- it is REALLY boring
- it is at least 2 painful hours long
- the train-of-thought in the sermon usually cannot be followed, by us or the Peruvians
- if you can follow the sermon, the doctrine / theology is "off" and sometimes not even Biblical
- the music is less-than-pleasant and it seems that no one knows the words (there are no hymnals or bulletins in most churches)
- we are almost always asked to stand up and speak about ourselves since we are gringos
- we are almost always recruited to be the new pastors / teachers /volunteers etc. or are asked to support something financially because "gringos have money"
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
- The Kuyay Talpuy school is finally open. We opened on August 10th in San Juan de Iscos. For info on the school and to see photos, go to www.kuyayperu.org
- Today, Billy is in Iscos helping the little school move into it's permanent home. Yes, we spent three weeks in a temporary classroom awaiting the repairs and final construction of our "real" classroom.
- We went to Lima to pick up our new missionary team members at the airport. The McEuen family arrived here after spending a year in Costa Rica in language school. We are SOOOO happy that they have finally arrived!!!
- We began our homeschool curriculum with Sarah and have now completed 6 weeks. We are having a lot of fun with it and she is learning so much and so quickly!
- Billy has been working long-distance with Ron Phillips to get the kinks out of our medical database in the computer. The system is really awesome! When patients come to receive medical/dental/optical care, they put their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the computer finds them, enters their data, and they are tracked through the system of services. After the first medical campaign in July, we have beefed up the computer memory and worked on refining the system. As of today, we are ready to test-drive it again on the next medical campaign - beginning Saturday!
- Laurie has been studying and taking an online course through the Institute for International Medicine (INMED) to help further prepare for the medical missions. Medicine and Health practices are VERY different in other cultures and it is crucial to understand the culture and the language and the underlying ideas when dealing with medical issues in another country/culture.
- We have been preparing for the next two medical campaigns. One begins this weekend in Puerto Bermudez (jungle). The next will be in mid-September to Iscosazin (jungle). These will be very different from the last medical mission to the mountains in that they are in the jungle (different diseases, illnesses, climate, etc.) and that they are in completely different cultural groups (jungle cultures are NOT like mountain cultures).
Friday, July 31, 2009
This week has been a practice in patience and a lesson in trust. We have been working to enroll children in the new Kuyay Talpuy education center that will open on August 10th. The purpose of the Kuyay Talpuy school is to make education available to children who do not have the economic resources to attend school in Peru, to get them off the streets and out of the fields, and to witness to their families by loving their children. There are LOTS of these children out there (over 25% of children in Peru are in this situation - the percentage is higher in our area). In trying to meet the families and find these children, we have been met with distrust and fears that we didn't expect:
- People who don't trust us to feed their children lunch each day because we might put chemicals in their food and poison them.
- People who are afraid that we are part of a child smuggling scheme and we are just trying to steal their children and send them to other countries.
- People who are afraid that we are just trying to gain entrance into their lives so we can steal their livestock.
- People who are illiterate themselves, and so are very afraid of the forms that they are signing.
- People who are afraid that we are from the government and are trying to find out what they might be doing wrong.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
- Ranch dressing... there's no such animal here. One day I found a bottle of liquidy stuff that was labeled as ranch dressing, but wasn't even close to what my mouth had in mind. THANK YOU JESUS for allowing someone to come up with the idea of Ranch dressing in packets/envelopes! I bought some dry mix while we were in the States in June and it is so wonderful to have real ranch dressing for dipping my veggies now!!!
- Kool-Aid... again, no such thing here. I, myself, am not such a giant fan of Kool-Aid, but Sarah and Billy are. And I have to admit, there is just something about drinking a glass of Tropical Punch or Cherry Kool-Aid that really feels very American and homey.
