Monday, January 30

Lucas Pillman's Ecuador Encounters 2

Dear Friends and Family,

 

Greetings from down South! WAY down South. Indeed it is so far down South that the accent has turned into a different language altogether. Chendo! (translated: just kidding). Much has transpired since I connected with you last. Let me start begin with this last Sunday.

 

I would like to tell you a bit about the Duran family that I met this the first Sunday. They live in a small what we would consider a suburb of Cuenca really close to the place where I was born.  It's in a small valley leading out of the main city with lush green eucalyptus trees outlining the edges. I was invited out to their house this last Sunday for a noon meal and evening. When I say family I mean it in a broad extended sense with the Grandmother, grown children and grandchildren, etc. Of course I had the food that before had only been found in my Ecuadorian memories: guinea pig, crab, empenathas, (a deep fried sweet bread with cheese in the center), etc., but that was only the atmosphere and not the important part of the time.

 

Next to this families house is a small (very small) church that has been there for many years. In fact if I have my facts straight, it was this same building that I probably went to when I was just a few months old. What is incredible to see is that through all these years the family has stayed strong in the Lord, many of them continuing to worship in that same church even though they only have a pastor come by about once a month. I don't mean to paint of picture of perfection in this family, but to see the Lord continue to work in their lives and how faithful the Lord has been was incredible. In a small circle we slowly sang: "Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see, all I have needed thy hand has provided. Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me!" And as we finished the song and ended with a paryer I thought, "how true, Grande Senior es tu Fidelidad!"

 

This last week I also visited an outlying area called Cannar, where many of the people are of Inca decent called Quechuas. I was invited along to help celebrate the opening of a new school. What is exciting to see in their midst is the faith and leadership there is amongst them. They still wear many of the same clothes, and speak the same language but the joy that the Lord gives them is really contagious. They are so generous as well: over two hundred guinea pigs for the celebration along with enough food to serve twice as many people who were there.

 

By this time you are probably wondering what else I am doing other than getting fat on guinea pig. :) Let me fill you in. In the school here there are some wonderful opportunities to work and minister with the children in the school. Both the grade school and the high school have English classes which is ONE area that I can be of limited assistance.   I've been juggling around with the teachers and have found times when I can visit their classrooms introduce myself and teach them a few songs in English. I'm really searching right now for songs that not only will the children find enjoyable at each different age level but which also have a Christian message as well.

 

Furthermore, I also have a Bible class that I will be helping out with several times a week, helping out a man named German tell stories to the children. Please pray that these times with the children challenged by my lack of the language but enhanced by a novelty that comes when anyone is from a far away place, would be times of Spiritual awakening in their lives. You can also thank the Lord for the many believers down here, like German, the Ulloas (the family I'm staying with), and others who are not only shinning lights in this city but also an encouragement to people like me who cross their path.

 

I have included below some small pictures a few of the events that have passed before the camera lens of my life. I'm trying to keep the pictures small so that it is not a problem, but do let me know if it is.   The first is the bus I rode in. Second, a picture of the plane. Third, a picture of the family I visited on Sunday. Fourth, a good thing to eat (guinea pig). Five, a picture of one of the ladies from Cannar.

 

'Till next time…

 

God's Servant,

 

Lucas Pillman

  

 

NOTE: As always, if you want to stop receiving these Encounters, please send me any random reason. All reasons accepted. Ditto for anyone you know who would like to receive these updates as well.

Saturday, January 21

Lucas Pillman's Ecuador Encounters

Friends and Family:
 
I've come to the conclusion that God doesn't believe in Murphy's Law. There were many things that could have gone wrong on my trip down here and didn't. Even if I would have thought that something had gone less than perfect, I am still confident that God will work all things for good. But PTL, even from my short sighted perspective I could find no reason to think anything went wrong even for this novice traveler. My biggest source of concern (entering the country as an Ecuadorian without my American passport) was over in just a few minutes. A stamp, a sign, and I was on my way without a single question.
 
It was amazing to see the people God plopped into the seat next to me as well. People from all different roads of travel but in a very casual I was able to share the purpose of my trip and challenge them about their own purpose in life. One was a business lady in her early thirties who was interested in helping out the poor in many different parts of the earth but who saw no place for any work in the soul, and thought that just bettering the outward lives of people would create purpose for her life as well. And so since she brought it up we talked about it.
 
