2015 second LAMA Mission trip - El Carmen, San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (many more pictures than are shown in blog)
1 November, Sunday - Headed off to Ica today for church services, hopefully to also catch Pastor Martin. When we got there, we discovered he was off to Brazil and he had the pastor from El Shaddai Nazca doing the service ... He was very good though! And as usual the worship music was excellent. Pastor Martin will be back Wednesday. We will go again to El Shaddai next weekend when Pastor James, Hank Sybrandy and Tanto Hussain are visiting the mission. Pastor Martin offered Tanto an opportunity to preach at both the morning and evening services.
Before leaving El Shaddai, Lily connects with Victor who we will be seeing later at the mission for weekly Oansa activities. And before the last song is done, I catch the Sanchez family enjoying the music!
Shortly after getting back, we find out Antonio has ordered a meal for us and it's waiting. Excellent!! Doesn't take long for 2pm to roll around and the kids are upon us.
Victor quickly has everything set up and exercise program started in the ball court across the street. Lots of fun. After which we all return to the mission for a clown skit, some singing, some sandwiches and Chicha drink, and some more singing. Although we had just under 20 kids in the exercise part, we always seem to nearly double as we get closer to the food section ... hmmm .. I think I am seeing a pattern.
After Oansa, the team leaders headed back to Ica. Victor promised to be bSack tomorrow to do some more light painting cleanup. Then the kids came back and as always wanted to be first on the laptop, camera or cellular, all internet devices where they love to play games but we just don't have enough devices for the number of kids. AND nothings interactive for them on the internet either. So we made a rule tonight, just team games - dominos, connect-4, cards. And there was a lot of interactivity. Julio lead on the Domino table and entertained about 8+ kids. Four other kids had a game of rummy going and 3 to 4 were constantly playing connect 4. Good rule. Save the internet for the lonely kid after school, but when many kids, more interactive entertainment. Hmmm, maybe we need to invest in a couple of ping pong tables for the third floor! ;-)
2 November, Monday - Big busy day. We are down to the wire on a few things since we leave Wednesday for two nights in Lima to meet our San Diego and Mexican contingency. Of the 3 couches we just bought and set up, we need to exchange one and wanted to do that today but tomorrow it will be. Today we caught up on a lot of chores. I am elated to say that my final wiring puzzle is not only solved, but completed and over .. the LAST bit of wiring were these two runs in the front courtyard ... what a headache. This exterior courtyard set of lights was rather challenging as to where the power came from, where it was going, how the wires didn't end up in the same place as the switch wires, the fact that an electrical box was buried in the concrete column and in other fixtures on the run there were no boxes at all to tuck the wires ... what a nightmare. But finally it's over .. I feel like I just took a final in electricity 101!! But I finally beat it and got the wiring all tested out and functional for two runs and two switches at the front door. Julio installed the last light and I got the 2nd switch all tested and covered for some future installation (if ever) of decorative lights on the top of the courtyard walls. But future aside, today we have motion sensitive dual pair of LED (energy saving) spots for the courtyard. Kind of disappointing that I have no more electrical problems to resolve!! ;-)
Finishing that major feat, I had another smaller but out of the way 'projecto' that I pointed to and Julio jumped to it. It was an open cover plate for some future low voltage wiring but it was two stories up in the corridor. Thank you Julio for this, although a small task, it was certainly out of the way and a two story climb. I had to do one of these, installing an exterior fixture, and two floors up over nothng is not the best feeling. So, again, thank you Julio!! ;-) I am also noticing a trend in my photos where I seem to get Julio on the top of a ladder a lot!! ;-)
Later we got the couch all packed and ready to go for a return to Ica tomorrow. We also installed four curtain poles in the four dormitory bathrooms on the 2nd floor. Lily and I moved to the yet to be utilized men's dormitory, leaving the womans for our three guys coming in from USA and Mexico in a few days. The womans dorm is a little larger and definitely quieter not being in the front of the building.
We worked with the audio system on the first floor to resolve a wireless microphone bug. I was glad of that because i was not looking forward to taking that all the way back to Lima for retail haggling.
Victor showed up late morning and we discussed a lot what the furniture layout would be for this weekend as well as the transportation of the kids to Ica for their big dance number at the large church (El Shaddai).
