We have had a busy first part of the year with three groups visiting us. When people are visiting and helping out Dunamis we receive a variety of blessings. Crystal gets to see the girls feel loved and shine for the visitors. We get a time of fellowship with close friends and family from the States and lastly we get to experience a different side of Ecuador with cultural days! Our first group were some of our closest friends from Arizona. Unfortunately there was an attempted escape and the girls were on lock down when the group came so the women were unable to serve at Dunamis directly with the girls, but we did get to experience the construction and go to some amazing hikes and waterfalls and enjoy one another's company that we have missed so much. The second group, also from Arizona, are part of our organization (Fuel the Mission) and church (North Bible). This women's group focused primarily on serving the girls which brought about a richer connection with those we are serving. Lastly, A.T. sister came down to do some art projects with the girls. Dani was a breath of fresh air and helped bring about some deep thoughts about our work here. We are so thankful and encouraged by all of these groups and it was a gift to spend some precious time with them. We appreciate so much their presence and investment in the girls as well!
For the Construction side of things, we ran out of money for the fifth time during construction, and yet God provided in the last minute once again, God has provided $291,000 thus far but we are still seeking $50,000 to complete the girl's home. Within the next month we should have the outside of the building completely done. A deposit was placed for the windows and currently plaster work is being done. Meanwhile the rough work of electrical and plumbing is being done inside. It has been an amazing process to see God continue to provide for the construction as well as work with some amazing people on the job.
Work with the girls
Crystal has humbly been serving as the main program director the last three months while Majo has been in Chile. Majo’s father passed away over the Christmas holiday and although she has been missed dearly our prayers are with her and her family. She returned last week meaning Crystal will fall back into the assistant role which she is happy to serve in. This transition has been great to see how amazing my wife is at her job and serving in the humblest of ways. She will now begin to focus more on helping volunteers from the U.S. and loving the girls with what more time she is given.
We also have some exciting news, we are pregnant! What a whirlwind of excitement and emotions. Through careful prayer, conversations, and thoughts, we have decided to have the baby in Arizona some time close to September 15. Our original commitment was to stay working here until December 2016 but found that the Lord was leading us to stay until called or sent elsewhere. Our work here in Ecuador has hit a point where we feel able to leave and God opening the door for us to return to the states. Majo is back which will allow Crystal the ability to step away and the house will be at a point where the architects, A.T. working from the states, and the leadership of Fuel the Mission, can bring us to completion. The exterior of the house should be completed before we head back, leaving the finishing work in capable hands. We do not know what lies ahead for us but are seeking the Lord during this time. We believe that we will return to the mission field after the baby is born but the place and work remain a mystery to us. We look forward to seeing you all when we return and for the joy of introducing the newest member of our family.
We can not believe that over a year now we started the process to move here and be full time missionaries. We have loaded up with memories and have been forever changed. God has been molding our hearts and blessing us in both the difficult moments and the rich ones. We thank you for being part of this adventure for the last year. May God bless you as richly as you have blessed us. - A.T. and Crystal