August is always a big month of celebration here in Arequipa as the 15th is Arequipa's founding day. This past August 15th Arequipa celebrated 477 years! It is always celebrated throughout the month of August with parades, music festivals, beauty pageants, and food and art festivals. We have also had a big celebration this month for August Blair's first birthday! As you can see in the picture above, she loved her cake!
If you don't have a Lisa Adkison in your life, get one. Lisa is one of my mentors and supporter from our supporting church in Little Rock, Arkansas and one way that she blesses us is by sending the girls on our team Bible studies to do. The first one she sent us was this one, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer.
One of the funnest things I do each week is sit down with Alfredo, Paty, Lucia, Nancy, and Carmen and read through a few paragraphs of Cuando Ayudar Hace Daño—that is, When Helping Hurts. If you talk to any of us very long, you’ll know that this is one of Team Arequipa’s required books to understand what we’re trying to be and do in this city. The Spanish translation was published at the beginning of the year, and we’ve been making our way through it together once a week. I think of it in terms of staff development. As we work toward justice, wellbeing, and joy in the city, we renew the challenge to ourselves to continue to develop, to be repentant of practices that may have been easy but aren’t right, and to work together toward reconciliation.
I would like to share with you the story of one of our diabetes patients named Maximiana. Maximiana was diagnosed with diabetes about two years ago. After the diagnosis, she decided that she wanted to change her life and be healthier. She heard about our work at the local hospital and came to visit us. We enrolled her in our monthly follow-up program and referred her to the exercise group that Katie and I lead three days a week.
We began a baseball league here a couple of years ago as a way to relax, keep in touch with old friends, make new ones and do some exercise (or try to, lol). Most people in Arequipa have no idea what baseball is, but it is slowly growing and we are now a six-team league where you can find a variety of personalities, cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles. We play about two seasons per year. As the seasons go on, you can see the different personalities of each team emerging. There are the “we are here to win, not have fun” teams, the “we’re hungover from partying last night” teams, and the “win or lose, we just wanna play baseball” teams. Jake and I are on a team called the “Lonccos,” which roughly translates to “the rednecks.”