We’re home, so now what?

Webster’s dictionary defines poverty as lacking an acceptable amount of material possessions.  We, the church, need to remember that lacking material possessions may or may not be an indication of poverty.  This week we had the chance to see families with little, by our standards, living completely blessed lives.  We also had the opportunity to see the results of physical and spiritual poverty. 

Our team was able to show God’s love to our friends in Chincha by helping build a community center, enjoying a field trip to the beach with the youth, professional training for some local teachers (which they are already starting to implement), and encouraging families through home visits and prayer.  We also had the opportunity to see  the deeper darker side of spiritual poverty; broken relationships, girls denied the chance to attend school and the hopelessness of a father’s inability to protect his family from harm. 

My heart broke in all these instances but especially for the father of a boy who was attacked in his own home.  Here is a hard working man, trying to provide a better life for his family, who is now gripped by fear and can’t understand why this has happened.  No one can.  The best I can do is blame sin in the world and hold onto God’s promise of using all things for His glory.

Without going into detail I’ll just say that if this family had lived in a house instead of a thatched hut, this attack may not have happened.  A friend said to me, ‘Kim, the same thing happens in Chandler.’  But at least in Chandler we have the ability to lock our windows and doors.  We may choose not to but noetheless, we have that opportunity. 

There is much work to be done in Chincha.  Food for the Hungry is able to address some of the physical and  phycho-social aspects of these problems with the funds generated through the child sponsorship program.   But this is limited right now because we haven’t yet be able to get sponsors for all the children necessary to fully fund the project.  Cornerstone will be promoting child sponsorship on Sunday June 27th & July 4th.  Please pray for God’s direction as as you concider sponsoring a child for only $32 per month.

There are other ways to help as well.  Tell family and friends what is happening or do some fund raising for the construction of a home.  For about $5,600 a two room, 5 meters x 7 meters, house can be built using modern building techniques.  This not only provides security for a family but also employs workers in the community.  Of course the most important thing we can do is to pray.  Pray for these families, their communities and the leaders that they would be able to recover from the devestation of the earthquake in 2007.

for His glory,

Kim

Advertisements

Wednesday by Daniel

Well, its Wednesday.  What a day.  Actually, we really didn’t do a whole lot.  Got up this morning, ate breakfast. I believe it was a combination of a chicken platter served with peppers and onions and rolls.  it was delicious. Then we rolled out to El Carrizo to work on the community center.    Five or six of us carried a large, rusty hunk of metal meshing down the road a ways to a second construction site.  This consequently created five Oompa Loompas as the rust was orange and….well….I’m not even going to go into reasons we could have green hair.  So we haul this awkward monster of metal down the road to a turn….then another turn….then another turn….then across a field…and we prop it up next to a house.  Not surprisingly, even though the house was nothing more than thatched hut with a dirt floor and housed upwards of ten people, there was still a TV.  This is pretty common.  Anyway, after chatting a bit we left. On the way back Challo told us about a house he had built for a family using the same technique we were using to make the community center. So we went on a field trip to go see it.  Afterwards, we walked back to the construction site.  After we ran outta time we prayed and ventured back to the hotel where we loaded our stuff up and ate lunch. Lunch was a big slab of chicken and rice.  After lunch we took off to El Carrizzo to attend a meeting of the banking club run by members of the community.  I chose to stand outside and watch Hector, the leader of the community, make chairs. After seeing him crank out chairs out a lightning pace using tools which looked like he dug out of the dumpster (He used a flip flop as a brace), I’ve decided he’s pretty much a beast. So after he was done we went inside to catch the tail end of the banking meeting. After it was over we said our goodbyes, loaded up, and went into town for some shopping.  We found baskets. Baskets and shirts. We also ate some doughnut-like pastries whose name eludes me but whose taste was AH-MAZE-ING.   After many more minutes spent shopping than I liked we loaded up again and left for Lima. So here I am, sitting in the lobby typing up this blog. 

