Friday, March 27, 2009

Excitement and A Confession

Today we had the privilege to find out the details of the next several months for our positions with Extreme.  I wanted to share them with you!

In case you don't understand what Extreme is doing in Peru over the next three years here is a little run down.  The concept is called 40/40.  This means that 40 American single adults will be paired with 40 Peruvian single adults.  Each pair will be responsible for planting 3 churches in their assigned area.  Not all of the 40/40's will be here at the same time, they will arrive in waves.  The first wave has only 4 Americans and 4 Peruvians as this is the first time this has been tried and they wanted a small group first.

Our wonderful and very passionate first group consists of Wendy, Callie, Olivia and Andrew.  God has handpicked this group, there is no doubt about that!  They like to call themselves "The Cuy" as they are the first group and the guinea pigs.  Cuy is guinea pig in Spanish.  They will be living and working in Puerto Muldanado after their training.  But first they have 3 months of language school in Arequipa then off to Iquitos for job/culture training.

Brad and I have the awesome privilege to care for the needs of the 40/40's.  They will have a couple, Tyson and Tracey Smith (and little Kai), that will live with them and care for their daily and immediate needs.  Brad will provide assistance with any maintenance, safety and transportation needs.  I will provide information on medical resources, assess their physical health periodically and assist with any insurance claims.  We also have the opportunity to accompany them to their training in Iquitos for part of the time.   Then we will return to Arequipa for the next wave of 40/40's arrival.

I was amazed at the details of the evangelism plan for these communities.  God is providing for every need right on time!  This meeting today was just what I needed to lift me out of the funk that I have been in attending language school.  There is frustration that comes with learning a language.  But today I received another glimpse at what God is doing and of what He has allowed me to be apart.  I am going to be taking care of the disciples!  I can hardly wrap my brain around the fact that I may be caring for today's Paul or Peter!  What is God doing calling me?

As I mentioned above, God is providing for this plan right on time!  Part of this provision is in the next wave of 40/40's.  Just this month we received 6 of the 8 people that will be coming in the next wave.  We need 4 more so please be in prayer for these 4 people that God will call to be His disciples as well as the following groups.

And now for the confession...
I am very aware of the sacrifices that people are making back at home so that they can give to our ministry in Peru.  And today I found Dr. Pepper!  I spent over $1 a can and bought 7 of the cans (they only had 9).  So, I am sorry for those who went without this week!  But it tastes so good.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday Peru Review (3/14/09)

So, I am a little late in posting last Saturday's review of the new places we visited in Peru.  But better late than never, right?

We loaded this bus for a four hour tour of Arequipa.  We chose this tour because it included a tour of the city as well as the surrounding areas in the country.  We have realized that we have become a little restless in the city and needed some time in the country.  This tour also featured lunch and we are always excited to try new traditional Peruvian cuisine.  So stay tuned for the second restaurant review (below, way below).  As you can see we had the best seats on the bus and we had seat belts!  Tyler was able to ride in the front pack so he was seat belted in with me (for all those mothers who were worrying about the risk of flying out of the bus).
Here is one of the beautiful buildings inside the city.  I believe this is one of the cathedrals.  
And a tour of Arequipa would not be complete without guinea pigs (cuy) as this is a very popular meal.  By the way, at the end of the Arequipa events in August there will be a cuy feed with 10,000 cuy!  So if you have not signed up to come to Arequipa you should really plan on it as this will be a record breaking event.

Here we are visiting Alpaca Mundo (Alpaca World).  This was one of my favorite stops on the tour.  You were able to see the process of making the yarn and clothing from the beginning to the end.  Here is the beginning...(very friendly little creatures)
And here we are near the end of the process.  This lady is from Cusco and she is making traditional clothing from the wool of the alpaca.  

This was a monument with Jesus in the center and the cross as well.

