House Stuff

We have been working on a house for over four months.  We thought we would move in at the end of November.  Then we thought mid-December.  Then we decided to wait until after Christmas.  I though next weekend would be the day, but it looks like not yet.  Would you please pray that this work will be done soon.  It is a long slow process to put in a kitchen, hot water, re-wire electricity, fix leaking roofs and repair wet walls.  Workers show up sometimes, and sometimes they don’t.  I have been to the house many times waiting for 30 minutes to an hour for a worker that never shows up.  We have been paying rent on two places for 4 months now, and we hope that this ends soon.

One benefit . . . we are learning more about living in a culture like the Apurimac region of Peru.  Patience is something we are gaining experience in.

Do you spoil your kids?

I think we do.  Is it weird to you that we have some guilt about bringing our kids to the mission field?  Our son David has attended 7 different schools before completing 6th grade.  Who knows how many different churches our kids have been a part of?  We have lived in so many different houses as we rented and moved from one impermanent position to another while we strived to keep the idea of missions living in our home.  Then we moved to the mission field throwing our children into a new culture and new language without asking their permission or even their opinion. They have made new friends and lost old friends over and over again.  They have gone months without having any friends except each other.  They have had teachers mock them in their classes because that is an accepted learning style in some countries.  They have had teachers threaten to hit them with a small stick or a small whip for not working fast enough.  They have sat in classes without understanding and without being understood.  We feel guilty and maybe more accurately sad at times for what we have put them through.  And I will tell you that it makes us want to spoil them.  When we see them respond bravely to so many situations, and when we watch them go without much complaint day after day into a hard situation, we want to say enough is enough.  I don’t want to be the one to make your life any harder.  So yes, you can have that candy!  Yes, you can watch that video!  Yes, I will try my best to get you an Xbox 360 for Christmas!  I think of what they miss and suffer and how well they respond, and I want to spoil them.  Maybe you did not know, but this is one of the biggest struggles of parenting we face.  How do we raise our kids well without spoiling them when we want to make their lives easier in whatever way we can?  Please pray for us that we will be wise, balancing generosity with self-control and self-restraint.  Pray that we will teach them the discipline of self denial while we try to assuage our guilty consciences by giving them what they want.  Please pray that we will be good parents.

(Here they are waiting in another interminable Peruvian line!)

Feeling thankful for Apple while having to wait in long lines.

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About Goodbye

Did you know that one of the things we do the most in the mission field is say goodbye?  When we leave the states we say goodbye to everyone and everything that is familiar and comfortable.  When we go back to the US we say goodbye to our friends in Curahuasi, some of whom will not be here when we come back.  Everyone who comes to visit or to work with the hospital or school . . . we say goodbye to them.  Sometimes it is no big deal.  They were not people we knew, they came for a month, and then they left.  Other times it can be very hard.  Last night we had our last dinner with Allison’s dad before he left today after an extended visit.  Peter was real quiet at the table, not saying anything.  Noticing and suspecting that something was wrong I asked him if he was tired or sad.  He didn’t say anything and just started to cry from the expectation of “Abo” leaving.  Today, all the kids hugged their grandfather goodbye in Cuzco.  Afterward, Peter came to me for a long hug as he buried his head in my arms.  We got in the car and all the kids eyes were red filled with tears, Annie and Peter especially crying, while Allison and I tried to find some happy music on our iPod to keep from being swept up in the melancholy.  The scene has been the same every time family has come to visit.  Grandparent visits are the highlights of our kids life here, and the pleasure of their arrival is equaled by the sadness of their leaving.  And I think saying goodbye here is different than saying goodbye in the states.  It feels more permanent as your friends and family feel so far away.  And although our kids may not be able to explain it, they certainly feel the difference.  Unfortunately, coming soon is the departure of every other American family living in Curahuasi.  This is already being processed by our kids as they realize that all their current American friends are leaving!  Allison is processing that her very good friend Konika will leave soon.  You dive in quickly to friendships in the mission field, and then you say goodbye just as they are reaching their richest point.  So remember us and pray for us over these upcoming months as we say goodbye to so many friends, and remember us in prayer over the next couple days as we get used to live without a grandparent in the next room.

Traveling

Allison’s father is in town, and we are traveling.  So communication will be infrequent as we head to the jungle where there is no electricity and definitely no internet.  I have been desperately anxious for a real vacation, but I think this one may tire me out as we head into 100 degree jungle heat and humidity during the rainy season.  Everyone says it is going to be really hot, really wet, and really beautiful.  Pray for me (Will) especially that it will be a time of some rejuvenation, as I have been a little less enthusiastic about the work recently.  So until next post, which will surely include some good vacation pictures enjoy this article.  More Than Just a Good Church Kid from Christianity Today.  Definitely some food for thought.

Misplaced Loyalties  

My father is here visiting (hooray!) and he brought me a fancy Nike runners’ shirt. Some of you know how much running I do. I am really a fan of cotton. I check tags and online descriptions for 100% cotton. I never have been interested in those new-fangled wicking fabrics or high tech blends because I really like cotton. (Plus I never work out, so I don’t shop for work out clothes, as behooves my lifestyle.) I put this engineered, special fabric shirt on, though, and I never want to take it off. It is so soft and light yet heavy enough, fitted yet loose enough, it feels wonderful! I was laughing at my own closed-mindedness when I thought, “It’s another case of misplaced loyalties.”

Living in another country highlights the sheer number of loyalties we cling to. Just the other day we were explaining to our German school director the order of American junior high and high school science, “first you take Life Science,…” and it made me laugh to listen to us. Who says that the order of sciences in American schools is the best or is even important? Who says that the way I cook biscuits is not to be improved upon? Who says that our holiday traditions should go unchanged for generations? Who says that guinea pigs are better as pets than food? Honestly, they weren’t very fun pets. Who says that my way of caring for infants, raising kids, and being involved at school is essential? Why should I explain to my German or Peruvian friends “the way we do it in America” unless it aids understanding among us?

More to the point, who says that my worship service structure is the model to emulate? Who says that my interpretation of that verse is worth a voiced disagreement? In a Peruvian context, I can expect that the way they disciple others, counsel them, and pastor them will look different.

I find myself unnecessarily loyal to the past, to America, to things that bring me comfort in a strange place.

But, if I’m loyal to anything other than Jesus and His word, I’m out of line.

Please pray for us to let go of all the unimportant loyalties we grasp and instead wholeheartedly be loyal to Jesus our King.

God Bless America

When we were in Costa Rica for language school, we experienced a true tropical paradise with the daily fresh fruit reminding us how great we had it.  We ate so much pineapple and citrus . . . we loved it.  Although we remain in the tropics, we now live at 9000 feet elevation.  So it is not the same.  We still have a lot of fresh produce, but the products are vegetables instead of fruit.  If you like potatoes or corn, you have it made.  Quinoa or grains, you are in luck.  Fresh fruit is available, but it is not like Costa Rica.  The apples are bite size.  The oranges are no bigger.  And then today we were in Cuzco and found this great fruit.

Went to the grocery store in Cuzco and bought this great looking fruit . . . It is all from the U.S.A.

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That picture is the fruit in our sink to be washed / cleaned of parasites.  Wow!  What great fruit!  And as we inspected it we noticed all the little stickers indicating it was from the good ole US of A.  We miss those great American seedless fruits (oranges and grapes, especially).  And what do you know?  You can get them right here in Peru, at the market in Cuzco!  God bless the USA!