The Georges in Peru

Let's have an Evangelistic Cock Fight!

17 Oct 2016

Our church is located near the city square of Tiabaya, a semirural community.  On some Sunday nights we have to compete with the noise of election campaigns or fiestas put on by the municipality.  Last night there was a party in the lot next to the church with lots of bright lights and lots of people out on the sidewalk.  Thankfully, they weren't particularly loud.  Ben had to turn up the volume of our music a little bit to keep the song leader from getting out of sync with the music and we could hear our special guest from Chile without much difficulty.  During the sermon the noise suddenly crescendoed and one could hear a lot of excited people.  I turned to Paul and said, "They're having a cock fight!"  After church, the boys and I walked over and looked in and saw a well-lit cock-fighting ring and men walking around carrying either a rooster or a beer (sorry the picture doesn't show much).  I went back and excitely reported to the pastor my freshly-hatched plan for an evangelistic event:  A cock fight!  He correctly assumed that I was joking, though it does make me wonder what kind of event we could put on to attract people in the neighborhood to come through the doors of the church.  

For the chicken lovers out there, Paul stayed and watch a fight and reported that it wasn't the type where they attach razor-blades to the spurs of the roosters and they kill each other, but rather the roosters crashed into each other until the loser cowered on the edge and his owner plucked him from the ring. 

Pray that our church can get these neighbors to attend our church services and make decisions to follow Jesus.

Three Boys, Unsupervised

19 Sep 2016

This afternoon we said 'good bye' to Mia and she boarded a plane with classmates and a teacher for Lima.  As I write this, her jet should be escaping the surly grasp of the earth and hurtling towards Amsterdam on her way to begin her 3-month student exchange program in Germany through her school.  Yes, if you've done the math you see that we boys are home alone.  We can now slurp with our straws, forget dusting furniture and eat over the sink instead of setting the table.  Okay, maybe just the slurping, which we need to do to shatter the silence that pervades our home without any girls here to do the talking!  Pray that Mia learns a lot and that she gets along well with her new family (they served as missionaries and the father is a surgeon, so Mia should fit in with their girls just fine!).

I did my best to prepare her by playing German board games in our dining room with a picture of Germany on the wall.  She's ready.

Hike to the Volcano

17 Sep 2016

This morning, Mia, Paul and I went to Yura, a village about 30 km from our house to "Trek to the Volcano", an event sponsored by the village.  We met the rest of the hikers at 8:30 and got on the stock truck to head out to the trailhead.  Someone with a farm background and really good skills at imitating cows and other barnyard animals weighed the risks of insulting the local culture's method of transporting humans and soon had the truck 'moo'ing and 'baa'ing.  After the hike, the truck was deemed unsafe for transport (we had smelled burning brakes on the way to the trailhead) and were told another truck would be sent out in half an hour.  After a 3-hour hike, one has a bond with his fellow hikers, so we were having a good time joking and letting the tourism students practice their English with me.  One student asked me what I did, and when I told him I was an evangelical medical missionary he asked me, "What is the difference between Catholics and Evangelicals?"  My kids probably saw me smile as I looked at my captive audience in the back of the truck. "We have a lot of similarities, but I saw a big difference recently, when a teacher at the kids' school died and someone asked the priest, 'Will he go to heaven?'  'I don't know.  But, he did everything he was supposed to do.' But evangelicals believe it wasn't what we do but what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross. We can't earn heaven.  We just have to recognize we are sinners, repent and accept Jesus' dying on the cross for our sins and we are saved.  We don't have to wonder if we've done enough because WE don't do anything."  Everyone listened intently but one of the students changed the subject before I could make an altar call in the back of the truck. (Okay, I wouldn't have done that, but I would have invited anyone that wanted to, to talk with me more!)

 

The 'herd' loaded up and ready to go.

El Volcán Colorado

Look! A Nebraska fan!

07 Sep 2016

This morning I took Juan (not his real name), a brother from our church that had his left leg amputated three years ago, to the hospital to decide if we need to amputate his right leg for non-healing wounds due to his bad circulation.  A friend's sister is in charge of the government-insured patients and she met us in the lobby and fast-tracked us to get Juan seen by a surgeon for his leg.  While waiting in the lobby, I saw someone wearing a Nebraska sweatshirt!  I went up to her and asked her where she got it and she gave the usual reply, "I got it from a used clothing store."  She didn't have any idea we had won 43-10 on Saturday.  Someday I hope to meet someone who will tell me that her uncle in Nebraska got her shirt for her.

The doctor had seven(!) medical students shadowing him this morning.  I amazed them with one of Juan's Xrays because you can see all of his arteries because they are calcified like plastic pipes.  I fear he will have to have his right foot amputated to keep from dying of gangrene.  Pray that we can find him the best care possible.

I really liked this surgeon.   He treated Juan well and treated his medical students well.  I think one's character is shown by how he treats those ranked below him.

Would you like me to clean your house for you?

