Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Please Pray for our Stuff

This seems on the one hand like a very silly request: would you all join us in praying that our possessions will arrive here? Actually, it is sitting in the port here in Trujillo and has been since a week ago Monday (at least we know its not at the bottom of the sea!!!). As we are finding out, Peruvian red tape is very thick. We initially shipped our stuff here on July 7th hoping it would arrive here the day after we did (July 27th). But we still don't have it and we're coming up on our two month anniversary of living out of suitcases.

So, pleas join us in praying that our stuff will be released on Thursday (today is actually a holiday for Santa Rosa so no one is working today).

Our New Church at Arevelo

Peru Mission aids in the work of three churches here, Wichinzau, Larco, & Arevalo. This past week, I had the privilege of preaching from Luke 7 at the new church plant in Arevalo. This is the same church that our Spring Break mission team from Texas A&M RUF and Westminster Pres worked on. Please pray for Pastors Eduardo and Percy (who works with the youth as he attends seminary). These brothers are working hard to bring the light of the Gospel to neighborhood of Arevalo and to city of Trujillo. Here is a picture of the newly painted inside of the church.

Justin's Bday!

I can't believe it, but I now officially have an 11 year old kid! Last week, we celebrated Justin's 11th bday with all the missionary families and some of the SALI interns. We went to Rokie's, where the kids played on a big playground (like you'd find a McDonalds) and we ate chicken. Justin drank his new favorite soft drink, Inca Cola, and had a great time with all his friends here.

Jason & Justin with his new Inca Cola tshirt

Justin with some of the kids here

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Learning Spanish

Ever since we made the decision to move to Peru, the necessity of learning Spanish has always been on our minds. While we had time here and there to learn some Spanish while we were in Texas, we never could devote a lot of our time and attention to it. Well, that's all changed now. I'm very grateful for what I have learned so far, but we need to grow so much more in the months to come.

I thought I would take a moment to tell those who are interested what we have found helpful in terms of resources. First and foremost (and most expensive) is the Rosetta Stone Spanish program for use on the computer. This program mimicks immersion, doesn't translate anything for you, and I have enjoyed it immensely. One resource that set us to speaking Spanish right away was a book that Heather found in her homeschool resources called Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish. This book makes learning Spanish enjoyable, and has lots of practice examples to help get the feel of the language.

One surprise find I came across while doing a search on Amazon for Spanish CDs. Behind the Wheel Spanish Vol. 1, Vol. 2 & Vol. 3 are all very useful to train your ear to hear Spanish as well as to practice speaking. You can listen to them while driving, excercising, showering, etc. The English speaker asks, for example, "How would you say, 'to eat', is Spanish?" And the Spanish speaker will repeat twice with an ample pause for you to repeat, "Comer. Comer." To my surprise, the Spanish speaker on Vol. 1 is actually a native Peruvian. What are the chances? as Calvin might say.

Of course, one must master verbs if one is going to communicate, no? There are multiple spanish verb books out there, but the one I like most and chose is called, simply, "Spanish Verb Workbook." The explanations are very simple and helpful. Plus there are lots of practice drills. Other books in the same genre that we have found useful are Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish Grammer and Spanish Verb Tenses. And you simply must have The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs which has 555 of the most common verbs fully conjugated for you.

And of course, no student of Spanish should be without their dictionaries. Our desktop dictionary is the Oxford Spanish Dictionary and the handy pokect guide we have is Random House Webster's Handy Spanish Dictionary.

As I tell folks here, "Yo puedo hablar español un poco, leer mas, pero no puedo eschucharlo muy bien." I don't know if I'm saying that correctly, but in my mind what I'm saying is, "I can speak a little Spanish, read more, but I cannot hear it very well." But the good thing is that many people here are understanding and patient and encouraging. Heather and I will start with our tutor our mission's San Agustin Language Institute, either next week or the following, depending on how quickly we can get our stuff out of the port and unpacked at our house.

