WARNING...SUPER LONG POST, BUT LOTS OF GOOD STUFF HAPPENING!
Casa Adalia Updates
We recently welcomed another young lady and her baby into the home and she hopes to soon locate her other daughter who is living deep in the jungle. She lived at Casa Adalia a few years ago, but chose to leave. She is back with a new sense of motivation and desire to see her life transform.
We also welcomed one of our current girls' sister into the home. They are both doing great and we are excited to see all the God is going to do in their lives!
Self Defense Classes and Dinner with the Girls
We are continuing with teaching the girls at Casa Adalia self-defense classes. With several new girls entering the house we have had a great time with the renewed excitement. These girls are loving the classes and one in particular would be a great instructor! She takes it super seriously and learns very quickly. We are thankful for the opportunity to share this knowledge with the girls and hope they will put it to use if ever necessary.
We invite the girls over every other Wednesday for dinner and classes. We love spending time with the girls and look forward to continuing this!
MAN UP Retreat with High School Boys
Scott was asked to help lead a group of high school boys on AAI's annual Man Up Retreat.
After hearing about the stories, I'm not so sure I would call it a 'retreat', but nonetheless they had a great time! Scott was leading a group of 9th grade boys: 4 from China who don't speak much English or Spanish and 2 from Ecuador. His stories are hilarious!
Basically, the guys had to hike to the top of a small mountain with all of their camping gear, set up camp, learn how to prepare food over a campfire, take care of their precious guinea pigs (cuy), compete in rugged obstacles, no use of a bathroom or showers...share testimonies and worship together. Scott is looking forward to next year's event!
7th Grade Youth Fellowship
We have launched a new 7th Grade Youth Fellowship with our neighbors! We are alternating weeks of hosting and leading and thus far we have had great turn outs. There were 17 kids the first meeting and 27 the second meeting! We are excited to share the gospel with these kids and we have been super impressed by the participation and insight from these kiddos. During our first meeting we talked about Love and what it looks like for God to love us 'no matter what'! Our second meeting was based on repentance and what it looks like (and feels like) to ask for repentance. Several of the kids spoke up to explain it feels so freeing and like a weight has been lifted! Absolutely!
Elementary School Spiritual Emphasis Week
The Alliance Academy International expresses its mission in three words: Eternity. Excellence. Community. The students at every grade level have chapel times and Bible classes each week to encourage the "Eternity" aspect. In addition, twice per year, the elementary and secondary schools each host a Spiritual Emphasis Week. Both schools just hosted this week for the second semester. For the elementary school, the final two hours of each day consisted of worship time in the chapel, a skit to emphasize parts of our spiritual journeys (prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization, serving others, and building faith), and a speaker to dive further into each day's topic. Scott was asked to participate in the skits and play the role of the "Master Carpenter" who is teaching a few girls at a camp valuable lessons as they run into problems. At the end of the week, there was a time for students to join a teacher of their choice and pray. Many students committed their lives to Christ, and many others asked for prayers in their journey. Scott had a group of six boys - 5th/6th grade - commit their lives to Christ. Most said they had never made that decision before, but one said he did when he was 2nd grade, but he knew it wasn't serious for him at that time. But this time he was serious and really wanted this. (Insert an Amen!) Another 5th grade student asked for prayer in his faith-walk, because he recognized that he was looking for the approval of older students at the school rather than seeking to follow Christ. It was such a sincere and mature moment for that young man. This week was certainly valuable and beneficial to the lives of so many students at the school. The week also included a Family Night in which parents were invited to worship with their children and the teachers, watch a skit, and hear the week's guest speaker. Patrick was involved during a special worship session as he helped lead a dance through one of the worship songs. We are excited to see his growth and excitement for sharing his joy in the Lord.
