Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Day in Pictures….

So what is is Franci and I do, what have we done for the past year and a half?  I took my camera out yesterday and documented our day so you can see……

First we left the house and walked about a mile and a half to Huascar, the walk takes me about 25 minutes, it takes Franci more like 35, I blame it on her short legs.


Upon arriving in Huascar, we ran into Mery and her three children, Heidi, Eduard and Natalie out with their sheep.

DSC_0052 DSC_0058

After chatting with Mery we continued upward and “knocked” at Kevin’s house.  Here we “knock” by throwing a rock on the roof.  First Josué, Kevin’s little brother comes out to greet us, then he gets his big brother.  Kevin and I sit on the grass with his duck padding around and swimming in the puddle while we talk about the Bible.

DSC_0067 DSC_0069 

After spending some time with Kevin, a very dedicated and interesting 13 year old boy, we walked to the corner and said hi to our church neighbor, Yoel who is busy running the tienda for his Mom while his aunt Maria and cousin Rodrigo came to visit him.


By now it was lunchtime.  Since there are very few lunch options up in Huáscar, Franci and I walk another mile, this time downhill, closer to the city center.  We go to the black market called, Bellavista.  In Bellavista we find a lot more variety and options than we would in Huáscar.

DSC_0085 DSC_0084

We had a typical Peruvian meal, soup, a main dish and a drink for $1.15 with the current exchange rate. 

DSC_0118 DSC_0108

After filling our bellies we walked through the black market to find Godofredo, who is Carmen’s husband from Yanamayo.  They have two jeans shops down in the black market and Godo always enjoys it when we stop by and say hello.


Then, because there was a big party south of town yesterday, there were not very many combi’s down at the black market.  So, Franci and I walked three blocks to another main road to find a combi.  On the way, this drunk guy (mind you it’s about 1:30PM) was struggling to not fall over and pass out.  And, as I walked by him, his arm flailed up and hit me in the neck.  His three friends across the street stood there and laughed.


We did have better luck on the busier street finding a combi, we hopped on and rode the 5-6 minutes back up to Huáscar.


We get off the combi at the main entrance to the city of Puno and walk uphill to our next stop.


Our next stop was Yolanda’s house.  Remember Mery, the one we found with her kids and sheep as we walked to Kevin’s house?  Well, Yolanda is Mery’s cousin.  Franci and I sit with Yolanda here on the sidewalk outside of her house, we chat, study the Bible and pray as the rest of the community walks by us.


Around the corner and up the hill from Yolanda, we knock, (using a rock on the metal door is a typical way to knock here) on Rut’s door for our regular weekly visit.  But, she did not come to the door, maybe she was in Ichu, where the party was, maybe she was washing clothes further up the hill, we don’t know, but this is pretty typical as you will find out. 


Then, we went back to Kevin’s house because on Friday mornings we visit with Kevin, Friday afternoons we visit with his Mom, Dominga and her friend, Rosa, and on Wednesday afternoons we visit with Dominga, Rosa and Dominga’s husband, Jesús.  But, Franci threw a few rocks on the roof and Brian, Dominga and Jesús’ middle child came to the door and told us Dominga was at a meeting. 

DSC_0154 DSC_0153

We continued on, striking out twice in a row and as we left Dominga’s house, we saw her neighbor bathing and his wife washing clothes in their “yard”.

DSC_0160 DSC_0157

Then we went to find Mery, from the morning.  We found her sheep, but we didn’t find her.  As we looked for Mery, we saw Rogelia up on the hill with her two kids, Yeni and Rodrigo.  We haven’t seen Rogelia in a while and she never comes to church, we decided to head up the hill and visit with her in the sun.  Franci chatted up with Rogelia while I played with Rodrigo who calls me, tia gringa (aunt gringa).


As we visited with Rogelia, Yosefina, another one of our contacts came out of her house and sat down with us.  Then another lady we didn’t know came and sat down as well.  The sun went behind the hill to the north west of us and we were left in the cold shade.  Honestly, I was freezing and miserable, but the new lady, Vilma, was very interested in the lesson we were discussing on the Holy Spirit.  Rogelia and I huddled close to keep warm as we continued to chat and listen to one another, learning about God in the process.


