Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stories are powerful

Today was a very powerful day. We accomplished a great deal of work in our work projects, but more importantly we had time to listen to stories. For me, (Mike) it was especially exciting to listen to Tom and Jim tell us the stories and hear their passion for reaching previously undiscovered Indian people. One of the things they are most proud of is their work with the Shipibo Indians. The Shipibo Indians are regarded as the lowest class in Peru; it is interesting to see two men who have been so committed to reaching "the least of these" and offering them a place to stay when they come to town, and a chance to reach their own people with the Gospel. 
The sewing room was also powerful today. After spending a week working with the Indian women every morning our team has been able to break the natural walls and the language barrier to develop relationships with the women. We've been amazed by the way God has allowed us all to communicate on this trip. In the sewing room, all of us are speaking a second language. Spanish is a second language for the Shipibo Indians and for our team, but despite that barrier we are able to teach techniques that can help better their lives while laughing and sharing life. Today the Indian women were more confident in the sewing techniques we've taught them this week. They were all diligently working on a third sewing project were helping each other along the way. They were also sharing jokes about our team members' personalities and expressing their pleasure in the time we've had with them this week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rainy Season

We are on the tail end of dry season, getting ready to start the official rainy season, here in Peru. Today did not get the memo that we are in the end of dry season, as it rained all day. The rain impacted the amount of work the men were able to accomplish, as they were only able to work inside under cover. The men worked hard to mix 16 wheelbarrow full loads of dirt and cement, and get it poured during the morning, but were unable to do anything other than this. 

The ladies worked hard in the sewing room again this morning, working tirelessly to help the ladies finish the shorts they started yesterday. The ladies that are learning to sew are incredibly excited at the new skills they are learning. Several of them have already made some of the bags they were taught to make on Monday. 

Tonight our team headed out to the South American Mission prayer meeting: a gathering of missionaries from the area from different missions organizations getting together to pray. We had a great time sharing our stories with them, and hearing them share their heart and passion, for Peru, with us. We had a great time getting to know them, ministering to them through the international love language of ice cream socials, and spending time doing arts and crafts with their kids. 

Please continue to pray for us, as we work on our projects, and for the rain to hold off as we continue to work on pouring cement in the entrance to the institute. Please also pray for the ladies, as they continue the most important work of the trip: teaching these women valuable life skills they can use to support themselves and their families as they go through the institute and share the gospel with the Indians in their villages. 



Today several of the Indian ladies from the institute brought their homemade crafts to where we are staying and we were able to buy them. Not only are these items well made, it was satisfying knowing that we were helping out people who need it, with our purchases. Needless to say, we are happy to have purchased a large portion of our gifts and souvenirs without having to leave our lodging.

Besides having a great opportunity to shop, today we continued our work projects. The men mixed and poured two sections of cement; and cut and laid the rebar for the sections to be poured tomorrow. The ladies continued in the sewing room, teaching the women of the institute, in the morning, how to make shorts; definitely a necessary skill. In the afternoon, the ladies of the church were taught how to make wallets. One lady in particular, Celestia, was apprehensive, as she has been scared of sewing machines since she suffered an injury to her hand, in her youth. It's been rewarding to hear that since we started, on Saturday, Celestia has been going to her sister's house daily to practice her sewing. Today, she used the machine to make a wallet, and loved every minute of it; she was so excited to be caught up and enjoying the activities all of the other ladies were enjoying.

Regardless of how many square feet of cement the men pour, how many feet of rebar they cut and tie; the sewing room will be the most useful project of the trip. It is great watching the women teach the local ladies skills that will benefit them for years to come.

Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we continue to work. Today we had several members from our team encounter difficulty with dehydration. Also, please pray for us as we go to the South American Mission prayer meeting tomorrow night, that we will be an encouragement to them.


Monday, September 24, 2012

monday, day 4

The Peruvian people, especially those we are working with, are very stoic. However, when the local ladies we are working with finished their purses this evening, in the sewing room, it was near impossible for them to not want to take model-posed glamour shots. Needless to say, the ladies of our team were happy to oblige. Our team was encouraged to further develop the relationships with these women, especially since several of the women have been working with these local women for several years during this trip; and of course, they loved to pose like models for pictures with their brand new handbags.

The men worked hard pouring sections for new sidewalks, and an entrance to the institute. In Peru, one mixes the concrete with only a shovel; needless to say, the guys are a little sore but feeling more than a little accomplished.

One of the more interesting, and encouraging things, about the day was the opportunity we had to interact with different people. The construction team had a great chance to play soccer with some of the children staying at in the institute's lodging rooms. It was neat to see the children smile, and laugh and have a great time doing something as simple as kicking a flat soccer ball, on a dirt field.

