Wow! This country is absolutely gorgeous…outside of Quito.

We took a trip to a town called Papallacta which is about an hour and a half outside of Quito. I wasn’t expecting to find such beauty so close to the city. But lo and behold there it is. Once you step outside the big city and leave behind all the tall buildings and concrete you find yourself surrounded with amazing natural beauty. I am not a city person so for me it is a treat to see so much green. And I love that we don’t have to drive too far to begin to enjoy how beautiful Ecuador is in its natural state. I hope you enjoy these pictures. I hope they entice to come visit us in Ecuador. The beauty that surrounds the city is definitely one of the things I love about being here. – Maria

The scenery begins to change as soon as you leave the city behind.

The scenery begins to change as soon as you leave the city behind.

I love country roads with country houses and lots of green.

I love country roads with country houses and lots of green.

These mountains are so majestic. I feel so small just looking at them.

These mountains are so majestic. I feel so small just looking at them.

DSC_0171 DSC_0175 DSC_0180 DSC_0182 DSC_0186 DSC_0189 DSC_0197 DSC_0198

We spotted waterfalls coming from the rocks and the mountains all the day up the mountain.

We spotted waterfalls coming from the rocks and the mountains all the way to our destination.

DSC_0210

These shrines give proof of Ecuador's catholic mindset. You can see then everywhere alongside the road.

These shrines give proof of Ecuador’s catholic mindset. You can see then everywhere alongside the road.

DSC_0223 DSC_0232

Here is photographer in training, Isabela, taking pictures of the scenery.

Here is my photographer in training, Isabela, taking pictures of the scenery.

DSC_0245 DSC_0248 DSC_0255

I thought it was interesting that in such an isolated area they track your speed by radar.

I thought it was interesting that in such an isolated area they track your speed by radar.

DSC_0278 DSC_0282 DSC_0284 DSC_0286 DSC_0291 DSC_0292 DSC_0295 DSC_0298 DSC_0306 DSC_0313 DSC_0340 DSC_0347 DSC_0349

Our vehicle pared on the side of the road while we took pictures and took the view in.

Our vehicle pared on the side of the road while we took pictures and took the view in.

DSC_0372 DSC_0373

The public transportation in Ecuador.

The public transportation in Ecuador.

DSC_0379 DSC_0390 DSC_0392

A small town nestled in the mountains.

A small town nestled in the mountains.

DSC_0407

Entering the cloud forest.

Entering the cloud forest.

DSC_0419 DSC_0415 DSC_0421

The more we went up the prettier it got.

The more we went up the prettier it got.

DSC_0424 DSC_0423 DSC_0426 DSC_0428 DSC_0432

The oil refinery. One of many. Ecuador produces its own oil which is good for us since the price of gasoline is so cheap.

The oil refinery. One of many. Ecuador produces its own oil which is good for us since the price of gasoline is so cheap.

DSC_0436 DSC_0438 DSC_0440 DSC_0441 DSC_0443 DSC_0444

One of the many rivers we came across during our drive.

One of the many rivers we came across during our drive.

DSC_0456

A house with the river on the background.

A house with the river on the background.

DSC_0473 DSC_0476 DSC_0479 DSC_0487

DSC_0490

So pretty. My camera could not capture all the beauty my eyes witnessed.

DSC_0498 DSC_0511

Always nice to see a "danger" yellow line near where you are driving.

Always nice to see a “danger” yellow line near where you are driving.

DSC_0528

An unattended fruit stand. I guess you don't have to worry about anyone taking your stuff.

An unattended fruit stand. I guess you don’t have to worry about anyone taking your stuff.

A narrow bridge we crossed.

A narrow bridge we crossed.

The river over the bridge.

The river over the bridge.

An oil pipe coming our of the mountain.

An oil pipe coming our of the mountain.

A town in the middle of no where.

A town in the middle of nowhere.

DSC_0553

You can have your car washed here. I wonder if they have you take it into the river. :-)

You can have your car washed here. I wonder if they have you take it into the river. :-)

DSC_0569

DSC_0575

Another waterfall coming out of the mountain.

Another waterfall coming out of the mountain.

A river Cody wanted to check out.

A river Cody wanted to check out.

DSC_0593 DSC_0591 DSC_0589

Cody going down to explore the river.

Cody going down to explore the river.

We parked on the side of the road to explore the river.

We parked on the side of the road to explore the river.