We finished up with the ladies on the cold, windy hill and walked down closer to the center to Yanet’s house.  We rang the doorbell (a rare opportunity), and her son peaked out from the third story window.  We asked if Yanet was home and he said he would check, a typical response.  Then he came to the front door and told us she was resting but that she wants us to come back on Sunday morning to study the Bible with the whole family.

Then we walked another 8ish blocks to get another combi that takes us right to the corner of our house.  The combi that seats 17, was packed with 25 people.  But standing up on a combi for 10 minutes beats walking home, uphill, after a day out in Huáscar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today, right now, a group of 6 from Mid America Nazarene are heading back to the States after two busy, fun filled weeks of work with us here in Puno.  This team came to help us strengthen our relationships with our contacts and show them the importance of community and fellowship in the body.  So what did we do with this team?  We planned events to get the body together, to have fun and fellowship, to show our contacts here in Puno how much we love them, how much God loves them, and how Christ formed the church and the body as a means of encouraging, teaching, supporting and loving on our brothers and sisters in Him. 

So, like I said, we planned some events to get our contacts together and spend time with them.  And let me tell you, Huascar showed up every time!  I’m so proud of these ladies and men who are willing to set aside time to spend in the Body, to fellowship.

The first event was a field day and volleyball tournament.  We had lots of ladies and kids and one man from Huascar come into the city center and play games with us all morning and then share a traditional Peruvian lunch, one of my favorite dishes, aji de gallina.  We had a Huascar team play in the volleyball tournament and they lost in the first round.  But, when the group of North Americans won, they gave their prizes to the Huascar team so they didn’t walk away empty handed.

DSC_0406 DSC_0453 DSC_0456 DSC_0615 DSC_0633

The second event was a Mother’s Day celebration in the new church building that the last short term group constructed for us.  This meant another trip to the center, another combi fare, another morning of putting off the daily chores until later.  But, Huascar showed up again and the Mother’s were rewarded with a special gift of gratitude. 


And the last big group event was the one year anniversary of the church in Salcedo that Garren and Geremias are planting.  Contacts from Salcedo came to the inauguration service in Huascar a few months back and so I explained to our contacts in Huascar that it was now time for us to celebrate with them and support them.  And, Huascar showed up.  We filled up a combi with men, women and kids and went all the way to the other side of town to celebrate with our brothers and sisters. 

DSC_1042 DSC_1056 DSC_1092 DSC_1187

God is working in Huascar!  The way He is moving hearts and changing lives in this place is incredible!  The physical effort these people are making to get together on Sunday afternoons or for special occasions like this is an indicator that they are beginning to put fellowship with God as a priority in their lives and that shines through in their fellowship as the Body.  And that is real life change, that makes my heart leap for joy.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Connect the Dots……

I feel like I’m playing connect the dots in Huascar.  Why?  Because everyone we meet, every conversation we have, we are connecting the dots. Let me explain, I will start with our strongest contact, Manuel.  Manuel lives next to Josefina, who is also his sister.  Josefina is a Wawa Wasi daycare provider who watches Rogelia’s son Rodrigo and Rosio’s son Davis.  Isabel works as a supervisor for the Wawa Wasi daycare’s in Huascar, she knows Josefina as well as Elisabeth, a new contact who is a Wawa Wasi provider and Mery who was a Wawa Wasi provider.  In the Wawa Wasi where Mery worked, she watched Lydia’s son, Bruce.  Mery is also connected to Yolanda, her cousin who we have recently met and Lydia’s neighbor Filomena is Mery’s mother-in-law.  Filomena’s neighbor is Dominga and her husband , Jesús.  Recently from the contacts we got from the short term group, we have met Teodora and her daughter Gladis, well, Gladis’ husband is Dominga’s brother.  And Dominga’s good friend, Rut is the daughter of a another contact we just met, Dionisia.  And Dionisia’s son, Willy, helps Estela in her tienda from time to time, and Estela’s sister, Adela is our friend and contact who has a tienda right in front of the church. 

