Just how tall is she?

13 Aug 2017

We heard through the grapevine that when Mary Beth and I were at church in Omaha in July some murmured, "How tall is she?!"  

In December, before we were dating, we put a ruler across our heads as we stood back to back in the kitchen and one of the kids announced, "She's about 1 centimeter taller!"  A month later when Mary Beth and I started talking about dating, we discussed what were our 'deal breakers'.   I jokingly asked her, "You remember I'm shorter than you.  Are you okay with that?"  Thankfully, she said it wasn't a deal breaker!  I've told lots of people that Mary Beth is taller than I am, though something wasn't quite right.  She kept saying she is 5-feet 9 and 3/4 inches tall, and I'm just over 5 foot 10 inches.  Canadian inches must be bigger.

Friday, we had a medical campaign and Mary Beth helped translate for a physical therapist who was taking care of this very short patient!  Mary Beth looks like an Amazon woman in comparison!  We showed this picture to Mia, which led to everyone wanting to get measured.  I guess Mary Beth must have shrunk since December, because she is now 2 cm shorter than I am!  

She's 176 cm for us metric people.

Answered Prayer

09 Aug 2017

"If you leave him here, he'll just be abandoned and thrown into a common grave," the social assistence employee told me.  I didn't really believe her, but I didn't think taking Alejandro back to his home from the hospital was going to be much better than her threat.  His home has no running water, and with his broken left arm he suffered while trying to get up from his bed in the hospital, he can't even use his bedside commode.  His infected foot that was the reason for his hospitalization was worse than when I took him in before going to North America in July.  What am I going to do?  I can't sit at his side and take care of him like I did with Amy.  I have children to raise and ministries to do.  He needs a nurse that can come visit him.  I called some of the guys from church, who help out with Alejandro, if they knew of any nurses that could help.  Nope.  No one had any leads.  

I rode in the ambulance with Alejandro and Maruja (the employee that said Alejandro would be left to die) and we carried him up to his bed.   His niece came by and we tidied up his room and boiled him some water before I needed to head back downtown for a meeting.  

I started walking, not sure how far I'd have to go to find a taxi.  One showed up after I'd walked a block or two and I asked him (Edgar) how his day had been.  "Slow.  So many people are striking, there are less people needing taxis.  The teachers are striking.  The nurses are striking.  The miners are striking."

"Yeah, I saw the nurses marching with signs at the hospital an hour ago," I replied.

Edgar said, "My daughter studied nursing."  

"I need a nurse for a disabled patient nearby," I said, not really expecting anything in particular.  

"Are you the guy that helps take care of Alejandro?"  

"Yes," I said, a bit surprised that Edgar had heard of me.

"My daughter helped take care of him a couple of years ago!  He always called her an angel, he liked her so much!"  

"Is she working right now?"  I asked, starting to get excited with the prospect of finding a nurse for Alejandro.

"No, she has a baby now and no job."  

"Where does she live?"  

"With me, near where you got in my taxi."  

"Would she like a job of visiting Alejandro everyday to help take care of him?"  

"I'll ask her."

To make a long story a little less long, María was happy for a chance of employment, and she seemed to be so caring, taking Alejandro's hand when she came to meet me at his house to see what the job entailed.  Lots of people have been praying for Alejandro and it was incredible to see God provide for him in such a timely, precise way!  And I even got a chance to clearly present God's plan of salvation to the ambulance driver on the way to Alejandro's house!

O, Canada!

27 Jul 2017

We are in Canada!  We actually arrived on Monday, but I haven't had time to update the blog until now.  We are taking advantage of the kids' school's winter break to introduce Mary Beth to my family in Nebraska and South Dakota and for the rest of us to meet her family in Manitoba.  We've had a great time doing lots of fun things and are very happy to see our families get along so well.

Wait!  You only have four kids!  Is one of those Mary Beth's son?  No, she doesn't have any kids.  Peering out of the 'b' is Zach Davis, Sarah's boyfriend.

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it

02 Jul 2017

The road between my house and Mary Beth's apartment has been under construction for about a year.  Yesterday was a happy day because they opened up the bridge between our two homes!  It took me only 9 minutes to get home from her house yesterday afternoon instead of the 20-30 minutes that the congested detour route required!  (It takes 45-50 minutes during rush hour!)  This will save me 30 minutes a day, an average of 5 days a week for the next 26 weeks, or 65 hours less time spent in the truck!  Yay!

A picture from the median of the new bridge looking at the continuing construction below and behind us.

"Can I go swimming, Mommy?"

