Uncomfortable…

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.

water

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.

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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.

water line

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.

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As we already had a team at our apartment our cook was able to make some meals for our extra guests.

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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).

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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!!

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First Kids Arrive at The Orchard

Rejoice with us as the first two kids finally arrived at The Orchard Children’s Home the 3rd of November. Praise God! The Home had been ready and waiting for a couple months now to receive the first children and the day has finally arrived. Thanks to all who have been praying fervently and giving generously in order to make this day a reality.

Siblings *Cristofer (6) and *Ester (5) arrived to us without official IDs and with just the flip-flops and clothes they were wearing. We still don’t know a lot about them yet just that they have been in “situations of abandonment”. Their first night there was a lot of fear and crying but they have now started to settle in. What a joy to provide a family to kids who have never known what a true family should be like. What a privilege to share with them that God is a Father who will love them unconditionally and will never abandon them.

Cristofer and Ester's arrival at the Orchard after 3 hours travel to Pucallpa and another few hours running around the city to do medical exams and paperwork in order to enter the Home.

Cristofer and Ester’s arrival at the Orchard after 3 hours travel to Pucallpa and another few hours running around the city to do medical exams and paperwork in order to enter the Home.

Their new family: houseparents Antony and Leslye

With their new family – houseparents Antony and Leslye.

Settling in and starting to feel at home

Settling in and starting to feel at home

Please be praying for our houseparents that they would be the mom and dad that these two precious kids need and for the kids that they would adjust quickly and truly know God’s love for them. May Cristofer and Ester be the first of many orphans and vulnerable children that we can help in the Peruvian Amazon!

Here are some more pics and information at Kids Alive Peru if you are interested.

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

First Annual 5 km fRUNdraiser

In May I was back in the US for a Field Director’s conference and then spent a week in Canada to visit family. While there I did something I haven’t done in many, many years…bought a pair of running shoes. Usually I like to have a ball in front of me if I run (ie – soccer) but an organization called Peru Generoso, started by Marco Villacorta (the treasurer of our local board here in Peru) decided to do a 5 km run to raise money for Kids Alive Peru and Open Arms, another ministry who works with children at risk. My fantastic idea was to actually practice for the race with my nice new shoes so I could cross the finish line without killing myself…well life happened and sure enough I broke them in by using them to drive myself to the race.

The original goal was to have 500 runners but a couple weeks before the race only about 150 had registered although others had committed verbally. In faith (and trepidation) Marco ended up ordering 500 shirts at the spurring of his wife. Sure enough with a week to go there was almost 400 and by the start of the race at 9 am this past Sunday, September 27th, 498 people had signed up. Praise God!

Kenzi Suzuki, from our local church, was the race organizer and did an incredible job. It is what he does for a living and he was looking for an opportunity to merge his work with his faith and didn't think it was possible. It was awesome to see how God worked out all the details.

Kenzi Suzuki, from our local church, was the race organizer and did an incredible job. It is what he does for a living and he was looking for an opportunity to merge his work with his faith and didn’t think it was possible. It was awesome to see how God worked out all the details in providing us an expert and him an opportunity to serve the Lord with his talents.

We were very humbled by the number of volunteers who helped beforehand and during the event itself including my sister Beth. Her husband Martin amazingly came in 3rd in the race! Amazingly...as he was driving the lead car that the runners were supposed to follow!! Maybe you'll get first place next year Martin!

We were very humbled by the number of volunteers who helped beforehand in organizing, finding race sponsors and promoting the race and of course helping during the event itself, including my sister Beth. Her husband Martin, more the bodybuilder type, amazingly came in 3rd in the race! Amazingly…as he was driving the lead car that the runners were supposed to follow!! Maybe you’ll get first place next year Martin!

The beauty and difference of this race was that it was truly a family affair. There were serious runners but there were also kids on bikes and scooters, parents pushing running strollers and those just going for a Sunday morning stroll before church. Our older two took off quick and there was no catching them. I tried to stay with our two youngest who rode bikes but they had to stop frequently and let the old man catch up. Diane, suffering from some shoulder problems, walked with friends making sure I wasn't collapsed on the road somewhere.

The beauty and difference of this race was that it was truly a family affair. There were serious runners but there were also kids on bikes and scooters, parents pushing running strollers and those just going for a Sunday morning stroll before church. Our older two took off quick and there was no catching them. I tried to stay with our two youngest who rode bikes but they had to stop frequently and let the old man catch up. Diane, the one who likes to run, is suffering from some shoulder problems, so had to walk and made sure I wasn’t collapsed on the road somewhere.

The kids and staff from the Juniper Tree all participated as well as some of the moms from the Moms Helping Moms program at the Oasis. They all did incredible (at least the kids anyways!)

The kids and staff from the Juniper Tree all participated as well as some of the moms from the Moms Helping Moms program at the Oasis. They all did incredible (at least the kids anyways!)

