October 2019 Newsletter

(NEWSFLASH: From October 3 through October 13 Ecuador experienced widespread strikes and civil unrest after the government discontinued long-standing fuel subsidies. We did not know until today (October 14) if we would be returning October 16 or rescheduling our flight. But late last night the government reached agreement with the protesters. Quito is returning to normal and we get to return. Please pray for Ecuador’s recovery from this difficult time.)

(Want to read the print version? Click here.)


Our four-month Home Ministry Assignment (HMA) has flown by and our October 16 return to Ecuador is quickly approaching. Here’s a partial list of our happenings:

    • Time with family
    • Connecting with fifty supporters (so far)
    • Speaking to four small groups about our life in Ecuador
    • Enjoying Oregon’s gentle summer sunshine, abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, and Eugene’s wonderful riverside bike paths
    • Visiting the Oregon coast and riding around Crater Lake (Scott made the circuit by unicycle for the fifth time)

Our hoped-for week of debriefing in Colorado didn’t happen but we’re planning to register for a July 2020 session. We hope to spend two weeks in Colorado and two weeks in Oregon.

Thank you for praying for us during this time and as we head back to Quito. We’re enjoying our last days here AND will enjoy being back in Ecuador for our normal lives.

HMA Photos

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How To Pray For Us

Thank God for:

    • A great place to stay in Oregon
    • Good times with family and supporters
    • Time for reflection and rest
    • General good health

Ask God for:

    • Adjustment back to Quito life
    • Wisdom about upcoming changes with our organization in Ecuador

New Blog Posts

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Eugene’s Riverside Paths

I (Jody) have been walking almost every morning on Eugene’s lovely Ruth Bascom Riverside Path System. The system covers both sides of the Willamette River with 14 miles of bike and pedestrian paths. Five bike-pedestrian bridges cross the river (Owosso, Valley River Center, Peter DeFazio, Autzen Stadium, and Willie Knickerbocker). Hundreds use the paths to bike to work each day, including two of our sons.

The system includes several city parks, some ponds, an extensive running trail system (which used to be the city dump), and habitat for wildlife. It is a wonderful asset to the community. Here’s a map of the whole system.

Because we’ve been living about 3/4 mile from the path, I cover only about 1 mile of path in my hour-long walk. But even this short stretch is diverse and beautiful. Last week, on a chilly, 40 degree F. (4 degree C.) morning, I tried to capture some of the beauty I see each morning.

The Walk

The Signs Along the Way

The Solar System Path (more info here)





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Oregon Coast

We made it to the Oregon coast twice during our time in the USA. In August we made a day trip with our friend Tyler Burgess, walking on Hobbit Beach, hiking up to Heceta Head lighthouse, and even slipping and sliding our way up and down some sand dunes.

Heceta Head

In September we took three days of vacation at a beachfront cottage. Besides enjoying the view, we drove north and climbed Cascade Head, one of the ocean capes. The six-mile hike took three hours and gained about 1,300 feet in elevation. It was a clear, sunny day with wonderful views of the coast.

The Cottage and Beach

Cascade Head

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Sunrise, Sunset in Eugene

It’s been six years since we were in Oregon long enough to see the seasons change. We arrived this year just before the June solstice and we’ll leave a bit after the September equinox. In June it was strange how long the days were and now it’s strange how short the days are.

In Ecuador we have a rainy season (October-June) and a dry season (July-September), but the length of the day never changes. We’ve blogged before about this, here (when we were in Costa Rica) and here (when we got to Quito).

We were warned in our pre-departure training that some people are negatively affected physically and emotionally by the lack of seasons. But we seem to have adjusted, as Oregon now seems weird and Quito seems normal. (Although we do love Oregon in the summer!)

Just for fun, here’s how our mornings and evenings have changed since we’ve been here. As before, our source is timeanddate.com.

  • June 21: sunrise 5:29 a.m., sunset 8:58 p.m. (almost 15-1/2 hours)
  • October 16: sunrise 7:26 a.m., sunset 6:28 p.m. (just over 11 hours)

Right now we’re losing almost 3 minutes of daylight each day, and it’s making us eager to get back to Ecuador!

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Unicycling Crater Lake

Ready to start the ride

September 7 (2019) we took a day trip to Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. Scott (on his unicycle) and two bicycling friends rode the 32-mile Rim Drive. It’s a challenging ride, taking Scott seven hours and about 3,000 feet of up and down. This was Scott’s fifth rim ride; the others were 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012. It’s hard to know, but he may have ridden around Crater Lake more times than any other unicyclist.

While he was riding, I (Jody) was enjoying a very leisurely drive with our oldest daughter. We stopped at each viewpoint and waited for the riders to catch up in case they needed some food and drink. We had no need to hurry and plenty of time to enjoy the view.

Scott says he could tell it had been seven years since the last ride. The hills were longer and steeper and the camber (slope) of the road was worse than he remembered. Here are a few photos of this year’s ride, a Google-stitched panorama of him finishing the ride, and a few photos from previous years.

And here are some photos from previous rides:

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Our Favorite Things

“What do you miss most when you’re in Ecuador?”

This recent question was a bit difficult to answer, as we try to focus on what we have rather than on what we’re missing. But the question got us thinking about what we enjoy in each country. So, with a bow to The Sound of Music and in no particular order, these are a few of our favorite things.

