From Diospi Suyana Hospital

You never know when you may come to the end.  Maybe as a physician you think about it more, or maybe as you get older you contemplate the end of life.  I still feel pretty invincible, but sometimes in the hospital these accidents come through and you realize that you need to make your life count this very day, because each day really is a blessing from God.  Here is an article from the hospital website.

From One Moment to the Next


Was it a technical failure?

Saturday, 5:00 p.m.  A pick-up truck drives carefully on the gravel road down the mountain.  Three people are sitting in the vehicle and three are standing in the bed of the truck.  The sun is shining.  It is a peaceful afternoon and the six Peruvians are looking forward to their well deserved quitting time.  The work in the Chacra (field) has been strenuous.  Suddenly the truck jerks and for some unknown reason begins to fall down the embankment.  During the fall, the three in the bed of the truck are thrown out.  Those inside fearfully experience the pick-up rolling several times until it finally comes to a stop at the bottom.  One woman dies at the scene, while the other five are rescued by firefighters and brought to Diospi Suyana.

After extensive diagnostics, it is clear that the five have had quite a scare, but only have external injuries. Out of the blue and despite reasonable driving habits, six individuals unsuspectingly met a horrible event.  One dies and five live on.  Why?  Was it bad luck or good fortune, a number in the accident statistics or a fateful tragedy?

In 1974 songwriter Manfred Siebald sang the following song:

The last verse: If at any time, whether late or early, expected or unexpected, my life comes to an end, when my clock hand stops moving, it doesn’t matter how it comes.  Whether I take my last breath on a white pillow or somewhere in dust and blood on the side of the road- I know only that the departure must come.

I also go on, just a little further, Go in joy of God, go into God’s light.
I stayed for a few years as your companion, but now I go on to be with my Lord.

Being Missed

Our new neighbors, but old Curahuasi friends, Stephen and Finley Wright, are a huge part of this new little barrio in which we live.  Stephen has a real gift for kids, with himself being young at heart and full of energy.  He is also a runner, and just under two years ago when he arrived he started running with the neighborhood kids.  This little group grew into a running club called Corre Curahausi, a group of kids ranging from very young to some adults who run every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  Then every couple months there is an official race, with a banner, music, finish line, and awards.  Stephen shares a small devotional before the runs and then the kids go for it with all their might.  And boy can they run!  Flat out they go at 9000 feet elevation!  These kids start gathering outside Stephen and Finley’s house about two hours before each run, eager to be a part of something.  I am so challenged by the example of love that this family has given to our community, and I am also motivated to try a little love experiment, reaching out even when it is not comfortable, so that these kids can come to know the love of God!  The Wrights leave in just a few weeks.  Everyone is really going to miss them, and none of us can take their place.  But hopefully we can fill the gap in part.  Thank you Wright Family for all you have done!  You will be missed.

The Wright family mission their newest addition, Emmaline, whom I a had the honor of delivering here in Curahuasi!

The Wright family before their newest addition, Emmaline, whom I a had the honor of delivering here in Curahuasi!

Downhill Curahuasi

Our friends, Jens and Damaris Hassfeld have four kids.  The two oldest boys have been into downhill biking, and are quite good.  There are probably few places in the world better for doing downhill than our little region of Peru.  Through some connections Dirt Magazine (the german edition) came and made a short video and wrote a longform article about the local downhill scene.  The article is in German and the video is in Spanish with German subtitles, so be warned.  Still it is interesting for the photos, and it will give you a little picture of what life is like here in Curahausi.  At the beginning of the article is the video link, and at the bottom of the article is a photo gallery.  Take a look.

Out of the Shadow – Downhill in Peru

School Building Project Report

We had Johannes, the new engineer, and his future wife Angela to our home Saturday night to play Dominion and Splendor.  As well we ate some American hamburgers and enjoyed some fun conversation.  We are thankful for Johannes as he works to get the school building project completed.  It is a blessing to have him here.  Here is his most recent report from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.

Building Number 9 Completed at the School


Dear Diospi Suyana friends and readers of the building report, this message may even be a surprise to the architects.  They really only drew us plans for eight buildings, however, for the school garden we added a small bamboo hut to help with the “jungle” feel.  The roof is made of grass, imitating the material they used to use.  I think we have done a pretty good job, even without an architects plan.

The green areas are now finally ready and we have even a small campfire ring in the corner.  The grass is improving on the sports field, but unfortunately isn’t growing as well as it should.  It seems to be doing better now with some improved soil.