DSC_0598

Going down.

Exploring.

DSC_0608

This is what Cody hiked to get to the river.

This is what Cody hiked to get to the river.

DSC_0612

The little restaurant where we enjoyed trout for lunch.

The little restaurant where we enjoyed trout for lunch.

Another waterfall.

Another waterfall.

DSC_0658 DSC_0664

On the way back to Quito we noticed this beauty. It is a totally majestic snow covered mountain.

On the way back to Quito we noticed this beauty. It is a totally majestic snow covered mountain.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

The colors on the rock.

The colors on the rock.

These guys are busy with a very heavy load.

These guys are busy with a very heavy load.

DSC_0692

I thought this sign was funny. It reads "mandatory detour" as if all other detours where optional. :-P

I thought this sign was funny. It reads “mandatory detour” as if all other detours where optional. :-P

DSC_0698

Another waterfall.

Another waterfall.

DSC_0700

I love all the green.

I love all the green.

Driving back to the city.

Driving back to the city.

Out of the mountain.

Out of the mountain.

Share

We are all the “least of these”.

I will make a confession to you. I don’t like the term “the least of these” when it is used to set apart a specific group of people. I often hear people, Christians mainly, use this term to refer to the poor, the broken, the orphan, the drug user, the prostitute, the abused child, the latinos, the haitians, the blacks, the lame, etc. And I honestly have a serious problem with people using this term to stereotype people and their issues. What’s worse is that sometimes this term, or often misquoted phrase of Jesus, is used to the exclusion of the wealthy, the americans, and oftentimes the very people who use the term to refer to that other group they want to point out.

I understand that many times when people used this phrase they do so in a very compassionate way. I understand that they are trying to help. I have no problem with having a “heart” for a specific group of people whether that be orphans, the poor, the elderly, people with cancer, etc. I have no problem with people trying to be sympathetic with other people, but we must be very careful. We must show compassion, but we must not elevate culture or background, or even ourselves, while putting others down. We must not exclude ourselves from the brokenness that exist in this world. We must not give the impression that the rich are not broken nor that they do not qualify as the “least of these” in Jesus’ book. Sin has ruined every thing and everyone. No one is exempt from its damage.

The story of the “least of these” is found in Matthew 25. Jesus is talking to his disciples about the end times, judgment day, and rewards for being faithful. He explains to his disciples what the kingdom of God is like using the parables of the virgins and the talents. Then in verse 31 he begins to talk about the last day, the day of judgement. He tells his disciples that in that day many will be falsely misled into thinking that they are serving God, but they are not. They have the wrong idea that they are kingdom minded, but they miss out in what that means. At the same time some will be busy about God’s business without even knowing it. They are serving. Yet they are never boasting. They are caring for others, yet they have no clue who they are really serving.

In comparing these two groups Jesus said that whatever a person does to the “least of these my brothers” that person did to him. And whatever a person fails to do the “least of these my brothers” they also fail to do to him. Who is Jesus talking about? Is he talking about latinos? Blacks? Orphans? Widows? Poor? Broken? People living in shacks? No. Jesus clearly uses the phrase “my brothers”. He is talking about believers. He is talking about those who belong to the family of God. But I know what you are thinking, “why is Jesus then talking about them being in prison?” The answer is very simple. Jesus knew, warned, and foretold, about believers all over the world being hated by the world, persecuted by the world, tossed in jail by the world, and even killed by the world for his namesake. If they did it to him then it should not surprise us that it will happen to us.

Jesus wasn’t speaking about any socio economic group. He wasn’t even referring to poor children. He wasn’t excluding the rich nor those with higher intellect. In fact Jesus never elevated one group of people over the other. We tend to do that. We have created an invisible, and often visible, caste system in our hearts and minds. We create lines of separations that divide the “us” from the “them”. We pridefully think ourselves better than others and look at those who seem different as “you poor little thing”. And we all need to stop doing this.

You see, I am a latina by birth and blood. I was born in a broken dysfunctional home. I was very poor. For Christmas I was fortunate if I opened a gift donated by the Salvation Army. But at the age of 17 I moved to the United States where I learned that my experience growing up was not everyone’s else experience. I learned to live with the “oh poor little thing, you grew up in a third world country” thing. At first I didn’t understand what that meant. Then I came to Christ and began to hear this “least of these” expression being used to refer to people that are growing up or grew up the way I did. At first it didn’t bother me until I began to notice the arrogance behind the term. Somehow the people using this term thought that it didn’t apply to them! They were not the “least of these”. Those other people over there were. And they needed to go out and “reach them” with the love of God…while thinking they themselves were better off than those being “reached”.

