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Home sweet home…

I know.  Two blog posts from me in the same day.  Some people might claim it’s a sign of the Second Coming.  Alas, no.

This summer, ER hosted two of what we call our “house teams”.  These amazing teams raise funds to build a house for a family from our Zambiza dump program, and then they come down here, roll up their sleeves and build it.  They learn to lay concrete block, dig trenches for sewer lines (twice, for this house!), put in tile, install sinks and tubs and toilets…

Today Dan and I went out to the house site to see the team dedicate the house to the family…and the family to the Lord.  There really are no words to describe seeing a family that had been living in a 10′ x 10′ room receive the keys to their very own house.  To see them walk through the door, knowing that everything in the house is theirs.  It’s clean and bright, and the pantry is stocked, and there are shoes and clothes and toys in the little girls’ room and towels in the bathroom and a sofa and chair in the living room, and a dining room table and chairs where they can sit down as a family and eat together every night. 

I love being at home.  I can only imagine how much more I would love being at home if I had never had one before.  I love having my things organized and “just so”.  I love thinking about Maria tonight, and how she is getting to organize her new things, and have them “just so”.  How she and her husband David will tuck their two little girls into their own beds, under their brand new comforters, and for the first time in their lives those little girls HAVE beds…not just beds, but their OWN beds.  Maria and David had never had a bed.  Tonight, they have a bed.  In a proper master bedroom. 

As I write this, the team is on their way to the airport.  Their work here is done, and they are heading home.  I watched tonight as they said goodbye to the people that they had worked alongside all week–Paul and Susan, Jose and Teresa, Ben and Lindsey, Ricardo and Luis.  There were so many tears being shed.  As I looked around, I remembered that I’ve been where they are.  I’ve led missions trips.  Fallen in love with people.  Had to leave and return “home”.  Tonight, I was reminded again how the Lord brought us down here, and how this has become home.  We don’t have to stay here–we get to stay here.  We are so privileged to be a part of what happens here, not just when the teams are on the ground, but all year round. 

Home.  Sweet.  Home. 

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Dining Room Table

Dining Room Table

Kitchen

Kitchen

Little girls room

Little girls room

House team

Dedicating the house to the family. Maria, David and their two little girls are in the center of the circle.

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How long can you tread water?

Seriously.  This time last year we were raising funds to buy a new car.  We have another project.  We now need an ark.  It has rained NONSTOP for weeks.  Our yard is completely devoid of grass, and as of Saturday last, is now completely under water.  Our dogs have gone from being outside to being inside.  Oliver and Chloe could care less, but Charlie is depressed.  He lays in front of the door and looks longingly at it.  He’s also gained about 10 pounds from the lack of exercise.  The playground and soccer field at the school are perpetually squishy.  We’ve flooded the entire pre-school area once already, and judging by the amount of rain that is falling as I speak, we need to get the mops out again.  I am going to go completely off my nut if this keeps up.

On the ministry front, it’s team season!  Our first team came in three weeks ago and spent the week building a soccer field for Peniel School out in Pifo.  Ramiro Baez is the pastor of the church there, and he’s a longtime partner of Extreme Response.  Ramiro is one of those guys that we just want everyone to meet.  He has this contagious enthusiasm that just sweeps you up and makes you want to be a part of whatever is happening.  Peniel started fifteen years ago with a day-care center that served 20-30 children in Pifo, which is a community about an hour outside of Quito.  Today the school has over 400 kids Pre-school through grade 12.  They are growing so fast that they routinely outgrow their building.

Last week Dan attended Leader Mundial (World Leader), a mentorship program that brings together pastors from all over the globe and mentors from the US who help them become better husbands, fathers and leaders in their communities.  There were men there from the Philippines, South Africa, Tonga, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Ecuador, Canada, and the US.  The program was started by Russ Cline, an ER missionary, who has a passion for helping leaders become better men of God all over the world.

The kids have started their final quarter of the school year, and Daniel is finished with his freshman year of college on April 28th.  I have a very hard time believing that!  We are not coming to the US this summer, as it is not a furlough year for us.  Both girls are teaching English for the month of July, and Dan will be busy running teams all summer.  We have a new missionary family arriving on August 13th-I’m looking forward to welcoming them to Ecuador!  I’m also looking forward to being at home this summer and hopefully cleaning out closets and getting rid of some of the stuff we’ve accumulated.

Thank you for standing with us in this ministry.  We are so blessed to call you friends!

17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17