So do you get the point?  It’s like connect the dots!  And that’s not even all the dots!  Franci and I feel like a part of this community, Huascar.  When Mery’s mom fell last week and broke her ankle, Franci and I knew right away from Mery’s cousin, Yolanda who was walking in a hurry to go help.  Or when Adela had to go on a last minute trip to Arequipa, we knew about it.  Huascar is a little community of family and friends and these people are letting us into their family.  They still rarely let us into their home, but, that’s okay, because while we are out on the rocks while they let their ducks waddle around, or out in the grass while the sheep graze, we see the rest of the Huascar community passing by and most everyone we see, we know. 

Everything in Huascar is fantastic.  It’s not without it’s problems, it is not without spiritual battle as these people start a real walk with Christ.  But we see fruit in our older contacts and we see interest and desire to know God in our newer contacts.  And we see a good group of people getting together on Sunday afternoons to be in the Word and prayer.  That’s not how I measure how the work is going here, but it is a sign that God is moving in hearts and lives and it’s exciting, especially since we thought only 8 months ago there was no hope for this community.

DSC_0202 DSC_0204 DSCF1562 DSCF1593 DSCF1609

Oh, and, not only is God teaching me to plant seeds and harvest fruit spiritually, I’ve also had a few chances over the past (almost) two years to go out to the field and work in real planting and harvesting.  Last week, Franci and I went out with Isabel and her husband to harvest oca, a sweet, long, potato-like vegetable.   And as a passerby walked past the field where we were digging and filling a bag with fresh oca, he looked at Isabel and said, “Hola, Vecina”, (hello neighbor) then his eyes went over to me and at sunset he said, “Buenos días.”, (Good Morning).  We all had a good laugh after he finished walking by.  At the sight of a ‘gringa’ working the field, he lost track of the time of day. 

DSC_0283-001 DSC_0285-001 DSC_0282-001

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Prayer for Rosio….

Rosio is a mother of three in Huascar, Maribel age 5, Davis age 4 and a baby boy not quite 5 months old.  Franci and I first met her last year because we would visit the Wawa Wasi daycare where she took her eldest son, Davis.  We played with Davis in the Wawa Wasi on a weekly basis and through this connection we were able to get to know Rosio a bit when she picked Davis up in the afternoon.  We built a relationship with her and started discipling her in the street outside the Wawa Wasi in the afternoons.  But as life goes, things changed in Rosio’s life, she wasn’t taking Davis to daycare anymore and we rarely saw her around.  Occasionally we would see her hiking up the hill to her house and would have a chance to chat with her a minute here and there.  And just a few weeks ago, we saw Rosio walking up the hill to her house with her new baby boy on her back wrapped in a bright pink blanket, her two older kids in tow, and her husband by her side.  Rosio stopped as we said hello and Franci and I met her husband for the first time, a young man who looks exactly almost like their son Davis, just an older version. 

Today, walking around in Huascar, we saw another contact, Rogelia, with Rosio sitting outside in the sun warming up.  (We’ve been freezing here the past few weeks and any chance to warm up in the sun is rare and therefore welcomed!)  As Franci and I headed up the hill heading toward Rogelia’s house where the ladies were sitting, Rogelia and Rosio’s kids came running down the hill to give us kisses and hugs.  And Rosio’s daughter Maribel started calling me tia (aunt) out of the blue.  Adorable, I thought.  I had no inclination of what was going to happen next.

Franci and I arrived at the top of the hill and greeted the ladies.  Right away Rogelia told me Rosio was sad, of course I asked why and what was going on.  Rogelia informed me that Rosio’s husband passed away.  Shocked and saddened, Franci and I sat down on either side of Rosio and attempted to console her.  But what do you say in a time like this?  There are no words.  I asked if we could pray with her and so Rogelia, Rosio, Franci and myself, sitting on rocks with the sun beaming down on us, prayed for Rosio and this incredible tragedy she is facing.  It brought tears to my eyes as I prayed for God’s hand over her life and the lives of her three children. 

