Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just because were a family

We have been told quite a few times this school year by people how great it is to have a family ministering together at the school.  A parent shared "you two are a wonderful team at our school".  It never hit me until now how just being a stable family in our community ministers to others. I always thought our family is involved in ministry therefore we are ministering to others but not just because we are a family we minister to others with that alone. Does that make sense?  It was encouraging and a different perspective we had not thought about.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a 3rd grader leads his whole family to Christ

One of the new families that enrolled at our school this year ALL came to the Lord in a matter of a week. It was amazing!  The school has a week called Spiritual Emphasis Week and they have chapel everyday with a special speaker.  The particular young student was very curious and enthralled with everything that was being talked about.  He would go back to class asking lots of questions and wanting to know more.  One of those days he decided  he was ready to make a decision to accept Christ! Later that week mom came to discuss with the school some school things and then asked about her sons excitement for Spiritual Emphasis Week. It was explained to her and she too accepted Christ that day.  At the end of the week they ended with a grand finale where the kids were going to present to their families the songs and lessons they had been learning all week.  That evening the father also accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior! 
Isn't that beautiful! This is what we are all about PLANTING seeds for His kingdom! And its even more fun when you get to see them grow!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Establish the Work of our Hands

It's that time of year when our school starts asking if we are on board for another year.  Please pray with us as we seek Gods will on this.  The ministry He has established here for us has been wonderful and we know He is using us to touch the lives of students and their families, street children and other missionaries but we also know for a fact that He has used this ministry to teach us and mold us in so many ways as individuals and as a family. 

Join us in prayer as we seek His blessing for the coming year and clarity and discernment as we follow His leading.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


If I had to describe last weeks government upheaval in one word it would be: SURREAL.  Your going through all the motions of evacuation, fear, anxiety and your hearing outside your window the sounds of "war" yet it still seems like in any minute you will wake up from this nightmare.

I must confess that my morning started with a very bad attitude towards the culture differences we face on a daily basis. As I was out and about in the city getting errands done I was continously reminded of these things that so annoy me.  Little did I know how petty they would be in a couple of hours.  As I normally do I set out to pick up Aiden from pre-school but there was something not normal about my drive over, I just couldn't put my finger on it.  People were out in the street everyone with a panicked look on their face and it seemed like everyone was running "home".  Once I got to Aiden's school they briefly shared that something happened to the president and we needed to get home soon.  Still confused I now new enough to also wear that panicked and worried look on my face.  Maria who watches Aiden on the days I work was waiting for me at home and told me there was a strike on the street and that something was happening to the president.  I told her to go home because things may get worse and I would hate for her to be stuck here away from her family at this time.  Ben calls me and says "the school is in lock down mode and I want you to come down here. I need to go."  Once again all these bits of pieces of information are only feeding my anxiety.  I get to school and everyone has a serious, horror stricken face.  I try to smile as I walk with Aiden so he won't ask me whats wrong.  I go and get Ethan out of class and then I go find Ben.  Ethan is full of questions and I try to find ways to explain to a 6yr old what is going on.  As I try to explain I find myself holding back my emotions in order to be strong for them.  Finally, I see Ben and I feel relieved.  I wanted to get the kids home because I felt like we would be safer there but that meant Ben would have to walk home after all his kids were picked up.  Feeling torn between my "mother bear" instincts and the need to stay together, we stayed until every child from his class was picked up. 
As we waited at school we heard reports about the situation outside: police and miltary have seized the airport, looters and thieves are out taking advantage of the situation, people have already gotten robbed on our street, the president was taken hostage and much more. 
Ben was finally released from his teacher duties and we packed about 6 other teachers and our family in the car so that no one had to walk home in this unsafe situation.  Ben rode in the car holding his handy dandy ax he keeps in the car.   The streets seemed bare and we saw no sign of looters or thieves. We made it home safe! For the next 7hrs we kept the news on to keep abreast of the situation. Our family gathered to pray for the country, the president and our safety.  Though I am sure the boys didn't totallly comprehend I think they sensed that something wasn't right and they chimed in with their sweet innocent prayers for this country and the president. 
Trying to keep calm and normal in our home for the sake of our children was relatively easy until night came and the "war" against the military and police began.  I sat there watching the tv screen recalling all those horror movies where there is gov't upheaval and I thought here we are living it.  The news showed shots of looters, empty stores that had been robbed, people breaking into places. The shooting was only a couple of miles away so we could hear it all, what we saw on tv echoed in the street into the windows of our home causing me to feel somewhat uneasy.  I just kept thinking what if this doesn't end soon, I am pregnant, our boys are so young, the airport has been seized we can't even leave, how long will our food last.... I had countless horrifying thoughts not having experienced this before in any form or fashion my imagination ran wild.  I just kept praying and was thankful that we felt somewhat safe at home and that we had internet and phone connections so that we could communicate with friends and family in this time.
At 10:30 p.m. the president was rescued and though the shooting between military and police didn't seize I felt comfortable enough to put my mind and imagination to rest for the night. 
Morning came and the mayor came on the news and in a very calm way said "we will proceed with this day as any other normal Friday, the police are back to work and businesses are up and running".  We still felt a bit uneasy so we layed low and didn't do much or go out. Since then things have settled though the U.S. Embassy sent an advisory letting us know that this country was still in the "state of exception" until Oct. 8th and to take precautionary measures as we go out and about.  As we spoke with seasoned veteran missionaries they said they couldn't recall a time the school was evacuated or a time that a strike led to shooting between armed forces and police or that the airport was seized.  They said this was the first time they felt the most present danger because usually it was strike and people were upset and transportation would close down but they never felt the effects of it. 
This was just a recalling of events from my perspective: an unseasoned to the third world, pregnant, missionary woman.  I am sure Bens perspective would be very different and a lot shorter than mine:).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The battle of the Sexes!

