Passing on the Baton

01 Jun 2018

What do you see in this picture?

This is a picture taken of our families playing volleyball at SIM's camp a couple of days before our wedding.  Missionaries started this camp about 20 years ago with some Peruvians who also dreamed of a Christian camp in southern Peru.  They worked hard to build it into what it is today.  Over the years, several missionary couples have directed the activities at the camp, including constructing the cabins, pools and pavillions.  An even more difficult task of building up Christian men and women in the community has occurred over the years as well. 

Almost all good mission projects have as a goal  to see the local believers take over the ministry.  The current camp directors, Scott and Tami Wade (who also happen to be from Christ Community Church), believe we are nearly there.  So on Monday, the four of us (Scott, Tami, Allen and Mary Beth) met with key camp workers to tell them that we think that they are ready to run the camp without foreign input.  The Wades plan on continuing to live part-time at the camp for the next 6 months to help the workers adjust to managing things on their own.  A lot of different emotions were seen in our Peruvian friends, from fear to excitement to sadness.  One said that the Wades couldn't possibly be leaving, but if they were, someone must come to replace them.  Another had already drawn up an organogram of who would be in charge of what parts of the camp!  We feel optimistic that this is God's plan for the camp to move forward so it can be a truly Peruvian ministry.  Pray for a good transition.

Connects Australian Christians to mission opportunities

27 May 2018
I love seeing innovation in missions. A good friend named Steve has worked on the problem on how we can connect Aussies with mission opportunities across lots of mission agencies. He has worked with Missions Interlink to create a platform called MissionSeek  We’d love to see local churches, who are the ones who will send missionaries, to help to promote this:
Here’s more info on how you can promote this at your church.
 
Here's a short video (1:16) that explains what is MissionSeek.

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Matthew 9v37)
 

Sarah and Zach's wedding

15 May 2018

Saturday, my little girl Sarah married my wonderful new son-in-law, Zach Davis, in Wheaton, IL where they go to school.  Since Paul and Mia had a one-week break from school, we were able to fly to Chicago and spend the preceding week helping with the wedding preparations, visiting auntie Sandi and meeting Zach's parents, Dale and Jody.  After hours of bantering on the fair number of cows to be given as a bride price the wedding was allowed to proceed. 

photo by Michelle Kessler

Faena!

03 May 2018

'Faena' in Spanish means 'church work day'.  Well, actually it means any work day where a group of people get together to do some large task for the general good.  We've participated in faenas in the past to dig water canals in villages and to do repairs at our children's schools.  On Sunday's faena, we expanded our roof to cover our newly-enlarged sanctuary.  We recently increased the number of walls in our church 50%!  (from two to three) and by doing so, widened our sanctuary, so we extended the tin roof to cover the new gap.  

If you don't have a step ladder, you can just pile up chairs to the height you want!

Carlos Saves the Day

02 Apr 2018

On Monday mornings, Mary Beth goes out to SIM's camp to play horse wrangler in the morning and kid wrangler in the afternoon.  (Neighbor kids visit her apartment in the parsonage to play games and learn how to apply to the Bible to their lives.)  It takes about two hours to get there if the buses go well.  Today they didn't go so well.  A little over halfway to camp her bus stopped and sat hardly moving for an hour.  It turns out there were strikers protesting (we don't know what they were protesting against, so clearly not a helpful strike to convey their dissatisfaction) and blocking the road.  After her patience ran out, Mary Beth got off the bus and started looking for a vehicle heading back to Arequipa with an available seat.  Thankfully, her prayers were answered by a taxi being driven by Carlos, the man who does maintenance work at the camp, who also felt waiting for the road to open would be futile.  On the way back they came across a truck that had just recently tipped over on a curve, blocking the road again.  Carlos and his brother saved the day by helping a group of men tip it back up onto its wheels so everyone could continue on their way!

