Monday, April 12, 2021

A New President and a New Setting

Yesterday we had the privilege of participating in a nationwide election in Ecuador. Guillermo Lasso was chosen as our new president.

Mabel Velástegui, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can read a good article from BBC News about the political context of the election:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56713570

This morning Andres Carrera, pastor of a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Guayaquil, had an opportunity to pray with the president-elect.

See the Facebook post here:

https://www.facebook.com/iglesia.samborondon/photos/a.1100958670005483/3369043176530343/

President-elect Lasso will take office at a time characterized by many difficult issues; please pray with us that God would use this man for his purposes in Ecuador.

Ecuador is advancing very slowly with its Covid vaccination program. According to Quito's primary newspaper, only an average of 2 doses of the vaccine have been administered for every 100 people in Ecuador. That ranks Ecuador in 36th place out of 49 countries in the Americas. Read the article from El Comercio:

https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/ecuador-dosis-vacuna-vacunacion-covid.html

We will be traveling to the US on May 1. Pray for our preparations in the next couple of weeks. We'll be getting our apartment ready for some friends to temporarily occupy it, and there are many other little details to take care of.

We're looking forward to celebrating Joel and Jaden's wedding on May 23. Pray for them as they plan the event and prepare to start their new life together.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Wedding, Ordainment and Classes

Warm greetings from the Equator! A lot of our friends have told us how cold the winter has been this year! We hope you're finding ways to stay comfortable. If not, maybe you at least have hope for changing weather around the corner.

Kristi was in Kansas during part of the cold spell. She went for three weeks to help her mom with recovery after experiencing some serious heart issues. Della is doing much better now, but she would still appreciate your prayers as doctors consider what else needs to be done for her.

We're excited to share with you that Joel is engaged to be married to Jaden Lavender on May 23! We will travel to Kansas at the beginning of May and are looking forward to celebrating their new life together.


Since so much of our ministry happens online these days, we will continue to stay connected with our various responsibilities in Ecuador from the US. Lindsey will also continue to attend her classes via Zoom until her semester ends at the end of June.

One of Scott's students was ordained as a pastor last Sunday. Scott had the privilege of sharing the message at his ordination service. It was a joy for him to see Juan taking this step of commitment to even deeper ministry. Pray for Juan to be a useful tool in the hands of his Master.

Juan was honored to receive sheep to "pastor."

In Spanish, "pastor" also means "shepherd."

These sheep symbolize his congregation.

You can watch the ordainment service on Facebook if you're interested.

It's split into two parts.

Ordainment Service Part 1

Ordainment Service Part 2

Thank you for your prayers for us and for people like Juan who are making an impact on the country of Ecuador.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Snow, Surf and School!

 Happy New Year! We enjoyed a wonderful holiday season.

Luke was able to come before Christmas and spend about 3 weeks with us. He brought along his 2 roommates for part of that time. We enjoyed a weekend trip out of town. Also Luke and Scott climbed Cotopaxi, a 19,000 ft glacier-covered active volcano.


Joel and his girlfriend, Jaden, came for Christmas and spent 2 weeks with us. We enjoyed getting to know Jaden and a week at the beach together. 









After having a house full of activity for a month, things have quieted down again and we were getting back into our normal schedule when we received a late night phone call that Kristi’s mom had been found unconscious. Thankfully she had been on the phone with Kristi’s sister and Joel was at home as well. They were able to get her help quickly. The next day she had a heart pacemaker put in surgically. She was put on several new medicines that have made recovery more challenging. But she is slowly improving little by little. Kristi is traveling to Kansas tomorrow and will be spending some time with her just to make sure she is fully recovered and ready to live on her own again.

Lindsey is finishing up her 1st semester next week, then will have a week off of school. It is sounding like the rest of her school year will stay online. 

Kristi will finish up her 1st semester in 2½ weeks. Thankfully she will be able to do that from Kansas as easily as from Quito. Continue praying for her student’s family who is going through a divorce. The mother is planning on getting remarried and the 2 kids may be moving in with their father instead.

Scott continues teaching 6 nights a week online. It is getting to be too much to keep up with, so he is hoping to soon get a break from a couple of his classes. 