We were told 2 months ago that we were the lucky parents of a girl so to our delight we began to prepare for a little Tuten girl in our family.  I made girly, girl bedding and we were already receiving packages with adorable girl clothes from friends and family back in the states.  About 2 wks ago I went for another ultrasound and the Dr. said "the babies legs are crossed but it looks like a BOY".  Needing some kind of clarity I headed over for another ultrasound yesterday and the Dr. said "It's a boy!".  So the boys once again continue to out number on both sides of our families.  So there you have it " A BOY!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Never Ending Saga of our House is coming to an END

As I think about this situation its bizarre but a great reminder of our Gods soveriegnty and provision. Here are some of the details and people involved:  We have the famous spokesperson, host and auto expert: Barbara Terry who has signed a contract on our house and moved in her mother into our home to rent the house.  We also have a well known Fort Worth realtor Robbie Renfro who also has made a name for himself in his field of business. This realtor was representing Mrs. Terry.  The Tutens, missionaries who are trying to sell or rent their home so that they can continue their work in S. America at peace. And some random subleasers caught in the middle of a scam. 
In a matter of seconds our whole renters/sellers situation got chaotic.  We were baffled and confused why these two very successful people mentioned above would do this.  We received an email notifying us that our renter left our house (Barbara Terrys mother) and they subleased it using this reputable realtor Mr. Renfro whom should of known better.  Well if thats not bad enough we were also dealing with evictions because they weren't paying us our rent due even though they had already collected the rent from the subleasers. Oh it gets crazier, then were notified that they have put our house on the market for sale and said they were the owners of our home once again using this realtor who was very aware that it was OUR home.  Craziness, huh! In the eviction process we had the right to remove the subleasers from our home since they were considered "trespassers" though they paid rent and signed a contract just not to the rightful owners.  We decided that they were innocent bystanders and that we would not remove them from our home.  They are now out of our house and thanks to God did not destroy our home. 
To this day we have no idea why these apparently successful people would come together to do this to us.  Why us? Why our home? Why? Why? Why?  After consulting our God, our property manager, our realtor, a lawyer we decided to not sue or pursue. 
The best thing for us was to cut all ties with Ms. Terry and her mother and free ourselves of all this drama because in end it was only causing us stress and we were losing money.  Before we did cut all ties I wrote Mrs. Terry to inform her that she was hurting not just a name on a contract but a family. That this home is not a retirement fund for us but on the contrary the rent we collect doesn't even cover all of our mortgage. Also, asking  her to please be honest with us on her intentions with our home and that if she wanted out of the sell and lease contract there are appropriate avenues on accomplishing this. To my surprise she did write back and she wanted to make things better by keeping her contract and paying our rent through Dec and then buying the house.  These were the initial terms of the contract. But once again this was to good to be true at the end she once again didn't keep her word in any form or fashion. 
Both our lease and sell contract with Barbara Terry and her mother was now in default.  Leaving us out of September rent and with an empty home to rent or lease once again.  Ms. Terry, her mother and Mr. Renfro go on living their lives as normal not realizing the damage they have done to our family. And in some way that is frustrating but I trust that God will take care of all this dishonesty and damage.  I learned that though we have every right to pursue justice sometimes its better to just let it go for His Name Sake.  This all started in June and now October is rolling around and its not prime time for moving or selling. Only reminding us that God is bigger than the dishonesty and damage that was done to us.   So here we go moving forward trusting God to take care of us financially and to quickly fill our home with good honest tenants or buyers. Please pray the same for us!
Spoke to soon. We thought it were done but at this point Ms. Barbara Terry and/or her mother have not signed the release of contract form, therefore, still legally binding us to this contract.  Which means we can't sell or rent the home to anyone else.  She is at her 7 day limit and we have not rec'd the contract signed which now leaves us with no choice but to bring in a lawyer.
We emailed Ms. Barbara Terry and her mother again on Saturday to let them know we would be following through with legal action if the release of contract form was not signed.  We are at our wits end and feeling really frustrated that she is dragging this out and envisioning our home sitting empty for another month with no tenants to pay the mortgage.
At 2p.m. we received the form signed.  YES, WE ARE FREE!  THANK YOU GOD for sparing us the overwhelming process of going to court.  IT'S OVER! 

