says "I was touched by the presentation yesterday from this school and I would like to add it as one of our Christian Service Outreach projects if someone here is willing to lead it." Mari felt like He was looking right at her.

So we sat their amazed to see Gods timing. The Lord wanted us there at that school just not this summer. If the VBS at the dump would of had more kids we would not have had all of this material to share with the children of this school. God was going to have someone out their at that school whether it was Mari or someone else. Though she forgot He didn't!

So we are now leading a group of 9 high school students on Wednesday to do a bible club out at this school in the projects of Quito!! It's a double blessing for us as we get to minister to our high school students from our school AAI and as they minister to the children at this school in the projects.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sometimes its the small things

When I was a little girl(all you smarty pants I know your saying you still are) I remember every morning that I rode to school just as I got in the car at 5:45a.m. a mans loud voice would bellow the classic hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness. Though at that time in my youth I had no idea what it meant I just knew it was something I could count on everytime I got in the car. My father made a choice when I was young and that was only Christian music would be played in our car. So that is why every morning I could count on that song coming on. That small thing impacted my life in ways I had no idea until I became an adult.

God has put us here in Ecuador to impact the lives of the students at Alliance Academy. Sometimes I think big and I forget that it doesn't have to be big to change someones life, it doesn't have to be a long speech, or a moving mentoring session sometimes its just your everyday consistent walk in the Lord. So as we start this year with many options and ways to serve Him we pray that we would be consistent in our walk. We would be consistent in our walk as we struggle, as we rejoice and as we live each day.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Whirlwind of friends and family!

Though its emotionally draining and physically tiring I love to be caught in that whirlwind of love everytime we travel back to the states. This trip I traveled alone for the purpose of attending the Association of Christian Counselors Conference and to fulfill my yearly US re-entry.

Because of Facebook I was able to reconnect on this trip with friends that I last saw when I was in my teen years. It was great to reminensce on life and our sillyness back then. I was also able to see my parents and old friends in Fort Worth. Everywhere I was I felt the LOVE! I hated that I couldn't connect with everyone since it was a quick trip but I am thankful for those I was able to at least see from a distance.

Unbelievably, Ben and the boys survived without me. Ben's dad Larry came down to help him out so he had some help during the day. I came home to a clean house and children who were all in one piece. I didn't doubt that he could handle it but was a bit concerned for him. So thanks to you all for your prayers.

I am one of those annoying people who forgets how much she misses something until she has it again. So I was surprised at the little things that I missed when I arrived to the US and when I returned back to Ecuador.

Airplane Perspective

As I sit in my row in the middle seat excited about what lies ahead I feel a little sad about who I leave behind. This has yet to change for me in the many airplane ventures I have taken whether they were just a city away or a whole country away.

I am always amazed and thankful by the discovery the Wright brothers made and those who took it beyond. Airplanes are AMAZING!

As I look down at the city from the heavens the world looks so small, orderly, safe and beautiful but as we get closer to landing and get off the plane we discover the cracks, the choas, the problems, the joy, the people and realize life really is a lot easier if your looking at it from a distance. People are easier to handle if your relating to them from a distance and the world and its choas is easier to handle if you don't see its cracks. So I encourage all of us to get off the plane and engage in your world, in your community, in your neighborhood, in your home, in your church. I promise you it won't always be pretty but at least you will feel alive to feel and connect deeply in the midst of its cracks.

I was sitting between an author and a Canadian embassy worker who represents Canadian women who have gotten themselves into trouble in this country. I had no idea because I wasn't up for small talk. I think I missed some neat opportunities that plane ride.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Who knew Pajamas and bedding could change our life

Every day and night since the boys got their new pj's they have wanted to take naps and go to bed!! Amazing huh!! They are pretty cool pj's and bedding but who knew the power of pjs and race car bedding. I was always too cheap and too cool to get them kid bedding. I always wanted something cool and abstract, I have learned my lesson. Every morning they ask if they could keep their pajamas on for the day. I don't let them so when we get home from running errands they go to their room and put on their jammies.
Thanks so much for making napping and bedtime fun for the boys.

The Mckinney Womens team brought our family lots of goodies from yummy flavored tea, Starbucks coffee to bedding for our boys and lots more. Our boys were sooooo excited seeing the three suitcases that were designated ours to open.

