This is week 4 of this mission trip. Click for other weeks:
Week 4, Monday - Sept 23 - [Click for: Blog photo gallery]
Stayed late at Pastor Martin's since Lily had to do some translation for Pastor Goldine for a radio spot advertising 3 days of healing next weekend at El Shaddai's branch church in Nazca, a few hours south. We are thinking of going down there for one night, not sure yet. The services should be spectacular, as the three days here were. I am excited to hopefully hear many testamonies in the coming weekends at church. It was funny how it took 3 takes to get the radio spot right, but all went well.
We have been researching the prop tourist plane rates for Nazca, to let Olga, Margaret and Eileen know. Shame to be right there in Nazca (famous for the Nazca Lines) and not make an attempt at seeing what all the tourists go there for. Pastor Martin's wife Coddy originally said it was $180/per person, but in researching in town with a tourist desk, one can do it for about $120, closer to $110 if you have 3 or more. It's cheaper to buy your trip while in Ica, than to buy it in Nazca. Anyway, good to know info for our future missionaries and tourists as well!! The prop plan tours are a definite close by 'have to see' attraction, if in the neighborhood!
Anyway, headed back to the Mission about 10am, construction crews well underway (thank you Raymundo P for getting the water supplies ready, and the gate unlocked!). The work crew did plastering on the north wall in the common room as well as the two walls in the front exterior area.
We were making plans for an outreach tomorrow, with the missionaries coming up, however the missionary is in no shape to hold such a function so we asked our neighbor. Agueda, our neighbor, was away in Lima, so we asked Dysi, her daughter-in-law, if it would be ok to have it there (where we have done it in 2011 before. She welcomed us.
Tuesday - Sept 24: Workers were in two crews today, for the first time, so we got a lot done. Finished the north wall up all the way back to the building's west wall; did the front and back of the front wall, lots of electrical switch cut-ins (the outlets have been being done as each wall is done).
We then did an outreach as well yesterday, as Olga, Eileen and Margaret arrived. Agueda came back in time to not only add her welcome to our using her home but to also assist. Our missionaries brought a lot of stuff down, mostly for the kids, and they spent the late morning and early afternoon, putting kits together for Nino's and Nina's (boys and girls).
When the workers went to lunch, we spent some time with our missionaries giving them a tour of the current construction project, property, and plans.
We had the outreach scheduled for 4:30 when the young kids get out of school. Had a young girl come by before and made it clear that the older kids don't get out until 5:30! Anyway, this was aimed at the youngest, based on the items that were brought. We got the kids all to line up, we prayed together and let them know that this mission is here for them and from Jesus Christ and the handouts commenced. As usual, we ran out of stuff before we ran out of kids to give it to. I was the hand marker to insure against the repeat line attendees! ;-) Anyway, it's always fun to have outreach with the kids and give them gifts. LAMA has been accumulating a lot of clothes, Bibles, toothbrushes/paste, reading glasses, and more but we held off using any of that today, wanting to actually use it as sort of a grand opening when we can actually use the mission property, hopefully in a few weeks when the floor is poured. Our missionaries also brought some clothing donations, and other items that they did not use for today's outreach, and contributed to our pending outreach.
After a very successful outreach (sad that we never seem to have enough - where do they all come from?), our missionaries had some more time for fellowship and then we setup a cab back to Ica for them. Before the cab arrived, a local bread merchant caught their eye and gave him the best sales of the week! Pastor Olga loves the local bread, Peruvian beans and especially the local soups! New motto for our village: "El Carmen, come for the mission, come for the bread!"
Wednesday - Sept 25: Workers arrived with plans to commence on doing some left over brick work, building the downstairs public bathroom, as well as some modifications to the stairway so we can finish it more properly. Also, should get a lot of the remaining plaster work done in the two bedrooms, closet, master bath.
We need to also do some cut-ins for the low voltage gang-box. I brought one from the USA in that I didn't see anything like it down here (a central wall box for the (internet, TV, perhaps camera) low voltage wires to all come together. We will place that in the office, on the opposite (north) wall than the high voltage box which will go in the kitchen (south wall). What's different about this box installation is that it will be cut in after the plaster work, where all the outlets (both low voltage and high voltage) have been cut in prior. Learning construction in Peru! ;-)
Earthquake!! Well that was new. Sitting in here blogging away and all of a sudden our little wooden casita started to shake violently, clearly telling this southern california boy that we were having an earthquake. I walked out to the doorway, where the screendoor was having a fit flopping around, and watched the scared look on the face of one of our workers. The quake didn't last more than a minute or two, so I've felt similar in the US, but this was a pretty major one indicating that it was not far away. Sure enough the USGS info confirmed, it was just off the coast of where we are discussing going this weekend, Nazca.
