Monday, May 31, 2010

A Special Day with Felix

Well, we had quite the busy week. Most of our days were rearranged for us, but that is fine; it makes life more interesting! Saturday was a special day. We had gone to see Felix the week before. We are discipling his youngest daughter, Ruth, who is pictured in the previous blog. Anyway, the first day we visited Ruth, she told us that her father had fallen quite a while ago and broke his pelvis, so now he is bedfast, although he is able to sit up for short periods of time. She asked us if we would visit him. We told her we would, that we would come to her house first and then go to visit him. So on the first Saturday, we went at 10:00 to Ruth’s, and by 10:30 am, we were on our way to Felix’s. We walked about 7 blocks, but Ruth was carrying her little girl, and she wouldn’t let any of the rest of us carry her, so we ended up getting a mototaxi for the rest of the way. We were glad because it was way further than we thought. We got to the house, which is the house of Ruth’s older sister, Ruth. She cooks food to sell in one of the markets. She cooks the food in her house and then takes it down to the market to sell for lunch. Her daughter and granddaughter live there too, along with Felix. Empe and I waited outside a few minutes while they got Felix ready to receive company. He is 80 years old. He was so glad to have company. Felix is a Christian, but because of his physical state, he is unable to leave the house to go to church. We offered him words of encouragement, prayed with him, and even sang one of the songs he remembered from church. He told us he couldn’t read his Bible anymore because he didn’t have glasses. So, we told him we would come back the next week and bring him glasses. That gave me one week to get glasses made. I decided the best thing to do would be to make one of each strength of lenses so that, if need be, he could try on the different glasses instead of using the tester board. We weren’t sure how it would work out. So this past Saturday, we went back to see Felix. I had finished the glasses at 12:30 the night before, and was ready to give away our first pair of glasses. Again, Empe and I waited outside for a few minutes while they got Felix ready for visitors. When we entered his room we were surprised to see Felix was sitting up and ready for a visit. Empe told him we wanted to read some scripture with him, but we wanted to have him try glasses before that so that he could read along. We tried the tester board since he was sitting up, and that got us close. We ended up trying on the different strength’s of glasses that were close to the one he thought was good. Once he tried the glasses and saw that he could read, he began to cry because he was so glad that he would be able to read his Bible again. His older daughter, Ruth, saw what we were doing, and said she was so glad he was getting glasses. She said when she would read her Bible she had to hold it far away, so we asked her if she wanted to try some glasses too. She asked if she could really have a pair. We said, “Of course. We want to help people.” She said others have offered to help in the past, but it was always for a price. That seems to be a common factor here. People say they will visit or help, but they want the family to pay a price for that visit or help. Nancy and Kristy have run into the same thing. Anyway, now Felix can read his Bible. He wasn’t able to see the really fine print in italics, but he could read the headings and verses. So when we left him, Felix was encouraged in the Lord and would be able to read his Bible once again. Please keep praying for Felix and his family. Although there is no way possible to afford the surgery he needs for his pelvis, and now the doctors say he has bone cancer as well, we know that if it is His will, God can heal, or at least relieve the physical pain.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Day in the Life of a 40/40

