Friday, August 16, 2013

July 2013
God’s timing is best. We’ve been so thankful for these “extra” 11 days to really get ready to go. We’ve kept busy working on paperwork. At the beginning of the month, we took a lightning trip toOhio to visit the home office, “where the magic happens.” While we were there, we were cleared financially to leave. This gave us another piece of paper to turn in to the Japanese government to get the all-important certificates of eligibility. As we anxiously waited for the certificates to be processed and come in the mail, we packed up our apartment and moved in with friends. When the certificates did not come in time for us to make our scheduled flight, we looked at Plan B. We canceled our flights and accepted the small fee to change to a later (then-undetermined date).

The certificates arrived from Japan the day after our original flight. Since we had to have a departure date and flight number to apply for visas, we quickly rescheduled flights and sent the paperwork in to the Consulate of Japan in Chicago, trusting that everything would work smoothly. We were excited and nervous. God knew we needed additional days to work through problems that we didn't even know about at the time. We left Des Moines on a 6 a.m. flight on June 30, arriving inJapan July 1 about 6 p.m. We were thankful when we saw all four suitcases come down the conveyor belt. After a busy day, we were ready for a good night of sleep.

June 2013
We had no intention of doing anything like this. Over six months, maybe even a year, in Japan? It took us a whole month and many e-mails and phone calls to get used to the idea.

Andrew's interest in Japan began in high school when he studied Japanese as a foreign language. He took the opportunity to get involved on two mission trips in college, where he was able to meet the Mitas and help at their church.

Although I planned to be a Spanish teacher, I thought God wanted me to go to Faith Baptist BibleCollege. I enrolled as a English Education major and took advantage of Baptist Mid-Missions’ ¡Arriba! program to learn Spanish and pick up the credits I needed. However, I soon fell in love with English. Now I am finishing my second year as a secondary English teacher. God was preparing me by providing cross-cultural missions experience and an in-depth study of a language that is highly sought in Japan, English.

The Mitas originally asked us to come in May. We asked about coming a year later, thinking that would give us time to prepare, work out paperwork details, and raise support. They, however, are going to be on furlough then. We agreed to coming in June and began to get busy.

Letters to write. Churches to call. BMM paperwork. Meeting with the Faith team going to Japan. For five crazy months we've been trying to prioritize, and God has proven His faithfulness. We are waiting for paperwork to apply for our visas. We would love to have them right now, since we plan to leave in just two weeks, but we need to learn more patience and trust. God’s timing is perfect, and if He decides to change our plans, we know it is best.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Iquitos trip

Happy Easter! Just thought I would update a few details about what we think will be happening in the next two weeks.

We leave Lima very early on Monday morning, April 5th (that's tonight at 2 a.m.) and return from Iquitos very late on Saturday night , April 17th.

Elizabeth, Tessha, and I will have ladies meetings every morning from 10-12. We will be teaching, "Capacitar a Damas Como Ensenar Niños" (Teaching women to teach children). In the afternoons we will have kids' clubs from 3 to 5 p.m. The ladies will assist them during the clubs. Caleb will be in charge of games at the clubs.

Pastor Jim and Caleb will be taking turns teaching "How to Study the Bible" and "New Testament Survey" for 8 hours a day.

Every evening Pastor Jim and Caleb will be taking turns with the preaching.

We should stay busy!!!

Please pray for:

1. Preparation for classes and kid's clubs; that we will keep things simple enough for all to understand: Men, ladies and the kids.

2. Health on the trip! :-)

Thank you for praying for this last team ministry we will have this year.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

March 1, 2010

A slight pause allows me to catch my breath, but even as I look around me there is so much I want to do! So many lives I want to impact and encourage, but that involves creativity and openness. This last weekend was thrilling. I will be really honest and admit that I didn’t want to leave Lima on Saturday. I so enjoyed shadowing Becky and saw so many opportunities in Manchay that I wanted to keep going there. I would have loved to get involved in Joana’s life or to continue visiting Vilma, Julia, and Yhenny. But why do I ever question God’s will? On the bus, I prayed that God would show me that He had a purpose for me in Chimbote and that I hadn’t reached a dead end with so many of the girls (which was how I left feeling…you should never live on emotions!). We arrived just in time to change clothes for Kids’ Club (but we’ve gotten used to that). Only five kids showed up…disappointing and challenging at best. My lesson seemed to flop, or at least I didn’t think it flowed very well. I was ready to throw in the towel (not that I would have even admitted that to myself).

After kids’ club I started to write my weekly text to Cinthya to remind her about our discipleship meeting (fully expecting her to have yet another excuse), when she appeared at the church ready to go! Shocked doesn’t even scratch the surface. We spend some time talking about the example of Mary and Martha and the importance of a person quiet time with the Lord. Then we brainstormed about ways that I could encourage her in the coming week as we walked to pick up Elizabeth for our youth meeting. Elizabeth actually came (the first time since I have been here)!

