This month we welcomed CUDA Board member David Fann back to Arequipa.  For the past three years David has led a group of students from Lipscomb University on a medical campaign to Lima, and after the campaign he comes down to have a look at CUDA.  This year David was able to observe the newly begun health project in the neighborhood of Hunter.  After a morning of touring the clinic and speaking with our volunteers, David met with the staff and share a lunch with the Peruvian directors.  It’s a great blessing to be able to show someone so deeply connected to the work here what we are doing.  Visits such as David’s are a blessing not just for him, but for the field workers as well.
CUDA has also benefited from the new families arriving to the field that make up TA 2.0.  Along with the Grays, each family has found ways to volunteer their time and expertise in a CUDA project.  The Morgans have begun to help with the health initiative, with Just going to the clinic to do screenings and meet with patients.  Briana Froud has been volunteering for our library program for weeks now and her husband, Chase, was recently added to our board of directors.  Chase will become familiar with all of our programs and help to ensure we are maintaing a holistic approach in the work we do.
It has been a joy to watch our directors (Alfredo, Paty and Lucia) manage CUDA this year.  Lucia, in her second year with CUDA, has taken ownership of the library program and is doing a great job training our second full-time library employee, Nancy.  Paty is leading the micro-finance program with grace and wisdom, constantly interacting with people who have been dealt a bad hand, showing them Jesus as she tries to help their businesses.  She also handles our in-country financial responsibilities and just yesterday received word that our application to be able to receive (Peruvian) tax-deductible donations was approved.  This opens the door for CUDA to fundraise in Peru, a huge step forward for the NGO.  Alfredo, as Executive Director, has put together a solid team that is working together quite well.  From individually planning, and getting government support for, the health program to buying school supplies for the library program, Alfredo does it all.
Will you join us in praying for CUDA, for it’s board members, directors and volunteers?  For the work they do every day in the lives of Peruvians in Hunter, Alto Selva Alegre, Miraflores and the rest of Arequipa?  Pray for lives to be improved, for people to be empowered, for knowledge to be spread and for the Kingdom to be expanded through the work of all of us here in Arequipa.

First Time for Everything

There's a first time for everything.
Moving to another country is a fresh encounter with a whole new set of 'firsts'. And, looking back, it is encouraging to see all the challenges you've faced and it is deeply satisfying to realize "It's all good, God is truly with me. All the time". And it is so true. He is with us, always, in the big things and in the little things. So here's a look at God's provision in my recent past: 

  • First time to figure out which meals to make for my family when I don't have all the ingredients I need easily accessible or even available in the first place
  • First time to ride on crazy combis (small, jam-packed buses) with a toddler, a couple of bags etc often jumping on with a running start and jumping off without a complete stop
  • First time to feel small earthquakes that shake my home and send me scurrying outdoors with my kids and husband
  • First time to haggle with taxi drivers, telling them "I know it doesn't cost that much to get me there"
  • First time to watch complete strangers  kiss my baby girl on the cheek and head even when she's in the frontside carrier (they try with Lorenzo but he pretends to shoot at them! ...)
  • First time to be asked by a Peruvian pre-K teacher to come talk to her about my son's behavior at school! (It wasn't all bad :) 
  • First time to figure out how to pack, organize, deal with moving companies to get a container 3,700+ miles away, discovering how many truly amazing helpers it takes to get all that done
  • First, and last, time to eat Peruvian Chinese food at a mall's food court
  • First bout with foreign bacteria getting comfortable in my intestines
  • First time to begin working on the foreign mission field with a part of my team while joining an existing team, simultaneously taking advantage of their extreme helpfulness and learning new team dynamics 
  • First times learning to tune out late night and early morning parties in our new neighborhood 
  • First time to experience first hand how helpful and loving complete strangers can be when it comes to helping you settle into your new home and neighborhood
  • First time to experience the joy and familiarity that exists in a house church 
  • First time to completely, utterly, fully rely on God since, let's be honest, there is not much we are completely sure of here and even less that we can pretend we have control over

With this godly gift of hind-sight, let's look at our past and thank God for always being with us! My prayer is that this will help remind us to trust Him with our future with honest and happy hearts.

Desert Provision

Earlier this month Megan, Larissa, Bethany, and I went to a renewal retreat with missionaries serving across South and Central America. The theme of the weekend was Exodus, and everyone was encouraged to find their place in the story.  
I've been in Arequipa for two months. For nearly a year it has felt like the desert, a place with constant longing and constant transitions. It was easy to place myself with Moses at the burning bush as he wrestles with his calling.
Yet Moses's questions resonated with my heart. God had patience in answering his every fear, knowing the great things he had in store. And God used the week to remind me of all the provisions we have been given in the past few weeks. Important questions have been answered and fears have been relieved. 
Evan loves school...we have a permanent place to call home...our container has arrived. There are still more uncertainties and insecurities, but I am reminded that our God is the God of provision. Even in the desert.

