Monday, October 15, 2012

Phone for Ransom?!?!? (a blog that didn't get posted in July 2011)

It was a Friday morning. We were on our way to visit an elderly gentleman and maybe help his daughters decide what was best for him. He is bed fast, and the daughter who is the primary care giver is very sick herself, and can't lift him to change his clothes anymore. We visited with them and talked about different options. One option is actually a nursing home here in the area that has a good reputation. It is very rare to find a nursing home in Peru, so this could be a real blessing.

Anyway, after we were done visiting and praying with the family, we went back to Yarina for more visits there. We were almost to Yarina when I realized that my cell phone had fallen out of my pocket some where along the bumpy ride to Yarina. Unfortunately, I was sitting on the outside of the motocar, and there was a big gap between the seat and the side of the moto. So, I lost my phone.

We had the moto driver turn around and we went back to search along the road. I knew about where I had lost it, but we didn't see it there anywhere. So we went on to Yarina, had our visits there and then went back to the house. The good thing was, I had just bought S/. 15 of credit on my phone, so the guy who found the phone, didn't want to turn it off. Nancy called for me, and he answered. She told him that she wanted the phone back because it had all the contacts in it; Would he please bring it to the church? He said he would, but that we needed to pay him S/. 50 because he had bought it from another guy who actually found it. We said no problem. He was suppose to be there in 15 minutes. When he didn't come, we called again. He then said no, he didn't want to bring the phone to us because he was afraid that we would have police there to arrest him. We told him that we were missionaries, and I knew where I lost the phone, and knew that it hadn't been stolen, so I wasn't going to have the police there waiting. He asked us if we could come there to La Perla at the bridge (where I lost the phone) and get it. We said yes, but by this time it was 10:30 PM, so Nancy and I took Sammy with us. We told the guy that we were bringing our brother with us. So we got a taxi and went the 15 minutes to Yarina, to La Perla, and when we got to the bridge, the place was dark. As Nancy and I walked out onto the bridge, I felt like someone making a ransom drop. When we were about half way across the bridge, someone started walking from the other side, flashing a cell phone back and forth. He said, "Are you here for the phone?" We said, "Yes." He said, "All the contacts and pictures are there. Don't worry...Nothing is deleted." We gave him the S/. 50. End of story, right?

Wrong!!! He began asking us about why we lived in Pucallpa. We told him we were missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene, and that we were starting churches in Pucallpa. He had a lot of questions about the church and when services were. We haven't seen him yet, but we are hoping to see him at one of our services.

From the Glorious Natural Jungle of Iquitos to the "COLD" Urban Jungle of Arequipa

I was able to spend some time in Iquitos on a project for 2 1/2 weeks in September. It was nice to get to see lots of my friends from Iquitos (Pastor Abiatar, Mama Magna, Chino, Hermana Betti, Moises, Leyla, Pastor Antonio, Malena, and Jim, Kati, and many more), as well as help build a new church in Tamshiyacu, a small town about an hour south, but up river, from Iquitos. There were days filled with construction and impact events. It was hot (I love it!!!) and humid, but the team kept plugging along. We ended the two weeks with a service in the new church building on Sunday.
So, have been back in Arequipa for three weeks now, and we just finished another Short Term Project here. ( started 5 days after the Iquitos project finished!) We did several days of construction on a church that is going to be shipped to Pucallpa later, and we did lots of impact projects to get the word out about the Church of the Nazarene here in Arequipa.
It is the middle/end of spring here in Arequipa, Praise the Lord! I can tell a difference because in winter, I sleep with 5 blankets, and at this time, I only want 3! So glad it is getting warmer!!!! (Although, I still stand by the fact that Arequipa is COLD!)

Anyway, yesterday I went to Chachani for regular service. They were finishing up the consolidation discipleship book that I have probably read a hundred times, if not more. The last lesson is on the Family of God. I was so happy to be able to share with them about how it is great to feel a connection with people you have never met, simply because you are all part of the family of God. I am pretty sure I could go just about anywhere in the world and find a "brother" or "sister" because I am a part of this family. Even though I am a long way away from my family in West Virginia, I still have family here in Peru (Arequipa, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Chiclayo, Tarapoto, Campañia, Lima, and Bagua), in Paraguay (Asuncion), in Belize (San Ignacio, Belmopan, and Belize City), and tons of places in the United States! And those are just the ones I know!!! Praise the Lord for this extended family!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy (In a good way!)

