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!

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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gabriela Nunez

This last Saturday we had a great time as a family helping out at Gabriela Nunez with a “health day”. This is the church that Olivia and Ana are working with and they had learned that there are many health issues in the community. One of the main issues is the lack of clean water and the illnesses that go along with that. They organized this health day and brought in an organization with medical students to educate and help the community. The health students put on a couple different presentations on parasites, hygiene, sanitation, diseases, etc. They handed out pills for parasites to many of the people in the community—although there were some that would not take them as it is a very foreign idea to them which was eye opening to me. We washed lots of sweet little heads and did lice treatments. The little boys got hair cuts from Tyson and a few of the other guys and later we trimmed up some of the little girls' hair and a few of the ladies as well. The girls sang songs and played games with the kids and all in all it was a wonderful day. The community is located across the river and so we all piled into a boat to get to it. The village is very poor and the first house I encountered amazed me—just a platform with a roof and a little tiny areas with some plastic around it for sleeping. I can't imagine trying to stay dry and warm in the downpours we have, but that is what they have. This was a wonderful day and I was so thankful for the opportunity to serve these people and show them the love of Christ in a tangible way! Please continue to pray for this community, Ana & Olivia and the work they are doing out there for the Lord!

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In & Around the Community

This is one side of the pueblo...all the houses surrounded this huge green field. From what I understood, during the wet months the water covers most of the area, which is why all the houses are on stilts.

A little boy in the rice field on our walk to the Gabriela Nunez

Fishermen on the river--it is amazing how they balance in that tiny boat while pulling in their nets!

Sweet Faces

It was fun to have Kai out there and watch him interact with the people…he always makes a friend and this time it was Jorge, one of the medical students, who was gracious enough to let Kai lead him around most of the morning.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jair: Post 2

So if you read my last blog on God's redemption in my life, I was so excited that God presented this opportunity and I wasn't actually sure that this was an answer to prayer or just a night to share God with a young lost kid in my broken Spanish. Our plan was for Monday after our weekly 40/40 meeting at 9:00. I wasn't sure that he would show up or not but my prayer was that this would continue so I headed to the Chifa joint that we ate at previously. As I walked up, I was relieved to see him approach the restaurant as well. However, he had a friend. I hesitated at first because I didn't know if his friends intentions. I wondered if he too wanted the free meal. Either way I asked them if they wanted to head in and get something to eat.

I was surprised at their response. They suggested that we go to the park and talk; their actions suggested that they weren't interested in the food so that's absolutely what we did. As I've been studying and preparing a bible study out of 1 Peter for our group revolving around Discipleship, the theme of the first two verses struck me. God's Love was overwhelming theme, that God loved us before we were born before we could even develop a pleasing character. You see, I only had one thing that I hoped to accomplish with Jair that night. I wanted to get to know Jair and now Pool and explain that I love them, period. Even before I get a chance to know their character. I want them to understand that fact and that two: I can't wait to get to know them because God wants to know us and has excellent plans for us. I explained those things which they seemed to enjoy hearing, we talked for over an hour at the park about boxing, why they box (which is to protect the innocent) Jair becoming a police officer, Pool studying computers, their intense desire to train, why I'm here as missionary and about their families. Pool is 21 and doesn't know his father as well and his mother lives outside of town about an hour, he two lives with his aunt across the street from Jair. That night Pool did most of the talking and was very interested which I was very excited to see that he wasn't there for just the food.

I then asked them if they did want to eat because I did still have reading and PowerPoint presentation to make for class the next day. Their response was that they would love to help me read the material, so I invited them upstairs to our apartment where they met Tracy, saw a picture of Kai and I grabbed my materials. Jair ate the last two grilled cheese sandwiches left over from the dinner on the way out. They were both very polite which I was also glad to see because at this point I'm still unsure of their intentions, I just want them to know that were an open door and that they are always welcome. So we headed back to the Chifa joint they ate some chicken and fried bananas and read my homework. The wording was very theological and it was about missionary church planting which wasn't quite up their ally but they helped anyway. Their consensus after another hour of hanging out was that I would be better off reading it because I was the missionary. Very true, now it's 11:30ish and I haven't read much or prepared anything for tomorrow. Now worries this is why I'm here, so we finished up and decided to meet again together at my house in four days. Praise the Lord for this opportunity, Pool seems very outgoing and genuine and Jair seems a little young and trying to figure out life a bit. I just can't believe this situation; my prayer that they would continue ask questions, that they would show up at our next meeting and that God would do a work on their hearts. Thanks for reading and I would appreciate your prayers for these two!!