Friday, June 14, 2019

SUMMER 2019

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
– John 20:16-18

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, 
the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17. 


Letting Go


Mary’s Easter story has been on my mind recently.  I wish I could ask her what she thinks of living by faith.  This story gives me reason to think she would say it’s not easy.  Consider the turmoil she endured just to end up at an empty tomb.  Then imagine her hearing her own name spoken by the one she loves.  Driven by pure joy, she grabs ahold of the tangible, real body of her Lord, only to be told, “No, you can’t hold onYou must be willing to let go!”  Living by faith is hard! 
Even so, Mary let go of the known, the safe.  Did she know that her act of surrender would transform her from Mary, the disciple, to Mary, the apostle? A new life became available to her by letting go.  None of us knows to what extent letting go will free us to become the new creatures Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians.
Likewise, our family has been challenged to let go of the tangible and predictable.   A year ago in April, we had to release the ministry and relationships connected with the English service Beth helped lead for over two years.  I (David) have had to let go of several ministry opportunities at school due to various changes.  As we look to our coming year in the U.S., the kids are struggling with the prospect of letting go of their friends and the only home they’ve ever known.
And Beth and I are working on letting go of our need to control the future.  We still need to find someone to sublease our apartment and buy our car before July 31st.
Yet amid the losses, there has been a newness of faith.  We have been granted a year-long rental of a furnished home for missionaries.  Our address, beginning August 1, is 111 N. President, Wheaton, IL  60187. In addition, a friend from college has offered us the use of his car for the year.  We are so grateful for God’s provision.
Our prayer is that we will continue to let go and, in doing so, echo Mary’s words, “We have seen the Lord.”



Prayer Needs
- Reliable sub-renter for our apartment/ Aug. 2019 – Aug. 2020
- Sell car at a reasonable price
- Say goodbyes well
- Nursing job for Beth to be able to refresh her skills

- Continued energy for mentoring/teaching for David



SPRING 2019



Recently Beth and I looked through our photos and came across a picture of us packing for Quito in January 2007.  While reflecting on these last 12 years, we were reminded of the countless hellos and goodbyes that make up life in our cross-cultural and transient community.  We agree with Job when he declared, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord!”


 This coming fall, we will enter a new phase of hellos and goodbyes, of surrendering and receiving.  In August, we plan to begin a “home ministry assignment” (furlough) year in Wheaton, Illinois.  We look forward to reconnecting with our family and friends, who have supported us in so many ways over the years.  The kids will experience public school for the first time, while Beth and I find time for reflection, support-raising and professional development.

Over the years, we have found that when the Lord wants to give us something new, he often takes away something dear. We will miss our life and friends in Quito, but we are confident that God's plan will ultimately move us to "praise the name of the Lord!" Please pray for us as we prepare for the coming year away and plan details for our return to Quito in fall of 2020. 


Prayer Needs

· For buyers for our car in Ecuador.

· For a car while in Wheaton.

· For trustworthy apartment sitters while we are away.

· For meaningful activities for Beth and me in the Wheaton area.

· For our family’s hearts as we leave our Quito community.



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

PRACTICING THANKSGIVING

Image result for 1 thessalonians 5 18
November 2018

Practicing gratitude has been hard work this year! At times Dave has struggled to find joy in his work, while Beth has battled with some physical ailments, including shingles.  Being thankful in all circumstances has been a significant challenge these last few months.

Levi is grateful to be learning guitar from his mom
It is for this reason we are looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We have found that looking over our photos from the last year has been a meaningful practice.  While reviewing pictures from the last year, God can remind us of the many moments of grace along the way.  These blessings have come in the form of timely visits from family, new relationships with students, and surprising financial provision.

Luke is grateful for good friends to help him navigate middle school
We are all grateful to have our permanent resident visas
We want to share with you images from the last year that have stirred up hearts of thanksgiving in us. And we'd love to see a picture or two from your past year that remind you to practice gratitude. Thanks!

