It’s Coffee Time

“Did the boys have their coffee this morning?”

This had to be the strangest question I had ever heard someone ask me.  After all, my boys are under three years of age.  Every time that the nanny would ask me this question, I had to do a double take until I realized what she was trying to say.

An important staple in most Latin American homes is freshly, ground coffee.  I remember growing up smelling coffee brewing in every house that I used to visit with my parents.  My dad often drank instant coffee at home, so we usually saw someone drinking it every day. 

However, I never actually got into drinking coffee myself.  On top of that, I married a guy who also doesn’t drink coffee. 

Although coffee is not an exclusive trademark of South American homes, there is a distinct difference between the use of coffee in the United States and in Latin America.  In the U.S. coffee is still primarily an “adult” drink.  Pregnant women are told to avoid it as much as possible and parents of young children are told not to give it to them. 

Here in Ecuador, parents are encouraged to begin giving their young children small tastes of coffee to help them adjust to the flavor. 

Asking someone if they “had their coffee” had become synonymous with asking if they had eaten their breakfast.  This was a tradition I had never noticed growing up here as a child, but I find it quite humorous now.  Although I now realize what they are trying to ask me when they ask if the boys have had their coffee, I still balk at responding with a “yes.”

Hey, I don’t even drink coffee, so I’m not going to feed it to my kids.


February Prayer Requests

“God is good all the time.” 

That is an easy quote to throw around.  However the words sometimes get choked in the middle of our throats when we are faced with deep sadness and pain. These days, tragedy seems to be spelled “H-A-I-T-I,” and it is hard to compare other hardships and sadness with the amount of devastation facing the people who live in and around Port-au-Prince. However, we ask that you keep the following prayer requests in mind.

1) Those working in Haiti to help the victims of the recent earthquake. We begin our list of prayer requests with a small international school in Port au Prince, Haiti, called Quisqueya Christian School ( Their story hits close to home as our school’s director has been communicating with the director at their school.  Fortunately, all the teachers survived the earthquake and their school experienced less damage than other locations.  However, many families and students have lost loved ones.  Their school has become a temporary home for many displaced staff members and has also become one of the major centers from which international relief efforts are currently being made. 

Here is an excerpt from their website, posted in early February. 

“Here at the Quisqueya earthquake relief center, more doctors are arriving daily to assist with medical needs. We have welcomed new teams from Long Island, Mercyworks (Seattle), Christian Medical Network, Colorado Springs,  One Heart Ministries (Kansas), University of Maryland, Catholic Relief Services, Aimer Haiti, Delta International (Oregon), Jesus in Haiti (Indiana), and Comprehensive Disaster Response Services. The 175 – 200 medical relief workers staying on our campus include firefighters, chaplains, paramedics, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and midwives.”

The school provides a link where people can donate directly to these efforts at their website:

 2) A Fifth Grade student who recently lost her entire immediate family in a tragic car accident.  Just this past weekend, a family of four was traveling out of Quito to begin their vacation when they were involved in a car accident.  Both parents and one of the children died.  However, the older child, a 10 year old girl, survived the accident without any major injury.  The girl is currently staying with extended family (as her parents were Ecuadorian) as plans are being made for the funerals of her family members.  You can read more about this story in “A Missionary Family goes ‘home’.”

3) A Korean 12th grade student was forced to graduate early only to get an extended visa a couple days later. Please pray for her as she decides whether to follow through with her family’s decision to leave the country and return to South Korea.  She has officially graduated from high school, but has recently been given an extended visa to stay in Ecuador through the end of the school year.  More about this story can be found in “An Emergency Graduation.”

4) Praise reports concerning our new nephews. For those of you who have been following the progress of little Joshua Alexander Cobb (son of Philip and Chrissy Cobb), he is slowly but surely progressing toward his release date from the hospital.  He is currently over 5 lbs and transitioning from the “preemie” stage to the “new born” stage.  His due date would have been March 6 if he had stayed in “the oven.”  (RECENT UPDATE: Hold everything, folks! I just heard that they were able to take little Josh home today (February 16). To find out how to pray for them best as they continue to care for their son’s needs at home, check out their web blog at:

We are also excited to report that Cristina’s sister, Anita, and her husband, Nick, gave birth to their first son, Noah William Gamblin on February 2.  He was nearly a week past his due date and put his mother through approximately 22 hours of labor.  However, he was born without any complications at nearly 8 and ½ lbs and is currently blessing his parents’ lives with his presence.  Look for Anita Gamblin on Facebook if you’re interested in seeing pictures of their precious bundle.