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













Saturday, June 25, 2011


Well, I haven't blogged about Huascar since March! Oye! I could say that I have been really busy, which is true, or too tired to think about blogging at the end of the day, which is also true. But, the real reason I haven't blogged in so long about Huascar is that most days I feel like there's nothing good going on there. We struggle to make new contacts in Huascar and have even stopped visiting some people because we would knock on their door week after week after week and they are either not there or tell us they don't have time to learn about the Bible. Huascar has proven to be very difficult and frustrating. Its hard to blog when I feel like this, I want to tell you all that everything is perfect and share amazing stories of how God is working. But in Huascar, God's work sometimes seems invisible. I know that He is working in this place. I know He is touching hearts and opening eyes and ears to Him.
As I've said before, these communities are like our children, Franci and I have three kiddos. And each community (child) has its own personality, character, strengths and weaknesses. My parents have always told Brooke and I that they treat us differently because we are different people. They punished us and rewarded us in our own special ways to match our personalities. Well, the same goes for these communities. What works in Yanamayo, doesn't necessarily work in Huascar. What works iin Huascar won't necessarily work in Chucuito. So, we are still finding out what works in Huascar. I am learning that in Huascar we need a lot of patience with these people. I am also learning we need to be consistent to show them the importance of Christ in our lives and that we need to be something stable in their lives.
The thing that makes me excited and encouraged in Huascar are the kids. The kids come to our weekly Bible and English class on Friday afternoons. We have fun, color, learn about the Bible, sing in English, and play volleyball. God uses these smiling faces and loving hugs to remind me He is working in Huascar.
Here are some pictures of the kids in Huascar while Mom and Dad were here. We had the opportunity to visit the Wawa Wasi daycare to pass out toys to the children as well as share toys with all the kids in our weekly class as well.
Mom with Lucero and Ruby, Ruby is also known as prince, short for princesa (princess), no wonder she and I immediatley connected!

Davis and Lucero, Isn't Davis adorable! Dad took these pictures.
Praying before we start our Bible lesson. Obviously the kids are still learning to bow their heads in silence!
Dad with Davis in the Wawa Wasi and kids coloring their lesson sheet in our class outside.
Dad playing with Valeria, Ruby, Rodrigo and Davis at the Wawa Wasi and Rodrigo outside playing with his present from the States, a wooden toy car, a big hit with all the kids!
I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:9-11
Be with Franci and I in prayer for Huascar. Pray that we would not be discouraged and downcast, pray that the devil would not prevail in this place. But pray that we would have hope in Him, that we would praise Him for every little victory in this community, that we would see His mercies and His miracles no matter how hidden or small. Thank Him for the children in Husacar, for their faithfulness to our weekly class and for their excitment to learn about the Bible.
Thank you for your love and prayers for this community and for Franci and I as we work with these people. They are very much needed!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


God is faithful! Amen?!


Francisca and I have been frustrated and confused and sad and a mixture of emotions in Huascar. But these past two weeks we have been blessed and joyful and busy and grateful. God has opened the floodgates in Huascar! We are now focusing more in Alto Huascar, up on the hill. Yes, this involves more walking and hiking but its worth it! Over the past two weeks we have made eight new contacts through the movie we showed (a film about Felix Vargas, you can order a free copy at and from me dancing at a traditional festival called Corta Monte. Out of these eight new contacts we have started discipleship with five of them in the past week! And we also finally started discipling two other women we had previoulsy met. That's seven new people recieving the Word of God on a weekly basis! And two of them, Manuel and his daughter Rosio, have accepted Christ and made the decision to live a life with Him!


And this is why I say, God is faithful. He is so faithful to answer our prayers in His timing and in His way. Francisca and I know it all started with Lola. Lola was a little old lady we met a month or so ago in Huascar. We chatted with her and asked her if we could visit her at her home sometime. She said yes, we could visit her but where she lives there is no address. We weren't busy, just wandering around Huascar confused and seeking God's guidance as usual. So we walked with Lola to her house in Alto Huascar. I didn't even know that all these houses on this hill were part of Huascar. Not that we have to stay exactly within the city lines, God doesn't color in the lines, he makes the lines. But we never thought to even go up there. Thanks to Lola, we now are focusing in this place where she took us, this place God showed us through her. Unfortunatley, we have been unable to meet with Lola as her daughter does not want us in the house. But, God used her for His plan, to guide us and lead us directly into His Will.


