Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What? The beans aren't precooked here?

It's been really cold here this week, and last night I decided that I was fed up with the weather and went to the store to get the fixings for BBQ Chili. Oh so delicious. The recipe calls for three different types of beans: red beans, black beans, and a can of baked beans. So, I went to the store to buy the beans and a few other things needed, and came back to start preparing the Chili. I've never cooked these kinds of beans before but thought to myself, "I'll just pop them in a pot of boiling water for 20min. or so, that should be enough to get them ready to be chilified". So after 20 minutes I checked the pot and discovered that the beans were still hard. "That's funny", I thought to myself, "I was sure they would be ready by now." I decided I'd give them 20 more min, and finished up the rest of the chili. Of course, as you mom's can probably guess, when I went to check the beans a second time I discovered that they were still hard. At this point I check the package of beans I bought and did not find anywhere the word "pre-cocido", "pre-cooked". At this point Soña, our maid, informs me that you have to put the beans in a pot the night before you want to use them so that they can soak all night. Then they take about an hour to cook the next morning. Oops. Doomed Chili.
Actually, we went ahead and ate it with just one of the three types of beans, and it still turned out pretty delicious. Note for future reference: The beans aren’t precooked here :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

So, funny story . . .

Yesterday was the second day with the Wichita team, and I have to say that they rocked our apartment, both in work and in fun. There was the perfect combination of hard work, dirty work, impressive dance skills, and multicultural joking going on in the mix of Peruvian and North American teammates. I was so impressed by a few individuals in their rendition of "Thriller" . . .


We stopped for lunch at 1:00pm and went to a little restaurant called Guidos (they have delicious sandwich de pollo). We had been there for about 45min. when all of a sudden my chair gives way and I find myself on the floor. I'm not altogether sure what happened, but by this point the group of 20 Americans is causing this embarrassing moment to gain attention from the rest of the restaurant. As I stand up I realize that one of the chair legs is completely detached from the chair, and since the chair is made of metal, I felt slightly reassured that the cause of the break was not my fault. Cesar (the Peruvian pastor) then proceeds to loudly ask how much I had eaten for lunch, joking that my weight was the culprit. We all laughed, and I chuckled along as a waitress brought over a new chair for me. But the funniest part of the experience was when a random Peruvian woman looks over from across the restaurant and says in English, "Don't worry, it's not your fault. You skinny!" Oh so funny. A giant table of 20 North American, and it would happen to me :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 2

Team Wichita!

What a blessing short-term teams can be :)
A team of 15 is here in Peru for two weeks to continue the on-going relationship they have built with La Viña, one of the churches in the ADIEL. After all the fire fiasco, Cesar (the pastor) said that we could borrow the team for 2 days to help us complete the incredibly large and messy job of repairing the walls, ceilings and doors of our apartment. When I say that we couldn’t have done this work without these guys, I mean it very literally. We spent 8 hours yesterday sanding down the concrete walls and plaster ceilings to get the soot and ash off before we started painting. There was an inch thick layer of dust on the floor and on all of us by the time we were done for the night! But I was so impressed by the attitudes of these kids, and their willingness to work. We put music on, and they danced while they sanded, they sang along, and we actually had a really good time. Today we are going to finish up washing down the walls and begin painting. I’m a little worried because if we got this dirty with just dust, painting today could be kind of interesting!

Monday, July 20, 2009

16 days later . . .

