This is week 8 of this mission trip. Click for other weeks:
Monday, Oct 21:
Our last week, and it's a short one here at the Mission. I keep getting my Raymundo's, Raymonsito's and Reynaldo's mixed up, but that's another story. Crew showed up, and started on the front courtyard concrete prep and hopefully pour by end of day. We need it all nice and dry and passable before Wednesday when we have one last outreach here in the Mission. Tomorrow they should continue on the courtyard wall, making a header and doing one last column. Hope to have the engraver come by today for assessing the brick wall and actually start the engraving by tomorrow. We are due another visit from our 2nd window and doorman tomorrow to do the front two large windows. Hopefully our first window and doorman is working on the internal door/window order we gave him.
Had an electrician from the neighborhood stop by last night to assess our breaker popping story but since everything was working (typical) he couldn't tell anything. We do have a breaker pop when we try to use the shower but can't repeat that problem for the electrician without the water running more than one hour a day so hopefully we can get the water connected today. Installing a toilet and sink in the Mission bathroom, and continuing the wiring. Lily will run to town for a couple of errands, some notary work, some more cash exchange (still need soles to pay for all the labor) and another small supply run to Maestro. Life goes on!!
Since we will have an 'event' here Wednesday at 4pm, we interrupted the workers column/header work on the wall and had them do the concrete front of the courtyard which is under the overhang. The mixer is back for our third and final floor pour.
Fascinating how the water system works. We combined the existing water lines from the city, which go through the mission to our casita, into the new pipes which flow from the roof tank to the bathrooms and kitchen below. Now, when the city water is flowing for the initial hour or so every morning, it will feed all plumbing, not just the casita, and if no plumbing takes the water, it goes to the roof tank. The roof tank has a pre-fill filter and if the tank is full, a large float shuts off the intake to prevent overflows (which we have had a few. The brass check valve at the bottom allows the tank to use the same pipe that feeds it, to also distribute to the plumbing below, when the feed is not on. So today we installed the float, twocheck valves, the filter, the completed (temporary) plumbing to the tank, and combined the two pipe systems downstairs with some additional fittings.
24 hour water, finally!!! Interesting how it works. This tank installation is in a temporary location that will change once we complete the 2nd floor (next year?) and move it to the third, but the 'system' hookup will remain the same. I also completed installing toilet and sink and an electrical outlet in the downstairs bathroom (discovered I have to do the sink over, but getting used to doing a few things twice (groan)).
Lily got back from Ica rather late, well after the workers left and the sun was down. She brought back some more needed plumbing items that I requested. Had to come around back the long way until the slab dries. We had some dinner, and went back out front to do a little cleaning on the sidewalk (those cement mixers are so messy!), and to make sure our water line was open so we can get our tank filled in the morning and try again for hot showers .. still have that elusive electrical short to pursue and our hot shower helps us replicate it.
Tuesday, Oct 22: With a new water system that we are looking forward to testing this morning, we get the news that the whole town (including the guy that turns on the water) is in Ica for the 'Lord of Luren Festival" where they bring out the city icon that parades the street in Easter for this 2nd annual procession. So our contractor can only work a half day without water. He will get the rebar and forms in place but can't do the actual concrete work for the header and remaining column out front until tomorrow. I am wondering if it's just coincidence that our guy that turns on the city water is nicknamed "Diablo"? ;-) (everyone has a nickname down here, some quite humorous!). So with that loss of contracting time, that is strike one. Our window/door man who was slated to be here today is now coming tomorrow ... wondering if he's gone to the parade as well? We are to have the brick engraver come by today to assess the wall and hopefully do one brick as an example of his work. Hope he shows up!!
Well, strike 3! Our engraver showed up but was giving us lots of interesting red flags, asking for 'collectivo money' before doing any work, expressing how much easier it is to do marble than brick, saying he needs to go rent a compressor, money for a helper, etc etc etc ... hmmm. Not the strongest relation building are we having with this 2nd meeting. Anyway, he left to go find a compressor and hopefully come back later in day to do a few brick to show us his work ... otherwise, Lily says she will just bring engraved brick facia's from the USA! ;-) That will throw a challenge to the airline luggage limits!! ;-) More on this later.
Still working with only two thirds of our courtyard that is not under roof since the neighbors adobe structure (on our property) is not yet torn down. Hopefully that will happen next February. In the mean time, the two thirds that we can work on is 1/3 gateway and 1/3 brick walled corner (now). The header accross both the gateway and brickwall will carry electricity and perhaps we can even engrave the Mission name on it. Anyway, this photo is a bit of a mess since the gates had to be dismantled to do the work, and they can't be reattached until after we have departed as the header needs to be supported for five days !! (we just found out this tidbit today, as our gate man came by to reattach the gates and couldn't.
