Art Gallery and Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Wow! Did we ever get dirty today! What were we doing, you ask?

Mudslinging. Literally. We mixed cement in round shallow tubs then troweled some out onto boards with trowels. Palettes, broken tiles.. Whatever we could find really, and then we'd wet a section of wall, pick up a glob of muddy cement with our makeshift trowels, aim, and then we'd FLING it at the wall until it was covered.

And until we were covered.

Good times in Ecuador, kids. Good times. Adam would mix the cement PERFECTLY so the cement would stick to the wall; the little builder would come and chuck in a gallon of water to thin it out; Adam would shovel in more cement. Tamara suddenly got a chemical burn all over her legs which Adam treated immediately and effectively. She'd already done twice the mudslinging of the rest of us and had been incredibly effective so we encouraged her to back away from the toxic concrete... Really, she was making us look bad...

We worked hard. 

Then mama Carito helped us all wash up as best we could and we called it a day... Had the BEST ice cream break at a gas station on the way back... Ice cream bars taste mighty awesome when you're sweaty and dirty and exhausted and you just peed in a toilet with no seat and a barrel of water for flushing... No tp... 

Like I said. Good times! 

But the encouragement of a team full of women and men who genuinely love the Lord and love each other, the wonderful meals, the friendship of our drivers Ricardo and Daniel and Julio and our amazing friend and translator and protector Tatiana, and the laughter and singing and sharing each others stories and hopes and pain and fears and joys in the van to and from our work? 

I find myself without words. 

We love you and miss you and are so thankful for your encouragement and prayers and this opportunity to serve and love and represent you and all you've poured into us. 

Dios te bendiga
God bless you

"By the grace of God I am what I am",

Your friend,



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My husband's a big guy. In his own words:" I displace a LOT of water. Add a big ol' hat on top of that and you've got a landmark. So just like Curious George's man in the big yellow hat, Andrew Beeler led us through the airports in Halifax, Toronto, Panama and Guayaquil. At one point I stood back to watch and laugh as we tried to get the group to follow Adam while Andrew took the rear guard. The whole team of little monkeys just stopped walking, still continuing the various conversations, gathered around the hat while we, almost shouting, urged them to keep walking.

Well, big as be is, Andrews size is eclipsed by his heart. He's tenacious, persistent, fiercely, pitbullishly loyal, and always ready to serve. Like my old pal Sinclair who just went home to meet his Saviour face to face, Andrew's motto could be " I serve".

You never know what's going to happen when Andrew's around and you never know what's going to come out of his mouth, but you know you're in for a fast ride and a belly laugh of a good time.

He's been keeping track of his time here by writing emails to me and the folks back home and I thought it would be a great way for you to get a taste of what's shakin' down in Ecuador since they let the Canadians into the country... So here's Andrew's view, uncut, unrated, unedited, unstoppable:
Long hard day of work and then setting the prison bags with items, and Carito wants us to go to the top of the stairs tonight!!! 

It's awesome. Ran into another missionary group here supporting their missionary candidate. They are from Mississippi.

Great group this is there last day

We're just getting ready for dinner and then the stairs. I'm a big snow man melting in a hurry down here. All the Ecuadorian workers look at me with pity in their eyes.

I soaked an hour in the pool and played "loco" (monkey in the middle) with two 12 year old local boys, Miguel and hoi-cho(spelling). Carito doesn't trust me when I relay Spanish to her. Miguel said the game in english( crazies) with a Spanish accent and I thought he said creaser- in Spanish and she couldn't translate it and thought I was crazy.

Ill send this to her and Sonya maybe Sonya can blog it.

I have a couple photos and ill send more of the construction when I get them.

Yours in Christ


Monday, May 19, 2014

Back in My Boots

Well, I dusted off those steel-toed boots and headed back to Ecuador.