With no words, after the prayer I held Rosio’s hand as I sat by her and she told us what had happened.  Apparently, two weeks ago, her husband started acting weird, he didn’t know who anyone was and in this state of mind, he left to climb the mountain by their house, alone and was gone, for how long, I’m not sure.  Apparently, he made it back home, the family quite worried yet glad to see him.  But, by the time he arrived home, his condition was worse, he had lost all memory of his family and who he was and complained of a headache.  His family took him to the hospital and he passed there. 

Rosio continued to tell us that she has nothing and no one here in Puno.  She and her husband with their kids had been living with his mother and now his mother, the grandmother of these three kids, is telling Rosio she’s going to kick her out.  Rosio’s own parents have passed and her siblings live in northern Peru.  Literally, she has no one here other than her friends like Rogelia. 

Although saddened by this story and the reality Rosio faces now, we were able to share in a few laughs as we continued to chat and it was precious to see a smile on Rosio’s face.  Then, when Rosio got up to talk to another neighbor who had been passing by, Rogelia told Franci and I that just before we came, Rosio asked her if we (Franci and I) were still coming around to teach the Bible.  She told Rogelia she hadn’t come down to see us like before and she wants to begin studying the Bible again. 

God is so incredible!  He works all the pieces together!  Franci and I had no intention of visiting Rogelia today, we had no idea we would see Rosio, we just happened to be walking up the hill and saw the kids running down to us with their mothers above in the sun.  God gave us sun this afternoon to warm our spirits and our bodies, but He also gave us sun which in turn brought the ladies outside to warm up and brought us to them so we would have the chance to pray with Rosio and reconnect with her during this difficult time. 

Please help us in prayer for Rosio and her three children.  Pray for His peace in her heart, for His comfort in her soul.  Pray that she would seek God during this time, that from this tragedy, she would experience God in a very real way.  And pray that God would provide everything this single mother and her children need from shoes to food to a house.

Here’s where we sat with the ladies today, on the rocks between the green door and the blue door, where Rogelia lives.DSCF0463 

Davis, age 4.  Dad made a special connection with Davis while Mom and Dad were here visiting in June.  Dad and Davis were pretty much inseparable while we were in the Wawa Wasi daycare.  DSCF1068DSCF0671

