Our family is in Peru for two years to serve with Extreme Nazarene. We are living in the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado supporting our team of 8 missionaries as 12 churches are planted here in 18 months! Please keep checking in to keep up on our our ministry and adventures in Peru!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in Peru

We had our first Christmas in Peru! Here in Peru when you ask what special foods or traditions they have the immediate answer is -- paneton y chocolate! That is, fruit cake and hot chocolate. They love it and only have it once a year. So, our teams gave out paneton & hot chocolate in their communities and it was a great time!
Ana & Olivia in 7 de Junio

Carmen with a group of their kids in Enace. Callie couldn't be there since she is at home with her family but all the kids asked for her and she sure was missed!

Here in Peru they also celebrate Christmas at midnight on Christmas Eve. They eat a huge dinner at midnight, open presents, let off fire works and go out into the streets to wish friends and neighbors a Feliz Navidad. We were planning on celebrating Peruvian style but because Daniel and Andrew wouldn't be home until Christmas morning we decided to wait for them. We did go to the Christmas Eve service where we watched an adorable Christmas play. Then we stayed up to midnight playing games and drinking hot chocolate. At midnight we watched all the fireworks from our balcony. The next morning we all slept in---well, I didn't. I really wanted to have Boppa's famous cinnamon rolls for breakfast so I woke up early to make them--totally worth they lack of sleep:) We make stockings for our team and opened them up when the boys got home. We had a lazy, relaxing Christmas and had a big turkey dinner (with paneton & hot chocolate). It was hard for all of us to be away from family for Christmas but I felt blessed to be able to celebrate with our new family here!

Smith Family Visit

We were beyond blessed to have our family here for a couple weeks in December. It was refreshing to spend time with family and to watch Kai adore his grandparents and auntie! It was also so wonderful to have them experience a bit of what life is like for us--the frustrations and joys we experience every day here! While they were here went on a trip into the jungle and did a canopy walk and a boat ride on Lake Sandoval. We were also able to spend a few days with them in Cusco and saw some of the sights there including Machu Picchu! To see lots more pictures and here some more details check here. Time with family is so precious to those of us so far from home. Thank you Boppa, Pa and Auntie Taryn for coming to see us--we love you all very much!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Challenging Times...Please Pray

Again, for all of those who are checking this blog, please pray for our team. We are really feeling like Satan is trying very hard to disrupt what we are doing here. Along with various forms of sickness and other issues. Two days ago one of girls visited the doctor for a vision problem and was abused by the doctor. She is fine and okay but she will be taking time off . Please pray for us as we have to deal with this situation and pray for our team as we are all away from family during the holidays. Thanks, The Smiths

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We were excited for the chance to share our Thanksgiving tradition with our Peruvian family. Monday we celebrated Thanksgiving a few days late because not everyone was here on Thursday. The girls and I had fun staying up late the night before preparing some of the food. Although we missed being home with our family, it was to be women in the kitchen together, carrying on the traditions of our family. Olivia made her grandma’s rolls and Wendy made the stuffing (typically her dad’s job). Callie and I made the biggest pumpkin pie I have ever seen—thank you Church on the Hill for sending down canned pumpkin for us, it was delicious! Although we couldn’t find a turkey, Tyson cooked 2 big chickens and they were so yummy I didn’t even care it wasn’t turkey. It was fun to figure out how we could make all our traditional dishes using the ingredients of Peru (other than the canned pumpkin;). Pastor Freddy and his family joined us as well and we had a great time giving thanks to God for all He has blessed us with.

After the Thanksgiving festivities had died down Tyson and I brought up our surprise for the team…a Christmas tree, lights and a few decorations. We know that the Christmas season will be very different this year for everyone and we want to make it feel as much like home as we can. They were all very excited and had fun decorating. My favorite part was when Andrew brought out his John Deer tractor ornament his mom had brought down for him and hung it on the tree...a little piece of home;)

I have so much to be thankful for and could go on and on. I have such an amazing, faithful, God-fearing husband who I am blessed to have as my partner in life, parenting and ministry. A little boy who is healthy, creative, smart, funny, energetic and brings so much joy to my life. I have 8 bonus members of my family in the 40/40s and I thank the Lord for each one of them. We have amazing family back home who have loved and supported us unselfishly. I am thankful beyond words to each one of you back home who are supporting us in prayer and finances. I can’t express how much a part of this you are, your generosity allows us to be here in this ministry and your prayers carry us through. God bless you all and we give thanks for you!