Victor did a lot of touch up on the paint and will return one more time on Thursday for the kids for one last trial run on the dance routine. We won't be here for that since we will be in Lima, returning on Friday. Did a good amount of cleaning outside on the top of the courtyard and corridor walls. Lots of sand, dust and dirt that accumulates and it is very visable from the 2nd and 3rd floors so thought I would give it a dusting. End of the day, shared a cup of coffee with Victor and Julio and we relaxed a bit before Victor had to go. He did get me started on making some summary video of the Mission project over the last 3 years, I only hope I can do that within the time I have before catching a bus on Wednesday. Guess I can work on it on the short trip as well, not needing internet to do so. Another day, quite a bit accomplished.
One last photo, a test of the courtyard lights which Yereni came in to tell me she really liked after she and Julio returned from a short village walk. Yeah, that turned out well! what a four week headache though ... moving on to other chores now! Bye bye electrical work.
3 November, Tuesday - Have to play catch up again on the blog. I know that Tuesday we did quite a bit of chores around here. Let me see what I can find. Ah yes, we did make a trip to Sodimac to exchange our faulty couch and buy some additional floor mats for the kids to watch movies from (helps to have a few pictures to jog your memory!). Miguel, our welder and occasional taxi driver, took us for this chore. I know we did other things that day when we got back. I also remember Julio doing a good number of chores while we were gone - hanging a shelf, wiring and hanging two mirrors, and he painted the wood panel we installed in Antonio's bathroom which I finished building. Lots of 'projectos' and Julio has earned my leaving my tool kit in his hands when we leave the mission later this month!! ;-)
In taking a picture of the 2nd floor half bath, now that it has a mirror it is totally done. In doing so, this room sort of reflects all that we did on this trip. So much that is hidden from the outside, where nothing has really changed (other than a few lights), the inside is where we focused. This half bath was pure concrete with no tile, no toilet, no sink, no electricity, no light, no switch, nothing. All that was done to it and the rest of the place. A lot of work, a lot of time, expense, all needed. Finish work, always takes longer and costs more. Some day we might even have tile on the floors of the non-bathrooms, who knows? But not this year. ;-)
Kid showed up later that evening for game night. We are getting them off of the internet, which they don't like, but they interact with each other so much more on board and card games than they do while staring at a computer or tablet screen.
4 November, Wednesday - I do recall that Lily, Yarini and Julio (of course with Ceci) took a run into town as I was left here to work on the video for this weekend. I know they wanted to see about opening a bank account that Julio could deposit too but this includes finding out about getting a citizens or resident card as well. Something that I need to look into as well. That was a primary reason for the trip, as well as some other things, one of them being looking into getting a printer.
They came back wth a printer and I was able to get it working before leaving the mission for a few days. I sent in an email to Epson on the difficulties, but was thinking it was something pecular to Windows 10 on my computer. Anyway, Julio's computer is up and able to use it, that is the most important. We also have the womens dormitory ready for Hank, James & Tanto (since there are no women in the traveling crew, putting it to use .. it's also the quieter of the two being farther from the street).
We had to get out of here around 3 to catch a bus to Lima to go meet James, Hank and Tanto from San Diego and Mexico. We got up to Lima after dark but had a comfortable night. Had a lot more work to do on the video for this week's presentation back at the mission so planned to spend the next day doing that. Won't need to turn on the internet for this work, and we are only here two nights so it's 'offline' while in Lima. Hope I can survive 2 whole days without emails and facebook!! ;-) Good for me! Got Lily committed to run tomorrows chores without me. We need to get an auto part for our perpetual 'Fiat problem', also exchange a non-working extension on our intercom for a working substitute, and do some inquiry at the immigration office for the Sanchez family as to their options at 6 months, to get a Visa, etc. The guys are not coming in till tomorrow night so off to sleep.
5 November, Thursday - Lily abandoned me around 10 am and I continued working on this monster video to tell all about the mission from start to end ... how to keep it short ...hmmm. I started developing a cough as well that got to me about late morning. I left and went to the market to find some thought lozengers but they don't seem to have those down here. Also you can't buy an asparin without going to a pharmacy as well. So, getting this reminder as I did some impulse buying at the market (got a bottle of wine 'for medicinal purposes' but they don't sell corkscrews? go figure). Got some chips, cranapple juice and wine and then found a pharmacy at back of store. They didn't even have lozengers!! I got some cough syrup and some pills. Anyway, made myself a bowl of 'medicinal ice cream' to go with my chips and cranapple juice (since no corkscrew at the apartment either!) and got back to work on the video.