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Real Life Change

Things are going great in Huasar!  Truly, God is working in this place and its exciting.  Franci and I have been able to start discipleship with four new contacts in the past two weeks thanks to the hot chocolate we served on Christmas Eve and thanks to our evangelism outing with the guys in February.   We also have another eight contacts we are trying to meet with and get started studying the Bible with them as well.  But it’s not about the numbers, its about the stories, its about the lives that are changing.  So let me tell you a couple of these stories, these stories I get to see unfold before my eyes.
Manuel is a father of three and his oldest daughter Rosio has a three year old daughter who also lives with Manuel and his wife.  We first met Manuel when we presented the Felix Vargas film, From the Darkness back in March last year.  So we’ve known Manuel for a year, we’ve been working with him, studying the Word with him, and praying with him for a year.  And we are seeing results!  When we arrive at Manuel’s house on Sunday afternoons to continue studying the Bible with him, he always starts off telling us about what he read that week or what questions he has from his personal Bible study during the week.  I love it!  I love the questions, I love hearing how amazed he is at the miracles of Christ in John, I love seeing his little notebook where he rewrites Bible verses so he can have them with him all the time without carrying the Bible.  Seeing immense growth in him in these past few weeks has been a joy to watch, an encouragement to both Franci and myself.  His life is changing, he’s praying and reading his Bible daily, he’s a new creature in Christ.  That’s what I’m here for, that’s the desire of my heart, is to see true life change and in Manuel, I see it and it’s awesome!  That is real life change.
Iris is the daughter in law of Lucia, Lucia is a little old lady who has a tourist shop near the plaza and lives in Huascar.  We’ve never been to Lucia’s house but we always visit  her in her shop, we sit on little benches while she sits on the floor and knits while listening to the Word as she cannot read.  Lucia has six children and she prays frequently for her children, that they would be able to walk with the Lord.  It was Lucia who sent us a street over from her tourist shop to her son’s tourist shop.  There we found Iris, a former Adventist who admittedly has left God to follow her own path in life, including, living with Lucia’s son, Jhon and their son.  Iris was a little timid when we first started visiting her about three months ago.  She said she wasn’t ready to commit her life back to God because she knew she would fail.  But, God has touched Iris’ heart, he has softened her to Him and she recommitted her life to the one and only God of the universe, she gave Him her heart and made a decision to walk with Christ.  And I see evidence of this rebirth in her.  Iris is sharing the Word with Jhon, her fiancée.  She has invited her friends Edwin and Roxana to come and listen to the discipleship lessons with her and Jhon.  She is learning and understanding that this walk with Christ is a process.  Seeing Iris and the change in her heart is unbelievable.  Seeing her reaching out to her fiancée and friends is incredible.  This is real life change. 
I met Dominga on Christmas Eve while Franci and I held a ‘chocolatada’ out on the street in Huascar.  Dominga was one of many ladies I met that morning.  I took down her name, address and phone number and she said Franci and I were welcome to visit her during the week.  Franci and I went to her house multiple times and knocked, we also called her, no response.   Then, two weeks ago, Franci and I where walking around Husacar and we saw Lydia, another lady we disciple and chatting with Lydia was Dominga.  Dominga asked us why we hadn’t come to visit her.  We explained we could never find her at home or get a hold of her by phone.  So we set up an exact day and time to visit her so she would be sure to be home.  And now, two weeks in a row, at 2pm on Friday afternoons, Dominga is home, waiting for us to knock (by throwing rocks onto her roof, a common way to knock here in Puno).  When she hears the falling rocks on her roof, she comes out and we sit on the dirt in front of her house and read the Bible.  You may think, two weeks, big deal.  But it is a big deal.  It’s a big deal that two weeks in a row Dominga has made a conscious effort to be home at 2pm on Friday’s, its a big deal that Dominga has set aside time two weeks in a row from all that she has to do, in order to sit on the dirt and read the Bible and pray with her neighbors walking by.  That’s a change of heart.  That is real life change.
So I could tell you, we are discipling 16 people in Husacr, up from 11 in January.  I could tell you that we were able to walk four people through a prayer of salvation in February.  I could say we have another eight contacts in Huascar we hope to start discipling this month.  I could throw more numbers out there.  But it’s the stories behind the numbers that touch my heart, its the real life change that God is navigating that gets to me, that excites me, that reminds me of why I’m here.
Here are some photos of Manuel at his baptism in January.  Unfortunately I was still struggling with pneumonia the day of the baptism and couldn’t go.  But, I’m so proud of him for taking this step to declare he’s serious about this walk with Christ.
DSC_0014 DSC_0020 DSC_0021 DSC_0870 DSC_0907

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas!  Franci and I went out to Huascar this morning and had an awesome time sharing hot chocolate and fruit cake, yes, fruit cake otherwise known as panettone, a Christmas favorite here.  We were prepared to serve about 50 but ended up serving about 80!  God helped us miraculously this morning.  He helped us serve more than we were prepared to serve and He gave us nine new contacts in Huascar.  For those of you who aren’t here working with me daily (umm, all of you, right), nine contacts is huge!  We have names, addresses and phone numbers.  And specifically three of them were very sweet and asked me before they left, “You are going to come visit us, right?!”  So awesome! 

Here are some pictures from our humble little event out in the street, sharing hot chocolate, panettone and bags of used clothes from the states…..

DSC_0256 DSC_0259  DSC_0258






DSC_0274 DSC_0283 DSC_0281  DSC_0285