At any rate, that's enough procrastinating. Back to studying Spanish. ¡Chau!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Good News...& the Bad (sort of)

The Good News
Let me start by issuing an apology for the silence on our blog. We have had limited access to the internet, and we finally got our internet set up at our house yesterday. Yes, we finally found a house and moved into it this past Wednesday. It took a bit of time to get it. The landlady showed it to us the first Saturday we were here, but didn't bring the contract, so it wasn't until a week later that we were able to sign a rental agreement. After cleaning it for a few days, we moved in last Wednesday. Here is a picture:

It is a nice two-story house with four bedrooms. We have essentially the same setup as we did back home in Texas: Justin & Kevin share a room, as do Colton & Jason. Miranda has her own room which was conveniently painted Pepto-bismol pink, which is simply too much for me, but if you know that Miranda's middle name is "Pink" (no, not really, but it might as well be), you know she couldn't be happier with it. I, of course, share a room with my most favorite person in the world, which is just the way I like it.

As you can see from the picture, the houses here are built against each other, and everyone has security bars on their windows. We have one of the few houses in our whole neighborhood that has a front porch. Heather and I sit out there often, saying ¡Hola! to whoever passes. Yesterday, a man from Scotland stopped by and told us (with a great Scottish accent) that he is the headmaster of a private school here!!! It is ,however, hard to get to know the neighbors since most houses are built behind 10-12 foot walls with broken glass & other sharp objects protruding from them designed to impale would-be intruders. But we are doing our best to meet and greet the folks that walk around the park that is our front yard essentially.

This is the view we have looking out the front of our house. It is a little slice of paradise in the middle of the desert coast of Trujillo. Our kids love playing freeze tag, hide & seek, and let's-roll-around-in-the-grass games. They are loving having this space to play in, especially since we have a tiny backyard. You can see the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the background which is often hard to see because of the hazy skies. We are in the middle of winter now, which means that the highs are in the upper 60's and the lows are in the upper 50s. I'm tempted to say that it gets chilly here, but I know that all my friends back in the states, especially in TX, would kill me for saying that. So I won't.

Another great benefit to living here is that we live right across the park from the Bradford's. They have four children. Their oldest, Mollie, is 9, and they have a son, William, who is right in between Jason & Colton in terms of age. They have two other kids, Hannah, and Andrew, and all of our kids have a great time with each other.

The Bad News (well, really just "frustrating" news)

I said earlier that we moved in. That is technically correct in that we are sleeping in it, but we haven't "moved in." The reason for that is that the container that we shipped to Peru has not arrived yet. Actually, it is due into the port in Trujillo today, and it will probally take a few days to get all the paper work in order. It was originally supposed to be here on Aug 5 (10 days ago!), but it sat in a port in Panama because of an accountant's error. This annoyance is mixed with blessing because it has allowed us the benefit of cleaning and painting the inside of our house (the living room was mustard yellow!!!). But we are really eager to get our stuff. Heather and I would simply love to be able to come home and sit on our soft couches!!!

Once we get our house set up, then I think it will be easier to get into a routine. If my watch didn't tell me the day of the week, I would simply be lost. We have been filling our time getting things we need and studying Spanish on our own as well as practicing with anyone who would be willing to talk.

Let me tell you, it is so frustrating not being able to speak the language well. For example, one of the men working on our house today saw a book on the table that I have been reading called, Reinventing Jesus [which is a good book about the modern insanity among so-called scholars & the popular media which is reinventing Jesus after their/its own desires]. He asked about it and then asked us about what we believe, and together, my wife and I fumbled through the Gospel in our broken Spanish. We invited him to our church, so we shall see. But nevertheless, it is very frustrating knowing what I want to say and not being able to find the Spanish words to speak them (yes, that is a prayer request!!!).

Having Fun & Being Silly in Peru

Beware of Missionary Kids!!!

This is what could happen if you let your children play with missionary kids! The other night, we were over at the Baker's house and Colton "I- Can- Never- Get- Enough- Attention" Ferguson allowed himself to do the unthinkable...

And yes, I was mocking him. It's part of the strategy to set things right.

Note: Lest there be any concern that Colton wasn't enjoying this, he even came back and asked to have his picture taken.