Boy or Girl? That is the question

We are still trying to figure out the sex of our baby.  We were told at one ultrasound that it was a girl and then the next ultrasound we were told it was a boy.  So we will be making an appnt for a 3rd opinion next week.  One thing they all agree on is we have a healthy baby!  Mari has already made the baby bedding and some people have already sent GIRL stuff. So we will see what the Lord blesses us with.

Are you a Christian? Why or Why not?

Reaching students for Christ is our vision, purpose statement.  Well every year it looks a little different but with some of the basics that don't change which are: discipleship, teaching and counseling. 
-Ben asked his class this: "Are you a Christian? Why or why not?" One student said "no, because I don't go to church".  Ben plans on meeting with him over lunch to share with him some Truths on this.
-Mari started the school year with a presentation for elementary students on "Appropriate Touch and Respect"
-Tonight Mari will go to a bible study her and two other women started to support and encourage each other and younger missionary wives.  Mari is excited about this opportunity!
- Ben will initiate once a week his lunch time to eat lunch with a different student.
- Mari will be meeting with the 6th grade moms once a month and the 6th grade girls once a month.
Were trying to keep it low key this school semester since Mari will be giving birth to our 3rd child but sometimes the need outweighs our desires:).

Back to School Jungle Party take 2

One of our ministries as a family here is hosting.   We invited Ethans class over to a Back to School Jungle gathering at our house.  It was a great time meeting new parents and his classmates.  In the past we have had parents just drop off their little ones but this year parents came and even brought extended family with them. 

Our boys

Many of you last year joined us in prayer for our oldest Ethan because of all the emotional issues he was dealing with.  It was a hard year him and for us as we tried to walk alongside of him and support him.  I mentioned before that we decided to hold Ethan back in Kinder due to these issues.  So here is his 1st day of school with his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ortiz.  We find change, triggers Ethans anxiety so we were prepared for the first week of school to be filled with lots of chewing on clothes, blinking and possibly behavior issues.  We were so excited to see that none of that was a problem.  Praise the Lord!!! 
Aiden our 3yr old is doing wonderful.  Quite the chatterbox he is turning out to be.  His little comments about life and his day keep us smiling.  He goes to pre-k and loves it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not A Coincidence