Many of the village residents had run out of their homes and were standing in the plaza. Mothers were retrieving their children from school. This village suffered an immense earthquake (8.0) in 2007 and it is fresh in their memory. God bless this village.
We left for Ica about 4pm, did some needed shopping at the Mercado, made a flyer copy for sharing with Pastor Martin, stopped to buy some plastic for our casita and then arrived at Pastors house about 6 for his famous Chinese cooking.
We had the pleasure of having him do his Chifa Chef routine for us one other time and it
was a great spread ("Chifa" is the Peruvian name for chinese food). He volunteered to do it again for our visiting missionaries, and invited us as well. Had a fantastic meal, great comraderie, some birthday cake (Pator Olga's birthday, with Margaret's in two days). We spent the night due to the lateness. Our Missionaries were off tomorrow to do a little coastal touristing in Paracus.
Thursday - Sept 26: After a lovely breakfast with Pastor and his wife, and a great deal of discussion to catch up on LAMA, the mission, El Shaddai, and more. We then headed off to Maestro for some needed items and then off to the collectivo to take us home to the mission. On the way, took a quick photo of a sign that I have admired. No messing with farm production thiefs here!!!
When we got back we passed a pair of Peruvian step horses (Peruvian Paso) and they are beautiful to watch. Such a spectacular gait, and apparently they are born with it and only come from Peru. Anyway, first time I have seen them in El Carmen!!
All things were operating well at the mission. Started some missing brick walls that we finalized on for the layout of the common bathroom on the first floor. We were going around and around on the size, if it should have a shower, it's shared with the office, etc. But it's done, the wall foundation is poured and more brick (first of this trip) will be laid tomorrow.
Construction crew also accomplished quite a bit more finishing, doing the entire rear of the building, all the windows and doors are finished edges (except for two in the back that will be finished tomorrow. With that news we got hold of our window and door man to get his final measurements and get started. After he's done, which will take a few weeks, we need to get the glass cut for the wrought iron creations he will bring over. Then the electrician, plumbing, etc. So much to do and we are nearing the end of week 4.
Bad news - government decided to start tearing the road up in front of the mission! Apparently, the sewer needs to be enlarged and that means remove road first! What a mess. Our biggest concern will be getting supplies for construction. Hoping they make a path! We are running low on concrete, electrical tubes, etc. Let's see what tomorrow brings!!!
Spent some time walking around, a lot of torn up roads already on the south end of town, now we have it on the north! Needed to go visit our window/door man to tell him to come do his measurements now that they plaster is nearly complete. Got that message delivered, and he will visit us Saturday. Got our stop in at our little local market for eggs, milk and checha drink.
Met with a local farming couple that live in town. They do like many local farmers, work for the big farms for 8-10 hour day, and then manage their own small acreage afterwards. Farming is not an easy life. Spent some time talking about farming problems, cost of water, private road accesses, etc. Also discussed the mission a bit, our working with El Shaddai, our desire to have it open and functional by end of October. They gave us a bottle of Pisco made from "Italio grapes" which apparently are the best grapes (not much of a drinker, so don't know these things). It was a very kind offer considering it's value and their meager life style. People are so kind and open to us here. Can't wait to get the mission a bit further built and functional.
On the way home, after a few business, new friends and market stops, we met some enterprising boys that were working late getting doing a job getting someone's construction 'rubble' put on the street, in anticipation of the a free removal by the crew coming to tear up the asphalt tomorrow. Rather creative we thought, and we bought them a bottle of soda when we first saw them. Now on the way back, Lily gets the idea that we should hire them to do the same thing for us tomorrow! So deal struck. Great bunch of hard working young men.
Friday - Sept 27: Woke up to another minor challenge, sprung a leak in our water pipe under the mission. Apparently one of the workers, clearing the floor with the pick or shovel, nicked the temporary pipe. Didn't want to interrupt for too long the water flow which we get for one hour a day, since we needed to fill the 1100 litre roof tank and a couple of 55 gallon drums so the construction crew had what they needed for their workday. Some electrical and duct tape and we are fine enough ... pipe will be getting replaced soon, just before we pour the concrete floor.
Workers showed up and got underway. Lot's of electical cut-ins, more stucko work on interior rear wall, hallway, kitchen. Cut a whole for the electrical power box in the kitchen, mounts for intercom/gate buzzer in hallway, more brick placed for downstairs bathroom and office. A pretty full day.
Last March, while we were getting our casita shower bricked in, Lily accidently leaned on it before it was dry and knocked a half dozen bricks loose. Since we have some brickwork going on in the Mission, Lily borrowed some mud and got to repairing her 6 month old boo-boo! Enterprising founder!