Well, what a month July has turned out to be. My roommates and I have been couch hopping for the past three weeks as we try to get repairs completed and negotiations finished with our landlords. After four 12-hour days, the electricians are finally finishing their work of rewiring the entire house, putting in new light fixtures, and replacing the electrical shower heads. The team of electricians was a hilarious bunch, made up of 5 different guys. The “Maestro”, also called “Professor” which was sometimes shortened down to “Profe”, was a man in his mid-late 50’s and was clearly in charge of the team. There was another older gentleman as well whose name/title/nickname I didn’t catch, but he was also very nice. Then there was my favorite; a man in his late 30’s named Chicho. Chico has a dark, curly mullet, a well rounded gut, and wore a green Papa John’s polo every single day to work. He was also very considerate and spent an extra 15 min. replacing a clothes line that they had broken earlier this week. The last two were young guys, Antonio and Fernando, whom I assumed were around my age and joked back and forth with each other a lot. The entire process was completely fascinating to observe – and I remain very impressed by their ability to place new wires within the walls without having to make holes. But they’ve done a good job as far as I can tell, and I’m thankful that we now have light, internet and hot water for showering. Our apartment is still pretty messy, and we now have the physical repairs to get started on: completely washing and sanding down the walls and ceilings and floors upstairs, repainting and replacing doors. There is actually a youth group here this week from a Free Church in Wichita, KS, working with one of the churches of the ADIEL. So we’ve been given permission to enlist their help for two days with the repairs.
After a lot of discussion and prayer, we’ve decided that we will be staying in the apartment for the remainder of our contract and then reconsider our options come next February. Raquel has decided that she is willing to live in the apartment alone after we leave for Tarma, but we would still like to find someone else to live there with her. After the success of our last trip to Tarma, having found a house and arranged for transportation, we were going to make the big move this Friday, on the 24th, but obviously in light of all that has happened we’ve decided to delay our departure by two weeks to make sure that we are leaving things in good order here in Lima. So now we are looking at August 3rd to move our life and belongings to Tarma.

Beyond the house-keeping part of our lives, we have been finishing up other areas of life here in Lima. Last week I had my last two tutoring sessions with Giovanna, and completed all of the steps to get my missionary visa. Since the fire, both Elsa and Julio had their missionary “showers” hosted at their home churches. It was such a neat experience to see each of my friends and teammates honored and appreciated by their own congregations. Each of them received several items that they needed for the move including: lamps, sheets, cleaning supplies and alarm clocks. Julio’s youth group kids made a special presentation for him, and it was touching to see the impact he has made on their lives. And now at this point we have two weeks of class left at the ADIEL Biblical Institute, and then the packing and moving process begins.
August 3rd, Tarma of Bust.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Highs ad Lows

Well, it has been an interesting week. We got home from Tarma Thursday night. Friday morning I went to Interpol to finish the process of getting a temporary residency here in Peru. That all went smoothly and more quickly than I anticipated which allowed for me to get home and get started on my To-Do list a little bit sooner. About 4:00ish, as I was working on my computer in my bedroom, I heard a loud "pop" and the lights flickered. But then everything went back to normal and I didn't think twice about it. About 5 min. later I hear Meredith shout from upstairs, "Bethany! The house is on fire, there's smoke everywhere!". So I run upstairs and see that smoke is pouring out of the hall closet and quickly filling up the second floor. We rushed to open some windows and I shouted at Meredith that we needed to get downstairs, now! There was just too much smoke. We think that there was a short circut in the electical system that sparked in the closet and set the fire. That closed was full of suitcases and plastic tubs full of books and paper. The burning plastic was what was causing all the smoke.
Once we were on the first floor Meredith called the building security to try and find a fire extinguisher - no luck. Apparantly these buildings don't have fire extinguishers and the security guys don't know where to get one. So Meredith followed up with a phone call to the fire department and about 10min. later the Bomberos (firemen) or I should say the "volunteer" firemen showed up. I guess Lima doesn't have an organized or official fire department. It took them awhile to get up to the 10th floor with enough hose to drape over the side of the balcony in order to attach it tot the truck and get the water pumping. 15min. later the fire was out and the windows were letting out the black smoke. By this point we had a decent crowd watching from the street, and Meredith and I are just standing there watching the firemen go in and out. Once they started packing up their stuff, the firemen let us go upstairs to see the damage. See the above damage.
We are very thankful, the fire could have been a lot worse. Meredith was in the shower when the circut busrt, and the closet wiring is connected to the widowmaker that heats our water for the shower. She could have easily been electricuted. But God is good, and we are all safe and sound. So today, we continue the process of cleaning and repairing. The firemen left by 5:30 and by this point both Elsa and Raquel were home. We had a lot of water upstairs from the fire-hoses, and it was starting to seep down into the first floor. So we grabbed towels and buckets and started the process of wringing the water from the floor into the bucket and then pouring it down the shower drain. We cleaned from 5:30-9:30 in the dark with flashlights and candles because at this point there was no way we were going to turn on the electricity.