Can you hear the irony of that? The futility? Christ was talking about believers! Believers come in all different sizes and shapes and colors and socio economic backgrounds and with a million different issues. When a believer loves another believer in need he is loving Christ because Christ lives in that believer. When a believer chooses to reject another believer he is rejecting Christ because Christ lives in that believer. The Holy Spirit has sealed all believers. Christ is in every believer and whatever we do for one another believer is the same as if we were doing it to him. If we understand this then we understand that we are ALL “the least of these my brothers”.

The “least of these” are not the people living in huts in Haiti. Nor those from a bad neighborhood in Nicaragua. Nor those who are orphans in Romania. Nor the little girls involved in the sex trafficking industry. The “least of these” may and does include people from all those groups and even more, but it also includes the corporate executive earning a paycheck at a bank. And the woman who stays at home with her children. And the baseball player. And the blue collar worker in Kansas. The “least of these” includes people from all generations and all sorts of walks who have embraced the gospel of grace and have been forgiven by a Christ who loved them deeply. The “least of these” includes me. It puts me at an equal status as the orphan who received Christ and the computer analyst who embraced the Savior. The “least of these” are the brothers and sisters of Jesus who have been adopted by Almighty God and are now part of a great heavenly family.

May we embrace that. Because that is the truth. ~ Maria

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

Share

Family photo sessions are always…interesting.

Header

 

We wanted to take a picture for our Christmas card this year so we gathered in the living room to make the magic happen. The great thing about this project is that we have a great camera and great cropping and filtering software. Since we cannot afford the luxury of hiring a professional photographer everyone is stuck with me (Maria), the semi-professional photographer and the only person that knows how to crop and filter photos. After all, I took a very “extensive” course free on youtube. Hahaha! So here are some of our photos. Enjoy!

family13

As you can see, Jake is extremely cooperative here. And Cody, he is hiding in the background.

family16

Trying to get happy faces and children that stay still is always fun.

family15

Oh yeah! We are succeeding at this!

family14

We can try again! One more time!

family12

Good thing we have a remote to control the camera.

family11

Now the dog decides to look away.

family10

Cody patiently waits until we all get our act together.

family9

Let’s try the other chair. And bunny ears on Cody.

family8

Gabriela decided to grab Jake by the shirt. Fun!

family7

Jake has a bump on his forehead. We need to hide that!

family6

Where is Cody? And we forgot Gabriela!

family5

Almost there! Not!

family4

Aww! The cute baby is distracting for some.

family2

I am trying to hide Jake’s bump so I decided to go with black and white.

DSC_0015

I can still see that bump.

family photo

This is the one we decided to use. Everyone seems to be “cooperating”. I love Grabiela’s tongue sticking out. So cute.

Share

Down the mountain to explore

Last Saturday, we took a trip down the mountain to explore. It was my (Maria’s) first time outside the city of Quito. Quito is a busy busy busy place. Unlike Leon, Nicaragua you don’t wake up to rooters or birds singing in the morning. The most common sounds are that of alarms going off at all hours of the day, horns beeping, and electric gates opening. Life is so much different than what I got used to in Nicaragua. Is neither better nor worse. It is just different and I must admit that I have to get used to living in such a busy crowded place.

I do love the variety of food that you can find in Quito though. There are even websites where you can order your food from a ton of restaurants right from your computer if you don’t want to battle traffic outside your gate. This has been pretty beneficial in the past few weeks when my body decided to act weird as I get used to the air or lack thereof here in this high altitude city. And I also like having good doctors around when you need them. And trust me doctors have become our newest friends lately. We all have experienced the bodily pains of high altitude and a new country. And we are all praying that this too will pass quickly!

So, back to my story. Last Saturday we decided that we could take a quick break from city life and high altitude and unclog our noses and lungs and head down to where the air is fresher. We took a drive to check out a little town that according to google was nice and quiet and pretty and quaint. The drive was spectacular. It was nice to actually see some of the beauty and diversity of this country. There were many oohs and aahhs moments. We were all fascinated as the scenery changed from city to greenery to very high mountains to beautiful rolling hills. It was like being inside a postcard at every turn. I’d say that aside from the crazy drivers that cut us off just as we were going through a blind curb it was one of the most spectacular and enjoyable drives that I’ve ever taken. It makes me look at the mountain from our apartment window in a different way for now I know what lays beyond the brick and concrete that covers the bottom part of the mountain.