This last month has gone by so fast. I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Things have been so busy and we don’t have internet at the house so you really have to carve out time to get anything done. I will try to do a little overview of November.
The 40/40s are out working in their communities. Each pair has three church plants they are doing over the next 18 months. The girls are working in all three of theirs right now, except Callie & Carmen who have a 3rd one aways outside of the city so they will start that one in a few months. Every weekend this month we have been in a different community doing a Jesus film showing on Friday night followed by a Kids’ Festival on Saturday.
There has been a great response and has provided a lot of contacts for the pairs to follow up with. Throughout the week they are evangelizing, visiting people in their homes and disciplining. Andrew & Daniel are out in their communities all week long and we only see them on Mondays for their day off. They have families they stay with while they are out there and have two different communities they are working with. They are doing evangelism, discipling and put on the services that happen in these areas. Please keep each of our pairs in prayer—Andrew & Daniel, Olivia & Ana, Wendy & Elisa and Callie & Carmen. Please pray for the Lord to continue to open doors for them to share God’s love with people. Pray for strength and energy for everyone. Pray for protection for all, especially Andrew & Daniel who are far from the rest of us.
Tyson and I have been trying to take care of all the details so the team can focus on their ministry and trying to get our own home settled a bit. We have been running around getting items for the two houses, fixing and finishing things that need to be done…all part of moving into a new home, shopping for the team, and searching for a cook. We finally found someone to cook lunches who started this week. I have been teaching the pre-schoolers Sunday School with Wendy and Tyson helping with worship.
We have had a few issues with water. The second Sunday we were here there was a huge rain storm and there were not yet gutters on the church. That means the rain that came off the church roof aimed directly into our windows. Kai woke up from his nap screaming “Mom, it’s raining in my bed.” And boy was it, there was a waterfall coming in and his room had about 2 inches of water in it and the laundry room was the same. It took me the rest of the night to mop of all that water and a couple weeks for it to dry out. The drying out is an issue that brings mold along with it. I have cleaned up a lot of mold and it is just have fans going constantly to try to keep things dry. The next Sunday night and all day Monday it rained and we soon found we were surrounded by a lake. By Monday evening we could not flush our toilet because it would come up from our shower drain. Apparently the water was so high it caused issues with the septic. There was no quick fix for this and we had to just wait for the water to go down…for 5 days. There was also a ton of water between our house and the wall which was a great home for frogs, I guess, because there about a zillion outside our window and they kept coming in the house. Kai of course, loved this, but it wasn’t my favorite. Please don’t think I’m complaining, I really just want to remember these memories so I am writing them down...looking back it is fun to see all that we have experienced in our new home in a month;) We know that there is much more rain coming in the next few months so Tyson has been on the phone, talking to neighbors and down at the city office trying to come up with a solution they last 3 weeks. Today he got someone from the city to come out and look at it (which is a huge feat in itself here in Peru) and they are planning to bring in dirt to fill in the pond surrounding us and then they will begin to put in a ditch to move the water elsewhere.
Well, there is much more to tell I am sure but this has already gotten long. We are settling well and excited to be here and be a part of all that God is doing in Puerto Maldonado! I should also add that Kai is loving life here and has transitioned without missing a step…you can check out what he has been up to on his blog here. We are looking forward to the Christmas season and celebrating here with our Peruvian friends and family. We are really looking forward to Tyson’s family coming to visit us for a couple weeks…they get here next week! Thank you all for your prayers and we will keep you updated more often from now on!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Here are a few of our prayer requests as of late...please be praying for our pairs as now that we have hit the ground running, it is easy to lose sight of teamwork and focus on the task. Pray for strengthened understanding for each person. That they would understand their partners needs for all our 40-40s. Please be praying for those that have decided to give their lives to Christ here in Puerto, that they would continue to seek Christ and have a desire to learn more. (We have had roughly 12 people meet the Lord up to this point). 4 of our communities have designated a location for holding weekly meetings, pray that each location would work out perfectly and that we would be able to find locations to meet for the other 8 communities. Please pray for our family, as we have been going straight since we got off the airplane and we need a break. Please pray that we would find rest in the Lord and time to relax. Thank you all for your prayers!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Just thought I would give a quick update. It has been a week since the short term group left and it has been a whirlwind. We have pretty well gotten the 40/40 house furnished and comfortable for living which was our priority. Our house is still lacking furniture but it we should be better settled next week (I am hoping:). The 40/40s have been visiting their communities and meeting new people and there have already been decisions for Christ! Daniel & Andrew left yesterday for their community which is quite a ways away. Please pray for safety and logistics for them. They left having a vague idea of what to expect but fully willing to go for it. They will stay up there until Sunday or Monday and then come back and this will happen each week. We are looking to hire someone to help shop and cook for the 40/40s so please be praying we can find someone good and trustworthy. Currently everyone is pitching in on cooking and I am learning the art of shopping at the market...I bought my first chicken at the market (and promptly asked them to cut off the head & feet:)! Kai is adjusting well and actually loving life at our house. There is still construction going on for the church so he is in a little boys paradise...equipment and a huge pile of sand to play in...he is constantly dirty but beyond happy:) Tyson and my main focus right now is to get everything settled for the 40/40s and make sure they have what they need. I will also be teaching the 0-5 year old Sunday School and Tyson will be helping with worship. Well, there is a little update...there will be more to come but just wanted to let you know we are settling in but could sure use your prayers through this process. Thanks and God Bless!

Thank you, thank you, thank you

I really don't know what to say except "thank you" a million times. The short term group of missionaries who built our home and kick started ministry in Puerto left last week. We were beyond blessed to have 9 friends from our church back home down for the trip. They worked so hard...seriously, really hard, in ridiculous heat every day getting our house finished. And can I just say, wow, amazing...the house is wonderful and beyond anything I expected. Here are some pics of them working...mostly doing tile...our house is filled with tile...so much work! My camera battery was dead and I couldn't find the charger so I am using pictures from the Moens' camera. All that to say I am missing a picture of Debbie who most likely took these (and grouted tile for days) and of Jan who was working with the Impact group.

This is where the house was at when they arrived...

And when they left after 10 short days...It really meant so much to have this group here. To see them working so hard to complete our house, to see them experiencing Puerto and the people here. Over 300 people accepted Christ during their time here...amazing! It was not just getting to see friends (which in itself was a treasure) but they were here as we started our ministry here and it was so incredibly special. On top of building our home and serving our community they also brought us a ton of stuff to start out. Thank you to everyone at Church on the Hill for blessing us beyond, beyond what we could have imagined. Our kitchen is stocked with things we have been missing from home (brown sugar, baking soda, spices, etc), we have utensils, measuring cups, tupperware, towels for our kitchen, toys for Kai, supplies for ministry, I could go on and on. Shoes for Kai...not used shoes like I asked for, but brand new ones (he walked around proudly showing everyone his new shoes by the way). Oh and on top of all that (of which I am leaving out a ton) they brought us an a portable air conditioner! I know! Amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Really, we are so incredibly thankful and blessed by you all!

Beyond our group from Church on the Hill there were a ton of other people who worked so hard during their time here. It was wonderful to meet everyone and get a chance to work along side them. Thank you to all who poured their hearts into this project. Thank you to those back in the US who prayed, sent items and supported those who came. God bless you all and come visit again soon:) We love you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

We Made It!