Aaron is grateful for visits with cousins
Lina is grateful for playtime with friends
Dave is grateful for the opportunity to pray and play
with his new students from the junior class
Beth is grateful for the encouragement
she receives from these wonderful ladies
                                   Prayer and Support Needs

Please pray that Beth would continue to be healed from her bout with shingles.  In addition, pray for Dave to have renewed joy in serving his students and the Alliance Academy International community.

We continue to seek new monthly supporters for our ministry with Reach Beyond here in Quito.  If you are interested in joining the team, feel free to contact us or visit our Reach Beyond project page here.



New Season & New Project & New Support - September 2018

As September begins so does the season of newness.  We want to thank everyone for the continued support and prayers as we adjust to the new rhythms of life and ministry opportunities.  We are all very excited to see what God has for us in the 2018-2019 academic year at the Alliance Academy International (AAI).
Luke and Levi making new friends
Levi has started his 8th grade year with a handful of new classmates and teachers.  He looks forward to being involved with sports, music, and drama. 

Luke has begun 7th grade and has joined Levi in the band. He loves the new freedoms of middle school and especially likes his science class. 

Enjoying the paddleboats at a park close to home
Aaron (5th grade) is enjoying having Jennifer Kendrick, our neighbor, friend, and the only other Reach Beyond missionary at AAI, as his homeroom teacher. 

Evangeline (3rd grade) is likewise thrilled to have our dear friend, Patrick Pinho, for her teacher.  It is such a blessing to have meaningful friendships with our kids’ teachers. We deeply value the input of other godly adults into our kids' lives.




Last year, Beth recorded lead vocals for a worship song written by a church friend. This fall, Beth joined the filming of the music video that our church, La Viña, produced to accompany the song. La Viña aims to continue sharing musical resources with other churches throughout Latin America, particularly in the Vineyard Movement of which it is a part.



Dave is really looking forward to teaching his favorite classes ("World Religions and Cults" and "Heaven and Hell: Visions of Sin and Grace") for a whole year, rather than just a semester.  He has been enjoying all the new students, mostly Juniors, in his classroom. 


We are so very grateful for the newest monthly supporters of our work with Reach Beyond.  We continue to look to add to the monthly support team to make up the current shortfall. If you are able and willing, please visit the following site to join the team today!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Reconnecting and Renovating



The much anticipated summer has arrived and with it a flurry of activities in and outside the home. As we enjoy this season of reconnecting and renovating we are struck by the incredible mystery that Christ would call us friends.  We see this summer as another reminder of the Father’s desire to lavish his love on us, for no other reason than he enjoys doing so.
Reconnecting: Family Reunion


Shortly after classes wrapped up at the Alliance Academy International (AAI), my (Dave’s) brother Steve, sister Carla, and her two sons arrived in Quito for family reunion. This was Calvin and Jonathan’s first journey to their ancestral lands. We loved showing them the diverse beauty of the Ecuadorian countryside. 


A second part of reconnecting was to reunite my brother with his son, David. David had been living with us and attending the AAI since January, shining in basketball and connecting well with friends.  It was an honor to include him in our family, seeing him mature and come to love Ecuador as we do.  David is returning to Thailand for his sophomore year. 


Renovating: Dave's Classroom

After a decade of teaching, I am renovating my classroom and teaching model. I requested to extend my "World Religions and Cults" and "Heaven and Hell" courses to a full year. This will give me the space for more creative engagement with the course material. I also plan to use a "flipped classroom" of student-led investigation, while using learning centers to empower the students. 



Renovating: Support Levels

After 12 years on the mission field, we see a gradual downturn in our support levels, as life changes naturally prevent some donors from giving. At the same time, our family of six’s basic cost of living continues to rise, particularly educational expenses. We find ourselves with a shortfall of  about $1000/month. 

Currently, about 90% of our monthly support comes from our original donors, who started their giving twelve years ago.  We are profoundly grateful for that faithfulness! 


Our hope and goal now is to increase partnership with friends who have seen our ministry firsthand from living, working and visiting with us in Ecuador.  If you are an Ecuador friend, would you please prayerfully consider monthly partnership with us to help make up our shortfall?

Thank you!

Friday, May 4, 2018

UPS and DOWNS

We’ve been roller coasting up and down and all around lately and want to share with you a bit of the ride.



