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Prayer Request!

We’re in the middle of praying through a tough decision this morning and would appreciate you praying alongside us. Our container has arrived in port, but the inspection won’t begin until next week. Two days ago we learned that today we’ll have to move out of the furnished apartment we’ve been staying in because it has been rented out.

There is another apartment through the same company, but it is more expensive, and because we aren’t sure how long it will take for the container to clear customs (it could be a week, or it could take much longer), we are trying to see if there are any other options that will allow us to make better use of resources.

One option would be to “camp” at our new house and just buy some of the essentials we need until the container arrives with all our things (mattresses etc).

We’re all feeling the pain of yet another move, and perhaps camping at the new house would at least minimize the transitions everyone is facing in the midst of so many other transitions, and allow us to begin to settle in there.

Oh, how pillars of clouds and fire to lead us to our next stop would be so helpful right now!

Please pray:
1) We make a wise decision
2) If we move “home” we can find what we need to span the gap until our things arrive
3) The landlord of the new house would be amenable to this option
4) The container passes through customs quickly so both Matt and our things can all be safely in Loja
5) Our family to make the best of this unexpected extra transition

Thank you thank you! We could certainly use your prayers and encouragement today!!
~kristy for the crew

Things we see…

With no internet and all the things that fill up a day here, putting up blog posts just hasn’t been happening. But, there have been some cool/fun/strange/different/new things we’ve seen over the last few weeks that we wanted to share…

Starting with the sweet stuff…in Guayaquil we found some monster merangues (sospiros)…we used to get them at the bakery down the street from our house in San Jose, Costa Rica on market days. It was a fun way to remember an old “home” and be introduced to a new home!

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Seems that chocolatey drinks in the morning are a big thing here (no complaints from our kids). Amazing how quickly we found one we like, the colacao was much much better than the chocolisto. Again, a fun thing as we get settled, but I am sure it won’t be in our pantry all the time! :)

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Just a look at some of Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador.

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Classic Elijah moment…waiting to go for lunch, he found some reading material at the mechanic shop.

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New vegetable…a Jonah cucumber! On the list soon to get will be a hammock!!

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Finally a family picture IN Ecuador!!

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Yogurt is another big thing here…I thought it was a jug of milk at first. But, you can buy yogurt in jugs while most of the milk comes in (straight back to my Canadian roots) BAGS!

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First time I’ve ever seen a best before date on eggs!

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Of course the staff at the guest house we stayed at when we first arrived fell in love with the kids…And I am sure our kids were no end of entertainment playing in the pool all day!

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The scenery is absolutely stunning here…these are just a couple from our trip from Guayaquil to Loja taken by Jonah while we were driving!

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This is Loja!

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Our apartment is set for four people…mealtimes were a little crowded until Leo and Lulu let us borrow a larger table. We’ve added more dishes, added more mattresses and the landlord brought us up a larger fridge to replace the bar fridge we had…nice to be able to put a few days worth of food in the fridge!

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Judah taken to finding himself little hiding places…

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First Friday fiesta here…we ordered pizza…We’ve changed from a pepperoni family to a Hawaiian family, and the pizza we got had pinapple AND peaches on it!

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Keeping with cooking….these bad boys went in my soup last week. So did the head, but it kept popping up over the edge of the pot and I had to keep pushing it back in! I asked and some people eat (chew) on them, while others just put them to the side. I took them out before serving the soup!

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Ahhhh! Familiar things are so cool. But OMO was familiar from Burkina Faso, and Nigeria! The washing machine wasn’t working the first week and a half, our clothes spent a lot of hours wet, but never really washed. It would take 6 or 7 tries to get it to wash and not just fill and empty. You can imagine the backlog with 8 of us! But, now things are coming out smelling just like they did when we lived in West Africa, and I love it!

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Sometimes the menu needs to be inside, and outside, and on the truck…

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Finally getting back to school…learning about Ecuador. You wouldn’t believe the field trips the kids are planning based on what we’ve been learning!

