Education and Faith

Educating your kids in the mission field is for many of us a battle within ourselves to trust our most prized possessions to God.  Some missionaries homeschool, but then their kids don’t learn the language or assimilate into the culture as well.  Others send their kids to national schools, which can be good, but are often terrible.  Bullying can be a real problem.  Others send their kids away to boarding schools.  There are many great boarding schools, but I cannot imagine how difficult that is for both parents and kids.  Others build school that serve the local missionaries as well as the local population.  That is what we are doing here.  Our school is 90% Peruvian, and 10% missionary kids.  For that reason we follow a Peruvian curriculum, not a German curriculum nor American. And it is so hard for us as parents to trust the curriculum.  We are used to our cultural way of doing things, and honestly some of the ways they educate here seem crazy.  There is a class called “Math Reasoning” that seems like a complete waste of our kids, their teachers, and our personal time.  It is not an exaggeration to say that sometimes when I am helping my kids with this bit of homework, I want to quit being a missionary.  Nothing makes me want to go home more than this little bit of curriculum.  It sounds crazy, and to type it also makes me feel totally wimpy, but it is the truth.  I start thinking about this wasted bit of educational time, then I imagine what else they are not learning, and then I think about the PSAT and SAT or ACT and I start to lose faith.  God help me, a person of so little faith!  But then we have these moments of light, when a school activity or science project goes well.  Or we hear our kids speaking Spanish with their friends, and we realize how much they are learning in so many other ways.  And I pray and I try to trust a little more.  Bringing your kids to another country, especially a poor part of another country with few resources, is a challenge.  It is hard for them, and it is hard for us parents.  Please pray for us!  Enjoy also this article from the Diospi Suayan Hospital website sharing a moment of light at school.  The first picture has one of our favorite students!

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Bright Minds

In the forth grade class of Colegio Diospi Suyana, the bright minds were asked to perform their own experiment and explain their findings.  The school kids had soon finished their projects, which showed their great ingenuity.

Abigail used food to create a volcanic eruption.  Bruno and Omar astonished their fellow students by demonstrating the floating differences using different salt solutions.  A real problem in Curahuasi is the drinking water.  Luis and Cesar were inspired by this to create a natural filter that turns murky soup into crystal clear water.  However, Edy’s project created the greatest attention.  He had built a miniature table saw, driven by the crankshaft via a battery that even cut wood sticks.

Teacher Jaquelin beamed with pride while looking in the faces of the student inventors.  Everyone had a lot of fun while learning the practical aspects of the laws of nature.  The natural sciences are an enourmously important department of a school.  Through experiments and research projects, students can discover for themselves how awesome God created this world.

By the way, our growing school is urgently looking for a well-trained biology, chemistry, or physics teacher who is able to use experiments and practical demonstrations to teach our young researchers.  We are looking for a true pioneer, because he/she would invest several years in the classroom, developing and guiding the Peruvian colleagues.  Pray someone will find and sign up with us! /C.B.

Why does salt water cause the egg to rise to the top?

Why does salt water cause the egg to rise to the top?

Water filter made with cotton, wool, and soap.

Water filter made with cotton, wool, and soap.

Secret messages painted with lemon appear using a candle.

Secret messages painted with lemon appear using a candle.

The vulcanic eruption

The vulcanic eruption

The Hospital

Diospi Suyana Hospital

Diospi Suyana Hospital

From the “new” Diospi Suyana Hospital website . . .

The Diospi Suyana Hospital

Our mission hospital opened its doors to the public on October 22, 2007. Since then, our doctors and nurses have served more than 120,000 patients. The superb reputation of the hospital is founded on its modern equipment, inexpensive prices, and last but not least on the friendly care by our staff members. In the morning, long lines of patients crowd at the main entrance. Our patients come from all 25 states of Peru. It is not rare to have four patients from four different states in one single room. Most of our visitors are needy Quechua people as is obvious by looking into our waiting room. The great majority of Peruvians have heard about Diospi Suyana through some 30 TV reports and countless articles in the press. The mass media of Peru have named Diospi Suyana “the Hospital built on Faith”. There are 3 principal reasons why we think that this expression is well chosen.