Our young entrepreneurs showed up around 2pm. With all the construction going on the road, we were fearful that we would loose the fine sand we purchased (at S/30 per cubic Meter; about $10, but a dump truck load!). So we put the young men on moving the sand to the sidewalk for us. After that was done, we got them to work on our rubble pile in the back and they started wheelbarrowing it to the street and dumping it so the skiploader who is taking all the asphalt up will get that as well! ;-)
Was so hoping to have movie night tonight, but construction mess was just too much, especially with the road construction thrown in as well. Oh well, hopefully next week!! Our visiting missionaries are off to Nazca today, to perform two healing services Saturday and Sunday morning. We hope to reconnect with them Sunday night in Ica, before they return via Lima next week to the USA.
Saturday - Sept 28: Odd start to a new day, in that our workers showed up unusually early (must be because it's payday) and the water came on unusually late! Usually it's 7am or so for water and 8am for the workers, today we had 7:30 for the workers and water not till 8am. Well, with all the road construction going on out front we were a bit worried if we would have NO water today, which would put a real stop to the work. Thank goodness it came on. Lots of time consuming plastering still going on, a column here, a closet or bathroom wall there. All the big walls are almost done. Probably finish all the wall plastering by Monday. There will still be some cuts made, some waiting on the current brickwork for the downstairs bathroom, etc. This coming week, we will be trenching for the final sewer pipe and water lines hopefully, as well as then connecting all the electrical conduits together, finishing up with pouring a lot of concrete for the floor.
Today we are supposed to have a visit by the window and door man, to do his final measurements. All windows and doors will be made out of wrought iron, and we will have to get the glass cut onsight most likely, considering the size of the job.
Had some good times with Juan, our lead plasterer. He's the one that I gave a bilingual gospel to a week ago, and two other workers wanted the same. He is very inquisitive about english, the bible, our mission, and more. Throughout the day we keep giving each other words to learn. He is very knowledgeable about the names of the books in the new testament, probably due to his Christian parents, however he admits that he is not active in his faith and has backslid. Hopefully we can change that, and he can work on his other hungry workers. He is interested in attending services when we open the mission - good sign.
Another movie night tonight (our fourth). Since the workers go home early on Saturday, it was easy to setup, assemble three benches out of construction block and boards, and get a sign out. We played Narnia and once the animals started talking and the battle scene came on, they were enthralled. Up to that point though they wanted another movie. Tough crowd. We would like to have some organization with the movies, some christian message, witness, testimony, questions, etc. before the movie, regardless of the movie being a christian message or generic animation. Problem as of this writing is that we don't have any lighting for another week or so, and that makes it hard. Day by day. Kids are getting the message that we are here and looking forward to another movie next Friday.
Sunday - Sept 29: Movie night was cold and I apparently wasn't dressed warm enough for it, and went to bed with a cold, and sniffles. Took a couple of pills, but we determined to have a light day today anyway. We usually go to town to church, but since our missionary friends are not going to be there until tonight, we planned to go in evening as well. Now that's on condition that I get this cold a bit under control. Woke up feeling a bit better than when I went to sleep. Amazing that with the variants on heat and cold down here in Peru, you see little home adaptions to provide heat or cooling. There is no piped in gas, as of yet, except an hour north in Pisco. We have asked the local hardware store about gas pipes, with the plan for future benefit but they have nothing. Guess it will be a retrofit when it comes. In the mean time, when in Peru, dress accordingly!! The temperature rangess are some of the most comfortable in the world year round, at least where we are, but still there is hot and cold in the summer afternoons and winter evenings.
No construction today, Look to finishing all plastering early next week (as we go into week 5, the beginning of the second half of our visit) and getting the plumbing and electrical tubing finished up and maybe even pulling some wires! Hallelueh!! Nursing my sniffles from last nights cold theatre projectionists duties, Lily went on a couple of errands. First she got some raw milk from the farmer a few lots down. We usually have canned milk for our coffee, but this was different.
Later she went with Pililly to San Pedro. Pililly is another neighbor who was a regular laborer the last few years but has been working with the government on the street/sewer work this year. Pillily has an older sister that lives there and has an outreach for children that we supported last Christmas, in doing some gift giving. San Pedro is a close by community of houses, within 15 minutes walking distance, that we hope to spend a good amount of time with when the Mission is completed. (creative San Pedro farmer video (click on photo) on how to keep your donkeys from running away .. make them hop!)
We decided as the day progressed to NOT go to Ica for church services in the evening, due primarily to my sniffles but also that evening services make us need to spend the night in Ica. This will make us miss the departure of our missionaries who leave for Lima on Monday. Oh well, I will look forward to hearing about their time in Nazca.