Hello to everyone! We have had such a good last several months. We celebrated Christmas with some neighbors on December 23, again with some other neighbors December 24, and then again as a team on December 25! Jaclyn and Katie cooked 4 turkeys in a span of 2 days upping the total number of turkeys cooked in their lives to 4. It was such a special Christmas spent with these friends and neighbors that have become like our family and treat our girls as if they are their own. Lots of pictures in this post!
This was our 5th Christmas to celebrate in Peru and over the years we have had to adjust to the different ways it is celebrated here. For one thing, it never FEELS like Christmas because summer vacation begins in December which also means December is usually one of the warmer months of the year. So, no white Christmases here. Christmas is celebrated here the 24th. A late dinner (beginning anywhere between 10PM-midnight) is served and fireworks across the city are shot off at midnight. Also, the Santa decorations that you see decorating houses either have Santa climbing a ladder or with a parachute. I guess since there aren't chimneys or snow there is no need for a sleigh.
In November, the church here held its third annual cookout for the children at the orphanage. We started by gathering together for singing and a time of worship. Then the kids were set free to play on the playground or the soccer field. While the kids played, several of us prepared lunch. At one point I stepped back just to watch as they laughed and served together. It was a special moment to witness and made me reflect on the Christian call to service. I could see four reasons why we serve coalesce in that one moment.
This is a time of year where I’m especially thankful for Living Libraries and the impact they’re making in the lives of kids, teachers, and their families here in Arequipa. Our team is phenomenal—Lucia’s leadership and Nancy’s artistic spirit combine with teammates and volunteers to make a huge impact. It makes me thankful for all of you who follow along and support us with your constant giving, donating books, and praying for us as you share Living Libraries’ story with others along the way. Thank. You.
When Jaclyn and I decided to be missionaries, two years in a foreign country seemed like an eternity. That commitment soon got stretched to three. Surely three years would be enough to change the world, right? When the three year mark drew close, we felt like we were just beginning to hit our stride in ministry in Peru. So at that point, after much prayer and counsel, we decided that we would stay until sometime in 2019.
Ten years ago Team Arequipa moved to Arequipa, Peru. At that time Team Arequipa consisted in Greg, Megan, and Ana Mckinzie and Kyle, Larissa, and Shaye Smith. Four years ago the Blairs and Daggetts joined Team Arequipa. Thank you to all of you who have supported Team Arequipa for the last ten or four years. You have been such a blessing to us and to the work here. Also, PICTURES!
We are nearing the end of the calendar year, which in Arequipa is the same as nearing the end of the school year. For CUDA and Living Libraries, that means we’re coming down the home stretch, teaching our last reading comprehension strategy in October before trying to synthesize a year’s worth of work with teachers and students during the month of November.
Continuing with this series on things that have helped me understand prayer better, I'd like to share some quotes from a sermon by Dr. Tim Mackie called "Psalms – The Language of Prayer Part 4: Praying Through Doubt" accessible on the Exploring My Strange Bible podcast.