1. Diospi Suyana is a modern high-tech hospital serving the Quechua Indians of the Peruvian Andes. It offers a standard of care on par with western medicine anywhere. This “miracle” project was made possible through answered prayers and a chain of individual events. The story reads like a suspense novel, fascinating to both Christians and non-Christians alike. As pioneers of this work, we saw God at work in the establishment of Diospi Suyana with our own eyes. For this reason, the book detailing the work of Diospi Suyana is titled “Seeing God! The miraculous story of the Diospi Suyana Hospital.” Many readers can’t put the book down once they start, reading the book in a single night. The 6th edition was published by BrunnenVerlag in 2013. The first English edition will come out in September of 2014 by Lion Hudson.

2. Jesus Christ himself was dedicated to healing the sick and bringing relief to the poor. His disciples follow his example and Diospi Suyana is leading the way – just like the founders of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Christian Blind Mission, World Vision, and countless others who were and are dedicated Christians. Our commitment to serve the poorest of the poor in Peru is due to our desire to follow the “Great Samaritan,” not solely for humanitarian purposes.

3.  Even though Diospi Suyana practices medicine on a daily basis, we know that the ultimate solution to end human suffering is not found in prescribing medications, nor in procedural interventions, nor even in life-saving surgeries. Sooner or later, we will all die one day. The key question is “What comes after death?” Jesus Christ promised that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life in heaven. The staff of Diospi Suyana is convinced this is true. Therefore, each working day at the hospital begins with a chapel service and a prayer reminding all why we are here.


Faith in Action

I knew I was coming to a Christian hospital, but I admit I did not know exactly how that would be manifested in the practice of the hospital and how it was run.  I am glad to say that I am impressed and challenged by the faith of those who work here.  The doctors and staff here really care for their patients.  Dr. Martina John, one of the founders of the hospital will often ask the pastor to pray for the patients, and she is quick to discuss spiritual implications in the care of her patients.  Everyone appears to be motivated by faith.  This post from the Diospi Suyana hospital website gives more insight into how the people here think.  Also enjoy some good pictures from our friend Ryan Morigeau, from Oregon, who is working here as well.

Does someone exist out there who sees us?

Patients sleep on their mats in front of the door of the hospital. (photos by Ryan Morigeau)

Patients sleep on their mats in front of the door of the hospital.  Watching the people line up at the hospital and spend the night in hopes to have a cure the next morning – God sees them all.

The Milky Way as seen from the hospital.

The Milky Way as seen from the hospital.  I am trying to figure out how to take a picture like this.

And does it also see our patients?

Gazing up to into the night sky is spectacular. If we imagine the distances represented there, it makes feel uncertain of ourselves. And if we remember the distances of time, we understand that we inhabit this planet only for an insignificant moment.  Anyone who during the day can imagine himself important, who is so irritated with his fellow drivers on the highway, even traffic lights, should come to our hospital at midnight and look up at the sky. We are only small particles of dust in a dark, silent, and cold universe.  God created such a brilliant galaxy.  We should not be surprised at his ability to interpose in the lives of thousands of millions of people, or that He even knows our thoughts.  Could it be that He also sees the patients, who sleep in long rows in front of the door of our hospital? In the Bible he says the following: “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalms 8:4. There is no hope beyond his mercy. /KDJ

Atheism versus Faith

From the director of Diospi Suyana Hospital, Dr. Klaus John.

To be afraid at the results

In the EEG-laboratory of the Diospi Suyana Hospital. An analysis of an infant’s brain activities.

In the EEG-laboratory of the Diospi Suyana Hospital. An analysis of an infant’s brain activities.

Christian Oswald, a Diospi Suyana missionary, using the computer.

Christian Oswald, a Diospi Suyana missionary, using the computer.