- Any drink mixes... I know, Kool-Aid is a drink mix so this is a little redundant. But a recent short-term mission team left us with two containers of powdered Gatorade and I will be eternally grateful. They also gifted me with several left-over mixes of those little single-serving mixes you dump in a water bottle... don't know what they are technically called, since they arrived on the scene post-Drums-in-Texas a couple of years ago. Yummy!!! I really love the Lipton Green Tea on the Go!!! And the lemonade flavor really made me realize how much I miss Country Time lemonade (not as good a fresh lemonade from our own lemon trees in Costa Rica, but really yummy still.)
- Tacos... we have found one place that has something they call tacos, but they aren't, really. And that restaurant is 10 hours from Huancayo, so we won't be making it a habit to eat there. We did bring back a few taco seasoning packets, which is better than nothing.
- Blue Bell... enough said!
- I really wish I could figure out how to make something similar to a Cherry Limeade or a Cherry Lime Slush or a Lemon Berry Slush from Sonic... que rico!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
- We returned from the medical campaign in Panao and we were BEAT! Seeing 1600+ patients in four days is exhausting, not to mention the fact that we were also translating and helping to lead the team. Took a day to do nothing but sleep (which Billy took very literally and DID sleep for the better part of 10 daylight hours), then a day to travel back to Huancayo and get ready for the week.
- Went back to teaching on Tuesday to a fiasco. Not only had my classes not been covered, nor had my plans been taught or carried out for the past 10 days, but the entire country of Peru decided to close school because of the possibility of swine flu! It isn't a choice whether to close or not - it is a mandate from the government, punishable by heavy fines and penalty of revoking your license - teaching certificate for 6 months. So my school closed down until August 3rd (two and a half weeks). Since I was already planning to finish my teaching commitment on July 24th, my career came to a quicker end than anticipated.
- On Tuesday night, we got the "go ahead" to move into the house down the street. We had been excitedly waiting for this to happen, and the McEuen family is going to take our old house when they arrive in August. So, we began the process of moving our stuff down the street. Two of our bible study teens showed up to help, then Maria and her kids showed up to help, then our new neighbors jumped in and helped... it was really cool! On Wednesday morning, we finished the process with the help of Maria's kids, Karina from Cochas, and Liz.
- Also on Tuesday, two of our dearest bible study girls (really, more like two grown daughters of ours) found out that they would be leaving on a journey that will take them out of Peru forever. They have been hoping for this for over a year (and we had been hoping it wouldn't ever occur). Can't go into details, but we were devastated by the news and we pray for them and fear for their safety. After a long goodbye and lots of tears, they were gone.
- On Thursday, Billy and Darwin and Milagros spent from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. waiting to get a contract signed by the mayor of Iscos, who wasn't even there for the meeting, then didn't show up to work all day. Also, the lady who scheduled the meeting to meet with parents and sign children up for the new education center decided not to show up and sent word that she would be available to meet again on August 5th. Billy was LESS than happy...
- We love the new house! We don't love the hassle of moving fixtures (water filters, pumps, etc.) or of moving services (phone, cable, internet, etc.). None of this happens easily or quickly here. The plumber has been with us for two days so far, and he isn't finished yet. As he left today, he said, "I thought I had it fixed (the pressure pump), but when I turned it on, it blew up. I'll see you Monday." And that was it...
- Billy is finally on the mend from his bout with who-knows-what last week and part of this week. The fever only lasted two days, but the cough and congestion has been horrendous for the entire time and he has been super tired. After we changed his meds at the beginning of the week, he started to improve. Today, he seems almost back to normal (which never was "normal", but...).
Thursday, July 2, 2009
We are off on a new adventure. We are headed to Panao, Peru to receive a medical mission team from the States and to translate for them as they strive to meet the needs of the people here. This is new and challenging on several levels for us:
- We will be translating for the doctors and the patients, so we will be working our brains in both directions - English and Spanish, and also in more detailed terms (medical Spanish).
