22 December 2010

Christmas in the Summer

       I have to admit I have not been doing a very fine job of keeping everyone up to date lately. I missed several calls lately, I finally was able to open my email today and found 22 emails awaiting-not all from my mother either :) , and I obviously haven't updated here recently either. So I thought I would send everyone a Christmas note.
      As many of you know this is my first Christmas away from home, I have spent much of my Christmas breaks in San Marcos before but have always made it home form Christmas, but this year I am a little far away for the quick drive home. It is a little sad, for one this December has been an eventful one, I missed my little (giant) brother's 20th birthday- so officially now mom has no teenagers left, Sean was commissioned and graduated a few days ago, and in a few short days it will be Christmas eve and day.            
      One thing I have missed about the Christmases I am used to is singing the Christmas carols and hymns at church, and it being cold for Christmas- despite living in Texas the last ten years this is the hottest Christmas I have ever had, but all of those things aside Peru has its Christmas traditions and the reason for Christmas never changes no matter what continent, country, hemisphere or season you find yourself in, the celebration of Christ Jesus our Savior. So along with the giant Christmas trees at the malls, or the scarcely lit town squares you find in the middle of them all the scene of the nativity of Christ's birth. I was at the mall in Trujillo with Auden and Wendy about a month ago and I was standing with there almost 3 year old daughter in front of the 2 1/2 story Christmas tree and the 4 foot tall Mary ad Joseph and the empty manger, I asked her if she wanted to go stand with daddy or stay here, and she says. "No, stay Jesus." So we stayed with Jesus while we waited for her mom to finish. She was your Linus from a Charlie Brown's Christmas who knows what Christmas is all about after you sort through the cloud of Christmas commercialism and our 2 1/2 story Christmas trees.
     Christmas here brings lots of mixed emotions for different kids at the house. Some remember what Christmas was like last year and all the years before with their family, and they suddenly find themselves not having a chocolatada with them. Others are tired of being pitied at Christmas time, and I can see where they are coming from. It is nice to have people do things for you, especially if you are in need, and it is nice to get a toy rather than socks and underwear every once in a while, but it is also nice for people to care more than once a year. There are a bunch of schools, banks, and other organizations that want to do things for the kids this time of year, and it is good and following Christ's commands to care for his kiddos, but He calls us to care for them year round, ever year, to form relationships with them, to teach and guide them. So, I want to encourage you if there is something you do this Christmas season as a volunteer or charitable giving, I challenge you to continue, get involved with the organization year round and show the people you love that Christ loves them all year long not just for a season.
     As for the mixed emotions of the kids a lot of them are truly joyful too.  I mean who doesn't love getting to drink chocolate and eat cakes and candies every other day? Which is the tradition here. If you are going to celebrate Christmas you have a Chocolatada. Which is drinking hot chocolate, eating Panneton, and most of the time presents are involved somehow whether it be a raffle or everyone gets one. So far the kids have had four and there is one tomorrow and of course there will be one on Christmas eve at all the houses. Today was mine- which was different than most. Over the last month I have been compiling gifts for the kids in my house. I pulled out some of my money from my bank account- my first time to use the ATM here, and I did some shopping! I just really wanted to do something for the kids and wanted to get them something that they truly want but don't necessarily need, cause getting gifts is cool but getting something you actually wanted is even better. So today we gathered in the comedor and I told them how my family does Christmas, but since I wasn't with my family they could step in. So the kids took turns picking a gift, reading the name and passing them out, and one by one they opened them showed everyone sometimes there was shouting and a few pictures may have been taken. But it was fun, and yes Christmas is about Jesus but the suspense of what is in those packages and finally getting to open them is a gift from God too :).  Bruce (who had also contributed funds to my gift fund) told me after that I was like a super shopper and did really well. I replied agreeing with my skills and then he told me, "one day you are going to make a man very happy but very broke." After dinner we watched a movie and had hot chocolate and oreos to end the night with a bang.
      As far as the real Christmas eve and day, the kids are getting split up into different houses of the staff and such after lunch on the 24th and spend the night at the houses and spend Christmas day there as well. I will be at Wendy's house helping there and I am excited about all the food talk, but we have decided that we are not going to hold to Peruvian tradition and wait until midnight to eat dinner cause that is just crazy, but we will watch Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown's Christmas!
     So for all of you I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, please sing some Christmas carols for me, eat all the amazing goodies for me, and share the love of Jesus with someone this Christmas, and the following year. You can be praying for our kids for peace in their little hearts this Christmas, and for the coming summer. For a lot of the kids the official time they were supposed to stay here is over, but it has been on hold for the sake of their school year, because here to get credit for the year you have to have started from the very beginning at that school which eliminates the ability to transfer kids out in the middle of the year. So, in the new year there should be a lot of court  happenings with the kids and decisions being made etc, which will be complicated and confusing, and difficult for some of the kids. So have a Merry Christmas and I cannot wait to ring in the New Year with my mom and my little brother cause they will be here in PERU!!!!!

24 November 2010

Summer is coming and so is Christmas

It seems weird for me to think that Christmas is in the summer here, but then I remember that in Texas Christmas is in the summer more years than not! This Christmas I will just be closer to the beach! The kids houses have their Christmas trees up already, and I know it is before Thanksgiving, but being that there is no Thanksgiving here there is no reason to argue.

I feel like I have already had Christmas once, I went to the Serpost to pick up one package and found I had 2! Never have I been so happy in my life to receive coloring books, cake mixes, and Pixy Stixs! (A special thanks to my dear friends Victoria and Abby for sending my there love in little brown packages tied up with string- just a few of my favorite things :) ) Shortly after Christmas too, there will be another because my beautiful mother and my giant little brother will be coming on the 30th of December! Just for a short trip but it will be wonderful

As far as things I have been doing that are more productive than receiving packages and dreaming of Christmas....the Lord recently revealed to me that at home the kids aren't getting the guidance in His word and way like they should in a good home that follows the Lord. So he put it on my heart to step in. We started out this month with doing the month of Thankfulness like in America- just without Thanksgiving. So I made a fun poster and placed it in the girls house for them to write things that they are thankful for. It is really beautiful to read them I think I might share them with you later. And then in their house there is a big white board and so with my wonderful bilingual Bible I have been writing a verse a week on it and I want to start challenging them to memorize the verse each week. Also the Lord has made it evident that there are a few of the older girls I could be discipling so I am figuring that out as well to start working on that! And another simple thing I can do with the kids is praying with them everyday. So that is what I am doing currently besides playing in the sand and eating ice cream with little kids- even though both those things are quite fabulous in my book!