I know, I know, I haven't written a word since the day I said good-bye to Nanny. I just didn't. I can't tell you how often I sat in front of the computer looking at that great picture of the two of us together, how many times I read over and over the words I'd written, feeling all the love and hope and despair and gratitude that was wrapped up in them, thinking, "Wow I really would like to write down what happened today"... but I just couldn't get away from that goodbye page.

That is, until now. My friend Deb suggested I just write down that I was having trouble writing stuff down. Genius, that girl. Pure genius.

What WASN'T genius was me getting eyelash extensions at the start of a trip to Ecuador. You can't cry for 7 days, they said. Don't get them wet, they said...AS they were applying extensions to the second eye. After you've had one eye Eva Gabor-ed, you can't very well stop the process, so I decided I was just not going to cry.

BAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Hello, have we met? I cry at movies; I cry reading books; I cry every time Carrie Underwood puts out a new song; I'm a mess at every church service; I lose it when my daughter leaves to go to her home 6 minutes down the road; tears spring to my eyes when someone puts away the get the picture.

So my next genius idea was to put away my glasses. If I can't see stuff, I can't cry about it, right? I'll just enjoy the journey, build the house, pack the bags and backpacks for the children and prison inmates, and make no eye contact. I can't see anyone's eyes without my glasses anyway, right?

Well I really made out pretty well. Surprised myself. People kept looking over at me during moving moments and, although there were a few lumpy-throated close calls, I was a stone, man. Children, puppies, babies, reunions with old friends...nothin'. But, you see, I didn't have my glasses on, so I wasn't really seeing these things. Not really. Just a blurry representation of a much sharper reality. My focus was on my eyelashes. My focus was on myself.

After lunch with the group we packed into the van to go to see a friend of Carito's, a widow she knows who needed support. As we traveled there, Carito explained that this lady had not only lost her husband, but that her 31 year old son had died of a heart attack soon after that. And that she was taking care of her sick mother. We were going over to encourage her and to give her some groceries to help with the financial burden of taking care of her home and her mama with the little she was able to bring in as a seamstress.

I still didn't have my glasses on.

Carito introduced us all, we hugged and greeted her and then listened without understanding as Carito spoke with her in Spanish. They both conversed a bit and cried with each other and then Carito asked if any of us had anything to say to her. We didn't know what to say. My heart pounded as I thought of Isaiah 41 verse 10, thinking, "I could tell her those words of comfort". They had sprung immediately to mind and Pastor Les had helped us all memorize the verse word for word so I knew WHAT to say. But I didn't say anything. Because I wasn't really involved. I wasn't listening with understanding and I wasn't looking to see.

But just as we were leaving I stopped to say goodbye to the lady's mother, who was sitting by the front door, just watching the whole event, with what seemed like a vague disinterest. And as I leaned in to kiss her and say one of the few phrases I've learned for farewell, something happened. My eyes were suddenly locked with hers. And I knew immediately that this lady had dementia.Well. That's my gig. I face that disease every day. And as we looked at each other I knew she deserved more than an unseeing, un-hearing, un-involved greeting from a stranger. I knelt down and talked to her. Tatiana, my friend and our awesome translator confirmed that this dear lady has Alzheimer's disease, and then Tatiana helped me say a few words to her. I held the mama's face in my hands and smiled into her eyes and matched the tone of her voice and let her know I loved her. I lingered a moment more,  listening to her little voice, then kissed her and went out to the van. I dug through my backpack...

...and I put my glasses on.

As the tears started to roll down my cheeks I thanked God for such an obvious lesson. And for such clear vision.

I've cried a few more times in the 30 hours that have passed since that moment. Just a few, ha ha.

The eyelashes are fine. They're still hanging on.

But my eyes? My EYES are OPEN and my eyes are AWESOME!

"Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ~Isaiah 41:10

"Those who have eyes that see what God sees find was to help the helpless"~Julie Ackerman Link

Now, if you want to hear what's actually going on in Ecuador, my pal Lisa has been writing about it here:

Love you all!!!