Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shedd's Marathon!

Wow...We had a crazy weekend! Things started off early Saturday morning...

We rent our apartment from Shedd & Kris Waskosky, who live above us in their home with their youngest son David. Their older daughter, Anne, who lives in the States, has been training for a marathon. She was visiting here several weeks ago, and Shedd ran with her. He ran 20 miles with her, and figured he might as well do the entire thing while he was in shape! So this past Saturday, he started at 6:00 am, and ran 26.2 miles in a huge loop through several small towns around Shell.

Kris had everything planned out perfectly! She had a cooler stocked with drinks and snacks, and she stopped every 2 miles to give Shedd whatever he needed. David stayed with us until about 7:45 when Kris came and picked us all up. She dropped Dwight off at mile 13, and he ran the last half with Shedd. That explains why all of my pictures are only from that point on. :-)

It was so much fun to be a part of this, and I'm INCREDIBLY impressed that Shedd did such an awesome job! They finished at the orphanage, so we had some of the big kids come out to cheer them on! I took a video of the finish, but I'll have to try to post it later.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Laura and Fernando

Last Friday we got 2 new little ones, a brother and sister. Laura is between 12 and 18 months, and she’s in the baby house. Fernando is about 3, and he’s in the back with the big kids. They are both so beautiful, and they’ve adjusted so quickly.

Every time I go to check on them I find them laughing and playing with the others. Sometimes new siblings get upset if we have to split them up, but these two are really doing great.

I couldn’t believe what Patti Sue told me about the jail system here. The reason we got these two kids is because they were about to go to jail with their dad. Yes…I said with. Apparently the dad was sentenced to jail, and the mom said she wasn’t taking the kids and took off. In Ecuador, if a parent doesn’t have anyone to take their children….they go to jail with them. So you have a room full of adult male prisoners…and sometimes little ones like these. Can you imagine!?! Ugh…makes my stomach hurt.

Someone heard this was going to happen, and called Ines at the orphanage. We had the kids about an hour later. It’s in situations like these that I’m just continually humbled at what the orphanage provides for so many kids in need…a safe haven. God is doing some huge things, and it is awesome that people in the community are aware that there is help if needed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jonathan's clippers

Dwight gave a few of the boys haircuts the other day, and it was fun to be an observer. :-) I just loved some of the facial expressions. They usually get a really quick bowl cut or buzz, and they’re done. Dwight gave them all fades, and getting around the ears with the clippers was quite humorous.

Martin was first. Looking at these pictures now, I realize I didn’t get one of him smiling. I thought the scared faces were too funny. He tends to be quite dramatic, so when he wasn’t making these faces he was laughing. Oh…and offering him a sucker helped.
Pablo was next….notice the smile. He was THRILLED to be allowed into Patti Sue’s room where we were doing this. He couldn’t sit still, because he was so excited.

That didn’t last long. Check out this face…..

He was watching him VERY closely in the mirror….

HA! This is my absolute favorite picture! This is when Dwight was trying to get around his ears. About every 5 seconds, he would whip his head around and glare at the clippers with this look on his face….like he was getting on to them. You’d have to know Pablo… he’s a blast.

Here he is with his after shot. I took these the next day, and they had just gone to pick some grapefruit. They all thought I wanted pictures of the fruit…not the hair.

Next was Carlos….He was such a little man about it all. Carlos has such a sweet, calm disposition that makes him stand out among the boys. Here’s some before and after of him. What a difference!

Look at that beautiful smile!

I didn’t stay in the room for the rest of the time, but I got an after shot of Jefferson (Left) and Ivan. Aren’t they so handsome? All of these children really are beautiful.

I’ll have to post one on Angel later. He’s the oldest of the boys here…almost 12. He has his a little longer on the top…combed forward and spiked up. I think he’s grown 2 inches since the haircut…he seems to walk around with a much straighter posture. :-)

Now all of the kids who didn’t get one are jealous…They continue to ask Dwight when he’s going to cut theirs!