16 Jun 2017

A couple of weeks ago, Mary Beth and I went to a wedding that was held at the 'Club de Abogados' (the lawyers' social club) in Arequipa.  The wedding was outdoors, next to the swimming pool.  I love to swim, so I could relate to these kids that wanted to take off their hot, stuffy wedding clothes and go swimming!  The wedding was scheduled for noon and we arrived shortly before it started at 1 pm.  (We've learned after our combined 29 years in Peru!)  We stayed until about 7:00 observing things we liked and might want to include in our wedding.  Wedding?  Yes, if you hadn't heard, Mary Beth and I got engaged in April!  Sarah told me this morning that we announced our engagement on Faceboook but we hadn't mentioned that we are engaged on my blog, so I'm doing that right now!  The wedding will be at the SIM camp here in Peru on December 29th.  Pray for us as we make wedding plans and get the paperwork needed to get married in Peru!

Huntington's Chorea

12 May 2017

This week we went on a medical campaign to the nearby Colca Canyon.  I say 'we' because the kids were on school break at the same time as the campaign, so they and Mary Beth joined me!  This is an annual trip that is organized by Medical Ministries International (MMI) and we were part of a team about about 30 volunteers.  About 10 were from Canada, 10 from the USA and 10 from Peru.  I saw patients while Mary Beth, Mia and Paul translated for the visiting doctors and nurses.

Monday night, after a day of seeing patients in Chivay, I was asked to do a house call to see Paulo, a patient with a tremor.  His cousin (or niece, it wasn't clear) described it as a bad tremor.  “How old is he?”  “49,” she told me.  Very young, I categorized him.  The cousin went on to say, “His sister had the same thing and died.”  “Huntington’s,” I told those in my car as we drove to his house.  His cousin took us to the ‘wrong house’ initially, while she cleaned up Paulo's house before our unannounced arrival.  When I saw him flailing his arms on the floor of his shack, my initial diagnosis was confirmed.  I knew that there was nothing that can be done to alter the course of his disease, but I didn’t know which medicines could help his symptoms in the meantime.  Despite our remote location, I had cell service and internet access.  I found a reliable source that said that Keppra is a drug that’s been shown to help control movements in HD and I knew that I have a bunch left over from Amy’s last days.  Unfortunately, I hadn't brought the Keppra with me with me, but will send them with Gamaliel, the missionary in the stocking cap, who is going back to visit him next week.  Paulo was actually quite happy and said that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior before, so we prayed with him and went back to join the rest of our medical team.

Temporary housing

12 May 2017

SIM missionary Martin Wieland partnered with Paz y Esperanza (Peace and Hope) here in Peru to help provide temporary housing for those who lost their homes to the flooding.  Yesterday, they held a celebration for the 50th such house to be provided for families in Cajamarquilla. 

The children in these zones are still children.  They find ways to play even in the midst of destruction as you can see here:

Pray for safer places to play and that their parents can create order in the chaos that they are living in since the flooding began.

Caraponga, Lima

05 May 2017

We've not been posting much to the blog as much of the relief efforts are winding down and life is returning to normal.   Even though this happened a couple of weeks ago, I just received the information today, so I'm posting it now.  SIM missionary Chris Conti and Dámaris, my executive assistant, partnered with Underfaith to provide blankets, food and repellent to 75 families who lost their homes and are living in tents.  It will still be a long time for life to return to normal, so please keep these people in your prayers!

loading a car with blankets

A happy mother and son

the dusty tent village

Today I met a Mormon

04 May 2017
I just met a Mormon as I walked in the front door of our apartment. My response was to refer to Revelations 22 that states that words should not be added to or taken away from this book. I stated that the extra books of Mormonism were such an addition.
I didn't remember everything different between our beliefs but he didn't respond to this key point. I invited him and his partner to return and chat since he knew where we lived. We can only pray.
To my surprise my exact words were quoted back to me afterwards by Amelia and Annabelle had a lot of questions about Mormons. This experience gave us the opportunity to discuss 1 Peter 3:15 with them.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”.
We discussed my manner and looked at some other key differences between Mormons and evangelical Christians in simple terms (though that wasn't easy) and told them they'd always meet people with different views so they need to know what they believe.
The school where the kids attend is Christian but populated mainly by kids of the dominant Catholic religion (nominal and practising). Annabelle said the kids at school sing the Christian songs and read the bible at school but they don't change, not really.
That gave me the opportunity to swing back to us and our response to God. We have the common struggle to live God's way. We all need God's help to change... our children, we as parents, the children at school and the people we reach out to. We all need Jesus and his mercy. Call out to God today: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin”(Psalm 51:1-2). Humble yourself before the Lord God. Who knew meeting a Mormon today which lead us again to humble confession and thankfulness to God for Jesus.
 
Celebrating Easter with the family at a sunrise service

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