But here's the cool thing. About 20 people from the Adiel churches showed up with flashlights and buckets and plastic bags to help us in the cleaning process. And they were people from several of the churches. ReachGlobal missionaries Jim and Kay Panaggio showed up as well, and with all of their help we were able to get the water cleaned up and all of the debri thrown away. Many of the windows were broken, and with all of the people that witnessed the fire, we decided it probably wouldn't be the safest to stay in the apartment last night. So we loaded up the more valuable items we own (laptops, camara's etc) and went to sleepover at various people's houses. Meredith and I ended up at the Panaggio's, whose kids graciously gave up their beds for us. We have seen God's faithful provision throughout this event, and we are thankful for all he did to bless us through it.
I'll keep you updated on the cleaning process and such as we make decisions about what to do in the next couple of days.

God Bless.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Here are my two addresses in Peru for those that would desire it:

Bethany Kerr
La Residencia San Felipe
Edif. Eucaliptos #1008
Jesus Maria - Lima, Peru

Bethany Kerr
Aptd. 221
Tarma, Peru

Glory! We found a house!

I have to begin by sharing with you all just how excited I am about how this last trip to Tarma went! Meredith and Julio and I left early Wednesday morning to make the bus trip to Tarma, and we arrived by 3:30 in the afternoon. Right off the bat we began to look at our options, first touring a third floor apartment (which only had two bedrooms), then looking at a house where we would take over the second floor and some of the roof space. This place was located on a quiet street with a fantastic view of the mountains. The biggest downer though, was that there was no kitchen, and this room is as important as the bathroom! So then we looked at our third option, and for the sake of blog space I’ll just go ahead and let you know that this is the house that we chose. Above are a few pictures of the place. The house is located about a 15min. walk from the town square, and is just about perfect for what we were looking for. The house is two floors, the owners living on the first floor, and the second floor consisting of two separate apartments with a shared front balcony and main entrance. One apartment the owners are renting out as a unit, and in the other, they rent out single rooms to students and singles. So, this allows Meredith, Elsa and I to occupy the main apartment unit, and Julio to take one of the rooms next door – with the ability to use our kitchen and main room. All of this, plus the electric bill, for a grand total of $170 per month. We will of course have a few bills on top of the rent, but we are looking at no more than $215 max per month. Split this between four people, and we have got ourselves a pretty sweet deal. There are some perks that came along with the apartment as well. First, the owners have agreed to paint the apartment and lay carpet in the bedrooms (which is almost unheard of), so the last stop we made before coming home was the paint store to pick out the colors of our future bedrooms! Next perk is that the family that owns the home is Mormon’s, but the oldest son is a Christian and is interested in our ministry. Along with this is the potential of being able to rent out the entire second apartment when the current renters leave. This would give us a total of 8 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 main salas. This would be an incredible resource that gives us the potential for growth with the ministry, a place to meet, and a few extra rooms for when teams come, or family visits! And to top it off, Rosio, a woman who owns a restaurant that we frequent lives just a few houses down. We already know our neighbors! Praise God for his faithful provision! And thank you all who have been praying for this specific need. I am so thankful for your support and encouragement.
For now, our goal is to make the move on July 23. God has also provided us a moving truck, owned by one of the pastors of the Adiel who used to live in Tarma. Edulio (pastor of La Viña) has graciously offered us the use of his truck for free, and has even volunteered to ride in the truck with our belongings all the way to Tarma. This is a huge blessing since hiring a truck of our own to go that far would have been a great expense. So we’ve decided to try and beat the clock and move an entire week before we had originally planned. These next few weeks will be busy with packing up, purchasing a few more items that we will take with us, while we continue in our classes at the Institute and our ministry responsibilities in Lima. It is going to be a whirlwind, but an exciting one. I will try to keep you all posted as best as I can. Video Tour soon to come!

Oh, and we also got a P.O. Box at the post office in Tarma while we were there – so now we have an official mailing address as well!