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!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Language School

For some reason I have not posted yet about the main thing we are doing right now....language school! This is the focus of our time here in Arequipa for these 3 months. We spend every morning (5 days a week) for 4 hours learning Spanish. It is a wonderful way to learn although it does get tough sometimes because you can't slack off when you are the only student! It is quite tiring and my brain is always in overload when we are done. We have two hours with one teacher and a little break...my favorite part because it involves talking in English with our friends (and a little snack:) Then we have two more hours with a different teacher. This is really wonderful because everyone has a different way of teaching or speaks a little differently so it is good to have a change. My teachers are very kind and patient with me. I have one teacher named Marie (or Mary maybe...I should have her spell her name for me sometime). I have had her since the beginning and once she warmed up to me I love her! After having a few other teachers I realized she is a wonderful teacher and this week I was almost given a new teacher to change it up...but I mentioned how much I liked Marie and I was able to stay with her. My other teacher right now is Roy. He is very kind and laughs at my jokes so that is nice:) He is extremely patient...maybe too patient sometimes (he let me speak a lot of English for a while). I had another teacher for a few weeks named Agaba (I think). I was nervous at first because I heard she was really strict. But, she was very kind and patient with me as well. I quickly realized I could get her talking (which meant I didn't have to talk as much) and so I would ask lots of questions of her. Although I didn't talk as much she taught me so much about the culture/traditions/dances/foods/history of Peru, I think it was just as valuable!

Here is a picture of the room I spend 20 hours a week him...I try to sit as close to the window as I can to try to enjoy the sun:)

Here is Tyson with one of his teachers, Carlos. Tyson really likes how Carlos teaches and is learning a lot from him! This is Tyson's "classroom". A table, chairs and whiteboard in the garden!
For the first month while we were in school Kai was watched at the school by Medalit. She cared for Kai and another baby boy. At first Kai had a really hard time...it was not easy being handed off to someone who didn't speak his language I think. But, he began to warm up to her and loved break time when he could come out and see Mom and Dad...and all the other students, of course! The problem is the school is really just a house so Kai was mostly in a little room all day and if he did go out into the garden he was disrupting the other students. So, last week we decided to look for little preschool for him...in Peru it is called a jardin (which means garden). We found one just a block away from the school that seems really great. Kai had his first day on Monday and although he has cried the last two days when he was dropped off, he is quite a happy boy when we pick him up. He is an extremely social kid so it is good for him to be with other kids, doing activities...and he will pick up Spanish much faster this way!

Below is a picture of Kai with Medalit in the garden of the school....he loved drawing on the white boards!

This is the picture of the front of our school...it is really just a big house turned into a school.

All in all we are learning a lot each day. Spanish really isn't as complicated as English...but I would never know that being a native English speaker:) But, each day we are better able to communicate with our family, Peruvian friends and professors. We have two months left to learn as much Spanish as we can! You prayers for our Spanish would be very much appreciated, it is exhausting and overwhelming at times but key for our ministry here in Peru! Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement!

Monday, March 30, 2009


Yesterday after church I was able to go with some ladies from our church and a few other Extremies to serve some kiddos in a little pueblo outside of Arequipa--Chachani. The church we go to has three mission sites that they go to every Sunday afternoon and do activities with the kids. This was my first time going and it was wonderful! We have been in school here and that has been the main focus--learning Spanish (I will post about school soon too). It was so nice to go out and serve these kids, and it was wonderful to be able to put my (limited) Spanish to work for something other than day to day life! It was a breath of fresh air for me to be around these kids and I look forward to going again soon.

This week I helped with the youngest kids and loved it! They are so sweet and even though my Spanish is horrible they talked to me a million miles a minute and only looked at me a little funny when I tried to talk back:)

Here is a picure of where we had the lesson for the little ones.

This is a group picture of the younger kids with their teachers Olivia and Gladys.

After the lesson the kids got a snack of bread and butter and soda...they loved it. What I loved what the comment from one little boy who opened up his napkin and said "cuatro!". I found this so funny because typically the napkins here are so incredibly small and don't do much for cleaning things up. It was out of the ordinary to have a napkin that folded out into four different squares. I feel like the picture below captures the joy of the little things--like a "big" napkin blowing in the wind!

After the lessons were done we headed over and joined the older kids. I counted about 25-30 kids total! I got out the camera to take a few pictures and I was bombarded with kids that wanted their pictures taken...it was great and a little out of control, but great:) I made a collage of as many of the sweet faces as I could!

And here is the group of beautiful ladies I got to serve with. Olivia, Gladys, Abby (Tyson and Daniel took the kids for us so we could go..thanks guys!), Pilar and Kindra.

As you can see, the area we were in was very poor, but they have a view that is priceless! This is Chachani and the next one is Mt. Misti, the volcano.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Last weekend we went to an Alpaca museum and learned Alpacas, the process of turning their hair into yarn and we were able to see lots of beautiful items made from alapaca hair. It was a fun (free) time and we were able to learn a little more about the culture and this product that is a big deal here.
The best part (for Kai) was that they have 5 alpacas plus a baby one that was only 2 months old. We were able to go inside their pen and check them out up close and personal. I believe some were acutally llamas and some were alpacas...and I think one was a mix. Kai loved getting to pet them and I am happy to say none of them spit at us!

They had a beautiful display of a variety of colors of dyed yarn. What was really amazing was the natural things they used to make these colors: bugs, plants, minerals...you name it!