We made it to Puerto Wednesday and were so excited to be welcomed at the airport by Abby & Daniel (you can see our excitment below)
We then were able to go out to the jobsite to see all our friends from back home in McMinnville. It is really so wonderful to have them here and see how hard they are working. The house looks amazing and they are all working so very hard to get it all done and doing an amazing job. I was in tears not only seeing everyone, but seeing them work on our home...it makes it so much more special.
There is a lot going on with construction and then there are impact groups going to schools, women's jails, and communities. People are coming to know Christ and experiencing His love through this group. It is amazing to have this going on and there is so much for our 40/40 team to come in and follow up on...Praise the Lord!
Prayers: Please pray for the work the impact teams are doing and for the hearts of the people in Puerto to be open to Christ. Pray for the construction team, for safety and for everything to be smooth and to finish on time. Pray for our 40/40 team that will be arriving next Tuesday...that they would be ready to hit the ground running and for safe travels here. Thank you for your prayers for Wendy. She is in Arequipa still but everything is healing well and she will join the rest of the team here on Tuesday. Please pray for Kai, he has had an eye infection for the last 5 days and they are very red and swollen. We are very thankful to have Rhonda from our church here who is a nurse...if this had to happen I would pick now:)
Thank you to everyone for your prayers...God Bless!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lima...and on to Puerto!

So we left Iquitos Sunday night. We came with Olivia and Andrew who continued on to Puerto Monday morning. The rest of our team is finishing up school and will leave Iquitos next Monday. We have spent the last couple days in Lima. We finished up Kai's residency process so he is now a Peruvian resident along with us and it is great to have that done. Other than that we have been enjoying things like hot showers, fast internet, American food, starbucks and driving in cars. I actually said these words to Kai today: "Tomorrow we go on another airplane but while we are here we get to ride in cars which is just as fun." And to him, it probably is:) It is so funny what becomes exciting and amazing when you have been away from it for so long;)
Tyson and Kai in front of a fountain in Lima (the big city)
Tomorrow morning we fly out to Puerto, our new home! We are filled with excitement and anticipation. We can't wait to see friends from our church in McMinnville who are on the short term trip working on our house. We also get to see Extreme team members we haven't seen since leaving Arequipa! Mostly, we are excited to finally be in the place we have been praying for, preparing for and thinking about for so long. Thank you all for your prayers and we look forward to sharing pictures and stories of our new city soon! God Bless!

Lasts & Goodbyes

Well, the past week was filled with lasts and goodbyes. Our last week in Iquitos. I am at a loss for words to express how thankful we are for these last 5 months in Iquitos. We were welcomed with open arms and the people there shared their lives with us and loved us and taught us much. Here are a few picture a few goodbyes and lasts.
Kai's last day of school with his teacher Miss Ruth.
We have been so grateful for Kai's school and his teachers. He has learned so much Spanish in his time there and he really loves his friends and teachers. He comes home singing songs or talking about shapes and colors. It was so refreshing knowing that he was in good hands and that he was learning a lot in the time we were away from him.
Last Monday Night Dinner
We have loved having Monday night meals at our house. We will have many more meals and even more time with our team now that we will live right below them. This is a tradition that will continue, but for our last Monday night dinner/study in Iquitos we did foot washing, communion and worship. It was a great night and we look forward to beginning the work with our team in Puerto!
Last church service. Pastor Antonio, Jim, Tyson and Kai
It was hard to say goodbye to the families we have become close to. Pastor Antonio, his wife, Melena and son, Jim are a very special family and we will miss them a ton. Tyson and Pastor have a special bond as the dads of two special boys that are great friends. We have so much respect for Pastor and his church is a wonderful example of a church family. Kai would run into their house almost every day to play with Jim and they always welcomed him and loved on him. It was hard to say goodbye. I don't have a picture with the Correas but we are going to miss them so much. Cristobal and Noemi Correa were in charge of the training of the 40/40s. We had many meetings, conversations and prayer with them. These last 5 months would have been so much harder without them. They are an amazing couple and we are thankful for their love, wisdom and patience with our Spanish:) They will be having a baby girl in February and we can't wait to meet her when we see them again next summer!
Kai and Jim riding around the house...

Kai and Jim. This was a hard one for me. Jim and Kai have been amigos since the first day they met. He and Jim ran around the church grounds pulling Tonka trucks on shoe strings and learning from each other. Every single day we would have lunch at the church and Kai would barely want to eat so that he could be done to go play with Jim. When Jim would see me leaving class to go pick up Kai he would run after me "Hermana, hermana donde esta Kai?" And Kai would cry a good portion of the time when playtime was over and it was time to go home. But through his tears he would always shout "Chow, Amigo" and Jim would yell back "Chow, Amigo". It was precious. Jim and his mom came to the airport to say goodbye so that Jim could watch the plane fly away to better understand that Kai was leaving. My heart about broke when I watched them stand face to face, both open their arms up wide and give each other a huge hug. Jim was Kai's first best friend, the first friend he was old enough to decide for himself that he loved and wanted to be with. Their time together was precious for me to watch as a mom and I look forward to some day coming back and letting these two amigos reunite:)

There are many more goodbyes and lasts but these were just a few highlights. We were touched by so many people and I can't name them all but we are thankful for each and every one of them. We thank the Lord for these last 5 months and the people he placed in our lives!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prayers Needed!

Hello All,

We are asking for your prayers. Wendy one of our 40/40's has had an infected bite in her leg for the last 4 days and the doctors here in Iquitos have not been able to improve the condition. So the consensus is to have her flown to Arequipa where the medical facilities are much better and there are Extreme staffers that have medical know how. There are two bites and poor Wendy has been enduring incredible pain with amazing grit, at the hands of the doctor who have been squeezing her leg for 4 days. She even endured a volcano of hydrogen peroxide coming out of her leg. She is a tough one that Wendy. Please be praying that the doctors and staff in Arequipa will be able to know what to do. Thanks.

Right now, there is an Extreme Volunteer Mission Project taking place for the next 2 weeks in Puerto Maldonado to finish our home and prepare the soil in Puerto with impact events to reach out to the community. Please pray for the safety of those volunteers many of whom are from our church in McMinnville. Who, by the way we can't wait to see. And pray for the hearts of those in Puerto that they would be softened and that many would come to know Jesus Christ as their savior.

