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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Homeschooler's Nightmare

Imagine the scenario.  You've been graduated from homeschooling for months.  You're enrolled in higher education, and suddenly, without warning, your mother has an attack of conscience!  She is convinced she didn't do enough crafts with you when you were a sweet little homeschooler, so she calls your 6'7" self into the dining room, where your 6'5" brother is dutifully waiting.  There before you is a slightly juvenile craft. 

Choices loom in your mind (I'm guessing).  Is there some way out of this?  Should you protest, "I'm a man now?"   

Maybe that verse pops into your head, "Despise not thy mother when she is old."  That's such a good verse. I'm valuing it more with every passing year.

So with all good grace, you cave in and make a little glass jar to look like a Lego man head.  Because of the good grace, it's a good time, a good memory, and not an ugly confrontation.
Still, I imagine you hope this isn't going to happen too often. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Amigos del Peru

 Peru from the ground or Peru from the air, it's all fascinating.  I think these are salt marshes.  But the land is not my favorite thing about Peru.  The people are my favorite thing. 
 Marie, Cecilia, and Nancy, are in the super special category.  Nancy was my roommate in 1988-89, our first years in Lima.  We did a lot of goofy things together, and nearly starved ourselves as neither of us could cook much at all.  We each dedicated ourselves to learning one good recipe.  I learned pizza, and Nancy learned Chicken Cauliflower Skillet, which she never cooks now, and is a Young family favorite. 

Nancy and I were at Bob Jones together, in Spanish class together.  When I was making my plans to come to Peru, Mr. Frey, the principal at Fetzer Memorial Christian Academy where I would teach, wound up our conversation with, "Well, that's settled.  Now I just need to find a history teacher."  My heart started to pound!  I was satisfied it was the Lord's will for me to be a teacher in Peru, but I sure would feel better if I had a friend going along too!  I told him about Nancy.  She played hard to get for a bit, but eventually caved in and has been in love with Peru ever since! 

She did have to leave in 1989, for one year, so I moved in with Marie.  She taught me, some times with her elbow, more about loving my Peruvian neighbor than anyone else.  "Greet that lady!" was whispered, and punctuated with that elbow as I tended to hang back and be shy. Whatever she does, Marie does heartily, as to the Lord, and I love her style.  I could go on and on.  We shared a love for Pepsi, her dog, who added a fun short dimension to our home in Salamanca.  I had always wanted a home full of company, visitors, ministry:  LIFE!  and Marie had a home like that.   

Cecilia, in the middle, was 12 when I met her.  I love her and her family.  I knew her for the two years in Peru, and also when she came to the States to go to Bob Jones.  She teases Paul worse than anyone else I can think of, even his own siblings.  The two of them are quite a pair.  The first time we came to Peru together, Ceci and Paul lost me for a bit as they were playing hide-and-go-seek in the National Museum!  They help each other get in touch with their inner child, maybe? 
 In Lima, I had a wonderful church, the Iglesia Bautista de Salamanca where I went.  When we got together, with my "jovenes" (youth) group, we had to take lots of pictures of each other. 

 Here's a little glimpse of what I mean about Cecilia and Paul.  :- )

 The "youth" group is such fun to see again.  It's so encouraging to hear their successes, to see them going on in the church, and with the Lord, and with each other.  Lifelong friendships are rare treasures. 

 I'm expecting Evangel to take this picture for her blog (click here to go there) because it looks like it could go with lots of verses about gates and the promised land.  I thought of her when I took it.  That waterfall is from a glacier above the town of Arin.  The people actually changed the course of the glacier's run-off to get it to come down this side of the mountain so they could use its water. 
I got to hike up by the waterfall with Barb Whatley (whose face shows the most) when she was showing some visitors how to get there.  She also told us about some mummies who had been buried there in a crevice on the way.  Peru is so full of undiscovered mummies, she said. 

She was in Peru some when I was there, but we didn't know each other.  Please pray for her and her family as they're needing to sell their house and move from the mountains to the jungle.  We stayed with her for several days, and I loved how she seized this opportunity to share with a group of athletes in Peru for volunteer work. 

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring good tidings...!"  Isaiah 52:7   They need the Lord's help and our prayers. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Glimpses of Cuzco

We are home in Cape Town, South Africa, after a
very special month in Peru.  It took us so long to get home that Josh grew another inch somewhere in there!  (He's 6'5" and I'm 5'6" so we're complimentary.)  We didn't have our Yellow Fever Certificates, only copies of them, so the airlines wouldn't let us on our scheduled flight from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to Johannesburg, South Africa.  Instead we had to hang out an extra 5 1/2 hours, wondering if we'd get out on the next flight, which we finally did.  We didn't have a Brazilian visa so we had to stay in the airport.

We missed our flight from Jo'burg to Cape Town, and we had to buy new tickets.  That was rough on our frugal selves, but we were aching to be home in our own beds and a two day bus ride had no appeal. 

Our first few mornings were jet-lag fuzzy for me.  Paul preached and drew in the Delft community that first Sunday morning, and I worried about disgracing us by falling asleep and falling with a thud onto the church floor.  He didn't seem to have any trouble with sleepiness. 

So we're far from Peru, but still want to share a few memories.  Our times in Cuzco never were singled out for attention, so here we go:

 We slept in this Baptist Church in San Sabastian.  In some ways Cuzco was the most difficult as it was at the highest altitude, more than 2 miles high, and we'd be gasping for breath after climbing the stairs.  We weren't very well prepared for the cold either, but the church came equipped with mounds of blankets--probably 50 of them, so that was good.
Paul's great height posed a few problems with the irregular doors and ceilings as he kept whacking his head. 
 There's always something to celebrate in Cuzco.  Firecrackers go off a lot!  We tangled with a celebration when we went downtown to get our Macchu Picchu tickets. 
 The bank was on the opposite side of the street, and we had to go weaving right among the dancers to get back and forth. 
 Missionary Eric Pardine was a helping us with this, as well as scheduling and translating for Paul.  We enjoyed a nice chunk of time with him, and his family, as well as their church family.  May God bless him and his family!

                                               Not your typical street people. 
 This monastery was intriguing to me, but we didn't have time to really check it out. 

 Cuzco has many markets and MANY kinds of potatoes!  Potatoes are supposed to have originated in Peru and Bolivia, and they have more potato varieties and more potato recipes than anyone else I know.  Hot, cold, frozen, spicy, and of course, Josh's favorite, deep fried. 
Purple corn is another Peruvian specialty, and the purple drink Chicha is made from the purple corn.  It can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, like a punch. 
 At night from our third floor room in the church, we could see these fireworks going off in the plaza de armas (the big square in front of the church.)

The Spaniards built Cathedral de San Sebastian up close before the fire works.

The contrast of light and darkness got me looking for verses with those words in them.  Romans 13:12 says "The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife an denvying. 

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. "


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.