I must be hosted right now by one of the most gracious families in the country of Ecuador. He is the director of the school here and has two young children. Yes, Loida and Christian are just excellent little helpers when it comes to learning the language. Just imagine all I learn as I am shown the bird nest in the tree next door, the new little pet fish they caught in the river and play tic tac toe.
 
It appears that I will be helping out in the English department of the school in the next few days. I was talking with one of the teachers and she mentioned that she really has a heart for two of young teachers her who do not know the Lord. You can be in prayer that the contact that I have with them and others will be profitable.
 
I hope to get some pictures next time.
 
God's Servant
 
Lucas Pillman
 
If you would like me to take you off of this list please let me know.

Wednesday, January 18

Lucas Pillman's Ecuador Encouters

Dear Friends,

I have not even left the front door behind me yet and I already feel like I have been stretched in my faith and had a thorough taste of the paper work/bureaucracy dance. Let me explain. As most of you know, I will be traveling down to Ecuador for about three and a half months to learn Spanish for college credit and to minister in a church in the city of Cuenca. My plan was to travel down as an Ecuadorian citizen with an Ecuadorian passport and then return as an American with my American passport. Simple? Far from. First my American passport has taken over three weeks longer than they promised to get to me. Hence, I will be traveling down to Ecuador without out it at this time and have someone else bring it down to me at a future time. However, I have also been learning that Ecuador still has a mandatory military draft and that I will either have to start to practice my army salute in Spanish or I will have to work on getting exempted from the military once I am down there. For many reasons that shouldn't be much of a problem, but it still creates some additional paper work do complete well I am down there. This morning was spent trying to figure out exactly what would happen and what I would need when I get down to Ecuador and even if I should postpone my trip until I could get my American passport.

So where has the Lord been in all of this? First, I am extremely  thankful for many different people who have been there to give counsel and offer to help me out in this less than envious situation. Second, it also has been impressed upon me that try as hard as I can to make sure all my ducks are in a row, there comes a point when I just have to rely on Him to get me through. As many have reminded me, perhaps this will unexpectedly open up doors for me to share in some unexpected places. If nothing else, I have been humbled by the way many people have already stepped up to help and continue to offer to do so.

I appreciate your prayers.

God's Servant,
Lucas Pillman


Note: This is a periodic email update about my time down in Ecuador. If you would like to be taken off the list, please just reply with any sort of random reason why you wouldn't like to be included. All random reasons accepted. Similarly, if you want to be included on this list and for some reason are not, any random reason will also get you on the list as well.

State of the State: Free Bread and Milk!

At the closing end of his spectacle speech Doyle figured that since he had already bestowed his fatherly care upon the incapable citizens of the state and given them free cradle to grave education and was working on health care he might as well throw in the bread the milk for good measure. After all he reasoned "every child deserves a great meal!" It would "go against the long held values of Wisconsin to see hard working middle class families have to file bankruptcy just to put the most basic needs of bread and milk on the table" Doyle concluded.

"Click"

What was that I heard? A "click" of a campaign donation from his socialist base for this impressive offering?


....Oops, my appologies socialist readers, this post was suppose to be a joke, but the way he's moving if he gets voted in again we might just hear that in the state of the state next year. Ya know, free milk for all would be good for the farmers as well.

State of the State: Embryo Stem Cells and Cherry Capital Dust Pills

I'm going to ask the state for a grant. It's a new research. The idea: carefully scrape dirt off of the furniture from inside the Guv's mansion (there should be plenty seeing all the scandals), add cherry flavoring to make it palatable, and test the pills to see if they could cure, oh I don't know...some emotionally charged disease like children's diabetes. You know it MAY just work. To boot I'm not killing anyone to do it. I know it has not been successful yet, but neither has embryonic stem cell research. So far its just grant grabbing scientists who paint world cures with killed children.

Check. Another browny point up for Doyle from the left who don't think there is any life until they can touch and feel you.

