Konika bread

IMG_1271This is my friend Konika (like Monica, but with a K) Wright and her daughter Sydney. She is wonderful– creative, caring, honest, and talented. Besides bringing her two kids, Benjamin and Sydney, very important persons in our household, to Curahuasi, she herself has been a real blessing to me. She is my “mom friend.” I can call her and say, “Aaah! We can buy an extra uniform this week! Less laundry stress!” or “Did you get the boys’ math homework? What were those symbols?” She and I see eye to eye on lots of issues and I am thankful to God for providing such a friend. Everyone needs someone to say, “I agree. That’s what I was thinking too.”

Many times I call Konika to say, “Can I please have that recipe?” She is a fabulous cook and baking is her specialty. There is another amazing family here, the Friedemanns, who do many things at the hospital, among them making bread and cheese for the missionary community. Michel makes over 500 rolls and many loaves of bread each week. He is training Konika to take over since they are going home in June. She gets to the hospital before 6:00 am on Tuesdays and makes bread for several hours in the big industrial kitchen. There is a hospital employee who grows wheat on her farm and sells it to Michel. Another group of people sort and clean it, they take it to someone to grind it, and then they use it to make the bread. The wheat itself is supporting a whole community! The resultant loaves are deliciously whole grain-y and heavy. We call it German bread.

In our house, when the kids see a bowl of wet-looking dough rising in the windowsill, they say, “Yea! Konika bread!” Now German bread is Konika bread too. What follows is original Konika bread, a no-knead, fail-proof air-pocketed bread. Enjoy some tonight!

Konika Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
sprinkle of sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the warm water and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and leave it for a couple of hours or more. Heat your oven to 350 or 400 (our oven is either on or off, so I don’t really know). Line your baking sheet with a silicone liner (Silpat) or parchment paper and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Turn the bowl over and dump the dough out. Konika gathers her dough in and lets it re-rise. Sometimes I do or sometimes I just plop it on the sheet and put it in the oven. I like to drizzle the top with a little olive oil to help it brown and crisp a little. It should be done in about 20 to 25 minutes. As Konika says, “It doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes good.” Konika reports that her friend bakes it in a Dutch oven with the cover on and it turns out nice and crispy. Try it if you have an oven-proof pot. One day I’ll retrieve mine from storage…

A Quick Look at the Vision for the School

From the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.Schule-übersicht-980x360

The Vision

We aim to establish a Christian school for Curahuasi that will provide an excellent education for students from a rural background. Its goal is to educate its students while being sensitive to their culture, which in the Andes means learning to speak and write Quechua as well as Spanish. Besides gaining academic knowledge, the students will grow in their knowledge of God their Creator and will learn what Jesus Christ did for them. Christian values should contribute to a positive change in their families and their society. Through sponsorships, even children from the most humble and impoverished families will be able to attend Diospi Suyana School and will have new opportunities in their lives. The children of the missionary families will receive a complete education as well. They will attend classes with Peruvian students in the Peruvian curriculum for most of the school day. In addition, a team of German and American teachers and volunteers will supplement their education according to their individual needs.Schule-mit-Leben-900x330


Lunar Eclipse

I got the kids up to watch this last night at around 2 AM.  I have been really sleepy today in the consultorio.  It never looked very red from our viewpoint.  Did anyone get up back home?

Friday Night Call

Sequence of events while on call Friday night.

  1. Receive a call stating that there is an ambulance at the gate that has nearly run out of oxygen while transporting an intubated baby from Abancay to Cuzco (around a 5 hour trip for this ambulance).
  2. Call the people in charge to be sure that we can give oxygen.  We can provide oxygen and we are able to fill the empty bottles in the ambulance.
  3. Start heading down to the hospital to understand better what is going on and what we need to do to accomplish the task at hand.
  4. On arrival to the hospital, I see Dr. Martina John’s car (why is she here?) and the ambulance with a big crowd of people around it.  As I walk in I see Dr. Tina inside the ambulance working around the incubator.
  5. I learn that somehow the baby became extubated while outside our hospital by accident.  Tina was called urgently while I was on my way down to intubate the baby.  (I am so glad she is there!)
  6. I learn that apparently not only are they low on oxygen, but also the battery that is going to run the ventilator and the I.V. infusions is dead.
  7. Our mechanical crew works hard to fix their electrical system, but they are without success.  We just do not have the tools to fix this problem.
  8. Meanwhile, the doctor that is accompanying this transfer takes a little break in the cab of the ambulance to breastfeed her baby that she has brought with her during this trip.  Yes she is working with her baby while breastfeeding!
  9. Because we cannot fix the electrical system, this baby will have to ventilated by hand during the rest of the trip on a very curvy, bumpy road.  Yet they have to go because the baby has a diaphragmatic hernia we cannot keep him and the only option is to continue on to Cuzco.
  10. The ambulance leaves, with the doctor ventilating the sick newborn while her baby rides in the front in the arms of one of the hospital staff in the front seat.  We all head home, some to rest, some at the end of their shift, me to pack a bag to come back to the hospital to spend the night since I have the emergency call.

New Pets

We spent the day finding new pets.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope the kids will remember to feed them.

New bunnies!

New bunnies!

The kids looking trying to catch tadpoles.

The kids looking trying to catch tadpoles.

