A Word from Sarah

A little snippet of life in Curahuasi from Sarah:

One thing I have started to do when I go on bike rides is count the animals. Today I saw 23 dogs, a male turkey and a female turkey, too many chickens to count, and a horse. Yesterday I saw 13 dogs, 4 chickens, and a turkey. I like riding my bike downhill, and I like to go the plaza. Riding uphill is hard, but when you get up you can have a drink of water!

A little catch up

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Jess, Simon, Ben, and Elijah Lewis, plus a bearded Will, Sarah, and me

I know I’m not alone in this. You have a good friend and you haven’t talked or written in a long time, but you just keep putting off getting in touch because there is so much to catch up on.  That’s how I feel about this blog.  There is just so much to say, so much we’ve been processing and experiencing, and there’s no way to “catch you up” on our lives.  Here are some snippets: We went to the States for five months, from September to February, we saw tons of wonderful people, we had a good time, we were ready to get back to “normal” life and routine.  We came back to Curahuasi, we started school and work again, we enjoyed our friends and our house and our weather.  The kids and I started a new type of homeschooling, which was going well.  In May, my dad got married, so we went back to the States for two weeks.  We had a great time, ate Mexican food, saw family, spent good time with Ruth, Will’s mom, and even fit in a Rangers’ game.  We came back to Curahuasi, people were sick, sick, sick, the water was not coming regularly, the kids had trimester exams but had missed two weeks of school, we were too sick to go to our regular groups where we see our friends, our maid was sick, our house was dirty, no energy to clean it, no water to clean it with, vacation week after exams and the kids were sick, at home all day, no fun, Will got more sick, this time throwing up, the school behind our house celebrated their anniversary until 4:00 a.m. four nights in a row, you get the picture. 

On top of circumstantial downers, we are wrestling with all the typical questions of missionaries, of people in mid life, of people in general: Is God still calling us here or calling us to go somewhere else?  What should we do with our kids when they start high school, as David will in just a few short months?  Where do we belong?  Where should we spend our energy?  (and this one, from the enemy) Are we doing any good here? 

This week, we started to get some water, enough water, every day— hooray!  Will is finally starting to recover from his illnesses.  All those things I was telling myself last week, “This will pass.  Things will get better.  God is here in the suffering.” are true again. 

Please pray along with us.  I know that God is in this place.  I see Him.

Here are a couple of cool people stories:  Just before our May trip to the States, a young couple from Virginia came to Curahuasi to work at Diospi Suyana for a month.  They are going to be missionaries in Cusco starting in December.  Ben will be a doctor at La Fuente clinic, where our good friends the Rabers work also.  Ben is a pediatrician and Jess is a former Spanish teacher/ Young Life staff/ inner city ministry person. They have two precious boys, Elijah and Simon. Talking with them about life, theology, missions training, and God’s faithfulness was like a breath of fresh air.  It was fun to hear their take on starting out in missions, Peru, and living in community, and I know that we will remain friends, especially since we will see one another in Cusco.  I was processing my dad’s upcoming marriage and all the changes that that would mean, and Jess was there to listen lovingly.  Her dad died of cancer several years ago and her mom had remarried, so she could relate.  There was another friend in town going through a difficult trial, and Jess had experienced that also.  I saw this young mom minister out of the comfort she had received and I marveled that she was here, in Curahuasi, at “such a time as this.”

We have maintained some beautiful friends from our small group at church in Dallas at North Highlands Bible Church from 2009-2012.  Jordan and Katy Kauffman were a young couple with one and then two curly-headed kids.  They were always enthusiastic when discussing missions and living life outside the box. Katy’s parents are missionaries and Jordan, as a Spanish teacher, loves other cultures and traveling.  Before we moved overseas, the Kauffmans moved because Jordan got a job in Allen and they got involved in a church up there.  Because of blessed Facebook and mutual friends, we are still friends. Jordan’s school was planning a trip to Peru, so he asked if he could tack a few days onto the trip and come out to Curahuasi to see us and let his students see a different side of Peru. We had eight sweet students and Jordan here for four days.  They were tough days, since several of them got sick (It doesn’t happen to all our visitors!  Don’t let it stop you!) and Will was sick as well (see first paragraph).  However, it was so refreshing to have a group of people remind us of all the advantages of living here, to love on our kids, to sit with them at the piano and teach them “Heart and Soul,” to play games with them, to ooh and aah over the views and the weather, to say “You’re doing good stuff here,” and “The people in this town are lovely.”  They had a really great experience doing an art project at the school, too, and that reminded us how blessed we are to have the school and how much progress the students are making. Thank you, God, for the cool drink of the Spirit through these visitors. (After I wrote this paragraph, I saw that Will had already written about the students.  Sorry for the repeat!)

