Sunday, August 24, 2014

Melting in Pucallpa

Melting in Pucallpa, here at Levi's cousin's inernet cafe with my stepdaughter, Levi's youngest. Only one computer available, so I get dibbs. Just checking accounts. Didn't get to church today - Levi wanted to organize things so's I'd have a place to stow my stuff, just as I need to clear space for HIM, for when he eventually makes it stateside. Please be in prayer for my Pucallpino pastor's family who suffered the loss of a family member. No other major news. Be back probably on Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Warm in Pucallpa

Last night I woke up to the loud noise of a sudden downpour pounding on the corrugated steel roof. Ahh, SELVA! Keeping warm and happy in Pucallpa. Most of my ministry is just spending time with my in-laws, especially Papito, with whom I pass a lot of time studying the scriptures at various times during the day. I also contribute to the cooking, cleaning, and stocking the little bodega. Like today we went to Tottus (the Peruvian equivalent of Wegman's...or maybe not, maybe more like Wal Mart), mostly for makings for pizza, but also for some things for the store. Tuesday night is Bible study at "our" house. Sunday I went with in-laws to church, where Ps. Desimo Flores was delighted to see me again. I will probably not be back on line until next Wednesday, just because it's not as accessible. But while I could feasibly spend many hours online, I think it has been better spending those hours in the Word with Papito! Times with Levi are short due to his work schedule, but we have had some pleasant and animated conversations, as well as devotional time before he has to leave for work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How IS a Christian Identified?

Yesterday went with my friend/sis-in-Christ Aurora to pass the day visiting, and go with her to her church, Santidad a Jehova to receive prayer for my knee and hip. It was a... DIFFERENT church experience. The Body of Christ has many expressions. In this one, the women had LONG (un-dyed) hair and skirts. Well, I wore a skirt over my fuzzy pants so as not to offend. And in the chill, I had the combo hat-scarf that Psa. Hilda gave me, which hid the returning white, but could  not hide the fact that my hair is short. I did get some hairy eyeballs, but others greeted me. Towards the close of the service, the pastor invited me to say who I was as a visitor, where I came from... so I explained I was a missionary, had been visiting churches in Lima and Chiclayo. So he invited me to come up front and share a little more. I'd left my Bible at Voz, but I could at least testify that, despite various tragedies I listed, I always had the joy and peace of the presence of the Lord; had been walking with Him since just before my 18th birthday; that life in Christ was far from boring; encouraged the youth to follow Him - that they'd never regret that. 

Freedom From Human Rules

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  Hm, doesn't say anything about skirts or hair...

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Well, I already mentioned how Carmen and I arrived at the church (after a leisurely breakfast) around 9:45, and found a number of the women already grilling chicken for the fundraiser. Since I wasn't much help with THAT, I willingly accepted Jorge's invitation to deliver the message. Afterwards, Sabi served me a "little" breast - oh, my yummy! As people came and went for their chicken orders, i got to see some other pastor friends. But I think the best surprise of all was the arrival of the SUV with folks from Manantial de Vida, followed soon after by others on foot. They were surprised and delighted to see me, disappointed that I'm leaving Lima Thurs and won't have time to visit the CHURCH - but we took advantage of THIS time. Of course, they asked how pastor Al Hauck was! He is fondly remembered and missed. Luisa, the mother of my other goddaughter Lisbet, managed to work out a lunch date with me for Wednesday...and I think more of the Juarez clan may descend upon her for a little more visiting time! Meanwhile, I noted it was after 8 pm, so apparently the other church engagement fell through - but I was fine with that. After all, I'd preached in the morning when I WASN'T expecting to, and so when I WAS, and DIDN'T, I thoroughly enjoyed fellowship with these brethren. And I have successfully loaded the pix from the event to my facebook account (opting to create a separate album for them). Tomorrow? Well, I may be making burgers (Burger King style) for pastor Andy and family...we'll see! Thanks for prayers!


