Booher, Rudi, Carla and Family

~ Separated to the work in Ecuador, South America ~

Booher Family

Dear friends and family,

We hope that you all are doing well. We have been watching the weather and have children being affected by it. It seems that Ole’ Man Winter has finally come calling up north!! It is easy to forget when you live on the equator and it is pretty much same-o, same-o all the time.

I wanted to give a short update on my email last week concerning things here in Ecuador. It would seem that things have been blown out of proportion on the news-surprise- and, thankfully, the country appears to be stabilizing and returning to normal. Most of the unrest and crime happened where it happens all the time anyway. Thank you for continued prayer for peace here. Compared to what is going on in other parts of the world, it is a very light affliction here.

I also wanted to bring everyone up to date on what has been going on since September of 2023. I am going to do a long update and pictures on our year “2023” on Clara’s blog Hopefully, that will get done in the next week or so. I will let you know when I get it done!

In September we had everyone praying for our situation with Jhoselyn and Gabriela Shacay, the two teen girls with babies. While our prayers weren’t answered the way we would have liked, as both girls didn’t stay at Casa TAO, but decided to go back to living, essentially, on the streets, good has come from our becoming aware of Casa TAO through these girls.

I will do a quick recap on what “Casa TAO” is. Casa TAO is a ministry for girls that are either pregnant or have a young child already, between the ages of 12-22 years old. It was founded by a Christian, Ecuadorian woman named Ana Galindo about ten years ago. There are currently 10 girls living at the home. Each receives food, clothing, lodging, and schooling for free for herself and her child. We have been very impressed with each of the girl’s attitudes. They are positive with each other and cheerful. They are encouraged to train their children and keep a schedule.

One of the lacks that we see is that they aren’t able to attend church anywhere, nor do they have families that are there for them. This is where we come in! God has put strongly on our hearts that this ministry is what he actually brought us to Ecuador for. Since September, we have endeavored to go once a week, usually Sunday afternoon, share a meal with the girls, and after the meal have a time of singing and sharing from the Word of God. Also, Clara and Lydiah Strauel, Clara’s friend from Kentucky, have been able to spend many days there with the girls this fall. It is a slow process building trust, but we are enjoying the journey and are seeing some tiny sprouts of fruit.

This school year our four youngest children have gotten to be a part of a Home school Co-op group on Fridays. It has been a big help in moving our kids’ Spanish forward, as our three youngest take an hour Spanish lesson first and then the rest of the time is in Spanish (mostly) afterward. There are about seven families participating; Three are American families with the other four being Latin Americans. So far the children have taken units in marine biology for science, watercolor for art, and we are just beginning literature and reading “Charlotte’s Web” (“La telaraña de Carlota”) in Spanish. Each unit we learn a hymn, scripture portion, and poem in Spanish. This has been so good for all of us on many levels and we are so thankful for this opportunity and community!

At the end of October our entire family was able to be together for a week in Quito for a family reunion. Our first since Myles and Mary were married, and our first with our new grand baby, Linnea! It was a huge highlight of the year for all of us. Can’t wait for the 2nd annual this year!

In October a delightful couple from Germany, Manuel and Rebecca Pillman arrived in Ecuador and are living as our neighbors in one of the homes here on our compound. They speak fluent English, thankfully, and are working on making Spanish their third language. We have found the German culture is very close to our American culture and they have become very good friends in a very short time. Manuel is studying to become a pilot and Rebecca is a PA, so she is volunteering at the hospital. Rudi and Manuel go together to our local park here in Shell on Saturdays to sing and talk with folks. They are full of life and great ideas and are just generally fun to be around!

Rudi and I were able to fly up and spend Thanksgiving with my side (Johnson) of the family. It was very healing to be with all of my siblings and father, as we are still grieving the loss of Mama. Being with my siblings was like being with part of Mama that lives on through each of us. I have to say that it was my favorite Thanksgiving so far in my life. Losing Mama has made me treasure more each of my loved ones. I am finding that sharing sorrow has deepened my relationship with my family. I also rejoice knowing that Mama would be so happy with the way we siblings have been taking care of each other and staying connected, along with the way Daddy is being cared for!

This fall was busy with caring for the Barnards, as they went through a huge trial with their daughter Kirsten. Kirsten at 8 months old was taken to our local hospital with the thought that she had a UTI. It was discovered that she was born with something terrible wrong with her right kidney. She was transferred to a hospital in Quito where she had emergency surgery and spent about a month there. Kirsten was home from the hospital for about a month, when right after Thanksgiving, she wouldn’t stop vomiting and ended up back in Quito for two weeks. After consulting with their sending church, it was agreed that they should fly back to the States to get some answers medically and have more support than we families here could provide. They flew up to Oregon at the beginning of December. Jesse and Tess will continue on there in Oregon for the foreseeable future. We miss them being around, but are encouraged that they are getting the support they need at home.

The night Rudi and I flew out for Thanksgiving, Lydiah Strauel came back down to visit and volunteer at Casa TAO. It was a huge help to have her support in childcare while we were gone. She was also able to help when Kirsten ended up in the hospital again and we needed to provide childcare for Titus and Warren! Lydiah fits right into the family and is like a long-lost daughter. She was planning to stay until the middle of January, but her father unexpectedly passed away in the early hours of December 27th. This was a HUGE shock, of course, and a huge life changer for all of us, but especially Lydiah and her family. I did a blog on this at Clara’s request which if you are interested you can read at:

We left the two younger boys with trusted friends and made it a girl trip to take Clara and Lydiah up to Quito to fly out in the early morning of the 28th. On our return the next day the entire drive was in the pouring rain, with lots of water on the roads. So what usually takes between 4-5 hours, became 8 hours, complete with two SUPER sketchy mudslides, fallen rocks, and a swollen waterfall that was crashing down on half of the road. Let’s just say we were getting a lot of praying done and so thankful to make it home to our beds. We almost turned around about three different times, but then we would have had to go back through what we had just come through…which would be just as bad or worse. Sadly, when I thought I was filming the craziest part of the journey, I just took a random picture… It probably didn’t help that my hands were shaking like crazy!

Another big thing that has been going on ever since August, is Rudi has been chipping away at opening our coffee shop. He now has most of the machinery, including a big ol’ roaster for coffee, and is fine tuning recipes and such. He has taken a super boring rectangular room and turned it into an inviting, professional space. I am super proud of him. Starting a business in a third world country has some serious challenges and he just keeps getting up and slaying dragons, day after day!

I will wrap this up with a couple of prayer requests for the year ahead.

  1. We are submitting paperwork again for our three children’s U.S. Citizenship. Please pray we get the right USCIS officer that will speed our case through to success.
  2. For blessing on our ministry with the girls at Casa TAO. That we will know how much involvement to have with Casa TAO both financially and administratively.
  3. For Rudi to be able to open his coffee shop soon.

I think that brings you all up to speed on us down here. Thank you all for all of your support.

We love you.

Rudi and Carla