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At Viche and Narcissas we had an empanada fiesta!! Narcissa whipped off 50 of them in no time flat. It took me forever to get this little guy to look like he was the right shape. Once they finally gave me a little oil to put on my hands, I was able to keep the poor thing together. The kids LOVED them, and I’m not sure if we should be proud or mortified that between the 7 in our family, 21 were eaten, mostly by the boys!!

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This sight warms my heart! As does boys coming to call on the kids yesterday to go play! They’ve been playing well after dark the last two days and loving it!!

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This is how we get an internet signal right now…hence the lack of updates…Hopefully soon we’ll have internet of our own!

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And, last but not least…we found a house. We’ll save inside pictures until we’re there, but it’s got enough room for all 8 of us, and God provided everything that we had even imagined on our “list” in this house!

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and p.s….

Here’s our crew on the way to church!

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Today (October 29th), our container is supposed to land in port in Guayaquil, Ecuador, about 8 hours from our house.

Once we know when the landing agent is going to go and present our paperwork, Matt is going to go down there to be present when the container is opened and while it gets processed.

We are praying that customs finds all the paperwork in order and allows the container to pass through quickly and without problem.

We are praying that they won’t take everything out because we have no idea how they will get it all back in there!

We are praying that Matt travels safely to and from Guayaquil (back on those windy roads), and that he is a witness to the customs guys.

We are praying that Julie and I do well with the five kids here.

We are praying that all our things arrive up here in Loja quickly (like maybe early next week???).

We are praying that our things weathered the trip well and nothing is broken….

There are lots of things…will you pray with us??

The manifesto has finally been submitted (sent to Quito) today. It feels like we’ve been working on it FOREVER! We had hoped once we loaded the container that putting the lock on the door would finish off that piece, but alas, there was more to do

Most of our week at the beach was spent working on the manifesto. I think I put in four 8 hour days during our vacation just trying to get it ready to go. We printed out all 100 pages of it the night before we flew to Ecuador. Two copies, actually. Definitely some extra weight in our luggage, but we were so glad to have it done and ready to send to our landing agent once we arrived.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as easy as sending it to the landing agent. First, everything needed to be notarized, so Matt went and found a notary here in Loja and took all the papers to be notarized.

But, it wasn’t nearly as easy as just getting our 100 pages notarized. First, the documents needed to be put together officially with letters from a lawyer. So, Leo (another WorldVenture missionary here) and Matt went to find a lawyer to put together the necessary paperwork for Ecuadorian customs.

But, it wasn’t nearly as easy as just getting the lawyer to legalize the paperwork in order to get it notarized by the notary in order to send it to the customs agent in Quito. We needed a summary document to go with the legal documents that gave only the general contents of each box, the number of items in the box, whether the items were new or used and the value of the box (instead of the detailed manifesto that lists each and every item in the box).

And so, I spent another full day here creating a summary document to go along with the main manifesto. This one was only 16 pages. I was pretty thankful that I managed to re-do that piece with a pretty peaceful heart (perhaps not quite joyful, but at least not as cranky as I was tempted to feel!).

Matt took the summary and the original manifesto to the lawyer with hopes of getting it all finished off and sent to Quito. He came back and I half joked “Did we finally get everything right?” to which he replied “well, there’s one more thing we need to talk about”.

We’ve got a great lawyer working on the paperwork who is being super thorough and trying to make sure everything is done to the letter of the law. This is a HUGE blessing because most of the problems we’ve read about getting containers through customs is due to problems with paperwork. So I wasn’t surprised that somehow there was more to do, but I really really really REALLY didn’t want to even look at the manifesto again.

But, the formatting was just slightly off, so back to the computer it was for me.

