Formality in the Workplace

Estimados Directores, Jefes y Coordinadores,

La presente tiene la finalidad de recordarles que el Departamento de Contabilidad de HCJB – OM, receptará las facturas para pago a los diferentes proveedores hasta el día martes 25 del presente mes, caso contrario se solicita muy comedidamente la emisión de una nueva factura para el pago correspondiente a los diferentes proveedores con fecha del siguiente mes.

De existir inquietudes estamos a las órdenes para aclararlas.  De antemano anticipamos su atención y colaboración al presente comunicado.

Saludos cordiales

My (Scott’s) co-workers are Ecuadorian and I am still not accustomed to the formality that they show in communications.  Every letter or email must have a salutation and also a comment or blessing at the end.

The above routine announcement, was sent internally to staff in our office.  It is a good example of the flowery writing that they prefer.  Here is my translation:

 Esteemed Directors, Bosses, and Coordinators,

The present [document] has the purpose of reminding you that the Department of Accounting of HCJB – OM, will receive invoices for payment to the different providers until Tuesday, the 25th day of the present month, otherwise it will be necessary to courteously solicit the emission of a new invoice for the corresponding payment to the different providers with a date in the following month.

If there exists any uneasiness we are at your service to clarify this.  In advance we anticipate your attention and collaboration with the present communication.

Cordial regards,

(Full name)

And here is how I would have written it:


Heads up.  We will only pay invoices through Tuesday the 25th, otherwise you will have to ask vendors to submit a new invoice for payment next month.


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July 2017 Newsletter

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

Why Unicycle?

Scott cropped

Scott heading off to work. Our apartment is on the top floor.

Scott’s work commute is by unicycle, certainly an unusual sight here. Why does he unicycle? First, because he enjoys it. But, second, it helps him connect with people and is a conversation starter. It’s a way for us to “move into the neighborhood,” as Christ did when he came to earth.

Scott has introduced himself to many of the people he sees every day on his two-kilometer route: neighborhood guards, parking lot guards, people who watch over cars parked on the street. In addition, when people from the neighborhood talk to us, the first comment is usually about his unicycle.

Recently he introduced himself to a new guard at a government building. He told the guard where he worked, and because HCJB/Reach Beyond has such a long history here, the man knew he was a Christian. A few days later, the guard waved him down and said, “I’m a Christian too and I want to learn more about living like a Christian. Can you help me?”  What an opening!

A good friend who is a Ecuadorian pastor and a former Reach Beyond missionary told Scott, “Give him my contact information; I can meet with him,” then added, “You’re an evangelist!” Well, yes, sort of, in his own quiet (unicycling) way.

Thank you for sharing in our adventures—we are blessed and thankful to be here.

News Flash

Two days after we wrote the above, Scott took a minor tumble on his unicycle and managed to break his collarbone. He’s in a sling for at least three weeks but is continuing to work (one-handed). We’re thankful he didn’t do this three months ago when Jody was wearing a sling after shoulder surgery.

In Case You Were Wondering

Passports cropped

A friend recently wrote us, “I would not be honest if I said I was happy you have denounced your USA citizenship.” And we thought, “Wow, we didn’t explain our resident visas very clearly, did we?”

To clarify, we are still U.S. citizens.  In our US passports we have Ecuadorian visas which will not expire, allowing us to come and go with almost no restrictions.

Some Recent Photos


Jody’s sister came to help after surgery.

2017-02-10 15.08.59

Day Two: On the way to Chugchilan

2017-02-11 16.20.49

Day Three: On the way to Quilotoa


Day Four – Quilotoa Lake!

How to Pray for Us?

  • Thank God for Jody’s successful surgery
  • Pray for increasing ability in Spanish; we’re studying and practicing but it’s a very slow process.

Recent Blog Posts (click to read)

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A Fourth of July Party (in June?)

A few weeks ago an email was forwarded at work inviting U.S. citizens to a Fourth of July party sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. After we RSVP’d we realized it wasn’t the first Saturday in July but rather the 24th of June. (Who gives a Fourth of July party in June?)

The location was where U.S. ambassadors lived in the past, but it is vacant now. The grounds, however, are spacious and beautiful. And it’s right on a cliff so the view is fantastic. Breathtakingly beautiful. We met the ambassador and his wife, but we didn’t realize who they were. “Hello, my name is Todd and this is my wife Jeannetta.” How were we to know Todd & Jeannetta weren’t just friendly people? (We can do “Clueless in Quito” in English as well as in Spanish.)

We bought some very expensive (and unusually flavored) ice cream, listened to live music, saw a puppet show by Ecuadorean firemen and a canine demonstration by Ecuadorean police. And we visited with other Reach Beyond people there. Scott even tossed a frisbee around for a while on the huge lawn (or maybe it’s a soccer field?). Thankfully the weather cooperated and we had sunshine rather than rain.

It was a fun and unique experience.



