Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Feb. 2

 by Carole Skalsky

Today you get my point of view!  As you can see, I played with the babies and others finished up the painting project.  It was important to have things cleaned up and ready for the next team.   Friday is always the sad and happy day.  It's a time to say good-bye or if God chooses I'll be back.  There were a few "leaky" eyes as we said our "until we meet again".
Follies and Fun with Frixon

This is beautiful Dahna She was full of smiles.  I sang to her while she stomped out the beat.

Josabet is a newer arrival.  She does not see well, but can sure smile and giggle when you move her feet around

I was laying on the floor and Sol started playing with my hair.  She is almost 4 and always observing.  She does not do anything while you are have to catch her out of the corner of your eye.

I had my back to Dahna and the tia said to me, "mera, mera".  Like all good toddlers she grabbed my shoes!

On the way to visit Banos, we stopped at a gorgeous waterfall.  Now there was some danger involved, however, we were up to the task.  This was a swinging suspension bridge.  I went right down the middle and HELD ON!

I was pleased they thought enough of me to bring an ecuadorian rose.

We are at Jeff and Rae's new home.

Here we are at Sweet Refuge!
What a great way to end our night by having a dinner inspired by Ecuador at Posada del Arte. Banos has been a wonderful town to relax and enjoy each others company. 

Thursday, February 1

Today marked our last full day working at Case. After running through a sprinkle of rain...or an Ecuador down pour... to the bodega, we all dispersed to our different jobs. We have gotten into a routine and it has been great to see the all of the progress that has been made on all of the different projects we have been working on so tirelessly.  We were all busy hauling rocks  and sand, painting, sanding doors, getting stuck in mud, and having therapy time with the kids. (And those were just a few of the things that were going on throughout the day!) Here are just some of the lessons that were learned...

  1. When big items you need for a project don't show roll with it and move on to the next! 
  2. When you decided to take the "road less traveled" might get stuck in the mud! 
  3. Joy can be found everywhere. Like in laughter and splashing at the therapy pool.
  4. With 21 people in a group...there are lots of personalities...but you are all united in this amazing mission experience and you become a family. 

We ended the night with an amazing supper and emotional debrief at Chris and Mandy Zuniga's. There was laughter, tears, and heartfelt testimonies about how this little place called Case de Fe has touched us all in so many ways. God has truly worked through each and every one of us to us our gifts while we were here. 
As Henry, the director of Case de Fe, thanked us for all our hard work this week, I couldn't help thinking that he had it backwards. This place; these people; have given US more than they will ever know and we are forever in their debt. 
As we prepare to say our goodbyes tomorrow, I have a feeling that we are all leaving a piece of our heart in Shell, Ecuador. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday, January 31st 2018 Casa de Fe

Written by Pat Beil

Ecuador receives about 25 feet of rain each year, and I believe that we received a good portion of that today. The rain sounded like thunder as it came down on the tin roof.

During breakfast, Kendra continued her morning devotions about the life of Paul. Each morning, we have juice, rolls and eggs, and this morning, Jeff treated us to "snot fruit" (granadilla), affectionately named for its texture.

Part of our team was anxious and excited to go on the jungle flight to the village of Tiweno today.

The rest of the team headed to Casa de Fe in a light rain. When Bernie and Pat reached the bridge just before Casa de Fe, there was water rushing across the bridge. We hung on tightly to each other as we waded through water up to our knees. Our shoes and socks were wet for the rest of the day.

Our Casa de Fe team leader, Chris, shared how he turned to God and became a missionary and came to Casa de Fe.

Some of the team accompanied the tias and toddlers on a field trip that was supposed to be to the zoo, but ended up at the aquarium due to rain. Every tia, and each team member was holding a baby or two. They showed so much care to the children, and are so good at instructing the kids as to what to expect and what they should do. The car ride in the rain was as much of an outing for them as the actual aquarium.

