A lot has happened in these past two weeks and I’m slightly dissappointed in myself for not keeping up better tabs with my blog to keep you all better informed. For that, I’m sorry. Yet, there is much to praise God about from this time.
We are now in Puno! We are finally here. I mean, we are FINALLY HERE! Thank goodness.
There are so many things that I want to fill you in on. I’ll try to give you the best of the best of what’s happened. On the 4th we packed all of our things into one big moving truck and sent it ahead to Puno and followed it in route, leaving Arequipa at 2 a.m. on a bus. I was so happy that I took my earplugs, it made all the difference and I was surprisingly well rested by the time we got to Puno.
We get to the house and we are all peeing our pants with anticipation, because remember how we never saw this house? I was in the first taxi to get to the house and the owner, Asuncion, greeted us and directed us into the house. We went up to the second floor, which is accessible from outside, and she tells me that the people that were living in the house are still downstairs and can’t move out for three days yet. This is exactly what we feared would happen. Chad’s taxi pulled up right when she told me this so I just smiled and said, “okay,” and went and told Chad… and then said, “Let’s be gracious!”
Turns out, that the man living downstairs was moving to another place, but that person hadn’t moved out yet, so he couldn’t move out yet. It’s a culture thing we are finding out. So, we brought everything that we could into the second floor and then sent some over to the Pastor’s house for storage. The third floor wasn’t to be open for us, but Asuncion let the guys put all their mattresses in the “living room” type tin roof thing on the third floor and that’s where we slept for the midterm. The Duerre’s took refuge in one of the guy’s rooms with the kids… which was tight, and the girls took the other guy’s room.
Have you guessed it yet? Have you figured it out? You might not have, but if you were us and know what Peru is like you’d have guessed it by now. The man didn’t move out of the downstairs apartment for a little over a week… not just three days. But, if they had moved out promptly, Asuncion and her family would not be doing the work they are on the house to fix it up for us. It is turning out to be the perfect house for us, even though we never saw it. God definitely came through and provided for us again!
Through all this mess Asuncion shared with us that we have been a tremendous witness to her family and the people who lived downstairs. Asuncion is a Christian woman, but her husband and son are not. We have been able to show them Christ’s love through this epidemic. It’s really been quite amazing, though at times uncomfortable.
But, now we are all moved into the house, for the most part. Asuncion is making a ton of repairs on the house and also is adding on a shower room for the Duerre family on the first floor and she is painting everything and she is tiling the patio in the back AND she is putting carpeting down in the Duerre’s bedroom AND she is getting cupboards and kitchen furniture for downstairs. She says that God deserves the best and since we are servants of the Lord this is her way of giving Him the best. Amen!
We have been so blessed with the new family that we are encountering in Puno. Around Thanksgiving I thought I was never more thankful in my life. It’s bee superseded. I have never been more thankful in my life than right now with the people that God has provided for us. The support that we have in Puno. The very second day that we were here in Puno a group of us walked out of the house to go shopping for some things for the house. On our way out the door we bumped into a friend of the Pastor’s, Hermelinda. We greeted each other and then she said she would help us go shopping. We walked around Puno getting prices of everything that we needed so we could come back another day. While walking around the city she shared her heart with us and how she wanted to start an English school to bring people to the church… This was actually one of the first things that she said to me, which at that moment I knew she was a Godsend, because this is part of Joel and my plan for our ministry, teaching English! Later, she tells me that she is opening a restaurant in her house, something in Peru that we call a menu. That means, REALLY CHEAP LUNCH! Her price is S./5 or about a dollar and a half. You get soup, a plate of food, juice and dessert. It’s unbeatable. She only lives six houses down from us. It’s such a blessing… AND she’s a Christian woman willing to help us in any way possible.
Then, there’s the Pastor and his wife. To hear them talk about this city has been a blessing in itself. They are so passionate and loving toward this people and they are so willing to help us as well. We were very scared about getting to know the Pastor, because he is ultimately the boss of us here in Puno. He knows the land, the people, everything. We have to follow him and if he had a false impression of our purpose here in Puno (e.g. building numbers in his own church) then we would be having some difficult head-butting situations. But, Praise GOD!!!!!! He is on board and knows our purpose and is passionate about it as well! They have told us numerous times that if we need anything we ought to let them know.
There’s also a family in the church that invited us over to their house just the other day to bake. They found out that Kristen and I love to make food so we went over to make some brownies. Milagros is the woman’s name and Paul is her husband and they have a little 3 year old boy Mateo. We made brownies and just had a whole afternoon filled with fellowship. They were so warm and welcoming and also offered their help for anything that we need.
We are all so very very very blessed to be working with this church here in Puno! They are all willing and active in the church. We are just so blessed. Praise God.
Here are some pictures of the house. I have a link here that is a photo album of the rest of the things. There’s just too many to put here.
(Top Right) This is what our showercurtain rod is hung up with… take a guess at what it is, that’s right, a telephone cord! (Top Left) Our kitchen is a great size. We now have curtains up so people can’t see in at night. Unfortunately, that nice dinning set is Chad and Amanda’s and though it’s still up here, it’s going down soon. (Mid right) This is the view we have from outside our kitchen window. (Mid Left) Our electric showerhead is our second savior. It makes a whishing sound when it’s on… that’s when you know you have HOT WATER!!!!! (Bottom right) We called him Rex. We have no idea what his real name is, but he’s the dog next door that likes to peek out this hole on his owners roof. We’ve met him on the street and he is a BEAUTIFUL boxer. Everyone is scared of him, but I know he is just a ball of dog fun! He is actually really really sweet and friendly. (Bottom left) This is our back patio that Asuncion is going to be tiling. Those dogs are gross, and not kind.
Lately, God has been walking me through fear. This is something that I dealt with when I first got to Peru as well. Today I read through Phillipians in the first chapter. Paul talks about how living in Christ is living and death would be going to Him. I don’t think I’m going to die here in Peru, but I’ve been fearing the encounters we’ll have with aggressive people. In Ephesians I read in chapter six how the battle we fight is not of the flesh, rather it is spiritual. This gave me comfort, because obviously nothing can touch me spiritually. I am safe. We have already claimed victory in Christ on spiritual warfare, the rest doesn’t really matter.
Please, continue praying that God will prepare the hearts in Puno. He is making such obvious displays of his provision already that it’s hard to doubt that He’s going to do more. We are so happy and are praising the Lord in what He’s done already.
Also, before I forget, we were giving our districts for where we will be working. These are probably just names to you, but keep these district names in your prayers as well. Joel and I have Santa Rosa, Ricardo Palma and Juli (pronounced Hhhhhhoo-lee). I’m excited to go to Juli because it is called Peru’s Little Rome! OOOOOooo!
That is all for now! Love you all!