Japanese afternoon

Our English speakers’ class had a Japanese culture day following our studies in Story of the World. By the way, this is a wonderful history curriculum that our kids love. Everyone enjoyed the Japanese lunch, which was a sesame seed salad, teriyaki veggies, and ramen noodle soup. We finished with American Skittles! Afterward, we talked about some Japanese traditions and made kimonos and carp wind socks. I am so thankful to get to learn alongside these nutty kids.

Mountains and Molehills

Last week I, Allison, went to Lima for my driver’s license. I went with some trepidation. All of our friends had experienced some angst and difficulties getting their driver’s licenses from the nearby town. It is as if they want to find something wrong with your paperwork, or your tests, or as if you could get there with all the required documents and then they would ask for something new. It is very unpredictable. I felt this uphill battle coming. Then, in part thanks to some insomnia and late-night thinking sessions, and just because I am a vulnerable sinner, I started thinking about being in Lima by myself, taking so many taxis, not knowing where to go, walking at night, not knowing how many days I would need to get the license done, you get the picture. Will was sick with a bad cold and the kids always have homework, meetings, stuff they need help with, and I just didn’t want to leave my family, especially if I could come back without having accomplished anything.

Lots of introduction in order to point to the faithfulness of our Father. The family took me as far as Cusco and we had a nice day together and I was feeling much more peace about leaving them. I got on the plane on Sunday morning and switched seats so that two friends could sit together. I ended up sitting by a woman and her daughter that I had been watching in the airport because they seemed Western-Peruvian. The mom is from Lima and the dad is from Cusco. They own a travel agency based out of Cusco. This school year, the mom and daughter had moved to Lima so that the daughter could get a better education because she wants to study medicine one day. The girl is only eleven, but her mom saw that her school would be inadequate starting in secondary school, so they moved her now. She asked me about what I was doing in Lima and she began to speak sweet music to my ears—that the driver’s license place is in a nice part of town, that the medical exam was not thorough, that they would be extra helpful to me since I am a foreigner, that it would not take me above two days to do everything, that she would come and help me if I wanted. She was so friendly and lovely that I felt like, “See, all Peruvians are just wonderful people.” Also, I understood that God was giving me comfort and assurance.

I wish I could say that getting the license was as easy as she described, but truly, just about every Peruvian I worked with, from umpteen taxi drivers, to the funny lady at the driver’s license bureau, to the doctor who gave the medical exams, was super nice. They all were interested in the work at Diospi Suyana and why we would live out in the Andean countryside. I got an earful of political opinions and moaning about how the government has abandoned the Quechua people and much encouragement to keep trying to help.

Every morning I read my Bible in peace, without feeling the need to make breakfast or clean up, and then I knelt by my bed and asked for God’s help. I know it sounds silly, but for me the unknown was challenging and so I was reminded about how when we try to do something hard, something out of our control, we can discover such sweet communion and help from God. I would just walk around Lima talking to Him and thanking Him for His help and blessing. By Wednesday morning I was boarding a plane back to Cusco, having purchased several things for our new house and with driver’s license in hand. Not too shabby!

I didn’t take too many pictures, but here are some goofy ones I do have.

Saving Gas, Going Green – Photo by Stephen Wright

You should see the hill everyone has to ride up to get their bike to the hospital.  Our friend Stephen Wright has lots of great Curahuasi photos on his twitter account.


The Title Says It All

I find myself being challenged by the implications of this post from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.  I know I am here, working, but I still find myself wanting to keep the best of things for myself instead of living sacrificially.  God help us all to live in a way that glorifies God as we live giving the best of ourselves to those who need it the most.

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Clean Out

During the first two years, Diospi Suyana received a lot of outdated material donations.  Fortunately, many departments of our hospital are now equipped with new appliances in 2014.  There are a number of reasons that speak against antiquated instruments.

  1. If a device is of no use in the USA or Europe, it is also inappropriate in South America.
  1. Repairs are much more difficult to accomplish in Peru. New machines work reliably.
  1. Theologically, one might argue as follows. Christians are to give God the best.  That means, its good advice for a Christian company chief to donate the new device for the mission (where it is used in the name of God for the poor) and to keep the old unit. Often the thought patterns are different.  The best thing you keep for yourself and the inferior one is for charitable purposes.

Yesterday our surgical team scrapped unserviceable and obsolete equipment.  Technician Markus Rolli helped with expert advice.  There is a widespread phenomenon that mission hospitals receive the waste from Western clinics.

“We need to dispose of our x-ray machine.” says one.

“Oh, we can give it a try at a mission hospital.” says the other.

Left to right: Medical technician Markus Rolli, gynecologist Dr. Jens Hassfeld, OTA Simon Giesbrecht, and nurse Kathy Huettner

Left to right: Medical technician Markus Rolli, gynecologist Dr. Jens Hassfeld, OTA Simon Giesbrecht, and nurse Kathy Huettner

Market Ride

Recent ride home from the market.

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Market trip.

