Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:13
I have a friend named Harry. Harry is a young German man who is exceptional in my mind for many reasons. One is that he is a single man in the mission field. Those guys are super rare. Another is that he is a German and a Christian. Some of the best people we know are German, but there are not too many Christians in Germany. And so those believers have a faith that is real and active as it has stood up to misunderstanding and ridicule. But probably the thing that is the most outstanding to me about Harry is that he likes to encourage people. He will come to me on some mornings with a big smile on his face (like always) and give me a quote from Oswald Chambers. Or he will remember to me something I said in a sermon at church. He encourages me, and it reminds me that we are to encourage one another. Encouragement stirs our faith, and it helps us to open our eyes to the deceitfulness of sin. We need each other, and as one body in Christ we need to take care of one another. Let us encourage each other daily.
Harry holding this young boy while his father is off attending to the mother while she has a second baby.
As you know, I enjoy going to the hospital every other week to bake bread. One of the perks is that the kitchen workers are such a nice group. They joke and laugh, work together and take a breakfast break, and I like watching them interact. Michael is a sincere believer who, along with his wife Noemi, are wonderful examples of Peruvian Christians. He is a light in the kitchen. Their family is taking a leap of faith in enrolling in Bible school in Paraguay and they are moving in a month. I enjoy talking with Michael and Noemi because they are both super excited about seeing God’s hand at work.
When I make bread, I load up about 17 kilos of flour in this big plastic tub (that’s more than 35 pounds). As I was exiting the refrigerator room, Michael stopped me and carried the tub for me. Then he asked where to put it and how I transferred it to the mixer. I said something like, “So chivalrous today.” He said, “God is working in my life.”
“Tell me about it.”
“He is telling me to be more attentive to the needs of others.”
Yep. That sounds like God. I think this may be one of the most useful and wonderful things anyone’s ever told me God said. Thanks for sharing, Michael.
Do you ever feel like crying when you get water in your house. I do. Right now water is weakly coming through our pipes so that we can quickly wash dishes and take showers, and I feel a little bit of a lump in my throat. It is only the third time in the last two weeks to hear the sweet sound of water in the tubes. It is really hard to live without water. We felt like we had a Thanksgiving miracle this past Thursday, because all of a sudden in the middle of the day when we never get water, we received 1 1/2 hours of precious agua. Thanksgiving was going to happen anyway, but it was a relief to have water to clean with afterward. Not having water is a form of suffering. It is not persecution, but it is suffering, especially for a person from the United States who is accustomed to water on demand. It is something we have to deal with because of the decision we made to do medical mission work in this poor community, and therefore it is a consequence of our faith. And so this morning as I read my Bible wondering when water would come again, I turned to Romans 5:3-4 where it says “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.” So I am trying during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season to embrace the formation of character in my life in hope that who I am on the other side of the suffering is a better reflection of Christ in me.
Can you imagine a school without running water? That has been the situation at Colegio Diospi Suyana for much of it’s existence. If you have read our blog you know that the town of Curahuasi has water problems. In our home last week, we received water only one day. In fact we are in Cuzco now to renew our kid’s passports, but also so we can wash clothes and take showers at leisure. But a school without running water is simply gross. And that has been the case much of the time due to the lack of fair water distribution in town. Thankfully, Diospi Suyana has had success with drilling a well. We are thankful and praise God for his providence. Here is the article from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.
Crystal clear water gushes from our well at the school
Email from Peru 2 p.m. CET: The well drilling was stopped at a depth of 71,40 m due to extremely hard solid rock. The installation of the pipework went smoothly. At 8 p.m. last night a provisional pump started swilling the well. An hour later the water was “as clean as possible” so that the filter gravel could be built into the aquiferous layers. Our own measurements showed that 6,000 litres of water could be pumped in an hour.
Today the pump is going to be installed 5,00 metres lower, as last night everything had to be done very quickly. The solid rock has made the drill completely useless. Perhaps will be able to exhibit the drill in the school at some point in the future. Best regards, Oebele + Udo.
Email from Peru 6:06 p.m. CET: Crystal clear water is now gushing at a rate of 150 litres/min = 9,000 litres/hour and is tasteless. Greetings, Udo.
Email from Peru 8:19 p.m. CET: I attach two pictures of the drilling head. The diamonds are totally spent and parts of them are broken away. Normally they can drill between 500 and 600 metres; in Curahuasi they only managed 70 m. We were told they were new! It is impossible to put the diamonds back into the drilling head. Greetings, Udo
An hour later the water was almost clean.
A mountain stream tastes just as good.
The broken drilling head.
I wrote about drunkenness a few days ago. Today on my way to the hospital, I saw this guy collapsed just down the street from our house. I don’t recognize him. He is not one of our usual drunks. This was while I drove to see a patient who was in liver failure with severe anemia caused by alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is a real drain on our community.
This was something that was not a big part of my experience before Peru, but now it is. I am not talking about personnel experience, but what I see in the street. Curahuasi is a depressed community in one of the poorest parts of Peru. There is a lot of hopelessness. That is why we are here . . . to bring hope to the hopeless. Still there are those who have not yet heard or refuse to hear. And I see these guys every evening as I ride my bike home from the hospital or as I drive through town. They come staggering out of the corner bars or chicherias and then wobble up and down the hills to their homes. There are so many staggering drunks. Today as I went down to the internet cafe to print some papers off my USB, I passed by six isolated men staggering through the street. That was in less than four blocks. It is really sad. Drinking in the US is more hidden. Here it is in the open. I hope and pray that my kids are never tempted to drink heavily. They are certainly able to see the ill affects of drunkenness. They are very wary, for good reason, of the drunk men who can be unpredictably violent. As the kids go through town on their bikes, they always make sure to steer clear. And yet, we have seen some victories. In our church we have a man who was a drunk, and through the power of a changed life by the Holy Spirit he is now sober and a testimony to the faithfulness of God. I praise God for him and for the gift of changed lives that we can have through Jesus Christ.