Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good News / Bad News

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

We have shared before that much of what keeps me (Scott) busy lately is bureaucracy related to the sale of our mission's property in Quito. Bureaucracy is never much fun, but it's often even more difficult in third-world countries. It is so much a part of life in Latin America that somewhere along the line some Spanish speaker coined a word to be used only in the context of bureaucratic situations. There is no real English equivalent, but trámite basically refers to one step involved in bureaucratic or legal processes. Sometimes it takes only one visit to a government office, but more often it involves several trips and standing in long lines.

Since trámites are pretty much a part of my life lately, I thought I'd let you in on an email I recently sent to my supervisor in Kansas City:

Good News: We finally got the right guy to go out to the property and do an inspection, so what we've been waiting for finally happened.

Bad News: Although we thought it was a no-brainer that the city took some property to pave the street, the inspector concluded that in no way was our property affected by the street. That means that the official answer to the paper work (tramite) we've had in process since (maybe) April is "no". We are convinced that he is wrong.

Good News: We don't necessarily have to accept that answer. There is a process for appealing it.

Bad News: The appeal process would take at least 6 months to a year and be a very detailed and involved fight, showing old pictures, documenting past history, etc.

Good News: During the time we've been waiting for this answer, new city ordinances have been passed making it easier to make adjustments to land titles specifically in regard to the area of property.

Bad News: In order to make use of the new ordinance, we need to start a whole new tramite, beginning from zero.

Good News: Our first step in this process would be a survey of the property, which we already did for the last tramite we are completing.

Bad News: The new tramite will take at least 2 months and we will need to pay a fee of somewhere around $150 to complete it.

Good News: The new tramite will probably take about 2 months and we will need to pay a fee of somewhere around $150 to complete it, which compared to appealing the previous tramite sounds kind of nice.

Bad News: Tomorrow is a holiday, so I can't begin working on the new tramite until next week.

Good News: I hope to get our legal representative's signature today so I will be ready to stand in line first thing Monday morning.

Bad News: I have to stand in line again on Monday.

Good News: This is the end of my news!

There have been a lot of ups and downs with all of these trámites, but we know God's timing is best and the property will sell when it's time for that to happen. In the meantime, just pray for wisdom for me to handle each step of this process in the best way possible.

At the end of October, our support account with Avant dipped into the red. Please pray for God to provide for the financial needs we have. If you would personally like to help, you can send a donation to Avant Ministries to be applied to our ministry account. You may print the following form and send it in to:

Avant Ministries
10000 N Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64155 

I am sending a donation of $                                       

Please apply it to the account of Scott and Kristi Edgren



City:                                                State:                   Zip:                                

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


"If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans." Romans 8:27 (The Message)

On August 29th we received a phone call that a dear friend and fellow missionary, Darrel Klassen, had entered into the presence of the Lord. Unfortuanately he chose to end his own life. Hearing this news shook up our lives. We have worked quite closely with the Klassen's, especially during the last years. Darrel often played the role of Grandpa in the lives of our children. They left Ecuador in May to return to Canada. So much of what keeps Scott busy these days, was passed on to him by Darrel. Darrel was the one who taught Scott so many of the ins and outs of dealing with all the city offices here in Quito. As we have been processing his death, we have had to focus on God's faithfulness instead of all the questions filling our minds. Please join us in praying especially for his wife Mandy and the rest of his family.
Darrel Klassen

From Scott:
I have been busier with teaching this month. I am teaching Greek III during two weekends this month. Five students have persisted through Greek I and II and for the first time I have students ready for the final class. We have finished the first weekend and I'll be back on September 28-29 to finish up. It's a real joy to work with these students who are the most committed to learning. I also taught a one-day workshop on what the Bible teaches about angels to a group of 40 Quichuas. They seemed to enjoy that topic and we had lots of good discussion. Opportunities like these remind me that there's nothing on earth I'd rather be doing!

