Why we moved to Ecuador

When Elena and I first got married, we discussed our future plans together. Elena had spent some time in the Dominican Republic, and I had lived in Mexico briefly. So we both were excited about the idea of returning to Latin America. But at the same time, that is, during our engagement or around January or February of ’06, a Sign Language group was established in Harrisonburg Va, the town we were living in at the time. One of our elders approached us about joining. As they say, the rest is history. We stayed with that group, until it became a congregation, and with the congregation till we left to come here. Most of you already know this, so I won’t rehash anymore. Shortly before we became a congregation we again began discussing our future goals. Like most of the United States, we were in debt. This severely inhibited our options, So our first goal was to erase our debt. We had gotten close, and knew within about a year or so we could be out of debt. Our goal was January or February of 2013. We made that goal, and began saving. We knew we were going somewhere, we just didn’t know where.

In February of this past year we took a trip to Patterson Bethel with our friends Matt and Rachel Prisco. Check out their blog at http://mattnrachprisco.blogspot.com . Our motivation was to visit our good friends Sonny and Melody Mcdowell. The McDowell’s were our former Sign Language Circuit Overseers. They had been reassigned to a circuit that streches from the Canadian border in Montana to the Mexican border in New Mexico. They were in Patterson for Traveling Overseer school. The visit proved to be most encouraging. While there, Matt and Rachel had a brief meeting with a brother in the Theocratic Schools Department. His advice to them was, “If you want to be a missionary, go do it.” He gave them three examples of countries that treat their need-greaters really well. 1)Ecuador 2)Dominican Republic 3)Peru. He told them to stick around the school and meet the brothers and sisters attending Gilead, we did, and got some great advice from them, and we even got to go into Gilead School during a break and see the class rooms! As you would expect, the ride home was full of discussion about going where there was a greater need.

With Sonny and Mel, and Matt and Rach in 2012

With Sonny and Mel, and Matt and Rach in 2012

After a couple weeks, we all decided on Ecuador as our destination. As we were all in sign, we were wondering about the need. Matt and Rachel had met a Missionary a few years ago that was assigned here, so they wrote them a letter. The letter included two names of brothers in sign language that were serving at the branch. So we called the branch here and got in contact with one of the brothers in the letter. We began exchanging emails. One of the first places he recommended was Loja. He gave me the contact info for the Circuit Overseer currently serving the southern part of the country. We wrote him. One of the first places on his list was Loja. Finally, all 4 of us wrote the branch. The branch responded with a letter that gave us two choices: Loja, and Machala. It seemed that Jehovah was pointing us to Loja. We wrote the brothers here and contacted the branch again. They gave us the name of a brother from the US currently serving here; Anthony Sensari. (See Arrival in Ecuador part 3) Anthony helped us a lot, including helping to find an apartment.

After a while Matt and Rachel began expressing doubts about going to Ecuador. But they continued to simplify. We told them “Your not going to get a sign from Jehovah”. The next day Bethel called. The were inquiring about there availability to help with the Warwick project. So much for not getting a sign. It was clear Jehovah had something else in mind for them. A few weeks later they got the word, and were invited to come  the middle of July. This was very hard for all of us, some tears were shed, but it was clear what Jehovahs direction was.

Last day with Matt and Rachel

Last day with Matt and Rachel

During all this time we began simplifying. We bought a lot of things for here, including clothes, backpacks, and other supplies. We wanted to get the best things that were durable, easy to use, and functional (And in trademark Jeremy and Elena style). We also began to advertise in craigslist, and eBay many unneeded things.  Probably the hardest thing for us was to get rid of our cats. Elena still misses them. We thought we would post a few videos here that document the process.

In April we bought plane tickets and it was official. We prayed to make our money back for the tickets in one week. At the end of that week we had made almost EXACTLY the amount we spent on tickets. That was probably the most faith strengthening thing that happened to us during the whole process.

In the beginning  of June we had a yard sale, and a sister in a nearbye hall organized a clothing swap, and gave us the proceeds. Around July 1st we moved out officially, and ended up being nomads a bit. Thanks to the Pogreba family, my sister, Elena’s mom, and my parents, we never went without a bed. July 27-30 we said our final goodbyes. Its not an easy thing to leave all your friends and family for an indefinite amount of time. But with Jehovahs help we know we will get through it, and have the support we need as long as he wants us here, whether its 3 months, 3 years, or more.

I know this a long post, but we wanted all of you to understand what we went thru, and hopefully see how much Jehovah supported us, and build your faith that he will support you too, whatever trails your going through, or whatever goals you may have. Hopefully from now on we won’t be as long winded, except for maybe special occasions:)

Love to all of you that supported us through this journey.

16 thoughts on “Why we moved to Ecuador

  1. So great that you posted this! Not just because we are in it….mostly that, 😛 but…..because it’s so inspiring and eye opening for all thinking of doing the same thing, and especially for those that fear they couldn’t. Others will do this, simply because you are showing that it’s possible.

