Our absentee ballots from PA arrived on December 6, one month after Barack Obama was reelected president of the USA. They were mailed on October 5. One can only guess what caused the delay. The only positive part of this story is that no one can blame us for any of the local, state, or national election results. Maybe our ballots will arrive on time for the May elections. One can at least strive to be an optimist.
Today I preached at the Cotacachi church on the topic "Jesus the Servant." I decided to put my acting skills to good work and played the apostle Matthew who related how Jesus served during His life on earth. I think it turned out quite well. My main text was Mark 10:35-45, and I also used John 13 and Philippians 2. I broke character at the end of the message to sing the Christmas song "We Are the Reason." People came up to me afterwards and asked if I was the original singer of the song. Now, THAT is funny! Please don't tell David Meece.
You can see the Playmobile nativity set that Joel and Amelia assembled. Also pictured is our first Christmas card received for the year. Our friends Betty and Scott from Kutztown, PA, have sent the first card now for two years running.
Elias and Jacob meet the Christmas tree sans decorations for the first time. We had to put it behind the sofa and chair since the babies are crawling and almost walking.
Joel and Amelia helped us to decorate it as they do each year. It is a real "family affair."
On Monday we experienced a bit of a scare. Jacob woke up from his nap with red spots all over his body. At first we thought he had chicken pox, but after consulting with a doctor friend and Jacob's pediatrician, they both concurred that he has an allergy to something. Now we found ourselves in the challenge of trying to figure out what he is allergic to. Oh brother! Please pray for us.
Joel and Amelia savor the moment, chomping on the guinea pig that Marisol's mom sent them in a plastic container. Yes, guinea pig is an Ecuadorian delicacy that dates from the pre hispanic era of the Incas. Now they're eaten mainly for special occasions (birthdays, weddings, etc.), but since Marisol's parents raise them, we can indulge more often. YUM!
Here are some birthday pictures of Marisol's family, starting with her brother Hugo's birthday which we celebrated last Saturday. Marisol and her sister Miryan both celebrated their birthdays in September. I realize I am late posting these. Sorry about that.
We have a Christmas tradition at our house that runs from December 1 until Christmas Eve. Each day the children alternate opening a fabric bag with a gift. Each bag has a tag with a Scripture verse having to do with the biblical Christmas story; we always read that before opening the gift. For the first day we splurged and got an hot air popcorn maker. This is a healthier option than the typical oil popped corn here. Doesn't quite taste the same, though. Just ask Joel and Amelia!
Here I am with Jacob at ten months and Marisol with Elias at the same age. My, how fast babies grow. That amazes us. Please continue to pray for us as parents to our four children. I must admit that sometimes (actually quite frequently) we feel like failures as parents, especially since we don't have as much time as we would like to spend with Joel and Amelia. Thanks for your support!
Here are some recent pictures of our children, including a trip to the nearby park. As you can see, Jacob fell asleep during the walk; Elias didn't. Joel and Amelia continue to help us with the twins, especially now that they are both climbing stairs. Jacob likes to go under the table, too. We had to switch them into different beds because they were moving around too much. We also celebrated Amelia's third spiritual birthday on November 18 (she asked Jesus to be her Savior in Guam after Awana Club). Joel's fourth spiritual birthday was June 24 (he became a Christian during our missions trip to the island of Palau). We thank God for saving our children.
We are studying the first eleven chapters of Genesis in our current course with 22 students working toward academic credit (bachelors or master). The emphasis of the class concerns the debate between creation and evolution. Robert O'Donnell of Christ Hope Ministries in Georgia traveled to Ecuador to teach the initial eight-hour conference which had our highest attendance at a conference so far at 77 persons between auditors and students. His son translated for him. Now we continue with the weekly two-hour classes to review the reading and homework assignments.