Thursday, March 26, 2009
We'll keep this update as brief as possible. After a lot of long talks and a lot of prayer, we have decided to fulfill our commitment of 9 months and then come home. This means we will be leaving Quito on April 8th and heading back to Orange County. The visas we originally acquired afforded us the opportunity to stay in Quito up through the beginning of June (which would total about 11 months). However, we really felt that it was in our best interest, and the interest of the ministry down here in Ecuador as well, that we cut our time to just the original commitment of 9 months.
As we finish up our final days in Ecuador, we are excited to take the young men living in the house on a 3-day outdoor adventure retreat just outside of Quito. We look forward to a time of bonding and debriefing as we challenge ourselves on the ropes course, share meals together, and sit around the bonfire in the evening. For the South American guys, this will be an experience of a lifetime, as not one of them has had an opportunity like this. For the North Americans, we anticipate an incredibly rich time together, centered on the person and teachings of Jesus.
You may be asking, "What's next for the Eshlemans?" In all honesty, we are asking the same thing. For the last couple weeks, we have been coming to the Lord in trust, asking Him what He has next for us. We are looking at opportunities in Southern California and Washington D.C. where we have wonderful communities of friends. Anna is excited to get back into the classroom teaching elementary school and Jon is prayerfully seeking a job in full-time ministry. Though we're not in the states at this point in time, we are well aware of the poor economic situation and the lack of job opportunities. We are sure that you are all feeling this economic strain in one way or another. We covet your prayers as we seek out what we will be doing for jobs in the near future.
Above all else, we praise the Lord for our experience in Ecuador these last 9 months. What an incredible adventure He has given us! Though we experienced many difficult moments, we are already beginning to look back in thanksgiving as we see the direct result of the Lord's grace and mercy in bringing us through each day in victory. Each experience here has shaped our hearts and minds, brought us closer to one another, and ultimately drawn us nearer to our Creator. We are excited to share more of our personal experiences with you when we return to the states.
Thank you for being such an integral part of our journey here in Quito. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf and your prayers for the ministry of Casa Victoria. Please do not cease praying for this place. The 30 kids that come each day for homework club, the single moms that gather together on Wednesdays to share stories and life, the young men that are living and learning together in community, the 13 families that receive educational scholarships through Casa Victoria, the numerous neighborhood schools that visit each week - these things are evidence of God's faithfulness in this community - these things need your prayers.
Thank you also to those of you who financially support our ministry. Never once have we been lacking. Your generosity surely enables us to give of ourselves freely to the people of Ecuador and the world over. Thank you for giving of your life to make it possible to give of ours. As we return to California and look to engage our own culture as well as the work world and economic crisis, we ask that you would continue to pray for us as we make this transition back to the United States.
We look forward to times together in the future, when we can share more pictures and stories of God's incredible love for this place and all that he has done in and through us during this time!
Lovingly in the name of Jesus Christ,
Jon and Anna Eshleman
Our contact info in the U.S.
Jon cell: 949-285-1409
Anna cell: 949-280-1492
Address: 21 Hancock Street, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
We've been on quite the adventure here in Quito and we felt like there was more to add to the list that we made months ago. Hopefully this will give you a little taste of what our experience is like (and maybe even convince you to come visit!).
- You have been called: reina (queen), querida (dear), preciosa (precious), mi hijita (my little girl), mi amor (my love), guapa (beautiful), gringa (white girl), mamacita... by strangers on the street
- Queso Fresco just doesn´t cut it for grilled cheese sandwiches
- Pizza sauce on pizza is a foreign concept
- The tenth car in line at the stoplight is the one to honk the most
- You´ve stopped laughing at the store names SuperMaxi and MegaMaxi...but you secretly still find them entertaining
- You have your favorite bus vender and street vendor and can imitate them (Espumilla de Frutilla – diez centavitos!)
- Old town Quito feels like a different city
- The sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm EVERY day
- Nowhere will give you change for your $20 bill (even the bank!)
- If the total is $5.15 expect to have the 15 cents ready too
- The electricity goes out for apparently no reason
- No hot water? Just wait for the propane tank truck to drive by, honk the horn, and you can run out to the street to buy more gas ($2.50 a tank)
- You realize that Cui (guinea pig) doesn't really taste like chicken
- Casual drinking on the streets doesn't get a second thought
- Water and beer are the same price at restaurants
- You can ride on the front bench seat with the bus driver
- You’ve eaten boiled fish soup, bone soup, bean soup, and chicken head/foot soup in the same week
- Mc Donald’s is for the upper class
- You know the local landrones (thieves) by name – and they know you!