DOWNS:

The big trough over the past few months has been our son Luke’s health. He has been having intensely itchy allergic reactions all over his body, and despite visits to a top-notch allergy doctor, we have yet to determine a cause or a very effective treatment regimen. Missed school, missed sleep, rotating treatment attempts, and trying to eliminate the endless possible allergens are all taking their psychological toll on the family. Please keep us in your prayers in this trying time. 


Another emotional valley came with the decision to close the English service we’ve been part of the past several years (and headed up a good chunk of that time). The responsibilities involved kept increasing, and I (Beth) could not give the full-time attention required, on top of running our active home and addressing Luke’s health needs.  As sad as I feel to close that chapter, I’m also grateful for the wonderful people we met and grew with. We have encouraged our community to view this shift as a chance to integrate more completely into our vibrant Spanish-language congregation.

Prayers of blessing in our final English service

UPS:

We are finally official residents of Ecuador and proud owners of national ID cards, which will facilitate maaany transactions for us. So long as we meet physical presence requirements for the next two years, these visas are essentially permanent, and we couldn’t be happier. The only downside is we won’t make it to the U.S. this summer, but we’d love to have you visit us here.

Dave’s Koinonia project (where AAI staff pair up for monthly hosting of students for meals at home) has gotten off to a great start, with over 50 middle and high school kids involved. Our own family has had such fun opening our home (and even inspiring some impromptu pillowfighting). Memories!

Our kids enjoy having the high school students over to play

MORE PICS FROM THE ROLLERCOASTER:


A birthday photo of Abuelita Kathy with the five grandkids
she currently has in Ecuador

Assistant coach Dave with the AAI JV soccer team
Levi (top) on the stage crew of the AAI's spring
theater production
Our dining table surrounded by students and teachers -
just the way we like it!

Thanks so much for riding along on this roller coaster with us through your prayers, your messages, and your financial partnership, which makes what we do possible. "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness," (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Warmly,
The Saavedra Family








Sunday, December 31, 2017

NO MONUMENTS, ONLY FOOTPRINTS


"By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going…" (Hebrews 11:8)

I can’t help but laugh when I read that verse, identifying so much with befuddled Abraham. At the start of 2017, Dave and I committed to a time of prayer for a clear vision for the coming year. The response was not the desired one-year plan, a monument to 2017 that we could build and point to as a success. Instead, we heard, “Just obey for the next step.” So, we’ve forged ahead like Abraham, with “no idea” of a long-term destination, just praying over each decision as it comes, and trying to obey one day at a time.

And what a year it has been! We’re sharing glimpses with you in photos here, and we thank you for walking along with us in prayer, and in personal and financial support. Eugene Peterson describes following Jesus as a lifestyle on the move. He quotes Faulkner, who writes that we do not leave behind monuments, which only say, “At least I got this far.” Rather, we leave footprints, which say, “This is where I was when I moved again.”

The true monument building belongs not to us, but to God. We don’t see the master plan, but we can offer ourselves as obedient workers. We walk faithfully forward, like Abraham, who “did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations – the City designed and built by God.” (Hebrews 11:10)

On the move into 2018,
Dave & Beth,
Levi, Luke, Aaron and Evangeline


These goofballs are sleeping much better at night. Thanks so much for your prayers!


Dave's 14-year-old nephew had such a great visit to Ecuador this summer that he's joining us for all of next semester. Please pray that we'll thrive with two teens in the house. 

Dave is currently teaching courses on Peter and Moses and keeps working on community building at the Alliance Academy International

Beth keeps expanding her role at our church, La Viña, continuing in music and teaching, while adding mentoring with Celebrate Recovery and serving on leadership council.

Due to changes in immigration law, we decided to submit a visa application for permanent residency. While the process is costly, we will no longer have to go through visa renewals every two years, which will be a relief. 

After three months in the shop, our car is back. We are super grateful for mobility to be able to visit beautiful places like this again. 

Everything we do is in partnership with our amazing team of supporters. You can make an impact with a donation to our work with Reach Beyond here. Thanks!