Tuesdays are the days the Tutens are not allowed to use their vehicle.  So we either walk or depending on how pregnant Mari feels we take a taxi.  Ben and Ethan have a 8 min walk down hill to school in the morning and Mari and Aiden have a 30 min. walk uphill to get Aiden to school.  This particular morning Mari was in a hurry and didn't think she could hike up the hill and back, so she took a taxi.  An experience she always tries to avoid because usually the taxi guy tries to over charge her and she won't have it and they end up in a debate. 
Mari was impressed with how cordial the driver was so she asked him to wait for her outside of Aiden school to take her down and back up to our home.  On the way down the traffic was horrendous and as you know time is money in a taxi.  Mari debated whether she wanted to fork up the extra $1 for having to wait in this traffic or if she should get out the taxi and just walk up the hill to the house.  Alas, she got out of the taxi and started her walk in heels and big belly up the hill.  As she walked the taxi she was in passed her up and she moaned.  A few seconds later she heard a very loud crash but couldn't see what the commotion was as she got closer she realized it was her taxi that had just gotten hit.  It was hit pretty badly knocking it over into the median and the hit came on the side Mari would have been sitting in.  As she walked passed it sad for the driver it hit her that she could of been in that taxi possibly badly injured.  Unable to hold her tears in she cried as she walked thanking God for protecting her and the baby and getting her out of that taxi. 
Not a coincidence!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoying the culture before we put them to WORK!

This is where the ladies get to stay at this year.Here's Debbie coming out of the house. They really didn't sleep here:).This museum at the Equator is interactive and you get to do lots of cool things to experiment some of the amazing centrifucal forces at work at 0 Latitude.  Sharon amongst others like myself:) conquered the extremely hard egg balance.  It really is hard.  We received a certificate that stated we were Egg Masters at the end of our tour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quito 2010 Ladies Summer Team

The ladies had some delays in their flights but alas, they made it in last night at 10ish and arrived "home" at 11:30p.m.  I am sure they slept well last night! 

We are headed to Mitdad del Mundo (Middle of the World) which is the Equator.  Had an amazing time at church this morning in our more "latin jovial" way of worship.  Nothing like what they are used to at MMBC. 

I am sure you will see pictures and hear more from the ladies blog when they have a minute to blog. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Looking back.... Pressing forward. Two years completed!

I just happened to find a prayer card picture of our family that we made the summer of '08 when we first embarked on this journey (last picture in the row above).  I was so amazed to see how little our boys were.  Aiden was just learning to walk and talk.  Now he is running, jumping, speaking in two languages and in pre-school.  Ethan was only 4 and so little.  Now he is 6yrs old, finished his first year of Kinder and growing. (First 2 pic. are recent this year)   We had no idea what life was like here in Quito if they had clothing stores, how accessible they were etc...  We bought some clothes for the boys that were 1 or 2 sizes too big just in case.  I was just cleaning out their closet and saw how much our boys have grown quickly leaving that clothes behind. 
There are many missionaries who embark this similar journey not knowing where they are going but knowing that God is with them.  Many missionaries get to their location and ministry and are miserable there but having sold everything, raised support and made a time commitment- they just stick to it.  We are so blessed to be able to say that this has not been our experience.  Yes, of course we have had our share of hardships but nothing that would make us want to pack our bags and leave or count the days til our commitment is over.  This place of ministry has been a great fit for our family.  Our school is considered one of the top schools here in Quito even though its a missionary school.  So Ethan is getting a wonderful education, Aiden was offered a scholarship at an excellent preschool, Ben loves his job teaching 6th graders, mentoring and discipling students who have never heard the gospel, to be able to reach out to street children as a family and I love the variety of work in my counseling position. 
Our constant struggle is looking back at our life, family and friends that we left in the states but the Lord gives us strength to press forward and to be content in the present.  We count our blessings as we look back at 2 great years of ministry completed here in Quito.  You are part of those blessings we count because as you know it would not have been possible without you.

Driving Restrictions, Electricity Restrictions, Schedule restrictions - Whats next?

