Tag Archives: Alliance Academy International

And suddenly we were in the treetops…

Okay, maybe not so suddenly.  Here’s the scoop…

Yesterday, Lois Wells, the Human Resources director here at Alliance Academy International (AAI), scheduled an outing for all the new staff and their families for a cultural trip to Mindo, Ecuador.  Mindo is about 100 km from Quito (yeah, we’re in the metric system) which translates to about 62 miles in our well known system of measurement.  This trip takes about  two hours due to the winding mountain roads and the non-passing lanes.  Let’s just say that Mrs. Wells could drive a 15 passenger van through the Andes mountains like no other.  When you come to visit, it would be best if we hire her to take us out and about – neither one of us can imagine being able to drive faster than about 30mph on these roads and no one wants to take 5 hours to get to their destination.

All that being said, we safely traveled through God’s majestic country and were able to experience magnificent views of the Andes while getting to know new fellow teachers and staff.  It is breathtaking to see the grandeur of God’s creation to this magnitude.  But, that experience had only just begun.  We arrived in Mindo, a village in Ecuador that is centered in the Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest.  According to Wikipedia, it boasts 350-400 different species of birds, 40 species of butterflies, and 170 species of orchids.

We saw one bird.  But, it was pretty impressive…

Toucan in Mindo


It just happened to be that we saw this toucan from a treetop view.  You see, the outing consisted of ZIP-LINING!  One moment we were on our way to Mindo; the next moment we were getting strapped in to gear and climbing a platform to launch.  They say lack of sleep and altitude can cause memory problems, lapses in judgment, and delusions.  Obviously this was true as we ventured forth as a family (remember our desire to serve together?? 🙂 ) and off we went.



Zip lining in Mindo

Zip lining in Mindo


Brad and I were also able to experience this great adventure, one we know will certainly not come often, but shows the diversity of the Ecuadorian culture and landscape.  It was a time meant to build friendships, and forge new paths.  But, for our family, in a way, it was symbolic of this new step in our life…a step of faith.  A transition point, perhaps.  One doesn’t need to go zip-lining, though, to realize that all God is asking of you is to take that step – that step that he is asking of you.  Trust him.  Look to him for direction and fulfillment.  Trust him with your life and let him order your steps.  When you are zip-lining through the treetops, you can soar high, but it is a man-made adventure.  With Christ, your path in life can be beyond what you can even imagine.  Don’t soar the man-made way…soar on wings like eagles.  Explore the treetops…with Him.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Trusting in him through the days we soar as well as the days we trudge,

The Bierle’s



We have arrived in Quito, Ecuador!!

After a whirlwind of activity over the past months, we have landed to open arms and a warm welcome from our new friends in Quito, Ecuador.  Tuesday morning started out very early (especially after the late night as we continued to find room for those last minute items) as Brad amazingly managed to somehow pack 9 suitcases, 3 backpacks, 2 briefcases, 3 heavy carry on bags, and one guitar into my brother Joel’s Expedition.  We must have looked like the clown car as six of us piled out at the Minneapolis airport, along with all of our items.  We only had to redistribute two suitcases a few times at the check-in counter to achieve the desired weight of 50lbs per bag…with the exception of one suitcase at 52.5 lbs which (God bless American Airlines) they graciously allowed us to pass through.  God’s hand was upon us as our second bags were miraculously passed through with no additional charge.

Our flights to Chicago and Miami went quite smoothly, but, due to a late start out of Chicago, our connection time was greatly reduced in Miami.  Our kids were amazing as they trucked through the Miami airport with backpacks loaded full, and everyone having an extra bag to lug around as well (two were full of books and resources, so you can imagine the weight!).  We made our connecting flight and somehow managed to still get Jacob’s guitar onboard, despite being almost the last people to board.  We flew smoothly into Quito, and were greeted by Lois Wells and Toby Travis, both from Alliance Academy International, the Christian school we are partnering with.  As it gets dark in Quito by around 6:30-7, our kids were not able to see much on the hour ride back to the school dorm, which is our home for the next few weeks.  However, Wednesday morning arrived bright and sunny, and Brad and I were up early to meet the faculty and staff at AAI and couldn’t have been more eager to have that first cup of coffee.

Wednesday was filled with meeting the administration and new arrivals at AAI, starting the visa process with Helga, obtaining internet and school email addresses, realizing our old cell phones are not global compatible so we need to get new ones to use, a quick trip to the grocery store, a walk to the bakery to get pan (bread), and a wonderful welcome dinner with Bill and Ellen Evans and their son, Jimmy.

Our dorm arrangements are fantastic…we will be living here the next few weeks to do business in the city before moving out to Calacali… the kids have a room with three beds and a bathroom, and we are across the hall with a bed and bathroom as well.  We’ve obviously made ourselves at home as is evident from the clutter already starting to accumulate…

Kids dorm room

Kids dorm room

Our dorm room

Our dorm room

The new dorm parents, Will and Ashley, who arrived to Quito Sunday night for their first experience here as well, have already become friends and we are sharing cooking and laundry facilities and are about to share our dinner meal this evening – leftover lasagna from last night and ramen noodles for the kiddos. 🙂  We are safely tucked in the walls of the school campus, with guards at both entrances,  excited to have internet access and anxious to share more details of our path as it continues to be revealed.

Today was a fun-filled explore Ecuador day, but is a post in itself as it demands a few pictures.  We truly appreciate all the prayers that have been sent up for us – we have felt them along the way and we know it has helped us feel connected to all of you through Christ!

God’s Word has been our guiding path, and Psalm 27:1 has been on my heart as of late…it was my dad’s favorite verse, and it resonates with me strongly these days:
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
We are venturing forth in faith, not fear, and we know the path will not be easy.  But, our eyes are turned towards him who gives all power and strength through his name.  We trust in this wholly.

Feeling blessed with his presence…

The Bierle’s