What an exciting January! We have so much going on, and to be honest, I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. First, this September marks the beginning of our final year in the contract. Please be in prayer with us over the future of the work here and our families. Also, both families will be traveling to the states for furlough. The Smiths leave in early March and my family will leave in mid-August. We are excited to see our supporters and hug on some people we haven't seen in quite a while.
CUDA seems to have started rolling, and it isn't slowing down. I am elated that Alfredo Oporto, our brother in Christ and the first person we met in Arequipa, has taken the reigns of executive director. Kyle, Larissa, Greg, and I are all volunteers now. I attended my first library meeting early this month to discuss the future of the program. I was an expert volunteer called in to help with curriculum development for the reading literacy program. I cannot express how wonderful it is to see the Peruvians take charge of something that we began 3 years ago. Sustainability has always been our dream for this work, and putting Peruvians in charge is the first major step to making it a reality.
We are planning a team day retreat. We have a long strategy document listing the goals and dreams we had for this work year-by-year. The elderships all signed on to it, and as a team, we are revisiting the document to pray and dream further about where we are and what the future holds. We can plan all we want, but his ways being higher than our ways becomes quite clear when you can look back over four years of the ministry.
This month has also been a month of good-byes. Anna and Sakari, the Finnish couple that worked with CUDA for 4 months, left on the 21st. One of our friends that was associated with the mine here left on the 24th (we had a ladies Bible study group in English that she was part of). And, Rachel Steele is preparing to leave on February 15. Her two year commitment has come to an end. So, though sad to say these good-byes, it is a reminder to me that God's story is full of new chapters, and we learn to go with it.