It took us three hours to get to this small town called La Concordia. Yes, the town was small as google described. It was quieter than Quito. But I truly wasn’t impressed by it. Yet, the drive leading to it…Now that was impressive! We took lots of pictures, but honestly pictures would not do it justice. After I sat down in front of my computer to look at them I was kind off annoyed that most of the pictures didn’t fully revealed what my eyes saw. I hope you enjoy this pictures below. You are always welcome to come and see for yourself.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3 ESV)

 

Jake is modeling his Panama hat which by the way is made in Ecuador, not Panama.

Jake is modeling his Panama hat. Which by the way, are made in Ecuador, not Panama.

So cute. He loves his hat!

So cute. He loves his hat!

Trying to hide from he camera.

Trying to hide from the camera.

I love his happy face!

I love his happy face!

This picture was actually taken in Otavalo, one of our ministry sites.

This picture was actually taken in Otavalo, one of our ministry sites.

This is also Otavalo.

This is also Otavalo.

This is on the way to Otavalo. There is a town there that is famous for its bizcochos and hot chocolate.

This is on the way to Otavalo. There is a town there that is famous for its bizcochos and hot chocolate.

On the way down the mountain. As soon as you exit the city you can see the greenery all around you.

On the way down the mountain. As soon as you exit the city you can see the greenery all around you.

Beautiful. There were so many of this around us. It made being in the Andes more real to me.

Beautiful. There were so many of these mountains around us. It made being in the Andes more real to me.

We spotted a waterfall hidden among the trees.

We spotted a waterfall hidden among the trees.

Little towns and restaurants were tucked in by the side of the road.

Little towns and restaurants were tucked in by the side of the road.

Some places that Cody think he would like to visit.

Some places that Cody think he would like to visit.

A side road hidden in the forest.

A side road hidden in the forest.

A beautiful river running along the road.

A beautiful river running along the road.

The river an its rocks.

The river and its rocks.

Road signs. Something that I love having here.

Road signs. Something that I love having here.

The road ahead.

The road ahead.

The traffic disturbance created by these men gathering their grass on the side of the road.

The traffic disturbance created by these men gathering their grass on the side of the road.

A town on the side. People actually live intros beauty!

A town on the side of the road. People actually live in this beauty!

A place to bring your computers in case you have viruses!

A place to bring your computers in case you have viruses!

Part of another town on the way down.

Part of another town on the way down.

A pretty house on the way.

A pretty house on the way.

A bridge crossing the river.

A bridge over the river in Valle Hermosa.

Share

More pics of life in South America

Here are some more pictures of our first two months living in South America!  Enjoy.

One of the many beautiful mountains on the way to Otavalo.

One of the many beautiful mountains on the way to Otavalo.

Quichua people standing on the side of the street in Otavalo.

Quichua people standing on the side of the street in Otavalo.

Quichua women in the market in Otavalo.

Quichua women in the market in Otavalo.

Quichua woman in a market stand.

Quichua woman in a market stand.

Cody striking a pose.

Cody striking a pose.

Another quichua lady. Just think that Heaven will be filled with all kinds of cultures.

Another quichua lady. Just think that Heaven will be filled with all kinds of cultures.

Me with tow quichua ladies at the market in Otavalo.

Me with two quichua ladies at the market in Otavalo.

Cody and Jake at the Parque Metropolitano in Quito. One of the many beautiful parks in the city.

Cody and Jake at the Parque Metropolitano in Quito. One of the many beautiful parks in the city.

Isabela and Jake, expert climbers.

Isabela and Jake, expert climbers.

Jake showing his skills.

Jake showing his skills.

Isabela at the Parque Metropolitano.

Isabela at the Parque Metropolitano.

Jake and Cody having fun!

Jake and Cody having fun!

Gabriela enjoying a day at the park.

Gabriela enjoying a day at the park.

Jake and Daddy. :-)

Jake and Daddy. :-)

Rock climbing for little ones!

Rock climbing for little ones!

Conquering the tall mountain.

Conquering the tall mountain.

Exploring the texture of the grass at the park.