And as Franci mentioned in theblog post she wrote a few weeks ago, we spent five week in the park waiting for kids to show up for classes on English and the Bible. For five weeks, nobody came. We changed the location to Alto Huascar and on our first week we had seven children! In Alto Huascar its like the belssings just keep coming and coming!

Here are some names to pray for......

Tomas - A older man we have started lessons with and is interested in knowing more about the Bible.

Rosio - A twentysomething girl, married with one daughter, who accepted Christ into her life a week ago Sunday.

Manuel - Rosio's father who also accepted Christ and is very hospitable to us and eager to learn more about Christ.

Richard - Rosio's huband who is not very interested in anything about the Bible but does work with tourists and wants to practice English with me.

Henry - A man we met at the Corta Monte who was drunk when we met him but he did give us his correct address; althought we have been unable to find him at home.

Juan - Another drunk guy from the Corta Monte who also gave us his correct address (its common to get incorrect addresses from the drunk guys), but we have not been able to meet with him either.

Yolanda - A woman Franci met at the movie who requested we visit her but has not been at home when we stop by.

Isabel - A woman who works with the Wawa Wasi daycares and we have seen her both in Huascar and Yanamayo. This past week we started discipleship lessons with her.

Yosephina - The Wawa Wasi leader in Also Huascar. We visit her Wawa Wasi every Friday to play with the kids and teach them a few English words. She has yet to show interest in anything further.

Lourdes - A mother of one in Alto Huascar who works all week as a painter while her husband works six hours away in Arequipa. She is recieveing the discipleship lessons and shows interest.

Yanet - We met her in February but she has been sick and unavailable for a month or more now. Finally, she is feeling better and we have started the first two lessons with her.

Lola - The lady that took us up to Alto Huascar, that we can find a way to meet with her again.

Psalm 57:2-5 & 9-11

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.

He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me;

God sends His love and HIs faithfulness.

I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts-

men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

let Your glory be over all the earth.

I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations;

I will sing of You among the peoples.

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens;

Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exhalted, O God, above the heavens;

let Your glory be over all the earth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From Franci....

I haven't wanted to blog on Huascar lately because we have been struggling to meet with people and make new contacts there. So, what do I do? Pass of the problem to Franci! I told her today to help me with the blog and to write down what's going on in Huascar and how she feels about it in her own words. Here is what she gave me.....

En Huascar hemos empezado a trabajar las ultimas semanas de Enero. Hasta el momento tenemos 5 contactos. Pero lo que pasa es que estas personas cuando vamos a visitar, no estan en casa y es el motivo que no empezamos con ninguna clase. A veces estamos preocupadas porque no podemos empezar con las clases, y estamos orando cada dia por Huascar para entender lo que Dios quiere que hagamos y tambien hicimos un festival de ninos y se reunieron muchos ninos y a estos ninos, les citamos para un dia viernes pero por la lluvia no se reunieron.

In Huascar we started to work the last few weeks in January. Up to this moment we have 5 contacts. But what happens is that when we go to visit these people, they are not in thier house and for this reason we have not started with any class (lessons on the Bible). Sometimes we are worried because we cannot start the class and we are praying everyday for Huascar to understand what God wants us to do. Also we had a kids festival and many kids came, with these kids we set a date weekly, Friday, to meet but we have not been able to meet with them due to the rain.

So that's it. That's what's going on in Huascar in the words of my partner, Francisca. Its brief and to the point. I can't really blame her for not knowing anything about blogs as I didn't really know anything about blogs until I started mine almost a year ago. I'll continue to have Franci write some notes about what's going on in our locations over the next 16 months. I want everyone to hear from her as well as we are partners, sisters and friends in our lives here and in this work.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Impacto Numero Uno.....

Franci and I sat atop the stairs of the Condor (600+ stair steps up a little mountain to a statue of a condor, bird, and a beautiful view of the city) a few weeks ago and planned out the next few weeks and months with goals and objectives. One goal, ‘meta’ in Spanish, was to have a kids festival in Huascar in February after all the hoop-la of the Festival of the Candelaria.

Planning things like this festival is one of the hardest things to do together. We come from different cultures, have different strengths, and different ways of doing things. But after getting frustrated a few times, on my end, Franci rarely gets upset or frustrated….we finally got the plan together in agreement, with a few compromises.

