Ferry's In The Jungle

Ferry's In The Jungle
1 Peter 1:22b "Love one another deeply, from the heart."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Program/Outreach!

One of our most recent joys is being a part of a new little jungle church. It's very simple and right in the middle of the glorious jungle nature. After church service a few weeks ago our small church group organized a plan to have a Christmas Outreach Program for the surrounding indigenous community. 

Ideas were tossed around for games, programming and, of course, food! Responsibilities were divided amongst the group of 20 and we were on our way. We were pleased to have a group of about 50 come and a great time was had by all. It is our prayer that these connections made bring more of the local families to our little church family. 

Our contribution of a "fishing for candy" game

Then entry to our church 

Happy girls!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Kids Serving Kids

Georgia and Reese enjoyed the opportunity to serve the Kindergarten/1st Grade class at the local missionary school. They took turns sharing what they researched about Ecuadorian Christmas traditions, did a craft with the precious kiddos and then read them How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Homeschooling has provided us with great flexibility to encourage Georgia and Reese to serve others. What a gift!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Another Trip Into The Jungle!

Last weekend, Chris happily accepted an invitation to spend 2 days and 1 night in a Shuar community. Trips like these are invaluable as we work to learn about each tribal group's distinct cultural norms and gather data about the felt needs of each group. This information is vital as we serve and support the leadership within each group. 

We were told the trip could take up to 7 hours on very bumpy jungle roads but Chris put his Colorado 4-Wheeling skills to work and made the trip in about 5 hours. Needless to say he was very proud of himself! 

The low-land tribal people appear to have many of the same needs and struggles. They are navigating joining the modern world while maintaining their distinct cultural identity. The tribal elders have shared their great concern that the youth don't connect to their culture and practices.  It will be a cultural loss if the desire for the modern world stamps out their traditions. The loss of tradition directly gives way to a loss of identity. Navigating life with a lack of identity leaves this next generation at risk. We see the opportunity to share about their identity in Christ while encouraging a connection to the culture from which they came. 

Even the local stopped to enjoy this rare sighting of a tapir!
Learning and sharing around a simple meal of
yucca and chicken neck soup. Yum!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas from the jungles of Ecuador!! We pray this letter finds you very well and full of Christmas spirit! It’s hard to believe this will be our 2nd Christmas in Ecuador and 3rd Christmas living outside the US. Time flies and continents change but many of our traditions have held strong and have even grown in their importance. Now, however, they take a little more creativity and commitment. We did, however, give into an artificial tree. The idea of driving 8 hours round trip to pick one up didn’t appeal this year. Holding things loosely while still being intentional is becoming an art in our home!

Reese is almost 11 years old and continues to fill our home with joy and laughter. She has taken on quite the passion for all things dragon and is often found drawing and creating new creatures for her dragon book. Reesey-girl has also grown in her love of reading and is often seen with a book in hand or with headphones on (drowning out the loud jungle rain!) and listening to an audiobook. This brings her literature loving momma great joy! Her love of animals holds strong and she has negotiated with our neighbor, Marco, to allow her to keep a pet chicken on his land. This ability to negotiate in both English and Spanish amuses us. Can you say life skills?! 

Georgia is almost 13 and has become quite the young lady. Her love of poetry, books and art has blossomed into personal hobbies. She often asks for our attention, clears her throat and then begins reading or explaining her latest creation. Ecuador has become her land of creativity and the calm provided by a slower paced culture enhances her thoughtful and contemplative tendencies. Texting and FaceTime are now also a part of her life — hello, teenager?! — but we are very thankful for technology which allows continued connection to dear friends and family back in the US. Our kitchen is often mussed by Georgia’s latest baking project and Chris has taken to exercising a bit more to ward off any weight gain caused by this new and delicious hobby. We are sure Christmas baking this year will be extra fun and messy! 

Chris spends time with many local friends and ministry partners each day. No day is the same but they all are thread through the common string of relational ministry and empowerment. Teaching a couple of our indigenous friends to drive has been one of his latest thrills! His quiet and patient demeanor lends way to authentic connection and depth. So much of cross-cultural adaptation and connection is listening to understand and Chris’ strength in listening is definitely a strength that serves him well here in Ecuador. (Proud wife typing!) He’s taken to bread baking for artistic expression and stress relief. Our entire family thanks him! He also is enjoying teaching Georgia and Reese art class each week. His passion for art is infections and the girls are enjoying every second learning with their Dad. 

I (Tina) am busy teaching Georgia and Reese in their first year of homeschool. The opportunity to teach my girls has been the highlight of my year. Each day I am overwhelmed with their creativity and hunger for learning. It’s inspiring!! With limited availability of convenience foods, cooking 3 meals a day from scratch also fills my time and, although challenging at times, cooking remains one of my favorite hobbies. My days are also sprinkled with time spent with other ladies. I’m enjoying forming deep connections and mentor relationships with local women. The added challenge of cultural and language differences keeps me humble and on my knees. Striking a balance between our work, home-life and personal time is becoming a bit easier. It seems that being gracious with myself is a lesson I continue to learn and embrace.

