The Georges in Peru

Can you Bring me a St. Bernard?

11 Nov 2020

courtesy wikipedia

Whenever we go back to Peru we get requests to bring things.  We've been asked to bring computers, guitars, iPhones, projectors, candy, books, wetsuits, communion platters, Buzz Lightyear and many other things.  If we have space we try to help out.  But usually, we are bringing so many things that we need we don't have room.  Our favorite request has to be, "Can you bring us a Saint Bernard?" 

We couldn't pull that one off, but that does bring me to the reason we are posting to our blog:  We're planning on going back to Peru November 28th!  

We know far better than to say, "We're going back to Peru" because this is 2020 and things are a bit uncertain.  (James 4:14-15)  But that is our plan.  As you may have heard, Peru just sacked her president and there are demonstrations in the streets, so pray for things to work out.  We will fly to the States on the 20th to spend Thanksgiving with the kids and then on to Lima on the 28th.  On the 29th, we will drive to Arequipa where we will quarantine in our home for 2 weeks.  

New Mary Beth World Record

09 Nov 2020

Back in July when I was lying on my back, Allen would encourage me saying, ‘Just think Mary Beth, once you get your Pectus fixed, you’ll be able to run faster than you ever have in your whole life’.  I held a reserved hope that maybe he was right.  When my first 5km run post-surgery was only off my record for that speed by 7 seconds I could hardly believe it.  I decided that as soon as I actually broke a record I’d write a blog about it.  It took longer than I thought it would, but today I smashed my 3km record by 23 seconds!  Yeah, I know I’m bragging, but this is one of the most encouraging things that has happened to me in my life. 

Our bodies change as we get older, in a bad way, and when I reached my mid-30’s I noticed I was having more trouble keeping my weight under control and my back was beginning to ache, a lot.  I’ve always tried to keep active in some way, thinking ‘When I’m an old woman, I want to still be able get out and walk’.  So instead of sitting back and accepting my fate, and inspired by the 2016 Olympics, our annual mission ‘Race to the Rocks’, and a few past room-mates, I decided to change my diet (more veggies, less bread ) and start running. 

I’ve never been a runner and I felt like I looked incredibly dumb when I did, not like most lithe and athletic people I see running down the side of the road but more like a lumbering ox.  I figured I was old enough not to care.  It was also excruciatingly hard.  Often, I’d count my breaths as encouragement to keep going… 1,2,5,3… I would get mixed up because it was hard to focus.

Contrary to what I had previously thought, I’ve discovered that most people don’t run for the health benefits or even to have great looking bodies.  Most people who run, run because they actually enjoy it! (except for doctors and nurses- lots of them do it for the health benefits).  And runners are excited about anyone who wants to join the club, fast or slow.  It’s not a competition at all.  That was a myth buster for me!  

After 4 years of running a few times a week I didn’t have to count for encouragement anymore, and could even sometimes follow a conversation while running!  But I was discouraged because I still couldn’t keep up with anyone unless they slowed down for me ( l looked back at my times today and realized I had actually been getting slower instead of faster despite my consistent training).  Mia and Allen were great!  They were always willing to join me, even on days I couldn’t listen or talk to them.  One in three runs usually ended in an ‘asthma/panic attack’… or as we know now, heart stress.

It was such a relief to find out that there really was something wrong with me and now, months after surgery to rejoice that the problem has been fixed!  Allen says that someday he’ll have to ride a bicycle alongside me as I run just to keep up. We’ll see…

Cancelled due to COVID

31 Oct 2020

Today was going to be our 2nd picarones/buñuelos cooking event.  Picarones are a Peruvian pastry, much like a donut but made with sweet potatoes.  Last Saturday we had 30-40 people come out to the farm as we made picarones over an open fire and talked about Peru.  Today we had to cancel because of the rapidly-increasing COVID cases in Manitoba.  As it turned out, the weather wasn't very nice either with 1˚C/33˚F temps and 40kmh/24mph winds.  We also felt it best to cancel our evening visits with supporters next week as Manitoba enters 'level orange' which limits the number of people one can have in gatherings.  Once again,  "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Prov 16:9 NIV)"   

   A picture from last week's event.

1 in 22 Million

16 Oct 2020

Sometimes visiting with supporters can be very interesting.  One of the pastors at my home church, who makes special effort to make sure missionaries are supported on the field and did our marriage counseling, discovered he and Allen had a mutual hobby in metal detecting.  Together they decided they needed to go sometime.  Yesterday, a chilly autumn day (Allen’s from far enough south he called it winter), it finally happened.  My dad, who also has a passing interest in metal detecting suggested his old school yard might be a good place to find old coins.  Today it’s just a patch of grass with a few trees planted around it but he had some fun memories to share with us of where everything had been and what they had all done there.  Pastor Anthony was super excited to find an old silver quarter and a silver dime and Allen came home with a penny worth 1 in 22 million.  In 1954, for some reason, only 22 million Canadian pennies were minted as opposed to the usual 70 million minted yearly in that time period.  My dad has been collecting pennies ever since I can remember and he needed that one to complete his set.  It was an exciting day.

