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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jungle Jottings

 Paul getting ready to preach to some school children outside. 
 Buddy Fitzgerald, the guy in plaid, translated most of the 40 times Paul spoke in 6 days in Puerto Maldanado. 
 We got in a walk with the Fitzgerald boys as tour guides.  They know how to walk in style. 
 I put a picture of their house in the last post, but this is the erosion problem threatening it.  Their neighbor's house is half at the top, and half is the rubble on the bottom.
 They are animal lovers!  Isaiah, Joseph, and Abigail are interested in a young hawk at the zoo. 
 See how close the erosion is to their house?  And it wasn't a slow erosion, it was a major cave in all at once! 
 But life goes on.  Joseph is pleased with her brand new soccer uniform for the team he's just joined. 
 You can see the river from the house, but that erosion/cave in is too close for comfort.  I suggested planting kudzu to stop it, or slow it down, but I don't know if that's a real option. 
 This group is the deaf group Paul had the fun of preaching to.  Daniel, the guy in plaid, translated with the help of the shorter man beside him.  These guys were so enthusiastic! 

They meet in this neat facility (below) which Daniel has to reach out to people to help them and introduce them to the Lord. 
We were loath to leave the warmth of the jungle to fly back to Cuzco, but there is a little last glimpse of the beauty of the region. 
I know the missionaries there need your prayers and mine.  They face challenges with insects, health issues, and caving in river banks that most of us don't have to deal with.  I admire them! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jungle Journey

 Buddy and Loren Fitzgerald kept us for a week at the home they built in the jungle town of Puerto Maldanado.  Paul preached 40 times in 6 days, with Buddy translating for him for most of those. 
The Fitzgeralds builts this home, but it has quite a drama surrounding it.  I plan to come back to that, when the computer cooperates. 
Rough Day at the Zoo

 Josh may look like he's enjoying have TWO boa constrictors flung around his neck, but those of us who know him well, can see by the set of his jaw that he's strictly enduring it, being a good sport.  He wants those snakes OFF! 
 Most of the transportation in Puerto Maldanado is by motorcycle and moto-taxi.  These little taxis are fun and  an extremely affordable way of getting around. 
 The great paint disaster!  Josh and I were trying paint the porch entry into the house.  I thought I'd shake the can before I opened it--paint cans are always so hard to pry open you know--and I gave it a good, vigorous, kettle bell kind of shake.  Ka-splat!  Not just paint everywhere, OIL PAINT everywhere.   Add this to the Missionary Blooper list. 
We cleaned up and did the best we could, but Buddy was incredulous when the guys got home 3 hours later.  He wanted to know just why they now were the proud owners of a golden yellow step.  I'm blushing over this one. 
During our visit, one of the exciting things going on, besides people being witnessed to and some getting saved, was the chickens laying eggs!  The 3 little Fitzgeralds are very enthralled by the wonder of the hens laying and setting.  Truly God's ways are marvelous!  past finding out. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Peru Snapshots

 Most days we are just missionaries, but on Wednesday we mingled with the tourists and became tourists too.  The train amazed me in how it had "upgraded" since I went to Macchu Picchu in 1988. 
 The wildlife is always of interest in a new country.  This tarantula made the mistake of coming indoors and being on our friend Rachel's towel.  Now if that doesn't give you the shivers, I don't know what will! 

 The mountains on the south side of the Urubamba Valley are scarred with roads and "invasion" people, people who have just claimed land and moved in.  The other side is greener, and covered with ancient terraces. 
 A Catholic church in San Sabastian, Cuzco....
 as compared with the more humble Baptist church around the corner.  We slept in the Baptist church for several nights. 
 It seems every town has a "plaza de armas" with it's Catholic church.  This one, in Urumbamba, is the center of town, where people congregate and celebrate events. 

These narrow, winding streets seem so ancient.  A car can fit down this street, but you have to pull in the side mirrors. 
 A chicken foot appears in our soup.  I am told the cartilage is super good for the joints. 
 Maybe I should go back to the market and pick up some more. 
 This baby had a good place to hang out while her mama was selling things. 
Markets have been organized into indoor affairs, and you can find most anything, unless you're looking for a frozen pie, or biscuits in a popable can.

I love wandering around the streets of Urubamba or Cuzco.  I love these people, and I feel so privileged to be here again.  I'm thankful that God guided us to come here, and I love the welcome of His people. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Macchu Picchu,Peru

Yesterday morning, I was wondering if we made a huge blooper.  We were scheduled to leave at 6 AM and not return  until 9 PM, and all that time was going to be devoted to going to Macchu Picchu.  The problem was that Paul was not feeling well.  The altitude has been bothering him, and time difference has him jet lagging, and he was droopy.  And now we're going to spend the whole day just to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World? 

