Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas is over...On to the New Year

There are mixed emotions in the air as we begin to anticipate our homecoming in 6 weeks. Some are discussing 'what and who' they will miss. Some are looking forward to certain 'foods', yet others are wondering how we will get from WA DC back to the house. All of us are excitedly looking forward to the 'special' people we have missed while in Peru.

This was our first Christmas where the entire family was not together. Being in a foreign country may have helped because there was very little that actually felt like our traditional Christmas season in the states. A few businesses had lights and decorations. Very few houses were decorated. We saw one Santa Claus! Winnie the Pooh seems to be the preferred dress-up. The children here are not taught that Santa Claus comes down the chimney and brings presents. Instead they are taught to fight for 'tickets' because these tickets get you toys. The businesses and some churches hand out these tickets and then on an appointed day, the kids come to a program where Winnie the Pooh (churches) or Spiderman (businesses) is there to entertain the ninos. They are served hot chocolate (made with chocolate, flour, milk) and paneton (a sweet bread). In fact, every street in Iquitos has hot chocolate & paneton for the ninos. But not every street has the toys. The tickets are what gets you the toys.

We are here to build a building and it is hard to do a whole lot of 'ministry' also besides building relationships with those who God brings into our lives. However, we did feel led to participate alongside a group of young Peruvian men who translate for doctors and have started their own ministry called Blessed to Bless Ministry. We served hot chocolate, paneton, & gifts to almost 500 ninos. We were able to share the gospel message about the 'true meaning of Christmas' ...not the toys..but the best gift of all which is Jesus Christ. Hopefully a seed was planted that day into even a percentage of them. Most of these 'poor street kids' were there for the toy. These young men would like to 'disciple' these ninos but do not have money for curriculum. When we get home, this will be something we can look into. If anyone sees Spanish curriculum at a sale, they will accept any materials and use them. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few Matt. 9:37.

I (mom) was able to finish another semester of college work. Larinda and Lindsey also worked on some college classes. Lacey is here now which even though she may wonder at times if she is accomplishing anything, her presence has lifted some of the inward responsibility I have been carrying (gulp..tears). Our time in Peru has been a Ministry 101 class and we have learned much about the ins and outs of the mission field. I have made two good American women friends which helped turned my domestic responsibilities from a nightmare into actual doable tasks. Now that we have it all figured out, we are looking at the end of the road feeling the hardest part is over. The rest of the girls have worked on schoolwork everyday and have learned to be very creative at playtime. Kitt is up and down, trying to figure out if he is a Peruvian or an American.
Willy works, sleeps, eats, studies Rosetta Stone Spanish (lately) in the evenings/Sundays.

Praise God the building has gone up beautifully with extra money from the project so Willy has decided to work on fixing up the surrounding wall and courtyard. He will definitely be leaving his workmanship/leadership talents for many to admire to the Glory of God. Hopefully, many pastors will come here to study and then go back out to their remote villages to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those that have not heard. Continue to lift us up in prayer as we begin an 'extra' project building a pastor a new home. His home was blown over and one of the Teams that came here to help, sent money for us to oversee the re-building of a new home for Pastor Jose. The last two weeks of January are dedicated to building 4 churches with Kingdom Alliance. Still have much to do but the lights of home are in the horizon....

All of our love to you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sara w/family

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Photo Update!

A lot has happened since I first started uploading these
pictures, but I figured you'd still like to see them!
Sorry it has taken so long to get them on. I wanted to
do more but it just takes to long to upload so I'm just
putting these ones out. Have a nice day!

Keller, Kaleb and Christina came to visit the
family after they went to Machu Picchu.

Kalebs surprise for us!

A Sauna!!! :-D we've used it many times!
All the Peruvians tried it without us trying
to convincing them ;-)

Skyping with our church!

Lacey's birthday! She got the most 'blessings' yet!
a total of nine eggs!

Having fun with Gilber
(pronounced Hilber)

Sometimes you just got to do what you got to
do to get your clothes dry here in Peru! :-D

Wouldn't you just love riding on that saddle?!

