Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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.
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.