Well, Thursday evening Sabina said she was supposed to preach but she had to go to a meeting, so she asked if I could give the message. I trust the Lord that He can use me at any time, and try to be prepared in and out of season. I "just happened" to have been focusing a lot on Eph. 2, so was going to use that, though I wasn't sure where I'd go with it. A brother Lorenzo was directing the service, and he opened reading that same section of scripture. Well, when it was my turn, I got up and began to take the passage slowly, calling to remembrance where we had all once been before Christ. Aftewrwards, Lorenzo thanked me, because he hadn't understood it quite so well, and I opened itup to him. What a blessing to be so used!
Then Friday after breakfast I was able to have a nice sponge bath - changed ALL my duds. I am sure there are missionaries and campers out there who know what I mean! It was a relaxing day - Nimia invited me (and Sabina who had to accompany) for lunch. I was served SO MUCH, but I couldn't (and wouldn't) finish it all. Then back to the church and toodling about on the computer until it was time for the evening service. This time Sabi preached, and for her I take out my notebook, because she is gifted and anointed to teach. She spoke of going in at the narrow gate.
"Home" again to Carmen's house, and the next day I spent mainly with Carmen and 2 of her 3 sons, Josue and Joel. We breakfasted and lunched and visited and watched videos on the computer and they looked at my pix and vids on Facebook. We went to the church for the youth service, well attended. It's a blessing to see the youth growing upin the Lord, discipling OTHERS. We didn't go home until way late because after the service itself they have a good time of fellowship and games, and hate to leave.
This morning after breakfast Carmen brought me to the church where the women were already preparing the chicken barbecue fundraising for a concrete roof for the church (so cats won't come falling through the caluminas!) Because Ps. Jorge and Sabi were also involved, Jorge asked if I could give the message. Again, in and out of season - I'd been reading in Luke 6 about loving enemies. While I don't have what I'd exactly call enemies, there ARE people who annoy me, and I am convicted that I have to change my attitude and actions. Anyway, I shared from that, and apparently GOD KNOWS WHAT HES'S DOING (ya think?) because one of the brothers there, when he got up to share, said he was convicted in his own life.
Afterwards, Sabi treated me to a BBQ chicken breast - yummers! Ps. Patricio arrived with the polos Hilda got for me for Levi and son Josue - but alas, they didn't have any extra large for me. Ps. "Jorgito", a diminutive pastor, also came to get some of the chicken. We were able to talk a bit, and Jorgito would like me to come to his church, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to, since I'm leaving Thurs. for Pucallpa, and my time is already being scheduled. Nice to be in demand, though!
Tonight another church...thanks for prayers!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Quiet Day and Another Day Visiting

Yesterday morning Vicki and I returned to the church where we had a nice breakfast of fried maduros, some over-easy eggs, and the crispy-on-the-outsied, chewy-on-the-inside rolls that I like so much. I spent some time on the computer, and later some of the women came to study the Bible.

 Sabi took me to the "center" so I could take out some cash - Psa. Hilda was going to look for some polos for me, and I'd given her a deposit, but I wanted to be sure I had enough to pay her. Then I wanted to get some hair color - the white is making its appearance, and I want to look nice for Levi when I return to Pucallpa. Sabi knew just where to take me, a "mall" of sorts, an enclosed area of shops. I got a small tube of the color I wanted, and treated Sabi to a hair product, for all her carting me around. Then while we were there, she got makings for tuna macaroni salad (that she'd learned from me). It was tempting to take a picture of the dressed, ready-to-cook cuyes - GUINEA PIG - but I knew it would upset my daughter, since we've had them as pets.
                  Sabi gets the mixed Asian veggies to make a Chinese style dish

Thus laden we returned to the church, and I joined the women in the studies whil Sabi prepared the lunch. We covered a number of topics, sharing experiences - very like when Papito Eladio and I study the Word. Exhilerating.