Ecuador just began a new form of traffic control "Pico Placa"  Through out the week certain lic. plate #'s are restricted from driving.  If caught driving on those days you are fined, your car is taken from you ......  I still have not gotten used to this new law in our life so I completely forgot that it was Tues. and I couldn't drive.  I only had a 5min drive down to work and thankfully there were no cops out patroling. I would have hated to get fined and our car taken away for a 5min drive.  I think this restriction is here to stay. 

For what seemed like an eternity we had electricity rations.  It probably lasted for 5 months but throughout the day certain neighborhoods would have power outages for 4-5hrs at a time.  Some neighborhoods had it happen twice a day.  This restriction was much harder to deal with for our family.  Though it did provide some opportunities for creative entertaining and dining in the evenings.  We set up a tent and had marshmallows one evening, we would play games by candle light and then after a month of it we were out of ideas.  Maybe this was the time we got pregnant, just kidding.  I know that there are many missionaries out there who have to live w/o normal electricity in their lives and we are thankful ours was only a temporary solution to water shortage in this country.

The Ministry of Education which is in control of public and private education in this country has made it really hard on our school to function as we normally do with our school schedule.  They have made us modify our school calendar making the year forever long and shortening our Christmas break to start the 23rd of Dec.  This makes it hard on missionaries as I am sure nationals.  For missionaries it effects our furloughs, our support raising time and much more.  Our school is required to abide so here we go ending school on June 25th and starting up mid August.  Thankfully we are not traveling this summer but it makes for a short summer when your trying to visit supporters, family and get some rest time in there.  I am sure before long we will all get used to this schedule its just always hard at the beginning of unpleasant changes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

6th Grade Play

Thats what my husband has inherited as a 6th grade level teacher.  Every year the 6th grade class puts on a play and the teachers and students are all expected without question to participate in it.  Though its an added stressor to their already crazy end of the school year expectation I know Mr. Tuten has enjoyed working with this group of students.  The play has a spiritual undertone and lesson for the audience to ponder.  This year it is called "Pirates of the I don't Carribean".  This weekend they have an overnight trip for the whole class.

Summer Missions Team

We have a group of lovely ladies of all ages joining us from Mckinney Memorial Bible Church coming down this summer to do some work at the school we have been working doing a bible club (see post below) and also to do some work at the school we work at.  Pray that the Lord would continue to establish the work of our hands!  That many will be blessed here in Ecuador and that the ladies will leave life changed.  Many details need to happen states side and our side so pray that everything that needs to get done-gets done.

Kindergarten Trials

After much prayer and thought we decided to keep Ethan back in Kindergarten. So he won't be graduating with his class.  We greatly appreciate your prayers for our eldest as he has had a rough year.  On Friday we sat down in a meeting with his teachers, speech therapist, educational therapist and director to hear their feedback on his progress and areas that still need work.  It was overall an encouraging meeting but at the end we all concurred that the best thing for Ethan is for him to stay back in Kinder.  Please continue to lift us up so that we will have wisdom and discernment into his little heart and mind.  As a counselor and Ben as a teacher it is sometimes so frustrating for us that we can't help him and make it all better.  Since most of his problems lie within the emotional and academic realm.  But I know the Lord has a plan for his little life and that the Lord will guide us as we raise this precious little one He has given us. 

La toilette my new best friend

For those of you who know french you know I am not speaking of perfume.  My nausea and vomiting is relentless it starts the moment I open my eyes and ends when I close my eyes. In the past it has lasted between 6-7 months so I have heres hoping 3 more months of this. Alas that is part of the package of being pregnant for me.  So I ask your prayers as life has gotten a bit more challenging with this "morning sickness".  I had the blessing of having Ben, Ethan and Aiden pray over me tonight because I felt horrible today.  Thanks to God I am functional and I am able to get up and go to work but most days it is a challenge. 

Reaching students in the poverty stricken areas of Quito

This school maybe the only place these kids get a hot meal.  We were able to partner with this school and get a bible club going.  We had about 6 highschool kids come out on Wed. throughout the school year and lead the club.  The picture in the middle is only part of the group.  They were so sweet to prepare for us a little gift as a thank you for our group.  The last picture is the neighborhood they live in.  We thank the Lord for all of these smiling faces, their hugs, and desire to learn. 