I hope you are all doing well and that you have a wonderful holiday! Fill up on pie for me, was never a big fan of turkey and the thanksgiving food, but the pie I do love, so eat up all the pie and do some black Friday shopping foe me!!!!

Peace and love.

28 October 2010

When there is no one to hold you

One of my love languages is touch. I desire hugs and embrace. When I am vulnerable I want to be held, and allow the vulnerability to take its course and not stifle it or create and image of an invincible woman who always has her bearings. However, Tuesday night my bearings were far from me. I laid on my bed drew my legs to my chest and kept them clutched in my arms. I wanted to be held. I needed someone to swoop in and hold me like a child.
In my head I began to reminisce of times of comfort, my heart yearned for home. I wanted to be watching a movie or playing cards with my parents. I wanted to kidnap my little brother from school and wonder about Austin. I wanted to run free at the park with Sean and the dogs. I wanted to sing with Laura, but found myslef singing The Ballad of Pacasmayo sola. I wanted to go out with some friends in San Marcos to the river and then maybe to the coffee pot. I wanted to eat ice cream with Victoria and cry while watching a movie or sit on her couch talking while conquering the entire pint of ice cream.
Then I remembered the time in November- it has almost been a year- after church I drove to Victoria’s and her roommate let me in and I crawled into her bed to wake her up to tell her what God had revealed to me about or near futures. I remembered the joy and the excitement and the peace. I also remembered when I talked with people they would always ask ‘do you know anyone there?’ ‘have you been there before?’ ‘No and Nope.’ But something else would always continue my response, “but I am excited. I have moved around my whole life, meeting new people, adapting to new schools, I love change, I am ready for this adventure. And I am excited that all I will have to depend on is God. I have always had someone to fall back on. He has blessed me in abundance with family and amazing friends who are constantly supporting me. But now all I will have is God. And I cannot wait to grow my dependence in Him.”
However, the reality of that excitement is hard. Right now there are three other missionaries here. Steve who is in his forties will be here till January, and has a beautiful heart for these kids. Mike is a year older than me but more often than not is in his house reading. And there is Sam, he is 18 and a lot like Mike. Sam and Mike are roommates and they share many likes and dislikes and hang out often. Steve has found the other half of his heart and is going to marry Maribel (the orphanage director). There is also 2 other missionaries (who used to be the pastor and director and are married- but have now moved on to other ministry), and I really enjoy talking with them. Especially hanging out with Wendy. But they are married, just had their second child, are still finishing their house, running a restaurant, and Wendy’s parents just built a house next door. So, needless to say they can’t always hang out with me either. 
So, many times I find myself alone with the kids, in a language that isn’t my first choice- it is coming more naturally with time but not as English does. The kids are great, and getting hugs from thirty kids daily will certainly lift my spirits, but I can’t talk to them like I do an adult friend, I can’t talk through my troubles and struggles with them. That is not what our relationship is supposed to be I am supposed to be here to ease their troubles and show them love, and they are definitely not here to be my therapist, I am their friend, their big sister, some of them frequently ask me to be their mom and live in the house with them.
But even with all these people here in my life, new found friends and smiling faces, I still at the end of the day find myself curled up in bed with tears on my cheek. But in my funk and my selfishness I saw my left ring finger where lies my tattoo, which the kids try to rub off, ¿No salir? ‘No never.’ The ring isn’t from a man who knelt down and asked me to be his wife, it isn’t made from gold or silver, it didn’t cost a lot of money and monetarily doesn’t amount to anything, and it has no luster. It is ink in my finger permanently set to remind me of my vows, my commitment to my God.
The word is ‘dowd’, the Hebrew word for beloved one, and one of the words for love. I put it one my ring finger because I am God’s. Right now I am single and I am to be fully committed to my God. “...An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about affairs of this world- how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7:34-35) It is my desire to have an undivided devotion to the Lord, but it isn’t always achieved because I am selfish, and I get caught up in the world. Yet he still gives me His love, and upholds His promises to me even when I dabble in the temptations of the world. So, my tattoo is a reminder to myself to glorify the Lord and devote myself to Him as a wife would to a husband, as He treats me as His bride. My commitment to Him is to take His love and power I am equipped with and pursue His goals. The goal of the gospel, to bring glory to God and take his truth to all the ends of the earth.
My fingers now hold my ring as I twist them around and around remembering His love, the sacrifice of His Son, and His promise which is what excited me to do this and initiated my response to pick up my cross leave my family and friends, to travel abroad to a land I do not know, people I have never met, and use a language that isn’t native to my tongue. 
I had laid there helpless for a long while, it had gotten late, I had an early class the following morning, so I pulled out my music to go to sleep. I decided to listen to JJ Heller (whom I haven’t listened to in a while) and started the shuffle with All I Need, a song that speaks of the only thing we truly need is God and His love and that it satisfies. then it shuffled to Invisible Love, “which is how it has to be between you[God] an me.” I don’t always see God and He doesn’t physically hug me, but His love is there and He will help me get to sleep by bringing me comfort. He will ease my loneliness with His presence, He will equip me to do His work whether it is alone or with others, with friends or with strangers, in the comfort of my home country or on foreign soil.
It isn’t easy to follow in obedience to what God has commanded you to do. I am constantly being reminded it isn’t about me or you. The message of the gospel isn’t “ ‘God loves me,..Because if it was ‘God loves me’..then who is the object?” When in fact the message is God loves me so I can make His way, His salvation, and His glory know among the nations. I am not at the end of the gospel, God is. He is at the center of the universe and everything revolves around Him not me.
So if I discontinue my self pity in loneliness and seek God in those moments and put Him in the center of my universe his universe will become easier and I won’t struggle with this because I will be dependent on Him because without doing so I cannot live out the gospel. My sacrifice doesn’t begin to compare to Christ’s in fact it is minuet, but if I never made it I wouldn’t be any closer to really knowing Christ and really letting the Lord work through me. 

