Friday, January 27, 2006

The kids are really getting into the story time more each week. On Tuesday, Doraluz, who is 12, answered her first question ever. She is one of the children who doesn't seem to have heard these Bible stories before, so it's really exciting to see her and her sisters and brother learning more. We read about Moses last week, and made frogs with long balloons for tongues after we learned about the plagues in Egypt. Then this week we've learned about Samson, and I brought a fun wig we got to play with and we played a game called pull-apart where you display your strength by having the boys sit down and lock arms and the girls do their best to pull them apart.

We have also been working on basic things like saying 'thank you' instead of demanding a different type of candy or coloring sheet, and throwing away trash and candy wrappers in actual trash cans! Some of these kids don't get a lot of attention, so there is a lot they aren't learning at home along those lines.

It's really almost comical to look back at what I've written because I am getting so excited about every little thing with these crazy kids. I never imagined I would love this so much, and God has provided so many resources and helpers and faithful attenders to encourage me in something so new to me!

Billy reading the story of Samson. It's so cool because now they don't want to stop at just one story (the candy they win for answering questions correctly may help), but they also continue to be able to recall from week to week what we've learned.

Raul is taking the brunt of it in pull apart!

Americo posing as Samson! Americo has become a faithful attender and leader for the group. He also comes on Saturdays to the older kids' club and likes to help out facilitating games and things.

Doraluz, me, Frine, and Johann. These kiddos are really excited to be with us each time and they seem to be learning the Bible for the first time. Johann is even learning to behave better than when he first started coming. He took the initiative and helped me put my things in my bag after our time this week!

Please pray that things will continue to go deeper in my time on Tuesdays and Fridays with these little ones. I don't want to just entertain them, I want them to learn and grow in Christ. I am also leading an arts/crafts type course for the older students' club where they earn badges for learning new skills. I am responsible for leading a weekly art time (I don't dare call it a class!) for around 7 students for up to 3 months. I am not particularly artistically gifted, and materials are a little harder to come by without Michael's or Hobby Lobby craft stores around, so please pray that God will work in this, as I don't have much to offer on my own! Pray for continued resources and creativity, and that meaningful conversation can occur during our weekly time together. Please also pray for my Spanish to continue to improve.

I am so grateful for your prayers, support, and encouragement. Thank you for helping me to be a part of this great ministry in Peru!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts." - A.W. Tozer

Friday, January 13, 2006

Macchu Picchu and more kids club!

It's been a great couple of weeks. We'll go from the top down as far as the pictures go. Starting off with the trip to Macchu Picchu on Wednesday, January 11th. It was such a long day. Anna and I were picked up at our apartment at 5:30am by the nicest travel agent ever. He took us to the train station where we boarded at 6:15 for our 4-hour journey to the city of Aguas Calientes. We sat across from two girls about our age - one German and one Australian. So we all chatted and enjoyed the scenery until we arrived around 10:30am. We then took about a 20 minute busride up to Macchu Picchu. The bus goes up the mountain with these hairpin turns and guardrails are rare. It reminds me of a family vacation to the California coast which was characterized by motion sickness! It was a beautiful view though.

Once we got up to Macchu Picchu, we went through the gates and caught up with our tour group. We listened at the beginning and then sort of explored on our own. There are very few areas you can't go into in the entire city of Macchu Picchu, so it makes for good exploring. Basically, it's a lost city of the Inca's and it's a huge city with three temples and it's just beautiful. We looked around a lot and then took the bus back down for lunch. They had a typical Peruvian band at the restaurant and it was a nice meal. After lunch, we bought some expensive ice cream and looked around in the market before boarding the train again at 3:55pm. The train ride back took a little longer and we had lots of friends on the train by the time we arrived. To get in and out of the train station in Cusco, the train goes back and forth, zig-zagging up or down the side of a mountain, so you feel like you aren't getting anywhere! Our whole car was a little delirious by the time we got home, but it was a fun trip.

Me at the 'entrance' to Macchu Pichhu

Ok, following are some more pictures from the past few weeks. The time on Tuesday and Friday afternoons is going better and better. This past Tuesday, we started with a relay where the kids ran down to a chair to pop a balloon on it. We played boys vs. girls and they were loving it. (Anything with balloons is a hit with these kids!) Then we read the story of Isaac and Rebekah and the kids did a great job listening and answering questions. Miguel, who helps me out, does a great job of asking questions to keep the kids tracking with us. After the story, we played "chubby bunny", where you put first one marshmallow in your mouth and say 'chubby bunny' (in english), and continue adding more marshmallows and saying your phrase of choice. We had to improvise on the sayings, but it was actually better having them say "Jesus loves Me" after all.