On Sunday I talked with Devie about our Sunday school class and some other projects for that. We planned to decorate and alternate teaching responsibilities. She also gave me a few other projects and invited me over for a Saturday lunch (followed by a time of organizing the SS materials at church). I was also surprised in SS when Saraí asked me a question without me saying anything to her first.

Then after church I talked to Valentina and she said she would come to the youth meeting on Saturday (something she had always been vague about in the past).

That afternoon I had a good talk with my “sister” Gina about growing spiritually (although I fear it is just a talk, I was glad to know that that door wasn’t closed).

I came away from the weekend astounded by God’s grace. He had worked through so many of my failures. I had not planned any of these encounters. Sure, I had prayed for them, but that had slacked in the business of camp. How can it be that just as things are getting exciting, I only have four weeks left (before returning to Lima)?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Why can't I paste from Word? ... I'll have to think of a new plan for writing blogs...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And then comes February...

Wait, February? You've got to be kidding me! My life has been swept away by camp. Of course, I love it that way. I frequently find myself laughing as I think, 'and if we did this in the States..."

My first week at camp I had the privilege of co-counseling a cabin of seven girls. We quickly learned that the job description of counseling here is quite different when the kids we set free to play as the counselors all went to wash the supper dishes (throughout the rest of the week, the cabins took shifts washing the dishes and other camp clean-up duties). I had to laugh when the evening chapel service was pushed back an hour (and that was just the beginning of schedule changes).

...well, I never did get back to that.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Impressions

"How can something that is so different, be so alike?"

Camp in Peru is camp. There is no doubt about that. Singing, laughing, learning. Bug bites, sunburn, dirty feet. All the things you love...and the things you could live without.

The kitchen does not cease to amaze me. Our amazing cooks, Rosa and Fronilda (not even joking...that is her name), cook everything on three kerosene burners. That is right... no deep fryer, no griddle, no oven. They also keep enough water boiled so that the campers can come in and get a drink (but forget ice). Dishes are washed in the many sinks in cold water. I don't think there is hot water anywhere at camp, but it is not an issue. I didn't hear anyone complain about cold showers while we were there.

Manitoumi was brought to mind in so many ways. I missed my families from family camp, the faithful ones who come every year. I missed grass and golf carts. I missed the cooks and staff. Mount Victory and the beautiful pool (and all of its wonderful lifeguard equipment). I missed washing dishes in the big sinks...

Opportunities like this really help you to see what camp is all about. "A fun place to learn the right way to live."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Program in Peru

The Christmas rush for us started on Tuesday night at 8 pm with the second and last Christmas program rehearsal (smaller groups had been working for the last few weeks). The rehearsal went pretty smoothly, although I must admit I wondered how the actors would do with their lines.

The invitations for the Christmas program said 7:30 pm. We intended the first 30 minutes to be meet and greet time. In typical Peruvian style, most of the programs participants were there by 8 and the program started at 8:30. We had many visitors and the actors surprised me with how well they had refined their lines in just one day!

A few first: I went to help with the costumes and was asked to sew the lead child's tunic. I broke the needle (first time I have ever broken a needle), the only needle they had. I whipped two bobby pins out of my hair and pinned up his shirt. This is also the first program I went to where we cut a hole in the side of the church to give the actors a secret entrance.

When the program was over, Pastor Luis preached a "short" sermon (almost an hour, lasting until 9:50) presenting the plan of salvation. I've heard rumors of people snoring, but I think that was just the kids. It was a great sermon.

After the message, we rearranged our seats, and I went to help serve pork, panetón, and hot chocolate. MMMmmm... so good! They bought the whole pig (head to tail). The women were joking around and taking pictures in the kitchen, when Devie said, "People from other countries are going to see these pictures and say what savages the people in Peru are!" (she was pretending to eat the pig's face). It was a fun time that kind of reminded me of the camp kitchen (but maybe that was just serving drinks from a five gallon buckets).

Christmas Eve was filled with laundry, homework, and some Christmas present wrapping. I felt a strange urge to be busy baking, but decided against going to the market as I had heard that it was full of people. We finished cooking our special dinner at 8 pm. We finally ate the baked chicken, hot chocolate, and Panetón at about 10:30. We waited until midnight to exchange gifts, but were interrupted by the sound of a firecrackers. We went out on the balcony to watch for a bit. After opening presents, we went for a walk and visited the cousins. At 2 am Christmas morning, we were walking through an alley eating ice cream sandwiches in our short sleeves. :-)

Christmas day we celebrated with the Gringos (the Stilwell clan met in Chimbote this time). It was a blessing to sing carols in English and have a brief devotional, eat a wonderful dinner of Ceviche and Chicharrón de pescado (fish and fried fish), go to the beach, and play some fun games. Definitely different, but fabulous!