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.

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.

A Video about WorldWide Witness

This is the program from ACU that sent us the great students (we and all our friends here refer to them as the “witnesses”) we have had this summer.  You can read a little about it here.