We had some students from Abilene Christian University with us this last week.
This is the view from the bell tower in the town plaza.
The ACU Study Abroad group.
Last weekend David (our son) had noticed the door to the tower was unlocked and so he had sneaked up to take some pictures. We are all wanting to get inside that tower. He did not stay long because he was worried someone would lock the door behind him. While I was walking the group through town on a small Curahuasi tour, we heard the bells ringing. Harland, being inspired by David’s daring decided we should get up there too. But instead of sneaking, we talked to the people ringing the bell, and they said go ahead, just remember to close the door behind you.
Capitan Rumi, sitting on a rock above a 4500 feet deep canyon. it is almost straight down.
Finishing their visit in the cafe as election results slowly came. I think we all went to bed and waited for find out the results in the morning.
They were an entertaining group of young women with one lonely young man. Their sponsors were El Profesor Harland Rall and his esposa Katherine. These students are spending a semester in Montevideo, Uruguay with ACU’s study abroad program. During their semester they had a chance to visit Macchu Picchu, and since we are just a couple hours away, they came for a visit. We were blessed. I was all smiles watching Annie and Sarah dance in the kitchen with a bunch of crazy college girls, while Harland tried his best to keep everyone on time and under some bit of control. We showed them some of the sights of Curahuasi, and then they helped in the school with some games and conversation in the English language classes. Click on the pictures above for a bit more information. We were blessed to have them, and once again we are thankful for ACU!
We have had interns every summer from Abilene Christian University, and we have been so impressed with them. Sadly, this year we will not have any. But I look forward to possibly having more in the future. Having these students with us, and then visiting ACU while we were in the US last fall has given us a great appreciation for the education and culture that our alma mater provides. We made great Christian friends while we were there, and we are continually impressed by what they are doing in the world. I will not tell my kids where to go to school, as I want them to choose. But I will be very happy if they choose to be Wildcats. I read an article that was linked on Facebook, and it made me remember the culture of ACU as it strives to educate students to have an impact for Christ in the world. Here is a little bit of the article titled Why It’s Time to Re-think College: An Interview with David Hicks.
David Kern: I have heard you say before that parents should ask the same questions of a university that they would if they were going to a boarding school. Can you explain this a bit? What would those questions be?
David Hicks: When I said that, I’m sure I was thinking about the profound influence the culture of the school has upon the formation of a young man or woman. That, in my opinion, is the single most important factor in the decision of where to go to school or college, if one has a choice. I say this, reminding my reader that in ancient Greek, the word for culture and education was one and the same: paideia.
So, what questions might get at the nature of the culture? How do the students at this school or college typically use their leisure time (An Aristotelean question)? What is the life of the school or college like on the weekends, particularly Saturday nights? How many of the students typically attend church on Sunday or synagogue on Shabbat? What opportunities does a student have to engage with the community outside the school or college? How much and what type of interaction do students have with their professors outside of class?
We have had two very nice witnesses with us this summer. When I talk about witnesses, I am referring to the World Wide Witness program that is a class on missions at Abilene Christian University. In this class students learn about missions, and then they do a practicum where they spend time with missionaries in the field. We had two witnesses last summer who were great! And we have not been disappointed with the two fun witnesses we have had this time around. It has been a little different for them, as it feels like the summer has been a little bit crazy and busy, but we trust that God gives them what they need in each moment to grow in their faith and in their understanding of the mission life. I thought it might be nice to give a little publicity to their blog which is called Hasta los Confines de la Tierra. Click the blog name to go see what they have had to say about their experiences over the last 5 weeks. Here is a picture of Allison with Natalie and Haley that I stole from their blog. It was taken on a recent trip to Cuzco where they bonded and bought hippie backpacker pants.
I am feeling nostalgic for some great interns we had this past summer! I hope you guys are doing well and school is going great.
Lydia, Austin, and the family
The day this picture was taken was not the best week in the Caire house. Allison was down with a flu-like illness. I think this is the only time she stepped foot outside the house for a week. The kids were going crazy, because we were all trapped in the house without being able to do much with Allison so sick. One great thing that made up for our guests leaving was that my mother was there to share the load with us! I think I was feeling a little down because Austin had beat me at the game “Hive” a few times. I am working on my strategy for a rematch someday. We are standing at the taxi stop in Curahuasi. The best system of transportation in Peru is the taxi system. Every town has a taxi stop where you can get in a taxi that you can share with strangers, and it will drive you to the stop in the next major town. If you taxi is not full, it may stop along the way and pick up people along the highway who are trying to find a ride. And the ride is surprisingly cheap. A seat in a small taxi, where you share the car with three others not including the driver, costs each passenger around 15 soles. That means you can drive in a taxi between Curahuasi and Cuzco for about 6 US dollars. That is a deal!
