Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coming home tomorrow

Sorry guys, can't write anything new. I'm just too excited! Texas, here I come!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adventures in short-term teams . . . pt. 1

Adventures in short-term teams . . . pt. 2

So now that I’m back in Lima I would love to update you all on the ministry and adventures of the past four days with the TBarM Team. During their time in Tarma we entered into 4 different high schools doing sports camps and evangelism. Each day was a little different, but all were filled with games, laughter, and bonding between the TBarM kids and the Peruvian high schoolers. Each day a few of the TBarM kids would share their testimonies and the gospel was presented via Wordless Book Bracelets. We invited every school to come to a final event in one of the local reception halls for Thursday night. At this event we played a few more games (mind you these are camp games and hilarious to watch Peruvians play for the first time), shared a few more testimonies, presented a few skits and once again the gospel was given. We handed out response cards and at the end of the night have about 50 people accept the Lord and another 25 or so reconcile with God. We were thrilled to see so many kids approach us with questions after the event and there were conversations going on until late in the evening. One of the kids (I call them kids even though they are all college age) named Danny (a 26 year old Construction Engineer in Oregon) shared his testimony and blew us all away with how God has changed his life. He became a Christian 6 months ago and is already doing ministry overseas! There have been a lot of doors opened this week, and we as a team will be following up at each of the schools over the next couple of weeks.
Yesterday I helped escort the team back to Lima where they had plans to check out the artisan market and the beach and then eat dinner at Gabriel’s house (one of the Peruvian interpreters). But due to the amount of sick kids, Drew (the team leader) and I loaded up the four sickest kids and took them to the emergency room. This was my first experience at the hospital here in Peru, but I was very surprised at how well they were attended to. We arrived at the hospital at 5:00pm and they all had to leave for the airport at 9:30, so the nurses and doctors got right on those kids drawing blood and giving them IV’s. Two of the four just ended up being severely dehydrated and after a few hours of saline and anti-nausea drips they were feeling back to normal. The other two were a little worse off and were still feeling a bit unstable when we had to leave the hospital to get them all to the airport on-time. But we arrived at the airport and everyone got checked in okay, and we began to say our goodbyes.
This was such a wonderful and encouraging week for me, and the TBarM was great as our first team in Tarma. One of the areas that I have been struggling through since being in Peru is my introverted-ness and lack of social desire. Part of that is due to the fact that I don’t have any friends in Tarma outside of my team, and my teammates are all significantly older than me. But having 23 kids my age that spoke my language and were part of my culture was the break I needed from the daily grind of life in Tarma. And life in Tarma is not bad, it was just so wonderful to realize that part of my extreme introverted-ness here in Peru is more due to my circumstances than me have changed so significantly. God really blessed me with this group of young people, and I am so grateful that they were able to minister to me in this way. I met some of the coolest kids, and of course was delighted to meet a few sorority sisters in the bunch! So in the end, God continues to be way bigger than my circumstances and he continues to give me exactly what I need exactly when I need it. And I am once again amazed by his greatness and his love for me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We're on our way

This will be a short post, but the week with the team here in Tarma was absolutely wonderful. As a rough estimate it looks like we’ve easily reached out to about 1,000 high schoolers this week, so we are praying that the seeds we planted will soon begin to take root in the lives of these kids. But yesterday marked the last day of ministry and today we will be making the bus trip back to Lima. I will be accompanying the team to make sure they get to the airport okay, and because I’ll be going back to Lima anyway to make my own trip home! Please be praying for the trip today, it’s about a 6.5-hour bus ride through the mountains and about 8 kids on the team are sick with stomach problems. We are hoping to make it back to Lima without any vomiting or bathroom emergencies. I’ll post more once we’re back in Lima!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Go Team Go!

