Monday, November 30, 2009


"The Sacrifice is great for a heart which tenderly loves his parents, family, religious brothers and the land where he was born. But the voice which invites us, which has called us to make the offering of everything we have, is the voice of God Himself. It is our Divine Savior who says to us as to his first apostles; "Go, teach all nations, instructing them to observe my commandments . . .".

-St. Damien of Molokai

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trains, planes and automobiles

In about two hours I will be hopping on a bus bound for Lima. It is a beautiful day in Tarma, and I hope, a perfect day to make the 6.5 hour bus ride. Tonight I will be spending time with my third roommate Raquel, that Meredith, Elsa and I left in Lima when we moved here to Tarma. She is a high school counselor and family therapist in Lima and has just finished writing her dissertation to receive the Peruvian equivalent to a Doctorate. It has been a few months since I’ve seen Raquel, so I am really looking forward to spending a few days with her.
Tomorrow will come with a long to-do list which includes: buying new children’s ministry material for Elsa (all of hers was lost in our house fire in Lima, and thanks to a few donations, we are going to replace what she had and then some!). I will also be looking for material myself that will help with my English classes and spending time with young women. Beyond that – it is grocery shopping, cleaning, and awaiting the arrival of . . . Jason! Excitement upon Excitement, Jason will be arriving at midnight Saturday to spend a week with me in Peru. This will be the third time I will have seen him this year, so of course I am completely thankful for the time off, and the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with a familiar face. Our plans are to spend a few days in Lima, travel to Tarma, then we will spend the remainder of our time back in Lima. So, if you don’t hear anything from me in about a week or so - - this is why ;)
I hope you all have a most blessed Thanksgiving, safe travels, and that you all enjoy the pumpkin pie!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A second go-around

This past Tuesday we had our second go-around at the neighborhood Bible study we are trying to get off of the ground. It was definitely encouraging as we had a total of 4 women and 4 children present, and they participated well. We have discovered that many Peruvians don’t feel comfortable sharing and participating in large groups, so we are trying to keep the groups rather small. It was a beautiful combination to have the adults and children together, taking turns talking about the aspects of Christmas that mean the most to us and lighting the Hope candle of Advent. The Advent tradition is something most people here have heard of, but have never practiced. It is something unique that we are able to use to capture their attention, and it is also a visual representation of the Christmas story. We have also discovered that most of the people here are visual learners and do better with analogies, and physical aids. We are adapting, and hope that at the end of 5 weeks, we will have a decent understanding of how to meet people’s needs with these Bible studies, how to lead them in a way that the people will benefit from. We still have lots to learn, but we are on our way!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advent Wreaths and Baby Showers

November has been a fairly busy month for us as a team. We’ve started our Christmas Bible studies that are focusing on Advent and the meaning of Christmas, and are advancing week by week through the candles of advent. This has been a rewarding yet tricky process as many hosting families cancel the day of their study due to circumstances. But we are gaining ground with a few of our groups and are encouraged with the interest shown by the members. I’ve said before that we are treating this six-week study as a sort of “trial run” and we are already trying to do a little problem solving with aspects that haven’t worked out well. Tonight will be the second week for our neighborhood bible study and we are hoping for a few more people to come this week.
In addition to our studies we’ve been given the opportunity to love and care for one of the girls that works in Chichos. She is pregnant and alone in Tarma, and after having a few complications with the pregnancy, we’ve been able to care for her in a way that her own family has not done. We are praying with her and for her, encouraging her to draw closer to God and His plan for her and her baby girl. Due to the complications, Elizabet is supposed to be on bed-rest, but her circumstances are making that difficult. We are praying that God would keep the baby in the womb until she reaches full term and that the delivery processes goes well. One of the things we were able to do was host a baby shower for Elizabet. Last night Chicho and his wife along with about 15 of the girls who work there came to our apartment for the shower. Meredith led a short devotional, and I had a craft planned, and we shared delicious food and watched while Elizabet was blessed with wonderful gifts by her friends and employer. Please be praying for Elizabet with us as we continue to show God’s love to her and draw her closer to Him.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our First Visitors!

This past week my team and I were blessed to have some visitor from the mission come to visit us and see our ministry here in Tarma. This team consisted of five men who were a mix of experienced missionaries and international leaders with ReachGlobal, and their short stay in Tarma was both an encouragement and a blessing. This was the first time we've have visitors, and what joy we experienced in sharing the vision of our ministry with them. We were able to spend a day taking them around Tarma, and introducing them to many of our contacts, including a sit-down meeting with the mayor! We had team sessions with the group and learned a lot about working and living as a team.
This was a particularly encouraging week for me as I was given a lot of wisdom and truth that explained some of the difficulties I have been having here. Who knew that Culture Shock could hit six months in? I sure didn’t, so the counsel given to me by these men was need and appreciated. The visit of this team was well timed, and I’m thankful that God continues to be faithful to meet our needs here in Tarma.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Surprising Pumpkins

I had decided a couple of weeks ago to do a pumpkin carving activity with my English classes in order to teach them some fun new vocabulary and learn a bit more of tradition and culture of the US. So I went in search of Zapallo, a big greenish looking pumpkin, and in process I stumbled upon white pumpkins! I was overjoyed and bought three - one for each class. I prepared a teaching lesson on carving the pumpkins and taught the first class last night.
Now, I really should have learned by now that even though some things appear to be the same here as they are at home, they usually turn out to be completely different. I should have expected the same with my white pumpkins. After teaching my basic lesson, my students and I got to it - and after a struggle to get the top off, I was amazed to find that these pumpkins were not hollow inside. No indeed, they were full to the top with pulp and pumpkin meat (which is also why they were so dang heavy!). I immediately began to worry because my classes are only an hour long, and I didn't know if we would have time to scoop out all of the insides and carve the face. But with determination, my 11 year old student Joe made a nice hollow column inside the pumpkin, and we got to work drawing and carving the face. In the end, the lesson was fun, a little messy, and a unique experience for my students.
I also decided that in order to save time, I would go ahead and cut the tops of the other two pumpkins and take out the insides at home, leaving just the carving to be done in class. This will help with the time and mess problem. Still overall I am happy with how my first class went, and am hoping for even better results tonight and tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two steps forward, One step back

This past Saturday, my team and I hosted a little Halloween party of sorts for the neighborhood kids, taking the focus off of Halloween and putting it on God. We hosted a Noah’s Ark themed event for all of the children of our neighbors. We have often played with the kids in the street, but in an attempt to gain trust and develop relationships with our neighbors, we decided to start by loving their children. All of the kids were to come dressed up as an animal and their costumes were to be homemade. We too dressed up and represented the bunnies, the cats and the roosters. Noah was also among our party! We sang, we played games and Elsa told the story of Noah and his love and faithfulness to God, and how God in turned blessed Noah. The even reminded me a lot of the VBS that I helped with in Mexico, and the kids were wonderfully excited to play and receive prizes. I pray that this will have honored God as well as allowed the neighbors to trust us a bit more. We hope to host a neighborhood Bible study in our home once a week and are currently trying to establish a day to do it.
Although our event with the children was a success, we are still working through many of the difficulties of relating in another culture. Even Elsa and Julio come across problems as the culture in Lima is really different from the culture in Tarma. We still run into a lot of problems with preparing and praying over company that never shows up or classes where the students don’t show up, or mainly people not showing up in general. As we make progress in one area we still have problem-solving to do in other areas. I suspect that this is a natural part of cross-cultural ministry, and we are waiting on God to open our eyes to what we should be doing differently.