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After the Guayaquil getaway, we had one day back in Quito before we left for four days trekking in mountains even higher than Quito. That is, Scott and our friend Tyler from Eugene hiked the Quilotoa Trek, about eight miles each day with lots of ups and downs. Jody bused or taxied from village to village; her shoulder wasn’t up to carrying a backpack. We stayed in hostels in mountain villages (Isinlivi, Chugchilán, and Quilotoa) amidst Andean beauty.

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Guayaquil & the Christian Hospitality Network

The end of May we went to a wonderful missionary getaway in Guayaquil sponsored by the Christian Hospitality Network (CHN). A mission team from Tennessee pampered us (and 160 other missionaries) in a five-star hotel for four days—what a treat!

CHN promotes hospitality in the U.S. and also sponsors getaways outside the U.S. for missionaries close to their field of service.

CNH was started around 2002 by Paul & Jean Cowell. Jean was at our getaway (Paul is now deceased) and she told us of the beginnings of CHN. She and Paul had opened the Whitestone Country Inn in 1997, and they welcomed missionaries to stay at their inn at no cost. One night they hosted a missionary couple from Russia and showed them to their room, the best in the inn. The wife sat down in a chair and started crying, saying, “You don’t understand; we’re missionaries, we don’t get to stay in the best room.”

Jean and Paul started dreaming of taking the Whitestone Inn experience to the mission field and giving missionaries four days of first class rest and relaxation. Since 2002 CHN has hosted 22 getaways around the world, and we were blessed to have one this year in Ecuador. Our only costs were transportation and our lunches. The team included  medical staff, a hair stylist, a photographer, counselors, a worship team, and a group to run kids’ activities, all who came at their own expense.

On our application they had asked for names of two or three people who could provide some special information about us. They then secretly contacted these people and asked them to organize cards and letters from family and friends which would be given to us during the retreat.

So the second night as Jody was getting ready for bed, she saw a stack of over 30 cards and letters on the spare bed in their room. “What are THESE?”  Instead of going to bed, we spent the next hour reading the cards to each other. What a sweet surprise of blessing and encouragement.

Guayaquil is a seaport and Ecuador’s most populous city. Sights include an iguana park, a waterfront walk, and a lighthouse on a hill across from our hotel. The views of Guayaquil were taken from the lighthouse.


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Shoulder Surgery – Recovery

Last week was three months since my shoulder surgery. I started 15 physical therapy sessions after a month, and also went back to work. I saw the doctor again two months after surgery and he felt I didn’t need any more physical therapy.

In the last month my mobility and general pain level have improved. But I have some areas which still hurt quite a bit. I have exercise bands I’m using at home, doing exercises the therapist gave me. But some of them hurt and I’m leaning toward asking the doctor for more physical therapy, both to help with the sore places and to make sure I’m doing the most helpful exercises.

A week after surgery my sister came for a two-week visit.  She did all the kitchen things I couldn’t do, and generally helped me with daily life. We went up the Teleférico and discovered we’re not very good at taking selfies. We visited the botanical gardens, and took a day trip to Otavalo (a large native outdoor market). But mostly we sat and talked; it was the longest time we’d spent together since we were kids, and much more pleasant than back then (when we fought all the time).

Jeanne-Jody Teleférico

High above the city. (It’s hard to take a selfie when you can’t see the screen in the bright sunlight.)


Jeanne-Jody botanical gardens

At the botanical gardens

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Shoulder Surgery: Home Again

I came home yesterday afternoon. I’m sore but it’s not as bad as I was expecting. I’m tired but not dizzy or weak, so we felt pretty comfortable with Scott going in to the office today. (He’s still swamped and his vpn wasn’t working.)

The surgeon said my ruptured supraspinatus tendon was not as bad as the MRI showed–a pleasant surprise.  He was able to repair it with sutures only; he was planning to use an anchor in the humerus. He removed a big bone spur from under the acromion, which will help my range of motion. And he moved the long head of the bicep tendon out of the glenohumeral joint and reattached it to my humerus on the armpit side. If I am diligent in my physical therapy he’s very optimistic for very good results.

I was surrounded by prayer: co-workers, family, Facebook friends. I started crying during the operating room prep and they stopped and prayed for me. And I can remember at least six times visitors to my hospital room prayed for me.

I’m wearing a sling but it is not to immobilize the arm but just to support it and to keep me from using it. Dr. Febres said to move my fingers and wrist often and also gently straighten my elbow and move my arm laterally. I just can’t raise my arm. I see him April 18 to have the stitches taken out.

My care was very good in the hospital.  The nurses and aides were professional and attentive.  I didn’t understand everything but I don’t think I missed anything important.

Our total bill for everything was around $2600, much lower than the $4200 estimate. I would recommend our hospital to anyone, although this would have been very challenging if I didn’t know some Spanish.

I’m thankful for the day of recovery in the hospital. Tuesday was pretty rough and it was really nice to have the IV pain meds when the pain was intense. I was coughing a lot to clear my lungs from the aftereffects of the anesthesia and everything hurt when I coughed. I’m still coughing but that extreme pain is gone. In the US I think this would have been outpatient surgery, a decision that I suspect is driven more by financial reasons than by medical reasons.

I’m very grateful all went well.  Thank you for your prayers.

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