It was so humbling to see God use His people to provide even the simplest pleasures like Goldfish and other fun stuff.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Year Ministry Anniversary

Last year in July we got on a plane with 8 pieces of luggage to claim as our only possessions and were heading to a country we had never visited before. Why?
Let us show you:
Operation Brown Bag- we had no idea this was a ministry the Lord had planned for us but we are glad He did. It's a ministry God put together for our family to head up. We give lunches to the street kids of Quito.
Ben's 6th grade class! He loves it and they absolutely love him! He teaches Math, Science and Bible.

The counseling dept. We work with pre-k - 12th grade counseling students and parents. We counsel, teach seminars, events, and do group work. I love it!!

The Senior girls the Lord gave me the priviledge to disciple.
The cross cultural group of boys Ben disciples! They take such good care of our boys and bribe them with candy so they can hold them or give them a kiss, gotta love it!
Hospital ministry at the local goverment children hospital. Ethan got to go with me on our last visit. It was so amazing to see even at this age the Lord use our little boy to be a blessing!
I also have the joy of teaching Salsa aerobics to the teachers here at the school. Oh, and another reason we love it here is the picturesque views the Lord gives us every morning!
Of all these ministries the Lord only shared 2 with us before we left but were so glad HE has equipped us and given us the strength to get involved in all that He is doing here in Quito. I hope with this you are able to get a glimpse of what our days are like here and see that we LOVE it here! Thank you for letting us be used by God in this capacity. Really, your financial support and prayer support enable us to be here serving the Lord in this capacity. We could not have finished this year with out you!! Praise God for using you as His vessels of senders!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day Care part 2

We were able to squeeze some hours into our day to headback to the daycare with some of the youth to add some finishing touches. Here is a sweet picture of the little ones taking a nap while we put posters up. Here we are with workers from the daycare
This is not a word for word translation. Amelia is one of the workers at Amor Y Esperanza daycare. She is the "manager" of the daycare. Here she expresses her gratitude to all of the Youth who helped make the daycare beautiful. She shares that she only imagined 10% of what we did. Her hope was that we would paint the walls maybe two colors. She never envisioned such intricate work. She and the rest of the daycare crew were very grateful. She said the kids walked in the next day in awe of all that was done! Priceless! The directors of Amor y Esperanza shared that every year that a missions team comes to work at the school, which is in another bldg from Kinder-6th grade, Amelia always asks if its there turn. And Amelia always walks away disappointed because the answer is, not this time. But the director said that God taught them that good things come to those who wait because the work they got was amazing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

VBS Video

VBS is a very common summer activity in the states but it is not here. This is the first VBS that the church Dios es Fiel has ever done and they were very excited that the Mckinney group was going to be here this summer! This is a video of the little kids during scripture memory time. It was so sweet to hear them all in unison reciting Gods word.
The VBS has had between 62-70 kids come. Some churched and some unchurched about 70% are from the church Dios es Fiel and the rest are from the neighborhood! We pray that this connects some of the parents from the neighborhood to the church in some way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sunday at church! Our church is a non denominational church but a bit more upbeat in the music since music is very important in our culture. Here you can see the praise team and a young group of teens on the dance team. It was an amazing service I was glad the team was here to experience church in Latin America. The speaker was calling the congregation to restore their family relationships. At the end he said he was going to pray for the families in the congregation. As he prayed you could hear sniffles and people crying throughout the room and all of the sudden on their own people just started coming down to the front of the church. At the end of the prayer the pastor asked if someone in the congregation was related to any of these people up front to come down and give them a hug and encourage them. They came down and we could see and hear reconciliation happening right before our eyes. It was the beginning of a huge step in a lot of families.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mckinney Youth MIssion Team

The group standing at the Equator line. After planning and praying for months for the teams they finally arrive! We finally had the first glimpse of that love and labor come together today as we were busy at work doing VBS and painting. The team arrived on time and with no flight complications. That is a miracle in itself, ha! Those of you who have flown to Quito before know what I am talking about.

Grocery shopping for the 21 young kids we will be hosting this week.
Our church Dios es Fiel on Sunday
First day of VBS during craft time
Memory verse time
game time
snack time
The group had a very busy day. After VBS we headed over to the daycare in the projects that the group is going to paint and redo. If you look closely here at this picture you can see the state of the daycare.
Though we were all exhausted at the end of the day its so exciting to see how God is using us!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ministry right up my alley- Avant Garde Fashion Show and Spa

One of the things I love about my job as a counselor is that we have two groups that we work with: young ladies called Girls Only! chats and mothers called Mujeres y mas. With both of these groups our goal is to equip, encourage and educate one another. Spurring each other on in our walk with the Lord as women. So this week I got to plan a Mother and Daughter Spa Day and Avant Garde Fashion Show. The fashion show the ladies had to use crepe paper and tissue paper to make their outfits. We had a salon come out and provide their services while we did a fashion show

and had some get to know each other activities for moms and daughters. It was sooo much fun!