The process of updating our title deed on our mission property here in Quito was put on hold by the city of Quito for most of the summer. Please continue to pray for this process so we can once again put this property up for sale. Also when I head to the coast in a week to teach Greek, I'll be going a couple of days early to work through some problems regarding donation of the mission's property in Guayaquil. It has been hours and hours working through details on these properties so we'll be thankful when everything with these properties comes to a close.

Family News:
As the school year starts again this year, we have 1 in college, 1 in high school, 1 in middle school and 1 in elementary. David is in his 3rd year of college. This year he is still living at Wheaton, but all of his Engineering classes are in downtown Chicago at Illinois Institute of Technology. He spends a lot of hours each week taking the train into Chicago. Joel is a senior this year. He's especially excited for the mock presidential election he'll be part of in his government class this semester. Pray for Joel this year as he has a lot of decisions to make about what to do after high school. Luke is in 7th grade and learning to adjust to all the new things like lockers, different teachers for each class, etc. He seems to be enjoying the new challenges and responsibilities. Lindsey is in 2nd grade and thriving with all of her friends. She loves to come home and ride her bike after school.

First Day of School

Joel had a great time visiting the US this summer and experienced a lot of opportunities for growth. His favorite parts were spent with family, at the Art Institute in Chicago and in drama camp at Camp Witness.
Drama Camp

The rest of us enjoyed a few short vacations. We took a trip to the beach and got to go whale watching.

Scott, Luke and Lindsey enjoyed a couple of weekends of camping. They camped in two extremes: a wet mountainside and an arid Andes forest.

Lindsey seems to be turning into a budding photographer. Here’s some of Ecuador's beauty that she captured.

From Kristi:
I am once again working at Alliance this year but my position was cut to part time. I am in the same classroom working in 6th grade along with the same teacher as last year. I stay busy grading papers, helping students, making copies, entering grades, doing bulletin boards, etc. We have 38 sixth graders this year. It is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to kids when they are struggling, encourage them with biblical truths and share my faith with those who don't believe. I love my job and am so thankful for the opportunities God sends my way day to day!

Here recently when I've been listening to Christian radio online, this song keeps popping up and has been an encouragement.

Pray for those who are grieving the loss of Darrel
Praise the Lord for good teaching opportunities for Scott
Pray for the process of selling and donating property
Pray for each of our children and their new school year
Praise the Lord for Kristi's ministry at Alliance

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vacation and Hard Work

We are enjoying the change summer vacation is bringing to our family! The kids finished up classes on the 7th. The last weeks of school ended up being totally crazy! Here is part of what kept the family busy!

The 6th graders did an excellent job on their musical, Jailhouse Rock. Luke played a part as one of the camp counselors.

We were coaching Luke’s basketball team. Though we had a “learning” season, we really enjoyed working with these kids!

Kristi is one of the junior class sponsors so we enjoyed attending the junior-senior banquet.

On June 6, Luke graduated from 6th grade. In Ecuador the end of 6th grade marks the beginning of high school.

I (Kristi) will never forget this school year! I grew to love these 36 sixth graders! So many highlights to remember. But at the top of my list was being able to have Luke in my classroom every day! He is growing up to be a great young man and I'm so proud to be his mom. I loved having him come in every day and say "Hi, mom"! One of the last days of school, his other teacher told me that when asked the question “where is your favorite place to be at school”, his response was "in Mr. Tuten's room because that is where my mom is!” I will forever be grateful for these memories and for the relationship we have between us as he heads off to middle school!

In May and June, I (Scott) spent 2 weekends teaching Greek II to 4 students. This second level course is one in which the students are getting proficient enough to begin to analyze verses in the Greek New Testament. My highlight from this course came while we were looking at some verses from John 1 in the Greek Bible. One of my students said, “so basically what this is saying is...” and I saw a light come on in his eyes as he understood the text in a whole new way! It's moments like that which make teaching worth every bit of effort that I invest.

So we now are all enjoying summer vacation! Scott’s parents are spending 3 weeks with us this month. They arrived in time to get in on Luke and Lindsey’s field days and Luke’s graduation! We are mostly just hanging out at home, though doing a few other fun things with them as well.