31 Aug 2016

I must admit that I don't keep the house as clean as it used to be while Amy was alive.  Part of the reason is that it's just hard to get it all done sometimes.  Another reason is that we had a woman come and clean twice a week before, but since I don't want to be alone in the house with a woman, I've nixed that plan.  At the moment we are putting in ceramic tiles in my bedroom and the office and it has made the house especially dusty and cluttered by things that had to be moved out of the way to put down the floor.

This morning I went swimming and got stuck in traffic coming home (I would have gotten home much quicker walking the whole way).  A patient had arrived 40 minutes early for her appointment and was waiting at the door when I got home so I let her in without a chance to tidy up a bit for the day's events.  I mentioned a while back that many patients bring food as a token of their appreciation for the free medical care.  Today, after looking around, she offered to come and clean the house!  I told her thanks, but my kids are old enough to help clean now.  I'm sure they won't like that I rejected her offer!

New tiles going in.  The blue post-it® notes mark freshly laid tiles that can't be stepped on yet.

Olympic Fever

21 Aug 2016

I can tell that olympic fever has struck here in Arequipa:  It's amazing how many more people I see out running when I go for my morning runs!  I rarely see any other runners, but one morning this week I saw 5 or 6!  We've enjoyed watching the olympics, but it's frustrating when you hear about an amazing event and when you click on the link you get this:

The life of a suffering missionary.  I used to be we couldn't watch the olympics at all so I won't complain!

What'll that cost?

08 Aug 2016

Life has settled down a bit, so I've been fixing and repairing things that have gone neglected (including my hair!).  How much do you think these things cost a gringo (white foreigner) in Arequipa, Peru?  Scroll down for answers!

 

1.  Replacing a segment of tailpipe that completely rusted away?  a. $1.30 b. $9.10 c. $12.30 d. $32.10

 

2.  A hair cut in this salon?  A. $1.8 B. $4.20 C. $9.90 D. $15.00

 

C.  To have this man plane and cut a hardwood board (including the cost of the wood) for a kitchen stand?  A. $1.20 B. $3.60 C. $13.40 D. $20

 

4.  The additional data fees for these kids playing Pokeman Go? A. Included free with phone service B. $1.50 per day C. $5 per day D. $12.50 per day

 

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don't peek until you've guesssed!

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Muffler?  $9.10

Haircut?  $1.80

Lumberyard? $3.60

Pokeman?  Free for now!

 

 

Eye Campaign

01 Aug 2016

Most years in July, Medical Ministries International (MMI), an organization I partner with several times a year, has an eye campaign.  Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and zillions of helpers come to Peru and we operate on cataracts, get people prescription and reading glasses and pull foreign bodies out of eyeballs (That was today's most gratifying patient, because he was instantly relieved!).  Several pastors volunteer to share our hope in Christ to the myriads of patients (last Friday 612 patients were seen!) while they wait in line.  Today, Mia and Paul joined us because they are on winter break from school.  You can see them with the acuity cube testing an unseen patient standing 20 feet away.

I wish I could be with them more while they work, but I'm seeing the patients a few stations after they check their vision to look at their retinas.  Ironically, I found at this clinic that my eyes are getting so old I have to wear reading glasses to look at my patients' pupils to look for Marcus Gunn Pupil.  I had to take a break from my first patient and get a pair before I could finish with her! 

Smoke 'em out!

11 Jul 2016

Last night at church, while the pastor was preaching, smoke started entering the sanctuary.  One of the negatives about a church that still doesn't have 4 walls is that cold air (It's winter here.  Okay.  Cool air.) and smoke come right in.  Several started breathing through their scarves or pulling their shirts over their mouths.  No one really considered leaving until the sermon was over, however.  I wondered if there was someone who didn't like an evangelical church meeting in their neighborhood and was trying to smoke us out.  I was trying to figure out how best to confront the unhappy neighbor while sitting in the pew and then I realized that it wasn't personal.  Someone decided to burn an adjacent field and was smoking out the whole neighborhood!  I was thankful to not have to confront anyone, but no one spent any time mingling after church was over!

National Pastime

03 Jul 2016

Happy Independence Day to my American compatriots!  

Today I experienced another first:  Baseball in Peru!  Scott Wade, a fellow missionary, is on a baseball team here and they had a game today.  Actually, baseball is very uncommon here, and a lot of foreigners (USA, Colombia, etc.) make up the league.  I experienced several others firsts:  A batter stole first after the catcher dropped the ball on his third strike.  And another batter ran untouched because he hit the ball into the guard dog's pen beyond right field!  I had just walked by the dog which had jumped and strained at a chain strong enough to pull a car out of a ditch (What kind of dog needs that heavy of a chain?  Must be really mean!), when the ball was hit into his living space.  The poor fielder complained, "I can't get the ball!  It's by the dog!" before the dog's owner went in and got the ball for him.  

May you enjoy the freedom you have to worship God freely as you celebrate tomorrow!

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