Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I thought I'd fill you in on what I did last weekend to give you a little taste of my every day life here in Shell. My weekend started out with our usual "young people" a.k.a. "singles" a.k.a. "people without families" get-together. (It's called a lot of things, because most people don't like being labeled as single!) Anyway, I started hosting dinners my first year here in Shell for the other young/single missionaries. But, it had died off recently due to the lack of other single missionaries. So, we've decided to start it back up again. It's always fun to get together after the work week and just relax. And of course, it's always even more fun when food is involved! Sometimes people bring the random instruments they play and we sing praise and worship songs together. It's always a good time!

On Saturday, I went to Ambato, a city about 2 1/2 hours from Shell, with David and a group of my girlfriends. Probably the reason that missionaries from Shell go to Ambato about 95% of the time is for the shopping! Ambato has an actual MALL with a GROCERY STORE! It's pretty exciting. :-) Here in Shell, we buy our "groceries" at one store, our fruits and veggies at a market, and our meats from a butcher. So, as you can imagine, going to an actual grocery store, similar to a Super Wal-Mart, is pretty exciting for us. And every time I go, I get super-excited about the littlest things. Last time I went I found spicy brown mustard and couldn't wait to get home and eat some on a ham sandwich! Of course, I had to buy the sliced ham in Ambato, too, but it all worked out.

Sunday was "Dia de Mujer" - Day of the Woman. How can you not love a country that celebrates women?!?! Young or old, single or married, every female in Ecuador gets an entire day to celebrate the fact that she was born a female! Random people give you roses on the street, everyone tells you "Happy Day", and churches have special programs to celebrate the female gender. Our church had special music, a drama, and a time of prayer for all of the women as we went up in front of the church. And before we left, they gave us each a rose and a piece of chocolate. Boy, do they know how to treat women or what?!?! :-) They also had cake after the service. It was pretty awesome!

My friend, Melissa, got baptized on Sunday, so that was pretty awesome, too! Melissa works as a teacher at the orphanage in Shell, Casa de Fe. (Click here to read more about the amazing ministry at Casa de Fe!) She was baptized as a baby and has recently felt convicted to get baptized again when she actually understands what it symbolizes. She decided to invite a few friends and children from the orphanage to be a part of her baptism in the river near the construction site for the new orphanage. And Melissa asked David to perform the baptism. It was really exciting to see him in that role and I was even able to translate David's mini-sermon before he baptized her. (Some people present weren't fluent in Spanish, including Melissa.) After the baptism, some of the older children from the orphanage started asking questions about baptism, so David is going to go on Saturday to talk to them some more about baptism and explain it in more detail. Wouldn't it be awesome if some of the children followed God's command from watching the example of Melissa?

And although this might not sound like a very exciting thing for you, it was for me. I FINALLY caught a rat that had been in my house for over a week. I was so excited to hear the trap go off! :-) And even more excited to get that rat out of my house. Although I'm not so sure it can compete with buying groceries from a "real" grocery store, getting roses and chocolate, and seeing my friend get baptized.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm blogging! I've finally joined the rest of the world, specifically the missionary world, and decided to start a blog. I hope this blog will help my friends, family, and other supporters get a feeling of my every day life as a missionary teacher here in Shell, Ecuador. Please read these blogs, pray for me, and then post comments and let me know what you think!

Some question you might have about me:

Who are you and who is that handsome guy in the picture with you? - Well, I am a missionary with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Shell, Ecuador where I have been teaching at Nate Saint Memorial School for three years now! And that hunk in the picture with me is my fiance, David Montero. You'll hear more about him in a later blog!

Where are you from? - I am originally from West Virginia, where I grew up near Huntington. However, I also had the awesome opportunity to live in Shell, Ecuador on short-term occasions as a child. My father was a doctor in a mission hospital in Shell and I attended eighth grade at Nate Saint Memorial School. And God's brought me back here once again to teach other missionaries' kids in the same school! (It's a tad out-dated, but click here to read more about the school where I teach.)

Why did you move to Ecuador? - The short version - God told me to!

The long version - I have a relationship with God that allows me to follow His leading and trust Him for the very best with my life. I can look back now and see how God prepared me to come to Shell almost three years. Every path He's taken me down has led me here. And now that I'm here, I have no doubt this is where God wants me living and serving Him. And after following His leading, He's also blessed with with an amazing husband-to-be, whom I never would have met if I hadn't followed God's steps as He led me to Shell.

How can I support you? - Well, first and foremost, PRAY! I have no doubt that God can use me as a teacher because of His strength, patience, and encouragement through the prayers of those He's brought across my path. If you are interested in supporting me financially, visit https://www.maf.org/patton.