Battlefield and New News

Two of our Peruvians are in the kitchen listening and clapping their hands to “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” the Spanish version, the other Americans have retired to their beds, Sammy is listening to the new Tercer Cielo album and I have climbed into my bed after having showered and then prepared for myself a bowl of fried rice/chaufa… I just took a bite and it’s alright.  Welcome to our house at 11:11 p.m… I suppose I should make a wish because of the hour?

I am tired… you know there are several levels of tired.  There’s that level of tired when you find words like tissue or blanket the funniest things under the sun, and then there’s the other extreme when someone telling you that dinner is ready elicits unfriendly remarks hissed between clenched teeth.  I’m my-eyes-are-rolling-into-the-back-of-my-head tired.  But, to keep myself awake while making this entry I’m listening to this:

It’s Portuguese… you can give it a listen if you want.

Tonight we visited for the second time a family that we came in contact through the short term missions group that came and the event that we had in Ilave.  Tonight I realized that the very fact that we are in their home talking to them about God is one of His works.  Tonight when we were praying for them I realized the battlefield that we are on while building this relationship with them.

The first time that we went into this family’s home we touched a very sensitive topic among the “devout” Peruvian Catholics… that is that the Virgin Mary is synonymous with idolatry.  We spoke truth to them through the Bible and something happened to me that has never ever happened to me before.  The Lord spoke through me in an amazing way.  I opened my mouth that night and things came out of it that I had never said before in any visit.  I felt a fire behind my eyes… and something coming out of them.  At one point in time I heard a voice in my head say… “The Holy Spirit is speaking.”  That’s exactly what was happening, Trevor had taken a step back and the Holy Spirit was speaking… I was not in control of me.  It was a pretty amazing experience… and when I/the Holy Spirit stopped speaking I was trembling (that’s when I know the Holy Spirit is moving in me).  It was a pretty intense experience, and afterward I said something about it to Sammy and he said he could tell the Holy Spirit was using me.  Amazing… that my God… my Creator was actually there in that moment moving my tongue and feeding me words.  Absolutely humbling.  The experience spoke to me that God wants to do something in this family.

Tonight we went to this family’s home to start doing a Bible study, but again we ended up sitting around the table drinking hot chocolate and snacking on bread and butter while building a relationship and sharing laughter.  The conversation took a serious direction while we spoke about ghosts and elves and how they don’t really exist as spirits wandering the earth, rather that they are demons.  Sammy told us some pretty spooky stories about stuff that had happened to him, and then the son of the family, Josie, told us about how his grandmother comes to him at night sometimes and bothers him.  He told us that she has grabbed his legs in his sleep and has held him down not letting him up, that she will lay down in the bed with him and that she has sat on top of him while sleeping.  He said that he had gotten used to it.  I was a little perturbed because… that’s not normal!  At the end of our conversation we prayed for the family and for the house and then left to come back home.  When we were praying was when I realized that we weren’t just praying we were battling!  I want to encourage you folks to be praying for this family that God will protect them from the enemy as we continue to visit them and bring them the truth.  Pray that God will protect Josie especially since he is the one that has direct contact with this demon.  Please, enter this battle with us.

Well, here’s my news… even though I can’t get into too much detail about it still… which you all are probably going to want to kick me for.  I’m going to continue working with Extreme for another two years in South America.  I’m going to be home from July 28th to September 15th so, if there are any of you who would like to meet with me personally to talk about this new opportunity then we should make an appointment… for those of you who do not live in Ohio, then we can do something with Skype!  If you would me to come to your church and talk about what God is doing through Extreme, I would also love to do that!  So… communicate with me, okay!?  So, tell me what you want, what you really really want!  – okay so, it’s been so long since we’ve heard anything Spice Girls!

Goodnight and God bless!


P.S. I’m so proud of myself being so tired and then hitting the spell check to find zero errors.  That deserves something!  I think I’ll eat a piece of chocolate even though I just brushed my teeth.


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Birthdays and Baptisms

Well, I suppose I ought to start chronologically and again apologize for not being totally on top of this post.  I had one opportunity to write it, but I wrote the one in Spanish first and then ran out of time to do the one in English.  Oops!  You’ll have to forgive me.

