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.