For months we have been preparing for a group of researchers from Harding, led by Bill and Holly Richardson, to assist us with a research project in our target area. The first half of this month we were able to execute the project we had planned and everything went excellently. The group was with us for two weeks with a trip to Bolivia in between. Aside from eating at all of our favorite places while they were here, we enjoyed the times of fellowship and worship we were able to experience.
In the months leading up to the group’s arrival we crafted and tested a survey of about ten questions to be given in the neighborhood where the library is located, Pampas de Polanco. We decided to focus the group in that area in part because whatever data we gathered would help us make decisions as we proceed with the library project and other projects we hope to implement there soon. After two weeks of surveying the group was able to complete 239 surveys! This number may seem low but we are very pleased with the results. More than anything we were pleased with the way the group conducted themselves during their stay.
We heard many stories from the researchers as they would meet with people and spend extra time to listen to their comments and concerns. Sometimes groups would be invited in and the people would really share their dreams for the neighborhoods and the struggles currently being faced. I was particularly struck by one survey. As I was entering the data, I saw that the researcher had written to the side, “We prayed with her.” The groups handled themselves with integrity and grace, and I know that they blessed the lives of those they encountered.
Another ongoing project for us, as you know, has been the library. If you check ICDU’s website (www.icduperu.org) then you will have noticed that we finally had the inauguration! On Friday, July the 3rd we set up our chairs and a pavilion, thanks to the Rotary Club, and had about 40 community members show up for a short ceremony. Greg said a few words, Alfredo said a few words, and I prayed for the library and community as this project was officially launched. The hour after the official ceremony was the best part of it all because we mingled and talked with a lot of different people about the library and what it could mean to Pampas de Polanco. We were all very encouraged and happy to have officially started this project. It didn’t go off without a hitch though.
Try as we did to get the books in time, we had to inaugurate the library without any books! Bill made us feel slightly better by telling us that George Mueller opened his first orphanage without any orphans. Even without books, a good time was had by all and we have since then received the books and begun a rotation of programs. We have set a schedule of programs up for women, children, youth, and Bible study. Most notable so far might be the puppet show that we put on for the kids. Aaron recorded it and has posted it, with subtitles, to the website, so go and have a laugh on us. We are happy with the progress we’ve made so far and look forward to what God has in store for August.