Middle and High School Spiritual Emphasis Week
A few weeks ago, the secondary school (7th-12th grades) hosted their Spiritual Emphasis Week. A team from the States came down to help lead the activities during the week. Since neither of us were directly involved in the secondary school, we don't have many details to share. However, Madeleine was impacted in a very positive way throughout the week. She says she felt convicted to focus more on Christ than she has in long time. She feels as if she has focused more on things she finds negative (fears and frustrations), and she is recommitted to focusing on Christ. We are so thankful that our children are a part of school that focuses on the eternal value of the lives of the students.
Intentional Discipleship through Martial Arts
This has been a long time comin'! The schedule has finally allowed for Scott to begin a discipleship program through martial arts with some of the high school students. The focus for this semester is using physical training to help learn to improve spiritual disciplines. And with a small group of students, there will be a lot of time for relationship building to take place. A few of the boys in the group were on Scott's volleyball team earlier in the school year, and the relationships built during the season have carried over and will have an opportunity to grow deeper with more time and training together.
Patrick's Spanish Classes
What a blessing! Patrick was invited to attend private Spanish classes with one of his teachers after school at no charge. She is finishing her Master's degree and needed hands-on experience teaching Spanish. Patrick is having lots of fun and he is learning so much! In fact, she is so impressed with his progress, she has offered to continue working with him weekly after her project is completed!
Madeleine's Dinner with a Teacher
When your child has a teacher who truly loves her and invests in her daily...it's a blessing! My daughter was invited to dinner a few weeks ago by a precious teacher of hers. Madeleine has been struggling with homesickness a lot lately and has confided in a special teacher about her struggles. Not only did they go to dinner, but she took her to a "southern" restaurant here in Quito! So, very thoughtful!!! Madeleine came home super excited and she had an extra pep in her step that has been lacking in recent times! I am super appreciative!
AAI has a new program this year that focuses on creating opportunities for the spiritual development of the secondary students - including being discipled as well as serving others. (Scott's martial arts program falls under this umbrella). One of the other programs is called Guardians. This program has a secondary and upper elementary emphasis. The secondary students are learning to take a bold approach in their faith and pour into younger students. Rather than allowing the older students "own the school" simply because they are the oldest, they are encouraged to use their position to positively influence younger students. The high school students work directly with the upper elementary and middle school students in team-building activities and challenges each week. They also participate with the younger students in teacher-lead discussions about their faith. Madeleine and Patrick are both in the Guardians program and loving each week.
Coastal Ministries in Rocafuerte
Unfortunately, we have not been able to travel to the coast since Christmas due to scheduling conflicts with our commitments in Quito...and the last time Brandy was bringing a group of ladies down to serve is the day we found out our car needed major repairs.
Myrna and Gustavo will welcome 350+ kids to a week long VBS next week and we hope to travel to be with them for the final day. There is a church from another city that comes to help lead this special time for the kids! Please be in prayer for a super fruitful time!
Also, the kids on the coast are currently on their 'summer break' and many of them are 'highly encouraged' to work during this time. While our kids in the states look forward to their 'vacation' these kids are encouraged to work to help provide income for their families. Thankfully, we were able to help the burden of education costs through our Sponsorship Program last year and we excited to do the same this year. We will be purchasing school uniforms and supplies for many of these children in the next few weeks. If you are interested in making a one-time gift to help cover some of the unexpected costs, we would greatly appreciate it!
Mission Trip! Come Serve with Us!
We will be hosting a small team from our home church (Life Bible) in Canton June 1-10, 2018. We would love to invite you to join us! The only downside to this is you will need to confirm your attendance by MARCH 31! If you are interested in join us, please click the link below to let us know and we will get you more information!
We have some exciting news that we hope to announce within the next few weeks! If you receive an email labeled "COSTA SIERRA" ... open it!!
We feel the Lord has given us tools to bring about great change and we want to share it with you!
Praises and Prayer Requests
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued prayers and support!
We love you all!
The Murphy Family
We believe we are called to Know Jesus Christ, Live His Word, and Declare God's Glory! So that's what we are going to do! Join us on our Journey!