Ten years is a long time. It is hard for me to believe that we moved to Arequipa ten years ago. We were two young families with two baby girls, and not a clue what journey was ahead of us. I wear a necklace every day. I am asked often what it is. It is a sterling silver Peru charm with a heart cutout. Peru has a huge piece of our family’s heart, and we think of our Peruvian family and the memories that we created there often. Just like I had no idea about what would happen in Peru, I also had no idea how God would use Peru to prepare us for now.
Today I walked with Adileen to school. Slowly. Her preschool is just about 14 blocks from our home, a distance I can walk briskly in 12 minutes or so, but a distance that at Adileen’s pace usually takes between 25 and 30 minutes. Special thanks to Katie, who discovered that Adileen could walk the whole way to school holding her hand while I was on a trip recently. There’s part of the walk where 5-foot sections of the wall are painted, each in a different color. I was filled with joy watching Adileen run to one, shout “Azul!”, and move on to the next, shouting “amarillo”, and “verde”, and “rojo.” So. Fun.
Happy halfway through 2018 to all! We're rapidly approaching winter break, and the Peru Day (July 28th) and Arequipa Day (August 15th) festivities that go with it. The Blairs are getting ready to travel back to Peru, and the Daggetts will be stateside for all of August and the first nine days of September.
In March we started another school year with four schools, two of them in their first year! Our team is led as always by our talented director Lucia, assisted by Nancy and Miriam, who just finished 6 months of training. I’m also volunteering again this year with the team. Big thanks to Decatur (AL) Rotary Club for donating $5,000 to stock all of the books in our two brand new school libraries, as well as the supplementary books in our other two school libraries. Big thanks as well to the Bobbie Solley Foundation who is paying for our Living Library team salaries. And to many of you who donate monthly or at the end of every year—thank you. CUDA couldn’t go on without you.
This Christmas was our 4th here in Peru. Which also means it was our 4th Christmas away from family, away from our traditions, away from the cold that actually makes it feel like Christmas. I am still not used to Christmas being during the hottest time of the year. It just never really FEELS like Christmas.
As a small house church network we're trying to be more intentional about serving. Of all the things that make Jesus's followers recognizable, service should be at the top of the list. Several months ago we started going to a girls' home and a boys' home each week to help the kids with homework and start building relationships with them. I go to the boys' home in Characato each week and have slowly gotten to know the 17 boys who live there, from 8 to 17 years old. Because of that ongoing relationship, I was invited to go with them to camp at the beach for a week. It was an awesome, exhausting experience.