Then after lunching, I spent more time with them, before getting back on the computer. After a while Sabi prepared a little supper. Then while the pastors and leaders had a meeting, back I went on the computer, till they finished and Maximo gave everyone a ride home in his combi. This morning Sabi got me around 8 and one of my "daughters", Tatiyana, came to get me. She'd just gotten back from visiting her sister who was doing nursing internship among isolated villages - the government pays for nursing school as long as they do this community service! (That is my basic understanding, anyway.) Her older sister Mari prepared breakfast and lunch, and Tatiyana and I spent the hours talking about everything, showing each other pix - she on her cell phone, me from my camera, and then she led me up stairs (spiral staircase) to her room, and then led me to the computer in her bro's room, where I showed her pix and vids on my Facebook and Youtube. Anyway, we had a very nice visit.

 And here I am back at the church.
I would REALLY like to have a good bath, even if it IS asponge bath. I haven't been able to change my clothes as I wait for others to dry...I fear I smell gamey.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Catching Up

Oh, dear, I have some catching up to do!
Friday I spent much of the day loading pix. I made a potato salad while Vicki and Sabina made a fish soup and a cebiche, and we hree and Ruth enjoyed lunch together. Later Ps. Jorge told us it was sister Iris' bithday, so Sabi and I went walking, accompanied by another sister and her two children, to wish Iris a happy birthday, before returning for Friday evening's service. She served us a spicey dish traditional to where she came from. Then back for the service, and at the end, Sabi passed put slips of paper - I had one too - assigning parts for Tuesday's service. I drew 'lead praises'.!! After folks left I was able to call Levi and talk to him for a bit.
Saturday I was invited to lunch at Flor's home above her mother Santosa's.After a deliscious meal, I spent a lot of time listening, counseling, reading scripture to her, praying for her. I went there around 1 pm, and it was around 6 pm when I returned to the church. Originally I was going to hang out with the youth service, but I ended up staying in the kitchen with Sabi and Vicki, discussing various problems one encounters in caring for the sheep.
Sunday Pastor Andy came for me in the morning - intended to come for me at 8 but was delayed. Sabi, Ruth, Jorge, and one of the lads were with him inthe back seat, Cynthia his wife in front.Jorge stayed behind while I sat in back with the others, and then Andy dropped the other 3 passengers at the church where Sabi was to give a message. We then proceeded to his home, where I met Cynthia's mother who is the niece of Levi's cousin Jorge Utia in Iquitos.Small world! For simplicity's sake, I called her Prima (cousin) 

and Cynthia Sobrina (niece).My friend Psa. Adela was there, and assorted friends and relations originally from Iquitos also came by before church. I was given a good breakfast of 2 boiled eggs, 2 boiled otatoes (of which I ate one), and a mango smoothie.THEN I was served a fried egg and platanos! (I felt like a Hobbit - second breakfast!) I could only take a bite of the egg and a piece of the platano, gave the rest to Andy and Adela.
The church was nearby and the morning service was not heavily attended. 

But it was pleasant. Then Adela's brother talked to me about all the Lord had done in his life, including how He used Andy's father, Ps. Daniel. Then we had lunch and celebrated the birthday of Andy's mother, surrounded by her friends and family - and she felt extra blessed that I could be there too (we first met in 2011) Originally Andy was going to take me a 2 hour drive to another community of Iquiteños to preach, but the partying went on for some time, so instead they had me take a nap (in a VERY comfy, warm bed!) before the evening service. I got up and spent an hour with Ps. Daniel, talking about the Lord with him. The evening service was more attended. Afterwards, due to the lateness of the hour, rather than dine together, Andy got me a pollo a la braza and dropped me off at Carmen's at the promised 11:30. My portion was generous so I shared it with Carmen before going to bed.
Monday morning Abel came for me after I had time for breakfast and washing my hair. It was delightful to see him after 6 years! I met his girlfriend, and his parents-in -law and her assorted family members, including a cousin Jhordy.We lunched, and later Jhordy and Abel practiced their English with me. Then we had a light dinner and Abel conducted me back to the church. I gave Levi a call and we agreed I could go ahead and plan to return to Pucallpa on the 14th. So after getting off the phone with him,I bought my passage.
AND today I went with an intercessor sister whom I met some years ago from one of the A oG's. She'd come to the church while I was with Abel, and worked out a visit through Sabina. I went to her home where we breakfasted and visited, then with her daughter and granddaughter for a little 'paseo'- we stopped at one of the little 'malls' where Psa Hilda has a shop. Hilda was DELIGHTED to see me, and have me with her while Maria and her daughter went to pay a bill. We had a good long visit, and when Maria et al returned, she treated us to a papaya smoothie. Then we went for lunch of pollo a la braza, back to her house where I had a little nap, then more visiting over soup before she conducted me back to church in time.Despite a frog in my throat, I was able to do MY part to lead in the singing, using the list (and lyrics!) I'd prepared beforehand.
So, now, folks have left. Jhon came in and told me Cesar was outside, so I went out to give him a big hug, and he's going to try to work out a time to visit with me and intro me to his significant other!!! before I leave. And here I am! NOW to load more pix!

