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JOSH & MICHELLE VOGEL (Diaconal Missionary)

If you know a little Spanish, you may be wondering what in the

world these words are, and what they mean. Welcome to coast-

al Ecuador. These are just a few of the many slangs, or “modis-

mos” that we have slowly learned, and we asked ourselves the

same thing when we moved to Quinindé 2.5 months ago. After

learning the language for a year in Quito, we were not surprised

to discover that in Quinindé our language skills were not quite

as good anymore as they were in Quito. A lot of adjustment

has been, and is being made learning new “modismos”, under-

standing a much faster rate of speech, and a very strong coastal

accent; but after 2 months, some of the things that used to be

foreign to us are now a regular part of the vocabulary, especially

for our children.

That being said, “Greetings from Quinindé”! Truthfully, the

move to Quinindé felt like one of the biggest hurdles that we

have had to take to date. After a few years of preparations and

back and forth to different countries, there were many built up

anxieties, emotions and expectations that again came to the

surface. Once again, we thank our good Heavenly Father as He

has proved faithful – time and time again. When we thought,

“we can’t” our Lord has always said, “Come to me, all you who

are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke

upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in

heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:28-29)

On May 2nd we made the move to Quinindé. At 7am we

began loading trucks in Quito, and nearing 10pm, we finished

unloading at our new home in Quinindé. Since the move, we

thank the Lord that we have always felt His kindness, grace, pa-

tience, steadfast love and watchfulness over our family. In just

this short time, we have realized that this feels like home. If we

travel now, when we get back to Quinindé we say, “It feels good

to be home”, and we mean it. What a blessing that is for us. The

family has very quickly become accustomed to living 90% out-

doors, loving having more space to play, making new friends,

and living in a different culture, and it brings us great joy to

work together with the people here for the kingdom and glory

of Christ.

For about three weeks in June, a national strike led by the

Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador began.

Tensions between them and the current government reached a

boiling point over rising prices, and for more than two weeks the

situation – especially in the Capital – was very violent. Thankfully

Quinindé was much less affected by violence, and there were

only a few protest demonstrations, but food became scarce due

to all the roadblocks and prices skyrocketed, causing many to

fear for their already-hard-to-afford daily bread. Thankfully an

agreement was finally reached, and food again began to arrive.

We were very thankful that we had already moved to Quinindé

during that time. Life is different than when we were in Quito, but different in

many good ways. During our year in daily intensive language

classes, it could often feel as though we weren’t being ‘useful’,

though it was a very important time of preparation. Now that we

are on the ground in Quinindé, there is no shortage of work to

do, and we find ourselves having to be careful not to become

too busy. Krystal and Jackson attend one of the children’s proj-

ects 3 days per week, and Michelle and I have been teaching

music to the children two days per week, alternating between

the three projects. The children all love to sing and are always

excited for our visits. In between, I have been keeping quite a

full schedule with various maintenance items between the three

projects and the medical clinic. The culture here is not one of

maintenance, so I often find unmentioned surprise repairs that

are needed. Each project has an evening of Bible Study each

week, directed towards the parent(s) or primary caregivers of

the children. The weekly study is the same topic or Bible les-

son that the children are learning that week in the project. It is

the desire of the Mission to establish a connection between

what the children hear in the projects and what they talk about

in their homes. It is often difficult to connect with the parent(s),

but we know that through Christ all things are possible, and His

word will never return void (Isaiah 55). We are attending at least

1 of these Bible Studies as a family each week, and in time I will

be helping with the teaching as well.

Construction of a new pavilion (with kitchen) and bathrooms

is ongoing on the medical clinic property, and it is nearing

completion. Excitement is beginning to grow for the ministry

opportunities, such as events, studies and classes that will be

held there. I’ve already had opportunity to teach some mechan-

ical skills by repairing an old Toyota pickup truck engine for one of the

tutors of the mission, and we are excited to put the new pavilion

to good use in those kinds of ways.  We are also very excited

and thankful that the fund-raising threshold for break-ing ground 

on the Mission House has been met! We hope to begin the first stages of this

construction within a few weeks’ time. We appreciate your prayers

and financial contributions to this project; we pray it will be a blessing to many.

We’ve also begun men’s and women’s groups with the staff at

the projects as well as some of their friends. In July we held both

a woman’s breakfast get-together, as well as a men’s, as an infor-

mal way to get to know each-other better and enjoy one-anoth-

er’s company outside of their work. We hope to continue that

practice with regularity. We’ve also had the entire team at our

home at different times to have a time of singing and encour-

agement. In mid-July we were pleased to welcome Pastor Rich

Bout (URCNA Missions Coordinator) for a three-day visit. Our

time together was filled with visits, Bible studies, and encourag-

ing conversation.

Though at times it is difficult to see the poverty and hear of the

many horrific situations that go on daily in this city, we are very

thankful. Thankful that God has heard so many prayers, opened

so many doors, provided for us in abundance, and most of all,

that His plan is perfect, and that His light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). Please con-

tinue in prayer for this city, and for our family as we continue to

adjust to the differences in culture and learn how to integrate

into the mission here. May our light never be extinguished nor

hidden; may it be set on its lampstand for the glory of the one

true God, who sent His Son for our ransom, and who’s Spirit will

never depart.

In Christ, and for HIS glory,

Josh & Michelle & Family

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