Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sometimes life brings rain. There are times that our difficult situations or circumstances drown out the voices of those around us, or the voice of our Lord. It is wet, it creates a muddy mess, it fills up our roads and makes it difficult to maneuver.
Sometimes the sound of the rain drowns out the voices of those around us so we can only hear the voice of our Lord. Sometimes that muddy mess reminds us of what it is like to be clean. Sometimes we have to slow down because our road is blocked. And sometimes after the rain has passed we are left with a new refreshment in the Lord. Sometimes, that rain is just what we needed.
Today I rejoiced in the rain. Today I am praying for the same attitude towards future rains to come.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
After an hour or so Tyson pointed out that there were in fact mototaxis out and there was no rain to be seen so we should try to get to school. I agreed…why would we let rain stop us?…we are in the rainforest and if everything stops for rain we would be missing lots of school for the next few months. So we found a mototaxi and headed to school. As we got closer to our school and further from our home we noticed that there was a lot of trash in the road, piles that looked like they had been burned and some that had not. “Interesting”, I thought to myself, “do burn their trash in the road before a rain so that it will then wash the ashes away?” We drove further and noticed lines of trash all the way across the road…the taxi driver went around it. We asked him why it was in the road and he said a word we either could not understand or couldn’t not hear because of the motorcycle. A little further down there was another blockade and past it a fire in the middle of the road. At this point I am thinking there is no way this is just a normal rainy day in Iquitos and actually started to feel uneasy. I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, just really confused. The next thing I know the whole street is blocked ahead and the taxi driver tells us we can’t go on. We ask again what is happening and this time (finally) we understand that there is a strike going on throughout the city. We turned around and headed back home. It is finally making sense as to why it was suggested we stay home;) On the way home there were many more things in the road—rubble, branches, tree trunks, more garbage, glass, huge piles of dirt, lots of futbol games and a march in the center.
As we asked more questions we found out it was a strike against the government to support the natives. From what we understand the natives are on land the government wants. Land that has oil, gold, trees, water and other things they want. The natives are kicked off the land…they are not even forced to sell (not that I would agree with that either)…it is just taken from them. So, this is how the people fight back. To me, it does not make much sense. What they are doing seems to affect their own neighbors more than the government. But, I am still looking at it through American eyes, I hope that in few months I will have a better understanding of the people. It is possible that at that time I still won’t really agree with how they protest, but my hope is to have a better understanding and compassion for the “why”.
In the end we spent the day together. It was a blessing in disguise. Although it is hard to miss a day of class with all that we are learning, it was a much needed day together as a family. We spent as much time as we could playing and reading with Kai and studying our Spanish…I hope we don’t have many more days being stuck in the house…but today we took advantage of it;)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Our apartment is just a short mototaxi ride away from the school. It is a house that is made into 3 apartments—two upstairs and one downstairs. We live upstairs and the owner of the house lives in the other apartment next to us. He is extremely kind and helpful and we are very thankful to have him so close by. We also have a great neighborhood. There is a plaza ½ a block away with lots of room for Kai to run. Our neighbors are all very friendly and kind. The other day we met a lady and her two boys and she let us know if we ever needed anything to let her know. Later that day Tyson played soccer with her two boys and a bunch of others. Today another lady came out and said hello and said Kai could come and play with her children anytime (since he was an only child and might get board...so true). We are excited to get to spend time with our neighbors and build relationships over the next few months.
There is a plaza ½ a block away with lots of room for Kai to run. There is also an open air market 3 blocks away where we can buy fruit, eggs and meat (when I get brave enough). There are two “supermarkets” here in Iquitos that we have found. They are nothing like they had in Arequipa and I am really going to have to learn to cook with what we can buy here!
Our house has two bedrooms which is amazing! Kai is sleeping so much better now that he is in a room of his own…and a bed of his own! He has moved a big boy bed and has only fallen off once…we keep the couch cushions on the floor at night just in case;) There is a laundry room where I have washed my first load of laundry by hand…wow….lots of work...these ladies in Peru amaze me with all they do! Unfortunately the only place to hang clothes to dry is in the laundry room so they do not dry as fast as I would like and it makes the house even more humid (if that is possible). There are lots of windows and we actually have glass on ours (lots of people don’t) but we leave them open all of the time for ventilation:)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
As we prepare to leave Arequipa I’ve been thinking back to all the things that I found so fascinating and strange the first month we were here…things that are now part of daily life.
~A rooster crowing somewhere nearby (in the middle of a huge city). And now, this is not just a sunrise thing. It could be the middle of the afternoon…ha, I actually just heard it and it is 5pm. I also often hear it when we are going to bed. It is also apparently now normal for Kai to crow back at it too, yesterday he stood on the porch crowing back at the rooster for a good 10 minutes.