We were able to add some soil to this area because we had to remove good soil from the new building site.  This means a lot of hard work with pick and shovel, but one is able to see the progress.

Currently a lab in Cusco is investigating our site and advising us on proper building material.  They have helped us refine our concrete mix, so we not only have to rely on our past experience, but we have black and white results that help us achieve the required strengths needed for this building.

At the school, the electric and paint room were cleared.  These two areas were still missing the second covering and skirting board around the floors, which has now been started.  The school also lacked a cash room were payments can be made.  In order to safely install the necessary safe, a second wall was built.

May you all have a blessed weekend, Johannes

Building number 9 in the school garden

Building number 9 in the school garden

Everyone has time for a nice campfire.

Everyone has time for a nice campfire.

The safe is walled.

The safe is walled.

Better soil is distributed on the sports field.

Better soil is distributed on the sports field.

Lose Your Soul?

Can you lose your soul while doing the work of God?  I have seen my own sinfulness more obviously while being in the mission field, doing what I hope is “the work of God”.  The stresses of life are greater, the tension is magnified, and you have to depend on God so much.  I am not very well trained in depending on God.  I was very self-sufficient in the US (or at least that is the way I felt and perceived myself).  Here in the mission field, I am dependent on others to pay for everything (thank you supporters), we can barely get work done on anything in the house when we need help (we will be there tomorrow turns into one month later), our kids education is a constant struggle (how long can you continue hoping that next year it will work out?), and the list goes on and on.  I worry, complain, and indulge my sinful nature instead of clinging to the one who is in control of all things.  I watch other missionaries experience the same.  I see the sinfulness and weakness of our leadership (no greater than my own), as they try and cope with the strain of carrying the hospital on their weary shoulders.  I was talking with a friend and she told me how she had been to a lecture about leadership, and the teachers had said that two thirds of all the men of leadership in the Bible ended poorly.  Only one third (especially in the old testament) persevered in faithfulness until the end.  The burden and weight of the office drove them to look for strength in themselves or in other things instead of in God.  These men chosen by God in the end rejected the one who made them who they were.

Please pray for the leadership of our hospital.  Please pray for the rest of us who try and serve faithfully in stressful and tiring circumstances.  We need God’s help and we welcome your prayers.  I hope we all can remember that is God who makes us able to do the things he has prepared in advance for us to do!

Getting to School

How we roll in Curahuasi! Boys living the life!

Weird and Hard Things

We went to Cuzco on Wednesday. We have a package stuck in customs that was supposed to be there. When we arrived they told us it was in Lima instead. So I had to fill out some paperwork to have it sent. The lady working the desk told me to write the request on a paper she gave me and then make a copy. At least that was what I understood. It turned out that the paper she gave me was her last copy (it was dated from 2014) and that I was supposed to copy it before I filled it out so that she would have a copy to give to her next customer. I used her last copy . . . she was not pleased, but when I told her I would review her mammogram if she brought it to our hospital, she forgave me.

That trip to Cuzco was a big shopping trip for us. We bought two mattresses that we needed. We bought some plastic fake wicker closets for our new rental house. And we bought a ton of groceries including silly things like Captain Crunch cereal for the kids. When we arrived home in the evening the boys that live across the street came and stood five feet away from us as we unloaded everything. Most of the missionaries like to unload in secret, behind closed doors if possible because the discrepancy in purchasing power is pretty significant. Plus, missionaries buy in bulk, and the Quechua do not. We look crazy and crazy rich when we unload. These three boys have an alcoholic mother who does not take care of them. There is no father involved. They get enough to eat, but just enough. They are skinny! And they beg constantly for food. They never have an excess, and there we were unloading so much food right in front of their thin faces. What do you do with that?

A Quechua Peruvian family lives near us. They are full of smiles, and if there was one family that you thought you could trust and had it all together it would be them. Quechua families have a structure that is often so different than what we are used to, that sometimes it seems impossible to relate. Yet this family seemed similar to us in many ways. That is until the night their daughter came to our missionary neighbor’s house crying, saying that the father had pulled a knife and was threatening to kill the mother. As I went over to the house to help, I could not help but think how you never know, and how we all deceive one another with one sin or another. Yet nothing is really done in secret in the sight of God. That little girl spent the night with us and thought that the fact we refrigerated our milk was crazy! She could barely drink it down. And “Phineas and Ferb” can cross cultural divides as big as American and Quechua.