Here is most of the KAI Peru team that was there...barring a few stragglers still on the road...

Here are many of the KAI Peru team that was there to run and help…barring a few stragglers still on the road…

Pictured here is the 2nd place winner for her age group who is from the Juniper Tree. Next to her on the right is Marco V. to whom we are all very grateful for doing this fundraiser.

Pictured here is the 2nd place winner for her age group who just happens to be from the Juniper Tree. Next to her on the right is Marco V. to whom we are all very grateful for doing this fundraiser.

Both of these young people from the Home got 2nd place along with a backpack full of prizes. We are very proud of them!

Our winners! Both of these young people from the Home (the ones on the outside if you’re not sure which young people) got 2nd place along with a backpack full of prizes. We are very proud of them! [Check out my nice formerly new shoe.]

Pretty cool - our accountant even got involved by bringing his drones to help with filming!

Pretty cool – our accountant even got involved by bringing his drones to help with filming!

We even made the news...about 30 seconds worth anyways.

We even made the news…about 30 seconds worth anyways. Of course they had to interview me soon after finishing while I was still huffing and puffing! How’s my hair dear?

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Some pics of our Kids Alive family

All in all it was an awesome family affair and great exercise for a great cause. Unfortunately Sunday was the only day the municipality would allow because of less traffic but most were still able to make their church services afterwards anyways. The municipality was initially hesitant with the whole thing. However the municipal rep that came was so impressed with the whole thing that he wants to double the numbers for next year’s race. 1000 runners in 2016! What’s the bet I don’t touch my running shoes before then?

The Orchard Inauguration

It has been a long time since we updated this blog and a lot has happened since then including some new arrivals…

Little Anna Sophia was born at the beginning of April.

Little Anna Sophia was born at the beginning of April.

No worries...she's not ours! Congrats to our good friends and Assistant Field Directors, Kyle and Cristina Thomas on their beautiful little daughter.

No worries…she’s not ours! Congrats to our good friends and Assistant Field Directors, Kyle and Cristina Thomas on their beautiful little daughter and for wearing a Canada shirt to make us feel welcome in the clinic. For those of you who know our Juniper Tree director, Juan Carlos, he and his wife also just had a baby yesterday!

Cristina is a missionary kid from San Jose, Pucallpa, where the TEC Care Center is located. When she was still a teenager she and her father, John Hocking, walked around some of their property and prayed that God would allow them to start a children’s home someday there. Back around 2007 John started forming a team to help get their vision off the ground and designated 5 acres of land for the Children’s Home including an orange orchard.

The land as it looked when I visited for the first time in 2008.

The land as it looked when I visited for the first time in 2008.

In 2008 John and I met to speak about the project and he ended up asking me if Kids Alive would be willing to take it on. Having just taken on the Friends of Peru Children’s Home in Andahuaylas we weren’t sure at first but felt the Lord was leading us to do so and together started to make things happen.

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In 2010 John donated the land to Kids Alive, including the first house.

From 2008 to 2014 Kids Alive Peru grew from two ministries in Lima with around 100 kids to four active ministries with around 500 kids. Needless to say it has been hard to get The Orchard Children’s Home up and running with everything else going on. BUT…praise the Lord, Monday August 3rd we held the inauguration of The Orchard. We presented staff, gave speeches, sang, dedicated the work, property and future kids to the Lord and of course had refreshments.

A number of friends and ministry partners showed up for the grand event.

A number of friends and ministry partners showed up for the grand event.

Kyle Thomas presented our Peruvian staff and missionaries, Jon and Wendy Reid, who worked so hard to get The Orchard started.

Kyle Thomas presented our Peruvian staff including Monica Macedo, The Orchard director (the lady with the blue shirt) and thanked outgoing missionaries, Jon and Wendy Reid, who worked so hard to get The Orchard started. They will be missed!

They even let me share...

They even let me share…

We were pleased to have some officials from the Family Judge and the Municipality join us. Some good contacts were made.

We were pleased to have some officials from the Family Judge and the Municipality join us. Some good contacts were made.

At The Orchard the orange trees are grafted into native lime trees as no other citrus survives in Pucallpa. Just as in Romans 11 as we have been grafted in to be God's people so we want children at risk rescued thru The Orchard to be grafted into the Kids Alive family but more importantly, God's family.

At The Orchard the orange trees are grafted into native lime trees as no other citrus survives in Pucallpa. Just as in Romans 11 as we have been grafted in to be God’s people so we want children at risk rescued thru The Orchard to be grafted into the Kids Alive family but more importantly, God’s family.

The Inauguration is over. We are ready for the first kids to arrive, Lord willing even this week. Please pray for wisdom for our new staff and adaptation for the kids arriving soon.

The Inauguration is over. We are ready for the first kids to arrive, Lord willing even this week. Even the beds are ready in anticipation! Please pray for wisdom, love and strength for our new staff and adaptation and emotional healing for the kids arriving soon.