Also please be praying for our family as we pack up our house into suitcases for the final time and head to the location that we have been praying about for the last year. This is an exciting time for our team because Puerto has been in our hearts and minds from the beginning, this whole time of preparation in language school and missionary training is for this place. Pray that God would use us in a mighty way, that his hand would be upon every one of our team members and that we would be able to see how God has already been preparing Puerto for his handiwork. Thank you all for your prayers and please let us know how we can be praying for you all. God Bless.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My New Guitar Friend and Mentor

So I met Luis about 3 months ago when he was playing at a local restaurant down the street from our house. He plays with two friends of his nearly every night. I happened to notice that he wailed with a really cool smooth jazz at 72 years old. I asked him where he learned to play and he learned in Brazil about 55 years ago and he´s been playing with the same guitar ever since. I then asked him if he taught lessons which he did for 10 soles per hour(which is about $3.15) and 4 soles for the taxi ride. We set up a date to jam at my house and began our lessons. Following our first lesson he asked me if I had any vitamins around, which seemed a little odd around. But he has says he can't find good vitamins down here, he needs American vitamins. He was obviously very interested in them so I tolk him I would look into it. I then asked my wonderful parents who thankfully sent down a bottle of Centrum Silver and Cardio. So we decided right there to trade lessons for vitamins. It´s been a wonderful experience and he´s taught me some great harmonic chord progressions and a great spanish worship song. It's the sweetest thing, whenever we talk about Jesus, he just get´s up and jumps around like he´s a little child describing the greatest thing in the world. He puts his arms out like Jesus dying on the cross and then acts out his resurrection describing it with such conviction. It is so wonderful to meet and spend time with this man who loves his savior. Also it is great to see how much he loves to see Kai, they have a great time together, they both are just gitty. We´ll that´s a little about the Luis who has blessed our lives and taught me some great guitar.

Adventure on the Amazon: Raft Race 2009

The adventure began the day before the race when we found out one, we could bring extra construction items to use in building our raft and secondly, that one of our team mates couldn´t get the time off to participate. So the night before our race Andrew and I headed to Ramon´s house (a friend of ours from church) to see if he would have the time and then to see if he would even be interested. Sure enough he was up to the challenge, yet I´m not sure he knew quite what he was getting into but neither did we. So following our late night trip to his house we went and fetched a few nails, wire and extra rope and then headed home to pack.

The next morning we left for Nauta, 2 hours by bus where we were greeted and introduced during a ceremony and then we were boated across the river to ¨Fisherman´s Island¨ where we arrived and began gathering our 8 balsa poles. After a few hickups by the organization finally began constructing our raft about 2 hours later. We really had no idea how to go about constructing a raft that would last us 3 days and over 21 hours on the river but what the heck we went for it. It began getting dark around the point we started fastening the middle and back braces and then a fantastic lightning storm started and then the ¨rainforest¨ worthy downpoor quickly followed. We were about the only team that continued on our construction throughout the rain but we were in a groove. After we finished and were drenched to the bone we headed into our shanty tent where there were already 4 other competitors laying out. So if you can picture a tent with muddy sand trounced throughout our sleeping area, the rain dripping through the tarplike ceiling and no space to lay down because the other team took up most of the room. Oh yeah and then add the fact that the mosquitos were horrible and then to add insult to misery, one of the other team members says, (in english) let´s sleep sitting up. Yeah, great idea genius with the whole mat to himself. So Andrew and I ended up sleeping literally shoulder to shoulder on the wet sand floor trying to avoid the drips. Sufficed to say I slept probably less than an hour.
The following day we woke up around 5am and began preparing our raft for the journey and at our danty breakfast of one slice of bologne and cheese. So we put it on the water and it passed the float test, but would it pass the whole trip test, we had yet to know. At 8am sharp every group put in and the bell sounded and we jetted off, ramming about two teams trying to get started which put us in dead last place. It took my body at least about 30 minutes to work out the kinks and then hit my stride, but it was great to pass a ton of teams to start out and then finish Day 1 passing another 5 more teams close to the finish line. However, we finished about 30 seconds behind the ¨Mormons¨ or so we thought. We ended up gunning for them the whole 3 days and then on the last day we figured out the weren´t mormons at all. But anyway, it was a good goal to shoot four. Day 2 we just cruzed and beat the ¨the mormons¨ and at one point there was no team in sight behind us and one team in front of us. We got another danty portion of supper and breakfast in a small pueblo and then headed out again for Iquitos which was going to be another 8 or 9 hour day on the river. We paddeled and made really one mistake in reading the current of the river that cost us some time but we were quite pooped at this point. Daniel´s shoulder ¨wasn´t responding¨as he said and Ramon was as dark as a raisin. The final 200 meters was upriver and really killed us, it probably took us 25 minutes to move that small distance. Anyways, it was a blast, I hope to do it again in the distant future and there is much more to write and explain which I do not have time. It was great fun and a great time of bonding for Andrew, Daniel and myself. Thank you all for your prayers, we felt safe the entire time even though we were inches off the water the whole time. One of the Peruvian competitor told me he had seen a Boa during one of the smaller windier sections and was mortified. But we only saw Dolphins and lots of jumping fish. That´s it in a nutshell even though there is much more to say, I´ve included a website here to read a short article (in english) from one of the journalist spectators. http://www.livinginperu.com/travel-920-amazon-adrenaline-rafting-great-amazon-raft-race-2009.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Construction Video of Puerto

Here is a video that was put together by Extreme that shows the construction of our future home in Puerto. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi3ouzGwhr0. They happened to use a pretty great back up song as well.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Our time in Iquitos is quickly coming to an end...and we leave for Puerto in about 3 weeks! I am filled with emotions--sadness because I don't want to leave this place we have called home for the last 5 months, but excitement about what lies ahead. We have anticipated, talked about, prayed and planned for Puerto for the past year...and we will finally be there!

Right now there is a short term team in Puerto working on building our home and doing outreach in the communities. Please join us in prayer for this team--for safety, for good weather, and for impact on the people in Puerto. We are so thankful for them and the work they are doing to build our home and prepare the community for the work our team will be doing! You can keep up with all that is happening during this short term project at http://www.extremenazarene.org.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prayers for the boys...