We learned that the first Ecuadorian received a covid vaccine yesterday. We continue with restrictions of only being able to drive 4 days a week and having to wear a mask whenever out of the house. Like everyone else we look forward to coming changes. In the meantime, we are amazed by the opportunities for ministry that we have, even from home. Thank you for your continued prayers for us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

We certainly give thanks!

I think almost everyone is in agreement that 2020 has been a crazy year! Yet in spite of everything that has happened this year, God’s blessings have been abundant and we have so much to thank Him for.

Scott even says he is thankful for the pandemic because it has allowed him the opportunity to teach more classes since it is all online from home and does not require the usual travel. He has a busy schedule teaching 6 evenings a week. Sunday he leads a small group from our church. They discuss the sermon more in depth and spend time praying for individual prayer requests.  Monday he teaches a group of Quichua pastors how to do the inductive Bible study method. Tuesday he meets with a small group of his students to answer questions. Wednesday he is teaching Biblical Hebrew at one of the Quichua seminaries in Ecuador. Thursday he meets with another group of students who also are studying Biblical Hebrew together. Saturday he is meeting with a group of Quichua believers who are studying the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Old Testament. He is staying busy but is really excited about all of the opportunities God has given to him.

Kristi is thankful for her job working with the group of homeschool families and especially for her class of six 3rd graders. Please pray for one of the families who is going through a divorce. They have 2 boys who are really struggling both academically and emotionally. 

Lindsey is thankful for her friend Michaela. The 2 of them are starting a baking business in their free time. Today they are busy making 10 pies that were ordered. She is still doing school completely online. It gets old, and she wishes she could go back to school instead, but she continues to keep a good attitude. 

We are thankful that Luke was able to complete all of his semester on campus at John Brown. They have had very few cases of Covid. He will head to Newton for Thanksgiving to see his Grandma and Joel. Pray for him as he takes his finals online next week to finish his semester.

We are thankful for safety for Joel as he had a car accident about a month ago and for providing a different car for him. Pray for wisdom for him as he would like to move back to Spokane and go back to school.

We are thankful for blessing us with a granddaughter this year! We love getting to see Evelyn by video call from a distance but sure wish we were close enough to hug and kiss her. We also are so thankful for David and Shelby and the joy we see in their faces as they learn to be a family of three.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Teaching can be exciting!

Kristi 

We wrote last month that Kristi lost her job at Alliance Academy because of a large drop in enrollment due to the tough economy Ecuador is experiencing. Thanks for praying. Kristi was offered a job with a new organization called EduKasa. It is a group of parents who have decided to homeschool their children using Abeka, a Christian curriculum from the U.S. 

She is just starting her 2nd week working with six 3rd graders. They watch the Abeka videos online each day and Kristi meets with them 2 times a morning for 30 minutes to help reinforce what they are learning and answer any questions they have. She also meets with each student twice a week for some one-on-one time as well. All of this is done online using Google Meet.

All six of her students are Ecuadorians. They have parents who are deeply involved in their children's education, but since the videos and curriculum are all in English, they have a difficult time helping their children. Kristi is very thankful for the opportunity to work with these six students each morning.

Scott

We also asked you to pray regarding some teaching opportunities for Scott. The Zoom group from Chimborazo has come together just as we hoped. Last night they had their third meeting. The students are very interested in learning about the inductive Bible study method. Some of them are also learning a lot about using Zoom!

Since we last wrote, a new study group has also formed to learn Biblical Hebrew. Scott found an excellent online tool called "Aleph with Beth." A missionary couple doing Bible translation with Wycliffe is developing this channel on YouTube to teach Hebrew for free to anyone around the world. It is useful for anything from Bible study to Bible translation. The best part is that the videos are simple enough for anyone to use for learning, and it doesn't matter what language they speak.

Watch Lesson 1 here:

Click here if you want to see their introductory video:

This Thursday Scott will begin a weekly Zoom class to help guide about 20 students through this study. They seem to be excited to start. Pray that they will catch a vision of helping to teach others too.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Adapting to New Realities

Travel

A lot has happened since we last wrote. We loved spending a few days with David and Shelby in San Luis Obispo, California and snuggling with our new granddaughter, Evelyn. What a precious gift from God!