~Dogs are everywhere. In the streets running loose and on the rooftops, yes rooftops, barking at all the passersby…you can always hear a dog barking somewhere nearby. The other day we actually saw a pack of 13 dogs running down the street...so something you would not see in the US...or if you did you would call someone:)
~Music that sounds like the ice cream man is coming around the corner…but it is actually the garbage man. Yes, they all have a special song to warn people they are coming and to bring out the garbage.
~The crazy sounding voice coming out of some sort of loud speaker. I know it is a foreign language for me but I still don’t know how anyone could understand them! They ride around on either a bicycle or motorcycle with a huge “basket” on the front. I have been told they buying things people don’t want and selling things people do…but again, I cannot tell what they are saying:)
~There are taxi’s everywhere and I really love the system. It is so nice to just grab a taxi and have them take you to where you need…no parking, etc. You get to bargain with the driver for the price to which I find enjoyable:) Most of the taxis are tiny little yellow cars called tikos. The drivers are nuts too and speed in and out of traffic…I actually find it very fun:) And people make good use of their taxis…I have seen lots of different things piled on top of them: furniture, pipes, lumber, baskets and the other day a whole balloon arch.
~The other option for transportation is combis. These come in all shapes and sizes but are typically the size of a VW bus or smaller. People pack into these combis…some sitting but tons of other people standing all around them. There are times when the people standing can’t actually stand up straight and so are bent at the waist over top the people sitting. It always looks so uncomfortable! There are bigger ones that are more like small buses as well…much more comfortable.
~You don’t really see stop signs…and when you do they are not obeyed. In fact, if there are any rules to the road they are not obeyed as far as I can see. You don’t wait your turn at an intersection…you inch out into the middle until other cars are forced to stop…or you speed through and hope for the best. There is a lot of horn honking, warning people they are coming through or trying to get the traffic to move. Also, lanes in the road really don’t matter either. Good thing for seatbelts right? Oh wait, most cars don’t have them…at least not for the passengers. Which also means no carseats. That’s right, Kai sits on our laps in the back of taxis and on occasions when he can convince us he is just sitting right on the seat next to us with even less protection. Jokes on him when we go back to the US and he has to use a carseat again.
~Men peeing on the street. I can’t say I am totally used to this yet but it is getting more normal…yikes.
~Motorcycles with whole families on them…Tyson saw dad and mom with a baby between them the other day…so safe considering the “there are no rules” fact above. Actually, Kai has been very into motorcyles lately and points them out all the time...he calls them "bicylcycles".
~There are stores everywhere. On every block there is at least one if not two or three tiny little stores. They are about the size of a closet with lots of items tucked away in them…it seems to me that almost every family runs a store but it is probably more like every other family:) Our family has one which is very convenient for us since it is right outside our gate:)
~There is always laundry hanging out to dry…they don’t use dryers here since the sun is always out!
~Trash cans next to every toilet because you can’t flush the paper.
~You can’t drink the water out of the faucet so you alway have to boil or buy bottled water. We have made good use of the bottles though…bowling!
~Speaking of water sometimes there is none. Two times in the three months we have been here we have been without water for an entire day. And when I say we, I mean the entire city! We have learned to go with the flow and it will come back on eventually:)
~Earthquakes! We have been in many temblors since we have been here…very small earthquakes. We had one yesterday but I could barely feel it and only the sound of the windows rattling helped me know what it was. There has been one significant one that I remember that was stronger and longer than the others…but even that was pretty small…only a 4.8. Still very exciting:)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Me with my teachers Mary & Roy. I feel very blessed to have had them for teachers. Mary and my minds worked very similarly so it was easy to understand concepts from her. Roy is extremely intelligent and a very sweet person. He was always so patient with me and knew when I needed a break and a laugh. Along with the help of the Lord they have taught me Spanish!! Thank you!
Tyson with his professors. Actually, Tyson had a ton of different professors (he counted 9 in all)...so these are the final two he had in these last weeks.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
On Sunday we attended church where there was a few little poems and songs by some of the kids...very sweet! After church we went with our host family and attended a bbq with their entire family out in Yumina...a pueblo outside of Arequipa. It was a wonderful afternoon and we while we missed our own moms, we were glad we could spend it with our surrogate family here. We ate lots of food (including beef heart...yikes), Kai loved playing in the yard and watering with our madre, Juana. We also had the most beautiful view of the Incan andenes...can you believe they still use them for agriculture now...those Incans sure made things to last! Tyson was telling me he learned that they are always green because somehow the Incans figured out how to tap into the underground water source so they are always watered....amazing! It is aways so wonderful to experience the culture and learn more about their past!