- We will be working in an area that we are unfamiliar with. Billy has been in Panao for a day or two to help set up the pre-mission stuff, but other than that, we don't know the people or the area or the culture there.
- We will be piloting the new database system that Ron Phillips wrote especially for this purpose... we will be logging every patient using a fingerprint scanner and typed data. In this way, we can track patients and better monitor the medications that they receive and the doctors that they see. In the past, there has been an issue with people mysteriously changing identities ;) and getting back in the patient line, only to receive opposing medications, etc. Not good. Hopefully, the new system will work like clockwork and all with be wonderful!
- This area is relatively new to "gringos" - like the first gringos in the area were within the last 20 years. So we are still strange creatures to this people group. Also, we will be facing the legend of the pishtaco... an Andean legend about gringos/light-skinned people who come to steal organs or suck the fat out of children to use in American factories as machine oil. I know it sounds ridiculous to us, but it is a very vivid story/belief in many minds here and we are hoping that it doesn't pose a problem for us. :) When Billy was setting up the pre-field mission stuff, lots of people hid around corners and children yelled "pishtaco, pishtaco!" and ran away.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Well, we finally did it... we ate cuy. Cuy is a traditional dish in Peru. A cuy is a guinea pig.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
- Laurie had pneumonia and was down for about a week. What at first seemed like body soreness from several hikes in one week, turned into a 103+ fever and a trip to the emergency room for tests and xrays. No wonder she couldn't breathe! Who knew?
- We went back to the States for Miles' high school graduation. It was great to get to be there for this momentous occasion!
- We spent a whirlwind week visiting family and friends in Texas. It was wonderful to see everyone (or at least everyone that you can possibly fit into a few days of visiting). We enjoyed WAY too much food while we were home and really need to go back on our Peruvian diet and exercise plan to lose the weight we gained in Texas!!!
- We took the kids on a quick trip to Disney. It was a graduation celebration / we're all together as a family celebration / vacation, etc. It was fun to get to be with all of our children at one time without the distractions and competition of other things. Just the family and Mickey.
- We parted ways with our boys once again. They boarded a plane for College Station and we boarded a plane for Peru. They are both staying in College Station right now - Miles is preparing for college (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) and enjoying his last weeks with his friends before everyone leaves, and Ryan is taking a couple of weeks to visiting with Granny and his friends back home before starting the second summer term back at Texas A&M Kingsville.
- We came home to Peru and met up with friends/fellow missionaries Midge and Betty Mitchell. They are staying with us in our home for most of this month. They have spent their days here helping us in our ministries, watching what we do on a daily basis, and doing some ministry of their own... they are teaching art classes at the orphanage each day. We have had a great time so far and we are so grateful to have people in the house who #1 are Texans and understand our needs (TACOS), #2 are fellow missionaries and understand what we do and why we do it, #3 we don't have to speak our second language to talk to them, #4 want to help and do everything that we do, and #5 are eager to learn about the Peruvian culture and try different foods, customs, and see different places.
- We have made LOTS of progress on the education center in Iscos (for street children). We have hired a director and a teacher. We have met with the mayor again and the city officials and everything is going great with the municipality. We have seen our new building/classrooms and are making progress on what needs to be done before we open, etc. And we have 13 sponsors for the children... we lack 17 more.
- We have a team in Huancayo right now from Asbury, Kentucky. They are here working on a construction project and doing children's ministry (Kid's Club). We are helping to lead the team, as well as acting as translators.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
We are continuing to work toward opening our street kids educational ministry. Billy had a great day Tuesday, meeting with different people in several areas outside of town. He finally landed in the town of Isco... a tiny town in the shadow of the Huaytapallana glacier range. After visiting with the mayor and the officials in the municipal building, he was introduced to the director of the food program in the area (think WIC and food stamps, but in Peru). The director was very excited about the possibilities and is helping us with many things, including getting firm numbers for us on the amount it will cost to reintegrate the street children into the school system, how many children are not in school in the area, and helping to find us a donated space-building to use to start the center. We meet with them again tomorrow (Friday).
