Sunday, November 1, 2009

Coming to America

So, I think that I stole this title from an 80's movie (I have not seen) but it feels appropriate.  For those of you who have not must not know my Mom!  But we are indeed coming home for a vacation and then staying for a month longer so that I can work on collecting supplies for two medical clinics that we will be apart of in the jungle.

We have now been in Peru for 9 months.  It has been nine months full of a range of emotions and experiences.  We have witnessed God changing lives, discovered a new culture and way of life, learned (and continue to learn) a new language, and have grown stronger as a little family.  We have also experienced culture shock, home sickness, and struggled to hear the still quiet voice of God.  If was  completely honest, and I have promised to be that, it has been the longest and most challenging nine months of my life.  I am looking forward to soaking up some familiarity of my family and dear friends.

This journey to the US will only bring us to California and Idaho.  We are sad that we will not venture to Louisiana where we have a wonderful support system.  But we will get to see Brad's family who will meet us in Idaho for Thanksgiving.  But we will send tokens of our love and appreciation back to those people with our LA family.

We are looking forward to seeing as many people as we can.  We are planning on sharing about our experiences in Peru at Mountain View Church of the Nazarene in Wilder, Idaho on Sunday, Nov. 22 during the 10:30 am service.  If you would to see some pictures and hear our stories please join us there!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Puerto Maldonado Project #1

We have just finished up with the 3rd project for Extreme Peru.  This project was located in Puerto Maldonado and its objective was to build the first phase on the 40/40 house.  Our Puerto Maldonado 40/40s are coming to an end of their training in Iquitos and need a place to live!

This project was on a smaller scale with only 14 short term volunteers from the U.S. and they were all men.  Since this was a construction project the only long term staff needed for the full two weeks were Dennis Linnel and Brad.  Denise and I tagged along to help prepare lunches for the construction crew and hold a kids festival (basically a VBS) for the local church.  It was a successful project with a terrific group of men!  The first phase of the house was completed and we averaged 68 kids a day for our 3 day kid's festival.  32 of these kids prayed to accept Jesus into their hearts!

Here are some pictures:

So, we don't really travel light!  I blame it on Tyler.  This is the primary form of transportation in the jungle cities, motocars.  In the incredible heat you come to look forward to the open air taxis for the breeze.  The drivers can get just as much luggage on the back of a motocar then can in a van.

This was what the house looked like when we arrived.  A Peruvian crew has been working on this house for a couple of months.

Everything is made from concrete.  Here is Brad looking like he did every day after work!  It was quite fun washing all these concrete covered clothes.

Here they are building the concrete wall that will surround the house.

After two weeks the second level walls are complete and they are placing the roof.

Each column that is poured for the walls is placed into a 4 ft hole.  Tyler is measuring a hole for his Dad.

This is the last day we were in Puerto and the roof is on!  The next phase will start in a couple weeks to finish the inside of the house as well as to paint.

After two hard weeks of work the guys took a day to tour the jungle.  Brad went with them and came back with some great pictures.  Here are a few:

This is a bridge in a tree top canopy.  It is 42 meters high (126 feet).  I am glad that I missed this opportunity.  The only thing worse for me would be a giant snake in the middle.

On the way home in the boat after a fun day in the jungle.

Brad will return to Puerto Maldonado for the second phase of the construction project.  This project will also include alot of impact events to spread the love of Jesus to the city of Puerto Maldonado.  Please keep this project in your prayers as 17 of our staff members will be there with 30+ short term volunteers from the U.S.  God has big plans for this city!  You can visit Extreme Nazarene for more information and pictures about both Puerto projects.

Bunk Bed Project

Just wanted to post some pictures of the bunk bed project that Brad has been working on.  Extreme did not have the needed tools to complete this project so the Men's Group of Mountain View Nazarene in Wilder, Idaho gave the money to buy the tools. 

Here is Brad (wearing the head of a guinea pig mascot) standing next to some of the completed beds.

The rooms are fairly small and they need to house 24 people per room so the bunk beds are three high.

Here are the rest of the beds waiting to be put together.  There will be 48 beds in total!

Thanks to this great group of men who understand the value of a good power tool!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update from Arequipa 0 and 1...Iquitos too!

It has been a while since I have updated this blog and many things have happened in our lives here in Peru. Let's get caught up!

The last time I wrote I told you that the projects were just beginning in Arequipa and Brad was heading to Iquitos to work on the 40/40 housing. I stayed in Arequipa with Tyler to work on the first Extreme project. I stayed very busy caring for the short term volunteers. A stomach virus hit and almost half of the volunteers were affected at one time throughout the two weeks. But God prevailed as He always does and many people of Arequipa were told about the love of Jesus Christ and made life changing decisions. Even our bus driver accepted Christ!

I didn't take any pictures myself but the communications team documented every moment. Please take a look at this link to see what happened during Arequipa 0.

Brad was working in Iquitos making improvements to the housing for our 40/40 missionaries. He was able to help a team install false ceilings to provide a sound barrier from the loud rain as well as place a barrier between the people and the rats and bats. After the ceilings were installed Brad painted the dormitories. He then laid tile in both rooms. He then begun to raise the sidewalks to prevent flooding in the rooms. When it rains it rains!

Here is a picture of the water flooding over the sidewalk (before it was raised) just a few minutes into the rainstorm.

Here is a picture of the tile and paint in the girl's dormitory room.
Brad made it back in time for the second project to begin in Arequipa. He was gone for 3 weeks and it was a long 3 weeks for us all! The second project was just as wonderful as the first. We enjoyed working with the volunteers that came from the United States. They were a fun, hard-working group.

One of the fun cultural events that took place was a dance competition.
Brad worked around the clock (one night, literally) with the construction crew to finish the Zamacola Church of the Nazarene and the 40/40 Training Center.