Juana's mom who very much reminds us of Tyson's grandma
The Incan andenes
Saturday, May 9, 2009
But as this last week of school approaches, I have been reflecting back on my first weeks here. I would sit at the table at meals smiling politely and uttering the few words I knew...gracias, por favor, rico! I praise the Lord that I can now have a conversation! Yes, it is broken, has incorrect grammar and I have tons of words I am missing in my vocabulary. But, I can have one...understand what the person is saying, get my point across, no matter how broken and ugly it might sound to a native speaker. Am I content with where I am at?...no way! I want to get to the point where I can speak with more depth and share my heart fully. But for now I am giving what I have, the words have, the ability I have...right now, not what I will have eventually...I give what I have right now to the Lord and ask Him to use it for His glory and His work. I praise Him that He can work with my few words, with my terrible grammar, and my weaknesses...if I just give it to Him.
Some of the amazing women I have been blessed to know here in Arequipa!
What's next you may ask...well, I'm glad you did! We will be leaving on the 21st of May to head to Iquitos...a jungle city in the north of Peru. Although we are sad to be leaving friends behind here in Arequipa, we will have our amazing 40/40 team of Olivia, Callie, Wendy and Andrew with us...and we are excited to finally meet their Peruvian partners who will be joining us in Iquitos. We will also have the Hunt family with us for a few months in Iquitos as well. Brad & Michelle Hunt and their son, Tyler, will play a huge part in supporting our 40/40 team...and all the other 40/40 teams in the areas of medical and logistics.
In Iquitos we will be in school doing theology, cultural and church planting training. We will be in the classroom in the mornings and out working with the local churches in the afternoons. I am excited because I know that is so much for me, and all of us to learn. I am a little nervous because it will be intense training...and it will all be in Spanish! Your prayers for all of us Americans to fully comprehend all that is needed would be greatly appreciated! We will be in Iquitos for 5 months and then, at the end of October we will head to our final destination...Puerto Maldonado!
Please be praying for our entire team as we transition to Iquitos. It will be very different from Arequipa...it is a big city, but in the jungle on the Amazon River (kind of exciting), the food will be different, school will be intense, living situations will be different, and we will all go through culture shock again. But, we will be serving the Lord, learning a ton, meeting new friends and forming new relationships...and be one step closer to our work in Puerto Maldonado!
Thank you to all who have been faithfully praying and supporting us. We feel the Lord's hand on us here and know, without a doubt, we are where we are supposed to be!
Dios te bendiga! (God bless you!)
Friday, May 1, 2009
Out to dinner with our 40/40 family
Out to dinner with our host family
Two weeks ago we had a retreat with our whole Extreme team. It was three days of fellowship, challenging conversations, tons of information and we fit some fun in there too. It was perfect timing, a much needed break from language school and time to refocus. My favorite part was hearing Brian's (our Director) heart, the history of Extreme and to be reminded of our vision and purpose here. I know I have had it on here before but I wanted to post our mission statement again:
The purpose of EXTREME is to seek and deploy people into an extreme global expansion of the Kingdom of God by prayerfully and thoughtfully engaging the specific talents, skills, experience and resources God has given them and to further develop them into permanent full-time constructors of the Kingdom.
I love that the goal of Extreme is not only to change the world for Christ, but to change the individuals doing that works as well. I feel blessed to be a part of this ministry and are thankful for all of you that are a part of it as well. Some of you are down here in Peru long term--thank you for your commitment, giving your life and the fellowship you provide here. Some of you are coming down for as short term volunteers--thank you for the hard work you will do, building churches, our home, loving the people we have come to love and making an extreme impact in a short amount of time. Some of you are generously donating financially--thank you, there is absolutely no way we could be here without your support, every one of you has been an answer to prayer and God has used you as an encouragement and confirmation that we are doing what He has for us. Some of you are supporting us in prayer--thank you for your commitment to pray for us, for your encouraging words and faithfulness, your prayers are so precious to us. Thank you to all for your part in our work down here...each of you in your own way are making an Extreme impact in expanding the Kingdom.
Friday was our fun day and the only day I brought my camera for. We had a relay at a military training camp...not a very clean pool...many things were found on the bottom that you would never find in a pool in the US...broken glass and a dirty sock to name a few. I am happy to report our team won...go 40/40s! Afterwards we went "carting" which was basically go carts...but with no safety features;)
Wendy & Callie searching in the pool for our keys
Our team putting together the church plant board...all the stages of a church plant...and in Spanish, way to go team!
Our team after our victory:)
A group getting ready for a race