There were many places on the tour that showed the incredible poverty that exists.  I realized that I have been blind to this in my time here as where we are living in the city we do not face this daily.  Brad and I were motivated by many of these places to learn the language as quickly as possible so that we could get to work!  The reason that God has us here is for these people.  God is giving us a heart and passion for these people as well as the people we come into contact with daily in the city.  Keep them in your prayers.  I believe God is preparing their hearts for the message we will bring to them.
The Restaurant Review....
Again I have forgotten to get the name!  The first picture below is of a very common appetizer that is placed on the table much like chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant.  It tastes like popcorn that has been turned inside out (the puffed part is inside the kernel).  All three of us like it.
Brad ordered steak, there was actually no steak on the menu so this is what they created for him.  It included tender steak, papas fritas (french fries), a cold fried egg, toasted bread and salsa.
Brad gave this a thumbs up (except for the cold egg)!
I ordered a traditional dish called Rocoto Rellano (stuffed rocoto pepper).  It is stuffed with cheese, ground beef, vegetables and is very spicy.  It has potatoes on the side.  I have had this dish prepared by Patricia in our home and it is my favorite so far.  I did not like this restaurant's version of this dish.
Michelle gave this a thumbs down!
Tyler refused to eat as there were two women at the table next to us and he could not stop flirting long enough to finish one bite.
Tyler gave it a thumbs up!

Brad is a very good photographer and was able to capture the entire day.  If you would like to see these pictures you can see them posted here and here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Update of our week

It has been a crazy week and I have not posted a thing.  Here is a little update on our week...

Thursday and Friday of last week...

Tyler started to run a low grade temperature accompanied with some stomach "issues" and I stayed home with him and did not attend school.  It is so hard to tell what is going on with a baby and I decided to keep him home to lay low.


The fever went away by the end of Friday and it did not return so we went out for the day.  See Saturday's Peru Review for details!


This was our second service at the Umacollo Nazarene Church.  I have posted a picture of the sanctuary below.  You are able to see some of our Extreme Staff as well as our Peruvian brothers and sisters.  The people are excited about the Lord (Senor=Lord) and happy to welcome us into their church.

But I to be honest Sundays are the hardest days for me because I miss my family the most on these days.  I loved going to church and worshiping with my church family who are truly family.  Then going to my parent's home and spending the rest of the day just "being together" with my  parents, AVA, Andrea, Jayson, Jess (and of course Brad and Tyler).  I know it is going to take time, a lot of time.

This is a picture of our Sunday School classroom, located in the entrance of the building.  The doors remain open during the entire service and we are able to hear everything going on in the streets.


Tyler's fever had returned on Sunday so it was to the doctor we went.  Patricia, our host mother, took us to see her children's pediatrician.  Our appt. was 6:30 in the evening, strange for our idea of business hours.  The pediatrician was very kind and very thorough.  Patricia was wonderful in her willingness to interpret for us and then helped us find the laboratory and pharmacy.  It was a long night for little Tyler and Santiago (age 5) as we walked from one place to another.  We finally made it home after 9 to have dinner and put the kids to bed.


Patricia, who should win some kind of award by the way, took me at 6:30 in the morning back to laboratory to deliver Tyler's specimens.  She then came home to fix our breakfast in time for us to make it to school!  God bless this woman who has done so much for us in the three weeks we have been in her home.

It was back to the doctor at 5 that evening to receive the results of the specimens, after we picked the results up from the lab to hand deliver them to the doctor.  And tada...PARASITE!  So we are now feeling a little scared and discouraged that a little over two weeks into our new life we already are experiencing this unwanted invasion.  But Tyler is as happy and content as ever.  He is eating like a little piggy and gaining weight.  You would hardly even know he was sick by watching him.  He is such a blessing to our lives!  And he LOVES his medicine (it must taste good).  But seven days on this medication and the parasite will be eliminated!

Here is the little guy (parasite and all) in his bed with all of his favorite friends.  Notice Mr. Monkey draped across his chest, life is good.  (Mr. Monkey is really just a monkey head in the middle of a silky blanket.  And you can't even see his little head in this picture.)


Fairly uneventful other than trying to get caught up at school!  And Tyler did not have a fever all day...yay :)


Brad woke up sick with stomach issues.  This a very common occurrence among the Extreme Staff as we are getting used to our new environment.  Patricia again to the rescue called in sick to school for Brad and called a taxi to pick up Tyler and myself.  I decided to walk home from school and on the way home tripped over the sidewalk and fell on my knees, one elbow and one hand.  God had His hand with us because Tyler, who was riding in the front pack, never touched the ground.  I was humiliated, scared and really it was just the last straw to a stressful week and I fought back tears the rest of the way home.  I had many concerned looks from passer-bys as it was pretty evident that I was crying and had a big hole in my pants (my new pants).  I was able to keep it together until I saw Brad and then I had a nice long cry.  I am so thankful for a husband with a tender heart.  He just hugged me while a cried and was genuinely upset with me over the hole in my favorite pants.