Inside the church before it was completed.
Please take a look at this link to see the pictures from Arequipa 1. You can see the completed construction project there.

The next project will be in Puerto Maldanado where we will be builidng the housing for our 40/40 missionaries. They are getting close to the end of their training in Iquitos and will be ready to move into their new home in November to start planting churches in Puerto.

We were blessed to welcome the new 40/40 missionaries to Arequipa just over a week ago. This group will attend language school in Arequipa for 3 months (like we did) and then move to Iquitos for their training. After training this group will divide into Pucallpa and Iquitos for church planting. This group is full of energy and ready to get to work. We have had the pleasure of having groups of them over to our home for dinner and we are very impressed with quality of their character. God is going to use them to do great things.

Here is our growing staff at our weekly lunch together.
God is continually at work in our lives. We are adjusting to our lives here and are feeling like we may be feeling more normal in a different culture. Thank you for your continued prayer and support. We are looking forward to our trip home in November to see you and thank you in person.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And the projects begin...

I just wanted to let you know that our first project with Extreme starts tomorrow! Everyone is very excited to meet the people who have given up their time and money to join us here in Arequipa to minister to the people here. There are 35 people coming in the first project for almost two weeks. Then a about a week after they leave around 80 people arrive for the second phase. Please pray that God is glorified in all of the project's events and that Satan doesn't have the chance to wiggle his way in.

Brad left yesterday to start working on improving the housing of our 40/40's in Iquitos. He will be living there in the guy's bunkhouse and working during the days for three weeks. Tyler and I already miss him but are very proud of his commitment to this ministry. Please be in prayer for our family as we are separated for this time. We know that it is a very tiny piece of time compared to the time some of our family have spent apart because of their jobs in the military so we refuse to whine about it! We have very good friends working with Extreme that have already stepped up to help me with Tyler. God is very good in working out all the details.

We will get some pictures posted of Brad's work in Iquitos and the Arequipa projects as soon as possible.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Trip to Lima and Iquitos (June '09)

Better late than never, right? We wanted to add a post about our trip to Lima and Iquitos in June but have had a few other things going so here we go...

The first stop we had to make was in Lima to finish our residency process. We had bus tickets purchased already to go to Iquitos when we received notification that we could pick up our cards in Lima to finalize our residency. So, we ended up spending a few extra days in Lima waiting for our appointment. The first night we stayed in a "clean" but "old" hotel in Lima. We weren't sure about the safety of this place so we decided to find something else. I looked online and looked for familiar names and found a Best Western! We were excited to find out that the hotel was in walking distance from the ocean and a shopping center with American restaurants.

This is the view of the coast from the shopping center. You can click here to see all our pictures from our long weekend in Lima.
After a few relaxing days in Lima we were off to Iquitos. Our jobs with Extreme are to support the 40/40 missionaries. Brad and I will travel to each location to research the community for resources for the team there. In case you don't know about 40/40 it is the church planting system where 40 people from outside of Peru are paired with 40 people from Peru to work to plant 3 churches per pair. So, in total they will plant 120 churches in Peru. The first group of 40/40 missionaries is currently in Iquitos attending training and then will move to Puerto Maldonado to live and work there.

While in Iquitos we stayed with the Smith family in their apartment. We had a wonderful time visiting with them and the 40/40s. We had the opportunity to meet and get to know the Peruvian counterparts and were so impressed with each one.

Here is a picture of the Puerto Maldonado team of 40/40 missionaries. You can see more of the team and where they live here.

We both enjoyed the city of Iquitos. It is a city of around 400,000 people but the city had a small town feel. The heat is incredible and forces the people to hang out on their porches visiting with neighbors. Iquitos is completely surrounded by water and jungle. The only way into the city is by boat or plane. We took a boat ride to the Amazon River and visited a local tribe and animal conservatory.

Here is a picture of the edge of town.

While visiting the "native" tribe that came from Columbia to live on the island for tourism (this is what they told me) we were painted with war paint, danced in the meeting hut, and the guys took a try at blowing the dart gun. The boat ride there and back totaled three hours but was very beautiful. We visited a jungle animal conservatory on the way back from meeting the tribe and got some fun pictures. You can check out all of our pictures from the Amazon boat ride here and here.

Here is Brad using the blow dart gun. He actually had a great aim!
It was a fun and productive trip. It was hard to leave our friends but are so proud of the work they are doing even while in school. Please keep them in your prayers as they are still feeling the effects of culture shock with the addition of very intense training. They are an amazing team handpicked by an all-knowing God. It is our privilege to serve them while they are serving the people of Iquitos.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Brad update

We just met with the neurologist after all test results were compiled.  He went over every page, picture and test and Brad is healthy!  The doctor could see (and showed us) where there is some fluid in the base of the left side of Brad's brain.  This is a "variant of normal" according to this doctor and could not cause the problems that Brad had with his speech eleven days ago.  His conclusion was that it was either 1) Transient Ischemic Attack (the "mini" stroke) or 2) Complicated Migraines.  He decided to treat Brad for both giving him a low dose aspirin to prevent a recurrence of the TIA and another medication to prevent Migraine headaches.

We are feeling very relieved that Brad will not have to undergo any major treatment for something life-altering or life-threatening.  We will continue with our original plan to send all results to a physician in the U.S. for another opinion.  But for now we are going to continue our lives and jobs that we were called here to do.  But this was also a wake up call to live a healthier life and have committed to each other to change our eating and exercise habits.  We have to be good stewards of the bodies that God gave us.

We are so amazed at the outpouring of love and support that we have received.  We do not know how to express this to each and every one of you but to tell you that we would be honored to return the blessing one day.