Kids Prices for Horror Show

02 Apr 2018
Our daughter Annabelle, when she was just 7 years old when she came home upset really wanting to change her name. I was surprised because “Annabelle" is such a beautiful name and everyone seems to like the name. I asked her to tell me more and soon enough she told me that kids at school were teasing her. There was a movie called “Annabelle” and kids were often quoting lines from the movie to her. I looked up the movie and it’s a horror movie about a doll called Annabelle. “Seriously!” I thought, "how many parents would let their 7 year kid watch a horror movie". Here in Peru, sadly it’s not that uncommon.
 
Annabelle Movie Poster
 
Just today I came across a flier for a horror show called the “House of the Demon". I wasn't surprised, given that here in Arequipa the horror genre is extremely popular. What surprised me was that there were kids prices for the horror show.
 
Kids prices for Horror Show
 
We can’t control society and its values. Please pray that we can raise resilient kids that will fill their minds with the right things and stand strong in the face of peer pressure and teasing.
 

The Continuing Tree Saga

19 Mar 2018

This afternoon I looked down the street to see how the tree I had transplanted was doing and saw a ton of bricks (okay, probably a lot more than a ton) piled up where the tree had been.  Clearly they had decided not to let this little tree obstruct their task at hand.

 

It wasn't until I went up to take a closer look that I saw that they had spared the tree!  It likes like it will be hard to water it now, but it made me smile to see they had stacked the bricks around it without crushing it!

Plant

16 Mar 2018

Last Friday, Mary Beth biked while I ran a long run in training for the Lima Marathon in May.  It was long enough of a run that when we returned, someone from the municipality had planted a tree in our front yard!  We've had bushes there before, but tore them out because they make it hard to get in and out of the truck.  I applaud their efforts to make the dessert we live in greener, but there are less inconvenient ways. 

Four houses down, they are building what looks like a new apartment building.  They need a tree.  So in the night, I dug up the tree in front of our house and planted it in front of theirs!  I think the construction workers felt like Wall-E in the movie of the same name and took a liking to it.  This morning I noticed that someone had even watered it!  

Horse Camp

03 Mar 2018

Nehemiah, one of the counsellors (you can tell Mary Beth is writing this post as she uses the Canadian-preferred double 'l'!) at Equestrian Camp this year, regaled his campers with stories of how he had grown up without parents, started working at 6 years old and joined the gangs in Lima.  He told how he then committed his life 100% to the Lord because of a brain operation he had that was supposed to leave him paralyzed and with limited mental capacity.  Now he dreams of returning to university and becoming a missionary.  During one of our Bible Study lessons I asked the campers to give an example of someone who had learned perseverance, character and hope through suffering (Rom. 5:2-5), one of them said ‘Nehemiah’.  I asked, ‘Nehemiah from the Bible?’  ‘No,’ she replied, ‘Nehemiah the counsellor’.   I thought she had given a very good example.

The campers, counsellors and their horses (Mary Beth in orange)

Nehemiah also encouraged his campers to learn the art of fire-making from scratch by hacking up a big old tree and using it to cook a 'Huatia', a traditional Peruvian highland dish where food (generally meat and potatoes) is laid over very hot coals and covered in a pile of dirt.  It is left to cook for an hour (in our case half an hour because we had less meat and more veggies) and then unburied and eaten for supper.  Ours was delicious and devoured very quickly. 

We just came for a haircut and my kids vanished!

16 Feb 2018

Today was the fourth day of our VBS.  When it was done, I went to the doorway to hand out fliers inviting the parents to come tomorrow for the finale.  A mom was waiting at the door wondering if her son was there and I had to coax her to go into the church and look.  She found her son, but he was having such a good time he didn't want to leave so she stayed a bit and Mary Beth started talking to her.  The mom explained that she had been in the neighborhood to get a haircut and the next thing she knew, her son was gone, attracted to the music and kids at our church!  But she seemed happy that he was there and indicated they'd return tomorrow.

Each child gets to have his picture taken in our rocket and take home a printed copy on the last day.

Today we had 40 kids for the 3rd day in a row.  I had 14 in my class of 10-14 year-olds.  They have been really well behaved and attentive in my classes each day.  

 

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