Exploring the texture of the grass at the park.

Jake about to conquer the rocks at the park.

Jake about to conquer the rocks at the park.

Sweet Gabriela.

Sweet Gabriela.

Sweet Isabela.

Sweet Isabela.

Having fun!

Having fun!

Bailey wondering why we can't let her run loose.

Bailey wondering why we can’t let her run loose.

Jake the rock climber.

Jake the rock climber.

One of the mountain views from the Parque Metropolitano in Quito.

One of the mountain views from the Parque Metropolitano in Quito.

The entrance to the park in Quito.

The entrance to the park in Quito.

Parts of the city of Quito.

Parts of the city of Quito.

One of the streets of the city of Quito.

One of the streets of the city of Quito.

One thing that we love in Quito that we didn't have in other places we lived internationally--Street signs!!! And actual addresses.

One thing that we love in Quito that we didn’t have in other places we lived internationally–Street signs!!! And actual addresses.

We love the gas prices. Yes, that is per gallon!

We love the gas prices. Yes, that is per gallon!

Vendors on the street of South Quito.

Vendors on the street of South Quito.

A street view from South Quito.

A street view from South Quito.

Colorful South Quito.

Colorful South Quito.

A view of North Quito from afar. The city looks like it is built on a cliff.

A view of North Quito from afar. The city looks like it is built on a cliff.

The entrance to our home. We share this driveway with four other families.

The entrance to our home.

The outside view of our apartment. We live on the second floor of this apartment in the north of Quito.

The outside view of our apartment. We live on the second floor of this apartment in the north of Quito.

 

Share

November pics of life and ministry in Ecuador

Bailey...the newest addition to our family.

Bailey…the newest addition to our family.

Maria looking fine in the supermarket.

Maria looking fine in the supermarket.

Pastor Raul, the Quichua pastor in Otavalo where we are starting a training center

Pastor Raul, the Quichua pastor in Otavalo where we are starting a training center

Que guapísimo!

Que guapísimo!

Feeding the chickens

Feeding the chickens

Learning about the different herbs that they grow on the farm

Learning about the different herbs that they grow on the farm

Que bella mi nena!

Que bella mi nena!

20141108_124059

20141108_124426

20141108_125218

Preaching a Sunday morning service at Iglesia Bautista el Calvario in south Quito

Preaching a Sunday morning service at Iglesia Bautista el Calvario in south Quito

Que linda mi familia!

Que linda mi familia!

The one thing we HATE about Quito...the traffic is a nightmare!

The one thing we HATE about Quito…the traffic is a nightmare!

IMG_1964

Que preciosa mi princesa!

Que preciosa mi princesa!

Bailey finding a comfortable spot to relax

Bailey finding a comfortable spot to relax

IMG_2027

Isabela's first time milking a cow.

Isabela’s first time milking a cow.

Los vaqueros montando el caballo (The cowboys riding the horse.)

Los vaqueros montando el caballo (The cowboys riding the horse.)

Me and pastor David from Iglesia Bautista el Calvario. He wants us to come and start a training program in south Quito.

Me and pastor David from Iglesia Bautista el Calvario. He wants us to come and start a training program in south Quito.

Mi muñeca

Mi muñeca

Share

Pics of Life and Ministry in Ecuador

It has been too long without a blog update.  I hope to be able to start writing regularly again, both as to what the Lord is revealing to me as I pursue to know Him more and more as well as sharing about our life and ministry here in Ecuador.  For now, here are several pictures of our life and ministry here in Ecuador.  God bless you.

20140920_081755 20140921_155110 20140921_155114

Gabriela found a friend in Calacalí.

Gabriela found a friend in Calacalí.

View from the training center in Tambo, Ecuador

View from the training center in Tambo, Ecuador

Pastor's Training Center in Tambo, Ecuador

Pastor’s Training Center in Tambo, Ecuador

Teaching pastors Biblical Counseling for the week

Teaching pastors Biblical Counseling for the week

First time ever translating the teaching!

First time ever translating the teaching!

Quichua woman herding her sheep...and sporting a pair of nikes!

Quichua woman herding her sheep…and sporting a pair of nikes!