Over the span of a few days we passed out flyers and invited kids, parents and grandparents to the festival. We told everyone we will be teaching English and valores (good values) along with candy and balloons, all for free. We woke up Friday morning, the day of the festival, to rain. Which is normal and frequent this time of year. But there wasn’t a hint of sun or blue sky on the horizon. I was praying for God to clear up the rain as our festival was to be held in a park. We went along and prepared as though the rain would clear up. I called my Dadda and vented to him, asking him for prayer too. Finally, the rain cleared up! Praise God! We were ready to get all the stuff out of our “storage” room and when I turned the handle, nothing. The door was locked and no one was inside. Everything we needed, the speakers, the generator, the cuy costumes, were all in this room! But Micah worked hard and with the use of Trevor’s old Visa, they picked the lock and got the door open for us. Finally, we were ready to leave. Franci and I along with all of our brothers, went to the park in Huascar and set up for the festival.

When we got to the park, Franci and I read Psalm 20 together (as we read one Psalm per day) and prayed. Psalm 20 was perfect, a gift from God this day! It said in verse 1, “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress.” Then in verses 4-5, “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.” But even after we read such a promising word, as we were setting up, and it was time to start with no kids in sight, I was frustrated. I asked God, ‘Why clear up the rain, why unlock the door, why get us all the way here and not provide us with any kids? What is your plan?’ I asked God to give us the desire of our hearts, to complete the plan.

We started with two kids and they played with the parachute in the street. We had the cuies dancing and the kids music blaring. Finally, a few more kids came and we stopped the parachute game to start the English lesson. We just went ahead and began with the few kids we had. But the entire hour and a half we were teaching the kids, singing, watching puppets and coloring….more and more kids kept arriving. At the end, we ran out of coloring sheets there were so many kids! By the end we probably had about 30 kids with 7 or more mothers sitting with us, listening and interacting.

This festival provided us with four contacts, and a friendship with the president of the park. Also, we have invited everyone to join us again each Friday afternoon for more lessons on English and the Bible. God truly blessed our first impact event! We are grateful for all He did to clear the path and provide for us during this afternoon.

Psalm 20:5a We will shout for joy when you are victorious and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

His Purpose......

What does a day in Huascar look like? Every day is completely different. When we don't have visits set up, we try to let the Spirit lead us when we're not sure what to do or who to talk to. And other times we have visits set up with people to talk in their houses or normally on the sidewalk in front of their house.


Today Franci and I left at 9:30am after waking up, getting ready and our morning prayer meetings. We walk about 25 minutes to "Alto Huascar", it’s called 'alto' (high) because Huascar goes from one mountain to another, with houses up the mountain side and in the valley. We were in Alto Huascar looking for an address of a guy we met last week. We met Jose, about a 20ish year old kid in a tienda. He spoke some English to me and I asked him if he would like to practice his English. English is a great way to open doors here, it’s such a great opportunity to begin conversations and relationships with people. But I didn't want to "bait and switch" him. So I told him we normally teach some English and then some of the Bible too. He was okay with that and we got his info and set up a visit for 10am on Sunday morning.


We were looking for the address: Circunvalacion Norte 1522. We found 1492, 1501, 1555, 1574, but there was no 1522. After over an hour of asking around, wandering, asking some more, knocking on a few doors, and praying, we still couldn't find the house! I even had to buy some credit on my phone to call him and his phone number was not working. Finally, we sat down on the sidewalk. There we just talked about what to do and discussed how frustrated and sad we were as this guy really seemed like a good lead. (It's amazing sometimes how similar this job is to my old job, it’s just a different product I'm offering!)


As we sat on the curb with busses whizzing past and people walking by, a drunk guy passed us on the road. He walked past and then about 10 minutes later he returned to talk to us. He asked me "Que tal?" and we chatted for a moment. Then Franci jumped in and told him it’s not cool to be drunk, especially at 11am. She talked about how not only does drinking wear on your pocket and health, its displeasing to God. Overall, Jorge, seemed like a guy with a good head on his shoulders. He's studying mineral engineering, 20 years old, and lives by himself most of the time while his mom spends much of the week at her boyfriend's house in Juliaca. While chatting with buzzed Jorge, I thanked God for using us despite the fact that we missed our first appointment. How cool that we sat down right where we needed to in order to meet Jorge! And now we have an appointment with Jorge next Sunday at 1pm to talk with him more about his struggles and the Bible!


