Fortunately, it gets to be me, and already I have been blessed by the team in my first few weeks with them. No doubt, God has some great things to teach me in Arequipa this summer.
Given the nature of poverty in Arequipa, we have long been considering whether a micro-loan project modeled on kiva.org would be a wise ministry. There is a large number of people living in true poverty here, but the great majority of the poor--and thus of the whole population--are the working poor. This means subsistence living, a precarious balance of minimal resources. Sickness, unordinary expenses, or even short-term loss of work are the kinds of situations that can quickly spiral a family into destitution. Many of you have yourselves experienced the uncertainty that accompanies job loss or a medical bill too big for savings to cover. We all live in economic systems that allow us to imagine the worst. I believe, therefore, that magnifying those situations tenfold gives us a glimpse of the reality in places like Arequipa. Rather than the loss of savings or the downsizing of a home, it is daily bread that is at risk for so many thousands here when something goes wrong.
Just over three weeks ago, the activity level in the Smith household jumped a good bit. Now, keep in mind that the previous level was normally defined by a 2 year old, so it was not exactly boring before. But we have thoroughly enjoyed the extra life filling the house since my sister, Briana, and our friend, Kristen, joined us for an extended visit.
Well, another month has gone by and we find ourselves stuck in a holding pattern with our first library. We have sent our documents in to the government and have been approved for a book loan, yet we still await their arrival. The good news is that our waiting should be coming to an end soon. The books are in Arequipa going through a process of their own and we should be able to pick them up this week. This works out wonderfully for us because we have scheduled the inauguration for July 3rd. July’s newsletter will have full coverage of this hopefully awesome event. We’re very excited and welcome your prayers for us as we publicly announce ICDU and the library to the neighborhood.
For those of you that don’t remember, Manuela is a woman that helps with housework in both of the families’ homes. We were told that it is very hard to find an “empleada” that one can trust. We feel that Manuela is a God-send to our lives here. Not only is she a hard worker, but she has served as a great mentor, friend, and Peruvian grandmother to our girls. We love her so much, and we earnestly pray that Manuela will come to have an intimate relationship with Jesus one day.
It came as no surprise to me when she requested to prepare a special meal for Greg and Kyle on Father’s Day.