Everyone home safe and sound. I’ll recap and post a ton of photos tonight or tomorrow……
Thank you all SO much!
We are at the Lima airport safely. Our flight is three hours delayed, and now we are not supposed to board until 4:20 am. Please pray for Pam and myself as we are both really sick. Pam is having stomach pains and I have a terrible head cold with a fever and am just flat-out exhausted. We`re all keeping it together, but people are really exhausted so we`re just trying to support each other. None of this affects our amazingly positive experience in LaPerla in the LEAST, but we do appreciate your thoughts and prayers over the next 14 hours or so. As schedule, we should arrive in Los Angels sometime after noon tomorrow.
Hello friends and family! Cristi is safely off to the airport and we are getting ready to meet with the FH Country Director for Peru.
I noticed while checking the stats that this blog is getting over 400 hits a day! Thank you so much for your support. The idea of so many people checking this and reading it has led me to take this opportunity to share a huge need from the community of LaPerla with all of you who have been following our trip. Yup – here it comes – I just want to present you with an opportunity to sponsor a child here in LaPerla.
I had considered including a whole photo gallery of all of the amazing and beautiful children we spent the last week with that are eagerly awaiting sponsorship….but that felt a little manipulative and I just want the facts to speak for themselves. Last night at the farewell ceremonies a girl I had never seen before shyly walked up to me with her mother and held out a wrinkled and well-handled photo to me. It was a photo of my sister and my two nieces. Her mother explained to me that my sister sponsored her daughter and how the whole household had celebrated when they got the news. The photo was well worn because the girl carries it with her wherever she goes. Another girl stayed home from the farewell last night because she was crying so hard she couldn´t bear to leave the house. These are real kids with real needs, and there are over 150 of them in LaPerla that still need sponsorship.
The medical team went and observed some of the programs that FH funds for the communities. There are literally travelling museums that show the importance of washing your hands and cleaning your water. They gave out over 2000 safe-water containers to families throughout Pucallpa this year. The Saturday morning tutoring class is completely booked. All of the cooking classes and financial classes for the mothers of the community are provied. And all of these programs and more are covered by the costs of child sponsorship. This is of course on top of all of the other benefits that are specifically for your child. Of those benefits, perhaps one of the most powerful is the fact that your sponsor child´s family may some day soon have a celebration of their own, and that child might have his or her own photo to carry in their notebook.
This isn´t a late-night informercial with a lot of sad looking kids. This is a call for you to participate in the lives of this happy community that is growing in hope, growing in God, growing in confidence….and we want to help them keep growing. The cost of child sponsorship is $32/Month. If you want to join the quickly-growing family of Americans and Peruvians in this beautiful family (which we´ll be returning to next year), please shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org It is going to be crazy when I get home, but I promise to get back to you next week and we´ll set you up. Thank you all so much for listening. Time to go hang out with the director!
We are all safely in Lima and ready for bed. What a full day! Its hard to believe we were digging drainage ditches this morning. The farewell celebration was great, and the community sent us off in emotional but uplifting style. Jack and Jim asked me if I was sad at the airport. I said no. Nobody cried. I think we all knew we had nothing to be sad about – we had an amazing week together – and I think we all knew deep down that we would be seeing each other next year. It was bittersweet….but heavy on the sweet.
This morning was fantastic, but absolutely exhausting. Our job was to clear the drainage ditches of the whole street in front of the church. It was the hottest day I can ever remember in Peru, and the work was very messy and really hard. Pam, Jenn, and Katie worked so hard it was inspiring to me and also to the community. I can´t wait to post pictures to prove the point, but trust me when I say their shirts were completely soaked through with sweat and they just kept on going. Alfred and I used machetes, picks, shovels, rakes, and anything we could to take care of our side of the road. The best part was that people from the community came out of the woodwork and just started pitching in on the work! We keep hearing the message that the teams we send down are very valueable for exactly that reason – empowering the community. Today was a great example.
Jason and Cristi saw at least another 25 patients today. (Cristi was up much of the night being sick and still got on the bus with the team) Their stories are amazing and I wish I could share all of them with you. Suffice it to say that the two of them made a HUGE impact on the lives of so many families today by continuing to offer medical attention that would otherwaise be unattainable for these families.
Alfred and I got to talk to Pastor Juan Carlos extensively today and heard more about his vision for his church and LaPerla. Among many other things, he was very passionate in expressing his gratefulness for Jason and the amazing example he shows to the community. He said that the fact that Jason has difficulty getting around, yet has the passion for service that he is willing to travel so far to help others, is the ultimate example of living the love of God out to others.
Everyone is physically exhausted, but emotionally and spiritually filled up and overjoyed. There is a big farewell ceremony in the LaPerla town center tonight, and from there it is off to Lima overnight and then the team (minus Cristi who has to head home early for work) will spend tomorrow in Lima at the main FH offices. The team then leaves at 1:20 am Thursday morning and will arrive at LAX around 8:10. (SPECIAL NOTE for people picking up members of the group: The flight number is the same, but the flight should arrive 20 minutes early.
PLEASE keep reading along tonight and tomorrow, as I have at least one more terribly important entry to come. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We are so happy and so grateful and feel genuinely honored to have this amazing opportunity and experience.
Alfed – 11
Jason – 12
Steve – 10
Katie – 10
Kim – 2
Cristi – 20
Jenn – 3
Pam – 30+!!!
Kim – 1
Rest of team – 0
Getting peed on by a giant german shepherd:
Alfred – 1.