Greetings in the Name of the Lord from Latacunga, Ecuador!
Many of you are already aware, through Facebook and other means of correspondence, that David and I have been in Ecuador since January 12 helping out at our base here. We fly back to Florida on April 12, but at this writing (April 5), we are still nearly 10,000 feet up on a mountain side above Latacunga, Ecuador in the northern Andes Mountains about two hours south (give or take depending on traffic and road construction) of Quito.
The base here is beautiful, and, when the clouds lift, we can see some very beautiful mountains around us. The nearest is Cotopaxi, a dormant volcano to our north. We can also see to the south-southwest (on a very clear day) Chimborasu, another volcano. The third large mountain, Illintsi, is not a volcano, and is to our northwest.
When North America turned the corner into spring on March 21, down here we turned the corner into fall. The summer, according to many local residents, was much colder and wetter than usual, so they are wondering what that might mean for fall and winter. We have watched the snow level on Cotopaxi drop steadily since we came. Another thing here – no time adjustments, THAT is a wonderful thing as far as we are concerned. We are firmly in the camp that supports leaving time alone year round.
Currently at the Teen Missions in Ecuador base and Bible school, there are nine students and two interns. One intern is Ecuadorian, the other is from the U.S. The students brave the cold, damp weather daily in the classroom and in their dorm rooms and work assignments, but we seldom hear very much in the way of complaining.
For David and I, this has been a wonderful opportunity to see a base well run by a couple who truly have a vision of reaching out – to the area, to the nation and to the entire continent of South America. Our purpose here was to come alongside and assist where and how we could. I hope we have accomplished that to the Lord’s satisfaction. We have given some guidance, we have helped try to get the legalities in order here (they needed revision after several years, and after some changes in governmental requirements), and we have done what we could physically here at the base. We have grown to love the Calderon family and all the students and interns, and pray for God’s blessing and anointing on the ministry here.
One challenge that has arisen while we have been here is that of the condition of David’s back. While he has been careful to not over-do it, there have been a few times he has done some lifting that might have exacerbated things. We have known, since he was evaluated for VA disability, that he has deteriorating discs in the lumbar portion of his spine. On March 22, he awoke in excruciating pain – such that the pain itself was making him physically ill (throwing up). Even when he had a disc rupture back in the 80s, he did not have that much pain. We prayed, immediately sent a prayer request to Teen Missions to go in the prayer closet, and sent out a call for prayer on Facebook. We also did what we could – got him some muscle relaxers, a heating pad, and, of course, he was on full bed rest. After a couple days, praise the Lord, the pain subsided to a manageable level, where it remains at this writing. A side effect of all this has been a numbness in the front upper right thigh. We are not sure what is causing that, or what caused the initial problem. As soon as we return to Florida, he will go to the VA – initially for a walk-in appointment first thing in the morning of April 15, and eventually we want them to do a CT and an MRI so it can be determined just what has been going on and the best course of action. Please keep all this in prayer – it has been very concerning to us. One of our greatest concerns is what effect this might have on our leading a summer team to Russia this year.
Upon our return to Florida on April 12, I will have exactly two days to be fully prepared for my adult team to Zimbabwe. I want to take a moment to thank all who gave and all who are praying for this team. All my support came in and I thank those who, in response to God’s prompting, gave generously so that I can be a part of this team that will be ministering to the needs of orphans, widows and others in the area around our base in Zimbabwe. You may wonder about my going before we know what is going on with David’s back. He wants me to go and should it become necessary, Heather will come down from Indiana to be with him until I return (my team is for three weeks). Please keep me and my team in prayer for effective ministry, and David, too, while I am away.
For the moment, that pretty much catches you up on the wanderings and ministry of the Spindlers. We are so thankful for each and every one of you, and pray that God is blessing you all richly. You can’t possibly know how much it means to have the prayer support of so loving a group of family, friends and former team members, and words would fail me if I tried to express it. We know many of you have endured long, cold, snowy winters and pray that spring weather has found its way to your area by now. Thank you for sharing in our lives and ministry, and please do keep in touch with us, especially if you have special prayer needs.
Together in His Service,
David and Stephanie Spindler