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.