Okay, so we have been out on the streets visiting and giving lessons in discipleship for about 2 ½ weeks now. So yesterday, Empe and I made our schedule as follows:
10:00 AM – discipleship lesson at Ruth’s
11:00 AM – search out more houses
12:30 – return to the church for lunch
3:00 PM – visit Erika
4:00 PM – discipleship lesson with Rosalina and Maria
5:00 PM – visit Laura
6:00 PM – return to the house.
Here is how our schedule went:
9:30 AM – left house for Yarinacocha
10:00 AM - arrived at Ruth’s house, but she wasn’t there, so we went to search for more of the houses in our contacts. We asked several places where a certain number was, with no success, so we just kept walking up the “street”. We discovered one of the numbers we were looking for on the electric meter, so we knocked on the door. A little boy came out, who we later discovered was Pedro, and we asked him if this was where the people we were looking for lived. He said no, so when we asked him where they lived, he said, “tell me why you want to know first.” Empe said, “no, tell us where they live first.” So this went back and forth a couple times, and finally he told us they lived next door. So then he wanted to know why we wanted to find them. We told him to invite them to Sunday School on Sunday, and he was invited too. So we knocked on the fence of the house, but the lady had already gone to work, and her sister-in-law said she would be home at 2:00 PM every day. So we said we would stop by another day. Well, we thought Pedro had been so helpful, that we asked him if he knew who some of these other people were. We asked him about an older gentleman, and he said he knew where that man lived, but it was further up the street. We asked him if he would show us where, and so we followed him through all the mud to the house. When we got there, we had about a ½ inch of mud on the bottom of our shoes. We found out that the man was Pedro’s grandpa. At that point, we still didn’t know Pedro’s name. So we were talking to the man, and he said that he had gone to the clinic with his daughters and their kids. So we had all the papers and started asking him the names. As we went down the list, Pedro began to answer, “that is my brother, that is my sister, that is my aunt, that is my mom, that is my cousin,” and so on. We got a kick out of him. He is only 6 years old, but he sure wasn’t shy. So we talked with his grandpa and prayed with him, and then went back to Pedro’s house. There we discovered that it was actually his aunt’s house and that he lived there because it was closer to his school than his house. So the whole family had used the address for the clinic. We invited all the kids to Sunday School, and then thought we would return to Ruth’s, to see if she was home yet.
11:15 AM – We returned from the muddy street to the concrete, and as we were scraping the mud from our shoes, both of us broke one of our shoes. So then we looked like a couple of cripples walking down the street because our shoes were broke. (photo #2)
11:20 AM – Enter the house of Ruth for a discipleship class. (photo # 1)
12:15 – Return to the house for lunch. However, since we both had broken shoes, Ruth went to the end of the street to get us a motocar to return to the house so we wouldn’t have to walk with the broken shoes.
12:30 – Return to the house, to discover that lunch wasn’t quite ready, so we went down to the center to get credit on our cell phones. Samuel had to go to the bank, so since you can get your cell “recharged” there, he stood in line with my cell and Empe and I sat and talked while we waited. Okay, we may think the lines are long at the bank in the states, but it is nothing like here. There is always a line of at least 50 people at the bank. I don’t know why exactly, but it was that way in Belize too. It is not a problem because all the banks are air conditioned, so no one minds waiting. However, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the front of the line. So Empe and I had plenty of time to talk.
1:00 PM – return to the house (with loaded phones, and for Samuel, some money) to eat lunch.
2:00 – 2:30 PM – took a quick nap.
2:45 PM – went to the house of Erika’s sister, where she told us to visit her, to discover that she has gone on a trip and won’t be back until Saturday or Sunday. So we went back to Ruth’s house to give her a Bible to read, but she wasn’t home either. So we went to Maria and Oscar’s house to visit and see if they wanted us to come and do the discipleship classes at their house, because they had the first lesson at the church with Pastor Dario last Sunday. They have decided to take the classes at the church, but Oscar is part of the local Fisherman’s Association, and he gave us some tips on how to get in touch with the President because they have the only large building in the area and we wanted to see if they would let us borrow it for Sunday School and services on one evening a week. We have already been to his house several times to no avail, so now we have some new ideas for that. So we talked with Oscar and Maria for a little while about the lesson they had studied with Pastor. Oscar is excited about the church.
4:00 PM – Went to the house of Rosalina and Maria lives next door. We started the discipleship classes, and then the sister and niece came too. (photo #3) That was great, and we will be going back on Friday. They are all very interested. There are lots of scriptures to look up, and so they are enjoying trying to find the scripture before the other one…it is quite comical at times. We enjoyed a time of study there, and then they gave us some popcorn and a fermented corn drink. Empe was good and drank the whole glass, but I could only get about half of mine down.
5:15 PM – Walked to the house of Laura…she is a teacher at one of the schools, so she gets home around 2:00 PM and then grades papers. 5:00 is a good time for her, but she had her grandson at her house this time, and they were playing and visiting out front. We visited for a few minutes, and told her we would come back another day.
5:35 PM – Returned to the house.

I know flexibility is the name of the game! It is fun to see how God works everything out, and our day is still filled, even though our plans change so much from hour to hour, or sometimes minute to minute. Thanks for all your prayers as we continue our work in Yarinacocha, and please pray for those we are discipling. Check out Empe and my “work” blog at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pics on the Boat

Okay, so I finally got some of the pictures to upload or download or whichever it is...sorry Steve...someone else explained it to me the other day, and I still can't remember...anyway, these pictures are from the boat. Some of the great food..

one of the "ports" we stopped at...
the congregation on Sunday morning...
The preacher...Pastor Daniel...
And some of the beautiful scenery.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


 I haven't been so good at this blog thing. But in Iquitos we didn't have internet much. Only when we went downtown and paid for it. So anyway, now we are in Pucallpa...our final destination...and we went to our sites today to see where they are. Empe and I are at Yarinacocha, which is the area that Broadway Church of the Nazarene sponsored. We have a nice park there where we can do some events, and we have some contacts. But I want to tell you how we got to Pucallpa.