Friday, August 1, 2014


Sabi prepared some chicken, potatoes, and the ubiquitous rice for all who came for lunch on my birthday yesterday. But for me she also prepared a special meal, what I'd call "Chinese-ified" chicken - stir fried with veggies, EVEN BEAN SPROUTS!, because, she said, "Es tu CUMPLEAÑOS!" (it's your BIRTHDAY!)

Guests arrived in dribs and drabs - pastors and pastoras, friends, and "sons". I had no expectation of gifts, but I got them anyway. Lima's winter isn't as cold as Rochester's, but there's no central heating, and the dampness gets to one. I got some nice warm socks and a few different scarves, and a combination hat and scarf which I ended up wearing the rest of the day. 

Pictures were taken, and later I loaded them. Then around 5 Sabi sggested I may want to take a little nap back at Carmen's house because the service was apt to go long. So Jorge accompanied me - we looked for a motokar but there were NONE in sight. So we ended up walking the whole way. I have the strength and stamina - but it's the knee and hip that give me trouble (in this case, the knee was hurting more.) I promptly flopped in my bed and had a nice nap, rising when I heard Vicki's voice when she came to get me. This time we WERE able to get a motokar.
We started with a church service - Sabi's daughter Ruth led in the singing.

 As the last song was coming to an end, I sensed the Father wanted to minister to His children, and went to speak to Sabi about it - she indicated I should go ahead. So I invited people up for prayer while "son" Jhibson softly played on the keyboard. And Father touched a number of hearts that evening.

Then the seats were rearranged and the party began. Sabi had seenmy pix of the clown at my goddaughter's birthday, and when I told her she could contact Lucesita through Psa. Lorenza, she did just that, and so I HAD A CLOWN FOR MY BIRTHDAY PARTY! And balloons - in fact, I hadn't noticed at first, but they had strung up red balloons, AND A PIÑATA! Well, out came the clown, with the funny hats, whistles and balloons, and a CD had been put in of lively praise songs, and so everyone got up and did a simple little "dance" , trotting around the floor, waving balloons and blowing whistles.

 It was silly - it was good clean fun, without drunkenness. Afterwards, a couple of little games, then the cake. When everyone finally cleared out and Vicki accompanied me to her brother's house, it was already midnight! I had to write SOME in my journal. I got it started and finally retired, and then after Vicki and I got up and returned to the church and had breakfast, I finally caught up. And now I'm blogging and trying to load pix. Thanks for prayers - I am sure they helped to minister to the folks last night!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Park, A Party, and A Day with the Girls

Had fun at Huascar Park on the 29th, and Psa. Lorenza picked me up later. She arrived in a mototaxi driven by a brother Antonio whom I remembered from her church. On arrival, there was a sister at her house who greeted me as though she knew me - which isn't unusual because how many grings to they have to remember? We sat and talked about the Lord and His work in our lives, and then in the conversation she mentioned someone speaking to her, calling her by name - at which point I picked up on who she was, none other than Lucesita, who accompanied another clown known as Pin Pon back in 2006. That was the first and only time I'd met and seen her, but I'd write her occasionally in care of the pastora. She said I looked a lot younger than when she first met me (the rejuvenation of the Holy Spirit!) Anyway, as others arrived she left a bit and returned dressed as a clown, distributing funny hats, balloons and whistles. Ester was turning 20, but that doesn't mean you can't have