Friday, May 14, 2010


I (Mari) have the joy of not having to deal with the finances of our family.  Today I was looking up addresses of our donors and was amazed and thankful to our Lord.  We have 33 wonderful people and families that faithfully and sacrificially give a monthly donation to our family so that we can continue serving here in Ecuador.  Thank you for your heart to serve our Lord and help us serve overseas. 
And only God knows how many faithful and sacrificial prayer warriors we have out there lifting us up to our Lord on a regular basis.  We are blessed by you all! 

If you have changed your address please let us know because we will be sending you an updated prayer picture card soon.
The picture over to the left is the largest waterfall in Ecuador that we recently got to visit.  Its power and beauty reminds me of our Lord!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good and Bad News

Good news first:  Were pregnant!
Bad news: We are not heading to the states for our furlough.

Unfortunately, I suffer from months and months of nausea and vomiting which make me feel weak and exhausted all the time. To be exact 6-7 months.  This being the main reason why I don't think I can handle traveling for 2-3 weeks of non stop traveling will be possible for me. 
This was a very hard decision to make because we were excited at the thought of seeing all of your lovely faces and spending sometime with you all.  Lord willing we will try again next year.

Nothing like a little bit of stress to get your day going........

I show  up to school 1.5hrs early before the tea thinking this was plenty of time for me to get ready. Little did I know what challenges lied ahead.  I go to the conference room where we are having this and find out that someone else has reserved the room and they can't change there situation.  I am running around trying to find a suitable room that will hold all of these moms and their daughters.  Then I had to find chairs and set up the tables, get all of these tea cups moved to this room and decorate the room all by my little self.  I called to get help and apparently no one could help me.  I got off the phone and almost cried (I am pregnant everything makes me cry).  Noon strikes and miraculously it all gets done.  Not to my standard but at this point all my expectations are out the window.  Once the room is filled with moms and daughters interacting my stress is forgotten.  It was a sweet time with the moms.  We had moms write a prompted letter to their daughters and daughters to moms and then they exchanged their letters. Many moms got teary eyed as they did this.  We also had a fashion show which they pick a "model" and then each group has 10 min to design a dress for the model only using tissue paper, tape and their creativity.  Well worth the effort and stress!

Counseling Department

Unfortunately, I can't share with you all the needs and the praises that happen in my ministry here as a counselor.  I have realized that we live in a small world and random people have random connections here in Ecuador.  So to keep everything confidential its better that I don't share anything.  I do want you to know that the Lord has been doing some great things in our department and at the same time the enemy has also been doing his work of seeking to destroy.  Pray for us! There are 4 counselors and only one of them is full time.  Usually mid spring problems rise to the surface so we have a lot more to deal with.  On the other hand, around this time some students we have worked with all year show a lot of progress and freedom!! Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and discernment.  That we would be carriers of His Truth, His Love and His Grace. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Traveling to the States

This summer we will have our first summer "furlough" since we arrived here in Ecuador.  A furlough is when missionaries take an extended time to head back to the states to rest and connect with churches, family and friends. 
My heart is torn as we are excited to head back but feeling overwhelmed with the many challenges that traveling has for us.  As we mentioned before Ethan doesn't do well with change and it throws him in a tizzy making him very anxious and stressed.  Pray that even now God would prepare his little heart and body. Pray that we would have some time for our little family to reconnect and relax. Pray as we plan our itinerary for how long to stay in the states, one that fits our budget and doesn't have us flying for 20hrs in one day.  We are very thankful for the opportunity to head back since we know that this is a luxury not every missionary has!

I changed my blog address

In our last newsletter we shared that I started a new blog well I recently changed the address to check it out! 

Jesus loves all the little children

One thing that brings me to tears is seeing little children worship our Lord with their little voices and excited little bodies as they clap and fidget.  But one thing that not only brings me to tears and makes my heart and chest literally hurt is seeing these dirty little faces light up as they praise our Lord all out of tune but with such zeal.  Doing our bible club out in the projects of Quito has been such a blessing and challenge.  Pray for us as we end our time there this coming month of May and as we prepare for the Ladies Mckinney Mission team to come and minister to these sweet children. 

