Falling into Good Health

We’d like to share a prayer request for you.  We have had a plan for this year and we are finally getting to the point where we are slowing down enough that we can finally start to enact that plan.  For many of you who have followed along with us over the years, you know that we have struggled to find the correct balance of ministry and personal life to where we have struggled in maintaining good healthy eating and exercise habits and routines for ourselves and our children.

We are extremely busy in Ecuador with ministries where we have helped to start a Home for At Risk Children and a Medical Clinic as well as we hold a lot of Medical Caravans in which we partner with many international volunteers.  This, along with having three small children, has made it extremely difficult for us to develop healthy patterns and routines for ourselves for both diet and exercise (and sleeping and personal time…. you get it!!!).  Plus, when you add in the multiple international moves and local moves within Ecuador all of this has prevented us from finding stability and good family health.  We both actually love to exercise and healthy eating and so we have really struggled with all of the weight we have put on.  I specifically played competitive soccer through college and ran a marathon while in Seminary.  I hate not being fit and not being healthy!  I actually started growing facial hair in 2014 with the idea that I would not shave it off completely until I was living a healthy life-style that I was happy with.  It is my goofy form of a penance that provides a daily reminder that I am not putting my health needs as a priority in my life.  Though I do trim it down of course, I have not been able to shave it off yet.  You can actually see the original post here: http://blogs.covchurch.org/delp/?p=3356

During this year of Home Assignment, we will have more time than what we normally do with our lives in Ecuador, so we are committing to getting healthy and even more we are trying to create a plan and a pattern for our lives that we can replicate once we move back to Ecuador and get very busy again.  We have tried many things in the past but we have always had trouble keeping things going as we get busy, one of us is traveling, etc, etc.  Our plan for this year will include a nutrition plan, exercise routine, gym memberships, daily water intake, sleeping commitment as well as various other components like a spiritual retreat.  I am shooting high and hope to lose 41 pounds in this 16 weeks.  I am going to be running 2.3 miles three times per week and I want to see my time drop as the pounds drop.  My eventual goal is to run a half-marathon by the end of the year.

Please pray for us as we undertake this endeavor.  We want this to be the change in our lives that sticks.  We feel like we are finally getting to the point where we can better balance things than what we have in the past so please pray that this plan helps us change our routines and lifestyle to be a more healthy one for us and our children.

We just want to give a shout out to Mark Hjelmervik, a fellow Covenant pastor, who has created an accountability/encouragement group that we have formed to help encourage us down this path.  Also, we need to the thank our Serve Globally staff as they have been very supportive of us as we pursue our goals.  Thank you everyone!!


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Updated Church Visit Schedule

Pictures from our visit to North Park Covenant Church in Machesney Park, IL this past Sunday.

And here is our updated church visits schedule:

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Meet Jenniffer

Meet the newest employee of our Medical Clinic in Cayambe, Jenniffer Gordon.

Jenniffer started this past week as we launched a brand new service for the community of Physical Therapy.  You can see our new Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy room that is a part of the new wing of the clinic.

Both the equipping of the Physical Therapy services and the hiring of Jenniffer are possible due to a newly formed relationship that we have with Compassion Physical Therapy.  We are so excited to have Jenniffer on staff with us and to be partnering with Compassion to better serve the greater Cayambe area.  Please join us in welcoming Jenniffer to the Santiago Partnership!

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Crazy landing in the U.S.

It was crazy for us once we made it to the U.S. arriving from Ecuador.  Since landing in Minneapolis a little over a month ago, we had put over 5,000 miles on the vehicle, visited 13 churches, met with 18 different individual supporters and had the time of our lives.  We had traveled in car as far north as Norquay, SK, Canada and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then as far east as Boston and Maine.  We had visited churches in Minnesota, Canada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine and then with additional supporters in Ohio and Massachusetts as well.  

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Updated Church Visits Calendar

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Hasta Luego

On Saturday our fellow missionary friends threw us an “hasta luego” or see you later party as we prepare to leave for home assignment.  We invited many of our friends, colleagues, and partners in ministry to say goodbye and to just sit and enjoy each other’s company.  We enjoyed seeing the people we serve together with and do life with here in Ecuador.  We will miss Ecuador, we will miss our friends who have come to be like family.  We so appreciate our fellow missionaries who love us well and encourage us and stand beside us.  Thank you for sending us off well.  Thank you to our partners in ministry for encouraging us and standing beside us.  We will see you later!

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Happy Anniversary Casa Hogar!

Written by Tara Euler, Santiago Partnership Board Member

I was so fortunate to be able to attend the Casa Hogar one year anniversary this past week.  It is almost hard to believe that from the opening last June, this beautiful house is now home to 17 children.  There were presentations, food and music, but the stars of the day were the kids.  It is a credit to all involved that this is not just a roof over their heads and food to eat.  These children now have an extended family who love and care for them.  From the house parents and employees of the home to the neighbors from the local church; Iglesia Emanuel and community, local law enforcement and government and medical staff of the Centro Medico Emanuel; everyone is a member of their family.