We traveled back to Quito from California. We were required to have a negative Covid test in order to enter back into Ecuador. We are thankful that God provided and we received the results in time to travel. Our travel day was mostly uneventful and we arrived back home safely. The only crazy part started about halfway through the flight from Miami to Quito. The young man sitting right next to Scott started to cough and sniffle, and it continued for the rest of the flight! Another requirement was to spend our first 10 days in quarantine at home, and it certainly seemed like a good idea this time. Thankfully, we never saw any aftereffects from our concerning social interaction!

When we got back, we were happy to find that we can order groceries online and have them delivered right to our door. Things are still much more restricted in Quito than what they were in Kansas. Masks are required everywhere outside of our home, including in our car. We are only able to drive 3 days a week. The curfew continues, but it has been extended to 11:00 pm. Churches are still not able to meet together.

Alliance

Unfortunately, because of the economic situation caused by the current challenges, Alliance Academy has been greatly affected. They lost about 200 students (over a third) and had to let many staff and teachers go, Kristi being one of them. Pray for wisdom for Kristi to know how best to use her time. She has started physical therapy here in Quito and continues to see improvement in her shoulder recovery. 

Lindsey started 10th grade this year and is studying online. She misses the daily physical contact with friends and can’t wait for the day when she can actually go back to school and not have to be on the computer all day long. 



Teaching

Scott has a couple of upcoming opportunities to teach online. The first is only a potential since the dates haven't been set yet. It's for a group of pastors in Chimborazo Province whom Scott has taught before. This time they are asking for more training regarding the inductive Bible study method. They are hoping to get something organized on Zoom for September. Since these guys are mostly rural, the technology and bandwidth is a little more of a challenge. You can pray that God would enable them to study together. If it works it could open the door for more frequent classes for an area of the country that doesn't have as many opportunities.

The other opportunity is more certain. One of the Quichua believers has made initial efforts at starting a seminary that will function online permanently. He invited Scott to teach an overview of the Old Testament starting in November. The big challenge is that for now they are only meeting one hour per week. It will take a long time to finish the whole OT at that pace! The key will be to start with the Pentateuch and see where things go from there. Some of Scott's work in the next month and a half will be to map out a plan for the upcoming sessions in this class.

An App for That

Some of you are familiar with goTandem, an app for cell phones from Back to the Bible. They have given Avant Ecuador the opportunity to develop our own app using the same platform. We created one called UME Ecuador. It will send daily scriptures, devotionals, Bible teaching and prayer requests to anyone who installs it on their phone.


Scott has been learning how to manage the app, and he recently finished getting it ready enough to start promoting. Pray that many people will give it a try. Pray that God will use it to connect people more with the Scriptures and with quality Bible teaching. Maybe it will be an especially useful tool for these challenging times.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Heading back the long way!

We are proud to announce the birth of our baby granddaughter, Evelyn Louise Edgren! She was born to David and Shelby on July 15, measuring 8 lbs 13 oz and 21 in. We are traveling to California to see them for a few days starting August 4. From there we will travel back to Ecuador on August 10.


We are thankful that there are currently no restrictions blocking our return to Quito. We will be required to submit negative results of a Covid test in order to enter the country. The test needs to be done within 7 days of arriving in Quito. Pray that we will be able to get tests done in California with quick results.

After arriving in Quito we will be required to quarantine for two weeks again. Kristi and Lindsey will return to classes at Alliance Academy on September 1. It looks very likely that the classes will be online to start. Pray for a good adjustment back to school. Alliance expects to lose many students for the coming year because of economic challenges. Pray for the health of the school and that this year will be full of opportunities to touch people's lives for Christ.

Kristi's recovery from shoulder surgery has been going as well as expected. She has a doctor's appointment on Monday when she expects to get confirmation that she can abandon her sling and begin more intensive therapy. Pray that she won't lose ground with her recovery during the three weeks of our transition back to Ecuador.

Scott continues to be involved a little with ministry online. After we return to Ecuador he hopes to increase his involvement with this. Pray for the right opportunities to come together.