Today we have quite a different perspective!  It was wonderful!   We're so, so glad we took the time to go see it even though it was a long day  AND, it turns out, last night was the first night Paul slept well.  Josh and I slept like bricks too.  Perhaps tramping around ruins at 10,000 feet is the perfect cure for insomnia and what ails you. 

Rachel Tarvin, missionary in Urubamba, graciously offered to give us a ride to the train station.  I wish I had a picture of Rachel because she's very photogenic, but so far, I don't.   Rachel amazed us by giving us 2 BIG bags of food, water, bug repellant, sun screen, hats, rain gear, etc.  We were prepared for anything!  And then she told us where to stash it while we did the ruins which was very helpful. 

We got on the train at Ollantaytambo and that was the last sizable place we saw for the day.  Macchu Picchu is extremely remote.  Many people like to do the Inca Trail which takes about 4 days of hiking 9 hours a day mostly along a river side trail.  For me, the spirit is willing, but the flesh?  I'm not too sure at this age. 

We rode on that for about 2 hours, and then took a bus for about 20 minutes up, up, up the many switchbacks to the ruins.  There we met our guide, and with 7 other people toured and learned some about this intriguing lost city.  It was built, he said, in the 1400's, abandoned in the 1600's and rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American professor and explorer. 

We hiked around for about 2 hours with the tour guide, reveling in the brilliant beauty of the day,  the sheer mountains surrounding us, the remote location, the river far below us, and the imagining of the lives of the royal Incas who once lived in this place. 

I compared it to the last time I went to Macchu Picchu, in December, 1988.  It was rainy, cold, and my camera was pre-digital so I took a cautious amount of pictures.  The train ride was on wooden seats, and the only refreshments were if we stopped and there were mountain ladies selling fire-roasted corn. 

Now the train has plush seats, art work on the walls, and assigned seats like an airplane!  They have "in flight service", also like an airplane.   There are windows on the ceilings so you can see the 5 tunnels we through and all the mountain heights.  The snow capped mountains at the Ollantaytambo end are gorgeous. 

As to pictures, there was no need to be cautious with our digital camera so here are some of our favorites: 
The view from the first hill we climbed. 
My 3 guys for the day:  Paul, Josh, and Caleb.  Caleb is planning to be a missionary, and he's from Montana and loves mountain climbing.  We were so glad Josh had someone closer to his age with us. 
Just like the postcards!  Doesn't it make you want to play a massive game of Capture the Flag or Hide and go seek?  Does me. 
This rock(in the front)  is a miniature replica of the big mountains around Macchu Picchu. 
There's my man! 

Josh had to dip a bit for most of the door ways.  The rock are amazingly put together.  The guide said you could tell the different classes of the people by how the rocks were smoothed, or put together with cement.  I guess cement is a bit low class.  High class people had fitted, polished stone.  This above is more low class. 
This was my first time to see cocaine growing.  I don't think the pink flower is part of it, but the plant behind it is.  Cocaine is everywhere here.  The leaves are sold in many shops, and the tea comes packaged nicely for sale.  It is recommended for altitude sickness, and is not strong like when it is processed and injected or inhaled as a drug. 
Our guide was a Quechua youth, struggling with English.  He explained that this wall was damaged in one of the two larger earthquakes that hit Peru.  These are some of the upper class, polished, fitted stones. 

A peek over the edge will make you back up quick!  The Urubamba River is down there, and the road to the train station. 
That high peak behind Macchu Picchu is climbable, but you have to sign up for it in advance, and it's very steep.  Last time I was here, a Japanese lady had recently fallen, and a search party was hunting for her body for 3 days so I never wanted to climb there. 
On the other hand, I have missionary friends in Argentina who got engaged on that peak. 

After our tour, it was time for a late lunch.  Rachel had loaded us with goodies, but we had to go outside the "sanctuary" to eat.  After lunch, Josh and Caleb went back inside and explored the heights while Paul and I stayed near the entrance.  There were hundreds of people standing in line waiting for the bus, so we decided this was a good old fashioned evangelistic opportunity, and we went to pass out some of these tracts in Spanish, or some Chick tracts in English.

I got stage fright or whatever the equivalent is for tract passers is, but once we got started, it was just fun.  Many people were pleased to get them, and we met such interesting people from all over the world. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lima, Peru

I'm still a bit unbelieving that we are in Peru!  One of my very favorite things about traveling is seeing old friends and meeting new friends and just talking, laughing, and encouraging each other. 