fun like a little kid! Ester's brother David cooked a rich "sopa seca" - noodles with a tasty sauce and a slab of pork. As I gnawed my piece and logs got packed betweenmy teeth, I realized in my eagerness to visit with Lorenza I'd neglected to pack toothbrush and floss (AND journal so I have some catcing up to do). I don't know what time Lorenza rode with me, driven by Antonio, to Aurora's house for the night. I don't mind staying in very humble homes, but it IS nice to enjoy an occasional luxurious bed with a bathroom adjoining! Lorenza spent the night with me - Aurora was away, but returned the next morning. So we spent the day together, girlfriends, talking about this and that, sharing scriptures and songs and anecdotes. Lorenza's older daughter Mirian came by to help with preparing meals, and Ester joined us too. They pampered me with good food and good company. Aurora went out again later, and after dinner Lorenza shared some about her childhood/adolescence with me before we retired.
This morning when I joined the women downstairs, Aurora pulled out a stack of little cards with scriptures, and told me to take 3, and we'd read them in order. The first was Psalm 4:7 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. She commented, "When you come, you make everyone happy with your presence!" THAT was a touching sentiment!
We had breakfast and then Lorenza contacted another brother to deliver me to the church. I don't know if it was Vicki or Sabi who picked up my toothy stuff and a change of clothes - AND my journal - fromCarmen's house, but there it is! After loading pix, I brushed and brushed and flossed. Sabi has just heated some water for me, sonow I'm going to bathe, first time since before leaving Chiclayo!!!! I will be nice and clean for my birthday! Thaniks for prayers and birthday wishes/blessings!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Anosther Day in Villa el Salvador

Last night was able to call my "Honey" when he got home from work. It was good to be able to talk at length, clarify some things, make plans. I appreciate his concern for my health and well-being - he especially worries about my being so long in Lima, due to the crime and all. But I assured him the church family keeps watch over me (besides God's angles at work).
While I miss the people - and WEATHER - of Pucallpa, there's such a feeling of being at home here among the church family of Voz de la Transformacion.
Today we're going to Huascar Park. I hear they've been expanding its features. It has a small zoo, a lagoon where you can ride either a paddle boat or a motor boat, various rides and things for the kiddies, some futbol fields, a train that takes you around the park, a pool (not that I'd do any swimming this time of year!)... a nice park! Then around 6 pm I'll be going with my friend Psa Lorenza for my goddaughter's birthday (TWENTY! How'd she come to be TWENTY???)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Arrival in Lima

Not sure what time we arrived in Villa el Salvador yesterday - 9 ish maybe. We got a cab from the bus station to the church, where Sabi had a breakfast ready of avocado, baloney, rolls, and tea. Being Sunday, it wasn't long before people started filing in for church service - some dear friends, and some whom I have yet to know better. I was given the opportunity to greet (greetings from MY church, Cidudad de Refugio) and share 'a word' - so being overtired, the word I shared was LOVE, that love that binds us together and makes us a family through the precious blood of Christ. A visiting pastor shared the message, and stayed for lunch after - spaghetti with a tasty sauce, and chicken.

 Sabi also gave me a plate of steamed broccoli and carrots, bless her heart! After lunch I napped a little, and got up to Nimia and other sisters preparing Picarones, a fried dough made with sweet potato, served with syrup. They whomped up a huge batch to sell to benefit the building fund.

 The church needs a good roof before continuing to construct more floors, for residence and hospitality, as well as to serve the needs of the congregation. I enjoyed a portion, and then a neighbor who is one of my spiritual sons, was enticed into the church to have a portion, and to surprise him with my company. So we enjoyed fellowship over picarones,

 and after Sabi cleaned up, I went with her to a local market to get makings for chicky-veggy soup to serve with PBJ's to a bunch of my 'kids'. They filed in, and enjoyed the sandwiches - for many it was the first time having our American staple of peanut butter. For others it was the first time having it with JELLY. All pronounced it RICO.