From Arkansas to Arequipa

On January 13 of this year, I did something I had never done before: moved away from Arkansas. I was born in Searcy and over the years, I have lived in Judsonia, Paragould, Jonesboro, Bono, Pocahontas, North Little Rock, Little Rock, and Searcy, but I have never lived outside of the Natural State. Instead of moving to a different state like a normal person, God would have it that our family should move to Arequipa, Peru. 
So, what is Arequipa like to an Arkansan? It’s awesome, yet life is almost completely different! The transition was and is difficult, but our teammates are great. The food is delicious and it’s hard to breathe. (Yes those two go together!) The Peruvian history and culture is expansive. Arequipeños (Peruvians who are born in Arequipa) are curious yet friendly.Their worldview is complex but God can always be found. Our schedule is hectic. Rest is a priority! But the transition is and will be worth it! 
Here are some notable observations in my first month or so. Peruvians don’t build up as much as they build out. For example, Arequipa is approximately 3,800 sq. miles while Searcy, AR is barely 15 sq. miles. It’s over 250 times larger! With that much space you would think that everyone would have plenty of personal space; not so much. For instance, the buses are out to make as much money as possible and therefore it is not uncommon for fifty people to be crammed into a twenty passenger bus or worse twenty-five people in a fifteen passenger van! And my normal size of 5’ 11” is three to four inches taller than most Peruvians which makes for a tight fit! 
With only six weeks under my belt in Arequipa, my first learning goal is Castellano (Spanish). When I first arrived my experiences with Spanish included two years in high school (9th and 10th grade), four mission trips to the Dominican Republic, and six months of Duolingo (google it). It is amazing how much I have learned in these first few weeks. Prior to Arequipa, I had no understanding how hard it was to listen and understand Spanish but hearing it on a daily basis makes for great ministry practice. It is a spiritual gift to learn the art of listening. And speaking of practicing and listening, singing worship songs with my brothers and sisters does wonders for my soul! 
In my short time here in Arequipa as part of a seven family-church planting mission team, I am reminded of what the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Every adventure has a beginning and for most missionaries the first year can be the hardest, but I am reminded of its purpose. Just as God became flesh and blood to become like us, in a small way, God is allowing this Arkansan to see life as an Arequipeño. He is teaching me about his people, whom he loves and whom Jesus died for and lives for. And just like a typical season, the enculturation process will not last forever. To that end, just as God is faithful, I too will strive to be faithful because of the hope found in the life of Jesus Christ.

Meet the Morgans

Greetings! We are the Morgans: Justin, Sarah, Lorenzo and Maya. I, Justin, am 32 years old and I’m from Santa Rosa, California. Sarah is 28 and grew up in Bergamo, Italy. Our son Lorenzo is almost three years old and Maya is three months old. My wife and I are both nurses with combined experience in long-term care, cardiac and medical-surgical nursing. I also have a Bachelors in Bible and Ministry from Harding University. We currently live in Little Rock, Arkansas and are supported by the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ here. We are blessed to have our future work overseen by the elders and missions committee of this church. We will be arriving in Arequipa on February 5th. Our vision for the work there is to strengthen the church and add more to God’s kingdom as He works through us to do so. We hope to become like the Peruvians so that we can reach them with the life saving news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please keep us in your prayers as we strive towards this endeavor. We’re excited to be joining this great team.

Meet the Frouds

Hello!  We are the Froud family: Chase, Briana, and Evan. We are excited to join Team Arequipa on the field in January. We have always felt called to serve in a cross-cultural context and look forward to the opportunities in Arequipa. For the past two years we have partnered with Cloverdale Church in Searcy, AR to work in the inner-city of North Little Rock at River City Ministry. During that time Chase finished up his Master’s at Harding School of Theology. Briana has been a stay at home mom for the past three years but previously taught 5th grade math and science. Evan is now three years old and, like most three year olds, is full of energy, giggles, and excitement! While working in the inner-city Chase specialized in evangelism and communications. With his passion for ministry and discipleship, he is excited to partner with the house church movement in Arequipa. Briana hopes to use her passion for education to serve as a volunteer with CUDA’s Living Libraries as well as help homeschool Evan in the future. Please pray for us and our families as we transition to Arequipa January 13th.

Our Two Year Anniversary!

Our Two Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it? We have been here for two years! The Smiths will leave for their furlough next week, and we will leave on our furlough right before Thanksgiving. It is funny how anniversaries naturally cause a time of reflection. This month I have been able to reflect on many things, but what was really special was having the Henderson family come visit. 

The Apprentice: Transitions

August has been a time of transitions and adjustments. I have now been in Arequipa six months, and culture shock has set it. I would love to write that this month has been the most productive yet, but that just isn't the case. One transition we have made was going from having interns all summer, to sending then home at the beginning of this month.

What's to Come

Often we find ourselves using the newsletter to recap the month. In fact, Greg’s article is aimed at keeping you updated with our work. However, we also have a number of things that we are planning and preparing for right now, though they have yet to come to fruition, and we want you to know about them. What I hope you all do with this article is make a list of our upcoming projects and begin praying for them. We are still in the early planning stages with some of these and could use guidance. These are in no particular order, which is my favorite way to handle things. 

Funds 2009

Don’t look now, but 2008 is about to be over. Somehow we have come to the end of another year. This year has been pretty important for our team (obviously!) since a number of things have happened. We lived and worked with both of our main supporting congregations. We formed support teams to aid us at both churches. We sold, stored, or gave away virtually all of our material possessions in preparation for our move to Arequipa. We packed six suitcases, said goodbye to family and friends, and boarded a plane to our new home. We completed three months of intensive language learning while finding housing and establishing ourselves in our new city. We prayed and prayed and narrowed our target area to the Miraflores/Alto Selva Alegre areas of Arequipa. We secured office space for 2009 and bought a “Mauve-Taupe” (not pink!) van. And that’s just the “big stuff” list…