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