Thanks for all of the positive comments on the blog! I know I tend to ramble....poor Dwight. :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catching Up....

Wow! Time is really flying lately. I thought I’d catch you up on a couple of things…. (Note: This is a very long, detailed account that I’m doing because I know our parents love it.)

Last week we house-sat for a missionary family that was out of town. You’d think I would have posted more blogs considering I had the internet at home….oops. :-) But what I lacked in my posting, I made up for in my baking. …And Dwight is very happy because of that. I made his favorite cookies the first Saturday and again this past Sunday…..the same with banana bread. Amazing how special the small things can be when living in a foreign country. This family’s kitchen was fully stocked with everything imaginable….and the best thing of all- wheat flour. Thank you, Kristin McWeeny. It’s one of the things I haven’t been able to find here yet. It was like Christmas morning when I found it in the freezer…with a note that said, “Use me!”

This past Saturday we took a little road trip with Patti Sue, Chantal, Melissa (our two teachers) and a friend, Donna King. We drove to Ambato, which is about 2 hours up headed to Quito. Oh my….I think I just get overwhelmed with all of the shiny lights and readily available cheap pastries. Everyone in the group (besides Dwight) was so amazed at the amount of food I packed away. I’m sorry…I just CANNOT turn down a honey-glazed, pudding & peaches filled pastry for twenty cents!! I had one when we got to the mall…and before we left the mall. I also had Kentucky Fried Chicken, French fries, some of Dwight’s burrito, some of Patti Sue’s hamburger….and a very large frozen yogurt with strawberries. What a good day. OH! And then we stopped in Banos (that’s said with the “nya” sound) on the way home and got empanadas. They were SO GOOD! I had banana…. Who knew…I even like pastries filled with fruit that are deep-fried. –All that to say…if we are looking for some comfort food, we have somewhere to go. :-) Don’t worry about us in that department.
So, anyway… we drove to Ambato and went to the hardware store. It was a little bit of culture shock, because they had pretty much everything! I’ve already gotten used to the selection available at stores in Shell, so it was quite overwhelming. I felt like I was back in the States….with 23 options of every single item in the store. – Dwight was looking for some specific tubes for the water system they’re putting in…no luck. He’s going to have to go to Quito for what he needs.
On to the mall…yes, the mall. It feels funny to even say that here. I felt like such a typical tourist walking around taking pictures. That should show you how dedicated I am to this blog…I was willing to be the foolish gringa walking around taking pictures of nothing.

I just wanted you guys to see the similarities to home! Specifically note the Cinemark and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s just so funny to me.

What’s not funny is that you go 2 minutes down the street, and you’re back in poverty. It was the same way when I was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras as well. 3rd world countries are confusing.

SUPERMAXXI. This is one of my new favorite words. It’s the name of the huge grocery store here in Ecuador. It is like heaven after shopping in Shell. It would be a more enjoyable experience if my stomach wasn’t hurting the whole way through….dreading finding out the total during check-out. Lol…. We did some serious stocking up. I already have my new list started for our next trip. :-)

On the way home we dropped Donna off in Banos where she lives. She and her husband, Wes King, run a home for boys there called Dulce Refugio/Sweet Refuge. I think they currently have 9 boys living with them, and we got to meet them briefly. I REALLY admire them for tackling all boys. They don’t have any hired help…they do everything on their own, and they’re in their 70’s.

Wes has built this home completely on his own…and it is beautiful. He bought this orchard (approx. 2 acres) right on the slope of the river…next to the base of the mountains. He built a multi-level house that perfectly captures the essence of the location. He’s also landscaped through the orchard with stone trails that lead down to a gathering area with a stone grill- facing the river and mountains. I could not get over how beautiful it is!

Oh…AND they let us pick 3 huge bags of avocados to take home. They were only the ones that had fallen on the ground….must be rough to have that many avocado trees. Ugh…. I’m a little jealous.
We also got a gift for Ines while we were there…a new German Shepherd puppy! Apparently her dogs are always dying for random reasons, so Patti Sue decided to surprise her with a puppy. We surprised her that night after we got back.
I thought it was funny…one of her sons surprised her with another puppy the next day. Ha!

