Saturday, January 28, 2012
Older news: A few weekends ago, we decided to venture out of the city limits to a ‘national park’ called Chicáque where there would be fresh air, many hiking trails, some great sites to see! We were excited to venture out with some ECA staff friends. We wrote down the directions to get there and set off. The only problem was the directions were a bit vague with multiple options of how to get to the park. We could take two or three buses, depending on the route we would take. We were not sure where we would catch some of the buses, so we had our two most fluent Spanish speakers ask for directions. The random lady they chose to ask suggested that we take a taxi to a park where the final bus would pick us up. So, we all piled into two taxis and told the drivers the name of the park. The taxis took off fighting the traffic and heading the direction we came from! After a 30 minute taxi ride, with really nice drivers, we finally asked again if they knew were the park was for us to catch the final bus ride. We showed a written name of the ‘national park’ and the name of the intermediate park and his face dropped. He wasn’t headed toward the right park, if fact, he couldn’t take us to either park because both parks are out of city limits and taxi drivers are only allowed to stay within the city limits! Oh no! So the two taxi drivers pulled over to discuss where to drop us off to give us the easiest route to the national park! They even flagged down a public bus for us, talked to the bus driver and told him to tell us where to get off to catch, yet another, bus! We were blessed to have such nice drivers. The taxi ride turned out to be a $8 (per taxi) mistake that took an hour to correct. So, after 3 buses, a taxi ride, and a 45 minute hike, (4 hours of commute) we arrived at the gorgeous Chicáque Park. Now that we have been there and making mistakes along the way, we now know an easier way to get there. Next time, which I hope there will be a next time, we will arrive at the park in half that time and only use two buses. Pictures are already posted from our beautiful hike to a tall waterfall. Plus we had the neat opportunity to watch the clouds roll back from the mountain as the sun came out, which exposed the valley from the mountain we were on.
New news: This past week a work team from a co- staff member’s home church came to ECA to do a work trip and help out the school. A couple of the project included fixing the ceiling of the multi-purpose room, building a new playground set, and doing some maintenance to different apartments. We were so thankful to this group for fixing several things around our apartment, a leaking shower (which they had to replace a pipe), re- ‘plastering’ the toilet paper dispenser to the wall and re- anchoring our blinds into the cement ceiling. Furthermore, they noticed that the handle on our fridge handle had broken off which we had become so used to it being broken that we had forgotten to write it on our ‘wishlist’ of things to get fixed! But they noticed it and added little medal cabinet handle to the door! A small fix, but a wonderful fix! We, as a school, are so thankful for the work and help from the group, as the school continues to grow and reach out to the community, it is nice to have a more improved campus!
Posted by Pence at 5:09 PM
Monday, January 23, 2012
With the new calendar year has come a new semester! We are starting to fall back into our school routine with a few changes. Though changes take place here, we are thankful for your continual prayer and support remaining constant.
Steve is no longer teaching the self-defense class; instead, his schedule has become more open to meet with students who need some academic or personal direction. He is also presenting several parenting seminars to the parents of ECA. We are excited that he will be able to not only touch the students at ECA but also the school families.
Marlayna has a couple opportunities to tutor in our home, which will keep Marlayna and Elleazah at home more days a week rather than going into school. These opportunities are a blessing because Elleazah has more freedom at home than at school for her increasing mobility.
However, some things will remain the same. Marlayna and Elleazah will not be strangers at school. Small groups and discipleship are still a priority which will bring the two of them to school at least two afternoons a week in order to meet with students. This semester, Marlayna will be working through the book Living the Cross Centered Life, with the two girls she is discipling and she is continuing the Every Young Woman’s Battle in the small group.
The students Steve disciples are very much at different stages in their walk. The topics he is addressing ranges from helping a student grow in his self-control and being a spiritual leader to studying some basic tenants of the Bible and what it means to have our identity in Christ.
1. God would continue to soften the hearts of the students in serving the lost.
2. We have another high school retreat this month; pray that God will bring revival amongst the student body.
3. Staff needs for next school year are great; pray that God brings people to join the ECA staff.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in working at ECA, check out their site to learn more or contact us for more information.
Posted by Pence at 4:41 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2012
This week, Elleazah knocked off one birthday, she only has seventeen more to celebrate with us before she will move on to a new chapter in her life... so we hope. Our time is limited with her under our direct care. We made the most of this birthday with great memories. Her birthday fell on a regular play date day, which we had a little celebration with her playmates and the other moms. Elleazah is really starting to interact more with some of the other kids and it is fun to watch her grow and develop more skills. We later inviting some friends over to have popcorn and cupcakes and enjoyed the time of fellowship. Elleazah had a small cupcake. Though the cake was small, she was still able to make a mess of it. She really enjoyed the sweets and we enjoyed watching her eat! She did not disappoint us in her fine motor skills of eating!
Posted by Pence at 5:52 PM
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Our Christmas break is over, it was a wonderful time of relaxation and being refreshed both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Here is an overview of our break.
Santa Marta. We started off on a trip with a school family, a couple ECA students and some ECA graduates. We used some of our personal savings to cover the cost of the trip. We flew to the coast to scuba dive and stay with an ECA missionary family. It was fantastic to see God’s creation underwater. The diversity of species were fantastic! Steve got scuba certified and Marlayna worked toward increasing her certification. Our exploration of the city took us to the oldest cathedral in South America, to a couple parks, and a beach. We spent Christmas with the missionary family and experienced a ‘Colombian’ Christmas. The family gathered late Christmas Eve, with a lot of music, food, and conversation. At midnight they exchanged some gifts.
Once we were home in Bogota, we laid low for a couple days, recovering from ‘something,’ something we probably ate. So we used the time to read. Over break, we each finished three books; the books were either for pleasure, personal growth, or to implement with the students we disciple. Steve finished: Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp, Teaching Preemptively by Donavan Graham and Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper. Marlayna read: Living the Cross Centered Life by JC Mahaney, Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury, and Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper
Upon feeling better, we started to explore our city. We visited three different parks and successfully made it to and from the parks without getting lost on the public transportation. The first park was a petting zoo, which we actually met-up with other ECA families to see the animals. Elleazah did rather well with the animals. She was a bit timid with some of them but really enjoyed others. The second park we went to was similar to central park in New York City. It was a large green area with many paths to walk on. A botanical garden was next to the park and we loved the tranquil environment of the garden. The ‘jungle’ portion and the rose garden were our favorite parts. The last park we went to was Parque Jamie Duque, which was a cultural history park with a zoo. There were many monkey exhibits, which were our favorite area, but we also liked how close you could get to some of the large cats (tigers, pumas, etc). Lastly, we had to chuckle when we saw the squirrel exhibit, but the Colombians LOVED the little rodents! The squirrels were some of the smallest squirrels we had seen! It was such a blessing to go; a relative from a school family owns the park and admits ECA workers into the park for free! It was so good to get out and enjoy the warm, sunny weather of the season, especially after the rainy season we had up until the end of the semester.But now we are getting back into the school routine with our discipleship continuing, both one-on- one and in small groups, and preparing for class lessons.
Posted by Pence at 5:02 PM