We did not graduate from 5th or 6th or 8th or any grade except when we finished high school. Yet, I have to say I think these graduations can play a meaningful role in our kid’s lives. And the Scofield Christian School graduation was pretty special. The kids gave their testimonies, a local youth pastor gave them a challenge for high school, the kids gave roses to teachers that they appreciated, the 6th grade teacher gave a description of the character of every individual student, and then the principle described and thanked the parents of each student. Wow! Way to go Scofield! It is a sweet place. And we are thankful that they let our kids join in the middle of the year. It was where they attended before we left for Costa Rica and Peru, and it was a good place for them to attend on coming home. They remembered their friends, and their friends remembered them. It allowed them to readjust to an American schooling system in a friendly and safe environment with great Christian teachers who would not allow them to slip through the cracks. We love Scofield!
The kids are finishing school again. This is the second time Annie is finishing 5th grade and Sarah is finishing 3rd. They completed those grades in Peru, but being in the southern hemisphere, the years were flipped with summer break starting in December. So we moved here and let them finish the years in the grades they had previously completed. The first month was hard, especially for the girls. But yesterday as we drove home, Annie said to me “I am really going to miss school! I liked learning new things and making new friends!” As Allison told me, it is a reminder that things, circumstances, and best of all, attitudes can change with time. Come on summer break. It will be the kids first one since February of 2016!
“This is going to be great,” Sarah exclaimed.
This was not going to be great. Dad was making us go on a four day hike that none of us wanted to go on, except of course, my little sister Sarah, who was very optimistic.
We climbed out of the van with the rest of the group and started carefully going down a very steep hill that lasted for, what felt like forever, when in reality was just the rest of the day. While we were sliding down the hill, the group separated because some people went slower and some people went quicker. My parents had walkie talkies to keep in touch with my brothers who were ahead of us. When we dragged into the campsite we were exhausted. My mom was in charge of cooking dinner that night. She prepared the best spaghetti I had ever eaten. After dinner we looked up at the brilliant stars. Mom and I climbed into our cozy tent and fell asleep right away.
During the night mom got sick with diarrhea. “I’ll be okay,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.”
But as we went down the hill mom had to make many stops behind a bush. Mom saw the walk ahead and felt dizzy. We were considering going home, but mom kept going. David and I went ahead with a young couple, David and Ari. I had known Ari since the day I got to Peru. She worked in the hospital with my Dad. She was very funny and had a unique personality. Then she married my peruvian teacher, David. Peter and Sarah were a group, and Dad and Mom were a group. Mom and Dad were way behind. Dad was being patient and waiting for Mom while Mom was doing her business. The hike was super steep and we hiked non-stop. There were no flat parts at all. It was a very eventful day. When mom and dad finally got to the campsite, we had already eaten.The campsite was super cool. It had lots of wind, it was extremely high up, and it had an awesome view. It was a lot better than the other campsite.
We ate at a typical Peruvian house. We paid them some money and they brought us some food. It was cool because we got to see what it was like to live in a Peruvian house. There were guinea pigs running across the floor, and dirt walls. After that I took an extremely cold shower but it felt good. We went to bed exhausted. But I didn’t sleep very well because in the next tent they were playing games and being very loud, but I woke the next day refreshed and ready to go.
We hiked the rest of the way to the Incan ruins. They were pretty cool but definitely not worth the hike. At least that’s what I thought. We ate our lunch there, a few granola bars and some fruit, and then started walking to the camp we stayed at the first day. It was miserable on the way down. I thought I broke my toe because it hurt so badly and I cried at one point. I rode a horse for about fifteen minutes and we were at the camp. Ari and David, that young couple me and David walked with the day before, were in charge of dinner. Basically we had raw rice and raw vegetables. They were not good cooks. I imagine they’ll get better at it. I mean they had only been married a couple months. When I went to use the restroom it was very disgusting. The toilets weren’t flushing so they were overflowing with brown and yellow. Mom went to go talk with the manager about the toilets. It took a while for them to fix it. We went to bed exasperated. That was definitely the hardest day yet.
For breakfast the next day we had granola bars, again. We were hiking up the hill that we went down the first day. Mom and Sarah were so worn out that they got on a horse together and were at the entrance in no time. David and Peter went ahead and so it was just Dad and me. I talked and talked all the way until we got to the entrance. Dad would be like “ I need to take a break Annie,” and I would say “Okay,” and we would stop. I wasn’t tired at all! I told dad about “The Ted Wars.” That was when I stole a stuffed animal named Ted from my brother David. He stole it back and then I stole it again and so on. I told him about my favorite part of the hike, about my friends, and practically everything I could think of! Right when we were walking up the final hill we saw two amazing condors soaring above us.
