The Georges in Peru

Mia's a College Graduate!!

10 May 2023

Saturday, Mia graduated summa cum laude from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in allied health (with the idea of going to physical therapy school in the future)!  We're so proud of her! 

She is will hang out with us in Phoenix while Mary Beth has her surgery on Friday morning at 8:30 am to remove her 3 titanium bars (pray for that to go well, please!).  

Mary Beth's parents, Jim and Linda, came down to the States to be with us too!  Today we visited the Grand Canyon, which is the most awe-inspiring thing one can see on this side of heaven I think.

Bikes and Board Games

27 Apr 2023

Tuesday night is game night at our house.  It's a time that people from our church to get together for ping pong or Settlers of Catan and to invite friends.  Last week we had no one come!  This week we had 19 people come!  La Punta is a flat coastal town great for biking, so our garage was full of bikes by the end of the night.  For snack time we had home-made oreo-style cookies.  During our devotional time we talked about hipocrites, since just earlier in the day someone that Mary Beth met on the street said that he didn't want to go to church because there were so many hipocrites in the church (at least in the churches he's experienced).   We certainly don't want that to be our reputation here!

One Year!

10 Apr 2023

As of last week, we have been in Punta de Bombón a year!  It's been a great year with a lot going on:  starting a new church, buying a house (remodeling the kitchen), getting Allen's heart ablated, seeing the town change from quiet chilly winter months to warm summer days full of tourists, etc.

A week ago we had a cheese-making class at our house!  It was well attended with a new visitor whose husband milks cattle, so she was interested in investigating options for what to do when they can't sell all of their milk.

We've been trying to perfect making cheddar cheese, since it isn't available in Peru.  We're getting close!

Mission Impossible

16 Feb 2023

Sunday we had a new couple, J & C, visit our church.  They are elderly but smiley.  "How did you come to hear about our church?" I asked after the service.  "We saw the sign hanging outside the church."  I'm not sure if it is a cultural thing or maybe they have something to hide, but when I tried asking them more information about themselves they answered very vaguely.  And shortly thereafter their answers started to conflict with previous answers.  I chalked it up to me being a scary gringo.  I asked them where they lived and they gave a vague, "On the last street near the Jesus statue on the hill."  What's that even mean?  After a few minutes, Pastor Elvis came up and talked to them a bit and I laughed inside as he got frustrated by their vague, evasive answers to the exact same questions I had asked.  Okay.  It wasn't fear of the gregarious foreigner after all.  

Today, I had about 40 minutes before our music lessons in the afternoon (Mary Beth is teaching guitar and I am teaching piano to some kids that attend our church) with nothing to do, so I decided to try to go visit J & C.  This was a completely unrealistic plan considering the time.   My first step was to ask the first person I saw in their neighborhood if they knew who J & C were and where they lived.  When I arrived at the Jesus statue on my bike 15 minutes later, I realized I was in a ghost town.  There was no one in sight anywhere.  I decided to inquire about J & C in a little corner store, but when I entered I was suprised to see a 10-year-old boy attending an 8-year-old boy obviously sent my his mother to buy mangoes. He was trying to calculate how he could include a chocolate bar in the purchase without it being too noticeable.  "Uh, do you know an older couple named J & C," I asked.  The 10-year-old looked pensive and shook his head. "Their last name is Roca," I added, not expecting my prospects to improve with that added detail.  "Hmm.  HIS last name is 'Roca'," he said, pointing to the 8-year-old.  "Do you know J & C?  Are they your grandparents?"  I asked redirecting my questions to the 8-year-old who quietly replied, "I don't know."  I realized that many 8-year-olds here don't know their grandparents actual names.  "Are they from Azángaro?"  "Don't know."  The 10-year-old called for his mom who came and after I explained why I was looking for them, she encouraged the 8-year-old to show me his home where I met his mother, J & C's daughter-in-law!  Unfortunately, J & C weren't home (or maybe they were, one never knows!), but I left greetings and thanked them for visiting our church and invited the daughter-in-law to visit too.

Searching in Alto La Punta on my bike

The Lord is Watching over his People

20 Jan 2023

“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.” - Hebrews 11:1

 