Lily showed up about 2pm and had some tales to tell regarding her ordeals with all three efforts, and her trials to get in touch with me thinking I was starving without here and panicking and near death without her to cook for me. But I told her (well she could see) that I fended for my self with my credit card! ;-)
Later in day, when we were near expecting to hear about our three guys in route we got a text message saying they missed their flight out of Mexico and will have to come out no earlier than tomorrow! Wow! That was not good news as we had purchased non-refundable bus tickets for all of us for tomorrow morning and they were going to have such a short trip anyway. We made the decision, especially not knowingn for sure when they were now coming, to use two of the bus tickets we bought to return to the mission, with us being ready with lodging, driver, whatever they needed when they did get in.
6 November, Friday - Just the two of us, we got the early morning 6:30am bus to Ica, intended to be for all 5 of us. We got back into Ica around 11:30, and were able to retrieve our repaired intercom station from another bus stations freight window (one of three ordeals of Lily's yesterday) but it will be good to get installed and operational. We also had to get a cake order in for the planned party for tomorrow, a two year anniversary. Then we got back to the Mission before 1pm. We hoped to hear from Tanto by noon or 1pm as to their efforts. Finally we got a message that they were planning to get on the flight today, if 3 people did not show up, and their would be no charge.
Later in day, that didn't work out at all, apparently. The three people must have been uncooperative and actually showed up since Tanto texted us saying he will be on the flight tomorrow (Saturday) for sure ... 48 hours late!! Ouch ... Well, this means that they will definitely miss the party we were planning for them and the two year anniversary tomorrow, with all the kids singing and the like ... and since they will get in to Lima late on Saturday, they will also put a serious dent in their being able to make Sunday services unless they get on an immediate bus which would put them down here really late if there is one even available.
We looked and the buses quit running about the time they land (of course) but there is a midnight bus that would get them in about 5am Sunday. Looks like that is the current plan. Man they will be one rag tag tired team when they get here. God bless them safe and restful flight and journey. We prayed extensively for them today and will do so again tomorrow. Challenge now is that since they are arriving so late, they will definitely want to stay as much as possible at the Mission, so our bus tickets returning them to Lima on Monday for their Wednesday flight home are probably worthless, wanting to add one more day at the mission. Lessons learned, I guess when travel plans are so fluid, to NOT buy tickets ahead of time to save money ... ends up costing more. Regardless, we are elated to have them come, only wishing they could stay longer. Will be a busy weekend.
On top of all that, we heard from Missionary Dave, who was going to stay with us a week or so ago and never made it. He is also coming here this weekend. So we will have the current 7 of us at the Mission plus 4 more. It wll be busy.
Had movie night with the kids tonight, just a small crew. Yareni thought she was playing Avengers and put on Iron Man 3 instead. Anyway, we had an up and down headcount of about a dozen. Before movie night, Julio and I constructed a shelf for our new printer to keep our office desktop available for computer use, and to protect the printer a bit. I have a feeling we will be putting this to a lot of use at the mission, mainly as a printer for information, handouts, flyers, and more but also as a small cycle copier and scanner.
7 November, Saturday - Well we are down to the wire here, in that in 11 days Lily and I will be on a plane home. We hope to see James, Tanto and Hank early tomorrow morning for a few days of missionary sharing with them both here at the mission as well as in Ica at El Shaddai Christiano Communidad.
Also wandering US mission David who has been working in Peru for 12+ years will be here today ... Still early and still time to try to shrink my long 15 minute video creation to something more reasonable. Lining up a few 'projectos' as well. Lily just left to give the part we 'arrived at' from Lima for our "Fiat problemo". She's also going for some paper plates for our event later today. Our missionary friend, David, showed up and we got him settled in the downstairs bedroom as he has a problem with stairs. Haven't seen him in 3-4 years.
We had a great anniversary celebration, our 2nd year as a functioning Missionary establishment in El Carmen. The El Shaddai team came up, celebrating adults and youth together. Lily got a couple of cakes for the occasion, with ice cream. We had an opportunity to introduce the Sanchez family to the people that came.
Antonio brought 3 of his regular friends he has been hanging with since moving here, so we have recruitments and relationships from both the Sanchez and Wong connections filing the chairs. El Shaddai made a great photo frame that as many as possible were taking a photo with. Cesar gave us a mini-service, his wife closing in prayer. And we did get to see the youth perform their dance routine that they will be doing again tomorrow down in Ica. A pretty full evening. Only wish that our three traveling compatriots were here for this. So many pictures, I will just post a few here, but many more can be found in the gallery by simply clicking on any photo and walking through them.