Anyway…we had a long day, but it was a lot of fun. That was the first time Dwight and I had left Shell since moving down here. Everyone else takes off on little Saturday trips all the time. We usually don’t want to leave the house when Saturday rolls around…trying to recover and regenerate for the week to come. :-) I say that as a good thing, though. We really are having a great time, and we wouldn’t trade this time here for anything. I can’t wait to see what the next step is in life…and how God will use this experience in the future.
All for now…. tandy

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Last year when I visited Casa de Fe in the summer, I really connected with Cintia. She is actually the first child that Patti Sue took in as her own foster child- abandoned as a newborn due to her disabilities. She has a certain type of syndrome, autism, and she's partially deaf. She loves to fixate on one item and then self-stimulate for hours. My favorite is the huge blue exercise ball...she spreads her legs and leans over to where her head is resting on the top. Then she proceeds to bounce her head up and down until she can't take it any more....which is an amazingly long period of time. :-)

Check out her crazy hair. It's always out of control....I love it. - Totally adds to her personality.
This is her special rocking chair.

I don't know what it is, but I just love to get in her personal space and play with her. She doesn't speak, and she usually keeps to herself. She loves to make certain noises...specifically anything that makes her lips move a lot. So, I just get in her face and imitate the noises...which just fascinates her. Strangely enough...noone else ever does that with her. The tia's look at me like I'm crazy.

Well, I was working in the office the other day, and I could hear her crying. She hardly ever cries, so I went to check it out. There were 2 guys from the group sitting in there with her, but they had no idea why she was crying. Finally one of the guys told me that she has walked over to his guitar case and started fiddling with it. He said he gently turned her the other direction, and she walked to the middle of the room and started crying. I reassured him that she was not upset for him turning her the other way. She CONSTANTLY has things taken out of her hands that she's not supposed to have, and it doesn't upset her. I asked him if he had been playing earlier, and he said yes. I told him that I thought she was probably going to the case b/c she wanted him to get out his guitar again! I asked him to play for her, and I had to grab the camera. All of the other kids were off playing, so Cintia had him all to herself. Remington did an awesome job, and he felt so much better to know that he didn't make her cry. :-) Zoom into this picture if you can, so you can see the smile on her face. I love it!

She wanted to touch the strings so badly while he was playing. She loved to see his fingers moving around.

Now she's attempting to take her shoes apart. If you leave her with anything that can possibly be destroyed...she'll find a way to do it. :-)

Anyway...just wanted to share more about one of the 55 (currently) kids here at the orphanage. I hope to do blog posts on each of them as we go through this next year. There's no way you can understand how special they are unless you're here though! Yes...I'm once again pressuring everyone to come visit. :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hot Chocolate and English

I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate me calling this "cute," but that's what comes to mind. :-)

Last Friday afternoon, Dwight brought the men he works with on the construction site to the orphanage. They went upstairs to one of the classrooms, and set up Dwight's laptop to use Rosetta Stone for an English language. They had planned to do it the day before, and Dwight said they were all really excited about it.

The hot chocolate.... A couple of weeks ago, they were all waiting for the rain to stop and started talking about coffee. One of the guys said he would bring his coffee pot, so they could all have some. .... He brought his coffee pot, and some unsweetened cocoa mix -kind of like Nestle Quick- ...and he didn't know how the coffee pot worked. Dwight showed them how to put water in there, and they used it to make hot chocolate....which, of course, tasted awful. After that, Dwight promised them he would make his mom's homeade hot chocolate mix and let them all have some. It was surprisingly easy to find what we needed conisdering powdered milk is VERY popular here.

So....hence the hot chocolate and the English lessons. :-) I just loved it when I went up there and saw them in that little room together huddled around the computer. Unfortunately, I didn't get one of Dwight with the teapot serving the cocoa. It was very much HIS thing! (which means I kept trying to help, and he did not want it) lol...