21 October 2010

A SHOUT of Thanks!

             I got two surprises in the mail today. I had a few people tell me they were sending me something so when I got my two notices saying I had things to collect at the Serpost I got really excited and started playing the guessing game of who sent me what.
            Much to my surprise when I got my two packages neither sender was what I expected but it made me even more happy to see who they were from and what they were. The first was from my parent's church, it is a prayer quilt, it is little and beautiful and ever string was tied by a different person who is now committed to pray for me for the duration of my time here and they all said a prayer while tying their knot, one of which on the list was my little brother, that one made me cry I really love him a bunch. And I love my little quilt. So thank you to everyone who tied a knot for me and a special thanks to Pearl Wheeler who cute all the tiny blocks and put them together into a piece of art and love. 
           The next smaller package was filled with just as much love as the first from my little sister (who isn't really my sister) who I love a whole lot too. She wrote back in our journal that made me really happy to see it brought an immense joy over me as I read the short letter while walking to get some groceries. Also inclosed was a book that I plan to read soon and will probably read several times even. 
          It is a good reminder to know that the people you left behind are praying for you and thinking of you, it dismisses all thoughts of being homesick because it provides reassurance from the Lord that He wants me here, so thank you for everyone who has sent me anything, it is definitely fun getting mail, playing the guessing game, and receiving love and prayers reminding me of my purpose and who is behind it.
          I hope you all have a wonderful week and find rest, peace, and energy in the Lord.

26 September 2010

Always bring your own TP

      I have been in Peru for 2 months now, and I am still learning things. Every week always yields for some adventures often unexpected.
     One thing I have learned is to adapt to packing toilet paper in my purse. Some places you go to have bathrooms you would expect to find anywhere in the United States, however most in Pacasmayo don't.  Many times the bathroom stalls lack doors and 90% of the of bathrooms are without toilet paper, and 50% of the ones that have TP charge you 50 centimos to use it. At school students have to ask for papel hygenico on there way to the bathroom. So, now I keep a stash of TP (which I need to replenish) in my purse.
    Sundays, I have started cooking for the kids. Which the mom's really enjoy because they prepare 3 meals a day so 21 meals a week, so I decided I could take one off their hands. The first week I just made them a dessert- peach cobbler, then I took on the whole meal. I have made Lasagna, Cider Stew, Tuna Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie, this week I am made BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Funnel Cakes! Next weeks menu is Shepherd's Pie and Cinnamon Rolls. I have also made Dirt, my mom's Mandarin Orange cake, Homemade Recess, and Banana Bread with my Cinnamon and Sugar topping. And it all sounds fun and dandy (and it is especially with the help of my cocineritas- little cooks), but most of all these things start 100% from scratch. All of my cakes 100% scratch. All the veggies are fresh- which is sweet and they are super cheap but it is nice to be able to swing by HEB and grab the giant frozen pre-chopped veggies. My BBQ sauce is even from scratch. It is fun and cool to learn and some things taste better, but I do like the convenience of my friends Betty and McCormick, among others. I also miss my local HEB butcher, because I do not like chicken heads or feet. But it is again way cheaper to get the whole chicken and so that is what gets purchased. (I am just glad they don't have feathers) The same with the beef you get a whole chunk of cow to deal with. So I have learned how to successfully debone chicken (mostly self taught) and I am getting faster at it, one day I may be pro. So, my cooking is adapting as well- lots of learning and altering recipes goes on in my kitchens. But it is really fun because the girls (and boys) want to learn to cook, so I get a kitchen staff to chop, stir, peel, and more every week. And we all wear cute aprons- I am in the process on making me one but we didn't have power Sunday so I never finished, need to before next Sunday. Cooking with kids can get messy! But so far the food has turned out good, and they like it- especially the desserts! They ask me every day, "¿postre hoy día?"
     Another fun adventure occurred Thursday. One of our older girls had a doctors appointment, and was nervous so she asked if I would accompany her so I did. First, Gladys, the Orphanage's nutritionist, was supposed to come with us. But we were informed of an inspection coming within the next few days so they were scrambling and asked if I could take the two girls sola. The adventure begins.....
     First Gladys handed me the money and told me the appointment times, and that we were to go to Clínica de Santa Catalina which is next to Banco de Nacional. However, when we got there it is called El Central Salud- which I knew that cause I had been by lots of times. So we asked to moto driver if he knew where Santa Catalina was, he said he knew of Santa Monica y Santa Clara but maybe knows where it could be, so he drove. We got to what he though it might be, no clinic. So I went in and asked a store owner, and she informed us that Santa Catalina in is San Pedro. It clicked in my head that Gladys probably just got the names confused because she lives in San Pedro, but to double check we called from a pay-phone. The answer was El Central de Salud, back to the moto. In the clinic we went into the hallway where there were many many other people waiting, mostly women with young kids.  It was funny because I don't really get stared at too often anymore because people see me frequently enough, but as soon as I sat down in the clinic all eyes seemed to be on me. I was the only non peruana in the room and probably the first white person they have seen waiting in the clinic before. It was all good.
     The clinic more or less worked like a clinic you would find in the US but without all of the pleasant amenities such as: comfortable chairs, magazines, posters on the wall, a nice cushioned table for the patient, and cups for urinary samples. We waited about 15 minutes and her name was called she was weighed by the nurse and such and then we waited on the uneven wooden bench again for the doctor to get to her number, 10. We waited and it got boring, so I pulled out my journal and we played dots, well I tried to teach her and she didn't really understand the strategy of the game so I tried not to totally stomp her. Then they got to her number and the doctor left. Apparently there were 3 babies being born in the emergency room next door and they needed the only doctor at the clinic. So we sat back down and played hangman and tic tac toe, went to a store to get a drink, tried to get comfortable enough to take a nap and then the doctor returned.
      We went in with Gladys (she had us call her for when it was time to be seen by the doctor) to the doctor's room. Which contained a stand alone curtain, a steel table with some steps, and a desk cluttered with files and paper with a doctor crazily sorting through them all to find her file. He then began asking a bunch of questions which I didn't catch most of what was said because my professional medical vocabulary isn't very high in Spanish and he spoke at about 254 miles an hour without even looking up (so I missed half to words and I couldn't even look at his mouth to try and catch any good thing Gladys was there- one day). Anyways after about 3 minutes he gave us a paper, stamped about 16 papers and walked out right behind us. So, the paper he handed us called for some lab work or a urinary and stool sample. Which in a normal hospital in America you would head down the to nice clean white lab, and they would hand you your little cups and show you the closest bathroom that has the nice little steel window to put your cups in after you have finished the task at hand, but we were in Peru.
      So, instead we walked to the lab and it was closed, and it doesn't open again until 8 the next morning. Which I guess was ok because we had to go all over town to get two plastic cups complete with lids. We were told we could get them at a pharmacy which makes sense since you have to buy all your own medical supplies including IVs and blankets. But the main pharmacy did not have them, so we went to another smaller one that her madrina owns to ask her. She informed us that we would have to go to Don Leon's Plasticos, which is a store where you can buy anything from giant wash tubs, to tupperware, to plastic trash cans. We asked him for vasitos and he pulled out your average small plastic throw away cup. That would just not do, we need them with a lid! So, he pulled out the smallest ones he had and they were like 6 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. When we got home Mama Maria asked why they were so big you are supposed to get small ones, that was all we could find, but they had different colored lids so that was cool don't want the lab to get mixed up, haha.

