Say whaaaa?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Yesterday the kids came running out of school saying, “We can wear whatever we want tomorrow!  Street clothes because the teachers might throw rocks at us!”  After doing a little “no uniform” jig, the moms asked for further explanation.  The public school teachers are on strike (this has happened several times since we have been here), they are gathering around fomenting dissatisfaction in public places, and they might be provoked by the sight of private school kids going to classes in their uniforms and throw rocks at them.  This is nuts.  Societal ills gone awry.

You can feel an undercurrent of anger and depression here– a sense of injustice is right below the surface.  Very few people smile. If someone is standing in the middle of the street and my driving through causes them to move, they glower at me as I pass.  It feels like they blow up about everything.  They are ready at every moment to be offended and to demand their rights.  Literally, as I start to pass out worksheets in my classroom, the kids in the back start complaining because they don’t have their paper yet.  They will walk up to the front of the classroom where I have started to distribute the papers and demand to have theirs before I reach their seat.  Will’s patients will not leave his office until they receive the tests they feel they need.

I will confess to feeling anger, maybe more in the last year and half than ever.  Because so many things don’t make sense, because you feel so helpless to change things in “the system,” because I think the way some people reason is stupid, honestly, I get angry. I got so upset the other day while teaching my seventh graders and it grieves me to feel that red hot lava travel from my gut to my head.

So I want to say that I sympathize.  It feels very much like the power is out of your hands.  It feels like others want to trample on you if they can.  It feels like you must push to get what you need.  But, we see the results of what happens if everyone suspects everyone else, if everyone starts pushing.  It is tragic.  It leads to teachers throwing rocks at kids trying to go to classes and unutterably horrible things as well.  As I write, I can hear teachers chanting outside.  God, help us.  You are our only hope.  Please heal societies all over the world.  Better yet, come establish Your kingdom.


Don’t they look angry as they lounge in the shady parts of the plaza! 😉


A beautiful day for a teacher’s strike.

After writing the above post, I went to the plaza to try to get a picture of the striking teachers.  One of my friends in town, Monica, who is a state school teacher, came over to talk.  She said that she is not in support of the strike, but that if she does not come sit in the plaza, attending the “meeting,” the other teachers will be upset with her.  She and her husband own a paper supply shop and she said that they cannot work there until after school hours without breaking the strike.  Monica told me that often the administrators or the school big wigs on a national level call a strike, make demands for more pay, receive a bribe or higher pay for themselves, and then call off the strike.  She said that the actual teachers rarely see any benefit to the days on strike.  She ended by saying, “I disagree (with the strike), but my saying something is like throwing a stone in a sack with a hole.”  Good expression for how they must feel.

Our Favorite Teacher

Working hard with a smile!

Working hard with a smile!

Above is the happiest, hard-working missionary in Curahuasi.  Maybe, just maybe, there may be some that work harder, but they are not happier.  Allison is finishing up her first trimester teaching English to the Peruvian kids in the middle school ages at Colegio Diospi Suyana.  It has been rewarding and tough.  There are struggles here in education that you do not commonly have back home, but that makes the small victories even more meaningful.  She is also in training to take over the bread making duties for all the Diospi Suyana missionaries.  Every Tuesday you can find her at the hospital cafeteria as the sun rises, weighing her ingredients as her friend Konika works on passing the baton of bread making to the newest baker in Curahuasi.  And she still teaches American history and English to the kids!  She is a champ!  The school starts a one week break tomorrow, and I know Curahuasi’s best teacher is ready for the rest.



I have posted pictures of gout in the past.  This may be the most impressive I have seen in the hands.

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Coming Home Wish List

If you hang around our family for more than a couple of hours, you’re sure to hear a reference to “our trip to the States.”  We’re pretty excited about coming back from October to February of this year.  The kids foresee nothing but amusement parks, trips, grandparent love, eating out, and snow.  It won’t be quite like that, but we will attempt to pack in plenty of Stateside-only experiences. Right now, we are all six in a period of contentment here in Peru, so the visit is exciting without being a temptation to escape or stay permanently.  I pray it will stay that way.

Our main wish for our time home is encouraging time with the people we love and the grace to laugh when not every moment is precious.