While we are away from many of our dearest friends and family this holiday and living in a culture that just doesn’t hustle and bustle the way the US does, the true meaning of Christmas comes more easily into focus. It’s all about God’s love sent down with great sacrifice that forever changed the world. So we pray that you will accept and walk in this love and freely give it away to all who cross your path. God’s love in action changes everything. Merry Christmas! 

Chris, Tina, Georgia and Reese

Nerf Gun Fun!

Family fun is sometimes hards to come by in the small jungle town of Shell, Ecuador. Last year Georgia purchased a small nerf gun and we laughed so hard playing as a family. We immediately purchased 3 more and so began our family nerf wars. This is good to blow off some steam! As you can see, we take it quite seriously....

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh Happy Day!

Sunday Fun-day is the understatement of the year. Yesterday we were filled with great joy and honored to live and serve in Ecuador. Ministry and discipleship is a long road of two steps forward and one step backwards. But yesterday we were able to see the fruit of life lived together at the feet of the cross; desperate need for His power, grace and the hope we have in Him. Redemption.

Early Sunday morning we sat in a large cement meeting area covered by a metal roof. The plastic chairs were circled up so each individual attendee was a part of a whole. As normal here, we waited each in our own chair until it appeared the majority had arrived. The start time was 9 but the event really started around 10. This down-time is used for planning, chatting and just settling in for all the day has to offer.

A couple of songs were played on a guitar as the many different tribal groups sang in their 2nd  language - Spanish. Sun stained hands clapped with joy and the harmony of praise echoed off the cement and metal. Then, 3 men and 2 women proceeded to share their stories. Stories of redemption and rescue. Stories of lives lived for the world, for selfish ambition, for survival. Some of the stories were of a zig-zag Christian walk, others of a life of separation from God only to be connected recently.

The theme in all the stories was the same
- we are weak and He is strong
- we serve a God that lifts us out of the muck and mire
- we must walk together
- we need each other to help us walk well with God

All these stories were translated from Spanish to tribal tongue to ensure the deepest understanding of what was occurring. One man, whom we have had the honor to encourage and disciple, asked forgiveness of the group for his poor testimony and then asked the group for support to walk well. Wives modeled forgiveness of husbands and husbands sacrificial love for their wives. Powerful!!

Much to our joy the very intense and significant morning was followed with great fun! 10 chickens were cut into pieces for the fire. An offering was taken for the purchase of plantains and green bananas. The food was cooked by the older women while football teams were formed for a little friendly competition. The women battled it out and this gringa held her own amongst the formidable skill of the small indigenous women. Those little feet move quickly!! Chris played with the men in the scorching Amazon sun. Laughter and sweat broke whatever tension and pain remained from the morning.

Cups were filled with watered down Tang and plates with huge portions of plantains and bananas. Then, each plate topped with a piece of fire-cooked chicken. Some got the neck, the feet, the spine. Sitting again in the plastic chair circle each bone was sucked dry and each belly full. We wrapped up the time with a prayer and distribution of the prize for the winning teams - a whole raw chicken. A machete was used to divide up the chickens amongst the teams. Smiles on each face.

So we march forward together. Expectant that God will continue to raise up and refine the indigenous church.

We stand in hope that our brothers and sisters in Christ will learn to share their brokenness and, in turn, shine a bright light on the wholeness of Christ. May others see the supernatural exchange of His strength being made perfect in our weakness.

A competitive game of futbol
Resting in the shade before returning to battle

The prize - A whole raw chicken!
Meal prep for about 60 people

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little jungle time...

Chris flexing some muscle while helping
clear a fallen tree in a jungle community
Chris' jungle home - up and away from the
elements (i.e. snakes, bugs, floods!)

Chris was honored to be invited on a trip that took him deep into the jungle here in Ecuador. He was able to spend time in the village of one of our dear friends and serve alongside others - both tribal and foreign - to care for one of the elderly Waorani couples in this area.
Here you see how a little jungle rain can take
over quickly. 
The group traveled almost 20 hours by canoe.
The trip included navigating log jams and fish jumping out of the
river and INTO the boat! 
Chris ate every well on his trip into Waorani territory.
Fish, plantains, manioc, noodles, tuna, banana drink and more!
He also hunted to stock up food supplies for a local family and
was granted the honor of carrying a monkey back from
the hunt before it was tossed onto the flames of the fire
for fur removal!

He returned home with a nice sun burn but a full heart after having enjoyed serving others and learning more about the tribal context and realities. Experiences like these allow us to put together the puzzle pieces of stories we have heard from our tribal brothers and sisters and begin to grasp their reality. Understanding this reality will aid in our ability to love them well through discipleship and support services.

Ants in your...mouth?!