Tiaras and Aprons

    So while cooking tonight, my helpers got a hold of my camera and made a video. Boys are kind of funny when they have free time, a tiara, and a camera.

19 September 2010

Home Improvement

Well I love painting and doing it yourself, and I am getting to do my first home improvements on my first house out of college! So that is cool, I don't actually own the home of course but it is still cool. And I am not paying for my home improvements either, they needed to repaint it anyways and they are just letting me pick my own colors.  Anyways these are the first steps of painting my house, next is my bedroom and bath.

it is a very blue wall and yes I love it!

15 September 2010

Updated PIctures!

Hey here is the link to check out my pictures again. It is the link to the same album as las time but towards the end are about 50 some new pictures! My mom said she clicked on it last time and she was able to view them no problem. If you have Facebook you can just check them there. Love you all!

Click here to see some Pictures!

02 September 2010

What sets me apart?

       As we were sitting in our Bible study- of all the American volunteers- on Monday night that questions arose while looking in 1 Peter. AS Christians we are called to be set apart. People of the world should see us and know that we have something that they don't and that it is worth having. It should be evident in our daily lives that we love and follow Christ from our every day tasks to our jobs to our families and in our ministries. So as this question was stated I wrote it down in my Bible and began to really think about what sets me apart in Peru. Sure I am different from the Peruanos because I am an Americana, and I am different from the surfers as far as my purpose here ( and they are about the only other white people to be accounted for), but is it evident to them and fellow believers that I am here serving Christ as He has called me?
       Certain store owners now know me because I am only tall American women who frequents their businesses, and others like the couple who own the ice cream shop know me because we generally come with a large group of kids in tow. When people in own see me with a small group of kids they ask if they are my kids, or nieces and nephews, or my cousins; I tell them they are my friends Many pople ask me what I am doing in Peru and how long I will be here. ONe man in a bus station even thanked me for being here and helping his country and their children, after I responded to his question. Many of you have even told me how proud you are of me as you chose to support me and help send me on my way. (May thanks for the support and love and blessings always!)
        But what sets me apart? There are many people who join the Peace Corps and do the same thing I am, and people who as humanitarians give their lives and dedicate their finances to work with orphans around the world, and impoverished communities. But I am called to be set apart. I am not here as a humanitarian, I am here as a Child of God, a follower of Christ, a missionary. People should notice my good works and wonder why I am doing this. If they ever ask I will let them know I am here because God called  me here and I am doing my best to obey and follow in the footsteps of Christ.
        I want to be a light in this city, in the lives of these children. I want to be Christ to these people. That is my goal, I want them to see Christ in me through my everyday actions and through my love. I want these kids to know that this is the love of Christ flowing through me, and that they can also have this love in their lives. I want my love, Christ's love to set me apart. Because His love has so much more to offer than my own and His love is what save us.
      One thing I really want to do to teach these kids about this love, is to translate my Bible studies that I have done with campers past. Especially for the older girls. It is so important for young impressionable girls to see how God loves us, and how precious we are to Him, before the world tells them differently. I want them to learn how to be in love with our Savior.
      I want to be set apart, and I want the world to know it. I want Pacasmayo to see that I am different, and I have something they ay not have. And I want all of you to know that I am different, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is by the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written 'The righteous will live by faith' " (Romans 1:16-17).
      So what sets us apart from the world? What sets you apart from your coworkers, your classmates?

"Dear friends, I urge you to as foreigners and exiles to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us."
                                                                                                                     1 Peter 2:11-12

25 August 2010

Hair Cut!

Well this is my new hair cut. It is easily managed and washed without hot water, and it is less likely when up or down to get close enough to any potential lice spreading. So, that is good. Still working on getting all of the lice out of the litle girls they were at what you would call and infestation, no bueno.

