April News

My favorite shot of the balconies of Cartagena

Where April showers are just a continuation of March showers, and February showers, and...

Our Mission
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Monthly News
Prayer Requests

Our Mission

To follow God's will for our lives so that we can serve Him in all we do, go wherever He leads, and share His amazing love with those around us.

Continue to support and pray for mission projects around the world:

1) Cusco, Peru - Romulo Tupa - Local Missionary; Pace Ministry - Lima, Peru
2) Guayllabamba, Ecuador - Tulcanza Family - Local Missionary Church with two outreach locations
3) El Batan Missionary Alliance Church and Ninos en Riesgo program for kids living on the streets
4) Just For Kids Orphanage and Montebello School - Valle de los Chillos, Ecuador
5) Home of Hope - Malawi, Africa, Canadian Missionaries
6) Renee in Pak.

Our Plan for Serving God

The church service in Chimburlo, the newest church plant in Ecuador

Because we do not receive any additional support outside our own pockets, we are looking for 40 families or individuals to commit to giving $5.00-$10.00 a week for a year. This would give us the funds to build a church a year for the 3-6 church plants that we are able to be a part of in Ecuador, and work toward building the center for the kids living in the streets to give them the skills to change their lives physically and continue to grow spiritually. To me, it's hard to believe that that little, one less Burger King meal a week, can make that big a difference somewhere else in the world. If you have been thinking about doing more but don't have a lot, this would be a great opportunity to be involved with. At $1,000 a pop,we can't afford to fly to the States and raises funds, though we have found that our presence increases the passion for our projects and our absence leads to out of sight, out of mind. The worldwide web should be the way to connect the world and make us all more global Christians, letting our brothers and sisters in Christ know that we know they are out there making a difference where they are for God. Let us know by email if you want to partner with us at cathleen_carpenter@hotmail.com.

Photo Gallery
 Cartagena is known as Cartagena de los Indias because it is another place Christopher Columbus thought was the Indies he continually seemed to be searching for. It is a beautiful colonial town on the coast.

You can see both the old and the new Cartagena from the walls of the old city

You can't appreciate the humor in this picture if you don't live in a place where plastic surgery and enhancements are as common as brushing your teeth; the clerk looks as perplexed as I often feel as to what do you do with something that big.

Cartagena had a great area that was full of a variety of candy treats to try, a lot made with coconut and arequipe. The local menu on the right was coconut rice, fish, patacones, and a little water with panela, which tasted like iced tea to me.

Monthly News

Historic Cartagena

As Semana Santa, Holy Week, comes to an end here, it makes you think about what that really means. We had no jelly beans, yellow Peeps, Easter egg hunts, or a visit from the Easter Bunny. And even though there were no daffodils or crocus coming up to symbolize the rebirth of spring and new life, the meaning of the resurrection still came through. It is unfortunate that many religions seem to focus on the death of Christ for 90% of the season and only 10% on the celebration of the resurrection.

Unlike the green and wet of Armenia, the dry and hot of the coast  seemed strange and desert-like.

For us, we have to continue to follow the path God has for us and make decisions based on Him regardless of the decisions others make around us. We will not receive any support this year from the churches that have helped us in the past, and have had no one partner with us for our mission trip to Ecuador. But you know, that's okay because I'm sure God has something to teach us through whatever experiences come our way as long as we are obedient and faithful. Every Christian is a missionary, reaching out to those around them where ever they are.

  Hopefully as we are called to work abroad, those at home are doing their part in their own neighborhoods,  stopping by your next door neighbor and building a relationship. Pick one house a week to make an effort to get to know and you'd be amazed at the results. Jesus was never one to be so involved in church that it kept him from the company of non-Christians and we need to strive to follow that model.

Steve says that sometimes I make our life seem too interesting and exciting and it is for us in many ways. But if we weren't blessed by God and prayed for by others, the $700 a month that I earn, the police on every corner watching out just in case, and the border conflicts that go on daily would be a little scary; sacrifice occurs on various levels and isn't meant to be comfortable if true growth and faith is going to develop.

The 1st church built in Guayllabamba                                       The current building in Chimburlo

For us, our plan continues to be to build a church a year. For $10,000, we can get land and construct a concrete block structure that will allow for growth as the congregation grows, and, give them a place to meet without having to worry about the weather, with a bathroom, and lights to see. I don't think that is asking too much to help Christians that are in a struggling country yet continuing to reach out to their fellow man with the light of Christ. They would be estatic to have a dirt floor, plastic patio chairs, and some corrugated plastic wired together for a roof if it meant it was a place to organize their efforts to reach their neighbors. You'll never hear them complain about the AC, the color of the carpet, or volume of the music! It isn't the size or quality of the building that is important, but having an actual building instead of someone's living room really does make a difference and allow for growth.

