Sunday, August 30, 2009

Market Day.

Upon arriving “home” to Tarma, I am quickly jumping back into the routine of meetings, planning, and cooking rotation. Since I’ve gotten out of almost two weeks of cooking, it is my turn to start out the week. Because I still haven’t learn how to cook any typical Peruvian dishes, I’ve been forcing my teammates to eat good North American cooking, and have cooked things like Chili, Tacos, Baked Pastas and Pizza. So tomorrow’s menu is going to be a breaded baked chicken, ranch-style potatoes and green beans with an apple crisp for dessert. Because of our lack of refrigerator and pantry space in the kitchen we tend to buy our groceries the night before or the day that we cook. And because Sunday is one of the two biggest market days of the week, I went out to buy my groceries today. The market experience continues to fascinate me. Think about quadrupling the size of Lincoln’s Farmer’s market, and then imagine that Hy-Vee and Super Saver don’t exist and you have to go buy all of your food at the market. That’s what it’s like here. I started out at the fruit stand and bought 1 kg of apples for $1. Then I moved on and bought a half kg of green beans and 1 kg of the Peruvian yellow potato, both totaling $1.20. I bought butter and parmesan cheese at the imports store for $2, and finally went to one of the many chicken stands and purchased six chicken breasts for $4. Just to give you a little perspective on the economic difference here – a full meal with dessert for 4 people cost me $8.20 to make. Sometime I’m going to go and take pictures of the chicken stand for you all. Or better yet, I’m going to take a video of the butcher cutting the whole chicken apart and filleting the meat! It is definitely a change from getting the frozen boneless and skinless chicken breasts that I grew up on. And over all, this way of buying chicken is neither good nor bad . . . it’s just different!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I do not know the difference between a Llama and an Alpaca.

This is what I discovered during our trip to Cuzco and the famous and historical Machu Picchu. We saw a lot of llamas or alpacas or both, and frankly I could never tell the difference! Our trip was so much fun, and once again I am praising God for the simple blessing of familiar faces. My friends and Jason arrived at 1:00am last Saturday morning and three hours later we were boarding our flight to Cuzco. After catching up on some sleep, and enjoying the Indian market (who knew that alpaca hats, scarves, and mittens were in such high demand!), we made our way to the small, slightly touristy town of Ollaytaytambo, which is a mandatory stop for all that want to travel to Machu Picchu. We spent two nights there, hiking the mountains, visiting ruins, eating delicious food and taking a lot of pictures (see below!). Finally our day to see Machu Picchu arrived and we took a morning train to the base of the mountain, then took a bus to the entrance of the park. We bought our tickets and saw what turned out to be one of the most incredible views I've ever seen. I confess that I wasn't way excited to see Machu Picchu, thinking that it was a cool thing to do but that it couldn't be that cool. I was wrong. Seeing the structures that were built thousands of years ago, still standing and in good condition was surreal. Earlier we had received some advice from a 20 year old, pot-smoking tour guide that we should climb one of the mountains called Wynapicchu - which turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip. Apparently the park only allows so many people up the mountain each day, and by the time we arrived, they were refusing to let through. Fortunately for us, the guys at the gate were perfectly willing to accept a bribe, and pretty soon we found ourselves making our way up the trail! It took us an hour and a half to climb to the very top - and the view was breathtaking. We could see all of Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas. Getting back down the mountain was a little trickier, as there were plenty of opportunities to go plummeting off some cliff edge :) But we made it back down, safe and sound, and started the process of getting back to Ollaytaytambo. Our last night there was beautiful; we shared a delicious meal, and talked about the top 10 days of our lives. For many, our day at Machu Picchu was included.
Jason was able to stay one day longer than the rest of the group, so I enjoyed taking him around certain parts of Lima, giving him a tour of our apartment, and introducing him to new foods. It was so much fun to have my first visitors in Peru, and I am looking forward to more in the future!
God Bless.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friends, boyfriend, and Machu Picchu