There are a hundreds of other little heart’s desires like:

a slow, taking-it-in-through-every-sense walk through Central Market

roughly 16 gallons of Chuy’s queso

time to pray with Lana Wisenbaker and hear her teach

about 3 hours without kids to check out every aisle of Target– what have they been up to without me?

time to cook and talk about food with my two sisters-in-law

some BSF

a walk through the leaves in the greenway with my dad

being able watch our kids and their grandparents enjoy one another

Some practical things that maybe you, blog reader, can help with:

We are praying about where to live.  One lovely person has offered us her abode, but that would mean kicking her out of her house for four months.  Do you know of a cheap furnished home we could rent or a family who needs extended housesitting?

We are looking for a car to drive.

We would love to attend some kind of spiritual retreat for families, ideally for missionary families.  Do you know of such a thing?

Would you pray for our time at home to bless many?  Would you pray for wisdom for our kids’ schooling while we’re in the States?  Would you pray for an ability for everyone to process the flood of emotions that will surely barrage us? Would you pray for the protection of our hearts?

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We look forward to seeing you.


Cconoc is a local hot spring that is not very hot.  It is serves a swimming pool, more than a hot tub.  It is nice to have nearby, because the local swimming pool is super cold.  Most of the water in our area comes from springs or glacier melt, and it is cold!!  But the Cconoc spring is relatively warm and enjoyable.  It is down from Curahuasi, next to the Apurimac river with great views of the canyon and cliffs towering above.  If the flies weren’t so aggressive in biting when you are out of the water, you could sit and enjoy the views for hours.  It is about 20 minutes from our home, and it is a nice break to drive down and enjoy a good swim.

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Fear of the Lord

I have been thinking about the fear of the Lord as I have read Hebrews.  I came across a verse in Hebrews 11 where it describes Noah building the ark in “holy fear”.  I am also reading Tim Keller’s very good book “Prayer” and in part of the book he discusses some rules for prayer and references John Calvin’s recommendation that prayer starts in the “fear of the Lord”.  So I have been thinking about this as I have read his book and  as I have seen it mentioned in the scripture.  How do we live in or experience the “fear of God”?  And what does it mean exactly?

I don’t think it is really so hard to understand what it means.  Most of us have had the experience of meeting someone and being intimidated to speak for fear of saying something wrong or doing something wrong.  We were not in fear for our safety, but we had a “fear” of the encounter.  This happens with authority figures, but it can happen even with people we are very pleased to meet.  Tim Keller calls it a “joyful fear”.  We are happy to meet a person, even excited, yet we don’t want to say or do something to mess it up.  I might actually feel this way if I had a chance to talk to Tim Keller himself.  It is a sense of awe, enthusiasm, hope, and intimidation combined.  Keller reminds us if we feel this way about people, how much more should we feel it when we are in the presence of God!  Or when you are a child, you have a fear of you father, but also you know that he is your protector because of his strength.  The Father is the source of both comfort and there is a healthy fear of his discipline and displeasure.

On the other hand, I do think it is a little hard to understand exactly how we live in or experience the “fear of God”.  For me the application part of Bible study is always the hardest.  Noah built the ark in “holy fear”.  How do we do the work of God and live our lives in “holy fear”?  For sure faith is a big component of living this out.  This verse describing Noah’s “holy fear” is in the context of the writer describing how these people lived in faith.  Take a look at Hebrews 11.  These men and women knew the will of God, and then they did it.  And they did it in trust that what God promised would come to be, even when they often did not see those promises fulfilled in their lifetime.  They lived knowing that being associated with God was better than any reward or experience of sin they could experience in this life.  So based on Hebrews 11, living in the fear of the Lord entails having a sense of awe and respect for who God is, doing what he commands, living a life that demonstrates that you are identifying with God instead of with the world (look at the example of Moses who gave up the pleasures of sin and instead accepted persecution so that he could be identified with God’s chosen people), and trusting that he will take care of you and do what he has promised.

Samaritan’s Purse – Information about Diospi Suyana Hospital

Some information about the Diospi Suyana Hospital from the Samaritan’s Purse website.  If you are a physician interested in volunteering, you can come through Samaritan’s Purse.


Profile: Approximately 750,000 people, predominantly indigenous, live within a three hour radius of Curahuasi, Peru. Hospital Diospi Suyana offers comprehensive care to these descendants of the ancient Incas. The facility is equipped with 55 beds, four operating rooms, a five-bed intensive care unit, laboratory and radiology department (X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan). The hospital is staffed by both Peruvian and expatriate staff.