I would like to start by saying that the short term missions-trip that came in was amazing.  Thank you, all of youins who came out to Puno to help us make contact with more people and hopefully gain more people for his kingdom.  What an amazing work it was to see God’s hand moving through these people.

It was a lot of hard work, the short-termers being here.  There was never really a moment when we were done working.  I was thankful that Sammy and I had all of the impact events in our areas in the first three days of the trip, so we had all of our work done and out of the way pretty quickly.  But, after working all day planning and directing people around we had to go to dinner where we had to translate.  A week after everyone left though we got three days off to do whatever.  We went to Arequipa to rest it up… or rather, watch The Hunger Games, eat McDonald’s, TGI Fridays, tacos and also partake of Starbucks… we visited Starbucks 5 times in a three days span.  It was amazing!

After all of the impacts on the 7th of April we took one of our contacts out to the lake to have her baptized!  This is the second baptism we’ve had in two months.  Poor Eulalia was the only one to get baptized, so she was all alone in her little white gown, all alone in the freezing water… and I thought, man this must be discouraging.  But, when I saw her get dunked and watched her as she praised her Lord after coming out from the water, my heart was blessed.  I was also happy to see how some of the North American ladies had reacted and asked me to translate their words of congratulations to her.  It was such a blessing to see the short-termers’ hearts as they experienced the new culture and lives of Peru.  God bless them, everyone!

those who didn’t play volleyball

…and those who did!

white kids getting their pictures taken

and the whole reason why…

We celebrated my second birthday here in Peru… that’s right, I’m now 25.  The kids my age are thinking… wow, am I that old too, and all the older folks are thinking, what a baby!  Perhaps this photo will give you a clue as to how old I feel:

And yes, you are looking at a veggie pizza… half of it done Pizza Joe’s style.  If any of you are from NE Ohio or even Florida… you may or may not know what this Pizza chain is.

I learned something on my birthday, and I don’t know if I will be able to justly put it into words.  We had set the time to be home for my awesome birthday feast at 6:30 p.m. Unfortunately, what that did to my work ethic was not make it high.  Rather, it made me impatient, but I knew that I was wrong.  I was very conscious of my attitude, and several times I prayed that God would help me change it.  During one of our visits one of our contacts bought me a cake and sang me happy birthday… it was the worst rendition of “Happy Birthday” I’ve ever witnessed, but it was one of the sweetest most blessing birthday gestures I’ve ever received.  I was able to enjoy my time there but put the fire under it to get out of there and finish with the next visit.  In the end, our last visit didn’t get started until 6:30 p.m. and I was not happy.  So, pretty much while Sammy gave the lesson I wallowed in self-pity thinking to myself all the while… doesn’t Sammy know this is my birthday and I just want to get home for my mind-blowingly-awesome birthday bonanza!?  After fretting and fretting the hour away one of the women we were meeting with said she wanted to get baptized… and that’s when God seized my heart and showed me what a nasty, ugly person I was being.  It was the best present I got this year, to hear her say those words, to see once again God’s hand moving in our work, to see Him placing in front of us the harvest of our hard labors.

I am humbled right now that God would even let us see the fruit of all our work.  He doesn’t have to!  He could’ve just made it so that we work out of pure faith, but He has shown us His mercy and has given us the greatest gift to see our “children” get up and walk.

When I got home they had pulled the pizza fresh from the oven… I didn’t have anything to worry about all along.  I was in a good mood the whole night, which may account for the joy-emanating portrait above.

There is a lot of stuff going on… in the team, in the field, in my heart, plans for the future… if I were to tell you everything right now you and I would be very bored… I think.  So, I will save some meat for the next time.


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A Long-Awaited “Glory Be to God”

(A special thanks to Amanda Duerre for being my official photographer for this special occasion)

The glory does all go to God!  I’m so happy to say that we finally found a locale in Juliaca.  Sammy and I have been looking for a place to meet for over five months now, and finally one just happened to land in our laps.  We went to talk to Diana one day and Sammy happened to ask her mother, Thomasa, if she knew of any places that were renting.  Lo’ and behold, she had a store/room in the front of her house that she was willing to let us use.  So, we went over a different day to look at the place and we asked her and her husband how much they’d want for the place… and they said gratis.  That means free in Spanish.  We were elated… obviously, and made an agreement that we would pay for the power bill each month instead of any rent.