23 August 2010

The Anatomy of a Child's Heart

         So I was working on a different post about other things, but after the last couple days I changed my mind on what I was going to write.
         When you work with children a lot, you get to see the ups and downs, the ins and outs, what makes them tic, and so forth. The past couple of days God has been showing me through a few of our children what the heart of a child really looks like.
         This past Saturday, Steve had asked me to accompany him into town with some of the girls. Sintia had lost some of her princess stickers in the Camby, and was very torn up about it. So, Steve had decided to take her to town to buy some replacement stickers and that she could invite one or two of the other girls to come as well.  However, it turned out she had invited about 5 of the other girls, thus why he needed help.  So, we drove to town, parked, and got out in search of stickers. Steve wanted the girls to be able to do their own shopping, and pick which stores they wanted to go into. The store we went to first- that I knew had stickers- was closed. The next store the girls decided to stop at, the lady said she did not have any stickers, but by that time the girls had been drawn into the two sides of walls that were covered in toys.
        Steve then decided that he would give the girls each S/. 10 to spend on whatever they wanted, but it could only be ten each. So, then the girls started picking up all sorts of things and looking at the prices and comparing items- which it ended up being a pretty good math lesson and such. Some of these girls are really good shoppers, trying to find the best deal, and what they really wanted compared to something else. Each girl changed their minds at least 5 or 6 times. The store owner gave them each a bag to hold their things in while the shopped. Greisy one of the youngest of the group, 6, first picked out this big wooden Disney Princess puzzle for S/. 7.50, then she found a rubix cube for S./ 2. She eventually decided she would trade the big puzzle for a smaller Shrek puzzle that was only S/. 3, so she could also get herself a fuzzy pink headband. She showed me her choices to purchase, and I told her they were all wonderful things and would be so much fun.
        Greisy, walked away and I began to help another one of our wonder shoppers. Every once in a while I would check the store to make sure we still had all of our girls, this time I noticed Greisy was over by the section of toys for boys. She was again comparing prices and had her items laid out so she could see them. I walked over just as she was making up her mind. She told me she was going to by a Ben Ten wrist toy for her little brother, Doane who is. I told her that was very sweet of her and Doane would love it, as I did I noticed the price on the Ben Ten toy was S/. 9.50, and she decided to put back the puzzle and the cube was still putting her over 10, but Steve said it would be ok, because of her choice.
       So, when we walked out of the store purchases in hand Greisy was the happiest little girl she could be, and one of the best big sisters I know. And even as we went to other stores for some of the other girls to finish spending their 10, Greisy was completely satisfied in her choice, and couldn't wait to get home to give it to Doane. Doane, is indeed loving his toy, all the other boys want to play with it too. And all in one day Steve and I were witness to the heart of a child change from me, me, me and what I want, to giving and loving and remembering her brother who doesn't get to leave as often because he is so young. She chose to do this even in a time when the adults had said it was ok to be thinking of yourself and what you wanted.
       Greisy made my day Saturday. The rest of the day was crazy I am sure, but it was a beautiful day because later I saw Doane with a crowd of boys around him, face beaming, with the others asking him to press it again.
      Which leads me to what made my day today. Two weeks ago, I had gone to the Monday market with Abby and some of the other girls and I had bought some earrings for myself. The earrings I actually needed, one thing I forgot to bring, so I bought a pack of 9 earrings, that are a medium circle with different prints on them, some floral, others pattern- and the whole pack only cost S/. 2- ridiculous. Anyways, the girls at school are just absolutely in love with these earrings I bought. And Norma, one of the our older girls- who has been staying with Maribel (the orphanage director) at her house really wanted some. And the whole week she was begging be to go the next Monday to get her some. I finally decided that that would be fine and I told her I would meet her at Maribel's after lunch. But then we ended up having parent/teacher conferences so I had to cancel on her and tell her that I would take her this week.
        So, at 3:30 today I went to get the older kids from school (every once in a while the older kids have an afternoon class) to take Norma to the market. While we were walking to the house Karol and Azucena asked me if the could go to the store across the street. I told them no, one because I really didn't know if that was ok, and we are about to have 4 days off from school, because it has been mandated that all the schools have to be fumigated- there goes the school week. Anyways, they kept begging me please to go to the store, and I tried to explain that we would probably get to go to town over the next few days, then Azucena finally said, "but today is Merly's birthday!" Merly, is Azucena's daughter who is four today.  So, I then decided that it would be horrible of me not to let a mother buy something for her daughter on her birthday, and I asked her if she had any money. Azucena replied no. Then Karol stated," but I do."
       For Karol to be willing to buy her friend something for her daughter's birthday is a big deal. Our kids don't often have money of their own. For Karol to have money means that during family visits yesterday, her dad brought her some money. Her dad sells popcorn on the street and is only able to give her S/.5 to 10. So, she didn't have much but was willing to give her money to her friend. I couldn't let Karol spend her money so I asked Azucena, "if you had money, what would you buy your daughter?" "But Ms Sam I don't have money!" "I know but if you did have money what would you buy her?" "Shoes, she needs new shoes, her feet hurt in her shoes cause they are too small." I decided then and there I was going to get Merly some shoes for her birthday at the market, not from me but from her mother. I asked her wast kind of shoes she would get her, pink velcro tennis shoes. We went to the house to figure out what size she would need.
        Norma and I went to the market and we searched for shoes for Merly. Some of the vendors prices were too much, others didn't have velcro, but we finally settled on two pairs. A pair of pink, purple, and white tennis shoes, that had butterflies on them and lit up in the back, along with a pair of cute tan and pink ballerina flats with a single strap that buckled. At the market shoes are really cheap, but now Merly has new tennis shoes and shoes for church.
        I brought the shoes home and as soon as I walked into Azucena's room they all screamed so excited, we rushed to my house to makeshift wrap them in colored paper I had and made some cards for Merly. Karol and Irma were so excited to help Azucena wrap the shoes and help make Merly's birthday a special one from her mother. When the girls got back from church tonight we rushed to the girls house to sing to Merly and have her open presents before she had to go to bed. I think Merly was a little overwhelmed- everyone crowded around her in anticipation. She opened her shoes and tried them on, and Azucena had her model them for me. They were both excited I think that Azucena was a little more excited to be able to have something to give to her daughter than Merly was to have new shoes. But after she went and hid them and the boxes under her bed and watched her shoes light up every step of the way.
        The house was happy when I left it, and I know the shoes will get some great use out of them. But whether is be a 6 yr. old girl who decided to buy her 4 yr. old brother a toy instead of herself, or a 14 yr. old friend willing to buy a 16 yr. old a gift for her daughter's birthday with the few coins her father gave her, deep in every child's heart there is so much love and selflessness that encourages everyone around them to mimic those characteristics and step back into that child like faith.