Joel will be leaving Wednesday for the US to spend a couple of months this summer. He actually will be flying to Chicago to spend some time with David. Then he’ll be spending 5 weeks at Camp Witness in Nebraska both as a camper and a junior counselor. He can hardly wait! Please pray for him this summer as he’ll be out on his own. It’s scary as parents sending him off, wondering if he’ll lose his passport, remember to go to bed at night, and so on. But we know that God has some wonderful plans for him this summer and are excited along with him!

Many of Scott’s hours are being spent dealing with the selling of Avant mission property. A year ago we sold the Avant guesthouse here in Quito. The buyers totally paid for the property but we have run into one roadblock after another during the past year trying to get the title deed ready to be put into their name. Because of the time it is taking, they are backing out of the deal and asking for their money back. The past month has been very difficult for Scott as he is dealing through all this. It looks like the money will be returned to them either this week or the beginning of next week. We then need to wait for the city to update our title deed and then go through the process of selling this property again. Our colleagues the Klassen’s have left Ecuador, so this process now falls on Scott. Please pray for wisdom as we walk down this newest adventure.

In our last update, we wrote that Kristi was experiencing pain again. The Dr. diagnosed it as bursitis and tendonitis in the hip. It has been a really slow process of healing but she is improving. Continue to pray for her healing.

Praise the Lord for a good end to the school year and summer vacation.
Praise the Lord for a great experience for Kristi teaching this year.
Praise the Lord for growth in the lives of Scott's Greek students.
Praise the Lord that Scott's parents can visit this month.
Pray for a good summer for Joel visiting family and doing camp ministry.
Pray for details regarding property sales here in Quito.
Pray for healing for Kristi's hip.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Prayer Requests

In the past month, Scott was able to spend three days in Guayaquil down on the coast of Ecuador. He presented the material on the Avant statement of faith. Pray for those who attended, that they will be able to go back to their own churches and share it with their own church members. He was able to videotape it and now hopes to have time to edit it and put together a simple DVD to share in other locations that have interest.

He also was back in Colta teaching a day on the Doctrine of Christ. For that day he had 60 in attendance. This group meets once a month and it is exciting to see how it is growing in number. Please pray that they also are growing in their walk with Christ.

In a couple of weeks Scott is scheduled to be back on the coast in the city of Babahoyo teaching Greek in the Spanish seminary, May 11-12. It has been a couple of years since the last time he taught Greek. It has been a difficult class for his previous students to grasp. It takes a lot of work outside of class and many of his previous students haven't been willing to put the time into it that is needed. Pray for Scott to take a difficult subject and make the material interesting and practical for these students.

Last month we asked you to pray for our brother-in-law Dan. Because of liver cancer he was on the transplant list. Two days after we sent out our update, He got a call in the middle of the night that there was a liver for him. It was amazing to be kept up to date by emails from his wife throughout the day. By 8:00 that night he was out of surgery with a new liver! It has been an up and down kind of month for them. They feared he was rejecting the liver, so he had a biopsy done a few days ago but the results showed all to be good. Please continue praying for healing for Dan. He has a long recovery ahead of him. Also pray for his family for strength to continue on and for a return to normal life.

David finishes up his 2nd year of college in 2 more weeks. We are thankful for a summer job/internship with one of his professors for 10 weeks this summer. They'll be working on designing a water system for a 3rd world country. Since he is studying civil engineering, and after living in a 3rd world country, he is excited about this opportunity. He'll be able to live in on-campus housing but will be cooking for himself for the first time.

Joel turned 17 today! In the last months he has passed Scott up in height. We're going to be having a party for him next weekend with friends. We're putting together a murder mystery party, "A Knight of Murder," for him. Pray for him as he finishes his Junior year and begins to think of his future after high school.

Luke and his class are in the middle of working on the 6th grade musical that will be performed in a month. He has one of the speaking parts. Kristi also is in the middle of helping with this. It makes the days in 6th grade extra busy, but it is fun watching it all coming together.

