Release.

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Release.
That word has been coming up a lot lately.  Which is not so good for my brain, as you will soon see.

We have been talking a lot about disciple making.  That's my job.   Make disciples.  Sometimes it's really slow going and so we have been looking at methods.  Is our current method working?  Do we need to change it?  Tweak it?  Give it an overhaul?  What other tools are there that might help us?

It's been on our minds a lot lately, and one word that keeps coming up is the word "RELEASE".  Because a disciple must be released to make other disciples.  A true disciple loves Christ so much that he wants to see others follow Him.  In order for that to happen, the original discipler must release a new disciple to make new disciples.

Release.  When is it time?  How do we do it?

And that brings me to a recent Spotlight lesson.  (Spotlight is an El Sendero English club that meets twice a week to study a topic in English).  The topic was stress and a word was mentioned as being unfamiliar.

"What does release mean?" asked a student.

And that's when it happened.  Because, well, what choice did I have?  What does real mean after all?

"Let it gooooooo, let it goooooooo."

It won't stop now.  Two worlds have collided.  The missionary world with the Disney world and that STUPID song is firmly planted in my head so that now, whenever I hear the word "release" (which is often) I start belting out the only line of the song I happen to know. (I only saw the movie once, and that was in Spanish)

But, in order to sing more than just one line, I have written a couple more...

Let it go, let it go
All that Spanish you don't knowowow
Let it go.  Let it go.
Don't you know it will never flowowow.



I haven't figured out the whole discipling thing yet.

I have however figured out how to annoy the living daylights out of all my co-workers.

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Not in my job description.

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I do a lot of things.  A lot of different things, and frankly, some of those thing are stuff I never imagined needing to do.

My job is as a missionary and if I had written an imaginary job description before leaving for the field it may have looked like:

Tell people about Jesus.
Visit people in the hospital to tell them about Jesus
Help university students to practice their English to open a door to tell them about Jesus
Teach Vacation Bible School
Write Curriculum for said VBS
Cross a river in a truck to tell people about Jesus
Teach about Jesus by lantern light

What I would not have thought would be on my list:

Explain English street language (curse words) to unsuspecting students.


J came into Sendero not too long ago.  "What does this mean?" he asked.  Then he blurted it out.  The biggest humdinger of an English word known to mankind.  JoLynn and I gasped at the boldness and the strength with which he used the phrase.  It was a surreal moment, as if we had been plopped down inside of a movie.
"I keep hearing it in the movies" J responded.
He repeated it.  Focusing on pronunciation just in he had not communicated correctly the first time.

"You know J, we could rate our cuss words.  On a scale to 1-10, we could rate them.  If we did that, this one would be a 100.  You really don't want to use it."

"But... what does it mean????", J really wanted to know and JoLynn and I really did not want to explain it.  But we did.  Because, even though it isn't in any official job description.  It's there unofficially.  "Explain the horror of a single four letter word to English students".  It's there, even if no one tells you about it.


This also happens to be an unwritten part of the job of mothering.  We hitched a ride home from school from a local pastor.  I sat in the cab and all the kids sat in the back (it's a common form of transport here).  I took a look back and saw two of the children flipping the bird to every car passing by.  The kids were laughing uproariously.  An MK and a PK/MK using their middle finger to salute passersby.

My little princess seemed to have thought it was a silly way to wave hello.

She knows better now and so does J.  What unwritten task in your job description has taken you by surprise lately?

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A Testimony of Service

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I have mentioned several times that God has been sending us resources as we have needed them.  Two of those resources have been Dave and Irma Powers.  Dave is a retired Math teacher and Irma is a retired nutritionist. They wanted an adventure and to serve God.

They have blessed Sendero in countless ways.

Read Irma's testimony about her time here.



When we applied to become short term SIM missionaries for El Sendero we had no idea of what God had in store for us here.  What we did know is that we were retired and wanted to serve The Lord in some interesting way.  

One of our prayer requests was that God would knit our hearts together with the local people so that we could actually be of use as many times personality conflicts & interpersonal relationship difficulties can kill the best of intentions.  God has done the knitting in incredible ways.  

The whole team at El Sendero has welcomed us with open arms & hearts.  In addition, the local people have invited us to dinner in their homes, taken us to church, helped us learn the language and even helped with our homework & requested Bible studies.  