The ants go marching one by one into our mouths here in Ecuador. It's a tribal custom to catch large leaf cutter ants when future queens and their crew leave their nests to make a new home. Somehow the indigenous know when they will fly and wake up around 4am in the morning and head out with buckets to catch them when they fly! 

Chris caught his share and brought these large ants home! We were shown how to cook them up in a frying pan and salt them with a salt water solution until golden, crispy and ready to eat!
They actually aren't bad! After you pop of the head and the wings the hind quarters is eaten whole. The flavor is like a roasted peanut with a white puree center. Yum!!  

Funny story? We have indigenous friends in our home all the time. They've eaten chili, chicken and dumplings, and pancakes. But when Tina's friend Silvia was visiting and we gave her a handful of our recently caught ants her face lit up and she chewed with delight! It was very clear that this small handful of ants what the best thing she'd ever eaten in our home! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Crocodile Surprise!

 We are often asked what a typical day looks like for us here in Shell, Ecuador. The answer, just like our days, is never the same. Plans in Latin America tend to zig and zag based on weather, bus schedules and more. 

We could write story after story to describe this reality but we will just share our most recent adventure of everyday life in Ecuador.

Chris was called by a friend and asked to drive to "pick up lunch". Naturally, Chris assumed that lunch consisted of large bags of rice that would be difficult to schlep on the local bus and thus, he was asked to help. This was not the case.

Chris was the transport for a crocodile lunch -- lagarto as they call in here. Our friends led him to a crocodile farm and picked up a crocodile! The bagged crocodile was thrown into the back of our car. Upon arrival to our friend's house the croc was thumped against a cement wall and processed to cook over the fire. 

The intestines and other organs were cleaned and wrapped in banana leaves to make maito -- a local favorite. 

After much laughter and excitement discussing the catch of the day we enjoyed a meal together. Our friends proudly shared with us the tail of the crocodile and we must say it's something we will eat gladly in the years to come. 

It's often we lay in bed at the end of our day shake our heads and laugh saying, "Yep, that just happened!" 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tina wrote a little article!!

Tina has been thoroughly enjoying the benefits of a weekly Skype group put on by Velvet Ashes. The group of women meet virtually each week to discuss the realities of living and serving abroad. Although the group members live in China, Africa, Mexico, Ecuador and North America the reality of life abroad is something they have in common.

Tina took advantage of the opportunity to share what God is doing in her heart regarding the concept of "Home" and was able to share this with the Velvet Ashes online community. If you'd like to read her article click here!

If you know any women living abroad please encourage them to check out Velvet Ashes for encouraging articles, book suggestions, online community and connection groups!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Foundation of TRUTH -

God's been using scripture to hold us up. His truth never changes and this foundation is invaluable. Here's how these truths have impacted us. Hopefully they will be an encouragement to you as they apply to your everyday reality.

2015 Family Verse
Joshua 1:9 - Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. 
* We weave in and out of daily life declaring this truth as we have learned to live with the necessary realities of bars on our windows and doors. Living with this constant reminder of compromised safety and "interesting" law enforcement regulations can seed fear, especially in Georgia and Reese. We meditate on the TRUTH that we are not to be afraid but to LOVE HARD and TRUST. 

When The Struggle Is Real
Zechariah 4:6 - Not by power, not by might, but by my Spirit says the Lord. 
* We only want to do what He would have us do. "Fake it until you make it" or "Muscling It" just isn't an option. Without God's wisdom, we will mess things up and fast! We rest in the TRUTH that we are being led by the Holy Spirit as we seek Him and surrender to His leading and obey. When the language barrier seems too big or the cultural differences too confusing we remember we are being led by the One who KNOWS and IS and HAS BEEN and WILL BE forevermore. 
Deep exhale.

2016 Family Verse
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you.
* After one and a half years of living abroad we've noticed a dullness in our spirits. An "Eeyore effect" if you will... We know the answer to a downtrodden spirit is worship and thanksgiving. So, we've resolved as a family to create a culture of thanksgiving and rejoicing in our home. We plan to pick apart everyday life and highlight all that we have to be thankful for, rejoicing as we reach for high heights -- all while laying every need and desire down before Him who can. We want to shine the joy and hope that comes from personally knowing Jesus -- it starts in our hearts, then overflows into our home and then into the world. May it be so in 2016.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Burning the Old Year!!!

Our dear friends, Birgit, Amelie and Ricci, taught us the local New Years tradition of "Burning the Old Year!" The idea is that you pick something from the old year to leave behind.  Birgit and her kiddos build upon this idea and burn something from the old year and write a note to God asking Him to help them strive into the New Year.

We were able to make our dolls representing what we would like to burn and leave in the old year and then write our notes to God asking him to help us strive into the New Year.

Georgia and Reese embraced the experience and have declared it a new Ferry tradition!

We loved hearing each person's reasoning behind their doll. It was a wonderful way to close out the year as a family.