So, we had our inauguration yesterday evening!  We haven’t painted the place yet, but we are going to this coming Saturday.  We had a good turn-out, six people!  Diana got baptized in the church because she couldn’t go with us on the 7th of April to Juli to be baptized in the lake.  Her legs are really weak from having been in bed for almost two months, and this was the first time she had been out of the house in two months when she came to the church.  Her husband, Efrain, was worried she was going to hurt herself, but she did great!  I hope and pray that her example for him will show him the dedication she has for the Lord.  Thomasa and Rosi (one of our contact’s daughters) gave their lives to the Lord as well.  I was so blessed to see the fruit of our labors.  Praise the Lord!

Here’s Sammy and me in front of the locale!  It’s small, but it doesn’t matter.  After the service I heard Diana say to her daughter Yessica, “Don’t do that!  This is the House of God!” I was tickled by the reverence she had for our little locale.

Speaking of Yessica (pronounced Jessica), this is her!  She is just the craziest little girl you would ever meet.  She is all mouth, just doesn’t stop talking.  I love her so much, even though she calls me Bebon or Tlebol.  She touches my heart.  She practiced some of the praise songs with Pastora before church service and she sang along with me during worship time.

This is Chad with Daniela, Diana’s other little girl.  She’s eight years old and is a sensitive little girl.  After church we played “musical balloon”something like hot potato, I suppose, and she got caught with the balloon in her hands when the music stopped.  She then had participate in a punishment… hard to explain, but she was too embarrassed to actually do it.  But, once you get to know her she is lively!

This is a good representation of what our locale looks like.  It’s so little!  But, it’s ours and I love it.  Thomasa was such a giving hostess, she let us use some of her chairs, a bench, and a table.  Her heart is so good.  I’m extremely excited to see how God is going to use her!

I can go home feeling so happy about our work after witnessing this.  Diana is one of our oldest contacts we’ve made here in Juliaca.  She has been so faithful and I can see the change God is instilling in her life.  I was so overwhelmed with happiness I would have audibly been sobbing if it weren’t for the other people in the room.  Her face was so peaceful and I could see what I can only explain as bliss written across her face.  I am so blessed to be part of the privilege that it is to work in Juliaca and witness the hand of God moving and gathering his people to him.  Glory Be To God!

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A Call For Prayer

Well well well… Peru is doing it’s best to ground our hard work.  Really, when I say Peru it should be said Satan.  Satan is really doing his best to try to kill our short term group that is coming down in two weeks. This is an awful repeat of last year… and just thinking about it is making my blood boil.  Can we not catch a break?

So, last year in June we were going to have a short term trip come here to do a medical clinic.  We worked hard to get things planned for them to be here, when the Aymara decided to march into the city and protest and strike against a mining effort in their sacred mountain by bashing in bank windows, looting stores and burning cars… even police cruisers.  Thanks to them our short term trip was canceled.  

Nearly a year later we are expecting a short term group to come in two weeks… lo’ and behold!  Another strike!  This time miners from the north of Peru are apparently striking either against illegal mining ooooor they are striking to be able to mine illegally… we’ve heard two versions.  Either way, I’m… WE’RE extremely frustrated that our short term group is being threatened of being canceled.  

So, the call for prayer is that this strike will go away!  Pray that the government moves their tooshie to make amends with these very angry people (they have been slashing traveling vehicles tires and 4 or 5 people have died in Puerto Maldonado… I think that’s the number).  Pray that the Lord will do His mighty work so we can have our construction group come to build the Puno church’s temple and our short term missions group.  Pray pray pray pray pray!

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Pallowing Swills

Today is not exactly the day that I wanted it to be.  I think days like this are never technically wanted, hoped for, pinned for.  It’s a day that you would always prefer to come tomorrow.  Today we got a reality check.  It has blind-sided me, leaving me rather disappointed that some stuff wasn’t clarified from the very get-go.

We had a meeting today with the Pastor.  Basically, Sammy and I felt stuck as to what more we could do with the potential leaders we have… especially in Ilave.  So, we called Pastor over to talk about stuff.  We explained that nobody is coming to the church, for neither the Saturday night service nor the prayer service on Wednesday nights, and that the only people that do come are the people that live there in the house where we are renting but they show little commitment… rather none, to God and are not disciples in any shape or form.