We got to Lima, Peru 8 days ago, so that means we're supposed to be all better from our jetlag.  I read that you can expect about one day per hour of time difference, for your body to adjust.  Hello, Body?  Did you hear that?  Then why was I awake at 3:30 AM today and never went back to sleep? 

My number one main delight of Lima was Nancy!  She and I shared an apartment when we first came to Peru way back in 1988, and we have a huge file of "Remember when..." stories that just dissolve us into giggles even 28 years later.  Even a mention of our cooking back then is knee slapper.  We were basically peanut butter and jelly ladies, on bread from the bread guy who came around with his little cart, honking his horn.  We would run out to buy from him, and that was the extent of much of our cooking. 

We had a cleaning lady who came in for half a day, once a week, and she despaired of our eating style.  Both of us were prone to eat standing up in the kitchen, as we'd dash into our apartment between classes, grab and gobble and go.  But on Thursdays we'd have to reform or Hermana Dionisia would bully us into a chair and a more proper eating style. 

Nancy and I got royally lost together once, as we tried to learn the local bus system.  We got out of "local" and went to some township named Mangomarca that no one we knew had ever even heard of.  We became a community project as friendly Peruvians helped two floundering gringas find their way home. 

We laugh about the time our toilet started shooting water out the back.  I ran next door to Rolando the faithful school janitor for help.  I didn't know the word for "toilet" yet, so I came out with, "Hay agua en el aire!"  (There's water in the air!)  Not too clear, but Rolando came running.  He plugged the squirting water with his finger, and then had me plug it with mine.  He left!  I wondered how long I was to stand there!  After what seemed a very long time, he came back with a newly whittled plug to replace my finger. 

Yesterday we had lunch with missionary Ken Loveall who leads the Bible Seminary in Urubamba, up in the Andes where it's chilly cold!  We indulged in a favorite pastime of missionaries:  swapping funny stories of language bloopers.  I told about a missionary from Chile who was telling the story of the 99 sheep and the one who is lost and how the shepherd went after it.  Except the missionary mixed up sheep (oveja in Spanish) with bee (aveja in Spanish) and told the story of the 99 bees, with the one little lost bee who the shepherd went after and put on his shoulders and brought it back to the fold. 
Ken told about one time when he was leading singing and was supposed to sing, "Voy al cielo" (I'm going to heaven) and instead sang, "Voy al suelo"  (I'm going to the floor.)  Quite a different mental image. 
Paul was preaching Saturday to a youth group in Cuzco, and said, "I used to be a chicken."  Eric Pardine, the missionary translator, said "pollo" for chicken which is a cooked chicken and convulsed the youth. 

Shame.  I shouldn't be telling Eric's rare mistake.  He and his wife Cassandra were so kind to us!  They fed us, carted us all around Cuzco in buses, taxi's and in their car.  He enthusiastically translated for Paul, organized meetings and acted like he knew us and loved us, when in fact he'd never met us 'til last Thursday.

There were more stories, but time would fail me to tell them all.  And I think most people just want to see pictures so we'll start with Lima. 

Nancy lives in the section called Surco.  That cloud cover covers much of Lima from May-October each year.  In Surco the sun breaks through some afternoons, but most mornings look a bit dismal.  Nancy's on the 4th floor so we had quite a view.  Lima is huge, about 10 million people, and constantly growing. 

 Our first trip to the grocery store we saw laundry detergent that made us think of my niece who has just gone to New Tribes Missions in Florida for training. 
 We saw milk that made us think of our niece in South Africa. 
 And we saw make up that made us think of the Pope. 
The same trio that went to Rwanda is now on the loose in Peru.  We took a "we-we" instead of a "selfie" in a Peruvian park. 
 Just to remind you which country we are in.
 Lima sure has spruced up since I lived there 26 years ago 
 Lima is a desert city, with water coming from underground. 
 The first place Paul preached and drew was in my school, Fetzer Memorial Christian Academy, where I taught.  He asked me to give my testimonty too. 
Parks in Lima have exercise equipment right outdoors.  I guess that's one of the perks of being a nearly rainless city. 

 Paul also preached at Nancy's school and the children's home in Lima where she is a Mom to 100 kids!  That was special, but I was jet lagging, hence only this one pathetic picture. 
 City streets are crowded and exciting and a bit scary.
 What a bill board!
 How fun to find so many American flavors around the country.  They have Chili's too. 
But Josh was just pleased with Peru's own Inca Cola.  Delicious! It tastes rather like bubblegum. 
We'll end off Lima, and head off to Cuzco next.