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.