Roxy trying to break the world record... or
just having fun!

This bugs official name (by Grace)
is Jack. There's also baby Jack.

Hope you enjoyed these!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas is in the air...

...even here in Peru, where the weather is like July and Christmas songs are nearly non existent, and every house on the block is not decorated, and Christmas cards are unheard of....well, I think you get the picture. Christmas here is very different. But in our house at least, we have been able to make it feel a little like it would at home. The other night we put Christmas music playing and made our traditional Christmas countdown bell chain, using Grace's old school papers (we only had to make 14 links...Christmas is almost here already!)...the girls have also made snowflakes, which the Peruvians just don't understand what they have to do with Christmas :P I think having to celebrate Christmas here in Peru is teaching us to be creative with what we is also making us think about what makes Christmas. What makes Christmas for you? Is it the lights, the decorations, the tree, the music, the church programs, the weather, the food? Just something I've been thinking about, especially because we're having to do without many of the normal "Christmas" things.

Our December started out blessed with a visit from Kaleb and two of his friends. Lindsey and I were able to meet them in Lima and take a backpacking trip to Machu Picchu with them. What an amazing experience...the beauty is absolutely indescribable. I'd recommend it to anyone! After the Machu Picchu trip, Kaleb and the rest of us flew back to Iquitos...Kaleb and his friends stayed with us for 4 days. While here, he built us a little sauna (out of plastic tarp)! He found some scrap iron that we heat in a fire till red hot, then we put it in a tire rim inside the little sauna and steam till the heat is gone. Hey, it works! :) It was so nice to just be able to visit with them. Lacey also arrived the day before Kaleb left, so for a day we had an almost-complete family, minus four =p. Yesterday we celebrated Lacey's birthday with volleyball, watermelon, and cake! It is so nice to have Lacey here!

The project is on the homestretch! The bedrooms are really starting to look livable and even inviting now. This week they have been painting and tiling...which, with the ceiling and lights all finished, is bringing it all together. Team Eight left Friday, and we will now have about a month till the LAST team arrives! Wow time flies. During this month, the Peruvian workers will continue on the project, as well as begin building Pastor Jose's house.

Pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Peru!

It was the strangest thing to celebrate an American holiday in a foreign country that doesn't acknowledge the special day whatsoever. We spent our Thanksgiving with the Adams, an American missionary couple and their 10 year old daughter. We did get to preserve some traditions, like pumpkin pie thanks to a team bringing pumpkin filling from the States! However, without the normal family fellowship, plenty of extra company and food...fall wasn't quite the same. But it made us realize how much we take even Thanksgiving for granted. Christmas is going to be pretty hard.

Two Sundays ago we visited Padrecocha with Team Seven. Pastor Jose, one of the workers who walks over an hour and rides a boat 40 minutes every day to come work on the project, blessed our whole group with lunch after church. After seeing his house we were all deeply impressed with his generosity. His house was little more than a few tin sheets leaned against each other to form a small room. His house was demolished in a storm a few months ago. Team 7 felt moved to go back to their church and raise the funds to build a new house for Pastor Jose. The pastor asked Willy to lead this project so during our Christmas break we will be, hopefully, building this new home. Anyone who feels led to donate to this project send donations to:

Freedom Fellowship Church
16044 E. Main St.
PO Box 187
Mount Eaton, OH 44659
c/o Urie Hershberger

Urie will be sending the total collected in a one lump sum to save on transfer sums.
Most importantly, please keep this project in prayer!

Team Seven left last week...we had a one week break for Thanksgiving. During this time the laborers continued to stucco the walls and cleaned up to get ready for painting. Saturday we had a "Minga" which is a work day that everyone is invited to, and lunch is served. Team Eight arrived Sunday...4 guys. This week the team and workers will be working on installing lights, sinks, counters, painting the rooms, and plenty more.
Have a blessed week!

AlineaciĆ³n al centro

Team Seven

Finished ceiling! Now on to painting...

