Hello, wonderful supporters! It’s so hard to believe it has only been a week since we got back. Oh, I want SO badly to be back there right now! But for the time being TEC and the people there must only be served by our prayers and not our presence. In the meantime, I thought I’d post some pics from the trip so you all could see some more!
Hello, friends! So sorry for the delay with checking in!
As it happens with every trip, the deeper I go into the trip the more I connect with both the people in Peru and their way of life. By the time the team has been going all day, it sounds like the hardest thing in the world to take 20 minutes away to explain what they’ve been doing, all the while knowing that even if I took 2 hours, I couldn’t really come close.
I want to stay away from lists like, “Alfred did this. Jenn did this.” Because the simple fact is that it isn’t about DOing: not with this team. The magic and the heart of this team is in the hour Jenn spends sitting and teaching the kids how to braid bracelets down by the river, because just like back home it is relationship and community that trump all, and are in fact the best extension of the church as it was meant to be.
That being said, I suppose I’ll list some facts. ha!
On both Friday and Saturday night we participated in the Calichines sports league. TEC has been putting on these sports championships for the kids and families in the area for over THIRTY years! We just plug ourselves in right on the bleachers with the hundreds of villagers. Picture over a hundred families at a brightly lit court in the jungle right off the river. Picture the moms cooking food for sale just at the edge of the light and selling fresh coconut popsicles that sticky the hands of the kids just enough to make them stick to us literally as well as figuratively. The whole community screams and cheers all night ( I even got to cheer on my sponsor child Marco as he played in the semi finals!). The time we had spent connecting with these kids all week really paid off those nights: they literally swarmed on us and introduced us to their friends and families. It was truly awesome!
But best of all, it really wasn’t about us at all! It was about the communities around TEC being brought together. It was about TEC doing what they do best, and letting us simply step into their decades-old rhythm. It was about people who work every day to make a connection and build trust with children who are often in hard circumstances.
Though I try never to sensationalize, this was fighting poverty in a powerful way: many of these families wonder on a regular basis how they will be able to feed themselves and even if they will have a roof over their heads when the rainy season comes. I personally visited two houses in a row that are just weeks away from being underwater for three months. Sometimes, these homes do not even have walls, let alone floors. But thanks to TEC demonstrating Jesus’ love, they do have hope. These children find joy and come home to infect their family’s reality with their enthusiasm .
Quick note: our time in LaPerla all day Saturday was AWESOME! Ask us in person and we will tell you all about it! Food for the Hungry worked so hard and each and every one of us got to spend a good amount of time with our sponsor kids and just hang out with our old friends.
There’s still so much more to share! But for the time being, I must go. The team appreciates you prayers and support so much: we knew that support was there: especially in specific areas like no one getting sick (for the first time ever!). I promise more info and a ton of great photos (we have been restricted to iPhone and iPad photos, and soon I will be home and can break out the big DSLR guns!) within the week.
Hello from Christi and Shelli, you’re favorite nursing duo!
We’ve had a very busy week here doing lots of medical care in the communities around TEC. We spent most of our days walking hut to hut (aka trudging through the mud and jungle) to do healthcare house visits. We were able to spend around 45 minutes with each family providing basic medical care and education. We found everything from worms to tuberculosis. We spent a lot of time figuring out local myths such as: packing fresh wounds with dirt and hair, pouring battery acid on facial warts, and squeezing lemon juice or oil into fresh burns. We sure had our work cut out for us! Luckily Christi LOVES education. We left each family with a first aid kit and lots of information on how to care for themselves and their family. We made many new friends and enjoyed seeing them throughout the week as we made our way through the village each day.
Our afternoons were spent doing mini clinics for all of the kids and teens in the homework club- again, lots and lots of education, deworming campaign, teaching dental hygiene (new toothbrushes for every kid) and bandaging up hurt kiddos when the games got out of hand. We have been working with a missionary nurse who lives here at tech and will continue follow up with the families we worked with this week!
It’s been a great week here in the jungle- thanks for all your prayers and well wishes! Signing off for now
Is 5:30 am and this little bit of insomnia is going to be used to try to quickly update you guys with a few stories from our last few days!
– the construction team hit their goal for the trip a day and a half early! Kyle said that though he had more money for supplies, he never thought he would need the supplies for the next phase until next week. The fellas got to go with Kyle to the Peruvia version of the Home Dept to get all of the electrical and wiring yesterday, and we get started again today.