20141008_105947

Me with Pastor Felix and his daughter.  Felix is our contact pastor for the training center in Tambo

Me with Pastor Felix and his daughter. Felix is our contact pastor for the training center in Tambo

Women team members share smiles with Quichua school children

Women team members share smiles with Quichua school children

20141008_124228

Me with IMB missionary Al Rodriguez who has been faithfully serving in Cuenca for many years

Me with IMB missionary Al Rodriguez who has been faithfully serving in Cuenca for many years

Some of the pastors and leaders share a group photo after a long and busy week of learning

Some of the pastors and leaders share a group photo after a long and busy week of learning

On the entrance to the city of Guayaquil.  Very colorful houses.

On the entrance to the city of Guayaquil. Very colorful houses.

Parque de las Iguanas...I wonder why they call it that.

Parque de las Iguanas…I wonder why they call it that.

"Don't mess with me man...I've been here a lot longer than you!"

“Don’t mess with me man…I’ve been here a lot longer than you!”

Our fearless leader, Dr David Sills, teaching about missions to Ecuadorian pastors in Guayaquil.  After this weekend, they all signed a commitment to start a pastor's training center there within the next several years.

Our fearless leader, Dr David Sills, teaching about missions to Ecuadorian pastors in Guayaquil. After this weekend, they all signed a commitment to start a pastor’s training center there within the next several years.

Beautiful view on my 9 hour return trip from the south through the mountains.

Beautiful view on my 9 hour return trip from the south through the mountains.

Beautiful!!!

Beautiful!!!

The whole earth is filled with His glory!

The whole earth is filled with His glory!

20141011_160655

High above the clouds

High above the clouds

13,000 feet in the Andes

13,000 feet in the Andes

Snow capped peaks

Snow capped peaks

Snow capped Cotopaxi with a ring of clouds around the base.

Snow capped Cotopaxi with a ring of clouds around the base.

Jake enjoying the park!

Jake enjoying the park!

Isabela getting ready for takeoff at the new Parque Bicentenario which is the runway areas of the old airport.

Isabela getting ready for takeoff at the new Parque Bicentenario which is the runway areas of the old airport.

Fun with Daddy!

Fun with Daddy!

Welcoming the pastors to our first training week in Santo Domingo and sharing with them why we do what we do.

Welcoming the pastors to our first training week in Santo Domingo and sharing with them why we do what we do.

Teaching the pastors the method of Inductive Bible Study and the importance of studying the Word in its context.

Teaching the pastors the method of Inductive Bible Study and the importance of studying the Word in its context.

Pastor Luke Akins from our partner church in NC teaching Bible Theology of the Old Testament.

Pastor Luke Akins from our partner church in NC teaching Bible Theology of the Old Testament.

The pastors signing a commitment to be part of the three year training program

The pastors signing a commitment to be part of the three year training program

Teaching the importance of exegetical study and expositional preaching

Teaching the importance of exegetical study and expositional preaching

Preaching on Jeremiah 29 about how to distinguish between a true prophet and a false one.

Preaching on Jeremiah 29 about how to distinguish between a true prophet and a false one.

Pastor Luke Akins and Simon Capell from Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh, NC investing their week in training and equipping leaders.

Pastor Luke Akins and Simon Capell from Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh, NC investing their week in training and equipping leaders.

Spanish, English, and the language of the Tsachila. One day, ALL languages will be represented around the throne as we worship our God and King!

Spanish, English, and the language of the Tsachila. One day, ALL languages will be represented around the throne as we worship our God and King!

The team with Eduardo, who is the principal and Director of the school.  He invited us there to share a word with the students.  I gave them the Gospel message.  We have been given an open door there to continue to minister to the students.

The team with Eduardo, who is the principal and Director of the school. He invited us there to share a word with the students. I gave them the Gospel message. We have been given an open door there to continue to minister to the students.

A group of school kids in Santo Domingo excited to see a group of gringos in their school.

A group of school kids in Santo Domingo excited to see a group of gringos in their school.

A woman from the indigenous tribe called the Tsachila explains the many uses of their local plants and flowers, one being used to paint their faces and bodies.

A woman from the indigenous tribe called the Tsachila explains the many uses of their local plants and flowers, one being used to paint their faces and bodies.

20141023_105550

Pastors giving thanks to the church who purchased them these fantastic Holman Study Bibles.

Pastors giving thanks to the church who purchased them these fantastic Holman Study Bibles.

All the pastors and leaders who were part of the weekly training.  On the average there were about 20 each night.

All the pastors and leaders who were part of the weekly training. On the average there were about 20 each night.

