Our final days of summer were filled with many road trip hours and breaking in the new tires we just bought for the car.  Our kids were troopers as we packed them up and twisted our way through this country we call home once again.   In mid August we traveled to IPEE’s camp in Santo Domingo for a retreat and meeting for all of the pastors in the Central District, which is the district that we belong to.  It was a great weekend focused on rest and relaxation and discussions around how we can all work to approach ministry in healthier, holistic ways.

From there, we traveled the rest of the way to the coast to the city of Manta.  Covenant World Relief (CWR) is partnering with a local congregation, La Victoria, and FACE (IPEE’s social and humanitarian development department) in their continued work of supporting their community in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Ecuador’s coast in April of 2016.  La Victoria has been a constant source of support in the area.  They first responded with providing meals in the weeks following the earthquake.  They then moved to launching a project that helped those most in need find shelter and rebuild their homes.  The 19 of August, they launched the third phase of the project called Buen Samaritano, The Good Samaritan.    In this phase of the project, they are helping many in the community with micro-loans to help them rebuild businesses and sustain their livelihood.  We are now helping to be point people in country for a few of the projects that CWR is partnering with here in Ecuador and so were invited to be a part of the launch of this new project.

Chris headed to Santo Domingo for a weekend of teaching intensives the last weekend in September and then drove back late Saturday so we could turn around and drive another few hours on Sunday morning to join our local church community for their annual baptism service, which this year was held at some hot springs!  How lovely is that?!?  It was a great day shared in community and celebrating God’s faithfulness to our community and in the lives of our brothers and sisters who took this next faithful step.

Throw in a couple more days in the car to drive to meetings in Ibarra and Tulcán and with that, our summer has wrapped up!  The kids started back at school last Wednesday and are settling into the routine and rhythm that school brings.  What a gift it was to start this school year more settled into our life here in Ecuador and feeling like we have at least a small grasp on the daily details that we are walking into!

This summer was full and it was good.  At this time last year we were trying to buy a car and eating off paper plates on our dinning room floor and trying to figure out our best internet options.  But this summer was full of weekly hikes as a family and house guests and routine mornings responding to emails and trying to remember to practice our times tables every once in a while and lessons in not complaining to mom that you are bored so that she doesn’t give you more chores.  The normal summer stuff.  Our life is rarely routine, but I am so glad for the small spaces and places where it is.  And so glad to be sitting here a full year into life back in Ecuador.

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