So what do I think of the day?  I thought it was pretty good. It was nice to wind down from the breakneck pace we’ve been working the last few days. I was a little put off since we didn’t get the building under roof like we had wanted, but I trust that Challo and his boys can finish it no sweat, so it’s cool.  It was really cool seeing Hector crank out those chairs. it’s kind of sad that he makes them and sells them for an equivalent of less than five dollars. Still, at the rate he does them I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes pretty good money out of it. One thing about today kind of shocked me. I saw ducks today. Not chickens, not turkeys, not any other random species of peruvian bird, I saw ducks. Not expecting ducks in Peru.  Also, it still strikes me as ridiculous that families who don’t even have enough food to feed themselves or any drinking water are almost guaranteed to have a TV.  It’s crazy. It ranks up there with the native people not being able to drink the water in Peru any more than us and the ducks.  So all in all good day. Had fun, built stuff, saw ducks. Once again, good day.

The rewards of child sponsorship

 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works?  Can this kind of faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it?  So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself.  James 2:14-17 NET

I (we) have been blessed to be a part of a team of individuals seeking to see the world the way God does, and in obedience and love, shine the Light of Jesus on the people of Chincha.  This has been an awesome week as I watched a group of ordinary people from Chandler, Arizona open their hearts and allow God to work in and through them as we participated in everything from a teacher’s workshop to home visits to building a community center.  I stand in awe of a God, my God, who takes seamingly unmanageable circumstances and turns them into life changing experiences!

We began today in much the same manner as we have the rest of our days in Chincha by working on the community center.  However, today we had a special treat as the children from the pre-school came to visit the job site.  Apparently some of the children wanted to see the progress we were making, so the teachers took them on a field trip.  They marched onto the worksite with signs praising Jesus and singing songs for us.  Of course we stopped working to take time to play and laugh with our guests.  We took a group foto, then they left with waves and goodbyes in both English and Spanish.   It was a great way to start the day! 

After lunch we visited sponsored children.  Walt and I could hardly wait as today was our day to visit Diego and his family.  Although we were blessed to spend the day with him on Sunday, we cherrished the additional time we would have together.  We were also very excited to see Diego’s next older brother Christian (he has two older brothers), as he hadn’t been able to attend any of the activities since we arrived.  And I was looking forward to talking with their mom, Alisia again.  Last year when we were here, they were living in a plastic wrapped hut and Alisia said it was very cold, especially at night.  I was curious, and hopeful, how their living conditions might have changed. 

When we arrived at their home, I thought we were at the wrong house.  Here in front of me was a brick house with a wooden door and glass windows!  You don’t see that very much in El Povenier.  On the door were a bunch of colorful balloons and a welcome sign for us.  Diego opened the door and ran out to give us hugs.  Not far behind was Alisia, arms open wide.  She gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek and quickly ushered us into her new home.  She was so excited to show us her home, she was talking so fast the interpreters couldn’t keep up!  I couldn’t stop smiling as she introduced us to her soon to be daughter-in-law and her new grandson.  We had a tour of the rest of their home, the part they were living in last year now serves as a kitchen.  They have a small garden of fruit trees in the back and are raising a pig to be slaughtered as part of the baby’s first birthday celebration in October.  The visit continued as they shared how they were able to get a loan to build the house and how, Alisia and Jilliana (daughter-in-law) were working a side business making chocolates for special occations.  Diego does his part as salesman.  If you knew him you would understand how perfectly this role fits him.   They are one of the few homes in the area with internet access.  And because of this, Chrisitan, and a friend of his, have a research business where they sell information to local students so they can complete home work assignments.   I am so excited about the blessings they have received over the last year and the positive changes in their living conditions, but I have to tell you what made this visit special was when Diiego said that he had already decided that when he grows up and is too old to be in the sponsored child program, Walt and I were his choice for sponsoring his nephew (8 month old Anthony).  This family, the entire family, has completely accepted us into their family after just one visit!  This blows my mind!  I never dreamed that when we sponsored Diego, we would be able to have this kind of relationship. I never dreamed I (we) would fall in love with with these people from a completely different culture and concider them family.  We thank God for this!