So, the last blog I posted was clear back after the Puerto Maldonado Project. Well, since then, we have been very busy! In June, we had a project in Cusco, in July, here in Arequipa, and this month, I had the privelege to go to Paraguay for the project there in Asuncion. So, here is an update and some pictures from these projects.

CUSCO - In Cusco, we had lots of Impact projects, as well as the construction of two chapels, three days of medical clinics, and and three Jesus Film showings. For the impact days, we had kids festivals and one of the highlights was going to a local orphanage. We also went to a local hospital. One group went to a local women's prison.

This is our Peruvian construction man, Cuarto. He is the strongest little man in the whole world!!! He is from Iquitos, but works in Arequipa and with our short term construction projects.

At two of the medical clinics, I made reading glasses to distribute. I think, in the end, I made about 25 pair, plus we had around 80 pair donated. It is amazing to see the people when they receive a pair of reading glasses. They are so appreciative and happy. We were even able to help some children who were far sighted.

I went with Cuarto, Mark, and Tom, on the short termer's day off, to help get the land ready where we were to move the second chapel. The two chapels they were building were being built in the same location, and the second one had to be moved to to another town. The property had lots of flower bushes, ROCKS, and old brush. So we had a day of cleaning...I must admit, I took more pictures than digging.
At the end of the trip, we went sight seeing. I was trying to hold Jesus' hand.
AREQUIPA - there was impact projects, a construction and reconstruction of chapels, and Jesus Film showings in this project. And some of my WV buds got to come!!! Ray, on the far right is from Fairmont area, but is a 40/40 here in Arequipa.

We were getting some ofthe supplies ready for skits. No worries, it was a toy gun that was falling apart, and empty beer bottles for the skit.
On Saturday night, we had a "Battle of the Bands". I stayed close to the back of the park where it wasn't quite so loud. Tom, Robin, and Kelly Watters joined me there for a while.

We went to out to one of the outlying communities for a kids festival and Jesus Film showing.

 I really don't wear the same clothes everyday, I just don't have a lot of sweatshirts, so it looks that way. We went to some schools. We usually do salvation bracelets and some games with the kids. These are the smaller kids who needed lots of help with the salvation bracelets.

One evening, we had a workshop for parents, so I played games with the children who came with their parents. We played "Follow the Leader" for quite a while, and then some "Duck, Duck, Goose".

This is Junior and Tani (Nataniel). They make all the blocks for the foam builds. A team came down in May, while I was in Puerto Maldonado, and tought them how to make the blocks. Since they started in May, they have made over 1,050 blocks. It takes about 25 minutes to complete one block, and they average about 15 - 17 blocks per day.

In Chachani, we had the dedication service for the chapel that was constructed there. Chachani is the name of the moutain that the community is right at the foot of. It gets very cold there at night.

 After the dedication service, we gave out clothing that had been donated from the United States. These young ladies are from the Alto Libertad church, which is the mother church for the Chachani congregation.
Some of the hermanas (sisters) from the church were there to help get things ready for the dedication. Jesica is the one kneeling. The church is on the back of her property. On the left is her sister, her mother, Gladis, who works here in our office, and myself.
PARAGUAY - In Paraguay, we did all impact projects. I don't know why I never take pictures of these. I guess because I am always busy and forget. We did lots of school visits, and hospital visit, kid's festivals in the parks, a cookout, showed some movies in the plazas, and had some youth events. 
On the day off, Orfa, Gladis and I found a train museum close to a plaza downtown. It wasn't the main plaza, but, unknown to us, it was only 3 or 4 blocks from the main plaza.

 At the train museum, there were two train cars and an engine that you could go in. We ha fun taking pictures of all the different rooms and things inside...even the bar!

 We stopped to eat lunch at McDonald's, and had to get our picture with Ronald, who happened to be waiting for us on the bench outside! And infront of the Municipalidad, we caught up with the founder! What a lucky day!

On the tour day, we went to Caacupé, which is the center of the Catholic religion in Paraguay. We were able to go inside the cathedral, and up on the mirador that is at the dome of the roof. Inside, the stained glass windows were beautiful.

 At the top of the mirador, there was a nice breeze blowing and the temperature was perfect. On the way back to Asuncion, we stopped at the largest lake in Paraguay.