– Jenn and Kim went with Christina into town to purchase all sorts of things for the calichines leagues this weekend, as well as enough stuff to finish a group of the Christmas ziplock bags. They returned in time to spend the whole afternoon with all of the kids in the homework club! The kids LOVE them, and they both helped Pam as she filled in for one of the teachers as that teacher’s class went to see Shelli and Christi at the medical clinic. The children all had small medical problems, but it was very clearly noted that the health of these kids has definitely improved since our first visit three years ago. The meals, the showers, the education – so many daily aspects of the ways that TEC helps these kids all contribute the the increased health and vitality of these truly beautiful and FUN kiddos.
There are still major medical needs with both the young and the old. christy and Shelle were actually taken up-river to the community of San Francisco ( no, not THAT far upriver!) to do check ups on two different elderly women who a previous trip in April had flagged as needing a follow-up. I’m sure they could explain the details far better, but trust me when I say that once again it was one of those situations where both of them and their knowledge, experience, and care were exactly the sport on the Earth they were supposed to be that morning to bring care, relief, and hope to these women and their families.
The other day Jenn and I were out int he village doing some home vitiates and just checking on the some families of the kids in homework club and the other clubs at TEC. Every single mother was absolutely overjoyed to have us in. I don’t say that lightly – they were thrilled to see Carina (from TEC) approaching, and opened their arms and homes wide to welcome us. Parent after parent talked about how much better their children are doing in school, how much healthier they are – how much better behaved. They talk about how the children come home just repeating their bible verses over and over…singing these happy songs and just infusing their homes with joy. There was a family who described their earlier life at home as being full of emotional and physical violence. It all changed the day their twelve year old son came home from a week of teaching at TEC and shared with his parents that he had learned that God loves each one of them and they don’t have to fight or hit each other. To the average American perhaps this sounds unbelievable, but it is a different world down here and these things really do happen. The mother talked about how she and the father wanted to learn more about why God matters, why he loves them, and why they need to love each other. The people in that home now treat each other with respect and dignity, and it’s all from this little missionary being sent into his home to share some simple truth.
The kids find a stability here that few of them have at home. They feel safe here. They feel loved here. Most of them come here five days a week for around five hours a day! I can’t wait to have some time to share some more specific stories, but being that this place feels so good. It feels like home. Daniel, Shelli, Alfred, Kim and Pam have all said the same thing….this is a GOOD place. There incredible people we are partnering with have a calling, a plan, and the passion and work ethic to carry that plan out. They are going to change this community – even the region around it.
Well….so much more to say, but it’s time to get to work! Big day today – culminating with the little league Calichines semi-finals tonight! More about that soon…..love you all!
P.s. everyone is healthy! First time ever! Praise God!
Yesterday ended incredibly, with all of us and the TEC crew running the programs for over eighty kiddos. I wish I could describe how sweet and well behaved the kids are…. It is all SO good!
There is so much to share, and we will soon. For now I just wanted to share some photos and to ask you to please keep praying for us. Our medical team and each one of us are going into areas where Dengue is out there running rampant. The poverty and illness and health issues in San Jose are so much worse than where we have been before….it makes it all the more important the work TEC is doing here. More soon….for now, here’s some sights!
Those twenty kids outside the gate I mentioned? There’s Eighty of them now! This place is incredible. Best day ever.
It’s been a great morning, and everything continued from yesterday morning’s schedule. The medical team saw almost twice the amount of families (they left earlier…they’d work twenty hour days if they could) and Kim and Jenn worked on the organizing the tons of Christmas ziplock packs we came down to Peru with. Alfred and I feel really good about the construction project…I am always very hesitant about the whole “third world short term construction” aspect of trips, but both the funds we raised and the physical help we are providing are considerable and will genuinely make a long term impact. Investing the time and effort in eanding the infrastructure and capabilities of TEC here feels like a very, very good use of time.
And Pam is here!!!! The circle is complete!
I’m sitting in a hammock in Kyle and Christina’s kitchen….and out the screen window past all the jungle trees and GREEN everywhere I can see the front metal gate of the property. There are probably 15-20 kids all hanging on the gate, just waiting for it to be two o’clock so the gates can open and they can come in to spend the afternoon singing, playing, and being loved on and cared for in the name of Jesus. This isn’t a one-off “here comes the circus from America” sideshow here…this is a truly blessed place that is spending all of its time and resources to transform the hearts and minds of the community here. These wonderful, sweet kids want to learn. They want to be loved. We are so excited and (genuinely) honored to step in and help with all of these programs, homework clubs, and (yay!) AWANA groups like this afternoon. Ok…I’m rested enough. Time for some cardio-worship in the jungle!
P.s. team photo attached. (Minus Steve and Pam)