All in a Day's Work

22 Jun 2019


I was extremely proud of my puppet-course students today as they pulled out the stops for two little church plants in Cono Norte, Arequipa.  This was their first performance and some of them were pretty nervous about it.  The show went well, though not without a few glitches but the kids listened attentively. 

Allen was a good sport in getting us there, driving through interesting traffic and some pretty rough terrain (you didn’t think cities gave such?  Well, where we went, mankind is just now discovering that the land is useful for living on).  Allen also filled in last minute for a girl who was unexpectedly asked to work today.                 



Congratulations! Sarah and Zach!

15 May 2019

Sunday, Sarah and her husband Zach graduated from Wheaton College.  Sarah got her degree in biology and Zach in chemical physics.  They both plan on going to medical school after working for a year in Chicago.  They currently feel led to return to the mission field as medical missionaries when they finish their studies.  I'm proud of you, Sarah and Zach!

Ben joined us from Nebraska and Mia joined us from Texas.  The Kessler Grandparents joined us from South Dakota and Auntie Sandi came from Michigan to celebrate with us.  Paul and Mary Beth stayed in Peru to hold down the fort there (Paul had to go to school!). 

I'm fortunate to be home; My connecting flight to Orlando was rain delayed so I had to sprint through the airport hearing "Allen George, last call gate 90!" arriving as they were about to shut the door.  Luckily, that wing of the terminal was nearly empty and I could put all of my recent speed-work-training to good use!

Experts in Demolition

28 Apr 2019

The day has finally come!  Our church is getting a new roof!  The old one leaks and has holes big enough to temporarily blind the pianist (yours truly) when beams of sunlight hit his sheet music.  The church saved up money for a year and a half to be able to pay for it.  Today, after church, we dismantled the entire roof in less than an hour.  

The church sanctuary moments before the old roof was removed.

Removing the old roof

While sitting around waiting for lunch to cook at a local oven, we decided to do some masonry work to raise the wall on the east side (right side of picture).  Tomorrow we begin the installation of the new roof!


The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated - Mark Twain

22 Apr 2019

I haven't posted for a while.  But I have a good reason.  It seems I've been dead!  I've been feeling surprisingly normal all things considered.  It came to light when I tried to electronically file my taxes and it was rejected.  


So I skyped the Social Security Administration's 800-number where, after three 50-minute waits on hold I was told various things, such as, "You need to go to Costa Rica to the Federal Benefits Unit there."  (As humorist/columnist Dave Barry would say, 'I'm not making this up!').  I checked my social security online account and found that the money I paid to SS in 2017 appeared as $0.  I called SS again to be told that a trip to the Costa Rica unit was my best chance for sorting things out.

I called the IRS 800-number and a very helpful employee (as if the 'S' in IRS really stands for Service) finally found the problem.  When Amy died, they turned the death indicator on for me instead of for her!  And since I didn't owe anything on my 2017 return they just 'discarded' it!  Though it isn't really discarded.  It is still in the system, but I still have to refile a paper copy.  Her manager is supposed to call me back to explain why I have to refile when they have it on file and it was their fault.  

You may have heard that Alan Garcia, one of Peru's former presidents, killed himself last week to avoid a tribunal that was investigating him for bribery and misuse of public funds.  Many Peruvians feel that he faked his death, paid off the appropriate people and escaped to Argentina.  That doesn't seem so impossible to me anymore, just unnecessarily complicated. 

This could not possibly have passed inspection

29 Mar 2019

I was in Lima this week to renew my passport.  While there, I visited the print shop that is making 5000 copies of a book based on Proverbs that is being taught in some Peruvian schools.  After my visit I rode in a public transport van that was the most beat up that I have ever seen.  The side window was gone.  All of the linings in the door and roof were gone as were half of the dashboard components.  In the 9-block trip to the bus station we had two near accidents.  Peru has a vehicle-inspection law, but evidently this van slipped through the system.

What's your superpower?

17 Mar 2019

Mine is Quechua.  I speak a teeny bit of it and it has magical powers here (okay, theologically I know it's not magic, just go along with the literary device!).  This morning we gave a ride to three girls that recently started attending our church.  When we were dropping them off at their house a filthy drunk with a shovel approached the car, yelling and waving the shovel agressively.  Paul and I thought he might start hitting our truck.  "Girls, get out on the other side of the car!"  While they got out I distracted the drunk on my side of the car.  "Allillanchu, papay!" (How are you, my daddy?) I asked him in Quechua, not sure that he even spoke Quechua.  I figured if he didn't understand Quechua he'd just assume I was speaking in English and it wouldn't make any difference.  He suddenly looked a bit less violent.  "Iman sutiki?" (What's your name?) I asked.  The angry shovel-wielding man was suddenly smiling.  I told him to watch out for a bus coming by and he said jokingly, "Those buses don't kill, I do!"  We continued exchanging pleasantries (okay, I guess he wasn't really pleasant!) and he mentioned how much Paul has grown while the girls escaped to their home.  "Tupananchiskama!" (see you later!) I said as I drove off marveling at the power of language.