Well, we’ve gotten off to a great start with the Team from TBarM! What a great group of students! We are having so much fun with them here, and I am really enjoying having kids my age around. I even found out that four of the girls are Chi Omegas at Texas A&M!!! Awesome. Anyway, so far we’ve had some team orientation with the kids and today we went around visiting the schools we will be doing the sports camps at to advertise to the kids. We went to all four schools today so we are prepared for the week. Lunch was the ceviche, which was a first for most of the kids. It was fun to see the look on their faces when we handed them each plates of the raw fish cooked in lemon juice! We spend the afternoon in a province of Tarma about 40min outside the city doing a little camp with a bunch of kids who live up in the mountains. The trip took us up about 1,000 feet higher than Tarma, and on the way home our van sang everything from Beyonce to Spice Girls, to Disney to classic country. It really brought me back to my own short-term team days! Below I’m posting a couple of pictures and videos. I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted any videos, but I want to try to get a little better about it. One is of the TBarM kids playing Red Light, Green Light with the Peruvian kids, one is of a bunch of kids getting the biggest kick out of bubbles, and the other is of the kids trying ceviche for the first time. Enjoy! (Below are the links to the videos)




Saturday, March 13, 2010

Preparing for the Team

Our first short-term team will be arriving tomorrow at 3:00pm if all goes according to plan. We will be hosting 25 college students coming to serve through Texas’ TBarM camps. The team will be focusing on sports ministry within various high schools in Tarma. The four days that they will be doing ministry here will be a whirlwind, but we are excited to have them. The kids are coming down over their spring break, which is part of the reason that their time will be limited. Meredith, Elsa and I talked with the team last night as they were getting ready to begin their travels, and it sounds like things are already going wrong, with canceled flights and an added 15-hour van ride to Atlanta in order to make their flight down to Peru. Please be praying for the TBarM team that all the kids make their flights and connections on-time, and that they will be able to arrive to Peru without further delays or problems.
Here on our end, I’m learning a lot about what goes into hosting a short-term team. And I know have way more respect for all those adult leaders who organized trips that I went on in high school and college. Meredith has taken most of the preparations upon herself, but Elsa and I have been helping too. Elsa has been in charge of organizing breakfast and dinner each day through the restaurant of one of our contacts. I also have organized a lunch and a dinner for the team at two other known restaurants in town, a chicken place and a ceviche place. I was also in charge of making that all-important emergency contact card for the kids to have with them at all times. Don’t want to lose any gringos in Tarma while the team is here! On their first night here, Meredith and I will be presenting a cultural orientation to the kids, to get them a little more accustomed to the cultural norms here. Then the rest of the week we will go in and out of schools doing sports ministry. Of course, our daily ministry responsibilities don’t change when a team comes, and we as the Tarma team will be responsible for continuing on with our Bible studies, and I will continue with my English classes.
All in all, I’m really excited for this first team, and to spend some time with younger kids that are now doing what I once did at their age. I’m excited for a week of getting to speak a little more English than normal, and just to have a break in the normal routine. Please be praying for the ministry this week, that God would open a lot of doors in the various schools and the lives of the kids we will be spending time with.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bethany the "Tool-Girl" Kerr

So one of my goals since I’ve been back in Tarma (since Christmas), was to buy a small white board to hang in my room to help me with Spanish study. The idea was to put 10 new vocab. words on the board every week to keep me learning. It took me awhile to find a white board, and then once I found one it sat on the floor of my room for more than a week, just waiting to get hung. This morning I finally decided to buckle down and hang the darn thing, because if I didn’t do it now I probably never would. The problem with hanging things on walls here in Tarma is that it is not the simple process like it is in the States to just hammer a nail or tack into the wall. Since everything here is built out of cement, there is no way to hang anything without getting out the power drill. So here comes Bethany the “tool-girl” Kerr, whipping out a power drill, slapping on those safety goggles and drilling away. I was so pleased that the spot that I wanted to hang the white board didn’t have any beams or things in the way, and I was able to drill the hole; hammer in the wood post followed by the hanging nail and . . . tadaaaah! I hung that white board in less than 10 min! My dad would be so proud of me!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to School!

Today I taught my first English class at Stephen Hawking High School. It was the first day of classes for all of the students and they all had that typical “back-to-school” buzz going on. My class today combined three grades and in total I had 20 students. We began with the basics, but I’m ashamed to say that we didn’t get through the entire lesson. We’ll have to work double time next week to catch back up. But overall the class went well and I am excited to be teaching. I will teach another class tomorrow and then starting next week I will be teaching three classes, Tuesday-Thursday. I may as well teach an hour of English a week to all the professors. Who knows what kind of opportunities might arise to have Bible studies with the teachers? So the school year has officially started here, and life is going to get nothing but busier.