8 November, Sunday - Wow, I have a lot of catch up to do on this blog ... With our three weary travelers from California and Mexico finally arriving at the mission at about 4am by a rented car ... much to tell .. been posting pictures on Facebook, but will attempt to do some documenting here ... give me a minute! ;-)
We were able to get back to sleep by about 5 am with a warning to all that the bus will be leaving at 8 in the morning for Ica. I then got up and knocked on their door at 7:15 to remind them that they have 45 minutes!! Poor guys. Bus was ontime and the kids starting showing up and boarding. Victor and company came up separately from Ica and planned to ride the bus with the kids down to Ica.
We introduced Hank, James and Tanto to everyone. Lily got breakfast going and oatmeal for all, while Victor was saying 'time to go" (in spanish of course). We got him to get the bus to delay a little so we could get our oatmeal down. I think we loaded well before 8:30am and had a great bus ride down. We got to El Shaddai and introduced our three travelers to Pastor Martin,who was relieved since he committed the pulpit to Tanto this morning and James this evening. Had a great service, and Tanto had a very lively presentation that got a lot of interaction from congregation members afterwards, wanting to know more about his online institute from Mexico.
Pastor invited us all to his house for lunch. And there was quite a spread of Peruvian food, that Tanto, James and Hank were very appreciative of. Pastor Martin and the guys really hit it off. It was refreshing to see since I remember talking to all three of them wondering if the Sanchez's would have the freedom to plant a church since we already had this 'relationship' established. It was great for them to see the value of the relationship, and the strong spiritual leanings of Pastor Martin, a friend for 5 years now who we have been with before the first brick on his church was laid.
After a great lunch, we headed back to the Mission in a couple of rented cars. We need to head back down to Ica by end of the day since James will be delivering the message at the church tonight but thought some time at the mission, a little power nap for James, would be better than hanging in town all day. Some of the youth came by to play games, and the subject of soccer came up and a quick game including Tanto, Hank and I (mostly on camera) was created. Tanto and Hank were most impressed as to how soccer skilled these young men were.
We took the rented car back to Ica, just the four of us (Tanto, James, Hank & William) and enjoyed another worship service at El Shaddai. Pastor James delivered a sermon from Matthew, with Tanto translating, one that he had already prepared for this weekend in San Diego. After James delivery, Pastor Martin did a wrap-up and close. We departed and found a great restaurant where we ordered two complete chickens and poppa fritas (french fries) getting pretty full in the process. Got hope and crashed (I mean, hit the sheets, called it a day).
9 November, Monday - A day pretty much up at the mission We had breakfast and Tanto, Hank, James and I went for a stroll around El Carmen, starting at the cemetery and the old church that is about to fall down. We got a few pics of Tanto and James using the ancient lecturn but after leaving the church they got excited about seeing the gate open to the water tower ... oh oh. While Hank and i inspected the cemetery and started to walk around the east side of town, Tanto and James were off on a water tower climb (I was wishing they wouldn't). But they did get a spectacular set of photos of the surrounding area including the mission, as well as even a 360 video (link here).
They said that from that height you can see el Olivos, to the north. Well after they climbed down from their high perch, we decided to hoof it to the north and check out the area. Lily and Yareni got as far as the clinic on the north side of El Carmen, while James, Tanto, Hank and William continued to walk to El Olivos. Yareni actually got a shot of some sort and will next time bring her passport, and is exploring the options of using the clinic and medical services in Peru as a visiting missionary.
As to our walk to El Olivos, it really wasn't that far. We had a long talk with a couple of ladies on the street, one Catholic and the other some sort of Christian group. We found out some facts about the village and El Shaddai's prior involvement. Lots of potential up here. Afterwards we started to head back and took a rest at the Mission. After a short break, and a quick soccer match that was easy to set up with all the kids hanging around the mission, we then headed to San Pedro, which was much closer than El Olivos. We had a lot of tour guides on this walk. Alfredo, our store owning neighbor on our north side, who Julio has been getting to know, actually rode his bicycle with us as we went to San Pedro to give us information along the way. San Pedro is made up of about 60 houses and 500 people. Much closer than Olivos but much smaller as well.
After going to Olivos, we did the walk behind the mission, visiting a few farm animals on our way to visit Invacion as well. Invacion is a spill over community from El Carmen, directly abutting the village that is named for the fact that it just is a bunch of 'invasion' of property by people that needed a place to live and built one.