- financial support through sponsorships from USA supporters - supporters who will commit to paying the school tuition and the cost of school supplies for the school year.
- academic support through the tutoring center - Peruvian teachers/tutors (and us) will meet with the kids every day at the tutoring center to help with homework, study, reinforce academic concepts, and fill in the academic gaps.
- ministry to the children as well as to their families in the form of sharing the gospel, bible study opportunities, discipleship opportunities, oral bible storytelling, etc.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Celebrate with us!!! We just returned from Opening Day of our new Kid's Club at the orphanage! This day has been a couple of months in the planning... when we took a team of college kids from the Wesley Foundation to visit the local orphanage, we were asked if there was any way we could help teach the kids more about the Bible and Christ. That was back in March. In talking about the possibility of a Kid's Club at the orphanage, we had some young ladies jump on the opportunity to work with the kids and lead this ministry -- Hallelujah!!! This is exactly what we want - Peruvians leading ministries to their own people. We are here to support and encourage and help, but it is so much better when local people take responsibility and ownership for their brothers and sisters in Christ!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
We laugh A LOT about the names of things / products here, because they FOR SURE wouldn´t go over in the USA.
- chocolate candy named "Crack"... do you think we will get stopped in customs if we bring home a suitcase full of "Crack" in May?
- Bimbos... not only the name of bread, but also a hamburger joint. I´m thinking that they might be a great sponsor for a drill team or a halftime show. Can´t you imagine the shirts with the sponsor´s name plastered across the chest?
- And don´t forget the Bimbo snack product "Kranky" yogurt bites. I always think of yogurt as a peaceful product, not a cranky fit-throwing snack.
- Apocalypse... a bus company. Not sure that I want to ride the mountain passes and pray that I survive the narrow roads, landslides, and giant falling boulders while riding in a bus called The Apocalypse!
- Lay´s potato chips... when pronounced in Spanish, it is "lice". Anyone for a big bag of lice for a snack?
- Horniman tea... enough said. It is the leading brand of tea bags here.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
- By Laurie Okay - so I'm a list person. I get it from my mother. She is a list person to the nth degree!!! She even writes things like "get up" on her list, just so she can cross them off. I'm not that bad. Most of the time, my list is in my head - I just don't have too much on it these days and I can keep up with it in my head. But sometimes, I get overwhelmed or too busy or too stressed and I have to write it down.
- visit the Galapagos Islands
- sail on a tall ship
- write a book
- go to high tea
- visit Africa / safari
- ride horses on the beach
- a deep desire to be in medicine / health care
- backpack in the Andes
- visit the lost civilizations
- ride in a horse-drawn carriage
- take a horse-drawn sleigh ride at night in the snow
- learn Spanish and become FLUENT
- live in the Amazon jungle
- go to the Kentucky Derby in a big hat and fancy dress
- be a published photographer
- see a horse give birth to her foal
- work for National Geographic
- eat in a cafe in the Mediterranean / France / Italy
- see the paintings of the Old Masters (Renoir, Monet, etc.)
- visit the great cathedrals of the world
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- On Palm Sunday, we were approached by many vendors who were trying to sell us palms. Not a big issue - it's Palm Sunday. However, the palms were woven into the shape of ears of corn??? The weaving was AMAZING, but why ears of corn? They were also selling bundles/sheaves of wheat. Hmmm... Upon asking about it, it seems that it has something to do with sacrificing harvest items/blessing the harvest, and fertility.
- Beginning on Palm Sunday and lasting all week, there are tables and tents of vendors selling bread shaped in the form of a baby. In fact, it is called "baby bread" in Quechua. I also asked about this and was told again that it has something to do with fertility. I'm not quite sure what Christ's Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Resurrection have to do with fertility.