Back in Line

07 Mar 2019

Thankfully, we didn't have to wait in this line today!  This is the office where Peruvians have to go to get their government IDs.  Schools start up in early March (Paul returned to school on Monday) and many people wait until the last minute to get their kids' IDs renewed when they expire.  You don't have to wait in line if you have money.  Many people go and wait in line and sell their spot for $1-3 when they get near the door.  Tomorrow, I have to go to the immigrations office and then the driver's license office, so I'll probably get my share of waiting in line then!

Where have the blog posts been?  We've been traveling!  After about 6000 miles of driving and 10,000 miles of flying, we are back in Peru!  Since we last wrote, we zig-zagged down through the States to visit churches and people on our way to Texas (sorry if we missed you!  We'll have much more time to see people in 2021!).  We took Mia to visit universities (Go Azusa!) in Los Angeles before leaving her with her Aunt Julie and Uncle Erik in San Antonio.

We were very encouraged back in Peru to see our church thriving despite our absence.  That was one of our top prayer requests while in North America.  God answered your prayers with nearly 90 people attending on Sunday!  (That's about twice as many as were attending when we left in December!)

Helping to send Latin American missionaries

15 Feb 2019

The Great Commission is a mandate to go and make disciples in all the world. Churches in Latin America are capturing the vision to send, not just receive, missionaries.

SIM seeks to empower churches to send missionaries to go into unreached parts of the world. Chris Conti, a SIM missionary in Lima, has been working to empower the Latin American church in missions for several years. Peruvian missionaries have sent missionaries to countries in Africa and Asia - including areas that are difficult for westerners to enter.

Web team

We’re excited to play a part in helping Latin American churches send missionaries. Chris Conti’s team, worked with hundreds of pastors and missionaries around Latin America and have got together a huge volume of resources to help mobilise churches and help prepare Christians who want to serve in missions. I’ve been helping get this information online so it’s available to anyone with access to the Internet.

Web team members

The task has been huge. With more than 1400 resources, PDFs, Powerpoint, Word documents and videos, I realised that it would be impossible to do alone. I was able to automate the process of creating pages and uploading files but some things only a human can do. So it’s been great to bring together a team of University students to work on the project. I trained students in the basics of web development and in turn they worked on this project 4 hours a day, 4 days a week during a part of their University break. Most on the team are Computer Science students so they picked up the concepts quickly but we also have an Education and an Mechanical Engineering student. As a team we’ve been able to progress at a rate that I never could have imagined before.

Examples of resources that we’ve uploaded (in Spanish)

Praise God for the demand for these mission resources and that it’s constantly increasing. We work with two websites that together have more than 20,000 visits per month. There are plans now to have this translated into English and French a course.

Please pray:

  • Thank God for our little web team
  • Pray for Chris Conti and her team who produce the content
  • Pray that the Latin American church becomes a powerhouse in sending missionaries - especially to the unreached.

Web team members

Open House January 27th

17 Jan 2019

If you are in the Omaha area on January 27th, please stop by Christ Community Church for an open house!  Feel free to drop in anytime from 12:15 pm to 2 pm in the accordian-door rooms off of the kitchen (D126/D127) to meet Mary Beth, hear about our ministries in Peru and get a couple of bocaditos (snacks).

Yesterday, we crossed back into the USA from Manitoba after lengthy questioning from the border-control agent.  We think because there was no line and he was bored, an American and Canadian with Peruvian kids was the most interesting thing he had seen that afternoon.  After confiscating our lone clementine orange he let us in.  

We had a great visit with the Talleys (residency classmate) in Grand Forks before heading on to Fargo to stay with Amy's brother's family.  The temperatures are already warmer, though it didn't feel like it today when we toured NDSU campus where Mike (Amy's brother) is the dean of the engineering department. 

In front of the Bison.  Pronounced, "Bye-zin".  Don't call it a 'Buffalo'!

It will take about an hour...

06 Dec 2018

A missionary couple here in Arequipa is returning to England and their Christian-materials ministry had a lot of books left over.  SIM is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and we are hosting a big event next Wednesday.  We decided to give each person attending a box of books!  After today's team meeting, I coaxed our missionaries to help redistribute approximately 12,000 books and an equal number of tracts between 80 boxes.  "If we have 10 people and each person packs 8 boxes in an hour, we'll be done in an hour, and I'll buy everyone lunch!"  Unfortunately, because of Peruvian law governing donations, we had to make a list of what each box contained.  That made a lot of extra work, despite printing out the packing list for each box before we even started working.  Even then it took us 3 hours!  But it will be worth it.  Each person will be getting a really nice set of books to further the Gospel here in Arequipa!


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