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Education and Faith

Educating your kids in the mission field is for many of us a battle within ourselves to trust our most prized possessions to God.  Some missionaries homeschool, but then their kids don’t learn the language or assimilate into the culture as well.  Others send their kids to national schools, which can be good, but are often terrible.  Bullying can be a real problem.  Others send their kids away to boarding schools.  There are many great boarding schools, but I cannot imagine how difficult that is for both parents and kids.  Others build school that serve the local missionaries as well as the local population.  That is what we are doing here.  Our school is 90% Peruvian, and 10% missionary kids.  For that reason we follow a Peruvian curriculum, not a German curriculum nor American. And it is so hard for us as parents to trust the curriculum.  We are used to our cultural way of doing things, and honestly some of the ways they educate here seem crazy.  There is a class called “Math Reasoning” that seems like a complete waste of our kids, their teachers, and our personal time.  It is not an exaggeration to say that sometimes when I am helping my kids with this bit of homework, I want to quit being a missionary.  Nothing makes me want to go home more than this little bit of curriculum.  It sounds crazy, and to type it also makes me feel totally wimpy, but it is the truth.  I start thinking about this wasted bit of educational time, then I imagine what else they are not learning, and then I think about the PSAT and SAT or ACT and I start to lose faith.  God help me, a person of so little faith!  But then we have these moments of light, when a school activity or science project goes well.  Or we hear our kids speaking Spanish with their friends, and we realize how much they are learning in so many other ways.  And I pray and I try to trust a little more.  Bringing your kids to another country, especially a poor part of another country with few resources, is a challenge.  It is hard for them, and it is hard for us parents.  Please pray for us!  Enjoy also this article from the Diospi Suayan Hospital website sharing a moment of light at school.  The first picture has one of our favorite students!

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Bright Minds

In the forth grade class of Colegio Diospi Suyana, the bright minds were asked to perform their own experiment and explain their findings.  The school kids had soon finished their projects, which showed their great ingenuity.

Abigail used food to create a volcanic eruption.  Bruno and Omar astonished their fellow students by demonstrating the floating differences using different salt solutions.  A real problem in Curahuasi is the drinking water.  Luis and Cesar were inspired by this to create a natural filter that turns murky soup into crystal clear water.  However, Edy’s project created the greatest attention.  He had built a miniature table saw, driven by the crankshaft via a battery that even cut wood sticks.

Teacher Jaquelin beamed with pride while looking in the faces of the student inventors.  Everyone had a lot of fun while learning the practical aspects of the laws of nature.  The natural sciences are an enourmously important department of a school.  Through experiments and research projects, students can discover for themselves how awesome God created this world.

By the way, our growing school is urgently looking for a well-trained biology, chemistry, or physics teacher who is able to use experiments and practical demonstrations to teach our young researchers.  We are looking for a true pioneer, because he/she would invest several years in the classroom, developing and guiding the Peruvian colleagues.  Pray someone will find and sign up with us! /C.B.

Why does salt water cause the egg to rise to the top?

Why does salt water cause the egg to rise to the top?

Water filter made with cotton, wool, and soap.

Water filter made with cotton, wool, and soap.

Secret messages painted with lemon appear using a candle.

Secret messages painted with lemon appear using a candle.

The vulcanic eruption

The vulcanic eruption


We have shared a meal with David Sills who wrote this article.  In fact our son David listened to him speak and felt like David S. had cleared up some of his theology questions.  That is great, because I am often at a loss with David’s questions.  I am sure many of you parents can identify with that.  David Sills has a great article Missions Doesn’t Stop When a Group Has Been Reached that is worth a read.  We are some of those missionaries that are working in an area that is technically “reached”, meaning over 2% of the population are evangelical christians.  Our little town is especially reached through the influence of the hospital and the school.  However, all around us there are towns that have no presence of the good news of Christ, and many that have never even heard.  Much less have the people been taught the fundamental truths of the faith.  From the article . . .

most would agree that faithful obedience to the Great Commission and reaching the unreached is more than a matter of speaking the gospel message and moving on. But how much more? Jesus answered that question. He said to teach them to obey all he has commanded. That statement must not be abbreviated. The task of the Great Commission cannot be compared to running through a large darkened building, flipping on a few switches and announcing that they now have light even though thousands of other rooms leave most people in darkness. If that is all one understands reaching the unreached to mean, then we must agree that the great tragedy of the world today is not that it is unreached, but that it is undiscipled.

The Dental Ministry

We are thankful for this part of the Diospi Suyana ministry.  We personally have benefitted with cavities cured and when Peter was doing the worm on our tile floor during a dance competition, severely chipping his two front teeth, we were glad to have our favorite local dentist Stephen Wright here to fix him up with some fine cosmetic dentistry that would make the biggest stars in Hollywood jealous!  Here is an article from the hospital webpage about some of the dental outreach ministries the hospital is doing.

We don’t go to the dentist …


… because the dentist comes to us!

Once a month a team from the Diospi Suyana dental clinic visits one of the surrounding villages. In this excursion the dentists and nurses visit the kindergartens and primary schools of the town.

The children learn a lot about oral hygiene and a healthy diet.  After the highly revealing presentation, all participants clean their teeth.  This is followed by a free quick check by our dentists.  If tooth decay is present, the child gets a coupon which can be exchanged for treatment any day of the week at the hospital.

Little Quechua girl listens carefully

Little Quechua girl listens carefully

Education about proper cleaning

Education about proper cleaning

Quick dental evaluation

Quick dental evaluation