On our second day here at Casa de Fe I was given the wonderful opportunity to connect with dozens of los ninos. Every team member of our mission had a role to play to help the kids, and it just so happens that for me that role was of a caregiver. Right away in the morning we all gathered in the Bodega for a morning prayer, and just as life has its ups and downs, so too does Casa de Fey. A tragedy had struck in the night for a Casa de Fe staff member and though they were clearly in pain for their loss, they waited for us all to arrive to give us words of appreciation for our work. Leaving us with a message of faith and positivity in the face of a great loss, I think we were all moved in some way this morning and our desire to serve was that much more intense. With this early morning in the back of my mind I made my way over to the main building where I visited the nursery. Now if you have ever held an infant that is smiling back at you and laughing, you can appreciate just how special that experience can be. If you have not, I'm not sure I can do it justice, but believe me, when I was able to take a very small two-year-old up to the therapy room and see pure joy on his face as he threw plastic balls all around the room I was once again overwhelmed with emotion on this trip. For a change of pace me and my friend Luke where invited to help one of the cooks make bread. I had been forewarned about Gladis to stay on her good side, and on her good side we must have been because our time in the kitchen was lovely. As she taught us her recipe from her memory we shared stories and got to know each other while laughing and making what turned out to be some of the best bread I had ever tasted. I then was given the task of helping the next age group of toddlers on a walk. These kids had energy let me tell you! They were all slow to warm up to us missionaries but once they had they were all over us like monkeys and I saw just about every emotion from pure joy to extreme sadness when they were upset. All of these were marvelously handled by the Tias as they were stern, yet loving and had all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to handle the little ninos. It was clear they knew how to care for these kids. After lunch today me and a few other team members as well as staff took the sixth graders to the park in Shell. Joel made it very clear to both staff and kids that the kids knew English and that they were to use it, threatening to take away their pizza in the evening if they spoke too much Spanish. We were all assigned a child to have them practice their English with. The trip was short and sweet and my child, Giovanni impressed the heck out of me with his use of language at just ten years old. He said his favorite subject in school was English and I could tell. To cap our second day off we had a pizza party at Casa de Fe with all the kids. The love for pizza among kids must be universal because all of the kids at all ages went loco for those pies. It was indeed delicious but these kids amazed me at their appetites keeping up with myself even for some time which, if you know me is quite impressive. From start to finish the day was surreal and the impact we are having on these kids is extremely apparent.

-Brady Bordwell

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018 Casa de Fe blog

ritten by Barb Johnson and quite a few pics from Gregory Synstelien What a beautiful day!

Casa de Fe finally with the children and the workers (maestros) and tias (caregivers)! I started off the day looking for my glasses and Traci told me they were on my face. Then I asked for a coffee cup, and she said I better put on my seeing glasses, because the cups were right in front of me.

Then we were off to Casa de Fe, and took all the items off their needs list that we brought. They were overwhelmed with everything we bought. People were out working in the rain--moving rocks (Egyptian style--rolling them over branches), plastering walls, and fixing bathrooms, putting in fixtures, and doing electrical work.

Some of the women were working in therapy, the baby rooms, and too some of the special needs kids to the park (which is not a regular thing--they rarely get out).

We had a great dinner at a new Chicago style pizza place, and it was delicious.

We'd appreciate prayers for our team to stay healthy, because we had a couple of people get ill today due to the heat/stomach trouble.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sunday, January 28, 2918 Casa de Fe

Written by Nancy Evans
Another full, fabulous day being servants of our gracious loving God!  Today at breakfast we tried some of the local fruits.  We had red skinned bananas.  They were sweeter than the bananas we are used to.  We also tried another fruit which like most things here I can neither pronounce or spell.

Following breakfast, we attended church at a Warangi church. The service ran 2 hrs long.  I don't think I'll complain when Pastor Wade runs long!  Four men of the church each read a Bible reading and spoke on the reading.  The music was lively and some were famaliar.  We were warmly welcomed and made to feel at home, just like at Cormorant!

We met Patty Sue and the youth that are living at Sweet Refuge for lunch.  My meal was crab soup with a whole river crab, shrimp and fish in it.  Then we returned to the hotel to celebrate Jeff and Rosa's birthdays.  In Ecuador, it is tradition to smash the celebrant's face into a cake.  Jeff wasn't very cooperative but Rosa went with the flow.

We then went to worship at Casa de Fe.  All of the children were animated and engaged.  Kenda lead the children in songs with actions.  Then some of our group put on a skit about Sual meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.  The children laugh at our poor attempts at Spanish. We then went off (with Kendra driving!) to the Nate Saint house where we heard the story of Nate Saint and the other missionaries that were killed by Warangi Indians. Barb accidently got locked in the bathroom at the Nate Saint House.

Then out for another wonderful meal.  Back to the hotel for a chat with Tanya from Casa de Fe, wrap-up, and prayer. Now to bed in our cabin that seems like a summer camp.