May 10th

This day is very special to our family because we will celebrate 7yrs of marriage.  The Lord has been wonderful in bringing us together!  As I mentioned before in past news updates that making time for our marriage has been difficult as we are constantly busy and we appreciate your prayers as we have tried being more intentional with our time.  But as all of you who are married know that this intentionality is a constant thing, not a phase, not a short term goal but a life long commitment.  So continue to keep us in your prayers so that we would continue to be intentional in our communication and time as a couple.

Ladies Tea

In efforts to bridge gaps between cultures, ages and jobs between the staff at our school we tried another fun activity for all the ladies at Alliance: a Ladies Tea.  It was a successful event that was well attended!  It was so nice to look out and see tables mixed with young women, older women, Ecuadorians and foreigners all laughing and having a good time. It made all the hard work worth it!!

Eggs and Bunnies

Once again we are spreading the tradition of Easter Egg hunts here in Ecuador.  I was delighted this year to discover that there is a Christian meaning to eggs on Easter.  We invited all of Ethans kindergarten class to join our family for an Easter Egg hunt.  We were delighted to have so many parents join us.  Usually, what happens when we invite his friends over the parents don't come.  We were able to fellowship with a lot of the parents and talk about the Christian meaning of Easter eggs.  You can't buy Easter Eggs in Ecuador but thankfully we had some friends and family send us some and the children loved this little tradition and it gave us a simple conversation starter about our Lord.  Who would of known that we needed to stock up on plastic Easter Eggs before we headed to Ecuador. 

Easter done differently

This year we had a very traditional Ecuadorian Easter.  We attended the Easter procession that is held in the historic area of Quito.  It was fascinating to watch the 100's of men reenacting Jesus walking the street to Golgotha; carrying the cross. Also the Klu Klux clan looking men called Cucuruchos were interesting and stirred lots of questions in Ethan our 6yr old. 
We were delighted to be invited to an Ecuadorian families home for Easter brunch.  We have heard that Quito people don't invite people into their homes unless they know them really well.  So this was a huge compliment to us not just to be invited but during one of their holidays.   We enjoyed a traditional Fanesca meal (dried fish & grains soup). 
I must admit I did miss Mckinney Memorial Churchs' Good Friday service.

Apologetics Course

This month the school has been teaching a month long apologetics course that's in Spanish and English for parents.  The course has had a tremendous response with over 100 people attending weekly.  It has been so encouraging to see that so many of our the parents at our school are seeking for answers.  Our school is made up of the majority being Ecuadorians both secular and Christian and a small percentage of Missionary kids who are also both secular and Christian.  We pray that seeds are planted and many would continue to seek His Truth and not just knowledge.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seminars and more Seminars

Please pray for me as this month is full of Seminars that I will be leading:
  • Keeping your children safe from Predators
  • Personality Analysis for High School students
  • Beauty is Deep! for 6th grade girls
  • Masculinity and Homosexuality for high school boys
I am very nervous about the first one and last one so pray as I do my research, gather my thoughts so that I may listen to our Lords leading in these topics. 

Womens Summer Missions Team

We are currently in the process of solidifying our summer teams plans.  Please pray that the Lord will establish the work of our hands.  Our strategy is threefold for the Mckinney Memorial Bible Church Ladies in Ft. Worth:
  • Community Outreach- have the ladies reach out to a impoverished community in Quito and do VBS.
  • Missionary Outreach- Have the ladies do a project that will bless the missionary community for years to come.
  • Street kids Outreach-Come along one of our ministry project Operation Brown Bag and get out lunches out to the street kids.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Our house in currently under contract! We joined the millions of people who have had to sell their home for a lot lower than we hoped to but what can one do. They want to rent it for about 8mos and then buy it. Its a bit risky on our part to take it because she may back out of it in Dec. Pray that if the Lord sees fit that the contract will go through.

please pray with us

We are praying about holding Ethan back in Kindergarten. Pray with us, that God would give us discernment on how to better help our sweet boy.

A Mom Not a Professional Nor a Perfectionist

Mari has so much time on her hands that she started a new blog for her hobbies Not a professional, nor a perfectionist but a mom sharing her creative ideas and findings. She really doesn't have a lot of time on her hands but she needs a creative outlet in her life.