Ugh. There went any hope of getting caught up on emails or blogs or other paperwork…

I had to fight to try and keep a good attitude this time…I think the prideful desire to be grumpy prevailed a little more as the day wore on. But, thanks to a darling husband who brought me a chocolate mint ice cream bar (and took on counting all the items on the list), the revised summary of the manifesto finally got done. Have we mentioned that this is all in Spanish?????

The full manifesto

The full manifesto

The summary

The summary

Today, Matt made yet another trip to the lawyers to pick up the papers he’d dropped off yesterday. And today, he went to the notary office to get them notarized. And today (drum roll please!!!), he sent the stinking manifesto papers off in an envelope to Quito to our landing agent with hopes that everything is in order and will help us get the container through quickly!

PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a huge job for both of us this last month and I am so thankful it is *hopefully* finally done! Through this whole process, I couldn’t help but ponder the verse (many times), from Colossians 3:17:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I am pretty sure that means cranky attitudes even when you’ve lost track of how many hours you’ve spent on a manifesto just aren’t ok…and I continue to try to remember to give thanks for the blessing of having things to send here, the blessing of having people who are willing to help us navigate the process, and the blessing of being able to serve my family in this way. And, oh yeah, the blessing of chocolate mint ice cream bars to help sweeten the drudgery that tries to creep in!!

Keep praying…we’re just about to get to the toughest part of the process yet!!

Twisty Turny Probably Pukey

We’re making the drive from Guayaquil to Loja today. This is the second half of the road from Cuenca to Loja (the first is also very curvy). It’s a 7-10 hour drive from Guayaquil at sealevel, to Cuenca at 8300 ft, and then up and down and up and down to Loja at 7300 feet.

Some of us can get pretty carsick. Or, REALLY carsick.

We would so appreciate your prayers for safety (think very curvy roads and very steep drop offs), and for calm bellies all the way. Tonight we’ll be sleeping in our (again) temporary beds in a furnished rental house. But, we’ll be in Loja!!!!

P.S. We made it!!! Safe and sound and no puking at all (at least on the drive!). We don’t have internet access where we are right now. Stay tuned! Thanks for praying!

Arrived

Given my big hulking size you can imagine how ridiculous this scene must have looked at 6:30am Thursday morning:

We couldn’t get to the airport with the hotel shuttle as we had originally hoped. Thankfully though, we still had the Incredible Hulk with us. Early early, Matt loaded everything up and dropped me, Julie (a 16 year old coming to stay with us for a few months), our kiddos, and all our luggage off at the door of the terminal and went to drop the van off back at the hotel. He figured (hoped) he’d be back in an hour.

So…there just inside the doors of the terminal sat 17 big bags/suitcases, a stroller, 3 carseats, a bazillion carry-on bags, and 6 tired kids, and me.

Our stuff pre-superhero action...

Our stuff pre-superhero action…

Somehow, Jonah, Micah, and I managed to get everything moved down the hall and around the corner to the check-in line (Julie was hanging with the other 3 kids).

Then the “check-in line shuffle” began.

As soon as we’d get 1/3 of the bags moved forward, someone would finish at the ticket desk, and everyone would move 4 feet forward in the line again. It was a crazy, heavy, awkward dance as we’d start over trying to move all the bags down the line. I always feel a little frantic in this kind of a line even with only a couple bags because I never want to be holding up the people behind me…this time there was no doubt that we were certainly holding up the people behind us! Thankfully, the man behind us started to help move some of our things too! We took up a huge space with all our stuff, and when our turn finally came, we actually just opened up the barrier and gave one final push of everything up to the ticket counter.

Melinda, the agent’s eyes opened wide when she saw the chaos this woman with a bunch of kids had brought her way! But, she was awesome! Somehow I summoned the last of my superhero strength to heft all the bags up on the scale and began the crazy process of checking in 7 people, 17 bags, 3 carseats, a stroller and all the carry on bags. Did you know they weigh carry on bags now? At least on our airline they did! Thankfully, only one was overweight, and the ticket agent sort of ‘looked away’ as she put the label on it.