At first the Pastor was pretty cool.  He went through and told us we have no potential leaders if they themselves are not coming to church.  He talked about what we needed to do there and it was good/hard stuff to hear, considering our time limit.  Then, things turned a bit hairy when I asked him what is plans were for post-40/40.  He kinda got upset with me and told me that he was going to put leaders there in the places where we were working and if there aren’t any then leaders from the north would be sent.  I said… hmm I didn’t know that, which he told me, “obviously,” they wouldn’t leave these places.  It kinda left me feeling like a heel.  I told him he never told us that, but he said some other things that just made me feel worse, so I left it at that.  I just wanted him to understand that I didn’t know that they were going to send other leaders and that made me feel a lot better, more equipped to do this work.  It turned into a bit of a tizzy and I left it there.  In the rest of the conversation I got the impression that he thought I just wanted to go home and that I thought my work here was done.  If I wanted to go home, I would buy my ticket right now and be eating Taco Bell tonight!  It was hard to sit there without saying anything, because I just wanted to explain myself, but he wasn’t open to hearing me.

Afterward, and after sitting down with Sammy to talk about what we are going to do next I feel like again… we are starting over.  We are closing down the current local we are in in Ilave and we are searching for another, and we are going to do another kids festival.  My hope, my encouragement is that these places aren’t going to be left. I wish I had known this sooner… and this really frustrates me, because I could’ve had such a different attitude about our work if I had known what was so “obvious.”

Even though today was mainly meetings, it was one of our hardest days.  Now, I feel like I’m battling the enemy emotionally.  My peanut butter/nutella sandwich sure helps a bit though (thanks Mom).

This past week I also found out that my grandpa is dying.  He has cancer everywhere and they are saying he only has 4-6 months left.  It’s very probable I won’t get to see him, but my dad said that he is okay with his fate and that he’s come to terms with it. So, I can’t be too upset about it.  Jesus talking about hating our families is really coming alive to me through all of this.  I’ll see Grandpa again.  My eyes need to be on Christ.

Prayers are being answered in Juliaca.  Efrain, the husband of Diana, the lady who’s adobe wall fell on her, asked us for discipleship lessons this past week.  I was shocked!  Apparently, he had come home one night after partying and told Diana that he wanted to change.  Don’t stop praying for him, because now that he’s decided this Satan is going to try hard to dissuade him from continuing down this road.

P.S. after the meeting with Pastor I tried saying “well, that was a hard pill to swallow” and it came out “swill to pallow” it was a good mood lifter 🙂

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Almost Bedtime

I’ve got my chilly piggies tucked into my blue and green wool socks from Gap, my polyester blue and green plaid pj pants and tie dye shirt accompanied with my purple flannel on… I’m about ready for bed.  I can’t believe how good my feet feel just to be out of my shoes and in some incredibly cozy socks.  They feel like they are melting.

I rather feel like melting.  A lot of memories have been popping up recently.  We’ve passed out “Go” here in Puno, that being our one year anniversary.  I didn’t have any strong memories that tied me to January of last year in Puno, but going through the Candelaria and now Carnavales… I remember a lot from last year during these celebrations.  And that’s triggered thoughts about how long I’ve come and awe at the person that I am now.  There are so many changes that have happened in me in this short/long year (yes! it’s possible to feel both ways) and the majority of them are a mystery how they happened.  It’s only explanation is… Dios (God)!

But, looking back a year ago has also been sending me through some discouragement.  A year ago, I was working in Santa Rosa, Ricardo Palma and Juli… none of those three remain as my districts.  If I were a different person than I am now, I would sit down and blame God and tell Him that all the problems that we are having in Ilave and in Juli are because He didn’t put me in the right place at the right time.  I mean, I’ve practically had to start over 3 different times and it’s just terribly unfair.  Who could plant a church… or I’m sorry, two churches in 6 months?  Oh, but I realize this isn’t about me.  And this isn’t about what’s fair. And this isn’t about a time-frame.