Pastor Jose

His house

His family

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yesterday was three months exactly since we have been here in Peru! It has seemed way shorter, yet way longer at the same time.
Last night, we put on a 51st birthday celebration for Pastor Ricardo, the vice-president of MEPI. He said that was the first time he'd ever had a birthday like that, with a gathering of family, friends, and cake! It is really a blessing to be able to bless people like Pastor Ricardo, who works diligently, but quietly in God's work.
Team 6 finished all the floor and sidewalk slabs ahead of time, then took a little trip in the jungle. One of the guys on the team was Bill Courtney, who is a pastor in the States. Throughout the weeks they were here, we really enjoyed going to visit churches with them and hearing ENGLISH sermons!
Team Six left last Saturday, and Team Seven arrived at MEPI on Monday. Two couples and one guy on Team Seven. They are working on the wood ceiling, which includes varnishing, sanding, and re-varnishing all the wood. It's a lot of work, but everyone has been pitching in, from the little girls to Mom! Mom of course is enjoying the fellowship of the two ladies who are on the team.
A lot of changes are happening in the political realm of Mepi...good changes. But keep that in your prayers! Everyone is healthy, thanks for your prayers in that. More later!

Latest work on the building

Varnishing...the boards never end!

Wood ceiling's beautiful

Dad looking over the plans...

The little girls talking to Kaleb

Team Six

Saulo has been helping us with our Spanish, and we're helping him learn's a big help!

The whole family took a day off and went to Zungarococha for a visit with Saulo's family...good food, swimming, volleyball, and fellowship! It was the first time we all took a day off.

We visited Guido's (a translator) village, Manacamiri...the girls enjoyed the playground!

The girls wishing they could swim in Caballococha (in Manacamiri)

It was stifling hot...the pastor served us some refreshing cold Inca Kola! :)

Celebrating Brandon's he is sharing his awesome testimony.

One night we had fun teasing the Peruvians with this toad...they're petrified of them, and were shocked when Renita picked it up!

What I call the "Peruvian Concrete Truck"...assembly line of wheelbarrows! :D

Part of the "Peruvian concrete truck"...wheelbarrows waiting in line to dump their load!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Birthday and Wedding!

This week, we celebrated Bethany's birthday with a fiesta, including our traditional cheesecake, sent from the states! Bethany was the happiest on her birthday than she has been since we got here. When asked how old she is, she now confidently replies "six!". She is beginning to talk a lot more English, yes! :-p She has stayed happier since her birthday, and is the healthiest she has been since we got here. Glory to God!

The next week Team Five worked on things like the gutters, ceiling, finishing bricks and siding, pouring some floors, electrical, and many things in between. Team Five left Friday, Team Six arrived Sunday. Team Six is three guys, one is Dad's cousin. Dad and Mom were so glad to have someone they know very well come from the states! It's good to see a familiar face after so long. This week all the floors are going to be poured...they will probably be ahead of schedule before too long. Today, the they mixed 92 bags of concrete...sand and water, 2 mixers, and 5 or so wheelbarrows. Peruvian concrete truck! All in all, the work is going great.

Saturday, all eight girls stood in Winquer and Ivone's wedding. Ivone is the daughter of the president of the mission. It was quite an experience...imagine 8 blond headed girls in a Peruvian wedding! It was a lot of fun. The wedding started at 8pm, or was supposed to. Predictably, Peruvian time made the wedding even an hour and a half later! When the ceremony ended, and the reception began, it was already midnight...Peruvians sure know how to celebrate! It was a beautiful wedding though, and we enjoyed the experience.


All the brick work finished...

Inside taking shape!

This was before the brick work...

Bethany calls baby Mateo "Baby Judah" him big hugs. (They live here at the mission with us)

Ryan getting ready to work? :D

Team Five

Bethany being HAPPY! and silly with Charity. :)

Bethany going out for her birthday!

A few wedding pictures:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Month passes...