The Day at the Mud Pit Volcano

One of the places you can visit in Cartagena is a volcano that is famous for its mud bath. You climb up to the top of the volcano and go down into the mud pit. It is cool but not cold and you can't touch the bottom so you have to find your balance and try to stay head up! The locals have put up walls at the top of the volcano to create the "mudbath area" but don't be fooled that you aren't in a volcano. The volcano is constantly burping so it doesn't let you forget where you are. Once you have a good "coating" massaged in, you go down to the lagoon and get scrubbed clean. You can even purchase a bottle of lodo to take home to have your own mudbath.

The volcano was pretty obvious but not like others we have had erupt on us in Ecuador!


It was crazy to see the people coated in the mud; it was like a weird Blue Man Group or creatures from another planet! This is the big economy for this area and as there isn't much else out here but fishing. The waters around Cartagena were somewhat polluted, but there are several islands you can get a boat to for a nice sandy white beach and relaxing day. Cartagena is a stop for many cruise ships as well so the crowds can get big and the prices inflated.

Historical churches are a part of the beauty of old town Cartagena

Back in Armenia, it still rains daily but life goes on. After being in the dry and hot, the cool and rain does seem preferencial! Our school year here is longer, 40 weeks, so we will be in school until the end of June. Our plan is to save whatever dinero we can to be able to support our projects in Quito and hopefully be able to get there if we can this summer. We won't be getting much farther unless it works out with Steve's job or frequent flyer miles.We were blessed with his business connections and miles to be able to spend the time we did in Cartagena.

Good Friday in Cartagena included the traditional Catholic procession of Christ on his way to be crucified. I understand the biblical significance, but always hated the ritual growing up in the Catholic church, not because it reminded me I was a sinner, but because it never seemed to end on the up note that because of Jesus' sacrifice, salvation is a free gift possible for all.

The combination of the architectures and red tile roofs made for a lot of great pictures.

Moments of the Month:
1. Every 8 days - all events are billed as "every 8 days" instead of once a week or a week from today. We always say, but that's 7 days, a week,and they reply, yes, every 8 days, and we ask, why are you counting today? and it continues in a bad Abbott and Costello routine until we just smile and let it go. It is fun though to see how many circles we can end up going in.

2. Juanes Peace Concert - If you didn't see it, it was a wonderful music event put on by a Colombian artist, Juanes, on the border of Venezula and Colombia to demonstrate unity among the people whether the politicians agreed or not. No politicians or leaders were allowed to attend or be a part of it and artists from around the world came and played for free to about 300,000 people.

This guy will eventually be a solid turquoise blue in color though he looks like he got in a paint can right now!

3. The price of buses, taxis, and gas went up this week for whatever reason though our salaries did not! Luckily we like to walk and you can do that here to most places.

4. In our church there is an older gentleman, probably in his 90s that comes faithfully every week though it probably takes him 20 minutes to go the 15 feet from driveway to a seat. I don't think his vision or hearing is good, and he seems to have a permanent bent over state, but his mind is clear and he is so happy to be able to be  and participate. He really impresses on me the priviledge we have to worship God together and that we can't let Satan influence us to sacrifice that for our own personal desires.

5. Steve and I go to the same barber downtown, though he can't find anyone that can truly cut a flattop. He likes the guy because it is cheap and he is a real barber guy. I like that he listens to me and has really gentle hands that have a nice soap smell! He cracks me up though because he doesn't have the fancy thinning shears or other girly tools, so he kindof does the Edward Scissorhands thing on my head.

It takes these guys less than 10 seconds to come to the feeder after I put out new food.

Prayer Requests and Praises

1 Finding out a friend from the past that had been on my prayer list for years had accepted Christ!
2. Our health continues to be good without any problems
3. Living expenses and day to day needs met by our jobs
4. Opportunities to share with other people -- school and their friends; attended church with us!
5. Peace about our decisions - handling the new challenges in our financial support

1. People to partner with us to support our church building mission in Ecuador financially
2. Steve's job to smooth out -- continued opportunities for growth and sharing
3. Church plants in Ecuador to continue -- more people and new groups started
4. The Bible Institute in Guayllabamba - training leaders to go out into the field; resources for them
5. For my brother Steven's four little kids - all to be healthy and stay that way

(sorry for any double letters in this section; I can't figure out how to fix it!)

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