Some pictures from the recent medical campaign to a community a couple hours from Curahuasi.
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.
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.
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…
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?