This morning we said goodbye to Tyson for a few days. The day has finally come for the Amazon Raft Race and we saw the team off this morning.
Team Extreme: Tyson, Daniel, Ramon, & Andrew
Please keep them in your prayers over the next 4 days, for the building of relationships, communication, fun and adventures...and safety too of course! I know Tyson will have a ton to tell when he gets back so stay tuned!
Kai was sad that Tyson was leaving and when I told him Daddy was going on an adventure he responded "Kai wanna go on adventure". Don't we all:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A year ago...

A year ago we were wondering what the Lord had planned next for us. You see, we had been praying since January about where the Lord would take us next. We felt that we were ready to make a move, that God had one planned for us, but we just didn't know what it was. I had researched a ton on teaching abroad, and different organizations to serve with, but nothing seemed like the right fit for us. Tyson had applied for teaching jobs and had interviews for ones he was totally qualified for and that seemed to be perfect. But the Lord continued to close doors. So we waited.

A year ago last weekend we went to church just like any other Sunday. We were surprised to find a giant truck in the parking lot. The Extreme Mobile. We went to service and listened to Scott Englund and Brent Deakins talk about Extreme Peru and what they were planning down here. Tyson and I both felt our hearts jump out of our chest wondering if this is what we had been praying for. However, while our hearts were jumping in our chests, our minds were still wondering...where would we fit in this? They mostly talked about the 40/40 program and since we were married that wasn't an option for us. After the service went through the Extreme Mobile. My heart was pounding as I learned about the people on the islands in Lake Titicaca, my heart was broken as I learned about the unchurched in Arequipa. I didn't even get to hear about Puerto Maldonado because I was running late to teach Sunday School. But Tyson was able to talk to Scott and asked if there was a place for a couple like us...and he learned about the Cluster Support position—a family to care for the 40/40s in each city. Perfect! That following week Scott's card sat on our bathroom counter and every time I saw it I would pray about this possibility, what should we do, what is our next step, is this what you have for us Lord?

A year ago this weekend we went camping as a family on the coast. Tyson received a call from Brent Deakins...he wanted to meet with us and talk to us more about Extreme. What an answer to prayer...I still thank the Lord that Brent followed up with us that weekend!

A year ago. How quickly the time has gone. Yet, it seems like so long ago. So much has happened, we have experienced much, watch the Lord work in many ways, have had joys and sorrows, trials and victories, and through it all have seen the great faithfulness of our Lord.

A year ago our lives changed forever. I can't imagine what He has in store for the next year...

Living Life

We are living life here in Iquitos…not a ton new to report but things are going well. Below I posted a few pictures of the class Tyson taught a couple weeks ago. He did a great job and it was fun to see him in teacher mode again:) He put in a ton of hard work gathering information, photos and videos of Puerto Maldonado and got us all thinking about what is ahead. It was perfect timing as we have a month and a half left and I know since then my mind has been turning with thoughts of Puerto and how to prepare better. The pictures below are of a couple team building activities we did which were great and I loved seeing our team work together. The first one was where they had to all stand on a sheet and flip it over without anyone stepping off…they were very creative and I was super impressed! The second was where each pair has to guide each other across the church property blindfolded…trust and communication were key!

Other than that things are busy and November is coming fast…we are leaving here the last week in October and although we will be sad to leave Iquitos, we are anxious to finally arrive and begin work in Puerto! Please pray for our team during this final stretch of training. That we would learn and absorb all we can to help us in Puerto, that each pair would continue to grow as they prepare to plant churches together and that Tyson and I would know how to better serve our team each and every day. Dios te bendiga!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jair: Post 5

We'll it bums me out to be reporting the latest in the story of Jair and Pool, but I know that God has a plan to use this for good. It's been a rough week but it's really a big part of the story with these two young guys. It all went down last Monday night. Bill and Tracy Wertz had arrived earlier that day which we were super excited about and we had been running around that day in the Motokar. It was a great time for them to visit as well as great timing for this Monday night. We had just finished our weekly dinner with the 40/40's at our house and were chatting with the Wertz's when the door bell rang. It was Jair, so I invited him in to meet Bill and Tracy and hang out for a bit. He came in and played with Kai while we talked and hung out. Then at around 8:45, I looked out our window to check on our Motokar that was parked out front of our house and couldn't believe it. It wasn't there. A lot of things ran through my mind: did one of our 40/40's take it when they left, did I accidentally leave it somewhere else or leave it back at the Hotel that the Wertz's were staying or was it actually taken. I ran down with Bill and we asked some questions of our neighbor Nora who hadn't seen anything, but she helped direct us to the police station. As we were trying to figure out the situation Jair came down and was very surprised at what had just happened. We could tell he was very concerned and also helped direct us to the Police. Bill and I said our goodbye's to Jair and went directly to report the missing vehicle. At the police station there had to be about 15-20 Moto's and Motokar's that had been impounded. However, they sent us to a special department of the police that deals only with stolen vehicles, DEPROVE. Knowing that this is the largest city in the world that has no roads leading out in addition to seeing the large amount of impounded vehicles at the Police station, I started to think that maybe there is a chance that we may see this Motokar again. However, we were also told that some of the police are corrupt and organized with the thief’s. Anyway, it wasn't at DEPROVE either and we met up with Cristobal and Pastor Aviatar and we filed all the necessary paperwork that went into a handwritten logbook. Nothing gives you more confidence in a police force than when they write your story and information in a dusty logbook. Anyway, there was nothing else to do at this point but pray.