But here is the highlight of the day!  Tyler loves his bath time in his little blue tub.  Bath tubs are non-existent in Arequipa so little blue storage bins work very well!


Yay for Fridays!  This week was a trying week in Spanish school.  I think it was a combination of worry about our little man and very full brains.  We have been encouraged by many that the second week is challenging and it will come together for us soon.  And the highlight to this day, other than the realization that we don't have school the next two days, was a trip to Cusco Coffee for a real latte.  Good coffee has a way of making one forget about her scratched up knees.

God is so good.  He has prepared the way for us here and we can feel that everyday.  We are so thankful for our huge support system at home and the one He has created for us in Peru.  Thank you for your prayers and know that I am praying for you too!  I have a list of names that I pray over (our family and support team) and if you would like to be on my list just let me know.  It is such a privilege that God allows us this method of communication.  One of my favorite things to experience was family alter time at church.  Brothers and sisters bowing before our Lord with their arms around each other sharing their needs and praise to the Creator.  And even thousands of miles away I can continue to lift these praises and needs before the same God!  Please remember Tyler as his body and the medication are fighting this bug.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Saturday Peru Review

Brad and I thought that it would be fun to have a post about the places we will see each Saturday. Since we are in school on the weekdays we do not get around to see the city.  So we have set Saturdays aside for all sight-seeing.  We will also try a new restaurant and write a little review.

Today we walked to Plaza de Armas and the surrounding area called "The Center."

  Here is Tyler in his "sun gear."  The sun in Peru is very strong.  I have heard that they have numerous cases of skin cancer.  We are trying to stay well covered with clothing or sunblock.  Tyler does not like the sunblock nor the hat as you can tell from his face.

  This cathedral was originally constructed in 1656 but was gutted by fire in 1844 and destroyed in the earthquake of 1868.  The cathedral was rebuilt and still stands today.  Another earthquake hit Arequipa in 2001, which brought down one of the towers but did not cause major damage.

This is a beautiful fountain in Plaza de Armas.  I was amazed at the number of pigeons that were around this area.  It was disgusting really.  The water looks better from a distance!

This is a view of the Plaza from the restaurant.

This is another part of the cathedral.

We stopped at a coffee shop we have been driving past in our taxi rides.  And we are glad we did...yummy!  Tyler decided it was a great place for a nap.

We walked down many of the side streets and were able to find the Santa Catalina Monastery and various museums.  The one museum we were looking for is called Museo Santuarios Andinos and houses the famous mummy, Juanita.  And true to our luck, Juanita is off of display until May.  We decided to skip this museum and come back in May.

Plan B was to view the monastery after eating lunch.  But once again we missed the last entrance time by several minutes.  We concluded that this Saturday was actually just a scouting day and the actual sight-seeing would begin next week!

We would like to add a section titled Cultural Lessons Learned:

In our scouting efforts Brad was able to get his shoes shined and had what we will call a "cultural oops."  The man advertised a shoe shin for 1 sole and after completing one shoe gave Brad the price list and pointed out that it actually cost 32 soles as he added polish.  So Brad could either pay the 32 and have the other shoe match or...we weren't sure.  It ended up that we paid 20 soles and Brad had matching shoes.  The lesson learned: always agree on cost before service.  Side note:  20 soles equals $6.25 in U.S. dollars so it wasn't too bad!

Restaurant Review:

We chose to eat at a restaurant on the top of a building.  Brad estimates that it was around 80 feet tall.  It was a great way to see Plaza de Armas.  It had very good service and the prices we figured were about average ($6 to $10 USD a plate) for a nice restaurant in Peru.  The menu was extensive and was written in Spanish and English which we appreciate greatly.

Tyler gave it "thumbs up" but then he only had bites of my potato chips and some guacamole.

Brad gave it "thumbs up" and he had Alpaca steak with potatoes with mint whipped topping. He really liked the steak as it was very tender and had a gamey flavor.  He did not care for the mint flavored whipped topping on his potatoes.

Michelle gave it "thumbs down" and didn't bother taking a picture of the chicken, guacamole and mozzarella sandwich as it was rather pathetic.  I guess I should try something a little more adventurous next time.