My new Pastor friend who ministers specifically to the indigenous Tsachila community.  He has invited me to come and preach at his church.  What an opportunity to bring the message of salvation to this indigenous tribe.

My new Pastor friend who ministers specifically to the indigenous Tsachila community. He has invited me to come and preach at his church. What an opportunity to bring the message of salvation to this indigenous tribe.

My new pastor friend, Jorge Rodriguez, who is our contact pastor for the training center in Santo Domingo.  He is only 28 years old and is doing fantastic things to raise up Ecuadorian disciples of Christ.

My new pastor friend, Jorge Rodriguez, who is our contact pastor for the training center in Santo Domingo. He is only 28 years old and is doing fantastic things to raise up Ecuadorian disciples of Christ.

Maria finding some great deals at the huge Saturday market in our neighborhood.

Maria finding some great deals at the huge Saturday market in our neighborhood.

My beautiful bride!

My beautiful bride!

My beautiful Isabela who is growing up into such a sweet young girl.

My beautiful Isabela who is growing up into such a sweet young girl.

20141025_150347 20141025_150411

Market day in our neighborhood.

Market day in our neighborhood.

Share

Update on Vehicle Fund for Ecuador

Hey everybody,

We have just received word from a donor in Texas who is willing to match any donations that come in up to the amount of $2,000. So, if you were thinking about giving a donation to help us purchase a vehicle for the ministry when we get to Ecuador, now would be the time to do so.

We are so thankful for the Lord’s provision through the body of Christ.  We have already received some donations and are thankful for this new opportunity that our friend in Texas has offered.  We give God the glory for all that He is doing among us.  We are praying that the Lord provides us the finances to buy a 4wheel drive SUV that will enable us to get into the rural mountainous areas of northern Ecuador to train and equip pastors and leaders so that they can be most effective in reaching their people for the glory of God.

To make a donation, go to www.rtim.org or  CLICK HERE  Please make sure that you select “Cody and Maria Whittaker” from the drop down menu when designating  your gift.

Thank you so much!

Share

Would you please pray about helping with this?

Hey all. We hope and pray that you are all doing well.  We are doing great, although very busy with packing and selling all our belongings as we get ready to move to Ecuador in September to continue the mission work that God has called us to do.

We are super excited about this opportunity to train and equip pastors so that they are better able to rightly divide the Word of Truth and therefore be more effective in evangelizing the lost and making disciples.  We are both thrilled and humbled to play a role in God’s kingdom work.

Well, friends, as we get ready to transition to Ecuador to begin these new Gospel labors, we find ourselves with a great need that we cannot meet on our own. And it is to you whom we present this need and ask for help.

We need a vehicle in Ecuador.  Even though we sold our vehicle here in Nicaragua and will put all that money towards buying a vehicle in Ecuador, the truth is that vehicles in Ecuador cost about double than what they cost here in Nicaragua. And vehicles here in Nicaragua already cost about double than what they cost in the U.S.

So, we are needing to raise $10,000 by September 1st.  This money, put together with the same amount of money from the sale of our vehicle, will simply enable us to buy something like a 2004-5 Four wheel drive SUV, which is what we will need for the ministry as we will be traveling in some very rural and rough terrain areas throughout northern Ecuador as we provide training to pastors and leaders

Would you please pray about making a special donation to our ministry right now so that we can meet this goal and be able to purchase a vehicle when we get to Ecuador?  It may seem like a lot of money, but if everybody puts in what God has laid on their heart, then I believe that we will have what we need.  To some, that might mean giving $50 or $100. To others, it might mean giving much more.  We just ask that you pray and give to the glory of God.

I wish it was as easy for me to just put in some overtime at the office for the next several months, or take on a side consulting job, or anything like that in order to get extra money.  But as missionaries, we do not have that option.  Through our supporters, we receive just about what we need each month for basic daily living.  So, when a greater need comes up like this, the only thing that we can do to get what is needed is simply to ask God and then to present our need to the body of Christ.  And this is what we humbly do, trusting that our Father in Heaven, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, will provide what is needed so that His work may be accomplished throughout the world.  The great thing is that we as the body of Christ are often the instrument He chooses to use to meet those needs and thus accomplish His work.

Many of you have been supporting our mission work for years now. We are so thankful to have such a great support team.  I know I sound like a broken record when I say over and over again that we could not do what we are doing without you all doing what you are doing.  Together, we are fulfilling the great commission for the glory of God.

