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!

Another Witness Speaks – Lydia Brown

Our witness Lydia has a nice post to share with us. She speaks a lot about humility, something I have been thinking a lot about recently as well. Working in a foreign language will humble you, yet if you want to serve the purposes of Christ, you have to be willing to be made to look like less in the eyes of the world so that God will be made bigger as it becomes obvious that it is he who is actually doing the work and sustaining you. We were so glad to have Lydia with us this past summer. She was a great friend to all of us, and she served our family as well as many of the others very well. She was a great example of humble service.  Here is a good word from Lydia!

What I learned in Peru: a witness’s perspective

Lydia with me in the clinic.  She is going to be a very good doctor some day soon!

Lydia with me in the clinic. She is going to be a very good doctor some day soon!

As mentioned in earlier post by Allison, the nickname “ the witnesses” was quickly dubbed upon Austin and me. While it always made me laugh, I have now realized that the nickname embodied what my summer in Peru was like. Although I took on many roles (baker, teacher, gardener, pharmacy stocker, dishwasher, babysitter, and many others), the main reason I was in Curahuasi was to learn how to live as a long-term missionary. Even though I cannot say that I know exactly what that is like, God truly blessed me with the opportunity to witness his work in Curahausi.

One of the most important lessons I observed was humility. As I was given the opportunity to be a part of various missionaries’ lives, I realized how much of mission work is built upon small daily tasks; tasks most people do not give a second thought about. It is these small tasks– such as spending hours translating your daughter’s communication homework or making sure your kids’ school uniforms are cleaned–that allow missionaries to survive long-term in a foreign culture. While I loved observing and learning about amazing outcomes for sick patients, I also realized that you cannot rely on those “big” moments to keep you going each day. As a Christian, we must rely on Christ to give us our worth and take all life as a gift, even the small daily tasks.

The second lesson I learned is the importance of fellowship. While I did a lot of service-oriented tasks, most of my time was spent in fellowship with those around me. At first, fellowship seemed like it got in the way. I mean I had come to Peru to do “real mission work,” not just talk to people. Luckily it did not take me very long to realize how flawed my original perspective was. I soon realized that fellowship was crucial to my role as witness, and it started to become my favorite part of the day. I loved it when I could take a break helping Crystal on Tuesday afternoons and just hear about her life, her past and her faith. I loved baking bread, not for the roll-making machine (which was pretty cool though), but rather to hear about Konika childhood adventures. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade my time of fellowship for anything.

While there were many lessons I learned, I feel like humility and fellowship were put on my heart for a reason. Not only are they necessary for long term mission work, they are crucial to every Christian’s life– whether that be in Abilene, Texas or Curahuasi, Peru. It is this humble attitude that I want to take back with me from Peru. While I do not have as much time in Abilene to serve others as I did in Peru, I still need a humble attitude to take on whatever tasks the Lord chooses to entrust in me.

This summer was truly a life changing experience! I am so grateful for the amazing families that welcomed me into their homes and for the numerous others who helped me feel like I was home. I will never be able to repay you all for all the lessons and experiences you have given me.

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…