After a pretty full day of getting to know the four immediate communities that the Mission serves, we had arranged to have one last meeting with Pastor Martin back in Ica, failing to get him to come out to the Mission. So, having a car that comfortably seats 5, our choice was to have a few of us go by cab the 15-17 kilometers to Pastors house. But are you kidding? With this crew, we all decided to pile into the poor rented KIA, all EIGHT of us!! I mean, what's more Peruvian than overloading a vehicle?
It was funny that when we actually got to Pastors house he was surprised that we all came in and there was only one car .. he couldn't believe it. Anyway, we had a great meeting just building on the relationship that we have had for nearly 5 years now. It was great to see this argued for, to have the Sanchezs come under his pastoral leadership while operating at the mission. Before Hank, Tanto and James came down and got familiar with the local scene, El Shaddai, the Mission, we were getting questions about their freedom to plant a church and get things going and not be under any obligations to anyone else, etc. Our feedback was, of course, that is the purpose of the missionary operation, but at the same time to build on the relationships of the past. We are ecstatic that with only a few days here, Our visitors see the value of our relationship with El Shaddai and Pastor Martin. Anyway, we had a great meeting, and as usual the hospitality of the house made us quite comfortable with coffee, crackers, jams, olives, and more.
After leaving the Martin's and before returning to the Mission, we took our crew to a favorite restaurant where we haven't eaten at in a long time, the Huarango. Many different dishes were ordered, a few Lomas Saltado's, but I held out for my favorite, Rocoto Relleno. the waiter says that takes a little longer so we got my order in first while everyone else was still thumbing through the menu. Hank said 'me too', brave soul, but he really liked it. It's sort of like a Peruvian stuffed pepper, but a spicy one. My favorite Mexican dish is Chile Relleno. I'm glad that Hank got to sample this favorite disk and enjoy some great Peruvian cooking both at Pastors house as well as local cuisine.
10 November, Tuesday - Ah, Tuesday, our visitors final day. Well we had to do a postponed tour using the rental car to see how far north we can go. The terrain here is interesting once you leave the villages, it's all farmland but surrounded on the north by large hills. Tanto was focused on climbing one of them (as if he could do that in just a few hours). Anyway, we headed out and immediately after leaving Olivos, you hit a dirt road that takes you along the Rio Ica river bank. This river divides the farmland area on both sides, with a large community for us to outreach on the other side known as San Jose, if we can figure out the best way to get over there.
It didn't take long to realize this was not the right terrain for a rented KIA and a four wheel drive was better vehicle to try this. In fact there was a drive area to cross the river when it was at low flow (like now) up here, we actually saw a motor cycle and many people do it. But definitely not something for a KIA sedan. Anyway, it was good to stretch the boundaries of my walk with my visiting spiritual brothers to points I have seen on Google maps only. Would love to invest in a vehicle for the future for the mission down here. Do we get a four wheel drive or do we get a bus/van?
Got back to the Mission and had to bid our travelers farewell as we encouraged them to get back to Lima in time to do a little tourist shopping. We opened up the Mission apartment for them to use in Miraflores, encouraging them to find parking for their rental car a few places. Sad to see them go, but think that they took back a lot of memories and definitely appreciated the fact that it is quite amazing how the mission, the missionary sending group in Mexico as well as our San Diego church has tied it all together. We encourage all to come down and stay at the Mission and participate in the 'real job' of the mission, and that is to 'give back' love to the community, the village, the children, their families, and to show Jesus love for all of them. My day tomorrow fully showed that to me.
11 November, Wednesday - Had a pretty full day. In fact I am going to forever refer to this day as my 'pull at your heart strings day'. Know that we are winding down after 3 months of a missionary trip to complete the construction phase of a 3 year project and get a live in missionary family started on their ministry here. We are so excited to be handing off the Mission to Julio Cesar Sanchez & Yareni Chávez Díaz who are committed and have been building relations with the village people their first month here.
Although we are preparing to leave the mission in days, while we were doing many chores, we had a visitation. A young teenage girl came by with Magaly (a handicapped young lady who has frequented the mission since it first opened). I recognized Magaly, but not the young girl. It turns out that this young lady is the older sister to two of our regular young boys (Carlos & Luis) who come here often and she said that her mother wanted to talk to Lily, asking if we could come over. Lily asked if she could come to the mission so she and Magaly went to get her.