This picture below are some of the counselors that I work with!

Monday, May 11, 2009

We got it!

Thanks you all who joined us in prayer that we would find a car. We finally got one! Yea! Though it already got hit. That was very frustrating but a lesson on Materialism for us. We have it parked at the school since we live here and someone (we think it was a taxi or the gas truck) hit it really bad. The bumper came off and they put a dent in it. Ben was able to rig the bumper back up so it doesn't look as bad anymore. Going grocery shopping is so much more manageable now!

Mr. Tuten is Loved!

This was supposed to be a surprise party for Ben but of course asking 6th graders to keep a secret is pretty much impossible. It was a pool party and cook out!
The kids felt that it would be sooo sad to celebrate your birthday with out a pinata so one of the moms went out and bought one for the party.
I really enjoy seeing how much the students love Ben! God has really gifted him as a teacher and I praise God that he has followed that calling. When they sing Happy Birthday here they add Cha, Cha, Cha at the end!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Farewells, the life of a missionary

I have never been good at goodbyes but it seems like my life has been full of them. When we accepted our calling to Ecuador as missionaries we knew that this would mean that we would have many farewells because such is the life of a missionary. Well our first on this side of the world came this week as we had to say goodbye to one of our really good friends a couple Dan and Emily and their newborn that we had connected with in such deep ways. It has been very sad to do this because it came a lot sooner than we imagined. More are to come at the end of the school year as I say goodbye to my senior girls I disciple and other missionary teachers who are going back on furlough or transferring.

Sharing some of our Easter traditions

The whole plastic eggs, easter baskets and bunny thing hasn't hit Ecuador yet which is good b/c Easter is not commercialized its celebrated pretty much only as a religious holiday. Well we shared some of our non-religious and real of meaning of Easter traditions with some Ecuadorian friends at a picnic.
They were quite amazed at the whole boiling eggs, dyeing them and hiding them tradition. They thought it was quite odd but still joined in the fun. After having them find the eggs we gathered around and shared the Easter story using the Resurrection Eggs that we have used for the past couple of years as a family. They were amazed that there were little treats to discover in each egg as I told the story. It was very fun!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My daughter wants to learn how to pray.....

This past week the Lord gave me an opportunity to lead a mom and her daughter to Christ. I volunteer at a childrens gov't hospital every Wed. We go and give them coloring pages, cookies, balloons and share a bible story. At the end of doing this with one little girl I was getting ready to pack my stuff and walk away when her mom calls me back and says "my daughter want to learn how to pray" as I walked over I am thinking "wow she's ready" this little 10yr old is hungry for more. So I shared the gospel with her and mom and they both said they wanted to give their life to Christ. At the end she said she was rejoicing and I said so is God! Praise God!! If you remember pray for Lizzette that the Lord will heal her little body soon.

Your kids work -at work in Quito, Ecuador!

The school coordinated a day for the teachers to help us with Operaton Brown Bag in making 150 lunches (thanks to all of you kiddos who sent us your art work and $1 to fill the bags) and passing them out. We also had a group of students from a club called Peer Helpers making the sandwiches. The day we gathered to make the lunches was a beautiful sunny day but the day we planned on passing them out it was raining horribly so Mari and the kids ended up staying at home but Ben and about 8 other teachers went out in the rain to pass out the bags in Historic Quito (which has a lot of street kids).

They loaded the lunches in plastic bags and went out in the rain. The 2nd picture is a little boy shoe shining. This is a very common job for little boys to do all over the city to make money. The group stopped and gave him some lunch. The 3rd picture is a guy just sleeping on the sidewalk and the girls put a lunch by him so he could have it when he wakes up. One of the teachers shared that when they handed someone a lunch they said "if you only knew the depth of our hunger and he took the lunch and said a very typical phrase that people say instead of thank you "Dios te page" God pay you. Ben came home and said he didn't know what that meant but just nodded and smiled. We were very thankful as a family that we could pass out so many lunches out at one time. We normally do it by ourselves so we don't get as many passed out so this was a blessing.