There is no shortage of hugs and smiles.  The children are making strides in all areas of their lives.  One thing that struck me in particular was the dance and music presentations. In order for children to express their talents in this area, their other needs must be met.  A child who is hungry cannot dance.  A child who lives in fear does not sing.  The community has come together to welcome these children as their own.  Children of staff members become sisters to the girls at the home.  Boys become the sons of the local pastors and staff.  These children now have someone to look up to, someone to model their own lives after.

With these relationships come hope for for their futures.  A child from an abusive home now sees a father who does not hit, who does not scold but supports and encourages.  A young woman experiences relationships with adults who are not looking to take anything from her, but to give to her unconditional love and support.  She experiences, perhaps for the first time, a place where she can learn to live as a young woman who deserves love and respect because she is a child of God.  A child from a home dominated by substance abuse now sees adults who are there every day and are the people who take care of their basic needs so that they can begin to learn.  Some of these children are attending school for the very first time in their lives.  They are able to be “normal” kids.

I am so very thankful to be a small part of this project.  I am proud to be associated with the Santiago Partnership – an international partnership of people who care.  This home has been carefully thought out from the beginning, anticipating and responding to the needs of these children.  The children have access to psychologists, social workers, tutors, medical care and schooling.  The impact of Casa Hogar goes beyond the children who live there, it impacts their families and helps to strengthen the broader community.  So, celebrate with me the one year anniversary of Casa Hogar!


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Simeon’s Baptism

Yesterday, June 11, Simeon was baptized at our home church, Iglesia El Salvador.  It was a wonderful day to reflect on the events and people that led up to this day.  Simeon was able to have his teacher and family, his chaplain and a teacher that has been working with Simeon all year.  Joel shared about it taking a village to raise a child and we are so thankful to have a village around us to help.  We are thankful to see how God has worked through these people and how God has worked in Simeon.  He has changed, Jesus has changed him and has made him a different kid which is what he prayed for.  What a blessing he is and what a blessing to be able to witness this amazing event!

Image may contain: 9 people, including Mandi Howlett, Christina Sutton and Terrilynn Kadle, people smiling, people standing and indoor



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I seem to be in an interesting spot these days as we prepare for a year of home assignment in the States.  I recently read a blog I had written as we were going to be returning back from the States to be long term missionaries.  You may wonder what missionaries think or feel or react when they are preparing for home assignment or furlough.  It’s an interesting place to be and by interesting I mean overwhelming and strange and foreign and exciting and scary all wrapped in to one.  It’s hard to pin point one feeling or reaction or thought because there are just too many.  I’m trying to write this blog to make sense and put in to words what is in my mind and my heart.

The honest truth is that it has taken quite a while to get used to the idea of going back to the States for a year.  We try as missionaries so hard to immerse ourselves in our country of service by learning the language, raising our kids, doing ministry together, learning culture, trying to be accepted and now we go back to our passport country, a place that should feel like home, but seems to be more of distant memory of familiar, things that were comfortable but now feel foreign and overwhelming.

I was listening to a song today, because, well it seems God always seems to touch my heart through melodies and words that seem to express the things my own words can’t.  SO, I’m listening to a song today from when I was younger.  It reminded me how easy it was then to say Hallelujah and to take leaps of faith, giant leaps of faith without thinking.  Then, I always wondered why those who were wiser than me struggled so much with these leaps.  They didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.  But now, NOW, thinking of those leaps scares me to death sometimes.  It’s harder now.  Maybe it is the life experience from then to now.  Knowing I’m not invincible, knowing that death happens, unfair things happen to good people, I’ve seen it and experienced it.  So, when we say Hallelujah, to me it means that whatever is in front of us, whether we know what it is or not, we will say Hallelujah.  That is SO hard.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds, or a week from now or next year.  As I prepare to step in to the overwhelming unfamiliar, I ask God to help me to say Hallelujah, no matter what the future holds.  I’m learning, I’m trying to choose Christ over the fear.

In good Kim fashion I am posting the song that started this whole thought process.

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Partnering in Cayambe

This week, members of the Santiago Partnership team had the privilege to work with 2nd year medical students from Michigan State University in Cayambe.  The students prepared a 7 station medical clinic to give individuals and families a general check up and then refer them to our clinic.  On Friday and Saturday, the students saw around 250 patients in the central park of Cayambe.  There were different stations for checking heart and lung sounds, ears and then cleaning them, eyes and then providing lenses, lung function, nutrition information and blood pressure, height and weight as well as education about teeth!  It was an honor to work with these students and future doctors.  They came with hearts to serve and they served indeed!  A special shout out to Sarna Becker, a good friend and missionary who put this whole idea together!  What an example you all are!

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