Greetings from sleepy Punta de Bombón.  We are told that at this time of year this place is usually hopping with tourists coming out to enjoy the vast beaches, but this year is a little different.  With all the protests going on, the town is quiet and tranquil.  We returned yesterday from our yearly conference near Lima and can understand why.  A ‘cease fire’ was called over Christmas that got Ben and Mia safely back to the States.  When it ended, protests were slow to start up again and the mission felt it would be ok to hold our annual spiritual life conference near Lima.  While we were there however, the Cusco airport closed for a few days because of protests, which delayed the return of Abancay and Cusco missionaries for a while.  Thankfully, the Lima airport was unaffected and Paul was able to fly back to the US on Monday without any problems.  We made it back to Arequipa on Tuesday. Upon our arrival we found out the road to La Punta was blocked by protesters and decided to wait for an opportunity to make our final leg home.  Yesterday, we had had enough waiting, and having heard that buses were getting though in the wee morning hours, we headed out at 4:40 am hoping to catch a minivan to take us the distance.  Thankfully, we were able to get on the road around 5:45 and just managed to squeak past protesters setting up tires to burn in the nearby town of Cocachacra at 8:00 am. I know these narrow misses are not casual occurrences but answered prayers so thanks for praying!  We are super thankful.  Even so, I believe that as Christians our goal in life is not and should not always be to be comfortable and safe, but rather to glorify God.  Sometimes this means miraculous blessings (like safe travel in a divided country), and sometimes it means ‘unjustified’ suffering.  Whichever it is, may my heart say “I’m so thankful to be walking with you oh my God!”

                                                    Helping to lead music at Conference.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Georges!

31 Dec 2022

Family picture from the scenic lookout above La Punta (Ben, Mary Beth, Allen, Paul and Mia)

As we finish this year 2022, we want to wish you a (belated) Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! 

We had the joy of having 3 of our 4 kids with us in La Punta de Bombón for Christmas!  Ben had to return to the States already as he is gainfully employed in Illinois now, but Mia and Paul will remain with us until their universities resume classes.  Peru is still in a State of Emergency, so pray that all of our planned travel is uncomplicated, especially with all the canceled flights on the US end of things.

More Excitement than we Need

13 Dec 2022

We haven't written much because our excitement/free time ratio has been very low.  That changed last week when the president of Peru announced he was dissolving congress and congress immediately impeached him.  (kind of like highschoolers breaking up:  "You can't dump me!  I'm dumping you!") Congress won out.  His vice-president, became Peru's first female president with full powers of the office.  There have been escalating protests and riots since then.  Yesterday, on my (Allen's) way home from Mollendo, the nearest larger city, I came upon a line of stopped vehicles and protestors burning tires in the middle of the highway. 

I opted to not follow the advice of one man who said I could 'just drive through it like Rambo', and instead chose to take a slight detour over a nearby mountain and made it home without any issues.  Yikes!  Protestors also took over the airport in Arequipa, destroying landing lighting and other parts, making the airport unusable despite the police retaking control of the area later on.

Here in La Punta, things are actually very calm (probably because most of the traffic is blocked from entering the area!) and we are able to go about our ministries as before.  

Ben, Mia and Paul are coming to visit (flying into the airport that is currently closed!) next week, so pray for their safe arrival and a good time 'home' with family.

Birthing Piglets

08 Nov 2022

Life is an adventure.  The pastor’s wife, Rosita, and I (Mary Beth) went for a run down to the ocean this morning.  We touched the water just for fun and after we got back, we went to visit one of the ladies in our running club who had really wanted to come but couldn’t make it.  When we arrived we saw the reason why:  One of the sows on the farm she works at was giving birth.  The pig, a first time mother, had been experiencing contractions throughout the night and had been pushing for the last five hours.  She was really tired.  Two guys were there trying to pull out the first piglet.  The first one had no experience. “I grabbed its snout and pulled, but kept losing my grip.  I felt its teeth though,”  he said.   Another guy who had quite a bit of experience arrived.  “The first piglet’s really big,”  he said, “and it’s turned around”.  The first guy: “You mean, what I thought were teeth was really a hoof?” “Yup”!  

I looked at Rosita.  “I’ve never seen a sow giving birth before.”  Neither had she.  We were all praying the sow and her babies would survive, but I haven’t heard yet.

 

 

Ladies Running Club!

12 Oct 2022

Mary Beth has been taking advantage of the fact that she had surgery and can run easily for the first time in her life by running frequently.  She even started a running club with the women from our church.  They usually run 2 km.  Pray for other women to join them as an opportunity to get to know more people here. 

Three Boxes Left Over

07 Aug 2022

When we bought our house here in La Punta, it came with most of its contents.  The previous owners live in New Jersey and obviously couldn't take all of their things with them, so we bought the house 'as is'.  That means that we had a lot of duplicate items that we needed to get rid of.  So, for the 3rd time in 2 years we had a garage sale!  It was scheduled for Friday and Saturday and we handed out flyers to people on the street and posted some pictures on the 'Buy & Sell La Punta' Facebook page. 

Wow did it work!  Friday morning, people were lined up outside of our house over an hour before our 8 am opening time.  By 9:30 there was little left.  By 10:30 we declared the sale over and put the 3 remaining small boxes and 2 glass jugs on the sidwalk with a 'Free!' sign on them.  They were all gone within an hour!

We're thankful that the sale was a good opportunity to get to know our neighbors better and for them to enter our patio where we hold our church services.  Pray that it leads to some attending church and becoming Christians!

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