Friday, November 29, 2019

Very Thankful!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. This year it was an especially meaningful time for us to look back and give thanks for God's goodness to us in several ways.

Kristi has continued to regain strength in recent weeks. She is very near full recovery from surgery on her pancreas. We are grateful to God for the clear signs of his hand of blessing on her health. Most significant among many is the fact that through God's grace the benign tumor she had is only found in about 1% of pancreatic cases. We know Kristi's recovery is only due to a good gift from the Lord in our lives.

We last wrote to ask for prayer regarding Ecuador's turbulent political situation. The nation experienced about 10 days of violent protests over the removal of a gasoline subsidy in efforts to solve an economic crisis. The subsidy was re-implemented and peace has returned. Other solutions for the economic crisis are being pursued. Please pray that long-term stability can be achieved. We are thankful for the return of peace. We are also thankful that we weren't there for the difficult days of turmoil. Nevertheless, if it turns out that rocky times are still to come, we are prepared to trust the Lord for our safety.

We are gearing up for our return to Ecuador on December 11. We will continue the work of settling in to our new apartment after we arrive. Kristi also has a lot of preparation to complete for stepping back into her teaching role in January. Lindsey doesn't finish her semester here until a few days later. We will leave her with friends and family, and she will travel alone to join us on December 21. Please pray for her to end the semester well, have a smooth transition between schools, and have an uneventful day of travel alone. The upcoming changes are a difficult test for Lindsey, but she is facing them with a good attitude.

Joel recently made a move and is working on an internship in children's ministry in a church in the Los Angeles area. Scott was able to visit him and see how he is adjusting to his new environment. We are thankful for the friends he has there who are obviously godly and caring people. We are also thankful for an employment opportunity that he needed as a supplement for his living expenses.

We are very thankful for the time we have been given to be with friends and family in the past months, weeks and days. Your encouragement and friendship is so important to us. Our hearts are full as we return to ministry in just a few days. We are also really looking forward to spending the end of the year with our whole family in Quito for a few days. We haven't had all our kids together at once for 2 1/2 years. It will be good to go to our other home in the Southern Hemisphere and gather with our immediate family to celebrate!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


We were overwhelmed with so many of you praying for us as Kristi went through finding and removing the tumor on her pancreas. God answered your prayers above and beyond what we could have imagined. Today we ask you to pray for the beautiful country of Ecuador.

Last week the Ecuadorian president made the decision to take away the subsidy for gas and diesel causing both to increase in price significantly. All the transportation services called for a national strike on Thursday and Friday. Buses and taxis were blocking roads as well as burning tires in the middle of streets, protesters were out in key spots as well as looting and violence occurring. The President declared a state of emergency.

Over the weekend the indigenous people groups began marching toward Quito to protest as well. The President and his main cabinet have actually left Quito and are working in Guayaquil. Schools have not held classes since Wednesday and are suspended until further notice. Major roads continue to be blocked making it difficult to get around. Many flights have been cancelled. Grocery store shelves are empty. Tomorrow many protests are expected again.

Please pray for peace. Pray that the different sides in this issue would be able to find a way to work together. Pray for God's people to shine light in the midst of a dark situation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


We have so much to be thankful for. We have seen God working and providing and caring over and over these past 6 weeks. Let me share just some of the ways we have seen God working.

I had a gall bladder attack even though I had never had any problems before. Because of this, the doctors made a very important discovery of a tumor on my pancreas.

My Ecuadorian doctor told us honestly that if we had the option of returning to the States for treatment that would be best since they don’t do very many pancreatic surgeries in Ecuador.

We were able to get airline tickets and get things ready to leave within 3 days. One of our churches paid for our airline tickets.

There were so many friends in Quito who provided meals, let Lindsey hang out with them while I was in the hospital, helped us get the house cleaned up, etc.

Five days after arriving back in Kansas, Lindsey started school again at Berean where she was last year. There were many friends and teachers to welcome her back who she knew from before.

During the 3 days we were preparing to leave Ecuador, my sister was researching pancreatic doctors in the States. She found the 3 hospitals ranked highest in this field and started the process of finding me an appointment at one of them. She spent hours on the phone. God once again provided, and I was given an appointment with the chief of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Another church provided our airline tickets to New York.

2 weeks after finding the tumor, I saw the doctor in New York City. After looking at my images, he recognized it as a benign tumor. He told me it was the best kind of tumor to have on the pancreas.

We were able to schedule surgery within the week. All went as planned and I was released after 4 nights.

After losing half of my pancreas I could have developed diabetes, but I didn’t.

I have heard of others who have really struggled after this surgery, but God has protected me and allowed healing.

God has provided for most of our additional costs through our churches and supporters.