From there we walked toward the center of Huascar and went into a restaurant we wanted to try. There was a plate called Seiscito that we were both interested in trying but as it was 9 soles and we normally only spend 3.50 - 4 soles on lunch, we ordered one and shared it. Lunches basically always come with soup. Today the soup was Caldo de Cabeza, it’s a soup made from ram head and potatoes. I let Franci eat the soup; what a sacrifice! Finally we got our food and it was ground beef, some veggies, sauce, and potatoes. Hungrily, I cut up all the potatoes then started eating only to find out they were not potatoes but chuño. Chuño is a potato that's been buried for a year to dry out, yuck! They are more expensive than regular potatoes but gross! Franci and I ended up eating the meat then buying ice cream after because we were still hungry!


After our chuño lunch, we walked by the park and sat down next to a lady making a sweater. Franci talked to her for about an hour. And I literally do mean talked 'to' her. I was frustrated as this lady, Rosa, didn't seem interested at all. The hour passed by, I prayed for strength as I was incredibly tired and for patience as I was completely frustrated with Franci. At the end, Rosa did seem a little more interested but had excuses on why she couldn't give us her address and how she doesn't have a phone. So we have no way to contact her, only her name and face to pray for her and possibly someday run into her again.


It was 2:30ish at this point and we had an appointment with Janet at 3pm but her house was only about 5 minutes away. We walked down a road we hadn't been down before and halfway down the block we saw 5 men carrying something up the stairs. It wasn't a couch or any type of furniture. I asked them what they were doing and one guy told me they were bringing the virgin of the Candelaria home and told us to come up and look. Franci and I looked at each other and decided to climb the stairs and check it out. We walked into a smoky room with the virgin on the table in the center of the room. About 4 men were working to set up her pedestal to move her from the table to the hideously decorated pedestal. We watched an older gal say a prayer to the virgin. It was quite eerie to be in the room at that time. Franci and I were both praying silently for these people. I thought about how sad it is that they waste all this time and effort for something that's not real. It astounded me that these people can devote their lives to something and yet they will still be deprived of an eternal life with the One and Only. If nothing else, Franci and I agreed that going up to that room was worth it to bathe the place in prayer.

Finally, it was 3pm and we walked up the street to Janet's house. Janet is a hairdresser and we've stopped in to talk to her a few times but today was our first scheduled appointment. We knocked on the door and waited but there was no answer. We remembered I have credit on my phone so Franci called her cell number. Janet had forgotten about the appointment and wouldn't be home until 7pm. Franci confirmed we could come back next week at the same time.


About six hours after we had left the house in the morning, I felt like very little had been accomplished. We were unable to get in contact with our two appointments for the day. But, I remembered and was comforted by a verse that says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21 Everything I had planned for today was a bust, but I have faith and confidence that God's plan prevailed today. Maybe God had us set up the appointment with Jose only to be lost and not find the house and to sit down and meet Jorge. Maybe God had us spend an hour with Rosa in the park in order to be walking down the street at the right time to find the men brining the virgin home so we could pray in that place. Please pray with me that on a daily basis Franci and I will be able to follow the Spirit and allow God's plan and purpose to be fulfilled rather than ours.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ready, Set, Even Though, Go.....

So, although Franci and I are still digging through our bags and suitcases and are sleeping with our mattresses’ on the floor in a room that will eventually be a storage room, and still sharing a bathroom with the boys…technically, despite not being settled yet, we have started working. Our two weeks here in Puno have been a locura, (craziness/madness/insanity), chose your favorite, they all apply. We really haven't had much time to start getting to know people in our communities as we have been busy with the move, buying things for the house, praying over everyone's communities, and helping the mother church with VBS. But, Franci and I managed to get started the other day by spending some time in Huascar. Out of our three locations, Huascar is the most familiar to us as it is closest to our home and we spent a day wandering through Huascar at the beginning of December, just Franci and I, searching for a home.