    This is not just a shallow, typical, or cliche comment: you ARE setting such an amazing example, for all of us! We couldn’t be prouder or more awestruck over the decisions you’ve made and what you’ve accomplished. We miss you so much, and wish everyday that we were together, however, remembering that it’s all for Jehovah, makes it all worth it. As was mentioned in a recent morning worship, “We can never out give Jehovah.” Jehovah will bless you more than you can imagine. You will never regret this decision.

    M N R

  2. Hello, I came across your blog through a mutual friend (Kelly K.) and all I can say is “Wow!” I love that you wrote about this. I’m in a similar boat of wanting to down-size and serve where the need is greater (but just not out of the country at the moment). I’m also paying off debt and will be for quite some time but I am so greatly encouraged by your story! I hope you will continue to share your adventures and wish Jehovah’s blessings on your journey to put the doing of his will first!!

    • Cindy, Thanks so much for commenting! we really appreciate you checking out our blog, we’re glad you were encouraged by it! we’ll try and keep the stories coming!Jehovahs blessings on your plans.

  3. There are no words !!! 😢😢😢
    Ok maybe a few! 😊……Awesome! So encouraging to us all 👦👧& 👴👵
    All are given opportunity to experience Jehovah’s hand in our lives!
    Mucho Amore!

  4. The clock made it! The photo titled “the woman’s house” says it all. I’ve completely blocked out the first move to asia from my mind and furthermore 5 years later and so much stuff of ours is still in mikes parents attic! You were smart to just let it go 🙂 love love love this blog! Jen

  5. hey guys! I am not sure you are getting comments from me because you know I am totally computer stupid! I am so happy I can keep up with you this way. The kids ask about you often and this is such a cool way for them to see you. You are in our prayers often and in our thoughts daily. i am so proud of you both. I need an address for you, I have letter to send and we just got family pics done. I need to send them to you when I get them printed. Whitney took them and she did great! Love ya both

    • Thats great about Evan! Thanks so much for all your support. We have been getting your messages, but its difficult to reply to everyone. So glad your enjoying the blog. As far as mailing us something, email would be a much better option if at all possible. The mail system here is not very reliable. If snail mail is the only option, let us know, and we can look into it. You can email us at jeremyandelena@gmail.com . Thanks again! We miss you guys.

  6. Hey guys!! This is awesome! I’m so proud of you for working so hard to pull this off! Jehovah is and will continue to bless you for your efforts. The flood gates are opening 😀 Enjoy your ministry, friendships and amazing adventures in Ecuador. If you’re ever in Ambato say hi to my cousins Johnny & Gabee Farley :o)

    • Thanks Michelle! We have been inspired by people like yourself. A couple sisters from our hall moved to Ambato, and we would love to visit them. If so we will keep an eye out for your cousin!

  7. I loved this post! You two are a great example to Dan and I, who have similar goals. We’re newlyweds just getting on our feet and sometimes feel that something like this is so far off for us but you’re proof that in time, goals can be reached with Jehovah’s help.

  8. I am struck by how much stuff we can accumulate & how quickly it happens, and also how attached we become to our things!

  9. Hi Jeremy and Elena,
    Came across you site as I was looking at needgreaters sites. Thank you for letting me have a peek at your decision to move where the need is greater. It was very encouraging and motivating.
    I too have had the desire to move where the need is greater.I did go to the DR for a few weeks and have wonderful memories. After I came home I continued to pioneer,yet now I realize I let life get in the way of my goal.
    Recently I had an unexpected blessing happen to me. My rent was raised to the point I can not afford to pay it. And I live in low income housing. The
    blessing? With no where to move to because I don’t have the deposit for another place, I prayed, Jehovah where do you want me to go? A couple days later I received a call from a sister in Mexico. I told her what had happened. She invited me to spend a couple weeks with her. I decided to go. Then a couple days later she emails me and says she has to go back to the states for 5 weeks after I’m there 2 weeks, that I could just stay at her place and take care of her dog. I can’t stay there for nothing. She says just pay my rent and utilities for a month, $240. Wow I know Jehovah answered my prayer. My rent went up 4 times that.
    Here is my chance to “test Jehovah out” and receive many blessings.
    Now I don’t know that I will stay there, yet I’m excited to see what he has in store for me since I now recieve widows benefits and would not have to work.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story of why you moved to Equador.
    May Jehovah continue to bless your every effort of serving him.Your sister,
    Carla

    • Carla, what great experience! Thank you for sharing. Its great when we can “taste and see that Jehovah is good” We hope that it works out for you in Mexico. Who knows what Jehovah has in store for you. Thanks so much for checking out our blog. WE are glad t could be an encouragement to you.

    • Hi Sis! Wondering where u went in DR? My wife and I want to go there too and she speaks english and I speak french as well. We are looking to go where we are needed there.

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