This past week Kristi developed weakness in her left leg and has been in quite a bit of pain. We are in the midst of having it checked out, but are pretty sure it is a problem with one of her discs in her lower back. She'll be seeing an orthopedic doctor who specializes on the spine Monday afternoon. Please pray for Kristi to be able to get help with this problem. She took the day off of work on Friday and is spending the weekend resting. Walking is difficult and seems to irritate her back.

Praise the Lord for a good conference in Guayaquil.
Pray for growth in the lives of the leaders in Colta.
Pray that Scott's Greek students will apply themselves to their study.
Pray that Scott will teach the Greek class well.
Praise the Lord for providing a liver for Dan.
Pray for recovery for Dan and strength for his family.
Praise the Lord for providing a summer internship for David.
Pray for Joel as he considers his future plans.
Pray that the 6th grade musical will be a good ministry to families.
Pray for help for Kristi's back pain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Building Character

Just sitting here this morning thinking about all the things that have happened in the life of our family since the last time we wrote. We have been faced with some challenging circumstances as well as some encouraging times.

I've been reading Mark Batterson's book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" and am being challenged.

We pray for comfort instead of character. We pray for an easy way out instead of the strength to make it through. We pray for no pain when the result would be no gain. Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.

Definitely a lot easier to say than to put into practice! Especially during the month of February when one of the main sewer lines in our house was clogged up. Part of our basement flooded. Our landlord decided to have about 30 feet of the line replaced.

It involved digging up the tile and cement floor in our basement.

It was a lot easier to complain about the mess, dirt and sewer smell than to ask God to help grow my character.

As of this past weekend we finally have everything cleaned up and put back into place.

Though we have turned over the keys to both of our Quito properties, there has still been a lot of paperwork to finish up. Scott met with the buyers of the guesthouse a few weeks ago as we still are trying to get all the papers ready so we can sign. Avant bought the property back before there were even streets. So the land deed says there is more land than there actually is because part of it was taken for building a street and sidewalk and the title deed was never changed. This past month we had the property surveyed so that we can make the necessary changes before the buyers get the property transferred into their name. The buyers are ready to help get this pushed through, but after living in Quito for 9 years we know that these unusual circumstances can be quite time consuming. Pray for these details to be completed in God's time.

The beginning of March Scott had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Colta. Several Quichua leaders asked him to come and teach on the Avant Declaration of Faith (our doctrinal statement).

They worked hard on promoting this and they had around 80 pastors and church leaders in attendance.

It is an important issue because there is so much doctrinal controversy within these churches. There are many churches with Biblical roots which have strayed in one way or another. At the end of the first day (after 8 hours of teaching) they were all so riveted on the material that they continued an hour overtime.

They left time at the end of the second day for discussion on how they would be able to take the material home and use it. Scott had challenged them to consider adopting a similar document for themselves and that was considered very seriously. Though most of the discussion happened in their native language of Quichua, Scott caught on that they were giving highly positive feedback. Very encouraging! You can see a 3 minute video with highlights from the conference here:

One of the leaders from Guayaquil was also in attendance and has asked Scott to come and share the same material with Quichua leaders there. So please pray for Scott next week as he'll be teaching again March 28-30. Someone suggested making the conference available on DVD, so we are considering whether we can videotape the one that happens next week. Scott has already shared the material with a couple of key leaders who will hopefully be able to help spread it in other areas. Pray that it can be spread to the extent that it is needed.

Kristi and the kids are starting their 4th quarter this week. You can pray for Kristi on the 26th and 27th as she will be subbing for 6th grade Math and Science those 2 days. Another challenge we have taken on is coordinating the intramural basketball program for 4th-6th grade at Alliance. We had our first practice this week with over 50 kids signed up. We are so thankful for a group of wonderful coaches who really want to see the kids grow and learn! I think it will be a great 2 months! But it does add some additional stress to our already busy lives.