State of the State: Universal College Tuition

Here's your first college student to oppose it. When I first heard it I thought this would be for, you know, the top of the class. Those with a 4.00 GPA. Seems tho you only need to get a "B" to siphon public dollars for your own higher ed.

Could I have the governors ear? You can make it thru college by working. A little creativity and hard work is all you need. Indeed most students would do better working a bit part-time instead of haunting the bars full-time like most seem to do in our town. The more you realize personally the cost of education the more you will take advantage of it and be thankful for it. I know only too well.

Chalk up another browny point for Doyle from the left.

State of the State: And you pay for it with...

tree leaves?

I propose that we give every Wisconsin citizen a crip dollar bill. I know you are already going to vote for me, just so long as you don't ask were I will get that bill from. Well, Doyle rattles off his list of new initatives like a conductor calling out cars without a hint of were that money is coming from. You get just one guess. Where will the money come for stem-cell research? College for all "B" students? Yup, it will come from you.

State of the State: Wal-Mart

Force Wal-mart to pay for medical insurance?

Let me just use my own personal experience. Like I've said before, I've worked at jobs that pay only minimum wage or close to. I know what it is like. I also realize how difficult it is for companies to hire people with all the regulations, requirements, and gov't hoops to hop through. For example, this last few weeks I was looking to work for about three weeks before I left on my trip. It was like trying to get a two-year-old to eat spinach. Who would ever want to hire someone with all the red tape they have to go through for just a few weeks. Now there were needs, and I did find some work from a friend, but I almost felt sorry for the gymnastics that had to be performed just to let me work for a few weeks. Why can't I negotiate my own wage? Why can't I decide if I want health care coverage form the state or Wal-Mart?

If Doyle wanted browny points from his base he probably got it for his Wal-Mart tax. But to think that he believes me uncabable of negotiating my own labor services at the expense of shrinking the job market is just sick. More than just sick, cumulitively all the job regulations probably cost me a short term work experience these last few weeks.

Saturday, January 14

This is a test

Test via email

Around the Web:Cheap Calling Cards

Sick of trying to find the cheapest calling cards? Well after weeks of research, PhoneShark seems to be the best place to find them. It is a phone card search engine that is up front on all the different costs and fees they might slap on you. Call for about $.019/min with these cards with no added fees. I was also looking at Canada and Ecuador for international calls and both came out the cheapest I could find anywhere. I usedPhoneShark's own cards and had good success with the quality as well.

I found out later that they also give a small commission for referrals to their site. So go ahead, get the cheapest phone cards and support WW a bit too. :) Is there a sweeter deal?

Wednesday, January 11

Enough?

It makes you embarrassed sometimes to have two senators from your own state on the judicial committee when the dem. conduct on the committee is so poor. At least our Sen aren't the worst specimens of lunacy. This gives the general idea:


Frustrated Democrats went on the attack Wednesday, questioning Judge Samuel Alito's commitment to the common man, demanding documents about his membership in a controversial Princeton group and accusing him of backing away from past statements and writings.

The newly aggressive tone on the second day of questioning of the Supreme Court nominee resulted in irritable clashes between Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. It also brought Alito's wife, Martha, to tears and prompted her to rush out of the hearing room, tissue in hand, when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., apologized on behalf of his colleagues.
.....
But the judge has succeeded so far in deflecting attacks and avoiding major blunders, turning in a solid if not dazzling performance, and seems headed toward confirmation, barring a late surprise. That has worried anxious Democrats, who fear he will shift the Supreme Court significantly to the right but have not found a way to dent his low-key demeanor or goad him into an injudicious comment.

O-lay Comedy

Fidelis presents a hilarious bit of comedy at the expense of the liberal interest groups that run the strings of the liberal senators. It's Sound of Music's "Lonely Goatherd" with Leahy as the Goatherd. Don't miss it.

Monday, January 9

Kohl on Alito

I missed his remarks but Confirm them thought they were the most rational of the batch. A badge of honor we get perhaps here in Wisconsin: having the most rational Democratic Senator.

In general
In the parts that I listened to life issues continued to be high on the list, but the dems are also looking at some voting rights type smear campaign as well. So far I predict it will all fail, but not without some effort to make it fail.