 Then one of my 'daughters' arrived and we had a nice chance to chat. Finally I got to yawning so much, I was accompanied tomy digs at sister Carmen's house, where I slept soundly. Got up this morning when Sabi arrived, breakfasted on fried egg and maduros and coffee. Then we walked back via the market, where Sabi stocked up on some fruits, and some fish for lunch.

I'll be spending time with the extended family today. Tomorrow so far the plan is a paseo in the morning to Huascar park, and probably in the afternoon I'll be joining my goddaughter for her birthday. So for now it seems the ministry is that of visiting individuals and families, the fellowship of the saints! Thanks for prayers!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last Days in Chiclayo

My last day in Chiclayo. We leave around 6:30 for the station, and the bus leaves around 7:30 tonight. It's about 13 hurs to Lima.
The conference ended early last night - while there was still daylight! (near the equator, so sun sets around 6!) Segundo conducted us home, and I stripped and hopped in the bath house, Vicki washed the few dirty duds I had and hung them on the line so they'd dry in time to pack. Then, though I whined a little that I didn't want to go out again, Vicki and the girls convinced me to go with them to a fair in a neighboring town/suburb. Well, at least we went in her son Walter's new taxi (a KIA for anyone interested to know) - more comfortable than a motokar, especially for this stupid hip. We walked around  (good exercise) - I treated to candy apples (and chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick for Vicki's granddaughter). I also bought a few more little trinkets for the kiddies at home...and some CANDY, which I HOPE will make it to the US (though the peanuty chocolate fudge may take a beating).
This morning even my fuzzy pants were quite dry, and I'm borrowing a carry-on sized suitcase from Vicki to hold the things I've bought for kids and the things I've been given. I can transfer stuff to the large suitcase when we get to Lima. Vicki left early this morning for the bus station to get our seats. I gave her 300 soles, just in case, but it was only 80 each, much better than we expected, given the holidays.

I'm glad I was able to participate in the leadership training - I trust the Lord will use it to make me more effective in my home church! I didn't get a certificate, as the others did, but no matter. And I was glad to be able to help a little over some rough spots in the translating. It was also fun to meet my countrymen (and I told Ken I was BORN in Texas, where they're from.)

Two of the speakers, Nate and Tracy, had already had to leave...but here I am with those who remained.

 Psa. Paquita wants me to return to Chiclayo to speak to the women/pastoras. In fact, as other pastors in my classroom got to know me, some of them were interested in inviting me as well. But I explained time and again that this was my last long bus trip - I plan to work with Levi to establish something permanent in Pucallpa, in the Lord's timing.

I took a few pix of the adobe that Elmer made, just like in the times when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt! I wanted to do a video of him actually making some, to show the process, but he isn't here today. Still, here you go for a look at his handiwork. The mound in the background is where he gets the earth - you can see the chaff in front of it, to be mixed in. Then to the right is the first drying stage, flat; then they are inspected and trimmed and set upright to dry more, as in the middle.

To the left you see a stack of his work. In the background you see one of many homes being constructed of this material.

I am grateful for his brotherly affection and care for my skin by getting me sunblock!

I'm very grateful to Vicki and her daughters, for hospitality, for taking care of me, washing my clothes by hand. I appreciate Vicki's humble, submissive spirit and her ability to see GOd's hand working in her life; her discernment and wisdom, her mightiness in battle; her joyful, generous heart!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Leadership Conference