Bill and I then headed home and upon arrival, Tracy pointed out that she had thought our digital video camera was on our counter, but didn't know where it was. What a great thing to find out after dealing with this already draining situation. So at that point we proceeded to tear apart the whole house trying to find this thing. But as we searched we couldn’t find it anywhere. I was so ticked off at this point, if it in fact was taken it had to have been Jair who was the only person in our house other than the 40/40's. Dispite not knowing where he lived and it being 10:30 at night and there being a storm on the horizon I was determined to find his place at get that thing back. Bill just said “let's go”, so he and I headed out. I was really thankful he was there to help because if he hadn’t been there I for sure wouldn’t have done this alone. We just headed in the direction that he had mentioned earlier, which was in a shadier part of town near the old abandoned airport. Lightning strikes illuminating the dirt street and something jogged my memory because I remembered that they had to sign using their addressed for the Amazon Raft Race that we had been training for. Thanks to Tracy’s time data basing at Church on the Hill she was able to remember their street name. There were two ladies out on the street who I asked if they knew where the street was and if it was safe to be out here at this time of night. They pointed us in the right direction and we happened to be only a block away. They said as long as people are out in the street it should be safe. Fortunately after learning that bit of informatin the rain began to just poor and everyone that was outside left, great. We walked further and asked a young kid if he knew where they lived which was now one house down. Bill suspiciously kept his back against the wall next to the door providing the intimidation. Jair poked his head out the window and Bill gave him the old head nod and he opened the door. I asked him if he had my camera and if he knew anything about our Motokar. He said yes, he had just brought it to his house. He then turned, went inside and brought it out and handed it to me. I couldn’t believe it, I shook his hand and didn't have any words at that point and we just left in the rain. It was coming down at this point and we just wanted to get home, but I was so relieved to get it back.

We got back just drenched to the bone but relieved and confused. It had been such an unbelievable night and this relationship that I’d spent so much time to foster and that I had so much confidence in was just shattered. I didn’t know what to think at this point because I felt so betrayed but I really think and pray that this all took place on the same night for a reason. You see Jair apparently has no problem stealing, but he has no clue of the consequences. However that night he was able to see the consequences of someone stealing on a different level. I know that maybe you’re thinking Jair had something to do with the stealing of the Moto but his reaction combined with the timing of the Moto missing give us reason to believe he wasn’t a part of that. But at this point I hope the story is not over, it certainly changes things for our relationship. But really I hope he can see his actions more clearly and the fact that he just gave it back to me either says he cared enough about our relationship and my family to give it back or either he was scared. I hope that anyone that’s been following this story will just pray that this isn’t the end of the story. You see it had been described by multiple people that night that there is a necessity for some to steal in Peru and specifically in this community, the unemployment rate is in around 45%. It was confirmed the next day when Pool stopped by who had been looking for work all day and couldn’t find anything. He’s seemed quite bummed because he’s likely going to have to join the Peruvian Navy, which is probably a good option for him at this point. Anyways, I just keep them in my prayers and hope they see their sin as it truly is and then that they recall the verses we read together about Christ dying for them despite their sin. Please keep them in your prayers, they know where the church is located, they know that Christ is their hope. They just need something to wake them up and finally see their need for Him.

40/40 Church Plant Locations!!!!

We'll we got our church planting assignments which are still subject to changes but our team is excited to see on paper where they will be focusing their efforts and prayers. Tracy and I taught three days this week all about preparing for Puerto, we watched interviews from folks in Puerto, analyzed what makes Puerto unique, looked at pictures and did some team building exercises. The three days was designed for us all to begin looking at Puerto through a different lense and really start focusing on how to prepare. The pictures included so that you can see where each of our 4 pairs churches will be. The first picture are the communities that we will be working to plant churches within the city of Puerto Maldonado. The pinks are Wendy and Elisa, the light blues are Olivia and Ana and the orange is Callie and Carmen. The picture below is where Andrew and Daniel will be working to plant churches. Being able to get our minds wrapped around more specifics is helping us to see the reality of Puerto and that it's only 6 weeks away for us. Please pray for these locations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So one of our favorite (and one of the very few options) to eat here in Iquitos is The Yellow Rose of Texas. It is owned by a retired guy from Texas who played for the Longhorns and is a big fan so the entire staff wears Longhorn attire. The Collins family pops into my mind literally every time I walk up to it:) The food is good and offers us some American choices that are rare around here. But for me, the reason I keep going back is the staff. They are warm and loving and you feel like family when you walk up. They also love Kai. The ladies all squeeze his cheeks and then he confidently says "jugo para mi" (Juice for me) with a big "Muchas gracias" when they bring it. They love it. But, Kai absolutely adores one of the male waiters, Jacob. Kai loves to get down from his chair and play with him and if I walk over to bring Kai back (because I'm thinking perhaps Jacob might have other things to do) he wants nothing to do with me...he just wants to play with his amigo. And frankly Jacob adores Kai as well and is more then happy to play with him and asks for him when anyone in our group comes. Two weeks ago Jacob was talking with Kai when our food came and we were ready to pray. So, Tyson invited him to pray with us and he did. That sparked a conversation about where we go to church and when the services are. I don't even know that we had a chance to invite him before he said he would come to the Sunday morning service because it was before his shift at work. Awesome! We let him know we looked forward to seeing him there. And guess what? He came! And last week when we saw him at the restaurant he asked Tyson if he had been studying the passage they were supposed to and said he would be there again the following Sunday. Unfortunately he was not at church this last week. However, I think God is starting something and want to ask for your prayers for him. We are thankful that our team has shown love to the staff at Texas and we are thankful for Kai's personality and how he loves people as it gave us an opportunity to talk to Jacob about church. Please keep Jacob in your prayers...thanks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Last week we were super blessed to have Bill & Tracey Wertz come to visit us. Bill is a pastor at our church back home, I worked with him for 7 years and we were in a small group with Bill & Tracey even before we were married. Bill married us, dedicated Kai and we have spent birthdays and holidays with them. Really, they are like family to us. You can imagine how excited we were when they told us they were coming up to Iquitos to see us after they served with a short term project in Arequipa. They were only here for a short time but we treasured each moment with them. I can't explain how wonderful it was to have our pastors and friends here to encourage us in our ministry, marriage and parenting. They were able to meet our team, visit our home, see our church, get to know our city a little, experience an Amazon thunderstorm downpour, and spend some time on the river. It was truly a refreshing time for us. Thank you Bill & Tracey for making the trip up...we love you guys!