So now what? Avant has given us permission to remain in Kansas till December. This allows Lindsey to finish 1st semester. We are praying this will make her transition back to Ecuador a little bit easier. It is looking like I will be back in the classroom starting after Christmas. Going back in the middle of the year to a new grade level sounds like a huge challenge to me. So please pray for this transition.

Thank you so much for walking this journey with us!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Back to Kansas

Kristi had her follow-up appointment with the doctor yesterday afternoon, giving increased clarity and closure regarding her recent surgery. The pathology report resulted in the best possible news, her tumor was indeed benign and it was low grade--meaning it grew slowly and is less likely to spread. There is a small chance it could resurface during the next 5 years (less than 10%.) If it does it would probably be in her liver or lymph nodes, but even then it would be expected to be the same rare, benign form of pancreatic tumor. This is great news; we are thankful to God for answering our prayers in this way and thankful to you for joining us with your petitions to him.

Kristi will need to do periodic scans in the coming months and years. Her doctor in New York is willing to review images from a distance if we do them in other parts of the US or even in Ecuador. We are very grateful for the excellent doctor God gave to us. He has shown himself to be professionally excellent and also extremely focused on serving us in this and many other ways.

Kristi did not develop diabetes as a result of the surgery and does not have a significant increase in her likelihood of developing it for the future.

She has been seeing progress in her recovery from surgery and felt ready to travel. We changed our tickets to today and we're currently on our way back to Kansas as I write. She definitely needs more recovery before traveling internationally and considering stepping into her classroom ministry. Now that Lindsey has started the school year here we need to consider several factors and make a decision about the best timing for our return to the field. Pray for wisdom as we work on this during the next week.

Thank you for walking this journey with us!


Tuesday, September 3, 2019


Thank you all for your prayers and your kind words of encouragement. Kristi has been slowly recovering from her surgery. She is still quite sore at her surgery site, her body is adjusting to some new realities, and she needs to gain more strength. Yesterday afternoon she was discharged from the hospital. She has been making significant progress in her recovery. She still moves very slowly and gingerly, but the pain is manageable.

Her blood sugar levels have been a little elevated but not alarmingly high. The medical team has been watching it, but so far diabetes doesn't seem to be a big concern.

We will have a follow-up appointment soon, hopefully on Friday. We're looking forward to the chance to learn the answers to a few more of our questions then.

Our plan is to return to Kansas soon after our appointment, depending on whether Kristi is ready to make the trip.

For now we are comfortably settled into a hotel in Manhattan. We are learning a lot about life in New York City--some parts of it are pretty cool, some things are very "interesting," and there are a few things we're not so convinced about.

We appreciate you!

Scott and Kristi

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Kristi entered the operating room about 11:00 this morning, eastern time. Her surgeon finished the main part of the surgery and gave me a report soon after 1:00, while the rest of the medical team was finishing things up.

Everything went well, and there were no surprises. The doctor still thinks it was a neuro endocrine tumor. There were no signs to make him think otherwise, and there were no signs of it beginning to spread to other areas. The pathologists will analyze it for further confirmation.

Kristi lost some blood during surgery, but not enough to require a transfusion.

We can once again praise the Lord for guiding during the process of finding the tumor and leading us to a medical team that has been able to deal with it effectively.

Continue to pray for Kristi as she recovers. We have tentative plans to return to Kansas on September 10. That date will change if we find that she needs more recovery time before making the trip.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


We had a long day at the doctor's office yesterday but the outcome was good news. Kristi has a rare kind of tumor called a Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor. In this case, rare is good because it's much more treatable. This kind of tumor is also potentially malignant and can be life threatening, but the likelihood is significantly less. At this point it simply needs to be taken out. Steve Jobs was a well-known person who had the same illness. Unfortunately he didn't deal with it correctly and it eventually caused his death.

Kristi's tumor is in the center of her pancreas and very close to the blood vessels that supply her spleen. For this reason the doctor will need to remove her spleen along with half of her pancreas (distal pancreatectomy). He will also remove her gall bladder at the same time--the organ that was the initial cause of our concerns.

Surgery is scheduled for Thursday, probably sometime around noon. We will stay in New York until then. Kristi will likely be hospitalized for about 5 days and then we'll wait a few more days to have her staples removed. All together, we are looking at a stay of maybe about 2 to 3 weeks for this visit.

The doctor believes there is about a 50% chance that Kristi will be diabetic as a result of the surgery. This is due to the fact that a healthy pancreas is so important for maintaining sugar levels.

Praise the Lord with us for the positive news we have received! We are so thankful for your prayer support during the past few days. Please continue to pray for the details of surgery and the challenges that come with it.

We appreciate you,
Scott and Kristi

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New York

Kristi has an appointment tomorrow at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. We are very grateful to the Lord for all the details which led to the provision of this opportunity. Pancreatic tumors are not an easy thing to deal with, but Kristi will be seen by a medical professional who is once of the most experienced in the nation.