This is my week starting tomorrow! I am so blessed to have Jason and some dear friends from home coming to Peru for a quick visit. Tomorrow night I will be meeting them at the Lima airport to take a short vacation before officially starting my ministry in Tarma. We will be flying to Cuzco to spend a few days seeing Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas, then back to Lima for just one day before they all go back home again. So this is my last little post for the week, and I^ll catch you all on the flip side!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A day of fasting and prayer

In our preparations for ministry, we as a team decided to spend a day in fasting and prayer, that day being today. It has been an incredibly neat experience to worship the Lord together as a team and to experience him in different ways. We have each led one hour of the day, sharing with the team what God has been teaching us, how we want to grow as a team etc. Fasting is not something I do often, but I have found that as a spiritual discipline, it can be a beautiful worship experience. We talked about and prayed over various themes today: love and obedience, humility and prayer, as well as suffering as Christ suffered for the sake of his church. We prayed individually and we prayed as a team, and at the end of the day we broke our fast over veggie omelets and dulce de leche filled croissants. It has been a wonderful day, and I believe that we have grown as a team and have progressed in our preparations for ministry. We are discussing the possibility of doing this on a monthly basis, as a manner to bring us back to the heart and vision of the ministry God has set apart for us here in Tarma.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our Landlords

So our landlords here in Tarma are 67 and 72. The cutest elderly couple I’ve seen here. La Señora got married to the Señor when she was 16 years-old and together they have 9 children, two of which still live in the home. This couple is super impressive to me. This morning I watched from my window as the Señora hand-washed clothes in the backyard washing sink, while the Señor climbed up a rickety old ladder to white wash the building next to the washing sink. I was tickeled to hear the Señor express concern for her “Viejo”, old man, as he scaled up to the roof. I wish I could have taken a picture without disturbing the beautiful scene, just to visibly show you why I was touched. The Señores live very simply, hand washing clothes, weeding the garden, fixing broken doors and white washing the home. They are hard workers, yet you can tell that life here hasn’t been easy. This is why they are impressive to me. They work well and joyfully because they know no different. I think a lot of us could learn from our landlords.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally "Home"

Well, I’ve finally made it. We are “home” in Tarma and are in the midst of unpacking the many boxes that somehow made it on the moving truck. Little by little we are making our new house a home. We’ve been in Tarma just about a week now, and it has been fun to learn the different parts of town. We’ve found a lot of important places, and are getting to know a lot of the shop owners as we discover where to buy meat, produce, furniture, and household goods. So far we’ve unpacked the kitchen (one of the more important rooms of the house), and have been responsible for our own rooms. We still haven’t touched the living room, and it sounds like that will be our project for tomorrow. I’m making my room my own, and have built a chest of drawers and put up my desk and a few shelves. When we came a month ago to look at the house, the owners let us pick out the paint that we would like in our rooms. I had chosen a nice cream for two walls and a rosy red for the other two – but when we arrived, I discovered that my red somehow became Barbie pink! So I’ve digressed to my six-year old self and am settling into my bright pink bedroom  Oh well. Overall I really like our apartment. The only downer is that the floors get really cold in the mornings and at night, but really that’s not so bad. We got the internet hooked up yesterday, so I’m just now getting this update out to all of you.

Thank you all who prayed so faithfully for us doing the moving process and all the preparations we had to take care of before leaving town. I have been blessed by your prayers, and I’m certain God has given me extra strength because of them. So for now, we continue to establish ourselves in Tarma. Each week we plan on visiting a different church to establish a good relationship with them, and to make it clear that our purpose here in Tarma is not to rob their sheep  but, we won’t be starting any formal ministry for a few weeks yet, and are still in the midst of some planning there. My prayer is that God would allow us to be established well before running to and fro. I’m thankful for all He has done in the past three months, and that we are now on the verge of getting involved with people’s lives. For me I have been out of formal ministry for almost an entire year, so I’m anxious for God to speak through me once again.
I confess that as I anticipate ministry responsibility, I find myself a little nervous and scared. It has been a long time since I’ve discipled anyone, and frankly, I feel a little out of practice. And adding the pressure of speaking biblical truth in another language is intimidating in itself. But God is bigger than my inabilities and I am certain that He will be faithful to do what I cannot. Glory.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And here's to you Papa John's!