A lot of lighting and electrical work done, mainly in the front room since that is what will get used the most while we are gone. Although we have place for 3 more ceiling lights we will wait until our next visit (February) to install them. three of the six are now in place for meeting center use, primarily for El Shaddai, until then. Lily made the excellent suggestion to buy the lights now, just in case they don't carry them when we come back!! The place lights up well, in fact 3 lights seems to be more than adequate.
Well we made an interesting move and created a prison cell on property for rowdy kids and sinners that need intervention. Just kidding. Our original window/doorman who created our primary door and nothing else, did work a deal with Lily to use up the materials we bought for him to use earlier. What she had him do, since she already awarded the other work to a competitor, was to have him do an internal door and window for the master bedroom. I told Lily that it does look like a jail in a local country sheriffs office. Anyway, it will get glass before it is done and assuredly be very nice looking (but those will still look like bars so I am going to have fun with it with any rowdy kids!! ;-)
Well our engraver never returned, so we assume that he could not find a compressor to rent. If he never shows up tomorrow, we will have to find another and do the donation bricks upon our return. Was really hoping to have this done this year. Well there's still 36 hours, lets see what happens.
Tomorrow we are also to have our other iron/door man show up and install the two large front windows and he is bringing a glass person to give us a quote for adding glass to the doors and windows. Hope both of these people do show up.
After everyone left for the day, Lily and I continued to finish the electrical outlets and switches in the front room, even if some of the switches didn't do anything yet. We want this room to be as safe as possible for the comming weekly services that will occur starting this Sunday. Much to do tomorrow, including a major outreach with El Shaddai at 4pm.
Wednesday, Oct 23: Very busy day, we were doing a lot of work on electrical outlets and getting site ready for late afternoon outreach. I also hung a drape on the now functional bathroom, anticipating a lot of people and often the request for 'banjos' is heard! ;-) Sadly, another day went by and our engraver did NOT show up, so looks like we will have to postpone the brick engraveing until February, but it will be a top priority when we get here as the wall is now up and ready. Abel has one worker doing some finishing tarajeo work, and clearing the front courtyard of debris. Christian, his worker, also spent the later part of the afternoon digging a 3 meter deep hole in the back for our grounding of the power at the property. Deep hole, or 'waco' as they say in espanol!
Anyway, we quit working at improving the property and started cleaning about 2pm, for the team from El Shaddai church in Ica was to arrive at about 3pm for our 4pm joint venture. El Shaddai arrived closer to 3:30, as I think some got lost on the way out here! ;-) But we had the place pretty well swept and tidy, and all outlets (220 and low voltage) were functional (or covered to look functional) at least in the main room, kitchen and bathroom (which was also now functional).
And when the people started showing up, they really did not know what to expect, but were very receptive. We had a dentist who gave dental inspections, after which the participants received a recommendation of services needed as well as a small care package with toothbrushs (as they lasted), toothpaste, and other items. We had 144 toothbrushs from Dr Melanie Parker in San Diego and they were long gone before we were half done!! Thank you Dr Parker!!
We also had a dental hygenist that spent a good amount of time talking to the children about the proper care and treatment of their teeth. He had a model of the jaw and instructed on proper brushing and had generated a lot of interaction and questions. Very good with children.
We initally had well over 200 reading glasses to give out, and the church brought an eye doctor to do eye exams along with it, but he could not stay. He cautioned us against giving out the reading glasses without a proper exam, and planned to be back on Sunday (after we are gone) to give those exams. So we put these glasses aside for El Shaddai to use at the next event.
At the same time as what was going on indoors, four young ladies from El Shaddai set up shop on the newly poured courtyard porch and had two of them giving haircuts to the boys and two giving manicures to the girls. This place was soon full and busy everywhere. I have taken some video that will be posted as soon as I can edit it all together.
At the conclusion of the dental/hair/manicure portion of the event, Pastor Martin Laos welcomed everyone and told them of services next Sunday and that the eye exams will be offered. He got a lot of the crowd excited, and hopefully this 'services' start will continue with a strong church plant from El Shaddai here at the Mission in El Carmen.
After Pastor's wonderfully received message, we continued with a raffle/contest on three soccer balls that were donated by Dr Tada of San Diego. We had instructed many children that attended the prior Wednesday to whoever's number was called and could recite John 3:16 would win. We quickly had 3 very happy winners, but a lot of motivated nino's and nina's that would love another chance! So, will have to bring more soccer balls next trip. Thank you Dr Tada for both the balls and the idea!!