So the restaurant(we forgot to get its name) received 2 out of 3 thumbs from the Hunt Family.

This concludes our first Saturday Peru Review.  Stay tuned for next week's adventure!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pictures of the house where we are staying.

At your request here are some picture of the place where we are staying while in language school.  This is the home of Patricia, Maria, and Santiago.

The main living area: Living Room and Dining Room

The view from our bedroom door.  This bedroom is right off the Living/Dining Room
Another view of our bedroom.
Our bathroom and the washing machine (toilet behind the door...I figured nobody wanted to see the toilet).
This is the back yard where the laundry is hung.  See poor Mr. Monkey had a bath last night.  It was Tyler's first night sleeping without his little monkey friend.  Let me tell you that we had a very long night!
And off the subject...isn't this the cutest picture you have ever seen?  My little niece, Ava Claire (I call her PeeWee)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hola! Tienemos tres dias de escuela.

We have completed three days of language school!  This school is designed for students who need a fast two or three week course.  So it is intense from the start.  We both came home exhausted with headaches on the first day.  I have no doubt that we will be very comfortable with the language by the end of our third month at this school.

We have two sessions that are two hours each with one on one instruction.  Brad and I have the same teachers that alternate the morning and afternoon sessions.  The first session is focused on grammar and the second on conversation.  I have been very grateful for the year of Spanish I had in high school.  I am amazed on how much I retained over the years.  We both have homework in the evening that we are able to work on together.  And at all meals Patricia and Maria quiz us on the Spanish vocabulary that they have taught us as well as the new material from school each day.  Even little Santiago has learned how to say, "in english?" wanting us to tell him in English what he just said in Spanish.

We are able to walk to the school from our home and we have a beautiful view of Misty the volcano and the surroundings mountains (see pictures above).  It is about a mile away and it gives us some exercise in the morning and afternoon.  Tyler loves riding in the front pack, kicking his feet and flailing his little arms the entire way!  The pictures below show Tyler passed out after too much playtime at school.  A young Peruvian girl, Medele, who has been working with Extreme families is coming to the school to watch Tyler and Kai (the Smith's 2-yr old).   There is a nursery room upstairs in the school (an old house) and I was placed in the classroom directly across from Tyler.  I am able to hear him laugh and play the entire time!  God is truly providing for our every need!

These pictures are in front of our house.  We live in the upstairs house.  And there are two apartments below that Patricia rents out.  One is currently being used by a family of Canadians who live here for part of the year.  All of the homes are surrounded by metal gates.  But every Peruvian we have asked has denied any problems with crime.  So far we have felt very safe here and have not run into any dangerous situations.

This Saturday we are going to make a day of exploring the city.  We have recieved many suggestions of places to see from our teachers.  We are anxious to get to know this city that is so full of history.  Stay tuned for this weekends adventures!

Monday, March 2, 2009

First Sunday at Umacollo Iglesia del Nazareno

Yesterday we went to our first service at our new church.  Because there are three Nazarene churches in Arequipa (city of nearly 1 million people) all of the Extreme members are assigned to a church.  We were assigned to Umacollo Iglesia along with the Englund family, the Drinkwater family and Andrew Kendall.  With the addition of the Extreme families there were about 30 people present.

We first had Sunday School and we were able to follow along in the lesson book with the help of the pastor's daughter who speaks some English. But then came the service...I tried to pick out some words that I understood but I thought the pastor was talking about a cat so I am thinking I didn't really catch anything!  Some of the praise songs were the same so I was able to worship in English while my Peruvian brothers and sisters were worshiping in their own language.  I know that God is going to talk to our hearts during these services just as He always has even though we are not understanding the people around us.  I look forward to the day that I will be able to worship with this church family in the same language! Here are two pictures of our new church.

The front of the church

Upstairs section of the church is on the roof.  These rooms are the nursery and children's class.

After church we were able to get to know some of the church people with the help of the Englund's and Drinkwater's who have been in language school for a month or more.  We then went to lunch at very beautiful outdoor restaurant.  I ate some chicken and stayed away from the beef tongue and various other body parts on the meat platter.  Brad enjoyed all of the above!  He is looking forward to returning next week for guinea pig.  I will definitely take some pictures of that!