Missing our Kitchen Help

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

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!

A Witness Speaks – A Word from Austin

Austin was a big help to Allison at the school.  He speaks spanish, so he was able to help the kids as they tried to understand their homework, and he also helped in the English speakers class.

Austin was a big help to Allison at the school. He speaks spanish, so he was able to help the kids as they tried to understand their homework, and he also helped in the English speakers class.  I took this from his Facebook page.  I hope you don’t mind Austin!

We asked our witnesses from over the summer to give some input from their experience on our blog.  Austin came from Colorado, and served willingly in all part of the work going on here in Curahuasi.  He was a blessing to our family, and we really enjoyed having him.  Take a look at this nice post from Austin McCuistion.  I really appreciate how he talked about the problems of trust in the Quechua culture, and related it to how we fail to trust God.  It is true that we all want control over our lives, and even when we are in relationship with God, sometimes it is hard to trust him with control over it.  As you will be able to perceive from reading below, we had some quality people living with us over the summer.

Spending a summer in Peru was a great experience filled with many learning opportunities.  While in Curahuasi, spending time helping out in the hospital and school, God was able to reveal and remind me about a couple of things in regards to his nature.

The first thing that I learned this summer came during a Bible study one Wednesday night with Will, Allison, Lydia, and I.  Many of these weekly Bible studies focused on missions and this particular one was about features of a mission.  One feature we talked about was the “power of mission” which is an “encounter with God” according to the pastor we were listening to.  Specifically, we spoke about Abraham and the promise of God in Genesis 12:2-3:

 

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;

I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;

And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”

 

The amazing part about this promise from God is the last part where he finishes by saying that not only is he going to bless Abraham and his family, but also the whole world through them which I find so cool. So my thought is that if God has blessed us with so much, it is to be a blessing like Abraham’s family and go to other people and be a blessing to their life.  The great thing about this is that it doesn’t necessarily require leaving where you live to do so.  I believe God places opportunities for us to bless people wherever we are as long as we are open to following his Word.  Whether it be serving those people in your workplace or church who seem to be left out or helping out at a local homeless shelter, we have been blessed with so much and I believe the best way to show our appreciation to God is to bless others just as Jesus did when he came in human form for the sole purpose of cleansing us of our sins.

Something else I learned during my time in Peru started from many conversations with some of the other American missionaries.  As we discussed what they found to be the hardest part about missionary life, many times the issue of trust came up.  During my time (especially in clinic with Will), I was able to see the lack of trust that seems to be embedded in the Peruvian culture.  One of the hardest things for me was to not look at them and think, “Why aren’t they able to trust what the doctors are doing? Isn’t it easier to disclose all the information they have about their sickness at the beginning of the consult?” However, as my time in Peru progressed (and after countless discussions with the missionaries about this problem), I came to the realization that it is not necessarily their fault, but rather, a cultural anomaly.

Then, one day, as I was praying and attempting to understand this, I found that this trust issue, that we were able to see so easily, can be applied to our relationship with God.   It is so easy to become frustrated with someone else when they are not trusting you, but then, when God calls upon us to follow him, we are reluctant despite his track record of always doing what is best for our lives. We, as humans, have a trust issue with God, plain and simple.  At times we call upon our bravery and follow the path he has laid out for us, trusting in what he has planned. But other times, we falter, as humans do, and fail to trust the one person who we can put all of our trust in without a single worry.  Fortunately, due to his abundant grace, we are forgiven time after time.  This grace does not falter. It is not something he will take from us. He will continue to love us. Time, after time, after time of us failing.  C.S Lewis states this extremely well in Mere Christianity:

“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.”

Therefore, as we attempt to follow Jesus and his example, I feel this is an important point to remember about his nature.  Despite the way we are treated by others, whether it be mistrust or indifference or even contempt, we need to forgive them and continue on loving them to the best of our ability for this is what Christ does for us.

As I have already said, being able to spend seven weeks with the Caires was great for me at this point of my life. I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to be one of their first “witnesses” for the summer and pray the best for their lives as missionaries. I sincerely believe that the work they are doing through the hospital and the school are making differences in the lives of the Peruvian people and that God has great things in store for them.  Thank you for all your prayers. God bless.

On Witnessing and Being Witnessed

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.

Summer Missionary Interns

Austin, Annie, Lydia, and Sarah, heading off to work and school

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…