Ever have problems getting the kids to stop their computer games, put down their books, not get another snack and get in the car so that you aren't late going to church? Though it is hard to reproduce, we had a tremor (this is a frequent occurrence in Arequipa) as we were trying to get everyone moving. "Let's move it!" It was especially timely, as the troops were harder than usual to get moving as we were going a bit early to pick up prizes along the way for the Sunday School kids that had memorized their verses. Sorry no photos. It wasn't that big of an earthquake.
Last week, I was the guest speaker at a 3-day marriage retreat at one of the main evangelical churches of Arequipa. I spoke on five different topics, Love Languages, The Stages of Marriage, Sex Education for our Children, Sex, and Machismo. I finished with an open-ended time of Questions and Answers. I had over 60 attendees each day. Since sex is a taboo subject in the church, I was surprised how frank the questions were! (they were mostly written anonymously on slips of paper) I've never seen such an alert congregation.
Our toaster broke. In America I would just throw it away, but in Peru, they fix everything. So for about $3.50 the 'electrocista' took our toaster apart, soldered a loose wire back in place and reassembled it in about 30 minutes while I looked for a school book for Ben and bought groceries. So, I saved a few bucks and kept one more toaster out of the landfill.
Last night, I was called by one of our missionaries that lives in a remote area about 7 hours from Arequipa. He had a kidney stone and was in the 'hospital'. I use the word 'hospital' loosely. They only had one tramadol pain pill in the hospital. None of the pharmacies had anything stronger than ibuprofen (which is actually not a bad choice), so I went to a pharmacy here in Arequpa, bought some more tablets and sent them on the bus. Thankfully, when I talked to him today it appears to have passed. They say that kidney stones can hurt as much as childbirth. I'll have to let someone else comment on that. I think I'll go drink another glass of water.
This morning I went running with Roberto. I first met him in Abancay about 10 years ago when a Dutch friend and I organized the race, "Race to the Cross", an 8K race with 1K of vertical ascent up the mountain outside of Abancay. Roberto had a print shop and offered to make certificates for all of the finishers. Peruvians love certificates. He also has moved to Arequipa and I ran into him on a city bus a couple of months ago. He's become a rather accomplished runner since then, running a half-marathon in 1 hour 20 minutes at age 52! We met at 6:30 sharp (runners are good about punctuality!) about a mile from my house and we ran about 5 miles together. Luckily, he hasn't run much during the last month so I could keep up with him! We ran about 8-minute miles. I think he was being very kind to me. I'm training for the Lima Marathon May 19th, so this should be a good boost to my workouts.
This morning I went for a run with Paul Turner, the Peru director for Latin Link. We run together every 4-6 weeks, usually a longer run. My foot has been hurting since the end of January, but finally seems to be healing up. I ran 3.5 km on Thursday and it felt good, so we ran 10 km today. We are both signed up for the Lima marathon on May 19th. Our runs are a great time of fellowship and a time to share ideas. This picture was taken after last year's marathon in Lima.
Ask Amy, "What is the best thing about being a missionary?" and depending on how spiritual she needs to sound, she might answer, "Having a maid!" Naty is our maid and she comes in once or twice a week to clean and teach us how to make rice better than we've ever made before. Last week she called in sick on Thursday and on Friday we found out she was getting her ruptured appendix out! She was having abdominal pain and went to get an ultrasound and they guy doing the ultrasound told her, "You have to go to the hospital right now." "I don't have any money." "Here's 200 soles (about $70), pay me back later. If you die, have your family pay me back!" Luckily, she was able to pay it back without it being her last living request.
Today was the first day of school for this school year for everyone but Allen. Even Amy went since she just started teaching English at the Christian school at the church we attended before. Most of the kids don't know any English at all. Besides English, she has the opportunity to teach about life, the Christian walk, and geopolitical current events. One question they asked was, "Are there any other countries that speak English besides the US and InternetLand?" (okay I'm paraphrasing a bit) One student told Mia that she likes how Amy teaches. She doesn't just write things on the board to copy, but she makes them talk and even sing, which they thought was hilarious.
I did take a picture of Amy's first day of school, but her eyes were closed, so I've included one from a her first first day of school.
Today is the last day of summer vacation, so we decided to go go-karting. For just under $1 you get a ticket, wait in line and then drive 3 laps around the course. The karts have no seatbelts, but are so low they are about impossible to roll over. Mia tested the rebound characteristics of the tire barriers and was unscathed. I subscribe to the 'put the accelerator on the floor the entire time' strategy. I lost my hat on the last lap, shortly after Ben took this picture.
At church tonight, the electricity went out. We moved the pews outside, to take advantage of what little daylight was left. Fortunately, the electricity came back on about half way through the service. I thought, 'Christ Community Church in Omaha never has adventures like this!'
It is I think every Christian parent's dream to see their children not just walking in the Lord but serving Him as well. Sarah has very eagerly taken on the role of children's Sunday School teacher in our tiny new church. She prepares the lessons and prepares games and crafts by herself. The kids love her and her flannel graph stories. When we arrived at church tonight there were 5 kids sitting outside of a house across the street. The pastor and I talked to them and invited them to come to see the flannel graph stories. They came! They had such a fun time with the stories and games that one of the boys asked as it was over, "What time is club tomorrow?" "Sorry, you'll have to come back next Sunday!"