We concluded the event with giving out a lot of clothing to a very receptive group. Our outreach was busy, crowded, excited and successful!! So many pictures of this event, I made a separate photo gallery for it, as well as a video, so please peruse and enjoy the smiles with us.
Thursday, Oct 24: Woke up and had a quiet moment in the quiet mission, as I knew this was our last day here. I reflected on how busy it was in this very room just 12 hours earlier and smiled knowing that would be the case every Sunday from now on, and quite a few mid weeks as El Shaddai gets engaged with El Carmen and the surrounding communities via the Mission. We are very happy with what we have accomplished on this trip, but yet at the same time there is so much yet to do. Our biggest accomplishment is making it productive, the building will be secure, lights and water are on, the floors, walls, and ceiling are done and ready for paint. So this mission will soon be hopping and not needing us down here to do it. God is good.
We did get a bit frustrated that our glass provider who was supposed to be here at 8am, did not show up till 11. Our last view of the Mission was this one, with most of the glass in place in two of the front windows (the big black dot on the left shows no glass yet! ;-). the glass will be installed completely in the front, as well as the new interior door and window in the master bedroom by end of day. More windows and doors will be added by our provider, and more glass will follow, hopefully the whole place will continue on schedule for these two functions and when we return in February, it is totally enclosed from the elements and for security reasons.
Had a good taxi ride in to the bus terminal where we met up with Ageda, our neighbor, to discuss some final contractor payments after we are gone. We also had Cesar join us so we could give him a set of keys to the front gate and front door at the mission for El Shaddai's activities in the months ahead. In talking to Cesar, we asked if he could pick up three florescent lights which we needed, and we would pay him back and install them when we returned. We were just afraid if we didn't get them now, the store may have a different manufacturer when we return. Cesar said not only would he get them but they would install them. I kidded with him asking if he could paint too, knowing that is our next chore at the mission and Lily informed me (first I heard) that they are already planning on doing the sanding and primer coat of paint as well to the mission. Wow! I am excited even more about this relationship. God bless our working together for God. We look forward to a continual blessed relationship with El Shaddai. We had a great send off for a few nights in Lima before returning to the USA.
Friday, Oct 25: Spent the day in Lima running errands and then touristing a bit. Lima is a large city with many suburbs and places of different cultures to visit, museums, beachs, malls, and history. We had to do some banking, enjoyed a downtown vegetarian restaurant, and then split our party up as our hosts returned home and Lily and I did some touristing and souvenier shopping. We had some time to burn before we were due in Surco, at a pastor's home. Surco turned out to be pretty distant from downtown, but the cab was only 15 soles going but 20 coming back later in evening. It was so good to connect with another pastor doing God's work, accepting His call. Lazaro moved here in faith to build a church from scratch. He is very focused and dedicated on this task, and was very motivating hearing his testamony. We look forward to working with his church in the future and will establish as strong a tie as is possible with his ministry and our mission in Ica.
Saturday, Oct 26: Ran a few errands today, had a 'bad' chinese lunch (always remember the rule, if no chinese people are eating in the chinese restaurant, you probably shouldn't either! ;-), and then returned to where we were staying to get ready for our attending Miss Peru Tusan Contest in Lima. This is a bi-annual contest recognizing the best of Peruvian-Chinese descent. Lily's grand-niece was the winner in 2011 and will be passing on her crown this year. Lily has another grand niece who is one of 18 finalists, but she did not make it quite to win the final. It was an interesting cultural event, honoring the long reliationship and influence that the Chinese and Peruvians have had.
Sunday, Oct 27: Got up early, packed and ready to head to the airport for our 1:30 flight to USA. We took one side trip to meet up with our Ica neighbor, Raymundo Palomino, who was house sitting for his sister in Lima. We passed on some paperwork and legal status discussion on property dealings with the transfer of title on that part of property we acquired on the north for the mission. We left Raymundo for the airport and had a few hours to spend there with an overpriced meal and a little time on the internet before boarding. The flight was delayed leaving about 30 minutes but finally we took off. After 4 movies, we landed in LA, back in the USA!!! Good to be home, well almost home as we will stay in LA for a few days before heading to San Diego. What a great productive trip. Plans being made for a return in February, and a lot of photos and stories to receive from the Mission between now and then as to outreaches, activities, events, and more. Please consider joining us in February and stay tuned to this website for additional postings on Mission activities and events.