Just as the last two carseats were getting labels, Matt arrived back at the airport. We checked him in quickly (thankfully he arrived when he did or he would have had to wait 30 minutes in line again!), and off we went to security.

(I was loving the new rule that kids and grownups traveling with kids don’t have to take their shoes off in security!!!)

The rest of the trip was remarkably unremarkable! The kids traveled well. The flight went well. All our bags arrived. And, it only took 2 1/2 hours to get out of the airport!

Saying one last goodbye to Uncle John and Aunt Bonnie..

Saying one last goodbye to Uncle John and Aunt Bonnie..

Keeping busy

Keeping busy

The girlies

The girlies

We really were feeling that tired..

We really were feeling that tired..

Last goodbyes...

Last goodbyes…

More girlies

More girlies

Yes, that is his remote! (He loves it Shanes!)

Yes, that is his remote! (He loves it Shanes!)

We filled an entire row!

We filled an entire row!

Immigration forms times SEVEN!

Immigration forms times SEVEN!

Another WorldVenture missionary met us at the airport and helped us send 3/4 of our things off to Loja to await our arrival next week, and then dropped us off at the guest house.

And now, we’re here in Ecuador.

Bienvenido a Ecuador!

The kids are taking full advantage of the pool and sports court at the guest house. We’re trying to catch up on sleep this weekend before we go register our visas on Monday. We’re excited, we’re tired, we’re nervous and there are moments of “what on earth have we done?”. But, we are in God’s hands and are trusting Him as He leads us through each day!

p.s. Jim Grosser…in this case remarkably unremarkable was pretty darn good!!

12:30 Wednesday afternoon, we were all sitting on the front lawn of the church eating Chik-fil-a awaiting our container.  It had been picked up by another truck and was scheduled for delivery at 2pm.  Many of the men who had been willing to volunteer on Tuesday had been able to change plans and were coming to help load us up.  PHEW! (I’m just not built to be a furniture mover!)

And then the phone rang.

“There was a bomb threat, and the container will be delayed”

A what?

A bomb scare in New Jersey had delayed the truck and so the container was going to be delayed until 4:00.

I worked on getting “multi”plicates of paperwork to have ready for immigration, Matt and some other guys worked on moving things out of the truck to be ready, and a sweet friend and her girls came and got our kids.

Finally at 4:30 the long-awaited container arrived.  The guys got to loading. They loaded and loaded and loaded and loaded.  It was amazing to see how much stuff they fit in the first few feet.  Some things went in really easily and other things were a little more complicated to pack in, but it was incredible to see the guys pack everything piece by piece putting together a literal tetris game of our belongings!

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We started at 4:30…(with a short break to sign our wills in the process), and kept on working.  It was finally 12:30 at night when Matt put the seal (lock) on the door.  We were all exhausted and so thankful for the guys who gave up many many hours to help pack well into the night, their muscles, brains and expertise were such a huge blessing!  (and for the people who brought food, diapers and other things through the process).

12:30 at night?  Where were our kids???

After an afternoon at our friend’s house, the kids managed to make it to one last AWANA.  Then Peggy took them back to her house to watch a movie while we finished….then another movie…then finally some of the kids started to fall asleep (although when I got back at 1:30, I found Jonah engrossed in one last Hardy Boys book).

Guess we weren’t heading back to the shore.

We all crashed out in the Brimer’s living room (After a snack and some time visiting, I think it was finally around 3:30 that we went to bed!), and woke up the next day to start day #3 in our same clothes!

But the container was packed and on it’s way.  One step closer to getting our things to Ecuador!!

The container shipped on October 8th.  It is due to arrive in port October 29th.  Our hope is that it is cleared from customs really quickly, but we anticipate there might be more installments of the Container Conundrum yet to come!

Thanks for your prayers!!

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