 Most of all there is an incredible bond of love and acceptance that only God can give.  

This love makes us want to work harder, encourage each other & share our lives and faith with all who come through the doors.

Would you like to join us on a incredible journey of faith and service?  El Sendero is looking for short and long term missionaries to serve along beside us.  Maybe the person we are looking for is you!!!  Don't know Spanish?  Neither did they!  Don't know the culture?  Neither did they?  Not Spring Chickens anymore?  Neither are they (though I swear I think they might be younger than I am).

If you have an interested bone in your body, please send me a message to let me know.  One tiny interested bone is all that it takes.  I will twist that tiny bone until we see you here!

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Have we been open two full weeks already?

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We have!  Week two was super awesome and here are some reasons why!


  • Daniel came back.  Everyday.  I have taken to reserving the uno game for him.  He really likes Uno and I hope he invites me to play soon.  He and his friends must have changed the rules.  The Uno I remember is a little boring but they are everything BUT bored!
  • We gave out cupcakes at random.  They didn't have rotten frosting but they were a bit on the heavy side...  I made them.  I didn't add enough liquid AND I overcooked them.
  • My mom made peppermint patties and they sold out.  YUMMY, those things are delicious!
  • We have an ice-cream freezer now!  I get to play popsicle man as I hand out various frozen treats. Ice cream sandwiches are uber popular.
  • Cristina left, but before she did she met with pastors, youth leaders, and youth from around the city.  During a Sunday School teacher's training meeting, she sat down with a young girl who had come with her mother and the two of them opened and read the Bible together.  No fluffy lesson for this little girl, she, like so many Lojanos, longed for God's Word.
  • The youth group from my church met at Sendero and we began a study through the book of Proverbs.  Jonathan also decided to prove he was a boss at Ping Pong and proceeded to win a match against every person in the building.  He even won when he played himself against teams.
  • We hosted two VERY large birthday party.  There was a cake fiasco which I will spare you the details of but it involved a lot of panic.  Our new Spotlight Club room makes a perfect place for a birthday party.
  • Karaoke continues to be popular and someone even offered to pay us to allow him to skip ahead of the line.
  • Our Ping Pong table is so popular that we had a two hour wait at one point.  We need a second table. 
  • We saw God answer our prayers over and over again.  It was amazing and exciting!  For example, we have noticed that the new location is hugely popular with groups of boys so on the night that Sandra and I worked together we sat down and prayed that God would send in some groups of girls/women.  Five different groups of girls came in that night!  
  • Spotlight started up again and we talked about a museum of broken relationships and then had a lovely discussion about Christ redeems broken relationships.  My small group had a three men in various stages of their walk with Christ and our discussion was lively and fun.  
  • I MADE THE BEST CAPUCHINOS I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE!!!!  I have to tell you, I could not wait to deliver those gorgeous drinks to the woman and her friends who had ordered them.  They pointed to their three children and I reluctantly placed those three perfect drinks in front of three very young children who then proceeded to slurp them down with complete abandon.   One of those kids actually licked the cup clean.  
  • We had another discipleship training class in which I often had to step in and translate because our Spanish teacher, Maria, kept forgetting she had to translate.  I think she kept doing that on purpose.









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Church on The Street

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I posted a while back about a church start that Dustan and I are attending.  Our good friend and fellow missionary, David Ludeña and his wife Sandry are leading us as we try to reach the Lojanos who would not otherwise step into (or even be permitted to step into) and traditional church.

Here are some pictures from Sunday's service

I am pretty sure no one would argue that this is perhaps the most beautiful sanctuary on earth.  We don't meet in the same place every week, but this park, in spite of the climb, is one of our favorites.



Auntie Alison and Paula



I told Marcus I was posting this on the internet and I have to be a mom of my word.  I don't know what story he was telling but he was quite animated about it.



Zoar pretending to not like cameras.



This is our church's favorite fellowship activity.  Basketball is not incredibly popular in Loja but so far all of us like playing basketball.  Except for me.  Maybe I don't belong.  Frankly, the climb uphill just getting to church was enough exercise for me.



We also love fellowshipping by eating and drinking.  This is not the first time no one brought cups...



Zoar and Gabriella.  Cousins.  We are working on reaching an entire family!