Back in Manitoba!

25 Sep 2020

Yesterday, we flew from Detroit to Winnipeg.  The airports were all fairly empty and getting through security never took more than 3 minutes.  The only delay we had was leaving Minneapolis, as Vice President Pence and his retinue were flying out on Air Force Two at the time we were scheduled to leave.  As we waited, 20 cars with flashing lights drove up to their jet, they boarded and off they went. 

There were only 20 people on our flight, so we had lots of room.  When we arrived, the immigrations official was pretty strict with us, as we were coming from America.  I had to show them our Peruvian marriage license with all of its official stamps and translations and we had to give them our plan for quaratining for the next 14 days.  Mary Beth's parents brought us a Honda Odyssey that Adrian and Zarah Fast loaned us for our time in Canada.  Without hugs, we drove to the Penners' house that they are remodeling in Blumenort to start our quarantine.  Linda stocked the kitchen with food and others have brought over books and instruments and scrapbooking materials to keep us occupied.  

You wouldn't think that being put under strict quarantine would be seen as a blessing, but it is!  I still have maybe an hour a day of mission emails to tend to, but otherwise there are no interruptions!  I figured out that it takes 8 laps around the perimeter of the property to reach a km, so I'll start my running program tomorrow, looking forward to getting a bit more scenery after October 9th.

Empty Nesters

21 Sep 2020

It seems strange to go from being single to being an empty-nester in 3 years.  Never could have predicted that!  So it’s with some nostalgia we arrive in Michigan to visit Allen’s sister Sandra and her husband Mike who run a vet clinic in Hillsdale County.  This marks the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one as we leave Paul to live with them as he works toward the required hours he'll need to apply to vet school some day.  We are thankful he has such a great opportunity and that we can leave him in such good hands.  Allen and I, on the other hand, are looking forward to spending a second honey-moon (otherwise known as 14-day quarantine) in Blumenort next week!

Paul holding a recovering Sharp-Shinned Hawk that rammed into the window on Saturday.


14 Sep 2020

We made it to Chicago to visit Sarah and Zach!  They live about a mile from their medical school campus in the Pilsen neighborhood, not that they can actually go to campus for classes due to COVID.  Their neighborhood is mostly Mexican and everyone is bilingual.  No one bats an eye if we speak English or Spanish.  

Mary Beth has kept on her walking regimen, walking 5 km in the mornings and 2 more in the evenings.  We found this amusing display on our walk this afternoon.

Tomorrow, we head to Michigan, where Paul will work at his Aunt Sandi and Uncle Mike's vet clinic.

Everyone in the Family can Legally Drive!

30 Aug 2020

Thursday, Paul and I went early to the Saline County courthouse and found 12 people in line ahead of us but after only an hour's wait he passed his test and we walked out with his learner's permit!  Yay!

Friday and Saturday was our garage sale and we sold 75-80% of our things, so that made us happy.  Over 50% of the shoppers were Latinos, so we had lots of opportunities to speak Spanish over the two days.  Ben came over from Lincoln and Alice (Allen's sister) and Keith came from Omaha to help out, so it was a fun, mini family reunion.

Mary Beth went for a walk yesterday morning and decided to try jogging a little bit.  She decided to run from electrical pole to electrical pole, but after getting to the first one she felt so good she decided to run to the next one and then one more!  Her heart felt freer than ever before!

Garage Sale

26 Aug 2020

Since 1999, Neal and Carolyn Pavlish (Allen's sister) have been storing our household belongings for us while we've been in Peru.  Every five years when we returned to Nebraska, we would take our things out of storage and put the kids in school and live in America.  Now that the kids are out of school, and we need to share the time between Canada and the USA, we will probably never rent a home and furnish it with our things again, so we are selling nearly everything we've been storing.  It is both a liberating and grieving time.  Hopefully, our things can be a blessing to some immigrant families or college students furnishing their first homes or apartments.

If you live near Crete, Nebraska, drop by and say 'Hi!'  We'll be at 639 County Road 1700, Crete Nebraska (4 miles west and 1 mile south of Crete) Friday and Saturday.


15 Aug 2020

So here’s a news update on our lives.  Paul’s been doing school-work, getting up at 6:00 a.m. some days for classes.  I think he’ll be happy once we begin moving east into a different time zone.  Mia has been working on making her drug cards for nursing school.  She jokes that she’s doing drugs so watch out.  Yesterday, we joined Sarah and Zach via zoom for some of their orientation for UIC med-school.  It was good to see how excited they are to begin this new life stage.  Ben’s moved into a new house with some friends and is ready for his last school year to start.  Allen’s been working on organizing our lives and keeping the house-work in check.  He’s cut out most of his Peru work in order to take care of me, but still has a bit of project and missionary-related work.  Since surgery, I’ve finally been able to do two courses that SIM requires which I was unable to do before because of my health.  I’ve also been going on daily walks, stretching, and practicing my breathing.  Today I walked a mile for the first time, which makes me feel quite satisfied.

Paul and Mia are making causa for lunch.  Causa is a common Pervuian dish made with layers of mashed potatoes, tuna, peppers and onions.  


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