It was your ordinary Friday afternoon. Okay, it wasn't exactly ordinary because we had all been packing our stuff for two days, and we were leaving our friends in Iquitos. But otherwise, it was an ordinary Friday afternoon. At about 3:30 on that Friday afternoon, we went to one of the local ports. It was the Masusa port, if I remember correctly. Wait, back up...I missed the part about Pastor Miguel gathering all the 40/40s together and having a prayer with us. It was a special time when we got to say goodbye to our friends and get ready for our adventure. Little Josue came and gave me a hug and said he wanted me to stay in Iquitos. I told him I would be back for a visit, and I have every intention to return to Iquitos for a visit. I just don't know when. So back to Masusa...We get there, and in order to enter the port in the moto, we would have to pay half a sole, so we decide to carry the bags from there, once we saw that some of our other friends were doing the same. So we are all standing in front of a ton of huge boats, and we ask Samuel and Daniel which boat is ours...they were the ones who made the arrangements. Samuel pointed to one, so we got on that one. Apparently it was the right one because we are her in Pucallpa, but back to the story. We got to the second floor of the boat, (there are three floors) and we were standing there in a group, when the captain came and said that we needed to go to the next level. So we got to the third level (Now let me say that as you move up on the boat, the steps get steeper, more like ladders. And we were carrying boxes, luggage, food, books...I think just about anything you could name, we probably had it among us. So you can imagine, not only was it extremely hot, but it became more and more difficult to move up), there was a room because Daniel and Samuel had gone down early to buy a room to put our luggage in. So we started putting our luggage there, and the captain comes over and says that we can only use one of the bunks because we had only paid for one person to use the cabin. So we moved everything so it only took up the floor and the bottom bunk. Now, this is the funny part. They weren't going to let anyone else in the room, but if we had stuff on the top bunk, they wanted us to pay another 120 or 130 soles. So we got that all taken care of and then moved into the sala, or living room, to put our hammocks up. There were 6 of us going on this boat or lancha in Spanish. So it was, Empe next to the wall, then me, then Kevin, then Tim, then Daniel, and then the end of Samuel's hammock was between Empe and me, but he was really on the other side of the boat. Daniel was in charge of the keys because his ticket had on it that he had the room. So many of our friends came to see us off. All of our Extreme buddies were there, then many of the youth from the church, and my friends, Layla, Moises, Kati, and Chino came too. Moises had just come back to Iquitos after three and a half weeks in Lima. He actually changed his ticket to come back early because we were leaving. He and Samuel are great friends. Anyway, so those four were the very last to leave. The didn't actually leave until our boat was taking off. They had to climb on the boat next to ours to get off. Anyway, back to the story. We went all around the boat taking pictures. Some of them are here. So we have become really close to these guys over the last 5 months, so I was really trying hard not to cry, and I know they were too, and we all succeeded until the end, but at that point we weren't paying attention to whether the other were crying because they were trying to get off the boat. They are really good friends to have. I am glad to count them as mine. So this began our first night on the lancha. We left the port at Masusa and went to another port a short ways away because the contents of the boat has to be checked for taxing and fees. We were there for 3 or 4 hours. Just relaxing in our hammocks. Then it was off on the river, but at that time, we were ready to sleep. And the first night we didn't get any supper. Oh, yeah, I think I mentioned that we had two boxes of food. Pure and simple, junk food! (Chifles are my favorite!!! That is fried banana chips.) Okay, so there were some apples and oranges, but I only like apples! So we went to sleep. In the morning we were wakened to the "Chink, chink, chink" of metal banging on metal. That was the dinner bell, but it was 6:30 in the AM. So we went down and got in line for breakfast. It was "chocolate oatmeal" and two rolls, one with butter and one with meat. I ate the one with butter and gave the other one to Empe or Samuel. Then the chocolate is just plain aweful...I am not really a fan of hot chocolate on a hot day, but this wasn't even good hot chocolate. And well, the whole texture thing. It was kind of slimy and had chunks of oatmeal in the bottom...well, not really chunks so much as fragmented pieces. Just not a fan. Anyway, I went in the bathroom to wash out my dish...thank you Sarah and Ryan for buying the containers because we wouldn't have been able to eat if we didn't have a bowl. Except Daniel because he had the special ticket with the room on it, so he got to sit at a table and be served. It was really funny. So when I went to the bathroom, to clean the bowl, that is when we realized the water was coming from the river. The water that came out of the spicket was almost the same color as the chocolate I poured down the drain. So we took to washing our dishes and then using hand sanitizer to sterilize them afterward. I don't think we took a picture of that, but we should have. So 5 and a half days of this, although we did have some food that wasn't bad, and on the nights they had soup, we didn't eat it because it was so hot...too hot for soup. The food wasn't bad, and it was surely hot. I mean, it wasn't the greatest food, but I have had worse. So we spent our days reading, listening to music, watching movies when we had electricity, and talking to one another and getting closer. I think it was a good trip, and I am glad I went on the boat. On the final night of the trip, the keys got locked in the room, and it took 30 - 45 minutes for them to cut the lock off when they finally decided that was what they would do. Daniel was so worried about it. I told him not to worry, it was part of the adventure. And of course, I was laughing the whole time. There were no other keys to fit the lock...shock! We are living in Peru, but why would they not have two keys?? Anyway, Daniel spent the next day guarding the door because he was worried that some of our stuff would be taken. We got to Pucallpa with everything though, and now, for the most part we are settled in.