Wednesday, March 22

Ecuador Encounters 6

Dear Family and Friends,


I have heard from my many repeated regarding this topic so I will include it at the top instead of forcing you to read through a full page of writing to finally allow you to let out your breath:


Praise the Lord, I now have my U.S. passport!


A few other paper related wrinkles related to my passage back home and I should be all set to greet many of you once again in person. It's sad and happy all at once. I genuinely have developed a deep friendship with many of the people here which will make the parting hard. I continued to hope at times that I would even have some sort of paper wrinkle that would keep me from heading home to the obvious consternation of some.


My life proceeds along many of the same paths that I have familiarized you with in the past: helping out at the school with frequent trips on weekends to help out with youth retreats etc.  


But what I realize more and more with my time down here is that God more often works in lives through personal contacts and not only through broad-based sowing. This last week I went with the family I am staying with (Ulloas) and another family to Cajas, a national park near the city of Cuenca. We didn't catch any fish but that was less important then the positive experience I had with the family. They have many troubles but are really open to help. The Ulloas are taking them on as their own special project and I am only too glad to help out if and when I can.


I am also going to be visiting a museum here with a friend I met at one of the Internet cafes. It is more of an excuse to do something with him than anything else, although they say that the museums here are really great. He comes from a Seven-day Adventist background and knows the bible well but has fully swallowed the secular concepts of God and the Bible. He studied in the Madison WI, so knows a good amount of English so we converse in both languages as we talk.


Spanish also continues to progress. Yesterday some kids here at the high school marveled that I was actually from the US since I didn't have much an accent. That was nice to hear but I still know personally that I have much to learn as I continue to sometimes make cookies with harena (sand) and not harina (flour).


There. You get a glimpse again of what I am doing.



God's Servant,


Lucas Pillman

Thursday, March 2

Ecuador Encounters 5 Picture Update

Attached you will find some pictures of playing Carnival as well as some pictures of the kids I helped teach. Enjoy!
-Lucas Pillman

Wednesday, March 1

Ecuador Encounters 5

Dear Friends and Family,


The great the bad and the horrible. That would about describe the celebration of Carnival that concludes in a dramatic climax today down here in Ecuador and throughout many other SA countries. For many it is a time to let it all hang out: to let loose with immorality, revelry, and drunkenness. That is the horrible.


Throwing water and anything else that is handy on anyone in reach is also apart of Carnival. It often matters little who you are or where you go: you're liable to get hit. A trip to the market and I got two balloons from out of nowhere (I was almost disappointed I didn't get more). Driving down the road you have to watch it in every town you pass. If there is a window open it is a perfect invitation for a wetting. Involved in a conversation with someone in the backseat I failed to notice a group of water-throwers quick enough to get my window up. SPLASH! I learned my lesson: if you are feeling a bit hot just leave your window down! J That's the bad part of Carnival.


The great part is what the church has done with the celebration. Every year the church uses the vacation to have a spiritual time of refreshment at a local camp here. I was asked to help out someone else from the church who was working with the kids. Following the theme of being lights in the world (Eph. 5:8-10) I helped out with making real lamps from clay, teaching two songs on light as well as a bible verse. Being able to challenge kids to be a light in their house and school? Now that truly is great.


Of course we had our own time set aside for a bit of water-throwing, river-dunking at the camp as well. Of course the kids and adolescents (Yeah, me too) were all gung-ho for the deal, but what is even more hilarious is how some of the parents get into it. "Come on Andres, soak her well" I heard one of the parents say. Out of water? "Come on kids lets head to the river!" If you didn't want to get wet (or cornstarch in your hair) you'd better stick to your dorm room, or make it VERY clear you weren't playing. Even the Pastor wasn't safe.


But the greatest part was testimonies of many there who could testify to the work the Lord has done and continues to do during these times of Carnival. I missed many of the seminars due to my work with the children, but singing around the campfire late Sunday nite stands out as a highlight for me of the experience. In an intermixing of songs and testimony much of which was recounting what the Lord has done over the years thru this time, the "great" of Carnival was there in it all.


God's Servant,


Lucas Pillman


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