They had two women demonstrating the art of creating these beautiful tapestries. It typically takes them about a month and they do the whole pattern by memory. I was in awe...I was also in awe of the sweet little babe who sat so quietly with her mama.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

La Playa

This last weekend we had a wonderful weekend at the beach with our 40/40 crew. It was a great time of relaxing and spending time together. I am sad to say I forgot our camera but I did steal some pictures from Olivia (thanks Olivia) so you can see a bit of our trip.

We took a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to the beach. I am happy to say the bus was pretty normal...no chickens or goats:)

We stayed at a great house just a couple blocks from the beach. It was sort of open air so a bit like camping...but really nice camping with beds and a bathroom:) The little town we were in was really small and quiet and a perfect place to get away to for the weekend. Saturday we rented a little cover for shade and spent the day on the beach.

Kai loved the beach, playing in the sand and the waves was like heaven for him! Plus having all the girls paying attention to him and playing with him...he was a happy kid! He is already calling all their names and loves them all! We feel really blessed by our group!

Kai with Olivia (who he calls Weeva:)
One night we got blessed somehow by being able to eat at this members only club (Tyson got us in...woo hoo). It was great food! The next night we looked at other places to eat but decided on trying to cook...this was our first time cooking in Peru. We settled on bacon and eggs and Mac & Cheese...it was a yummy dinner for us Americans:)
Here is Kai finishing off the last of the Mac & Cheese with Andrew
It was a wonderful weekend of fellowship and relaxation...a great break from our routines of classes and studying!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This last Sunday we headed to church across town. We actually attend the church that groups are coming down to work on through Extreme. It is a wonderful little congregation, and although I cannot understand much, I do know the people are extremely kind and welcoming.
We started the morning with the Durans picking us up for church. We fit 6 adults and 3 kids in their little VW Bug. It was a "little squished" but we were super thankful for the ride, and the memories!

Who you can't see in this picture is Kai on my lap and Abby under Joshua:)

During church I typically join Kai in Sunday school. I can actually understand the message for the kids so I've got that going for me:) This week they learned "Dios es Santo" (God is Holy)...a great message! The teacher is very sweet and great with the kids...I am very thankful for her and for what she does with what she has! They meet in what seems to be a kitchen area that has an open window into where the adult church is meeting so we are all in close quarters:)

The kids played soccer as they were waiting for church to get out. This is the little area between the two buildings. Church takes place in the building to the right and the building to the left is the one being built. They put in the bricks in the courtyard area in the last week and as you can see there are lots of building supplies all over. The Peruvians are working hard and I look forward to teams coming down to help them!

Below is a picture of part of the unfinished building. If you are coming to Arequipa in August this is the building you will be working on. Thank you, thank you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our Address

Many of you have asked about sending care packages. From what I understand the best way to send a package (or any mail for now) is to send it here to the Extreme Office in Arequipa. I guess it is easier to deliver there because there is always someone there, and the charges are less for businesses for some reason.
Here is the address:

Extreme Nazarene Ministries
c/o Tyson and Tracy Smith
Avenida Lima 110
Arequipa, PERU

Montaserio de Santa Catalina

As Tyson mentioned below (yes, tyson posted!) we had a great day yesterday! Here are some pictures from Montaserio de Santa Catalina.

The best part for me was spending the morning with the 40/40s...they are a great group and we so very much look forward to our two years with them! Thanks for a great morning guys!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Sabado Excursion

Today, was a well needed dose of familiarity. It maybe small, but we are feeling right now that there is so much that is drastically different than home, we really get excited about anything that vaguely resembles the US. I'm sure things will become more familiar here in a short while the more we get accustomed to the ways and expecially when we move to the jungle were we have to get used to that which is even less familiar. But, right now Arequipa is proving to be an excellent launching pad for us as our living situations because as we continually move to smaller and smaller cities we will have less that is familiar.

What I'm speaking of, is this morning's trip to Cuzco Coffee Company near the center of town. It was started by a woman from San Diego and felt very familiar to Starbucks. The coffee wasn't half bad, I recommend the iced coffee because it's twice the size of the hot. We met the 40/40's there and then toured through the near by 400 year old Santa Catalina Monestary. The day was quite relaxing and we absolutely love the 40/40's and each of them is a gem. God is going to use their gifts in tremendous ways.

Thank you all for your prayers, I am feeling much better, and my Ameba "La Chuga (that's what the 40/40's have named it)" and my gobs of bacteria are doing great. The visit to the "emergencia" was a memberable experience and proved to be a wise decision. I've never had a flue that didn't start getting slowly better after a few days which this never did. I'm very excited to report that I'm feeling much better. God is Good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Here is a picture we took of a beautiful church in Arequipa. I actually had my camera out to take pics of our neighborhood on the way down the El Centro...but, I did not have the memory card in for the trip down so again, only pictures of the beautiful sights came home with me. I am constantly seeing really random things I want to photograph to share with you all and so I need to keep my camera on me more often. And, I need to take them soon before these things become normal;)

Bathtime in Peru!

This is our newfound way to bathe Kai. We only have a shower...which is muy frio most of the time. Our madre gave us this tub and when the sun is out I give Kai bathes in it. Yes, bathing depends on the sun...so he sometimes goes a few days in between:) He actually loves bathes and cries when I finally make him get out. I am torn between letting him be entertained or getting his white skin out of the strong sun as quickly as possible. The white skin issue usually wins.

Thank you to all those who have been praying for our adjustment and health. Tyson is feeling much better! He will have to write a post soon telling all about what he actually ended up having. Let's just say he went to the doctor and was given medication that made a huge difference. And, Kai has been adjusting really well and is doing great! He is picking up a few Spanish words here and there and loves our host family. Thank you again for your prayers!