Things are continuing to go just wonderfully. Thank you for your prayers. You can continue to pray for the kids clubs, that we will be able to really disciple these kids. You can also pray that my Spanish will continue to improve and that meaningful conversation will ensue in many different situations.

God is teaching me a ton and I can see that He is working in the lives of so many Peruvians as well. It is a joy and a privilege to be here. Thanks for your prayers and support!

Susanna, Anna, Me and Rebecca out in Cusco.

Playing "chubby bunny" with the kids. They were so funny. We said things like "jesus loves me" because chubby bunny didn't quite translate.

Mariela popping her balloon.

Daniel had a little trouble - we had to basically drop the littler kids onto the balloons to get them to pop!

playing...the boy next to me is Miguel, he's 14, and the bigger guy next to him is Billy, who's 15; they both help me on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Here is one of our group from New Year's Eve. We were about to dig into our wonderful dinner and embark on a night of incessant laughter!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Here are a few miscellaneous pictures from the past week. We are getting up at 4:45 in the morning to go to Macchu Picchu, so I'll put some pictures up from that soon too!

The good news is that today was our best kids' meeting so far. It was a little more structured and we had extra help and lots of kids. I will put up some pictures from that soon too. Thanks for your prayers - God is definitely at work in this community.

playing games at the Youth Club kick-off on Thursday

the little ones saw us play a game with these sheets and water balloons, and they just had to try it themselves. They didn't ever get the hang of it but they had fun!

This is Anna, she's visiting for a few weeks and helping me a ton with the kids. The little boy is Jose Antonio. He came for the first time last Friday, and he just talks and talks like he's giving a report of everything going on around him. It's really cute.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Christmas and Early January

***you can leave comments - I almost wish you would!

January 4, 2006

I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's. On Christmas Eve, Susanna and I went downtown to a special annual market where you can buy all kinds of unique things. It was wall to wall people in the Plaza de Armas and we spent a few hours looking at everything and doing some shopping. That night, we had dinner over at another missionary family's home with about 25 people. We had plenty of traditional American food, but we ate at 11pm since the Peruvians are accustomed to Christmas dinner at midnight. They also shoot off fireworks here at Midnight, so we enjoyed those for a while, and then resented them a bit while we tried to go to sleep! We had church on Christmas Day and it was great. It was such a unique Christmas and it was really humbling to be here for it.

On New Years Eve, we went to the church youth group meeting to announce a special event we have coming up on Thursday, January 5th to kickoff a youth club similar to scouting programs or Awana clubs in the States. Then we went to the home of a fellow missionary up in the mountains and had dinner with about 8 girls total. We had a great time cooking and chatting, and before we knew it, we were enjoying fireworks from the third floor window! This was a beautiful log home with tons of windows, set way up above the city, so the view was amazing!

I've continued going up to Palpanccay every Tuesday and Friday. We have a faithful group of about 13 children coming. We color and play games and they listen to Bible stories. Please pray that this can turn into something a little deeper and more structured. These kids love to come and are really open to the Gospel. And ultimately, they will hopefully be a part of the boys/girls club we are kicking off with the older kids this week, which is geared more toward discipleship for young people in the church. God has faithfully provided a few helpers to accompany me to and from Palpanccay, as it's a bit of a journey, and that has been a great gift. Please pray that He'll take these budding programs in the direction HE wants them to go.

Daniel, me and Veronica.

Me and Jhon.

Andrew, the guy next to me, had his family visiting for two weeks. We enjoyed hanging out with them and his sister, Ali, came with us on New Year's for a great girls' night.

Me and Jhon (like Johann), he's 3 and he is a mess. He likes to shout back and forth "your feet smell" in Quechua, so that's the only phrase I know! (Quechua is the Indian language in Peru - it's the other official language besides Spanish.)

All of us with the new swingset.

This is Daniel. He's 4 and goes to a bilingual school, so he can say adorable things in English like "Push me please." (on the swing).

This one is from our gift exchange a few weeks ago. (we all had a blast, it's just not that customary to smile big in pictures here!)