So, dear friends, we humbly ask that you would consider making a special donation so that this need can be met.  We thank you so much for your willingness to do all that you can do for the sake of God’s name being proclaimed among the nations.  You are a blessing to us.

Give on-line:  www.rtim.org  Click on “missionary”, scroll to our name, click on “donate” and then make sure our name is selected when designating the gift. You can add on a note that it is a special gift towards vehicle purchase.

or you can just click here to go right to the giving page.  Again, make sure our name is selected from the drop down box.

Give by mail:  Make check payable to Reaching and Teaching International.  Write “Cody and Maria – Vehicle” on memo. Mail to:

Reaching and Teaching International

PO Box 122

Wheaton, IL 60187

Thank you again for your support. You guys are awesome!

Share

Exciting Ministry News!!!

Hello everybody,

We hope you are having a great day! Because we are. We have awesome news to share with you: WE ARE MOVING TO ECUADOR!!!!

About a month ago we asked you to be in prayer for us as we were praying through some decisions regarding our ministry. Thanks so much for all your prayers. We have been in prayer ourselves for over a month and we know that God has answered and is answering!

We are super excited to share with you that we have accepted an offer through our mission agency, Reaching and Teaching International, to move to Ecuador to start a pastoral training program for many of the churches in the northern part of the country.  We are very excited about this opportunity and believe that this is the will of the Lord for our lives.

We are thankful for how God used us here in Nicaragua. Whether it was through helping train the leadership team of an existing church or working one on one with those who felt called to be pastors, our time here was spent investing in the lives of people and training them up in the Word of God so that they can be more effective in reaching their own people for the glory of God. But now our time here is coming to a close.

A few months ago, we began having conversations with the director of our mission agency pertaining to the overall strategy of the mission and the vision that God was casting for us.  He shared with us something that reminds me of the Macedonian call that the apostle Paul received when he was on his own missionary journey.  Our director shared with us that almost daily he receives emails from pastors and leaders in the northern part of Ecuador begging him to send them missionaries that can help train them up better in the knowledge of the Word of God so that they can effectively reach their people with the Gospel.

During the time that we were seeking the Lord for further ministry direction, our director asked us if we would consider forming a small team with a few other missionaries with Reaching and Teaching International and starting up a training base in the northern part of Ecuador.  And after taking much time to pray and seek the Lord, we gladly accepted.  We will be moving to the Quito area in September.

Here are some of the exciting things about this opportunity:

  • We will be part of a team.  This is the first time in all of our missionary ventures where we will be part of a team with other missionaries from our same organization.  We have prayed for a team for years, and now God has answered.

 

  • There is already the Macedonian call.  Pastors there are eagerly awaiting our arrival and are excited to be taught and mentored.  So, we will have existing connections.  There will be much work to do.

 

  • We will be an integral part of the mission strategy of our organization which includes hosting mission teams, planing, and developing the mission further.

 

  • We will have an opportunity to be involved in orphan ministry again or minister to at-risk kids and youth, which is something that we always have had a heart to do.

 

  • There are unreached people groups that still exist in the highlands of the Andes as well as various tribes that live in the jungle, so it will be such a joy to begin making effort to reach these people with the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

We are super excited because the vision of Reaching and Teaching is really expanding in Ecuador and now there will be a team ministering in the north just as there has been a strong team ministering in the south that began a few years ago.  We are very excited to be part of such a fantastic mission organization and we simply want to use our gifts so that Christ’s church can be strengthened and so that we might reach people for the glory of His name.

We ask you to please pray for us for this upcoming move.  There are many logistics for an international move. Please pray for the whole process of packing, selling, getting visas, finding a home, finding a vehicle, making new connections, etc.  Please also pray that our remaining time here will be well spent for the purposes of God.

We will be coming to the states from June 2nd to July 10th in order to share more about our new upcoming ministry and plans.  We would love to share more with you when we see you in person.

To learn more about the ministry of Reaching and Teaching International in Ecuador and what we are going to be a part of, watch this video:  http://vimeo.com/81443564

Thank you so much for praying for us.  Thank you for being part of our support team.  Please know that we don’t take that lightly. You are investing your  resources so that the Gospel of Jesus may effectively reach the nations. That is our desire and what we aim to do wherever we are.  We are so excited to partner with you in bringing the Gospel to Ecuador.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His sufferings.

Share