This passage has been a blessing to me:

“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

Christ’s promise is incredible… we can come to Him as not to carry our burdens alone.  This work is not any sort of work for mere humans.  I’m reminded that my Lord calls me to Him on crappy days like we had today.  Absolutely nobody was able to do their lessons… and I was thinking… how are we going to get a church here in Ilave if our time keeps getting wasted?!  But you know… I’m learning it’s not even any of my business.  It has nothing to do with me whether we plant a church in Ilave or in Juliaca or not.  My only concern is being obedient.  And right now to be obedient I need to come to Christ with my heavy heart.

It’s almost bedtime… only 5 more months left and life will get a little easier, and then interesting again.  I still can’t explain just yet, but I promise, if you are patient you will know soon enough.


Diana is doing better health-wise.  She cannot lift her left arm up because she hasn’t been using it and that is scaring her.  Her husband is also being a lazy bum and won’t cook for the kids, but he’ll go out to play soccer.  We’re going to talk to him about that.  Continue to pray for her and her family as it’s not only a battle for health, it’s also a spiritual battle within her home.

Jesi, the pup, is doing almost 100% better.  I took her down to the vet on Monday and got her her first shot of the series and her worming medicine.  She has filled out nicely and has a lot more energy.  She’s doing very well with her house training and she’s rather chill.

Can’t think of anything else.  Questions?

Good Night


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Relearning Old Lessons

This happens sometimes.  Sometimes we need to be told twice.  Sick… I hear my mother’s voice when I hear “be told twice.”   I was that kid.  I needed to be told several times to get something right.  Unfortunately, it’s not something that I have much grown out of.  The other day we played Memory with Thomas and Ella, and I ROCKED.  However, in real life, I do not have the blessing of a good memory.

This is what I read this morning:

“… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…”
-Matthew 6:32

Matthew 6:25-end is my favorite Bible passage.  I discovered it about three years ago, and it still serves as food to my soul.  I need to be reminded daily not to worry.  God knows what I need.  Sometimes I think that we believe we need something when in reality it’s just a “want.”  Those things can just become a stumbling stone in our walk.  Sometimes I think I need something and I don’t give it 100% over to God because I’m scared He won’t come through.  I think, “I can do it myself.”  What pride!  I place myself higher than God!?

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
-Matthew 6:27

 The answer is nobody.  It is sinful to worry for two reasons:

  1. you don’t have faith in God (Romans 14:23)
  2. trying to control a situation is trying to take the place of God

It’s a pretty serious err to try and take the place of God.  Heavens, look at Satan.  It’s awful to think that sometimes we are equal to that putrid thing.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook then you probably saw this picture I posted.  This is Ella with a current resident at Jr. Deustua 1078.   Her name is Jesse (Ella and Thomas named her that as soon as I walked in the door with her in my book bag).  Here’s the story how we got her:

About two weeks ago, Sammy got a phone call from Magda, one of Diana’s sisters in Ilave.  She told us that the adobe wall behind Diana’s house had fallen on top of her and she was in the hospital.  We went to visit her several times.  She is now out of the hospital but is at home bed-ridden with a fractured hip.  She is just achy a lot of the time.  She doesn’t really have any medication.

As a result of this pain her mother went out and bought a black puppy!  It’s not as nice as you think.  We went to visit her on Sunday and I saw her puppy and was enamored.  She told us her mom and grandmother wanted to sacrifice her.  Apparently, the belief is, that if you put a black puppy or bunny next to someone in pain, the animal will absorb the pain and after a day you have to kill it.  So, here I am… I see puppies on the road all the time and I have to ignore the pena (remorse… saddness) that I feel and keep going, but this little puppy was going to be killed for something so… satanic??

So, I called Amanda to ask if we could bring her home until they find another home for her… to save her from Diana’s grandmother and mom.  So, here she is.

But, the reason I’m talking about this is because I’ve just been experiencing a bunch of pent-up worry for this little puppy.  She is malnourished, has diarrhea and doesn’t have the greatest appetite.  I found that I was becoming a little obsessive.  This morning after reading through Matthew 6 again, I realized… there are a lot of things that I’m worrying about and not giving over to God.  I’m so thankful that God used this puppy to show me indirectly the things that I’m not doing right with God on other fields of my spiritual life.

How about you?  Are you a worrier?  If so, have you found the comfort we have in Christ to give it all to Him?  Do you find it hard to give it over to Him?


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