She came back with Carlos and his much younger brother who I haven’t met before. We had our new missionary, Julio, join us as we had no idea what was up and in light of us leaving in a few days, wanted Julio and Yareni as engaged as possible with whatever this was about as they will be THE contacts once we are gone.
Carlos’s mother was a bit distraught and in tears as she told us a problem that Carlos was having. Carlos was very much looking very depressed during this discussion from his mother. First it was simply he isn't going to school for the last 3 days. Then the reason came out that he had no shoes and the school will not allow kids to attend in sandals. (I noticed that Carlos is wearing a pair of sandals that we gave him on an earlier trip in March/May of this year, and they were pretty worn out, besides being adult sandals for his 9 year old feet.) And today was a very important day at school where they were to be tested. So for the lack of a pair of shoes, this young boy was going to be denied an education?
Lily has always spoken well of Carlos and Luis as they are two of the most polite kids we have run into at the mission, always with the courteous greetings, and also even bringing by a fruit gift for the mission on occasion. They love coming here as their mother says that when they act up she uses denying them the privelege of going to the Mission and they are always on their best behavior then.
Getting back to the problem, Lily and I were headed to town today on other matters so we volunteered to take Carlos with us to get him a pair of shoes. Before doing so we gave her some clothing that we brought down for a future outreach, with her four children in mind, along with a pair of sandals for her. We could not find any sandals for Carlos's size but did for his younger brother.
So off to town we went. We got to town and after many different store shops we finally found a reasonable pair for about S/.50 (~$17 US) and we got him some socks as well to go with them. While there we got him a pair of pants and a shirt. We then went and had lunch at the food court in the mall and I have never seen Carlos so happy. He was walking on “cloud nine.” We did our other stops on a couple of things we came to town on, and planned to return tomorrow for a few that we couldn't do, and headed back to the mission.
We have many times seen Carlos's brother with a "long face", I had Yareni pray with him once trying to find out what was troubling him, but I never remember Carlos being so gloomy as he was this morning when his mother told us the tale. But now he's so happy, well fed, with a new wardrobe and headed home to show his mom. He couldn't say Gracias enough. Cost? S./100, about $30 to help this family out of a tough spot.
Much later in the day, I got Lily, Julio and Yareni to visit a local residence of two of our OANSA youth, Luisiana & Jose. There has been an ongoing discussion of trying to find a way to 'fix' their housing situation. It is a small two room brick home with two other needed rooms (kitchen and bedroom) being made out of straw with dirt floors.
Maria, the single mother who works in the field during harvest, has had many kitchen implements being stolen since that portion of their housing is literally outdoors in one of two of the straw walled dirt floored rooms. The other room is where Luciana sleeps. All three of them also bath with a hose outside and this has led to many embarrassing situations, one where little 5 year old Jose was molested by an older boy.
We needed to get all the family facts on paper to see how we can perhaps help them. Luciana has repeated many times that her mom has asked if we can do anything, and we have taken pictures, had Victor (our partner church representative who comes to the mission weekly) discuss with El Shaddai Comunidad (our partner church), and more but we have no 'solution' as of yet. Maria, Luciana's mom, is a single mom and works on the harvest like so many out here. When there isn't a harvest, there is not a lot of work for everyone. Her income is very seasonal.
Luciana is very special to us as well, as she is always the deepest in prayer and in joyous singing during worship. She brought her little brother Jose to one of the weekly Mission O.A.N.S.A. meeting where he accepted Jesus as his savior earlier this year. His mother says that he tells her he is going home with Hermano William to San Diego? (I seem to recall telling him that I wanted to take him back with me, he is so adorable . I reassured his mom that I wouldn't do that without her permission. ;-) )
We really want to find a solution for this dilemma of this family. At this time we wanted to let Maria know that we are working on it, but to make sure her expectations were set properly. It is not a small sum of money (from S./3,500 to 12,000 Soles; $1 to 4,000) and will take time to raise, find sources for. We did get her commitment to save and contribute part of it.
Still later in the day, I met this seven year old boy, Juancito (Juan), that Julio had met a week or so ago. This young man told Julio that he would like to come to Oansa but his health doesn't make it possible. He has an adult size (overgrown) heart 'condition'. Although he is seven, he actually looks more like four. His heart keeps growing, taking away from all his other organ growth, and perhaps why he looks so young for his age. (Picture is with his uncle, Alberto, and Antonio from the Mission).