This question we all know and has existed since the beginning of humanity. The doctor is looking at the history from the patient. One moment later he will explain the results of the pathological exams. A neurologist reads the EEG results for our children. Now is the moment of truth. Will our child live or die? Will our family go through the valley of the shadow of death, where fear rules and frightening cliffs of sadness loom on the horizon?

Everybody is afraid in such moments, Christians and non-Christians alike. However, there’s a big difference between Christians and non-Christians. A Christian has a hope and a perspective of life triumphing over death. On the contrary, an atheist is defenceless before his fate. He looks at himself as no more than a dust particle in the evolution process who will lose his battles with time and the universe.

Sometimes, while conversing with atheists, I detect a measure of arrogance when they look at me with a compassionate smile. I ask myself, “What are they proud of?

I wouldn’t like to change places with them and live without sense, hope and security. /KDJ

A Reason found in God

A link I was directed toward in First Things lead to a this article The Atheist Orthodoxy that Drove Me to Faith.  This young woman was an atheist, but as she began to question her dogmatic atheism she started reading some of the great Christian thinkers from the past.  Of course she was surprised (but those of us in the Way are not surprised) to see that it is within Christianity and Christ where reason finds its greatest fulfillment.

I was presented with a God who was the Logos: not a supernatural dictator crushing human reason, but the self-expressing standard of goodness and objective truth towards which our reason is oriented, and in which it is fulfilled, an entity that does not robotically control our morality, but is rather the source of our capacity for moral perception, a perception that requires development and formation . . .

She ends by making a case for us to think and be willing to defend and express the reason behind our faith.

I grew up in a culture that has largely turned its back on faith. It’s why I was able to drift through life with my ill-conceived atheism going unchallenged, and at least partially explains the sheer extent of the popular support for the New Atheists: for every considerate and well-informed atheist, there will be others with no personal experience of religion and no interest in the arguments who are simply drifting with the cultural tide.

As the popularity of belligerent, all-the-answers atheism wanes, however, thoughtful Christians able to explain and defend their faith will become an increasingly vital presence in the public square.

From Diospi Suyana – Power in the Name of Jesus Christ

Anne-Charlotte Ronqvist from Finland

Anne-Charlotte Ronqvist from Finland

The Diospi Suyana website has a post up regarding a distant experience of one of the nurses at the hospital.  From what I have heard, Curahuasi is not a dangerous town, but there are always exceptional experiences.  I am thankful for the faith that she shares in our God who is with us always.

Anna-Charlotta from Finland is Head of Nursing at Diospi Suyana Hospital. In yesterday’s devotional time she shared with us about her life.  It was in August last year when she was on her way home. Dusk had just set in. As Anna was on her way to Curahuasi, walking through a dark and narrow pass that runs parallel to the “Panamericana” highway, she suddenly saw herself attacked by a young man. The stranger grabbed her by her clothes and threatened her at knifepoint.   As a devout Christian, Anna-Charlotta Rönqvist strongly believes in the special power to be found in the name of Jesus Christ. With great presence of mind she shouted at him “Leave me alone! In the name of Jesus Christ: get on your way!” The attacker backed off immediately and disappeared.  “As Christians there is no need for us to be afraid. God is with us. I’ve experienced that!”  Anna-Charlotta talked with great conviction about putting faith into practice. Who knows – perhaps the perpetrator was actually sitting in the crowd listening to her yesterday. At Disopi Suyana everything is possible.

Do you like Science?

I like science.  The study of science is an entry point into understanding the way God works in our world.  When you study science, from physics to biology, from quantum mechanics to the life sciences, you gain an understanding, however incomplete, into the mind of God.  It is a glimpse into how he makes things work.  For your enjoyment, I have a few links into things that continue to be mysterious to us, yet fall well within the mind of God.

First, a story of natural crop circles, and how termites mold the ecosystem of the desert to both their own and the deserts benefit.  Read about their “fairy circles.”  Another unusual insect story from nature is the story of the cicadas.  You may be aware that a brood is coming above ground this spring, the first time they have been seen in 17 years!  And how about some pictures of the aurora borealis, one of the greatest God proclaiming events on earth.  It reminds me of the Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”