- Not being able to give up on the baby bread thing, today I asked one of the vendors, "Why is the bread in the shape of a baby?" Okay, now hold on to your pants because this one is going to blow you over... her response, in her exact words, was "It's a tradition for Holy Week to honor, you know, Mr. What's-His-Name, for Holy Week." WHAT?!! MR. WHAT'S-HIS-NAME?! Oh, you mean JESUS?!!!!! I promise, no lie, that was exactly what she said. And her booth was set up directly beside the church! Ask Billy, he was there!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Well, I usually have nothing to say that is blog-worthy, but I wanted to share my adventure from this weekend with you. It all started when we were going to take the
We started our journey at 6am on paved road but even before we left Huancayo we were on a rock and dirt road leading out of the city, eating egg and bacon sandwiches that were prepared for us by Liz and Edith. It became increasingly narrower and rougher, leading us higher into the mountains.
The scenery was incredible! Small villages, rivers, water falls, canyons, tunnels, llamas and alpacas grazing in the fields and, eventually, the snow capped pass at the top of the mountains. We stopped along the way for breaks and photo ops, as well as taking a break at the top of the
After this, we had our first encounter with the very narrow roads. Three trucks were in competition for who would get to pass first. Finally, one of them conceded and we were able to continue our journey. After 10 hours on this twisting turning road with many blind curves, we ended up in Cañete in the desert on the pacific coast. Our van drivers informed us that we would have to take other transportation from here to
Before leaving for the airport, Genaro and I had checked road conditions and it appeared that they may be clear, but upon arriving at the airport we found out that there were a total of 6 rockslides blocking the road now for a total of over 20 kilometers being impassable. After dropping our team off, we canceled our bus tickets and went searching for alternative transportation. In one of the most dangerous parts of
Eventually we hit our first low water crossing and our driver, being unaccustomed to off-road driving in a Corolla, got stuck. We tried to help and direct him but we were informed that he knew what he was doing, it was his car, and we should keep our opinions to ourselves. He kind of reminded me of a Peruvian Archie Bunker. We had many of these crossings to make and in fact one of them was under a pretty incredible water fall. We did eventually meet up with the driver’s friend who actually had made the trip before. But “Archie” knew best and decided to pass his buddy, since he was going too slow for his liking, and he continued to ask directions of people who were walking along the road carrying sticks on their backs, or riding their donkey’s, or other daily tasks. The road we were on was both rougher and narrower than the one we had been on the day before. It reminded me of the ranch roads I have been on in the Big Bend area of
We eventually reached a point where there were many vehicles stopped in the road. There was a large rock slide blocking our path. We were on the side of a cliff that dropped down over 200 feet to a roaring river below, and there was no way to turn around. It was already noon and to try and go back would have been really rough. So all the men (or almost all - it is typical for some men to just watch and not participate) and some of the women from the stopped busses and cars began the task of removing the rocks and dirt from our path. “Archie” was not quite satisfied with these men just watching so he occasionally yelled for them to come and help out. Rocks the size of bathtubs were dug around, shoved and rolled down the cliff, much to the delight of us men who watched them crash into the river, laughing and cheering like little boys. Of course there were too many bosses and not enough workers, so some tasks took longer than they should. One man, thinking that I could not understand Spanish, just pointed at me and made hand motions to tell me what he thought I should be doing. I just took it in stride and kept moving dirt and rocks.
