By now many have seen what’s been happening in Peru on the news or by Facebook. There has been a lot of devastation in Peru due to the phenomenon El Niño. Mudslides going thru cities, rivers overflowing their banks and taking out houses (and at least three seminaries that we know of); lack of running water in Lima and drinking water in the grocery stores add to the chaos. It has brought out both the best and the worst in people. Personally we are uncomfortable but compared with many in Peru at this moment we are doing just fine.
40 Peruvian missionaries and kids from the nearby BCM (Bible Centered Ministries) camp had to be evacuated due to the river overflowing into their property. Some of the kids escaped in a bucket on a neighbor’s backhoe! This happened between 11pm and 4am Wednesday night with many of our Juniper Tree Children’s Home staff helping with the evacuation. They all stayed at the Juniper Tree that first night. I’m very proud of our Juniper Tree staff as they tirelessly helped evacuate and settle our BCM friends into their own houses, feeding them and trying to encourage them.
The water had subsided enough by Friday at BCM for everyone to get some of their stuff out of their mud filled homes. That same day we moved 12 of them to the team apartment (squeezed in there with our small team of 4 who were already there) and one family went to our coworkers. We were going to take a family ourselves then but they ended up not coming to us till Saturday night…which is just as well since we had the team to take care of till then plus have had no running water ourselves since Wednesday afternoon.
There is not much potable water in Lima. Drinking water is scarce in the stores. Trucks will drop off boxes of water at the grocery stores and they will be gone in less than 5 minutes (and you never know when they will be there!) For instance, a friend just told me there was some water in a nearby store but by the time Diane got there it was gone. We have enough for now but everyone will start having serious problems soon if water is not re-established in Lima shortly. Today a number of people have received water…we’re still waiting but thankful for friends who are willing to share when they get some!
There was a lot of mud in the BCM houses, support structures giving way, etc… Saturday over 200 volunteers, including our two oldest and the boys from the Juniper Tree, helped get mud out of the houses. Still lots to do I’m afraid. More went today to clean up. Besides the BCM seminary another one in the north of Lima has had buildings and walls collapse due to the river bursting thru it. The pic above shows one of our older boys helping clean out our Home grad, now BCM missionary, Marlon’s house. There was a lot of damage to both items and structure of the house. The municipality may not allow anyone to move back till the end of April so please be praying for BCM leadership to know how to move ahead in the meantime.
As we already had a team at our apartment our cook was able to make some meals for our extra guests.
In the midst of all this we spent the last day with a service team from Great Oak Community Church in IL who were a tremendous help with construction and super flexible and gracious with the extra influx at the team apartment and changing schedules due to the evacuation. In the evening I took them to the airport and was just going to get a bite to eat with them when Naomi calls saying that Diane was really sick. So I quickly said goodbye and headed home only to be rear-ended at a red light by the guy above (he actually crashed into the car behind me who then pushed into me). I’m fine (…thanks for asking…) and the car has some damage which will get covered by insurance (after paying a deductible since the other guy didn’t have insurance).
The worst part of the crash was that it happened around 9:30pm but they didn’t take us to the police station till 10:30pm, then a bunch of paperwork, then around midnight still waiting for a patrol car to take us to another police station to check our blood alcohol levels…oh, wait I’ve got an 11 passenger van and I’m going nuts waiting so I’d love to drive everyone there myself says me (the potentially drunk driver!). Fantastic says the policeman and off we go in my van. The doc put some drops in a test tube with a straw and asks us to blow for 2 minutes. I asked the policeman to take our pics as it seemed like they had offered us something to drink… then we had to pay S/ 41.30 to have our blood taken and tested (they couldn’t have just made it S/ 40 could they!). I suggested that I’d pay if I had alcohol in my system and they pay if I was free of alcohol but he just laughed… He did tell me that we saved about an hour by me driving so we were all thankful for that! As it was I didn’t end up getting home till almost 4am!
Must admit we skipped church the next morning…sick wife, tired, unshaven, hat-head, stinky (no shower in a few days!) husband… Uncomfortable! But very thankful the crash wasn’t worse, we still have a house when many in Peru are without, we have friends that have given us water when they have it, lent us their shower and even cooked a meal for us (an ordeal when you can’t wash up after as usual) and our ministries have been protected and able to bless others.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. …now there’s an uncomfortable verse for some of us…
UPDATE: I tried to send this out last night as a MailChimp update but got blocked for spam so this is now a blog! Just got water around midnight last night finally and have had it all day as has most of Lima so very thankful!!