The friendship among the guys has been growing. I know they pray about different things at the different languages, with noone truly understanding anyone else. But the beauty of it is that it doesn't matter! I love that God hears prayers in every language, and I love that the Holy Spirit fills in where we cannot. We continue to see evidence of that here, and it's very humbling.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our First Group

Our first visiting group got here on Saturday afternoon, and it has been non-stop since then! Thank goodness the group is organized and led by YouthWorld. Chet and Katie Williams are leading the team, and they've brought tons of teams here. We're taking the opportunity to learn everything we can from them.

This is basically what I'm currently doing almost full-time right now. Throughout the summer, we have teams pretty much back-to-back. We also have about 20 people coming in 1's and 2's to work for a month or two at a time. It is a HUGE blessing to have this many people come to work! It is also A LOT of work to organize all of their travel and lodging logistics. Whenever we host a team on our own, we plan everything for them. When YouthWorld brings a team, they handle all of the logistics, and we work alongside them with what's going on here.

For this week, Dwight continues to work at the work-site, where the group sends about 12 people every day. I have a group of 6 or 7 here at the orphanage, and the kids are eating up the attention. They're all currently at the park....which makes this blog possible. :-) I haven't been able to sit down for emails since the team got here!

We're having a blast, and I'm excited to see how God works in each person's heart. We join the group each night for dinner and some time of worship/discussion/debrief of the day and what everyone has experienced. It's been awesome so far, and it makes us excited for what's to come this summer. Please keep us in your prayers, that we would lead with love and grace. Keep the group in your prayers as they continue on their travels after they leave Shell.

I'll post a slide-show after the group leaves. Sorry, no pics this time!

OH!....and Patti Sue is coming back this Saturday!!! THANK YOU, LORD!!! She's been in the States for 3 weeks now. Although I want to learn all the Spanish I can...I have definitely been experiencing the language barriers lately! It will be nice to have the head honcho back where she belongs. :-)


Wow! I'm so behind on posting. I typed up something on the new baby boys we got last week, but the computer wasn't cooperating..... They've now been here about a week and a half, and they're doing so great. It's amazing to see what that short time can do for babies that are in need of some love.....

We got two new baby boys this week, and they are precious. I've become quite attached to little David....say that the Spanish way...not the English way. :-) David is 3 months old, and he's perfectly healthy from all of the tests and doctor's reports up to this point. He loves to "talk"/coo and smile....

Look at those cheeks!!!

Little Frixon is 8 months old, but he's smaller than David. His little eyes roam back and forth, and we're not sure what type of developmental delay he has. They label everything here as cerebral palsy, but we'll have to wait for some more tests to see. He's such a sweet baby, and the healthy diet is already doing him so much good!

I've seen him smile and coo now, and it's amazing to see the changes in such a short time.

Just 2 more reminders here at the orphanage that God is sovereign and takes care of His children.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Going Back in Time...

I can't seem to keep up with the pictures I'm taking! I'm going through them and seeing all of these forgotten would-be blog posts. Let's start with last Monday.... Nate Saint Memorial School is for missionary children, and we've become friends with a lot of the staff and families who are a part of it. We were asked to lead chapel last Monday morning, and I agreed....REALLY hoping that Dwight would take the lead and speak. :-) Patti Sue had a great idea for him to talk about his experience in the army and then relate that to being a soldier for Christ. I thought this was a FABULOUS idea....particularly because it didn't include me being in the front. lol.... Anyway...Dwight did an awesome job, and the kids loved him. (of course!) Sorry the pictures aren't very clear...I was in the back of the room, and the flash just made things worse.

This is Robert DiCrasto, whose parents are here with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Check out his soldier gear....notice the backpack is the 'breastplate of righteousness.' The kids loved it. :-)

Ok...I was going to add more to this post, but I'm scared something will happen with the internet before I finish it. More to follow....