Take a Love Risk for Someone You Don’t Really Know

Kristin and newborn Daniel

Kristin and newborn Daniel

Esmie (left) and Jana visiting Kristin and Daniel in the hospital

Esmie (left) and Jana visiting Kristin and Daniel in the hospital

I am thinking this morning about my friend Esmie. She loves all things baby. She used to be a NICU nurse. She works for the Corpus Christi Pregnancy Research Center now and tries to help save babies. I remember one time she said that her favorite thing in all the world was the smell of a newborn’s head.

At the time that I was getting to know Esmie, I had another friend named Kristin. Her husband Quinn was deployed in the Middle East while she was pregnant with their second child. Kristin, Esmie, and I all attended BSF together, but Esmie and Kristin didn’t know each other that well. One day in our prayer group, Kristin mentioned that God had answered her prayers and that Esmie was going to be her helper in the delivery room. I was surprised and thankful to God with her and admittedly a little relieved because I wanted to be there for Kristin, but I was hoping someone else would do the blood and hospital part. How did they even make that connection? Of course, God did it. He knew Kristin’s need and Esmie’s gift.

I think sometimes now about how Esmie was there for such an intimate and special moment, the birth of Daniel, and how they never even see one another now (hard since the Skinners are posted in Korea), never were best of friends. But Esmie loved Kristin, whom she did not know well.

When we moved to Tacoma, we had floated around to different churches and had just started attending a small church plant regularly while I was “great with child.” Two energetic, fun-loving moms whom I had barely met threw me a baby shower just a few days before Peter was born. Not only did Leslie and Julie put together a baby shower, but they had planned to do pedicures at the party. Leslie literally washed my feet and painted my toenails. I’ll never forget that service in the name of Christ for a big pregnant, somewhat lonely girl who had started coming round to church events.

Maybe some of the most meaningful acts of love are those we perform for those whom we barely know, whose need we can fill and they don’t “deserve” it by their friendship to us. Like Christ dying for those who were still sinners, still His enemies. I see it here weekly. A new missionary family will arrive and some people spend all day painting their house or helping them move in. Will’s extended family does this sort of thing all the time.

This post is to encourage you to say “yes” to serve a mere acquaintance, even if you don’t know how they will react or if it seems like an intrusion. I am sorry for all the lost opportunities because I thought, “Well, I don’t really know them that well.”

Maybe you want to tell a story about someone you didn’t know serving you. You can leave a comment for our encouragement.


I wanted to write for those of you who have been praying for us this week. Will did pass his medical exam, psychological exam, written test, and driving test. Hooray! That means he’ll have to go back to pick up his license next week (they don’t give you a paper proof) and we’ll be ready to take a trip or two with my dad. Will will have spent four weekdays and nearly 16 hours taxi-ing to and from Abancay by the time he has his license in hand.

Now it is my turn to study! We have heard that a couple should not attempt to get their licenses at the same time because the test givers will think, “Only the husband needs the license!” and fail the woman. The failure rate for women is much higher. Yes, you can joke about that, but it is also because they are reluctant to give us a license here. Apparently the process is a lot quicker in Lima and you can get out of the driving test by having your US license. A couple of weeks ago when a friend suggested I go to Lima to get my license, Will and I laughed– what a lot of trouble!– but now it is sounding better and better.

I am so proud of Will for memorizing all those laws and taking all these tests in Spanish. He really hasn’t been speaking the language for long. I am thankful to God for helping us and for answering our prayers for quick positive results so that we could travel with my dad. I am thankful to you, friends, for praying along with us. I wish we could take you with us somewhere to see the unbelievable scenery!

Addendum: Will drove up to our house (well, almost) this morning for the first time. Our driveway/ road still has a huge trench gouged across it, but the rest of the road is more or less filled in. Loading all the groceries in a backpack and carrying it up the hill from the hospital was good exercise, but I’ll be ok with driving up.

Are you wondering how we are fitting into the culture?

Some thoughts on this theme this week.

Prayer please this Tuesday! – Drivers License Exam

Will has been studying like crazy this week to get his Peruvian driver’s license.  He traveled to Abancay, about an hour and a half over the mountains, to take his medical and psychological exams and to show proof of his highest level of education this past Tuesday.  Yes, these are all requirements for a driver’s license.  On this upcoming Tuesday he will take the written test and then he’ll have to go back another day for the driving test.  Whew!  We want to be able to go to Cusco in our own car and to explore around the beautiful countryside on our days off without fear of going to the police station or having the car impounded.

You don't have to know just what they mean, but there is a fill in the blank part of the test where you need to say what the name of the sign is like "Curva pronunciada a la derecha"

You don’t have to know just what they mean, but there is a fill in the blank part of the test where you need to say what the name of the sign is like “Curva pronunciada a la derecha”

The written test is hard.  We have heard that they may give you some street signs and you have to write their official name in Spanish, like “Empalme en angulo recto con via lateral derecha” or “Interseccion en angulo agudo con via lateral secundaria derecha”  You have a multiple choice section and the questions are very specific about the punishments for breaking certain laws.  We have heard that in the driving test, you have to park the car within a certain number of centimeters of the parking space lines.  There are rumors that they make the test hard so that you will give a bribe to pass the test.  Many of our friends have taken it more than once.  Fortunately we have not heard these rumors regarding our testing site in Abancay where the people have been nothing but helpful in the process to this point.  Please pray for Will to pass it the first time and for God to help him recall what he has studied.  He has always been a good test taker in English.  Let’s hope it helps him in Spanish too!