Things are a changing here in Florida. We are making preparations for our upcoming Boot Camps. Temperatures are heating up, the winter volunteers have returned north and spring break is over. We are in full “Boot Camp mode” as they say around here. Tents are going up everywhere.
This past week, I (Shannon) returned from 2 ½ weeks in Ecuador. I was given the opportunity to lead an adult team. Our team’s purpose was to do general maintenance and minister alongside the Teen Missions in Ecuador Bible school students during their weekly Bible program with local children.
We arrived at the Teen Missions Ecuador base, located at 9,980’ elevation, on March 19. I soon realized that I was no longer living at the 3’ elevation that I live at in Florida. I was accompanied by three team members, two from Canada and one from the US. Two of the team members had never been on a missions trip and it was amazing to see the eye-opening experience they had every day just like I did on my first trip. Our first task was to settle in and get an understanding of the way of life in Ecuador. We lived in the dorms on the base and worked alongside the staff and students in the ministry. Mealtime was always interesting as we discovered new food like guinea pig and learned to communicate in a new language. Douglas, one of the team
members, had been to Japan on a missions trip and brought chopsticks for everyone to eat with. Although the meal lasted twice as long as it should have and the floor was a mess, everyone had a good time learning to eat with chopsticks. As a team, we decided that we were going to truly bless the staff in Ecuador in every way we could. We were able to treat them when possible, as well as fix some small things around the base that would make everyday life easier. We repaired several windows, fixed steps and we installed flooring and a door in an apartment that the base coordinator is planning to move into as his new home. Another task we were given was to repair 18 bikes that hadn’t been ridden in several years. These bikes are to be used by the upcoming summer team of preteens. Our team completely disassembled the bikes, took apart every bearing and cable, and lubricated them and replaced them, if needed. We also became experts at cleaning out water tanks as we volunteered to help clean out the community water tank and sand filter. We worked alongside the community on the side of the mountain that gets the water from this source. We soon realized that the women of Ecuador are quite strong and are used to physical labor, because we had trouble keeping up with them. We blamed it on the elevation, but we all knew that wasn’t the real reason they worked harder than we did.
We all fell in love with the people of Ecuador. They are hard working, hardy, honest
people. The kids were a joy as we bridged the language barrier with Bible stories through translation and song. The kids love soccer or “football”, as they call it. We needed no translation as we realized by the children’s laughter that the “gringos” are not very good soccer players. I was encouraged once again, as I travel this earth, that there are Christian believers working hard to further the kingdom everywhere. They persevere in tough circumstances and conditions that we can only imagine in this country. After this trip to South America, I can now say that I have shared God’s Word on all continents except for Antarctica, and I don’t plan to go there anytime soon.
OUR SUMMER PLANS
Vikki, Zoe and I are part of a team of teens that will travel to Northern Uganda to the Teen Missions base in Koboko. Our team will use soccer as an evangelism tool with the orphans and children there. Our work projects will include finishing construction of the Teen Missions Bible School building at the base and installing a wind turbine to generate electricity for the base. We are excited to finally travel to Africa, where our missionary journey first began with my trip to Zambia in 2006. Please pray for our team that we will be unified in our purpose, that we will have a mind to work and a real burden for the people of Uganda. Please pray for good health and safety for all of our team members. Zoe needs to raise $3100 to travel with us to Uganda.
Madison is part of a team traveling to Myannmar (Burma) to work in a children’s home there. They are traveling to an area that has just been opened to foreign travel. Please pray for their safety as well. This will be a very challenging team for Madison. She needs to raise $3500 for this team. Please pray that God will raise up financial supporters for her team cost. We are so blessed each year to have the cost of their summer teams provided for by faithful “senders.” God is so good!
We are less than two months away from the arrival of our Uganda team and much needs to be done to prepare. Please pray that God will strengthen us and renew us each day. We are so grateful for each one of you. You are such an encouragement to us! Each prayer, card, phone call, email, kind word and financial gift blesses us beyond measure. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
We are pleased to announce that Canaan will graduate from the University of Central Florida on May 1, 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He has worked hard and hopes to be accepted for a two-year missions internship overseas. He will be interviewed in October. He feels a call to full-time missionary service and would love to serve in Russia or the Middle East. Please pray that he will follow God’s will and that he will allow God to direct his every step. We met with a new neurologist recently who specializes in epilepsy. She feels that Canaan is a good candidate for a VNS implant (like a pacemaker for the brain) that would control his seizures with little or no medication. Canaan had the device installed on Good Friday. It will take 3 to 6 months to see if it is effective. Please pray that this will help to control Canaan’s seizures.
Shannon & Vikki Bobb