Travel: You will fly by commercial airline into Lima, the capital city of Peru. Depending on the flight times it might be necessary to overnight in Lima. From Lima you will take a smaller flight to Cuzco. Again, depending on flight times, you might need to overnight in Cuzco. From Cuzco you will travel by ground transportation to Hospital Diospi Suyana. Ground transportation is usually in the form of a hired taxi arranged by the hospital, and normally takes two and one-half hours.

Time Difference: -1 hour Eastern Daylight Savings Time, U.S.A. Same time as Eastern Standard Time, U.S.A.

Location: The small town of Curahuasi, Peru is located in the Andes Mountains. Curahuasi is in the region of Apurimac, known as the poorhouse of Peru. Curahuasi is approximately 85 miles from Cusco, Peru.

People: The people in Curahuasi and the surrounding countryside are Quechua, but do not like to be called as such. They prefer the term “Quechua Hablante” (meaning one who speaks Quechua).

Language: Eighty percent of the local people are Quechua Hablante and their language is Quechua. Approximately 70 precent of Quechua can speak and understand Spanish at an adequate level. The hospital has some Peruvian staff who speak fluent Quechua when translation is necessary. FP, DGP, GS, IM, OBG, OPH, ORS, OTO, PD, U, must be fluent in Spanish

Religion: The area is predominantly Catholic with 10 percent being evangelicals. The area also has a lot of superstition and animism carried over from old Incan religious traditions.

Math and Education in Curahuasi

Do you wonder what is the hardest thing for us missionary parents here in Curahuasi?  It is our concern about our kid’s education.  Nothing lowers my mood more or makes me want to come home more than my concerns about how they are doing.  Did you know that Peru came in last place in both language arts and mathematics in the entire world (only 65 countries participated) when submitted to a standardized exam.  Nothing has epitomized the difficulties of Peruvian education like the subject of mathematics.  Last year while David was in fifth and sixth grade they were teaching algebra and geometry.  I am not sure that the normal 10 and 11 year old brain is ready for that sort of abstract reasoning.  To me it felt like an overcompensation.  Because Peru is in last place in the world in education, the educators and public feel there is a need to go faster and faster.  But this is at the cost of learning the basics of math.  And without having the basics really locked in, you cannot move into the more advanced subjects.  Last year my kids hated math.  And that was sad, because they all seem to have a bit of extra ability in this subject.  But I am glad to say that this year they all say they like math . . . except for the homework.  And you know what is different this year.  The school is making sure they solidify the basics before they move on to the advanced topics.  I am thankful to the school leadership for what they are trying to do to constantly improve the Diospi Suyana school.  I sympathize with Cristian Bigalke, our school director, as he tries to bring a new culture of education into Curahuasi.  It is not easy, but he is doing his best as he works with a majority Peruvian staff who have never been trained any differently.  I am grateful that the majority of the staff is willing to learn something new about teaching.  Here is an article from Cristian from the hospital website.

Rethinking the multiplication tables 1×1


European Math Books Utilized at Diospi Suyana School

Actually, the Peruvian curriculum in mathematics is quite reasonable, but the reality is quite different.  It is not uncommon for parents to expect that kindergarten children should be doing advanced math.  The result is that most children get left behind and never really understand the fundamentals before they are rushed into advanced math applications.  It is recommended that a thorough learning of the basic math principles first be mastered.

The professors at our mission school were trained in the application of a new teaching method in February.  Two experts from Lima came especially to Curahuasi to explain step by step working with the new textbook.  It was originally published by the Stuttgart Klett-Verlag and then translated and adapted by an institution in Lima.  The material is didactically very descriptive and it will facilitate the student’s progression.

The learning environments are also becoming more diverse.  It is not unusual to see students climbing stairs as they figure out problems. And sometimes the whole schoolyard serves as a great textbook, which always makes the learning material more fun.

The goal at our school is to provide children from all social classes an excellent education.  God only knows how successful it will be, but it is important that we go with Him.  The first successes have thankfully already been seen. / CB

Math in the schoolyard

Math in the schoolyard

New methods

New methods

Instagram Update

We have an Instagram account if you are interested in seeing pictures of our family, our work, and where we live.  Here are some of the most recent photos.

The boys heading off to school.

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Off to school.

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Off to school.

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Views on the way to work.

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View over Curahuasi on the way to the hospital.

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Sarah trying to curl her hair.  They all fell out.

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First night in curlers!

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Peter washing the car.


Singing the Peru National Anthem while on a scavenger hunt.


Really big moths.

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Thought it was a bat when it flew by me head!

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If you are interested in more, check out our Instagram account.