18 August 2010

Link to more Photos

So, it turns out is takes like an entire night to upload 12 pictures to my blog and it only takes 5 minutes to upload 59 to Facebook- Weird. Anyways this is for all of you who do not have Facebook, it says it is s public link to my album that I can post elsewhere, so I am giving it a try, hope it works! Some of them are the same but there are a bunch that aren't on here. Enjoy!

click here to see more pictures!

12 August 2010

Could be a cold night

So I ended up getting lice. Had it pulled out of my head tonight, and going to bed with the first treatment in. But I don't have spare blankets and stuff so I am wearing my underarmor cold gear, and smartwool socks, had to hang my sleeping bag so we will see how it goes. I decided I am going to cut my hair, not super short, but long enough to still pull back without the long ponytail that comes in close contact with the kids and such. Lice=no fun.

11 August 2010

Love Always Overcomes

         The more days I am here, the more of the children's stories I hear and learn about. The stories aren't pretty, there is nothing beautiful about them except for the love they carry with them and the ability to overcome their pasts. In a short film I watched recently (The Butterfly Circus), it was said "the greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph," everyday I spend with these kids I see their struggles but also I see them overcoming and opening doors to that glorious triumph that is empowered by the love of Christ.
       We were having our weekly Bible study this past Monday and it ended up being a time when we just shared a verse that had been on our hearts, or one we had come across recently. One of the verses (I don't even remember which it was, it is not written down in my notes- whoops) had the word overcome in it. I have come across that word so many times this past year in scripture, when we studied Revelation it came up very often, "he who overcomes, I will grant him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21) Why I like the word is the power behind it, and because Christ overcame death so we too will be able to overcome sin and through that we will get to be with Christ. So much is packed in one little word. Which leads me to the beginnings of a child overcoming a horrible chain of events that he didn't start.
       Nelson, is the oldest of three boys, he is 11, Luis is 8- almost 9 and according to him I should take him to pizza on his birthday, and then there is little Anthony who is 5 and one of the happiest kids I know. Nelson has as special place in my heart, as do all the children here, but Nelson and I have a connection which I am hoping will grow over this next year so that I can invest in him and help him on his journey. These guys came to Casa de Paz around January. Their parents had been involved in drugs, which went downhill and the boys had to witness and be subject to people who wanted to make a point no matter who was present. Anthony young as he is I pray the memories will just fade away, there isn't any evidence in his daily life of trauma. Luis is the same, he is just an 8 year old boy rough, wild, and crazy as the rest. Nelson, however, is having to deal with more, the details I will not share, but they are inexcusable- I have a hard time seeing people who lay a finger on a child in the eyes of Christ.
      Such events in a person's life don't just go away, and solely being in a better situation with love, school, family, and friends doesn't make it all go away, it becomes a great struggle. A struggle, though I think we are beginning to see some hints of a glorious triumph. When Nelson first came to the house, I was told he fought a lot and had a great deal of trouble with anger, it is evident he still has trouble with the anger as I am sure with many other emotions. I have also been told that sometimes he gets these urges to run away, and when you take him into town you need to be careful, and keep a hand or a very steady eye on him, and don't talk to anyone in town.
      The first time I witnessed Nelson in any kind of a mood, was this past Saturday. Along with Bruce and Abby, I took the older kids-about 15 or so, to one of the parks (the only places with trees) to Slackline. It was a great time, all of the kids absolutely loved it, none of them have quite got the hang of it yet to stand on their own, they will be ready in time and we have many more days to practice! After about an hour or so, it was getting close to the time when we should head to get ice cream and then home to make it in time for youth at church. And as it seems with any group of kids we ran into a he-said-she-said ordeal he-hit-me-she-hit-me, etc. The he was Nelson, which really wasn't a big deal. I told them they both needed to take a seat and a moment.
      After 10 seconds Nelson decided to walk over behind a giant bush- not cool. So, I proceeded to follow him, and remind him that he needed to stay where I could see him, and he needed to listen to me, and I told him to sit over there, not where we were standing. He said no. Again I told him he needed to return to the original spot I asked him to sit at for the same reasons previously stated.  Again no, so I had to grab his arm with the intent to walk him back to the group. He fought back, pulling with all his strength- these kids are all muscle, I also feel at this point his pride kicked in. This gets to the point where  I do not like discipline and stuff. I am afraid to let his arm go because I don't know if he will run, but I really don't want to drag him back to the group for total embarrassment on his part and force on mine. But we aren't close enough to everyone else to do anything else. So, I am left to almost drag a fighting child back to the rest of them, the whole way he is pulling against me, trying to knock me off my feet with his, attempting to pull my hand off his arm, and hitting me. But the whole time this went on I didn't like it, and when I looked in his eyes I could tell he didn't want to hurt me, but I could also see deep rooted pain.
      We finally were close enough to everyone else that Bruce noticed the struggle and came to offer his assistance.  I had to tell everyone to head to the camby, we picked up the slackline and headed home with no ice cream, because that kind of behavior is unacceptable, especially outside of our walls. When we got home I told Nelson to wait for me and we were going to go have a talk with the mom- as I do with every kid that misbehaves in a manner which requires more than a stern talking to or two minutes off the playground. He did not wait for me. He walked to the swings and sat down on one. I walked over to him- there has to be follow through- and told him he needed to get up and come with me to the house, he replied again with a no. I told him that it is going to be a lot easier if he comes with me now, I was not going to force him into the house, but mom would know that he didn't listen to me a second time. He continued to swing.
      I found mama Maria and told her in my broken spanish (my spanish is more scared of adults than kids) the events of the day. Nelson was basically on house arrest for the rest of the day, and I retreated to my house. Having to do that to a kid, especially to do that with Nelson just killed me. I struggled with it for the rest of the day. I saw him a few times and wanted to talk to him when I was at the boys house later that day, but didn't. At church the next morning I wanted to talk with him, but didn't. I wanted to talk and walk on the way home, but I didn't. Our eyes made contact several time during the day, and I could tell he was sorry and wanted to talk and I am pretty sure he could tell I wanted to talk too. I ate dinner with the kids Sunday night, and happened to be at the same table as Nelson, cause Greisy pulled me into a seat beside her which was directly across from Nelson.
      During dinner glances were exchanged, and little smirks because the two little girls are just plain crazy. During dinner I decided that we were probably ready to talk. So, immediately following dinner I walked with the little boys to their house and threw them around for a little bit, and tucked them into bed. It was buenas noches for the rest of the boys, but when I got to Nelson I asked him if he would come outside with me for a minute. I got on my knees so I was mostly at his level (he was a bit taller than me then), and I begin to speak in my best spanish. I told him I was sorry, but that he had to listen to me especially when we are in town, and that I wanted to be able to take him places, and have fun. I told him that I do not like to have to do that ever, but I had to Saturday but I did it because of love- half way through he said he was sorry too, and before I could finish and say I loved him he said he loved me and gave me a huge hug- I had some wells. It was one of those hugs where you just keep holding.
      I went to bed that night feeling so much relief. My heart was settled, and I had my Nelson back. But through the events of those two days I was able to know Nelson better, I was able to see through wordless actions his spirit, his pain, his heart, his struggle, but in the end and through it all I saw his love. And without love you cannot begin to overcome a thing.  