Today we are traveling to New York. We expect to have several medical tests and we aren't sure how many days we'll need to stay.

Yesterday Lindsey started ninth grade in the same school where she attended last year. We are grateful for friends who have opened their home to care for her.

Pray for travels, for Lindsey, and for wisdom regarding medical options.

Friday, August 16, 2019


We are currently waiting at our gate in the Quito airport to travel back to the States. We're pursuing options for medical care in a handful of hospitals that specialize in pancreas surgery. After we find the right hospital we will have a better understanding of where we will be located. For now we know that Lindsey will attend school in Kansas where she was last year. Kristi is feeling pretty well, and ready to handle the trip. Thank you for your outpouring of prayers and kind words.

Monday, August 12, 2019


Kristi wasn't able to have gall bladder surgery today because of challenges with her blood pressure. After considering our options and seeking counsel we've decided to seek treatment for the tumor in her pancreas in the United States. We'll be traveling back to Kansas by the end of the week. The doctors have stabilized the situation enough with the gall bladder so that it looks like she will be able to just wait to do that there as well.

Thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


This morning Kristi had some blood work that showed some elevated levels. This is due to the gall stones and the procedure to remove them yesterday. Because of this and because of her blood pressure being a little high they have postponed her surgery until tomorrow.

We are thankful for the understanding that Alliance Academy is showing. It's soon time for Kristi to begin preparations for the school year but they have assured her that there is no pressure and they will cover her responsibilities for as long as needed.

Thank you to each one of you who are praying for these needs.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


Here's a quick update to let you know how you can pray. We traveled back to Ecuador on July 28. Since then we have been working a lot to move in to our new apartment. Most of our boxes have finally been unpacked.

On Friday morning Kristi woke up early with pain in her abdomen. We took her to the hospital and found that she needs to have her gall bladder removed. We expect the surgery to happen tomorrow afternoon.

Also, while examining her gall bladder a sonogram technician "accidentally" found a tumor in Kristi's pancreas. This is a potentially serious issue since there is a possibility of it being cancerous. The positive side is that the tumor has been found fairly early. We believe that God providentially guided the medical technician to find the tumor in a place where he wasn't even looking. There are a lot of unanswered questions that remain to be explored in the coming days. Please pray that God's providence would continue to be evident in the care that Kristi is receiving.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Heading Back

Wow, it is hard to believe that our year of home assignment is nearly over! We leave on July 28th. God provided amazingly cheap tickets for our return. Also, some friends already found an apartment for us to move into. It turns out we will have extra room for any of you who would like to visit!

In the meantime, we are on our last road trip. We have been reminded of the blessing of each of our supporting churches as we spend time visiting them! We have also been able to connect with many of our individual supporters. Without each one of you, it would not be possible for us to continue our work in Ecuador. Thank you so much!


It looks like Kristi will be teaching 4th grade math and science this year. Alliance is still needing several teachers for this coming school year! Please pray that God will provide!

Hope Begins

Scott’s book, Hope Begins, continues to sell—a few copies every month. Another missionary who teaches in Mexico City recently contacted Scott after finding the book online. He wants to use Hope Begins as a text for his upcoming course on Biblical Theology. He has agreed to arrange for translation into Spanish in exchange for permission to print a few copies of the book. Scott will have rights to use the translation for his own ministry too. Pray that God will guide the team of translators to produce a good quality work that can be used to faithfully teach God’s Word.

You can find Hope Begins in electronic and paperback versions at either of these two websites:

Kids' Update

One of the hardest parts of going back to Ecuador is leaving all 3 of our boys behind. David and Shelby are getting ready to move from Chicago to San Luis Obispo, California the end of July. They are looking forward to living closer to Shelby's parents. Shelby already has a job as a school nurse. Please pray for David as he interviews and decides between several opportunities.

Joel is working on a painting crew in Spokane. He is enjoying his new line of work. Luke is thriving this summer working as a camp counselor in northern Wisconsin.

Lindsey was able to play basketball in a June summer league. She has also been able to enjoy some cousin time and a visit with a friend from Ecuador who now lives in the States.
Pray for us as we finish up and get ready to transition back to Ecuador. Especially pray for Lindsey as she says goodbye to some very good friends. Pray that we can help her process the upcoming transition in a healthy way.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Downhill Stretch

As our days begin to feel more and more like summer, we know we are on the downhill stretch to head back to Ecuador. We all have some mixed feelings as we think about going back. We have loved being back in the States closer to friends and family here. But we also are looking forward to being back in Quito.