            Regardless of the work projects we accomplish, what we teach the local people, what we accomplish to assist our partner; the most important thing we continue to do is to build relationships, to share God's love across language barriers, and to show the Indians and the Peruvians the gospel, with our actions transcending language barriers.

            Another incredibly encouraging thing is the way we interact as a team. Each evening, around 8:00 we get together to have Bible study, and just talk about the day and the different things we took away from it. It is nice to see the different perspectives our team brings to the discussion, and the way we constantly encourage and lift up one another. God is a great God, and has put this team together on purpose, for a purpose; it becomes more and more obvious each day.

            Please continue to pray for our safety and health as we are continuing on our work projects. Please also pray that God will continue to put people in our paths for us to interact with and love on and share the story and love of Christ with. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

bridging the gap

Our day started at a local church, singing along to unfamiliar songs
and listening to a sermon where not every word was clearly understood,
yet we connected with the global body of Christ nonetheless. The
church is located in the heart of the city and as traffic and people
hurried on outside, the inside provided a glimpse of heaven: prayer
and praise bridged cultures and languages. Most of the ladies that
worked on the sewing project the day before were also in attendance.

In the evening we were invited to play volleyball and soccer with the
youth groups of several churches and we were able to make connections
and relate through common interests. As our relationships, both within
the team and with the locals, deepen, so does our fascination with
this beautiful place and its people.

One of our team members mentioned something that peaked my interest in
conversation, regarding perceptions and expectations going into a
mission trip. I've asked him (Rick Day) to put some pen to paper to
share his thoughts, please enjoy reading them below.
"As a mental health counselor for thirty plus years, I'm in touch with
reality enough to know that cutting wire to build a foundation for
laying concrete is not my area of expertise (and I have two blisters
to prove that point). But a more important reality I've learned is
that laying a foundation that can positively impact the lives of
others for years to come changes one's perspective. An even more
profound reality is that rather than focusing on building my kingdom
on earth (which I'm guilty of) we need to realize there's only one
kingdom that's truly significant- the Kingdom of God. "

Please continue to keep us in prayer as we get back to our work
projects tomorrow. The ladies are excited to have an opportunity to
run multiple sewing rooms, while the men mix and pour concrete to
create a walkway in the institute.
We also covet your prayers for us to be intentional in meeting and
ministering to the local people of Pucallpa.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Handbags and Rebar

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There are several things in life that are universal: the desire for food, water, shelter and a woman's desire for an adorable handbag. Today we kicked off our work projects, in earnest, with the ladies teaching several of the local pastors' wives how to sew handbags; the ladies were thrilled to learn a skill that is useful and profitable while also allowing them to create something they love. While the ladies were teaching useful life skills, the men worked hard at the Bible Institute preparing the entrance to have concrete poured early next week. The men cut, laced and tied rebar together after carefully leveling the ground. While working at the institute, several of the men had an opportunity to meet and get to know a student by the name of Wilart who is in his first year. Wilart was excited to meet the team and to have an opportunity to hone his English language skills; he told the team about the tension he feels, as his family does not support his decision to become Christ follower and pastor.  We pray that God will continue to strengthen him and prepare him for a life of service, especially as he continues to minister and share the gospel with his family and village.

As a team, we are excited to worship tomorrow at a local congregation, knowing that worshipping God transcends all language barriers and cultural differences. We are also excited to continue the different work projects and continue to develop the relationships between our team members and our partners as we work towards advancing their vision and mission to reach previously unreached people groups with the gospel and to continue to develop strong, capable, national leaders to reach their own villages.

Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we continue our work projects that they will be helpful and useful to our partners and that we will be safe while working.  Pray for our partner, Tom, as he faithfully works to share the gospel with the people of Pucallpa as well as unreached people living in the jungle.

Pray for the Indians, attending the Bible Institute, as they return for classes Sunday September 30.








Friday, September 21, 2012

Here We Are!

After a long, uneventful, flight from Miami to Lima we were thankful to have the opportunity to sleep in the food court of the Lima Airport. We then boarded our final flight, over the mountains, to Pucallpa, Peru. We arrived at 6:30 am; twelve hours after taking off from Miami International Airport; needless to say we were all beyond exhausted. We arrived at the home of our missionary, Tom Hough, where we were thrilled to have the opportunity to have a short rest until lunch. Following our lunch we quickly unpacked all of the supplies we were able to bring with us and then headed out to take a seaplane ride and view the area where our missionaries work with the indigenous people. For the majority of us it was a unique experience to ride in a seaplane. 

Thank you all for your continued support while we were on this trip. There are several ways you can continue to lift us up

  1. We are very exhausted as a team, please pray for rest as we start our work projects tomorrow
  2. Pray we will continue to grow our relationships with each other, as well as create new ones with people we will come in contact with
  3. Pray for our continued safety, as a team, especially as we work and travel within Pucallpa