Sunday, August 08, 2004

Trip to Ecaudor

My niece, Josie, and my brother, Jeff, are going to Ecuador this week for an intensive study course in Spanish. They are staying with a Christian family in Quito and are really excited about the trip! I can't help feeling a little jealous but am glad for them as well. Josie has worked hard this summer and she had to be at home most of the Spring while her brother, Ben, was up in Canada visiting cousins. Josie has several goats she raises and then milks to make soap and lotions to sell at our local farmer's market. Our family has been blessed in that way, because each of my nieces & nephews are all hard working. Sometimes I worry they don't know how to play enough!

Jeff, too, is really deserving of this trip. He works hard at his full-time job at the university, but also does a tremendous amount for our family and for those in our local area. I have personally benefited from his love & concern. After having several surgeries, developing severe chronic pain, losing jobs as a result, etc., I was finding it increasingly difficult to manage on my own. I stayed a year or so with my eldest brother & his wife & kids but I couldn't make it work due to a struggle with severe depression. K. & P. were (& are) so kind to me & I repaid them by keeping myself shut up in my room. (Now, I feel ashamed to go over there because I can never apologize enough for how I treated them. I just couldn't get past the profound depression I felt. This made it extremely difficult to be with others, including the kids, whom I dearly love.) After trying to make it on my own (& failing miserably) in a town nearby, living in an apartment, Jeff offered my dad's old room to me. He helped me by purchasing a car for me to use, allowing me to live in his home rent-free, and allowing me to have space to be on my own, if I'm in need of this.

These things are just a small part of what he does. He's always searching for ways to help others out. I'm thankful to have him for my brother. I dearly love each of my brothers, & my sister, but always felt at a distance to Jeff (I think because he is naturally quiet). Living in his home has helped me to see him in a different light & I daily give thanks for God's grace in putting me in this place and for the work He's done in Jeff's heart.

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