- Empanadas are really starting to grow on you (Anna actually craves them now!)
- The bus literally accelerates around mountain curves
- You miss your friends and family more than you can express. We love you all!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
First, I'll take you all the way back to December 16th when Jon's entire family (Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law, 2 nephews and niece) flew into Quito for Christmas. Add 7 people to a house of 10, and you've got your hands full! I've always loved being the hostess, but this was a whole new territory! Throughout the10 days with family here, we enjoyed everything to hiking Pichincha Volcano to going bowling to shopping at the Artisan market. It was quite the adventure. We shared Christmas morning under the Christmas tree (that we had to pot in a huge terra cotta pot - No tree stands here!), stuffed ourselves with a 32-pound turkey, and played with all our new games into the wee-hours of the night. We had an absolute blast and are SO thankful that we had the opportunity to share this part of our lives with some of the people we love the most. I would love to post pictures of our adventures, however, our computer isn't working. Once it's up and running, I'll be sure to add the best of the best.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dear Friends and Family,
We hope you had an amazing Christmas celebration and are looking forward to a fantastic new year. As 2009 approaches, we am sure we are all thinking of the different things we would like to improve in our lives; it may be saving a little more money, eating a little healthier, exercising a little bit more, or spending more time with family and friends. Whatever it is, each of us is surely looking to become better than we were the year before.
Here in Ecuador there is a very unique and powerful tradition. Every year at this time you will see giant dolls lining the streets. These dolls are basically pants and shirts sewn up and stuffed with hay or paper and a stuffed head with a mask on it. These dolls are called the “old man.” Every year in Quito, on New Year’s Eve, people gather around and literally burn the “old man.” It is a powerful symbol of getting rid of the past/old and embracing the present/new. The disciples and followers of Jesus had a similar way of talking about what it was like to be “in Christ.” There is a dying that takes place - a losing of one’s own life in order to find new life. Behold, the old has gone, the new has come. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
We hope that this year, more and more that you will find yourself “in Christ.” You are the new creation! You are a temple of the Holy Spirit! What an amazing thought that is! You are a place where God dwells, a place where heaven and earth overlap! This is such a tremendous responsibility, but also a tremendous privilege. We are the salt of the earth, the city on the hill, and fountains overflowing with water that brings life. May our New Year’s Resolution be that we would all find ourselves “in Christ.”
As 2008 comes to an end we have so many things to be thankful for. We have seen God moving in so many ways here in Quito. We are so blessed to be a part of the work that he has been doing here for several years. Casa Victoria has been growing in so many ways! Each of you is a vital part of the body of Christ and your prayers, love, and support help us to be able to be a part of the growth here. We cannot thank you enough. Please know that we are so very grateful for each one of you in our lives and for all the support that you give us.
God has been taking such wonderful care of us and our needs throughout this year, and we lack for nothing. However, we are finding ourselves with some added expenses and could use a little extra financial support at this time. If you have already been giving, the please don’t feel obligated to give more, we understand very well the issues of the economy. However, we would ask that some of you prayerfully consider a one-time gift of $25, $50, $100 dollars or more. We would love to send some pictures with this email, but our computer isn’t working now, so all our pictures are locked up until we can find someone to recover our hard drive. Please pray that we can recover all the data on the computer. To participate financially in our ministry you can make your tax deductible donation to “The International Foundation.” You may send your donation to : The International Foundation, PO Box 23813, Washington, DC 20026-3813. If you send a check, please write in the memo: 876001 "Ecuador Volunteers" to ensure the donation goes to our account. We also attached a direct deposit form if that's easier for you. (Note: If your check is dated for December 31, 2008, it is tax-deductible for the 2008 fiscal year.)
Also, we covet your prayers as we transition into 2009 with the Casa Victoria community. Please continue to pray for unity amongst our “Casa Victoria Family” and for the leadership of this foundation to continue to meld together in the name of Jesus.
Once again, thank you for every ounce of love that you pour out onto our lives. We are so grateful for each of you and wish the very best for you and your family in 2009.
Grace and Peace,
Jon & Anna Eshleman
Jon and Anna Eshleman
Fundaciόn Casa Victoria
1124 Loja y Imbabura
Barrio San Roque, Quito