Last night I went with Vicki to the opening service of a Leadership Training conference, which will conclude Friday. Due to the extenuating circumstances I was allowed to acompany Vicki. So this morning we scurried to get there before the meetings started at precisely 8:30 in the morning. You have to understand that Vicki is a very busy person, and ran to market to get breakfasty things, COOKED UP some chicken bits with onion and tomato, all the while trying to get HERSELF ready...and the fact that we were going by motokar, which takes some time since where we are there are a lot of dirt roads to traverse before you hit pavement. BUT we made it on time, and were assigned to room 4, on the 3rd floor of the large Baptist church. One of the directors was going to change me to the main auditorium so I wouldn't have to deal with stairs, but they weren't any trouble (just a bit slick. Note to self: wear sneakers tomorrow.) 
 There were 2 courses with 15 minute break between, then lunch (the ubiquitous rice - seasoned - a piece of chicken, a container with cooked sliced potatoes and a creamy sauce, like a version of potato salad, with a piece of lettuce and an olive. Then 3 more sessions, with 15 minutes between, and then all together in the main auditorium. 
The speakers were all GRINGOS. They worked with translators, and in my own classroom I was useful over some rough places (one translator gave me a hug as she left, saying with a laugh, "my salvation!") It's been fun chatting a bit with my countrymen. I feel sorry for them staying at a hotel. Though I have occasional challenges with a chamberpot, I still prefer staying with "family." And I catch myself thinking in Spanish. During breaks I've enjoyed talking to local pastors and pastoras
No doubt the Lord will use this conference in my own life.
Thanks for prayers!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Souvenirs and Surprises

Yesterday after breakfast Vicki and I went into the city. I needed to take out money for our busfare, and wanted to get gifties for the kids. We went to the station first to check schedules and also see if they took plastic...which they did not, so I HAD to get cash. Vicki assured me that what I had would be enough to get stuff for the kids, so we went to the Artesania. Sure enough, I was able to get tee shirts in the right colors, as well as some cute barretts for the girls and cute pens for the boys. The clerk gave me a discount for the multiple purchases.
Then we went to a "cajero" (ATM) - no money. Tried another - still. Vcki told me that the patoras' meeting we'd be going to later was in a center near a bunch of cajeros so we could try then. So, home again.

 I lay down a bit. When I got up, the sun was beaming warmly, and I was all by myself. So, I scrounged a small sheet to wrap myself in, grabbed the shampoo, and had myself a bath - especially after having had drips from my chamberpot experiences! As I was dressing, Vicki returned, explaining she had to go with her brother Hilario to Emergency. I wasn't surprised, as he had not been feeling well. Glad to say he is doing better.

Vicki whomped up a quick lunch of fried pork with a side of yucca and the ubiquitous rice. Then off to the meeting, already in progress. They were discussing the first interdenominational pastor/leader couples retreat in August. Love and Unity! Perfect! I thought of the Koinonia weekends in Rochester. Anyway, I told Psa. Paquita, who was heading things up, that I would like to donate something towards the retreat, so they could have nice little "detalles" - little mementos of the event. Well, Vicki got up with one of the pastoras and left, I assumed to help her with something or other. While she was away, Paquita invited me to share something, so I shared from Esther.4:14   "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” - that each of us have passed through a number of experiences, trials, to arrive where we are today. That each of us has a DIVINE PURPOSE. As pastoras, they have a great calling to minister to their spouses, and to their congregations. Anyway...I encouraged them, and then there was a little time in which I was able to share some of my own experiences.
Then along came Vicki and the other pastora with a huge box - and Vicki announced that I'd be having a birthday soon, and so they had cake, and would sing me happy birthday. The little sneak! But what a pleasant surprise! And Paquita even presented me with a little hand-made bunny jewelry box and a frammed scripture! Another pastora gave me a key ring with a scripture, and I told her I'd think of and pray for the Chiclayo pastoras whenever I looked at it.

Afterwards, the same pastora accompanied me and Vicki to a cajero where I was finally able to take out some cash. We went home. Now, earlier on our way downtown, a sister from Yenny's church greeted us and asked us to come to church again that night. But I've been having a lot of late nights, so we stayed home this time. I was playing Words of Wonder on Facebook when I was called to dinner - bits of fried pork, rice, and yucca. Afterwards, I was going to finish my game, when suddenly we lost power. So I went to lie down and pray till I fell asleep.
 The cake suffered a slight mishap, losing its "Feliz" - and people have such a hard time spelling my name!
 Pastora Paquita on the left
 some of the other pastoras - there were 11 there, from different churches
Vicki tries to get a group shot before my batteries died.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Day of Rest

Yesterday we only planned to visit Vicki's father, Papito Maximo. So, I spent some time on the computer. When I got up to walk around a bit in the garage I was surprised to see a little dog had wandered in and made himself comfortable under my chair. 
 After a bit Vicki called me in to lunch - OOO, crab, shrimp, fish, a version of Johnny Cakes, rice from Vicki's own farm... 