The students at Diospi Suyana put on a production of the prodigal son from Luke 15 during project week at school.  Oh, man, when the father ran off the stage and hugged the son who was returning home, I got so teary.  God is so faithful and he loves us.  He takes joy in us.  He sometimes runs out and hugs us with fellow believers’ arms.  He welcomes us in His presence no matter how faint we are when we arrive.  Bless His name.

Project Week

We just finished project week at the school. During project week the kids divide into different groups away from their normal classes and focus on something special in multi-grade level groups. This year Annie was in a group focused on Cultures of the World. Peter and David were in a group studying Cajamarca. Sarah studied Apurimac. The kids focus on these areas for the entire week, build displays that show what they have learned, and then memorize lots of facts so that at the end of the week they can make presentations in the evening over what they have learned. This has occurred every year since the school started, and this year was the best so far. This week coincides with the anniversary of the school, and after the presentations there is a musical starring several students. On Sunday the entire school and the parents march in the plaza to show their school pride. Marching is an interesting part of our Peruvian culture. When you march in Peru you kick high like you can imagine the Nazi’s doing it in the past. It feels weird and sort of angry because of that association, but here it is very important. So the kids march with the school and Allison and I march, kicking high, with all of the parents.

La chica de Apurimac

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Angels Watching Over Me

I always liked that old Amy Grant song, and even now sometimes when Allison and I are feeling a little nostalgic we will plug in the Iphone and let a little Amy Grant go rolling through the car audio system. I like knowing that our lives are under the will of God. And when I heard our friend Stefan share this story of returning from vacation, it made me thankful to know that God is watching over us and that we can trust that whether it be good or bad it is under his control. Read below from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.

Family Seiler escaped with no more than a scare

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Near accident with a truck

Stefan Seiler works as the administration director at the hospital Diospi Suyana. His report refers to an incident of the night from June 8th to the 9th. His pregnant wife Tabea and his children Olivia Renée and Robin were with him in the car.

At 1:15am we came to the because of geologic faults unpaved part of the Panamericana right before Curahuasi. On the right side the steep drop-off, on the left side the rock face. Suddenly a refrigerated truck approaches us way to fast. The truck swerves. Instinctively I stop, put the car in reverse to back up.
The swerving became stronger. The truck flipped to the right and struck the steep rock face, then flipped approximately 10 yards in front of us onto the left side of the road and came to a stop. I got out to look after the driver.

Uninjured he climbed through the passenger’s side out of the driver’s cab. He was in shock and talked about that his brakes malfunctioned. The driver of the fully-occupied white mini bus, which the truck must have obviously passed further up the road, stopped and accused the truck driver heavily. He was driving way too fast. The trucks’ passing of the mini bus further up the road had already nearly caused an accident.It was an extremely dangerous situation and we thank God for his protection! We realized again how hazardous road trips here in Peru are, especially on those windy roads in the mountains. /SS

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The Seiler family

 

A Visit from the US

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Jordan Kauffman with his students on Capitan Rumi

We spent the last 4 days hosting a bunch of lively girls from Allen, TX. They had come to Peru on an educational trip, and then added four extra days to come visit us in Curahuasi. It fell at a crazy time as we were not getting water in our house so we took them to the hospital for showers and made sure we had buckets of water around for filling up toilets. I (Will) got so sick I thought I was going to die. I told Allison that if I got delirious that she should take me to the hospital so they could rule out meningitis. Allison ran the show by herself for almost the whole time they were here while I stayed in our room and made brief appearances to be polite. Our girls loved having a bunch of friendly and excited teenage girls around, and I think it was awesome for them to see these energetic American high schoolers. While the students were here they did an art exchange with the students at the colegio which as very well attended. Jordan Kauffman is their teacher / advisor and he seems to us like the perfect high school teacher. We knew him from North Highlands Bible Church in Dallas. Before he and his students came we were at a bit of a low point having been 3 weeks without water in the house, and we said to each other “We are getting ready to be encouraged, because Jordan is going to come and he is going to be super enthusiastic with a bunch of enthusiastic teenagers!” We were not disappointed. And now Allison gets to rest.

The Road Between

This is the short flat part of the road between Cuzco and Curahuasi. This is where you make up time lost on the mountain curves.

Cruising the roads of Peru

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Go Small

This is a post Allison wrote on March 9, 2013. I think it was and is a good thought so I decided to share it again. Allison has really impressed me in the 15 1/2 years of our marriage in her willingness to try and do new things. She serves as needed, and I love that about her.  Here are her thoughts from back then.

Think you’re doing everyone a favor by doing the very best, biggest, and most beautiful job you can on everything you’re involved in?  I’d like to challenge you to think again. I …

Source: Go Small