We ask you to keep praying for Scott's brother-in-law Dan as he continues to fight liver cancer. He's on the transplant list waiting for a new liver. Till then, he is receiving chemo to try and keep the cancer from growing. This past week he has been very sick from it and in the hospital.

Please pray for Dan, Cheryl and their 4 children, that God will give them the strength they need day by day for this very difficult time in their lives. You can read updates directly from them on Dan's Caring Bridge website.

When you worship God in the worst of circumstances, you never know what is going to happen next. The circumstances you complain about become chains that imprison you. And worship is the way out. Worship reframes our problems and refocuses our lives. It helps up get through the bad days by reminding us of how good God is. And when you are worshipful, your eyes are more open to notice the miracles that are happening all around you all the time.
-Mark Batterson

Pray that we will be open to building character in all circumstances.

Praise the Lord for an end to the sewer problems we were having.

Pray for a conclusion to the details of selling properties.

Praise the Lord for a good conference on the Declaration of Faith.

Pray that churches would follow through by considering their own doctrine.

Pray for another good conference in Guayaquil.

Pray about how we can make this material more available to others.

Pray for Kristi as she substitute teaches next week.

Pray for a good experience with the intramural basketball program.

Pray for Dan's health and the eventual provision of a liver transplant.

Pray for patience and trust for Dan's entire family.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Marching Into the New Year

Things continue to change around here. The biggest news is that we have given the keys for both of our Quito properties to the new owners since the beginning of the new year.
Office, Guesthouse and Apartment Building in Quito

In November and December, Scott was in the middle of sorting through more than 50 years of papers and other things that had accumulated in the Avant office. Many papers were shredded and thrown away but we still have quite a stack of boxes of financial records at our house now.
Many of the other things, office furniture, supplies, etc. were given away to other ministries. There are still more details to be taken care of with these properties and others around the country, but things are definitely winding down. As this is taken care of, Scott will once again be able to spend more time teaching.

Scott's next teaching engagement is coming up on February 7 when he will be teaching a one-day workshop on the doctrine of God. Pray for Scott's preparation and for a good impact on the churches of Chimborazo Province.

This week is finals week at Alliance Academy. You can pray for Joel that he finish his semester well with his different exams. The kids will have Thursday afternoon and Friday off of school.

December was a busy month. Here are a few highlights. Lindsey celebrated her 7th birthday.
She also played in her first piano recital. Both Luke and Lindsey were part of the Alliance Christmas Program.
And David arrived home for 3 weeks of vacation.

The last day of school before Christmas, Luke was on the playground, was walking backwards, tripped and fell. Immediately you could tell his arm was broken because of the way it was bent. So we spent the afternoon in the ER. He needed surgery to set the bone and they put a temporary pin in as well. He has an appointment this coming Friday the 20th. Please pray that the bone has healed correctly and that they will be able to remove his cast.

Scott and David also had quite the adventure. David had always dreamed of climbing one of the snow covered mountains here in Ecuador. So they chose Cotopaxi, a 19,300 foot volcanic mountain.
They hired a guide and rented some equipment. They were able to drive up to about 15,000. From there they climbed up to the refuge at 16,000 where they rested and waited till night. It is the safest to climb at night when the snow is frozen. So they took off at 1 in the morning and reached the summit at 6:30 in the morning. As they reached the summit it was snowing and the wind really picked up so all they could see was a few feet in front of them. We're thankful for the experience and for the safety God gave them.

We are also very thankful for each one of you--for your faithful prayers and faithful support! 2011 was a year when our cost of living increased significantly mostly because of having to move out of our mission-owned apartment. But God provided for each of our needs through many of you! Thank you!

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the power that is at work in us." Epesians 3:20

Praise the Lord for the sale of our mission property in Quito.
Pray for remaining details regarding transfer of property.
Pray for students at the workshop in February.
Pray for Joel to finish his semester well.
Pray for healing for Luke's arm.
Praise the Lord for special family activities in the past month.
Praise the Lord for faithful support through his people.