Is it really October? It's hard to imagine the chilly weather and falling leaves. We are living in July weather! Well, sincere apologies to all you who have been faithfully checking for updates, and find nothing every day! De verdad, oops...Spanish is overwhelming my English. =) Really, we will try harder to update at least once a week.
After Team Two left, we had one week without an American team here. The work on the project continued though, in order to catch-up and be prepared for the next team. Meanwhile, we received a surprise visit from Carlene Pepper, who started the Mission with her husband. It was a blessing to meet her...she brought us to a little village called Independencia to visit a church that was recently built. It was quite a hike to get there though! First, 30 min. down the river by peki peki, then up a nearly vertical staircase, then a hot hike up the hill. Just imagine...the workers who built that church had to do that with concrete bags on their back! Whew!
Another day that week, we went to the "Marcho por Jesus" (March for Jesus). Most of the churches in Iquitos gathered together for a grand parade around the city... for 40 blocks we marched, sang, and proclaimed the name of Jesus. It was an inspiration to see so many people united for such a cause!
That same week, Lindsey cut three of her fingers open playing a turns out she fractured definitely one, probably two of her fingers. After 3 weeks, the cuts are finally closed, but the fractures are still healing. She has had to learn to eat, write, and SPIKE left-handed!
Team Three arrived the last week in September. All ONE of them! Mr. Ray was a blessing, as all the teams have been. He hired his own team of 5 Peruvian guys, and they finished all the trusses and roofing in no time.
Lindsey's birthday was celebrated in Zungarococha, the home village of the president of Mepi and his family. We visited their home church and stayed at their house for the night. Mom called it a "camping" experience, complete with hammocks and mosquito netting! :) In the morning, we visited a little church further in the country. After, we visited a beautiful little lodge by the lake, surrounded by jungle woods. It was so nice to go to the country, after being in the city for so long! Peaceful and quiet...and the smell of nature! Ahh.
Team Four arrived two weeks ago, and was again a one-man team! But with the skills of even just a one man team, and the tremendous help of the Peruvian laborers, the building is making great progress! Barry was in charge of the brick-laying...almost finished! Barry is Kentuckian, so we got to hear a Southern accent again! ;) He will be remembered for the tricks he would share after lunch. Truco! The Peruvians loved his tricks, and they beg to know how to do them. =p

Our days are filled with school, and of course studying, hearing, learning, and talking Spanish. Yes, we play volleyball almost everyday. Watch out, we'll be coming back addicted, and hopefully better than when we left! For the last month, we've been visiting a different church every Sunday, where we girls will sing and an American from the teams will preach. :D This last week we've been preparing for Ivone and Winquer's wedding, which is in less than 2 weeks. Ivone is the daughter of the president, Pastor Gehinor. All of us girls are standing in the wedding, imagine what a sight that is going to a Peruvian wedding no less!

Today we had a big dinner together with both the families that live here, as a goodbye for Barry (Team 4) and a welcome for Team 5, who arrived yesterday. Six guys...biggest team yet! We had a good time of fellowship, prayer, and singing.
Continue praying for health...I think just about everyone has gotten sick in the last two weeks. Usually lasts for 3 or so days. Dad is sick for the first time...enough that he had to stop working today, first time stopping! Thank you for your prayers, they are needed now more than ever!


Saulo singing with the children in Independencia.

Independencia's "jailhouse".

This doesn't look as steep as it really is...

Marcho por Jesus!

Fun times.

Zungarococha means "Catfish Lake"

In Zungarococha...

"Camping" :D

Peruvian birthday party for Lindsey!

A big house in Zungarococha

Water tower...

Bungalows to rent.

Complete with swimming pool...who would swim in a pool with a lake right there?!

Lindsey's fingers after about a week.

Trusses going up...

Tying in the new roof with the church.

New roof for building and church!

Just a little view of Iquitos.

A man moving a GLASS cabinet by way of bike-cart.

Team Three, Brother Ray. Roger, the interpreter, and Kitt.

The whole family with Roger, our awesome translator. Added to our big brother list! :)

A stray pig digging in the garbage. :-p Surprisingly, this is the first pig most of the little girls have seen!

We eat watermelon almost every day...still! It's October! Just reaching peak season right now.

Brick laying...