They were so close I felt as if I could touch them. It was an amazing experience. When we got to the entrance mom gave me some money to buy a snack. The car that was picking us up was very late. Something about peruvians you probably didn’t know is that peruvians are always very late. I ate my snack and talked to my teacher, David. When the car finally came I climbed in ready to get home. We all marveled at how we just did that long hike. I was glad to get home. But if someone invited me to go again, I would say yes.
“A calling is sturdy. I don’t have to protect it. I don’t need to be afraid of not getting every step right. Obviously, we need to be faithful to what’s revealed in Scripture, but we need to trust the Holy Spirit. If a calling is from God, it’s not up to us to make it happen.” – Tish Harrison. Why Tish Harrison Gave Up on Being a ‘Good Church Kid’. Christianity Today.
There are things that are hard to explain. I find it hard to explain why we are going to Africa when there is a large part of me that does not want to go. I look at my friends and my family and I think to myself “They have got it right. Stay home in your own culture and make a difference where you are from.” I look at jobs in the US in great places to live, and I think “It would be so cool to live there!” I see that my kids are happy in the United States, and I wonder “Why am I making my kids move again?” But when I think about staying I cannot feel settled. Something here will seem so perfect, but it will not seem right. I was talking to my friend Matt about it, barely expressing something I cannot understand in myself. I wondered aloud to him that I see people’s lives and I think they are great and meaningful and worthy of respect. And I wonder why I cannot have that life which I think is possibly a better use of my own personality and gifts. Why can I not stay, when I want to stay? Matt answered simply “It’s because you are called. You have a calling.” I knew he was right; but I want my calling to be an intense desire to do something. At times it is. Sometimes I feel the fire in my belly to go. But much of the time it is an unsettled feeling that I cannot do anything else except keep moving in the direction God has pointed us. And I think it is alright. I do not see in the history of the Bible that every person called by God was skipping in eagerness to the work set before them. In fact, many (most?) times it is the opposite. But they did not stop because they knew the truth of what God had called them to do. And I know it too. God has called me to serve the poor and the hurting through medicine. He has called me to share the gospel through compassion. And I go despite myself, eyes wide open, praying for God to give me strength to do the work he has given me to do. Please pray for us to be faithful and to live up to the calling we have received.
This is a nice video that our friends in Peru have put together to explain the work that they are doing among the Quechua people. I had the pleasure of caring for their two sons – I did not have to do much as they were quite healthy and happy. We drove hours to their house over very curvy roads every January to watch the Super Bowl. What are friends for, right? Erin is an ACU graduate and they are both from the Tacoma, WA area (we lived there as well) which means we are connected in more ways than one! Take a look at the video to be challenged and inspired!
Bring a Friend
This Sunday is our last planned get together in Dallas. Please come if you can! We would like to see you. If you know people who would be interested in knowing more about what we are doing or who are interested in missions in general, please feel bring to bring them. We are always happy to meet more people and make new friends.
Date: May 21 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Location: The home of David and Carol Smith, 5914 Bent Trail, Dallas, TX 75248
We hope to see you!
I have been listening to an Audible book called A Dream So Big, by Steve Peifer, in which he tells the story of his time at Rift Valley Academy. Because he refused to allow himself to grow numb to the struggles and poverty of the people, he ended up being used as God’s instrument to do some amazing things. I find one thing that he kept preaching to himself very challenging. He refused to allow himself to become hardened. When we were in Curahuasi, everyone was so poor, (and frankly many times they were annoying – like the 4 kids who knocked on our door every night just as we sat down to eat dinner asking for money – even though I knew their mother was a drunk and I had witnessed her throwing rocks at her kids in the street – so how messed up was I to get hardened to that sort of pain in those kids lives), that I mostly failed at not becoming insensitive to the suffering. It was so common that it almost came to seem normal. I want to fight against it, if I can emotionally manage it, when we are in Kenya. I also enjoy the book because it gives a good snapshot into what some of our life will be like on Kijabe station in regards to Rift Valley Academy. Below is another video, and you can see Steve Peifer interviewed in the middle of it.
First to my mother . . .
And then to the other, very important and special mother in our family’s life.
I loved the mountains of Peru and I am looking forward to the Great Rift Valley. But after growing up in Oklahoma, going to college at Abilene Christian University, and working for years in Texas, I think I will always love the big open skies with their beautiful sunsets best.
Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have. – John Piper
Is there anyone living who cannot understand this quote? If you have seen the movie “La La Land”, I think the last 10 minutes of that show could be summed up in Piper’s statement. (La La Land is a good movie.) I like the hope at the end of the quote, because you don’t embrace something that you do not want or is not worth having. But the life we have is the live we have been given. And if you trust God, it is worth more than just living. It is worth an embrace!