Before coming here, I was very uncomfortable with something that was suggested to us by some other Peruvian missionaries. It was the whole idea of what they call here an "empleada." Basically, many of the rich have a full-time hired maid that cooks, cleans, tends to the children, you get the idea. We heard that it was expected of those with any sort of money to hire an empleada. The people in Peru "expect" for those with money (if you are Gringo you are expected to have money) to help their economy by hiring an empleada. Would this make any of you uncomfortable?
We have a strategy. I like it. We worked hard on it and tried to be realistic. It is no surprise that young missionaries can have unrealistic expectations, and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. It is equally fair to call low expectations unrealistic given the Reality that we serve. To be honest, I am torn between these two modes of thought. On one hand, it is the great expectation of God that sent me into the mission field in the first place. On the other hand, it is the cowardly fear that high expectations will set us up for failure that causes me to hit the brakes. On one hand, it is the foolish zeal of inexperience that strains at the bridle. On the other hand, it is the wisdom of those gone before us that we should dedicate ourselves to learning for a time and approach our ministry to people in the careful manner of a master builder.
I have some great news for you. Both families are in comfortable, spacious, well-located 2 bedroom apartments! As most of you know, our plan had been to live with Peruvian families while in language school so that we could learn how Peruvians function here in Arequipa. Where do they go to the market? What things do families buy? What do you avoid? How do you cook a meal? What are the cultural nuances gringos need to learn? Though we had been planning on this for years, we have always tried to remain open to change. Needless to say, we had to start changing plans a little sooner than anticipated.