Usually I don't eat a lot of rice, but I did have some of Vicki's with the broth from the poached seafood. 
 Then the pastora called, and the pastor (who'd been out of town) wanted to meet me, so I was asked if I could go to the service that night. I asked Vicki if I'd be preaching, and she said "maybe." Well...I prayed to be prepared 
A little later we went to Papito's. Yenney and Meme were there with their THREE sons. The eldest, Christian, gave me a warm greeting, as did Papito. Papito wanted to discuss scriptures with Vicki because some Jehovah'sWitnesses had left one of their magazines with him. So, among Christian, Vicki, and myself, we pointed out errors in their doctrine. 
 Later Elmer also arrived, this time not all covered with mud from working at he was able to give me a clean hug! 
 Rambo's sister Pantera lives with Yenny's family. It was fun to watch her playing with the youngest son. 
Papito brought home an order of pollo a la braza. As Elmer served me, I asked if it would be a bother to have ketchup. He gladly went out and bought a packet for me (stuff we usually see in jars or bottles usually comes in packets there), so I was able to enjoy ketchup with my fries. Meanwhile, not being much of a rice eater, I gave Vicki some of mine, and sneaked a bit on to Christian's plate as well while no one was around except Vicki. 
We all had plenty to eat. 

 Then Vicki and I returned home until it was time to return to the church. The pastor greeted us, asked me a few get-to-know-you questions, and asked if I would just greet the church and share a brief testimony. "Like, not 30 minutes long!" 
I pondered what to share, and it was when the pastora led in the song "Donde esta el Espiritu de Dios, Hay Libertad" (Where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom), I decided to share about how God set me free from the fear of rejection. "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them...There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:16, 18) 
God's love set me free!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Loving the Neighbors and Ministering to the Youth

I don't know how many people in the neighborhood Vicki invited, but yesterday afternoon 4 adults and one girl arrived. We served crackers with strawberry jam and some with what they CALL mermelada de leche - milk marmalade - which, if you ask me, is CARAMEL. Or maybe butterscotch. That, and a bit of coffee. We sat and chatted a bit first, munching.

They were all believers so instead of addressing the issue of salvation we discussed walking with Christ. I started with Col. 3, setting ones affections on things above, but we covered other scriptures as well. Then  Vicki invited them to go through the clothes we brought from Lima. The brother stayed to talk with me, asking opinion/advice on things he was facing, and I was able to speak encouragement as well as exhortation. All were blessed according to their need.
Later we got a motokar to the church Maranatha for the youth service. I think it was the largest group I've ministered to so far! After some praises, there were some games (really fun to watch)

and then I shared a bit about the question Is it boring to be a Christian.
I invited them to think about how it would be to be best friends with someone who was rich, famous, and influential. I gave some examples - athletes, actors...and then softly sang a little chorus, in which others joined : "Yo tengo un amigo que me ama" (I have a friend who loves me), and pointed out that Christ has been famous for a LONG time, and the benefits of having known Him, using personal testimonies. At the end, I read from Rev.3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." and offered the invitation to receive Christ.

 The youth pastor expanded on it, and 5 came forward - 3 to receive Christ, 2 who wanted prayer for the peace that only God can give through Christ. 

Then a little more singing, and a light repast of sandwiches (a roll with lettuce? I think I tasted a little chicken and mayo when they passed the platter around the second time) and coffee. I chatted with the youth next to me.

 Afterwards, the pastor invited them all to give me a hug,  then we all began to leave. While Vicki and I waited for Segundo to retrieve us, a couple of girls sat with me and one of them practiced her English. I gave them my facebook info. Pastora on the left, youth pastor on right, English student in white)

 And finally we headed home.
A fruitful day!