Franci and I arrived in Puno with a plan to get started. Let me back up and explain how this plan came about. Probably about two months ago, our cluster parents Chad and Amanda challenged our group to fast lunch and use our lunch money (yes, we have lunch money like 12 year olds! haha) to bless someone that day. They challenged us to go out into a part of Arequipa, where we were living at the time and bless someone however we wanted. We could buy them lunch, household items, just give them the money, or whatever we felt the Spirit leading us to do. Franci and I left this day and went out to Alto Libertad, the area where we helped lead a cell group, close to the church we attended in Arequipa. I introduced Franci to prayer walking. We walked the area and took turns praying aloud as we canvassed the roads of Alto Libertad. We prayed God would put someone in our path to bless, that His Spirit would be with us and that we would be able to express His love and compassion. As we were walking and praying we saw some people working in a futbol field. We looked at each other and decided we would help one of them. Then we looked around and right there on the corner was a tienda. We ran over to the tienda and purchased soap, oil, butter and other items we thought would be useful. But what we didn't know is that God wasn't guiding us to these people in the field, but was guiding us to the gal in the tienda, Nora. As we were buying the items from Nora we struck up a conversation with her and were able to talk to her about the Bible and our Savior. We set up a meeting with her for the next week, left the tienda and gave the items to one of the gals in the field across the street. After this, we went back and visited Nora a few times. We were able to plant some seeds and help answer some of her questions and strike up a friendship.

It was after this experience that Franci and I were talking and both found out that we had both felt we need to fast and prayer walk in our locations in Puno. Jesus fasted before he allowed himself to be tempted by satan (Matthew 4:1-2) and he prayed as preparation to preach and speak the gospel (Mark 1:35-39). So why not use the example of Jesus? Isn't he who we should strive to imitate? So Franci and I both agreed we wanted to fast and pray over each of our locations in preparation and petition.

And this is exactly what we set out to do on Wednesday morning, a time of prayer and fasting in preparation and petition for the suburb of Huascar. Franci and I left our house and walked to Huascar, about a 30 minute trek. We got to Huascar, sat down and prayed. We walked about the city spending time together and praying. Then, we decided to go to another part of the city where we hadn't been before. There was a hill with stairs going to the top and a bunch of people on the stairs so we thought we would check it out. After climbing up a slippery dirt hill and jumping over a gaping hole, we finally got to the bottom of the stair case. We got halfway up the stairs and saw what was going on, construction. I was so mad I didn't bring my camera! These people had rigged rippled sheet metal into "hot dog bun" shapes, kept together with thin strings of metal, and each hot dog of sheet metal was set inside another one, making a slide from the top of the stairs to the middle. At the top of this contraption was a concrete mixer and a pile of rocks. The guys at the top would mix the concrete, add some rocks, then pour the mixture down the sheet metal slide and with a whoosh and a clamor, the concrete and rocks slide past us on the slide. At one point, the lady right above me on the stairs lost the head to her shovel in the passing rocks so I picked it out for her and ran it back up to her. And another time the guys let more concrete and rocks down the slide than normal and the spraying of concrete and louder noise startled me and I almost fell down the stairs and took Franci with me!

As we watched this creative invention at work, Franci and I talked to Brigida, a lady about 40 years old who owns a house on this hill and is the one building this wall. We chatted for a while, just small talk and not much else. Then, Franci whispered to me that she wanted me to tell Brigida that our mission here is to teach people about the Bible and that we would like to come back sometime to visit with her and talk about the Bible. Immediately, Brigida told me that she like to drink and party and she does not want to learn about the Bible. I explained that we will not tell her what she "can" or "cannot" do because that is up to her and her conscience and relationship with God. I also told her we could come back not to talk about the Bible but just to talk as friends. She really didn't seem interested and things were very awkward at this point. So after a few minutes, Franci and I said our goodbyes and continued up the hill to check out the view of the lake and the city from the top.

Unfortunately, we really didn't get anywhere with Brigida, at least not what we expected. But, I think this was an awesome learning experience. Being shot down on our very first attempt in Puno is quite humbling. What I have taken from this is that Franci and I need to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We need to let the Spirit guide us in each conversation so that God can tell us when to proceed, what to say, when to pull on the reins and more. When Franci told me to ask her if we could come back to talk about the Bible, I cringed and thought, no, let’s not use that word, "Bible" yet, that's not how we do it in the states. That word pushes people away and turns them off. But maybe that was God telling me to pull back and build more of a report with Brigida before we mention the Bible. So my prayer right now is for discernment, for open ears and an open heart. I want to be able to hear the Spirit speak to me in these situations so that I may follow. And I want Franci and I to both hear the Spirit so that we are on the same page and of one mind, God's mind.

Even though it was not the start we expected or wanted, it was a start. Praise God that we are here and He chose us! Even though we got shot down like a nerdy boy asking the cheerleader out to prom, we got to experience our first rejection. Praise God for teaching us through this rejection!