In the U.S.:

  • Grandkids (and their parents, of course); family time is very precious
  • Oregon summer fruits and vegetables: peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, Hermiston melons, sweet corn on the cob, and tomatoes just picked from the vine
  • Oregon summer weather: sun which gently warms you, sixteen-hour days without a cloud in the sky, and long shadows before dusk (we have a mountain to the west in Quito so we don’t have long shadows and slow sunsets like Oregon in summer)
  • Seeing old friends
  • Bike and walking paths, whether Eugene’s wonderful riverbank system or Rails-to-Trails nearby
  • Crater Lake (we hope to get there)
  • Medical appointments in English (although we do most of our doctoring in Quito at much lower cost)
  • Costco, Amazon, and thrift stores
  • Jerry’s (where you can find almost anything hardware related)
  • Root beer and Dr. Pepper (Jody), dill pickles and good ice cream (Scott, although not together!)

In Ecuador:

  • Flavorful tropical fruits: white pineapples, oritos (stubby golden bananas), papayas, mangoes, and babaco, along with fresh juices (maracuyá, guanábana, naranjilla, and mora)
  • Flowers blooming year round
  • The incredible Andes: Quito is in a high Andean valley and from our dining room we see steep mountain slopes just three or four miles away (great hiking for Scott, great views for Jody)
  • Working with an international group of Christians to further God’s kingdom
  • The fun and challenge of speaking Spanish and learning about Ecuadorian culture
  • New places to go and explore and adventures to be had
  • Presidential elections which last one month, with no campaigning the last two days
  • Our daily commute providing exercise: walking for Jody and unicycling for Scott
  • Twelve-hour days year round (a treat in December and January)
  • Good, low-cost medical care, albeit in Spanish
  • A slower-paced life: not feeling like you need to rush around doing a lot of things
  • Seeing the U.S. from a different perspective as is only possible when you don’t live there
  • Not having a car: lots of buses and taxis, and a city with all our necessities within two miles of home
Posted in Ecuador, Family, Quito | 1 Comment

June 2019 Newsletter

(Want to read the print version? Click here.)

One of the odd things about missionary life is that someone is always absent. Because part of the job is to return periodically to our passport country for a few months or so, we never have a full crew. Sometimes this traveling is called furlough and other times it’s called home ministry assignment or HMA. HMA encompasses the idea that a missionary’s ministry goes at least two directions: toward the mission field and toward supporters in our home country.

On the mission field, leaving for HMA can wreak havoc with programs and activities. With a relatively small team, Scott has no one able to cover all his duties. A few things can be delegated, a lot just won’t get done for the four months we are gone, and some tasks will require distance work from the U.S.

Besides connecting with supporters, HMA also involves refreshment, restoration, and reevaluating our service. How has the last term gone? What adjustments does God want to make in our plans and vision for the future?

Finding the balance between travel, meeting with people, and being renewed is always challenging. Friends just returned from a five-month HMA which took them (husband, wife, and six-year-old son) across the U.S. in a rental car. When I asked how it went, the wife said, “It was crazy. In the first four months we were never anywhere longer than three days.”

We’ll have it much easier than that. We plan to spend most of our time in Oregon, with short trips to Washington and Colorado. Eugene friends have offered us a room in their home, so we’ll have a home base as we come and go. Almost all of our kids and grandkids are in Eugene. We have no young children to parent while we travel and we have no supporting churches requiring mandatory presentations. And we don’t need to raise new support, which is sometimes the most stressful part of HMA. If a missionary’s account is in deficit, he or she can’t return to the field until adequate support is raised.

Our challenge is to be diligent in connecting with supporters while remaining flexible and sensitive to God’s leading for each day. It ought to be an adventure; prayers are appreciated!

Ministry Focus: Cleft Lip Program

For many years Reach Beyond has helped children with cleft lip or cleft palate deformities have the needed corrective surgeries. The program is based in Shell, which is on the edge of the jungle. Some of the patients come from the jungle and others from Shell and surrounding communities. Financing comes from donations from around the world.

Recently we were twice blessed to host families who came to Quito for surgery. Our apartment is fairly close to Hospital Metropolitano, where the surgeries are performed, so we have a convenient place to stay. In May, a 17-year-old came for her eighth surgery, accompanied by her mother, baby sister, and the Reach Beyond missionary who is coordinating the program. Unfortunately the patient got sick the night before the operation and the surgery was postponed.

And in early June a 17-year-old came with her mother and the missionary (all pictured below) to have two surgeries to correct deformities in her ear canal and her nose. These deformities are in addition to her cleft lip. Her surgeries went well and she is now back in Shell. It has been a privilege to have these “angels unaware” in our home.


  • For our home base in Eugene
  • For what God has planned
  • For the chance to be grandparents in person


  • That we’ll get into a week long Debrief and Renewal session in Colorado; we’re waitlisted on four sessions
  • For diligence, sensitivity to God’s leading, and obedience to His direction
  • For protection for our Quito apartment while we’re gone

Eugene Open Houses

We have three drop-in-and-visit open houses scheduled this summer. For dates, times, and places, please message me on Facebook or comment below with your email address.

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