We are (in theory) one day away from our Move to Tarma. We have been spending the past several days packing up the apartment and making last min. preparations for our trip tomorrow. The "movers" (a bunch of random guys that we know)are coming over at 8:00am tomorrow to help us load the boxes and furniture onto the truck, and then us girls are going to try and catch an 11:00 bus to Tarma while Julio rides in the moving truck with the driver. He are hoping to beat the truck to Tarma so that we will be there waiting when it arrives. We will take a lot of prayer tomorrow because there are a lot of things that could potentially go wrong! We are praying for smooth sailing, with little loss and damage to our stuff along the way. And hopefully my next post will be from our new apartment! But for now I am taking my lunch break, eating Papa John's pizza and wishing I had time to take a nap :)

More fun . . .

Here are a few videos from our time in Kawai for you to enjoy. The first is a team cheer, of one of the groups. The second is the welcome skit that the student leadership team put together for the campers. Half is in English and Half is in Spanish, but I'm pretty sure you'll be able to keep up!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Adventures in Church Camp

Welcome to Kawai, the Peruvian version of church camp, located on the ocean 88 km outside of Lima. 15 Gringos from Kansas, One Nebraskan and 62 Peruvian high school and middle schoolers made up our wild group. We spent four days at the camp running games and activities, team competitions, skits and music, devo's and chapel messages. It was cold and misty the entire time, but overall I would say that the camp was a success. The Wichita team, myself, Pastor Cesar and about 10 of the Peruvian student leaders went out to the camp a day early to prepare and pray over the camp. For me, this was a cool experience because a large part of my overall ministry here in Peru is to work alongside Peruvians and develop them as leaders. During our four days I was blessed to watch the Wichita students working alongside the Peruvian student leaders developing games, scavenger hunts, worship and skits. I watched them work together as one leadership team, encouraging each other and learning from each other as we led this camp for the youth of the ADIEL. For many, this was the first time they had ever been to camp, and it was a blessing to watch the kids throughout the week.
One bittersweet story of the camp:
There are about 4 women that make up the kitchen staff at the camp who prepare all of the meals for the campers. One of them has a 9 year-old son named Anderson and the both of them actually live on the campground. Our first couple days Anderson would just follow us from place to place watching the activities but not joining in. He was rather shy but as we kept talking to him, inviting him to play the games and activities he started to show his excitement. After the second day we officially added him to one of the teams, and he helped win the team points each day. I had visited the camp one other time about a month ago and had noticed Anderson walking around the camp all by himself and assumed that since his mom works, and he doesn't have brothers or sisters, that he is left to play by himself all day every day. I got the impression that this may have been one of the first times that campers had actually included Anderson in the daily activity, and for him it may have been one of the few times that he was able to play with other people. On the last day we all said our goodbye's, each one giving Anderson a special hug - but as we drove away we watched Anderson begin to cry, his face in his hands heartbroken that he was left alone once again on the vast campground. For those of you that know my relationship with Jose in Mexico, this was just one more example of the power of Christ's love and the effect it can have on a person. It was also an example of the unfortunate circumstances that accompany short-term missions.
But overall the camp was wonderful, and I was so blessed to have been involved. My Spanish grew leaps and bounds during our four days, as I was responsible for a lot of translating between team members and staff. I even had to get up front and translate for the main speaker a few times. While it was encouraging to conquer my fears of making mistakes, I was humbled in recognizing how much I still have left to learn before I will be ready to do formal translating. But little by little I'm progressing, and by this I am encouraged.