Wecome Week evening devotional at ACU. The real emphasis on the “Christian” part of the school’s name is one of the things that makes our school unique.
I would like to share that I am proud of my alma mater, Abilene Christian University. This past summer, in our little state of Apurimac, located in one of the poorest parts of Peru, we had five people associated with ACU working for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the poor. From our little university, located in the dry plains of west Texas, somehow five of us managed to find ourselves through the leading of God to be in one of the least honored regions of our hemisphere. Most recently, the story of Kent Brantly, the physician who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, has been prominent in the news. Well, he is an ACU graduate as well. When we were in language school in Costa Rica, a school specifically serving missionaries, at times we had up to 10 students who had an association with ACU. That was 10 percent of the student body from one university, all in Costa Rica with the hopes of learning Spanish so they can serve God in some capacity. I read some Christian biographies and there are colleges that are prominent in American missionary history. One that comes to mind readily is Wheaton college up by Chicago. That small university has sent missionaries all over the world, and it has had a bigger impact for the sake of Christ than its size deserves. I wonder if in 50-100 years, if people will be looking back and wondering how that small university in west Texas managed to send so many people out to bring the message of Jesus to the world. I thank God for ACU. Here is alink to some of Kent Brantly’s interview on NBC.
Us with the witnesses celebrating Peter’s birthday. L to R: Lydia, Annie, David, Will, Peter, Allison, Sarah, Austin
We were blessed to have these two awesome ACU students with us over the summer. Yesterday they left Curahuasi for the last time, and today they are flying home from Cuzco. We are thankful to both of them for coming and sharing a summer with us. We learned a lot about being willing to help in any circumstance, even if it is not exactly what you may have imagined or thought it would be. Both Austin and Lydia are pre-medicine students, but they probably spent more time working with the school and with kids. Yet they did it willingly, jumping in wherever they were needed. Their service demonstrates a lot of humility and the heart of the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ. Austin joined me in many board games, giving me a worthy and fun challenge playing Hive. Lydia helped Allison as well as many other of the missionary wives serving wherever and whenever she could. Basically they were friends to us, our kids, the other missionaries, and the kids in town; everyone can always use more friends! Thank you both for coming, and I hope and pray that the upcoming year will be a great one in Abilene, God’s country! You will be missed by us all.
Austin and Lydia are part of the World Wide Witness program at ACU, which entails taking a class on missions, cultural sensitivity, and spiritual discipline, and then going live with missionaries or another- culture Christians overseas for the summer, a semester, or even a year. As a joke, Will started calling them “the witnesses” and everyone has kind-of taken the nickname and run with it, as in “Can I get a witness… to help with this?” Sometimes David calls them “the victims.” Both nicknames are apropos at times, but I’ve been thinking about their being witnesses. First of all, the fact that they wanted this experience, sought it out and worked for it, witnesses to God’s calling on their lives. Their parents’ faith and trust to let them come witnesses that their confidence is in God and that they have raised their kids to follow Him boldly. The fact that people from their churches back home have given to them financially witnesses that God is generous and that He has provided faithful saints to hold them up and encourage them. When they go out and meet people in town and help with different activities, they are witnesses of the love and care of Christ.
On the flip side, I feel very “witnessed” this summer. Someone is observing how I treat my kids and my husband, how I take care of my home, how long those breakfast dishes stay beside the sink, what I feed my people, how we spend our money, what I say after a school meeting, how I listen in church, the words I use when I am frustrated with a child, how I prepare for my school classes, what I do at night to unwind, how I talk about other missionaries, how we act when we are tired, how long our family stays in its pjs on a Saturday. You name it, someone outside of our family sees it. It is a good exercise for anyone. Just imagine someone is there watching you as an example of Christian behavior wherever you are and see if you change things. I really do love Jesus and I want to demonstrate something true about Him. I have certainly failed time and again. This is not the first nor the last time that someone has been watching us, or you in your daily life. Please pray for God to put a guard over my mouth and my thoughts and for Him to shine through in some real way to encourage these witnesses.
