We hope everyone had a wonderful Leap Day and that you are looking forward to some "March Madness"! (Go Heels! - my one and only plug, promise!) Josh and I have been in our apartment for a month now, and we are loving it. We are cooking and having people over occassionally and just enjoying having a place to call our own.
We are continuing to take small steps forward here at the hospital. We celebrated its 11th anniversary on Valentine's Day and we should have the optical shop moved inside at some point this month. At end of next week, Josh and I are heading to Quito for a Conference with CBM (Christian Blind Mission). CBM has had a partnership with our hospital in Milagro for many years and we are excited to learn more about their organization and how we can continue to work together to spread the gospel and provide eye care to the poor. While we are there, we also have plans to spend time with our friends from Language School who live in Quito. They were so generous to us last year in letting us live in their home, and we were really sad to have to say goodbye when we moved here to Milagro. We are very excited to have this opportunity to get to see them again.
One of our goals that we have been working on recently is to have at least two MMI surgical mission projects come to the hospital during 2012. Last June, we had the pleasure of working with a doctor from Texas in Baños. This year, he is interested in spending one week in Baños with Susana on her project, and then coming down to Milagro to spend one week doing knee-replacements and other orthopedic surgeries here in the hospital. It was a joy working with him last year and we can't wait to have him back. We are looking for physical therapists, nurses, and an anesthesiologist and/or CRNA to help us on this June project (specific dates TBA), so if you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is another project in the works for October, but we don't have any details yet. We will keep you posted!
Josh and I are so blessed to be here, and as always, we thank you for your prayers for us and for our ministry. Whether in the US or here in Ecuador, every day has its joys and also its challenges and difficulties. Josh shared a devotion with the staff this morning based on John 16:33 which says, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." We encourage you to find your hope in the Lord in every circumstance and always remember that Jesus already won the battle for us, so we just have to trust in Him. We are praying for you all as well and we send our love.
Here are some pics of the flooding that happens outside our apartment. All that rain fell in about an hour! Luckily, we are on the second floor so we stay pretty dry :).
Stephanie and Joshua