Bill, Tracey & Kai on a boat on the river on our way to a butterfly farm

Saying goodbye at the airport

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jair and Pool: Post 4

Well last week we had a great rowing practice on the Nanay. We borrowed a Canoe and 3 oars and headed out. Jair took the back, Pool the middle and I took the front. It was quite possibly the most frustrating experience of my life because for the distance that we covered on the river, we probably went really twice as far due to our zig zag pattern. We all swam in the Nanay river and returned home after about 2 hours on the river. We need to keep practicing considering the average of day during the Amazon Raft Race is 6 hour of rowing.After our time on the river I had invited them to a Chicken "broaster" event that our church was holding. All the Nazarene churches from around the city were attending so there was a huge group. It was an extremely hot day, the chicken was delicious and football was very footy (mostly barefoot).

The pictures above are of Jair kicking one of our three penalty kicks to break the 1-1 tie and of Pool trying to block the opponents shots. We ended up tying in the kick off 2-2 . It was a great time for them to meet the pastors and spend more time around the community of believers and again invest a little time at the church. Jair also came over to my house and we chatted again about the the ultimate result of sin in our lives and the ultimate sacrifice for that. We read more about the incredible idea that even while I was a sinner, Christ died for me and for Jair, to give us freedom from that. He's hearing it but there needs to be something bigger than me to get through to them so my prayer for them is that God would continue to work on their hearts, my words and actions only go so far. More to come...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This week...

This week has been busy and hot! Last Saturday there was a youth event at the church and a bunch of churches came and participated in soccer and volleyball matches. We had fun hanging out and watching the games. Tyson played, Kai and I watches and some of our girls sold refreshments. Later that night I looked at the temperatures for the day and it was 95 with 95% humidity and a “feels like” temperature of 109. The only way to bear heat like that with no AC is to sit very still in front of a fan:) The rest of the week has been pretty well the same and we are realizing our first couple months here were actually the cooler months of the year and now we are into the reality of jungle heat!
Ana, Olivia, Hermana Magna and Carmen serving refreshments in the heat!
Sunday we "accidentally" got Kai a couple baby turtle pets…I instantly regretted this decision and after a week we released the sweet little turtles into the river yesterday. You can read more about our turtles here.
Kai adoring his baby turtles
Wednesday night we went to the church that Callie and Carmen are working with and showed the Jesus Film. We had a good group show up and they were able to get lots of contacts of people who wanted them to visit and find out more.

This week we have been meeting individually with each person on our team and your prayers for our meeting would be greatly appreciated. They have been very encouraging so far and we are excited about the direction our group is headed. Thursday was our meeting with Olivia which just happened to land on our 6 months here in Peru…the 4 of us met up in San Francisco last February and made the trip to Peru together! It is hard to believe we have been in Peru for ½ a year already!

Today we had a big combined Sunday School service where a bunch of churches came together and all the kids put on little presentations. The electricity went out in the middle of the night last night and didn’t come on until about noon today. We waited around for it to come back on and then finally started without mics or fans (really hot in the church with all those bodies!) about 45 minutes late…true Peruvian style:) It was a great service and fun to see all the kids from all the churches!
Well, there is a quick update of our event of this last week...all of that on top of classes with a very intense professor...tests everyday and lots of church and Nazarene history! Thank you all for your prayers, we love you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jair and Pool: Part 3

I hope to catch you all up briefly on the last few times that I’ve been able to hang out with Jair and Pool. Our next planned meeting was going to be Thursday night around 9:00 at our apartment. If either of them chose not to show up that could very well be the end. I would have no way of getting a hold of them, because neither of them had a cell or house phones for that matter. I was excited to have them over to our house even though I wasn’t 100% sure of their intentions. Either way I wanted them to know that I meant what I said; “that I’d be here for them.” I was surprised but they were right on time, which is generally not the case with Peruvians. They came in ate up some food and hung out with Kai and Tracy and shoot the old Spanish breeze.
I had seen in a local restaurant a series of oars on the wall that had Amazon Raft Race written on them. So I inquired more and found out that this event would actually be taking place on one of the last weeks that we’d be living in Iquitos. So knowing no more information than Andrew and I wanted to do it and it required 4 people, I asked them if they would want to join us. At that point I knew my language skills were not strong enough to just have a relationship that is solely verbal and knowing they were guys excited about physical exercise I figured this would be a great opportunity to quality time with them.
Okay, back to Thursday; I gave them a Bible that I had gotten for Jair (not considering they would both show up) and I highlighted scripture to read on their own. We then read the 10 Commandments that they were familiar with and talked about the importance they hold in our society regarding law and order. And we then read about the consequences of breaking those Commandments as well as what Jesus had to say about hating a brother and thinking lustful thoughts about a woman. So pretty much they were in agreement that they were guilty as am I of breaking God’s Commandments. At this point as I should I felt the tension building so figured I figured I’d leave the “consequences of sin is death for later.” We left and decided to inquire more about the raft race together in a few days.
A few days had past and all three of us were going to head to walk to the center of town to inquire more and only Pool showed up. I didn’t receive a sufficient reason why which I wasn’t too concerned about. Anyway, we went downtown and the office was closed but it was a good chance for me to connect with Pool like I was able to with Jair. I found out that Pool likes to write poetry and in fact writes love notes for his friends who aren’t gifted with poetic words. He’s the Shakespeare behind the letters and gets no credit, I told him he needs to charge. Anyways, we talked about showing me some of his poems which he has since done and I would show him some of mine. So we were able to connect on this level and Pool is interested in playing the guitar which I hope to follow up on and spend more time with him. Pool has the potential to be a very powerful leader, please pray for his salvation.
So about a week and a half passed by and I hadn’t seen Jair or Pool at this point and I was beginning to get a bit discouraged, but more prayerful for the two. Then out of the blue on a Saturday afternoon we got a ring at the door bell. It was Jair with a concerned look on his face. His mother had come to visit about a week earlier from the jungle and had come down ill with a stomach issue. Jair said he wanted to help his mother and needed 20 soles to buy her medicine. Again, at this point I wasn’t sure of his motives so I was a bit hesitant. I wanted to help but I didn’t want to give him money. Coincidentally, the church property of Extreme was in the process of getting some new paint in the guys and girls dorm rooms and I had noticed the grass outside the church needed mowing. This was the perfect opportunity to have him put in a little sweat and investment of time and energy on the church property, spend time with him and in turn help out his mother. So we got in the mototaxi and went to the church. He joined the whole team for a good lunch and then we started working. We started out cutting pastors lawn with machetes which is quite difficult on the back and following began painting the guys room. I wanted him to have to work hard for his reward, but I didn’t want to send him out to do it alone so we worked side by side in the hot hot sun until we finished what we could in the guys’ room. He was able to meet all the pastors and our entire team which was very important for him to get to know those people who I pray will begin to invest in his life, knowing that my time here is short. I just hope that his investment at the property will allow him to be more comfortable with the church and the pastors. More to come soon. God is so Good. Please continue to pray for them both.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation Bible School