History Class

Scott has already received a request by national leaders to teach a class this fall on the history of Avant’s ministry in Ecuador. He will need to do some research to be sure he gets the details right, looking into the stories of missionaries who were there for decades before we were. In some ways it feels strange to think of teaching Ecuadorians about their own history, but we realize the current generation is losing their perspective on sacrifices that were made both by missionaries and by early national Christians. Studying their roots will help the church further ground themselves in their biblical foundations.

6th Grade Classroom

We had several surprises last month. Kristi has been in the Alliance Academy 6th grade classroom for the past 7 years. She received word that the class moving up will be losing several students and only has around 25 students for next year. The school administration is left with a hard decision concerning whether we can continue with 2 teachers in 6th grade for next year. Pray that some new students will enroll or for wisdom if that doesn’t happen.

Caring for Mom

Another surprise was Kristi’s mom falling and breaking her arm just below the shoulder as well as several bones around her eye. They were unable to cast the arm since the break was so high, so she began by using a sling. After 2 weeks the x-ray showed it was not healing correctly, so they did surgery last week putting 3 pins into her arm. Thankfully the pain is improving. Please pray for her as she continues to heal.

We had a 2-week trip planned to the Chicago, Indiana, Michigan area. Since we have been living with Kristi’s mom, we made some adjustments and cut it down to one week. Thanks to Kristi’s two sisters for helping mom out during this time.


The highlight of May was having Luke home from college for 3 weeks. But just as we had grown accustomed to having him back with us, it was time for him to leave for HoneyRock Camp in Northern Wisconsin. We had to say goodbye to him till he visits us over Christmas break. Please pray for Luke during his summer as counselor at camp.


Lindsey graduated from 8th grade the middle of May. It was a fun way to celebrate her year of school in the States this year. She is excited to get to play basketball several times a week during the month of June and spend time with her friends. Please continue to pray for her transition back to Ecuador next month.


We still have some traveling to do and will be speaking in 6 churches before we travel back. Please pray for safety as we travel and that we will encourage others towards missions.

June 9—First Mennonite Nappanee, Indiana
June 19—St. Luke Newton, Kansas
June 23—Rose Hill Langford, South Dakota
June 30—Holcomb Holdrege, Nebraska
July 7 – Spirit of Faith Omaha, Nebraska
July 14—Koerner Heights Newton, Kansas

Thank you so much for praying for us

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Friends and Family

"Friends are the family you choose." Jess C. Scott

We have been enjoying the opportunity to connect with so many of our friends while we are back in the US this year. Sometimes we are back for such a short time that we greet one friend and then rush off to see the next. It has been good to be a little more relaxed about it this time around. It’s hard to see everybody, even in a year. Our next couple of months will be especially focused on traveling to see friends that are further away. If it doesn’t work to get together before we head back to Ecuador in July, just know that we appreciate each one of you, and we’re thankful for your part in our ministry.

Lindsey was apprehensive about coming to live in the States for a year. She knew it meant adjusting to a new school and finding new friends. We are thankful, however, that she has had an excellent experience. She loves her school and has wonderful friends! She has had wonderful opportunities to grow in sports and music as well. In fact, it’s gone so well, she’s currently feeling turmoil about going back. Please pray for her to process another difficult transition.

Luke has had a great freshman year at John Brown University. He feels confirmed in his study of Outdoor Leadership and is thriving at college life. In May he will be doing some odd jobs to earn money. Then he will be working as camp counselor at HoneyRock Camp in Wisconsin. Next school year he will be RA in the dorm.

We don’t normally compare ourselves to great missionaries, but here’s a surprising connection. The apostle Paul did manual labor to cover some of the expenses of his mission (2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:12; Acts 18:1-3; 20:33-35; Philippians 4:14-16.) I (Scott) have likewise been able to do some residential painting work to help cover increased expenses for this year. While Joel was visiting us, I taught him a few tricks of the trade. He returned to Spokane and began to look for opportunities to do more painting. He recently started on a crew of painters and is hopeful that he found a job he will enjoy. We are so pleased to see Joel passionate about following Jesus and finding his place in life!

David and Shelby spent the month of February serving at Bach Christian Hospital in Pakistan. Shelby’s nursing skills came in very useful, and David helped design plans for a new sewer system. They are doing a lot of reflection on what the future might hold for them. We are so proud of their passion to touch others’ lives—wherever they are.

In the upcoming weeks we will be spending a lot of time on the road. Pray for smooth travels. Here is a list of the Sundays we have scheduled for speaking in churches:

April 28                 Clinton, Oklahoma
May 5                    Funk, Nebraska
May 12                 Delta, Colorado
June 2                   Kokomo, Indiana
June 9                   Nappanee, Indiana
June 16                 Omaha, Nebraska?
June 23                 Langford, South Dakota
June 30                 Holdrege, Nebraska
July 14                   Newton, Kansas

Thank you for being our friends; we are blessed to have a family so good!