 The final day in Asuncion, we were able to go downtown again. To the left is a very interesting building that has part of the old building left there and the new building built around it. Above is the Presidential Palace.

It was so nice to get to visit with the Foster's and the Williams'. I enjoyed being able to catch up with Isa and Landon and Teddy and Reese. I was also glad to finally put some faces with the names of the 40/40s there. We had a great time ministering to the people of Paraguay. I must say, however, that I was glad to return to Peru after my time in Paraguay. It is good to be home and working on the next project that will take us to Iquitos in September. Yay for the jungle!!!!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Puerto Maldonado Short Term Trip

So, I arrived in Puerto Maldonado, with Mark and Cailyn, a couple days before the Short Term Volunteers came. By the time they arrived on Monday, after traveling all day Sunday and sleeping in the Lima airport, at about 8:30 am, they felt like it was afternoon. So they took a "walk" with Callie, ate some lunch, and then slept til about dinner time. The welcome bags that Cailyn and I got ready turned out well for them. The first day of work was Tuesday. The owner of the hotel took the group in the camión (truck) to the work site each day. The short termers loved that, because, as you well know, it isn't possible to ride through town standing up in the back of a truck in the states, without quite a few problems.

Each day, Cailyn and I made the lunches and took them to the work site for lunch so that the lunch meat sandwiches wouldn't be sitting in the jungle heat all morning. I guess the food safety I used to teach came in handy! We only had one short termer get sick the whole time we were in Puerto, and I am thinking it wasn't from the lunch! :-)

We also had an amazing donation! Girl Scout Cookies!!! If the short termers weren't excited about that, the long term missionaries were excited enough for everyone! So, we enjoyed Girl Scout Cookies each day with our lunch! What a treat! Thank you to the girl scout troop who donated cookies to missionaries in Peru!

Saulo, the youngest child in the family of which the local church is renting the property for the chapel in Castaños, was on the work site each day. He is not yet in school, and he found the construction very interesting as the adults found dangerous for a child. He loved the styrofoam pieces that were cut out of the blocks and werenot needed. He used some for swords, guns, and even snowballs.
We had our first day of impact on Friday of the first week. The students, along with Cailyn, did an amazing job of presenting a skit to music. They presented the skit twice that day; once in the afternoon, and again in the evening between the two films that we showed. We almost didn't go to show the films in the evening because it rained, but after some prayer and a few sound/motor issues, the show was on the road and there were at least 60 people in attendance that night. That is truely remarkable, because usually jungle folk don't leave the house if there is rain.

The family at the hotel (Hostel Russell) was a great family to work with. Alberto was very willing to help in any way that he could. That involved ordering water each day, hauling the group to and from the work site, and taking the deconstructed church for Iberia to Iberia. His wife, Berly, cooked breakfast and supper each day for the group. They worked with our schedule and helped us get where we needed to be when we needed to be there.

On Sunday afternoon, Alberto and the fam took us to KM 19 where there is a recreation place. There are soccer fields, volleyball courts, and a lagoon to swim in. We had a great time with the family and were able to get cooled off in the water too!

Once the truck was loaded, it was very full. It took about 5 hours to drive the truck to Iberia the next morning. In Iberia, the workers who went reconstructed the church. Cuarto and Daniel worked another day to get the final 3 outside walls stuccoed.

Those who went to Iberia, at least North Americans, returned to Puerto Maldonado covered in bug bites. So many on their arms and legs that it looked like a rash. Peruvians get bit, but it doesn't bother them like it does North Americans.

The day that we went on a tour, first, we went to a zip line in the jungle, and then to Monkey Island. The only monkey we saw the whole day was at the zip line (the pet of our tour guide) he is...after this, when we were walking back to the boat. The guide put the monkey on my head. He wrapped his tail around my neck, and shortly after that I almost fell. I didn't ask for the monkey to be put on my head, so I wasn't going to be upset if it died if I fell on it, but I didn't fall, and the monkey wasn't falling...he was strangling me with his tail.

Overall, the trip was amazing. The group of college students really worked hard and were able to complete the church in Castaños and almost complete the church in Iberia. We had a great time with the brothers and sisters in the churches in Puerto Maldonado. We pray that God continues to bless these congregations in the months and years to come. Continue to pray for this as well.