Our presence here, albeit for only a short itme, is having an impact on this community as we develop relationships with the leaders, parents and children of Chincha.  It’s humbling and reminds me that God didn’t just send gold or silver as our ransome, but He himself came.

Buenes noches y Dios te bendiga!  

It’s late and I need to get to bed, but I have   

Community in the Streets

We start day 6 off by heading to the community center for some more construction.  The day starts slow with trying to get organized and some other issues, but we surely met our goals at the end of the morning.  The team that is making the roof rafters complete 6 beams.  Our wall team struggles with cutting pieces to the right size, but with some patience and endurance we complete one side of the center.  It is a beautiful thing to be working so close with the locals.  What I find interesting and different than last year, is that they all seem to want to learn a bit of english, so as we work, we teach each other words, so fun! 

The team splits up in the afternoon to do some home visits and some get to visit their sponsored children in El Carrizo, I get to visit Jose and his family of primos (cousins).  Jose has grown so much in the past year since I seen him last, I can’t believe he is only 6! 

In Jose’s house, the grandparents, 2 aunts and one of their husbands, plus about 15 children living in close quarters.  We spend some time talking and praying with the family and get a tour of their house.  The oldest girl of the children is 13 and sleeps in a small room with one bed with 3 others.  Even though their living conditions do not seem so great to us, they really are so happy as a family together.  I go outside to play soccer 2 on 2 with Jose and 3 others.  It’s a blast as they make me feel like one of their cousins on the field, laughing and telling me where to go!  After some Peruvian pizza for dinner (which is better than any American pizza I have eaten), we head into El Porvenir for the youth club and some street ministry.  

I say street ministry because we are literally in the middle of the dirt street.  We teach them a song, Chris Tomlin’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, Shannon gives her testimony and a few from our group follow by giving our cardboard testimonies.  The kids really seemed to enjoy this part of the night.  The final activity is also well received, we make Salvation bracelets and Kim tells the story.  The kids are so well behavied and well-manored, it’s a great God night.  The location is right in the street where we building the community center… next years youth group gathering for us will be inside the center, Gracias a Dios (Thanks to God!) 

Today has been a true blessing of a community gathering with us all thanking the same God. 

Tina   

Shannon’s Day at the beach…..

Wow I don’t even know were to start about the day.  We did get some well needed rest last night….then started the day out  some more yummy coffee…

 We all loaded up to go Pisco for a field trip with the Chincha teenagers to see the penguins.. Yes there are penguins here in Peru..

The excitement on the faces of the kids, Wilda, Pastor Luis before getting on the boat is something I can’t explain.  While I was enjoying all the sites I kept hearing someone behind me saying “penguinos bonitos” over and over.  As I looked behind me to see Wilda with her beautiful ear to ear smile.  Then I looked across the ocean and I saw Walt holding Diego in the other boat like a proud papa would– it brought tears to my eyes.

After the boat ride we all walked down the board walk to the soccer field to have lunch.  Before we ate, one child from each community got up to speak and thanked us for being there with them.  To see the future leaders get up and be strong  graceful speakers was awesome. 

I was as sitting down with Kim watching Wilda work with the kids… Kim almost cried… maybe we will see a sighting before we leave that is Kim crying…. Kim said “The kids just lover her. She is the true hands and feet of the Lord”.

There were two times today my heart was just touched on how the two groups just came together …… 

 I sat on the beach doing something I love to do — people watching.  To my amazement  I saw how everyone from the group broken up in different areas experiencing their inner 12 year old.  Cynthia jump roping, Danielle playing soccer, Amanda playing hopscotch ,  David playing Frisbee,…. the moments go on and on.  I know this is all Gods work because we are all enjoying one another but don’t speak the same language.   Everyone was smiling and laughing.