Austin, Annie, Lydia, and Sarah, heading off to work and school
Nearly a month ago, I wrote the following blog: We were glad to welcome Austin McCuistion and Lydia Brown, our summer missionary interns, last week. They are here as part of ACU’s World Wide Witness program and they chose our mission because they are considering medical missions in the future. They are each kind, helpful and considerate, ready to serve and learn. They are also both tall and blonde and have been mistaken for Germans several times in town! Blessedly, they like to take long walks, enjoy the mountains, and are good elementary-school kid listeners. Thank you, God! Please pray for God’s guidance and help as they try to serve in the community here.
We have very much enjoyed having this pair of college students here this last month. (No, they are not a couple, as everyone asks, poor things!) They have plunged right in and have taken every opportunity given to them. Right now, Lydia is at the hospital baking bread with our friend Konika. She goes every Tuesday from 5:30 until 10:30 a.m. and bakes five hundred or so rolls and many loaves of bread. Austin is having his “in the clinic with Will” day. They have counted pills in the pharmacy, helped out in the Kids’ Clubs in the city, and helped me teach/ corral my English class. Austin helps with math tutoring and P.E. classes. Lydia spends half a day doing whatever a young missionary mom here needs. They hosted Friday night English speakers’ Bible study in our absence, preparing homemade tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and even key lime pie all by themselves. They have helped the Morigeaus with their out of town Kids’ Clubs and Sunday schools. They have hiked up our mountains. They have prayed for our family and have washed our dishes. They have done some serious, overnight babysitting. Lydia runs nearly every morning with Ari Cale, a young single American doctor who I’m sure enjoys a new friend. Austin has befriended Christopher, a German university student here when the other German volunteers are mostly gone. It is cool to watch God’s plans for their summer develop and to see how many people He is able to touch and help through them. I am proud of them for their willingness, flexibility, and adaptability. Their parents should be proud of the fine young people that they are. It makes Will and I love ACU and its students even more. It has been a privilege to witness Christ in them. More on this subject tomorrow…
Glad to have Ari Cale here with us. This is another person from America with whom we share some common history. She is from Washington state, went to Harding University. Of course with our Church of Christ background, that gives us a lot in common with her. She did medical school in Ft. Worth, and then residency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So it is like we have been neighbors for years! I grew up in Oklahoma, lived in Dallas and Washington state, and we went to Abilene Christian University. (Right now in our little region of Apurimac there are at least 3 ACU graduates and 1 Harding graduate. When we were at the Spanish Language Institute there were at times at least 7-9 of us who had been at ACU. Way to go Christian university education!) Back to Ari, she is also very thoughtful, enthusiastic about God and serving others, and she is someone who will make you think, especially in spiritual matters. Ari, welcome to Curahuasi! Also from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.
Among the 52 long-term employees missionaries, we currently have five doctors and dentists from the United States. Yesterday was the first official working day of Dra. Arianna Cale, who graduating a few months ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her specialty is general practitioner, family medicine. In the next two years she will treat an approximately 6,000 to 8,000 patients at Diospi Suyana. We wish our young colleague, success and God’s blessing in her mission medical work in Curahuasi.
Will and I would love to help people in the States learn about Diospi Suyana and think of serving here long-term. Part of that includes having short-term teams and volunteers. In addition, we both had really great experiences serving as missionary interns in Bangkok, Thailand many moons ago, in the summers of 1993 and 1995. Therefore, when Will heard about Abilene Christian University’s World Wide Witness Program, he wrote to find out more and eventually submitted our ministry for consideration. There are two young people, pre-med majors, who are interested in coming to Curahuasi this summer.
Our reaction is “Great!… I think.” We still have a number of questions. One of them is, “What exactly will they do every day?” There are a handful of excellent German students here in Curahuasi, serving at the hospital and Kids’ Clubs. They are mostly students completing their mandatory service year between high school and college. They all seem to keep busy, but I wonder if our ACU students would have enough to do with this other team of volunteers here.
We wonder about our schedule: the kids and I will start Diospi Suyana Academy in March, so when the interns would come in June we would all be fairly new at going to school in Spanish and teaching classes. We will have several visitors this summer, so we might need to arrange for another place for the students to stay during a couple of weeks so that we could host our visitors.
For housing, since these students are a boy and a girl, that means converting the playroom into a bedroom and doing a bit of re-arranging to free up two extra rooms in the house. Hopefully the kids would gain a new twenty-something friend by giving up their playroom. It should be a real blessing to get to know these students and to be of mutual encouragement to one another. When I think about what God might want them to do in the future that this opportunity could influence, it makes me want to have them. Mostly, though, we want what God wants for these young people and another time or place might serve His purposes better, who knows? Would you pray with us as we consider this possibility– whether to accept one or both or neither? What are God’s plans for these students this summer?