Carnival is coming up and an impromptu water fight broke out.  The only thing available to hold water (we forgot to bring cups) was an empty bread bag.  Breads crumbs in the hair is probably not a typical way you leave your worship service.




David giving a message.  He just began a series on... actually I am not sure how to translate exactly what the series will be but this week he talked about Bethel and how Jacob declared it for God but later how it had become a place to worship idols.  He warned us against turning God's house into a place of idolatry.

We are still actively raising Missionary support for the Ludeña family but we have another way someone might like to help.  We would love to have a website set up so that international churches and partners would have a way of connecting with them.  Do you have skills to set one up for us?  Bonus if you have Spanish skills, but not required at all.  I can translate all of the content that David has already written.

If you would like to join the Ludeña's support team, we are still using the El Sendero project fund but in a couple of months they should have their own SIM missions account set up and ready.  Until then, follow this link to set up monthly support:

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TIST: The one where a tree stands up for itself.

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This tree has had enough of it's own culture.  Here in Ecuador everything is a public bathroom.  Cars, poles, bridges, and trees are all open game to every male in Loja who decides he must take a pee and he must take it now.

This tree however has had enough.  It will be interesting to see if this one lone tree, standing up among a city of humiliated trees has a voice big enough to cause a revolt.   Sometimes it just takes one.

"SIRS, THIS TREE IS NOT A URINAL" (emphasis not mine)

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Bad food, rotten food, and then there is that slimy capuchino...

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Our first week at Sendero went great.  Here are some things that happened.


  • Becka made the ugliest capuchino in the history of Sendero.  Actually, it is possible that it was the ugliest in the history of the world.  I have heard rumors that someone took a picture for evidence of how ugly it was.  I am trying to track that picture down, not because I want to destroy it but because if you can't be proud of being the best, why not be proud of being the worst?  (This only applies in capuchino making.  Please don't try to apply my logic to moral areas of your life.  For example, I really don't want to hear about anyone saying, "If you can't be proud of being the best driver, be proud of being the worst.  When in fact that would be an impossible standard for you since the top 100 worst drivers all live in Loja)
  • Becka also served cupcakes with rotten frosting.  She's on a roll.
  • We started asking all of our youth what their names are, writing them down, and then praying for them by name.  Our new set-up makes interaction so much easier and at least for now we have less kids coming in all at the same time.  This is actually a blessing because it is difficult to interact with 100 kids and far easier with 20...
  • Our landlord's children have been spending a couple of hours a day in the coffee shop.  Their names are Monica and Antonio.  
  • Pedro, Carlos, and Eduardo all stopped by.  They are old friends who we don't see as much anymore but the lure of curiosity brought them all around again.
  • We had a Sunday School teacher's training meeting held at the new local.
  • We also started a discipleship training course held once a week.
  • We held a Spotlight that had zero students.  Lojanos do NOT like change.  It will take a month or two for them to come straggling back.
  • We held three Bible studies
  • We had Karaoke.  This is both a bad and good thing.  Becka did not sing.  THAT is a very good thing.  If there is anything she is worse at than capuchino making, it's singing.
  • Jim finally stopped painting.
  • We served pizza.  Thought about making Fridays pizza night but first we have to figure out how to make a good pizza...
  • We celebrated Valentine's day with a minimal amount of PDA which, is, quite a miracle...
  • We received a missionary intern candidate and interviewed her.  Her name is Christina and she feels very called to Loja.  Her home city is in Quito and Quiteños are both more bold and more direct than Lojanos.  Within two minutes she had informed me that my Spanish was bad and that she hates English.  I love her.
  • We ran out of cola.  Sigh.
  • We celebrated Fredi's graduation with Mega nachos and ping pong
  • Dave put a doorknob on the back bathroom and we learned that girls do not like to share a bathroom with the boys.  Too bad.  The boys can always use the street I guess.  I wonder if we can get by with just a girls bathroom?
  • A group of five kids came in and chatted us up for about an hour.  Please pray they come to Spotlight club.  I love these marathon chat sessions because you can really learn a lot about people if you have enough of a chunk of time.   For example, who knew there were Pink Floyd fans in Loja?  Besides Dustan of course...
Also, Rebecka is very sorry for writing this post in both third and first person.  I have issues.


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