His family has taken him to the doctors in Lima who have said that he has a condition that is not repairable and that he will not live long, to just take him home and make him comfortable.
Julio told me this story, but to actually meet him a few weeks later and see the smile on his face and the few English words he knew and expressed to me. He says to everyone that "Jehovah is going to heal him." I took his picture as I was determined to know more of this story and to explore it ourselves. It didn't dawn on me the coincidence of these three events all in one day until tomorrow in prayer.
12 November, Thursday - Got up early, I fixed the Access Point Wireless issue I created with the wireless device I had brought to us from San Diego. It now works seamlessly as one walks from one floor to the next, boosting the signal upstairs. AND it works utilizing POE (Power over Internet) not needing a local power source! on the job training - Most Excellent. ;-)
I then gave myself a haircut after a shower. I then brought the hair cutting implements to Julio upstairs since he asked about it yesterday. I volunteered to cut his hair, if for no other reason of the great photo-op of outgoing missionary cutting the hair of the new incoming missionary. He then said we should all go down and have a prayer circle together. I was wondering if that was because of my offer? ;-)
Anyway, we had a great prayer this morning and I was very touched by events yesterday and God filled my heart with knowing He is with us and showing us so much as to what our purpose here is. I reflected on these three events during prayer and could not help but tear up.
In one situation that was tearing at a family, a simple pair of shoes and some love solved it. How many similar problems could we solve by bringing a few suitcases of second hand shoes down with us next time? In another problem, there is a solution, it is deeper and costlier and perhaps with the right outreach and resources we can solve it as well. A simple matter of time and money and where that might come from if at all.
The last problem touched me the most. Is God simply showing me the faith in this young boy, is He showing me that we can't solve everything? Is He giving us a clear blessing through this young man, his true faith that has kept him alive longer than any doctors would have thought? Or is this another opportunity to have us explore a solution for as well.
In all of this, I felt the presence of God. He had me in tears, and He has again just by my writing this. The coincidence of these three events all on one day, three difference magnitudes of complexity, just days before we are leaving, seems as though it is God's way of showing us how He is involved with this Mission, and how He is assuring us that we are here for a purpose. How many other Carlos, Lucianas and Juancito’s are there? God is good ... all of the time. Need to take a break and wipe my tears from typing this .. ;-) Lord, you give us your vision and love for your children .. help us find the resources.
After prayer, we did some regular things around the mission, and Victor showed up about 4pm on a borrowed motorcycle to start training on a whole new dance number, most likely for Christmas timeframe. Later that evening we broke out into game time and then Julio got them into a bible discussion group before we called it a night.
13 November, Friday - Getting down to the wire in our last days at the mission. Today was catch up day on the blog; did a few 'projecto's'. Used up the last of the cooking gas and went with Julio to refill it. Got a lock replaced on the rear door to the mission. This was the only lock that you had to have a key to open. We replaced it with a module that can be deadbolted with a key but can also easily open and close without during the day. This also provided a desired key change for the Sanchez family for security. Fixed a leaky hose, moved some furniture around between 1st and 2nd floor, and other minor things getting ready for our Sunday departure.
We had our final 'cine night' before we leave, and played Jurassic World. It's funny to see how the kids come and go and are restless in the beginning of the movie and then are all frozen and glued to the screen during the action sceens.
Little Juan (the boy with the big heart) came with his father, also Juan. He engaged in a game of Connect-4 before the movie. I am hoping to get more details on his medical history before leaving for Lima on Sunday.
These people, the simple life, the love of each of them, the needs, their spiritual hunger and more ... is all so inviting. I am thinking I am a little jealous of the Sanchez's! May God bless them in their calling here, in what they have in front of them. It is so good to see the bonding that they are already having with so many people and will continue to have as the fact that they are residents and not just 'passing through' sinks in even more with the locals.
14 November, Saturday - Leaving for Lima tomorrow. Man, I am really feeling some regrets in going and leaving all these kids behind. I am so elated that we are leaving them this time not to have the Mission idle for 5 days a week while we are gone, but to actually have them know that there is an active missionary family here that is only here because they care for all of them. I am excited that when we next return that we will see so much improvement with the relationships here because of the residency of both the Sanchez family and Antonio Wong. Although tomorrow our bus will be in early afternoon, and the Sanchez's are committed to attend services at El Shaddai in the morning, we would like to do so with them but with luggage and all not sure if it will be possible. We might have to say our goodbyes to them as they leave for church! Playing it by ear, with today being our packing day. Man, I'm already missing this place!!
