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.”
Friend of Team Arequipa (as well as co-founder of TA and CUDA, co-founder of Luminous Coffee, but of course, better known as friend of Team Arequipa), Greg McKinzie wrote a great piece for Fuller Studio connecting his 6+ years in Arequipa reading Mark with Peruvians to what he's studying now at Fuller. Here are a couple excerpts to whet your appetite:
I plugged in our 220V waffle-maker and waited for the green light to turn on to indicate that it was at the right temperature to scoop in a ladle-full of delicious, pre-waffle perfection, batter into the collection of metal squares below me…
I’m getting ahead of myself. The best churches I know in the US are “seeker-friendly...”
We have now lived in our current neighborhood for 2 years. In the past two years God has blessed us with some true friends and great neighbors. However, there were still some people that live on our street that we didn’t know yet! So that is why we decided to throw a block party and invite all of the neighbors.
July has come and gone so quickly for us. It was a busy month that ended with a lot of goodbyes. We ended our two months with our four interns and said goodbye to them at the end of July. A few days later, the Morgans along with Benji, the apprentice that had been here working with us for the past year, moved back to the States. We are now a two-family team. Our new team picture is above. Please continue to pray for the Morgans' and Benji's transitions back to life in the States and for the rest of Team Arequipa as we adjust to our new normal here in Arequipa as well.
One of the assignments of my internship with Team Arequipa this summer was to do a project related to missions in an area of my own interest. I chose to survey missionaries from around the world with some questions related to language acquisition. My objective was to understand how missionaries learn new languages and the specific ways in which ministry goals and cultural adaptation are contingent upon language acquisition. I sent out my ten-question survey through SurveyMonkey to as many missionary contacts that I and my mentors for this project could think of. A mix of 26 short-term and long-term missionaries from 11 different countries and territories shared their cross-cultural experiences as it related to language learning as well as cultural/ministerial goals. I explain some of my most interesting findings in this article.
One year ago I had recently graduated from Harding University with a degree in Spanish and Missions. I was looking forward to an exciting new year spent with Team Arequipa. However, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, and I mean that both in the sense of how I would be filling my days and with all the events that would happen over the next year. In the past year, I have come to love this city and culture, improved my Spanish skills, been in the midst of two missionary families transitioning back to the States, lived alone for the first time, eaten incredible arequipeño food, learned how to cook (kind of), avoided rabies, learned I was allergic to the rabies vaccine, climbed a volcano, seen a world wonder, read a few impactful books, learned how to share my faith, worked with house churches, come to a better understanding of what holistic ministry is, seen the various parts of what makes CUDA a great NGO and ministry, and experienced what life as a missionary could be like -- and I could keep listing things all day.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. We always love hearing from those of you who have read it! It is very encouraging to us to know we have so many people praying for us. These have been a busy couple of months. We have included some pictures in this newsletter from the past month. Mother's Day is always a big holiday here in Peru and we were able to celebrate it with some of our Peruvian friends.
For the past three summers (and the Smiths and McKinzies before that) we have taken interns from several different universities from the States. This year we welcomed four interns at the end of May who will have been with us for 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks they have gotten to take Spanish lessons, do a week long homestay with a Peruvian family, visit the Living Libraries, experience Arequipa, and be involved in the Bible studies and work that we do.
The time has come for a season of transition for my family. We have worked here in Arequipa with hopes to make ourselves available to God and bless this city in whatever ways possible for 3 and a half years and have decided to move back to the United States for the next phase of life that God has in store for us. We believe it is the right choice and the right timing for our family and our ministry here.