Saturday, December 27, 2008

15,803 feet above sea level!!!

It was incredibly difficult, and incredibly high, and incredibly hard to breathe... but the bottom line is that IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!  We hiked to Huaytapallana - a glacier range just outside of Huancayo.  With every step, it was more and more breathtaking (no pun intended, but true).  I really couldn't believe that every time I looked up at the glacier range, it was more beautiful than 5 minutes ago.  And absolutely HUGE!  It took 12 hours, out the front door at 6 a.m. and back again at 6 p.m.  It was tough.  We are all sunburned, windburned, and chapped from the cold.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything... it was the hike of a lifetime!  

See the photos at this link...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Everyone together for Christmas

We have the whole family together for Christmas!  It's fantastic to have the house full of my own kids.  And it's like they haven't skipped a beat... they still argue about ridiculous things, the boys still gang up on the girls, and they all still stay up into the wee hours of the morning watching movies and curling up under blankets on the couch.  Sarah and I had the house pretty controlled and civilized, but then the testosterone level was raised when Ryan and Miles arrived and now everything is completely out of control... burping out loud and other body noises that are completely disgusting now mingle with the Christmas carols playing in the living room.  We are going through milk like crazy and they never seem to stop eating.  And I love it!  I'm so glad everyone is here for Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Impromptu Teaching/Preaching

In Mexico, we frequently encountered this issue... if you (the missionary) show up to a church service, you WILL be asked to preach the message for the day.  Talk about striking fear into your heart!  We were always able to plead out of this in Mexico because of our pitiful Spanish skills.  However, we cannot get out of it now.  We are fluent (whatever that means) and we are "the resident authority" on the Bible... that isn't our pride or ego saying that - the pastors admittedly tell us that they don't know enough and they need help and training and discipleship in The Word.  So far, we haven't been "surprised".  We have known ahead of time that we would be preaching and teaching, so we have been prepared and have studied the appropriate vocabulary for the lesson.  However, today was a new day...

We got up this morning and decided to go out to the Quechua church in Chilca for their Sunday School time.  We really enjoy this congregation and they have LOTS of kids.  It is a good place for Sarah to attend Sunday School and she has made lots of friends there from previous visits.  We planned to just "show up" and offer to help with the kids in whatever way we were needed.  Okay - so we were thinking that we would help serve snacks and observe the lesson and be "crowd control" with the kids.  But when we arrived, we were asked to teach the 10+ year olds.  Initial panic, then questions... "what is the theme for this week?" - "Whatever you want to do" was the answer.  "How long is the lesson time?" - "An hour and a half or two hours usually."  Again, panic... how do I pull a lesson out of the air and make it last for an hour and a half to two hours with no supplies???

So, off we went and we decided to do The Birth of Jesus.  (by the way, we are very familiar this particular age group - they can smell fear and they can eat you alive in about two seconds, so it was very important to look confident and assured)  We brainstormed a list of characters and they took turns trying to retell the story from memory.  Then we read the story from the Bible - Luke's version.  But wait - where are the 3 wise men?  Disturbing!  So we began to search for the wise men... oh, here they are in Matthew!  Then we had a discussion about the angel/angels in the story.  Exactly how many were there?  Some were ready to defend that there was only one, but others believed there were more.  So off we went again on a search through the Bible to find and count the angels... Wow - there were several!!!  Once we got all of the characters straight and we were able to prove our beliefs through The Word, we acted out the story.  Getting a Joseph volunteer was a challenge, since no one wanted to be married to Mary or be responsible for the naked plastic baby, but we finally got a volunteer and began our drama.  The actors used their Bibles and said the appropriate words at the appropriate times.  The three kings/wise men brought their gifts (two plastic toy trucks and a toy tiger).  It was awesome!

The most awesome part was that God provided all of the materials that we needed to teach this group of 25+ ten to fourteen year olds... the Bible.  And He made our Spanish sufficient to teach for two hours.  Incredible!  So, we survived this time.  Trust me, I will be prepared from now on!!!   I won't "just appear" at a church without having a backup plan, just in case we are asked to preach or teach.  You never know...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our first Thanksgiving in Peru

We have successfully had our first Thanksgiving dinner in Peru.  It was a much better attempt than we had in Costa Rica!!!  We remembered our Costa Rican "Barbie-sized oven" and were thankful this year that we have a normal sized oven.  We remembered the Costa Rica turkey that cost nearly $70, and we were thankful that we now live where turkey costs less than $25.  We remembered the pitiful attempt at cornbread last year (without cornmeal) and we were so thankful for the supporters that sent packages of cornbread mix in the mail to Peru.  We remembered the lack of orange sweet potatoes in Costa Rica (theirs are white) and we were so thankful for the fantastic sweet potato casserole that Liz and Sarah prepared this year.  I was so thankful, once again, for the time that my mother spent handwriting all of the family recipes in a special cookbook for me.  And these were just the thanks that I thought of during dinner!  There is so much more to be thankful for!
See the photos for our turkey "surprise"... when Billy was getting the turkey ready for the oven, he reached in the carcass to pull out the usual package of giblets/innards/neck.  Instead, he let out a holler when he pulled THIS out!  It really made the whole turkey experience a little too personal.  I don't much like looking into the eyes of what I'm about to shove into a 350 degree oven.