March Birthday Madness

Aiden turned 3 today and Ethan turned 6 yesterday. It is hard to believe that some of you last saw Ethan when he was scooting on his bottom and when Aiden was just learning to speak. Well, they are jumping, climbing, speaking in English and Spanish and full of life. Their smiles and kisses bring sunshine to our day! They had a super hero party more pictures are at

20hrs down to 12hrs

About a month ago Ethan was back to his anxiety: biting, eye blinking and behavior issues. At this point in my heart I felt the urgency to drop my work load so that I can be readily available to give him all the support he needs. After much thought and prayer I have felt the need to change my work hours to 12hrs a week instead of 20hrs. Unfortunately, it has been hard to get my work load done in 12hrs but I think after a couple of weeks of doing this schedule I will be able to.

Monday, March 15, 2010

6th Grade Father and Son Camp out

Ben has a heart for fathers to connect with their sons so one of the things that has sprung from that is his annual Sixth grade Father and Son camp out. He uses the book Raising a Modern Day Knight. He meets with the fathers a couple of times before their camp out and then on the day of he encourages fathers to spend some quality time with their boys patching things up, discussing with their sons what real manhood is, etc.....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quito Cup

Ben was asked to play in the schools annual soccer tournament the Quito Cup. Not having much experience with this sport he still joined in the fun. I am sure he is going to regret it tomorrow. This is a group of staff and some people from the community.

Quito Teachers Teaching Teachers Conference

I had the honor and challenge of presenting in the auditorium.

Ben and his protoge's in the bubble.
Over 400 teachers from secular and Christian schools gathered in Quito to attend this conference. Ben and I were asked to present in it. Bens seminar was about The Bubble project and mine was on Understanding our Personalities and Dealing with Conflict. It was a great way for our school to colloborate with secular schools and develop relationships with them.


LAF stands for Ladies Afterschool Fellowship. You really do laugh and have a great time. After being here a couple of months I really felt the need for fellowship amongst all of my colleagues. We have such a variety of ladies in ages, marital status and cultural backgrounds that our hope was to provide a venue where we can just sit down talk and have fun. So I approached the directors wife and asked her if she would be my hosting partner and then we recruited a sweet Ecuadorian and we began. First it was our mini ladies retreat and now were just doing gatherings rotating between our homes for games. All of you Ft. Worth ladies I introduced them to POKENO.

Girls Only Chats

One of the things that I enjoyed starting up at our school is our Girls Only Chats. The counseling dept. meets once a month with all of the 6th grade girls who come voluntarily during their recess and lunch time. We talk about different girl topics and do a craft. Their are about 16 girls whose backgrounds vary from Asian, Ecuadorian and US American.
This past weeks chat was on Being Yourself, Knowing Yourself.

I am proud to be an American...

On February 26th I became a US Citizen. So now I am officially a Mexican American.
Thank God this done and over with. Thanks for all your prayers.

In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle.....

We stayed at a monkey refuge. The monkeys ran wild and came right up to us. Sometimes a bit scarey!
Ben braved through with the boys into this cavern that has a lagoon.

Feeding the cute little monkey.
Hiking through Paradise Island another animal refuge where jungle animals run wild as you trod through their paths.
Inside the cave with mud on my face b/c the guide insisted it was medicinal.
For the first time we headed to the Jungle in Tena. There was much adventure to be had and we had as much as this little family could handle.

Our little speed racers

Milestones come and go and pass in a minute but memories we cherish forever.
It seemed a little strange that our boys just learned to ride bikes and we had decided we would not buy them any here b/c Quito streets/sidewalks are not safe to ride bikes on and they are also very uneven with hills. But after a while we thought it would be horrible if they were on training wheels as teenagers.
Here they are at the park showing off their new skills!

Friday, January 22, 2010

curse or blessing

My time and pocket cant keep up with all the ideas that spew out of my head. I know the Lord blessed me with this but sometimes it feels like a curse because I can't keep up. I must realize that I need to keep up not on my feet but on my knees.

The new year holds a lot of these ideas and none of these ideas. Establish the work of our hands sweet Lord.