Much to do in the near future ... we have to resolve some building issues on the 3rd floor and then work to install the polycarbonite roofing that it was designed for. That is the major final step here for construction. We need to buy some more mattresses and we definitely need a lot of sheets for twin beds, pillow cases AND towels, lots of towels. Always can use additional furniture such as classroom chairs but these are all getting to be simple items that will fix themselves in time.
What is so exciting is that this place is operational now. We will continue to work with the Sanchez family from afar until we return as to any things that show up, operational issues, etc.
So today, our last full day at the Mission, what did we do. We did a lot of Hearts and Hands hat and scarf distribution with the kids. But still saved a lot of what our church (The Branch sent down) for next Fall, since it is warming up fast down here as we go into summer, this is not the best time to distribute winter wearing items. But the kids really wanted it and loved getting them. Hope to have our Hearts and Hands San Diego members come to the Mission next August to do some knitting training with the ladies of the villages. Will work to firm that trip up so that a good number of 'trainees' will be ready for their arrival.
Lily and I left late morning to go check on our Fiat Fiasco. It was not really ready, still having some issues with closing the electrical windows. So we left and told t
hem we would be back in an hour or so. We then caught another Collectivo to Ica to meet up with Victor and Mirella Castagnola to make an early purchase on Christmas gifts for the youth kids. El Shaddai will be providing sweet cakes and hot chocolate and we are providing one gift per each of 45 children.
Getting back, we stopped and picked up the little Fiat (Fiasco) and actually drove the rest of the way back to the Mission with a car load of Christmas gifts. Stashed them away for a few months, with Victor promising to get paper for wrapping and work with Sanchez's to accomplish that large task.
We had fellowship services with Vincent and Mirella present. Lily got her hair done at the Mission just prior to services. Victor and Mirella said goodbye, knowing we were leaving tomorrow afternoon.
Daysi, Raymundo, Agita, Adriana & Pia came over with a Pie to share! Good eating. Luciana and Jose were still hanging around in the office with a few other kids but we ate our pie. I gave Luciana a bite since I saw her eyeballing it and she appeared a little hungry. While Daysi's family was still there, I promised to walk Luciana and Jose home.
We had Ariana join us along the way. They started talking about Hamburgesa's so I bought all three of them (thinking they seemed hungry and this was a goodbye). While there, there was another street salesperson selling tamales. Haven't had one on this trip yet, and wanted to treat the Sanchez's to one since I told them about the tamales that they sell here every weekend. So I bought 5 and took them back to the Mission. Daysi, Agita and family were still there. Yareni really wanted to try a Tamale so we dove into them - good buy, enjoyable company, good taste .. especially after the home made pie!! Said goodnight to everyone.
15 November, Sunday - The Sanchez's were heading to El Shaddai in Ica in the morning while we were staying to get all packed up and leave around noon. We saw them off at the front of the Mission as they got into a collectivo. We will be staying in touch with them though with all that is going on at the Mission. We then went back inside and spent a few hours making sure we were ready to go. Juansito's parents came over per our request, so we could be sure to be current on as many facts as possible on his health situation. We have no idea what we can do and definitely wanted to not give any false hopes. We only wish that we can do something.
The day moved on and we were running short of time before it was time for us to get out front and catch our own collectivo to Ica. I left the internet camera behind, didn't get all the videos off of it, hope I can get the Sanchez's able to do so. Also didn't get a chance to reinstall a camera, oh well, time just ran out.
Luis & Carlos's family came by as well to see us off. We had about 20 people show up. Lots of hugs and good byes. Way too much to catch on camera!! Christian, next door neighbor pulled up in a cab and we flagged him down for a ride back to Ica. We gave our goodbyes to a large contingency at the front of the Mission! ;-)
16 November, Monday - Had a bunch of errands to do the next day. We went to do some shopping, pay some utility bills. Bought a bunch of Indian made finger puppets which are always popular with the children in USA. A few other items, and then back to the apartment by 1 or 2. I did a few apartment chores, we had a few meals, got our suitcases arranged a bit and then we left around 9pm for the airport. Our flight was 1:30 in the morning so we had a long wait. It left about 20 minutes late and we said our goodbyes to Peru ... until next time!!
This is part 5 (November 1-17) of the blog for this specific Mission trip, second one for 2015. Click any of the below date blocks to go to any of the parts of this blog:
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (many more pictures than are shown in blog)