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March 2015



Were back in Ecuador! After spending three months in the

US, it has felt great to get back into a rhythm of life and
ministr y here in Ecuador. Having said that, it was an
incredibly encouraging time to be in the States and have the
opportunity to sit down face to face with friends, supporters,
family, and churchesall of which are integral to our ministry
here. We were especially blessed to learn that one of our
sending churches (First Lutheran Church of Fargo, ND) has
formed a team that will be coming down this summer to work
and minister with us at El Refugio! There are also two other
churches that were in serious conversations with who plan to
send teams in the summer of 2016. Its a joy to see how God is
stirring in the hearts of individuals and moving them to join
Members of the team from Fargo coming this summer
with us in what God is doing here in Ecuador! Upon arriving
back in Ecuador, we were welcomed home by a house under construction, a car that had been broken
into while we were gone (which is still in the shop), and the uncertainty of how long we would be
able to legally stay in the country as we began the process of applying for residency. There have been
trying and stressful moments, but we feel certain that this is where God wants us. We find peace in
knowing that He has called us and He will provide for our every need.

Back in the Saddle

Every spring we host a team composed of young adults

L I F T i n O ya c a c h i
from a camp in Speculator, NY that are taking part in a
discipleship program called LIFT. They stay longer than
the average team, allowing them to spend significant time
at two of our ministry partner sites: the towns of Chaco
and Oyacachi. I had the pleasure of heading to Oyacachi
with the team for the three days they spent there. As a
family we have taken many trips to Oyacachi to deepen El
Refugios relationship with the town, church, and Pastor.
During this visit we held two evening services, were given
two opportunities to put on programs at the public
school, and partnered with the Compassion Intl feeding
program that takes place at the church. I led a number of
games, translated testimonies, a sermon, and numerous
conversations. It was a completely different dynamic being with a group of 35, rather than just our family
of 4. The energy that filled the town as the kids soaked in the love of these young adults was so apparent.
Three days isnt a long time, but the depth of investment was intentional and the children of this town
desire to be loved and receive it so openly. I sat down with the Pastor on a couple of occasions during our
time and greatly appreciated his take on the benefits of short-term teams: a much wider base of
individuals in the community are willing to engage with foreigners; even those on the fringes of society
come out and interact with them [us], and these individuals are often hardest for the church to draw in.


c h u r c h


c a l a c a l i

Our church involvement has really increased since getting back. Last
year our pastor was absent from the church for about 8 months, as his
paying job sent him to the coast for that time. Though difficult, this
change prompted individuals of the church to step up, get organized,
and invest more time in being involved. Though this period began with
difficulty, the involvement led to genuine growth within the church. The
Pastor returned about two weeks before we left for our time of furlough.
Since arriving in January, weve observed that everything returned to
normal when the Pastor returned. There has been a lack of leadership,
disconnectedness, and poor communication. In March I decided it was
time for me to involve myself and provide some direction and leadership
to move towards unity and growth.
Though at this point only two leaders meetings have taken place, I
can already see a hunger developing to dig in and start working towards a
healthier church. Ive led both of the meetings, and had the opportunity
to preach this past Sunday as well. I took the opportunity to share some
of the same ideas and themes with the congregation that Ive been
exploring with the church leadership. I was warmly received following
the service, and truly believe that God is preparing this church to be a
real light and presence in our community.
Another exciting update is that we have a thriving youth group at our
church that just started
formally meeting this year.
There are 20 - 40 youth that
show up each week. Last
month they came out to El
Refugio for the weekend
and had a significant time of
bonding and growing in
their faith. Were excited to
see how God continues to
use this for His glory!

E s p e n


E at ing


Prayer Requests
For our visa process: We're
applying for a residency visa.
Pray that we're able to get all of
the proper documents from the
US fast enough and that Ecuador
accepts everything.
For our car and home: Our
car was broken into in October
2014 and we're still waiting for it
to get fully repaired. Our home is
under construction and we're
praying they continue to move
forward working hard so that our
home can stop being a
construction zone as soon as
For our church involvement:
Pray for growth within the
church, unity within the
leadership, and for increased
involvement in the community.
Fo r re l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h
ministr y par tners in the
j u n g l e : We h a v e s e v e r a l
locations in the jungle that we go
to with short-term teams in the
summers. Pray that we would
build strong relationships with
the people in these towns
throughout the year and that we
would till the soil well.

s l e e p ing !

This may seem like a silly thing, but to us it has actually been a
huge deal! During our time in the US, Espen had a very difficult
time settling into a rhythm of sleeping well. As we suspected, upon
returning home and being able to establish regular nap and bed
times (in the same bed!) he began sleeping through the night. The
next hurdle has been eating, as any and every food we attempted to
introduce would result not only in incredibly funny faces, but also
screams, gagging, and extreme crying. Mid-March Suzy tried to
feed him some broth from a local restaurant and he liked it. He
even voluntarily opened his mouth, requesting more! It has been a
huge relief to see our happy little guy settle into good sleeping and
eating habits! Please continue to keep him in your prayers!
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