Then best and heart felt moment of the day was with Diego.  I had just been watching all day not really interacting when he walked up to where we were sitting with a ball.  Something came over me (the Spirit) to get up with him to toss the ball around. As we were throwing the ball back and forth I started to dance to the music in the back ground.  Well Diego started to dance too.  As we dance together it turned into us doing cartwheels, round offs, somersaults and some “break dancing”.   Boy could Diego dance!!!!! Next we both got up side down on our heads for a head stand.  No matter what I did he did it better.   Diego and I never spoke a word to one another but just enjoyed having fun together.  This togetherness can only be done because of God.  

Being with this group, the community, and the children today totally reminded me why I came back…  GOD and his works.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring from God.   Need to get some sleep to do more construction on the community center.  Where is my drill  I got some trusses to put together….  Night Night!

Shannon

PS  The kids from Chincha would like to thank the 2009 Cornerstone youth group for all they did during last years trip.

PPS I miss you Zoe……

Love, Amanda

Day 4 started with a few of us arriving to breakfast in what we’ve learned to be true Peruvian time – 24 minutes behind schedule. Three cups of coffee later, we quickly transitioned into two groups – construction going left and us right where Rebecca and Iris led a teachers workshop in El Cerrizo. Iris blew us away as she taught best practices to 13 local teachers who were hungry to learn. She loved every minute of it and the passion was apparent. Rebecca took the stage second for the application portion. Her genuine approach was so very admirable as she quickly learned and – here’s the kicker – remembered 13 names. The careful preparation of the workshop by two wonderful career teachers was well recieved. And while only time will tell what it lives on to achieve in the communities, the relational aspect wasted no time. Rosa, one of the attending teachers, found Rebecca a few hours later and the two chatted through what small portion of the others’ language they understood. The neatest part is that we later found out that Rosa is quite the introvert. We beg to differ. 🙂

On the other side of lunch, we found ourselves back in El Cerrizo for VBS with 30ish children. Thanks to the fun Studio 14 worship girls, a dance had been prepared for the kiddies – music and all. But when an uncompatible set of iPod speakers and iPod met, flexibility set in. Our translator managed to identify Ruth, one of the community leaders’ daughter who knew the song! (Every move I make I make in you/You make me move Jesus…) As we sang the song together – her in Spanish, me in English – facing each other with silly grins, I taught her all my fancy moves. How cool! Unfortunately she was a fast learner and the moment only lasted a few minutes before we took it in front of the kids. Nonetheless, those were my favorite few minutes of the trip thusfar. Better yet, if I was a betting gal I’d place my bottom dollar on those iPod speakers never having any plan to work.

As Rebecca and I learned today despite the frusterations of language barriers, if we listen hard enough and let God be our translator, all language is is background noise anyway.

P.S. Sandy – We really missed you today at the workshop. Thanks for being one of our prayer warriors at home!

P.P.S. Feliz cumpleanos papa! I love you. 🙂

A note from Cynthia

    Today we split up into two groups. One group went to share their knowledge in teaching tools and techniques to the teachers of the community, while the rest of us went back to the construction site. I was amazed as the progress that is slowly coming along with the community center we are building. We began to work and unload the materials for the day. 

As we were working, I gazed across the dirt field to see the little girl I met the previous day. Her name is Carely and she is 5 years old. Yesterday while we were at the construction site she cut the bottom of her foot on a piece of scrap metal. I helped clean her foot and bandage her up. From then on out she was my little shadow in everything I did. Today when she saw me across the field she ran to me with the biggest smile and gave my the biggest hug. She even remembered my name. Once again my little shadow was with me for the rest of the morning. I can not begin to describe the immense feeling I had to see the smile and her eyes gazing up at me. I am speechless.

I thank God every morning when I wake up that He has given me the opportunity to come here to Chincha to do his work and help the people of Chincha. From the first day we arrived they welcomed us into their homes and community as family. I would like to share a verse that God has brought me to while I have been here:

Deuteronomy 15:7-8     “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whateber he needs.”

With that I am heading to bed as we have a long day tomorrow going on a field trip with the youth. I am looking forward to see what the Lord has in store for us tomorrow. I will see you all soon. You all are in our hearts and prayers while we are here serving for our Heavenly Father. God Bless and I love you all.