The last week in July three of our churches put on a VBS for the kids. The turn out was awesome for all three and kids and adults all had a wonderful time. The first day was about creation and the next two days about Joseph and his brothers. I taught the preschool age at our church with another girl. We averaged about 16 kids between the ages of 2 and 6 in our class. The kids had a great time and so did we. The final day they made these little pin wheels and we put on a little presentation for the church!

The craziness that is any presentation with kiddos...our class is in the front row...

The kids loved the pin wheels

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amazon 3 Day Trip

This last week was our break week from classes so we planned a 3 day trip up the Amazon to help a small village church. Knowing that in the future some of our church plant locations might be 8 hour or more from Puerto Maldonado, this should prove to be an excellent experience for our group. We arrive in Belen, a little floating part of our city to board the boat and they are in the process of loading the boat with diesel that they are filtering using an old T-shirt. The two story boat has a motor sitting in the middle of the bottom floor spitting hot oil and exhaust on passengers below. The upper deck is half covered with hammocks strung up from side to side in preparation for the 10+ hour boat ride and we were last to arrive so we get the sun deck which means that after about 3 hours all the white folks are burnt somewhere. Thankfully the boat does have a toilet for this long of a ride, just don’t slip from the splashing river water below and watch your aim. The trip was long and as darkness swept in fast the rain did as well which of course had to happen and everyone had to squeeze underneath the bug infested hammock area. Callie, Cristobal (our school organizer) and I headed downstairs which was about 85 degrees and a man with a flashlight was tending to the engine with a rag over his mouth to protect for the fumes. As we got closer to our destination which was the last stop on this route, we would pull in drop people off at other villages in the dead of night and every time we did this we were swarmed with mosquitoes because our boat was no longer moving and we all started lathering on the Cutter. We arrived at Famento at 9:20ish and walked with our gear another 20 minutes to the town, where we settled down at the church to put up our bug nets and beds and then headed to pastors Nehemiah’s house for dinner. We all got fish and I do mean fish, the whole thing, and some even got one or two on our plate. The fish had about as many bones as my Spanish dictionary has new words. Imagine swallowing one of those pins from a new collared shirt from Nordstrom and have it stay in your throat for 2 hours. Anyways, this is a normal meal which we were soon to find out, and we knew to always eat and accept what is given to us. The girls had a harder time, but it was very delicious, even the one with the huge teeth. So we woke up the next day, had fish for breakfast and got ready to help the local pastor with his evening service and invite another local village to the service. So we headed to San Juan which was a cool 20 minute walk. It looked to be a slightly larger village than Famento and bumped up to a beautiful oxbow lake. As we split up to invite the community, we began noticing a somber and concerned mood amongst the villagers. The first house we arrived at explained that a local man went missing the previous afternoon on the lake. Each house we went to invite was concerned but not with empathy. It’s difficult to describe but it was as if they had been through this so many times before, they just didn’t display their sadness visibly. It’s as if this sort of thing happens more often than it should, with health issues, dangerous jungle animals and hospital visits out of the picture. We gathered around and followed the local pastors lead in prayer for the family of the missing man. Whether there was a relationship with the pastor and this family or town I could not tell, but my prayer was for open doors for the pastor in that village and peace for the wife. There was a man who went in search of the man the previous day and kept saying that it was likely the large Boa living in the lake. As we returned to Famento, I just thought about how surreal it seemed to me that this happened during the little window of time that we were there.
That afternoon, we played games, tug of war, soccer, relaxed in the heat and prepared for the night service. That evening the service was packed and our team provided some excellent leadership in song and drama. The local pastor seemed to be very encouraged which I gathered was something quite needed.
After the service we walked around the center soccer field and talked with the locals thanks to the village owned 12kw generator running power to the walkway lights. The mosquitoes were something fierce and what’s strange is that the locals have a different name for the ones that come out at night. They’re called San Curos. They were big but don’t worry ma, they didn’t have malaria. The next morning at 5:00am we packed up, ate our fish breakfast and started out on our 4 hour jungle walk out because tThe boat we had headed in on wasn’t available so this was our only option.
As we began we got our packs, dufflebags and handbags, bed mats situated, prayed for the village and headed out with our 14 year old guide. 20 minutes into the hike we came to San Juan and as we passed by many of the local homes we noticed many sitting together talking. As we continued on our route the most surreal part of the trip was about to take place and I didn’t know how to react. The last house we pass on our way out of San Juan had the man’s body wrapped in white laying on a table alone inside the house. There were 10 or so villagers sitting outside the house morning the loss, we stopped to pay our respects, said our goodbyes to the villagers and headed on our way. Apparently, he was found floating in the lake 2 hours earlier and the thought was that he must have fallen in and just couldn’t swim. I never would have imagined that this strange chapter would have come to a close while we were there. We all were shocked at what had transpired and again our prayers were that this would open the doors for Christ in this village. As I read Psalms 136, it struck me that even this situation can fit into the list of how “His love endures forever” even when it seems like a terrible situation, God is sovereign. Our hike lasted an hour and we came to another village with a man who had a sugar cane slash alcohol making operation which he showed us. We were excited when he said he was willing to take us 2 hours up river in his boat to our destination. Beautiful jungle river, like out of National Geographic and then finally and hour by bus and we were back. It was memorable and great for our group to spend this unique experience together and help with what we could. Had our group not been there it’s likely that Pastor Nehemiah would not have visited San Juan and met the community at their point of need. Thanks for reading and sticking with our blog, your support and prayers are so appreciated.