After moving many of these rocks out of the way, the task of moving the largest rock was at hand. This rock was about 8 feet in length, 5-6 feet wide and about 3-4 feet deep. Needless to say, it was very large. A portion of it lay under the cliff from which it had fallen and there were other rocks hanging precariously above a portion the work area. We had partially lifted the rock using pry bars, picks, shovels, other rocks and hydraulic jacks when a guy appears with 3-4 sticks of dynamite. Apparently it is common to carry around a few sticks with you “just in case”. Well the group voted him down and we kept working to move the boulder. After a while, we successfully flipped it over once, but it still blocked passage. It was decided to go ahead use the dynamite to break the rock apart. I am not accustomed to this, so I moved faaarrrrr away and watched from a distance. A handful of men prepared the dynamite. A few minutes later, some of them came running up the road asking “Does anyone have any matches?” I couldn’t help but laugh… you carry dynamite in your car, but no matches??? Eventually they found some and ignited the fuse. It was pretty unspectacular. There was a rather large boom, the rock moved up and then back down and there was grey smoke. When we got back to the rock, it looked the same except that it was now in 4 large pieces - much easier to handle. In no time the road was cleared and we continued on our route with only and hour and a half delay.
Again, we went to the top of the world and back down only to climb again to about 16,000 feet in Ticlio on the main highway. We had spent 9 hours on the back road. By this time we were very hungry, since our last meal was in the airport (3 donuts) at 4:00 am. We stopped in the next restaurant. We asked the waitress what there was to eat for dinner. Her list started with sheep head and feet soup followed by mariposa soup. To this we asked what is mariposa soup? She said it is a surprise! Well, after hearing that she actually listed head and foot soup, we were not going for the surprise! Genaro asked her if she possibly had lomo saltado (a mixture of beef, potatoes, onions and peppers) to which she said yes, so we ordered that.
After all of that we ended up in Huancayo at 9pm, 13 hours later. Such is the adventurous life of a missionary.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
We have been hosting a new disciple group for a few weeks now. They meet on Saturday nights. The members of this group were already friends from a local English language school (2o-somethings) and their disciple leader is their teacher at the language school. I have to say, they have quite the group going on... they meet for 3+ hours each Saturday night (you would think that 20-somethings would not choose to meet for a bible study for 3+ hours every Saturday?!) and they do more laughing than any group we have encountered in Peru!!! Several times, Billy and I have listened in to see what on earth they could be laughing about... but it actually seems that they are really talking about the Bible and their disciple lesson, they are just having a bang-up time doing it!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
- For starters, let me just assure people that if strange things show up on the right hand side of this blogsite (in the videos/slideshows/photos bar) WE DIDN'T PUT THEM THERE! If it isn't a video of us and our ministry, it isn't from us. I don't know what is going crazy over there on the far right, but this morning 4 videos of VW commercials appeared??? Every once in awhile, a random video from YouTube appears. Who knows???
- Quote of the month (maybe of the YEAR) from Alejandra, one of the ladies in the discipleship program and a leader in discipleship groups in Huancayo -- "It is easier to work with demon-possessed non-believers than it is to work with church people!" More on this in the newsletter this month...
- We had a 2 hour conversation with Liz yesterday about the concept of friendship here in Peru. She has family in the USA, so she has seen and heard about the USA friendship model and she was telling us about the differences between "there" and "here". So it seems that there AREN'T friendships here... at least not like we know them. Our USA model of friendship doesn't exist here. Basically, the conversation started out with us saying that we are missing our friends from home and the types of things we used to do together... cookout on the weekends, hang out at each other's homes, play cards or board games, etc. After a little of our pining away for friends, she explained that we needed to know that those types of friendships don't exist here - basically, we are hoping and praying for something that probably will never happen because Peruvians don't have that as a part of their culture. It's a lot deeper than that... we are writing and researching and really digging into this topic now, because it effects how they view the gospel. It was an awesome discussion, but also brought up so many underlying factors about culture. We'll let you know more as we dig deeper into this area.
- My math class is in full-swing. VERY different than the USA model of math! They are loving the way that I teach math and we are having a lot of fun together. I don't quite understand the time schedule and the logic behind how things are run, but I'm not questioning it either... just adjusting and learning a new thought process. By the way, the majority of kids in "summer school" are not there for remediation - they are there by choice because they want to stay on top of things and be ready for the next year! Wow! What a concept! Even in the little kid's classes!