07 August 2010

A little time off from school is always welcomed

So I tried a suggestion I found of how to get the picture rotated by coping it to  another program fixing it and pasting it back, it worked in my preview, but apparently truly failed, so just tilt your head a bit and you can see the cute dog that came up to me on the beach with a rock and wanted to play. So I did then when he was done he laid down beside us.

We took Estrella, Ruth, Betsie, Sintia, and Monica to Marquedio (SP?). It is a huge market in town every Monday. After we went to the beach, and got roses at the regular open market.
The next day I took Four kids out to the Polleria for dinner. This one has a mini McDonald's style playscape. Louis loved it and we played in it- including me until Louis got a bloody nose from a ball out if the pit hitting him in the nose- life happens.
How many children can you fit in the Camby? As many as you need to.
Greisi at the beach in Santa Elena slightly south of Pacasmayo. Gladys, one of the mom's has a beach house out there. She said for S/. 100 you can get a plot of land to build on. The place is pretty vacant in the winter but the kids still got in the water.
Louis enjoying the sand.
We caught a crab! Then another, they eventually died though because we caught them too many time and chased them a bunch, it was fun though. 
Nelson and his crab, Crab is close to death at this point- poor little guy.

Our day at Sta. Elena was cut a bit short because Miss Irma here kicked a rock hidden under the sand. But she was very cool about it, she ran straight past me and Steve- we could have carried her across the beach- to the mom's at the house. We took her to the clinic and then got everyone ice cream, and brought some dripping to her and Gladys at the clinic- we tried.
This is her toe- no bueno.

03 August 2010

My stars are different than yours.

       Well it has been quite a while since I have posted to tell you about my stay in Peru, sorry for that first the internet was down and then my schedule is so easily booked it is hard some days to find time for myself. Such is life in Peru. They don't live on schedules. One day one of the house mom's had made plans to take the kids to her house on the beach. We were going to leave at 8:30 in the morning and spend the whole day there, and she was going to cook and everything. However, they did not take it into account that the older kids had been at the church for an all night lock in- which means no sleep. (The pastor did this for the youth because it was independence day and he wanted to keep the kids safe and out of trouble, because independence day can get a bit wild). So since they had not slept there was no way we were going to the beach. Steve and I said we should just take the younger kids who did not go and take the older kids another day so they could sleep. However, the sun wasn't out yet so they said it would be too cold for the little ones, so we were not going to the beach. Then around lunch time we were hearing talk about possibly going to a different part of the beach with just the older ones in the afternoon for a while, but at this time we were trying to think of what food we were going to make for missionary night (a weekly potluck for the local missionaries and us). Well after lunch they said yes we are going to the beach but some of the older kids were still sleeping so we only took like 2/3 of the older kids to the beach in a small town outside of Pacasmayo. We got back to Casa de Paz around 4pm and Steve and I decided we would go get gas in the Camby and stop by Market Pan to get drinks a dessert for dinner. We got gas then parked as we realized all of Pacasmayo was still closed and wouldn't open again until 5- which is 30 minute before missionary night. So we just skipped getting stuff from town and we scrambled things together to make juice and a salad. Such is life in Peru, if you are thinking about doing something at a certain time or someone is going to come on one day to fix something multiply it by two and that will be the actual time it happens. It isn't too bad you just have to be flexible and willing to constantly adjust.
       Another thing that always gets me are the prices of things. One dollar is 2.8 soles (S/.), so sometimes I think something is really expensive or the same price as is would be in America but I forget to divide. So some comparisons for you. Christina will often buy a bouquet of flowers from the open market for her house and a full bouquet that would probably be $40 at any decent florist in America is only S/.10, which if you divide is only about $3.60- ridiculous!. And I can get an entire head of green leaf lettuce, three big carrots, and two cucumbers for S/.3 = $1.07.  Then the bags of  cereal are S/.1.80, and they say they have 7 portions in them, they are wrong, they may have 7 child size handfuls in there but it is really only 2 and maybe 1/3 servings- silly Peruanos Trix are not just for kids. I am slowly getting used to remembering the difference and dividing real quick on how much dollars I am spending. And I decided to get a small book to record my spending in so I remember how much I spent, because no one gives receipts unless you ask for them, but then they have to hand write it out.
      Speaking of monies, yesterday I got all of my money that was sent to Go-Ye for me (thank you all so much!!!) and so sitting in my room is a whole envelope full of almost S/. 10,000. Makes me feel like I am dealing drugs, or I got paid for something illegal because it is in a dollar size manilla envelope. I need to go into town and get some envelopes and I am going to divvy out my money into monthly amounts and then put them in the safe and I will get them out one at a time so I don't accidentally spend too much in one month. I have it sectioned to where I have enough for each month with a couple thousand in reserve in case of medical and such.  It is a good feeling to have it and know how I will be able to access it, it was easier for them to pull it all out so someone didn't accidentally use my money for something else.
      Enough about logistical things though I am sure you are all wondering about where I am living and more about the orphanage and such, I know Mom is because while the internet was down I got 2 emails with 30 questions each :) .
      So the grounds of the orphanage are enclosed in a 15 foot wall of handmade adobe bricks. There are 8 missionary houses, four of them are larger ones, and the other four are the size of the larger ones but divided in half. Currently, I am in one of the small houses. My bedroom, living room, and kitchen are all the same room, with a small bathroom and closet. I won't actually be in this apartment but for maybe one more month. (Avis the founder, who is now 66, is turning over the ministry to Pastor and Pastora. So she is moving in to my house, them into hers-it's bigger, and me into theirs- musical houses) Currently there are 8 Americans and 1 Canadian here, Avis-the founder, three ballet dancers here for two more weeks- Natalie, Kourtney, and Abby, three volunteers as English teachers- Mike, Christina, and Steve, me and then Bruce hailing all the way from British Columbia. Anytime now we are getting two volunteers from Paris who will be here a month- they are trying to get a bus from Lima, and in two weeks when the dancers leave we will be getting another American- guy Sam- who will be teaching PE the rest of the year.
       As far as the rest of the compound there are two other buildings. One that has the bodega- for the tools, the laundry rooms, three kids houses- two are in use, the kitchen and the great room. The other has a big room and some other apartment for some of the Peruvian staff. Each of the kids houses have a main room with a table, a TV, a couch, and some cushioned chairs. to the left of that area is the kitchen, no cooking is done in these just for heating the food, and washing dishes, etc. Then there are 4 bedrooms for kids, and one bedroom for the mom, then on the back left there is the sink and two bathroom areas each with 2 showers and three toilets. Each of the kids houses can hold 20 kids- I believe that is the capacity. There are currently 19 girls, and 13 boys. O and of course there is our wonderful playground, and basketball courts which are also on the compound other than that there isn't much else on sight, besides sand and rocks.
     As far as school goes we are on vacation. It is the middle of the year break, about a week and a half off. Which is really nice because we are getting to spend bunches of time with the kids, and I am really able to build relationships with each of them and take them out to town in small groups.
     Tonight I took out four kids for dinner. Nelson and Louis (brothers), Luz, and Yanelita. We went to the chicken place as Nelson called it, I asked them where they wanted to go and that is where they took me. I had never been to this one but they had. "The Chicken Place" is 4 stories. Immediately upon arriving the kids started going up the stairs, though we were going to the 2nd story, nope we kept going- I questioned them 'Mas?' 'si, si!' So I followed. Then found out that on the third floor there is like a mini McDonalds type play place- ball pit and all. We ate and for S/.35  five of us ate, which included a whole rotisserie chicken, two huge plate of fries, a salad, and a 3 liter of Inca Kola- crazy. Anyways it was really fun, I even got in the ball pit, the waitress thought I was a crazy American, but ball pits are full no matter how old or tall you are.  Afterwards we went and got ice cream, glorious night. I love these kids.
     Tomorrow is supposed to be another trip to the beach! So we will see how that goes!

02 August 2010

This is Junior, he is two. He won't be here long, just until some DNA tests come back and such.
Gieser and Angel on our spinning swing thing, it has four swings and I am always having to spin it!
Danilo! He is one of our kids with special needs, he will try and break into your house.
Louis, Ruth, Betsie, and Mari, and Steve at the beach. I was building them blocks from the wind, but if I went higher they would have toppled over.
Christmas in July! Some of the short term volunteers wanted to have Christmas in July so we did it was fun!
Some of the kids from Mazanca a mission we do on Fridays.
My current front door! I will be moving to a different house in about a month but for now this is mine.
The garden outside our houses, a hammock!
No dryers, only clotheslines, love it.
The front of the missionary houses.
Kitchen on the left, this is the main room of the kids houses.
One of the girls rooms. Six girls live in this one.
And this is their closet.
Front of the kids houses.
Our playground, so wonderful!
The Camby, fun driving in Peru.
Basketball, one goal is broke, the other works.
Nelson taking a picture of himself.
Gieser and Duane after their haircuts!

Sorry for the sideways pictures, I flipped them before the upload but they still were sideways, o well! Love you all!!! Plan on updating some time this week but here are some pictures for now.

30 July 2010

O internet

Well I haven't been able to post as I want to  lately because our internet is down at the orphanage it went out last Friday night and the guy hasn't fixed it yet. When people tell you a time in Peru times it by 2 or four and that will be the time or day they come or arrive. So I will update I promise but i have to go into town (I am using internet at school) and get stuff to treat lice. All of the girls and some of the little boys have lice . So that is fun, but I feel bad for them because that is humiliating, but they are so thankful when you sit they and pick through their hair.

22 July 2010

Here are finally some pictures for you

The coast in Lima

    Restaurant in Lima
The walk in Barranco down to the beach
All the cars in the streets of Lima on the beginning of our bus ride
Angel and David two of the little ones at Casa de Paz
Paul dressed as an Incan Ruler for the Parade on the 21st
Nelson dressed as a Presidente for the Parade, I would vote for him
Merely, I told her to smile and got this funny/cute face instead. Another of the younger  kids.
Me and David outside the girls house, he is always asking to be picked up. I make him say please.
Joel and Louis dressed as soldiers for the Parade
All of our kids ready for the parade plus Leo a kid from school.
Our first graders were dressed as Incans.
All our 8th grade boys plus Nelson (6th grade) were dressed as presidents
Louis, me and Leo waiting for the parade to start. Was suppose to start at 9:30, started at 11.
A cute little boy waiting for the beginning of the parade as well I liked his mustache
A different school that was in front of us, they were really cute!