Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dear, Dear Friends

This posting is dedicated to Austin Ayers. I realized today that in all my posting about Peru and school projects that I have left out a huge piece of our life. Our Westminster family: the Ayers, Colemans, Lees, and (now it's official) Butchers in particular.

A full explanation of what these dear friends mean to me would take up way too much space, and Blogger would probably cut off my account. ;) I'll have to be content with saying that these families are family to us now and we love them dearly. The kids especially are a weekly source of joy.

I said in the beginning that this posting is dedicated to Austin Ayers. Austin is the oldest Ayers kiddo and the most faithful (and frequent) blog-checker we have. He was very quick to agree this afternoon when I said I'd only posted once since we got back from Peru. And because it's way more fun to read blog postings with pictures, here are pics of these dear friends...

Ayden (Ayers #4) just taking a break after a long day of creating.

How to explain Micah? (Coleman #3) Micah is easily the most energetic of all the Ayers and Colemans.

Anna Kate, Addison (Ayers #3 &4 respectively) Joshua and Christopher (Coleman #1 & 2) hanging out after VBS last summer.

Big boy Asa, the youngest Ayers.

Me and Hannah (Mom Ayers)

Marian and her youngest Cara Beth.

The Lees: Matt, Ashlee, and Gracie May.

And the youngest family, Josh and Hannah Butcher. We got to celebrate with them at their wedding last weekend.

Whew! I didn't realize it would take me that long to pick pictures. Sorry Wade and Kevin, I'll have to get pics of you up here sometime later!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


No, this is not a blog post about the holiday, but my thoughts of thanksgiving to God after we got back from Peru. (sorry about the delay on the post, by the way)

I'm not real sure what order these go in as far as importance, but here they are:

Thank you, God for...

...travelling safety. I always get a little anxious about flying, but our flights were trouble-free. And most of them were even on time! while we were in Peru. We never had any scary incidents while we were there, but the day before we left, I was reminded to be grateful for that mercy. Three of the intern guys were out at one of the archaeological sites, and walked down into the nearby village. There they were mugged at gun-point. They lost some money and a digital camera, but thankfully they were all unharmed. Quite a forceful reminder of God's care for us.

...the Ferguson's hospitality. I know I start to get testy after I've had houseguests for a few days. But the Fergusons never showed any signs of being anything but happy to have us. Even if Brian did make Heather's life difficult because he doesn't eat cheese! ;) I should thank Miranda especially, since she gave up her room to us the entire five weeks we were gone.

...friends and family back home. I know so many people were reading our blogs and praying for us while we were gone. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am so thankful for the blessing of my family and friends.

...for the opportunity to go to Peru. God provided, as he always does, what we needed to make the trip. Thank you to all of you who helped support us financially.

I am so grateful for the things God taught me through this trip. Much of which I probably can't articulate. But it was so good for me to see what every-day life was like for the missionaries. And to learn that it looks very much like it does here, just with a few Peruvian twists thrown in! It was great to see what Peru Mission is doing and to get to be a small part of that for a while. It was harder to leave than I expected, and I think I'll always be tied to some degree to the mission and the people there. Please continue to pray for Peru Mission, and for us and for our connection to the mission.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


We did make it out to the beach Huanchaco this afternoon. We piled into two taxis and the kids had fun making faces at each other as our two taxis "raced" to the beach.

The first thing we did was go to a restaurant called Big Ben. No, this restaurant does not have a large clock, nor is it in any way British; Peruvians are just found of naming things with English names. Since it was my last big meal in Peru, I was going to try something uniquely Peruvian, and be as daring as I ever am with food. Well, this time I got more than I bargained for. I ordered fried fish with garlic sauce. I assumed this meant fish filets. Wrong!! When you order fish in Peru, you get fish - the whole fish. I knew something was wrong before they even sat the plate down in front of me: Heather started shaking her head and saying no. Imagine my surprise when I saw my plate: they had fried a fish (scales, fins and all) put it on my plate and covered it in the garlic sauce. Talk about a gag reflex! We didn't even keep the plate long enough to take a picture. Not that I wanted a reminder of it. Thankfully after they took it away and brought out some nice fried fish filets for me to eat.

We decided later to reenact our facial expressions for the sake of taking photos. The first is Heather's reaction as the fish was being brought out. The second is my reaction to the dish itself. (You'll just have to pretend there's a whole fish on my plate - I wasn't going to ask them to bring it back out for the photo op!)

After we survived lunch, the food was really very good, we all went down to the beach. The sand is a mix of dark brown and black; I think very pretty. Brian and I took our shoes off and walked on the beach. The water was too cold for serious wading, however. We spent more time running from the water than walking in it. The kids had fun throwing stuff into the water. All in all, it was a nice, relaxing afternoon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Last Things

It's hard to believe that our five weeks in Peru are almost over. Before we left the States, five weeks seemed like a really long time. But about halfway through our trip, I realized the time was passing too quickly. And now we leave in two days! Where has the time gone?

Tomorrow we're planning to all go out to Huanchaco, the beach. It will definitely be too cold to go swimming, but it'll still be fun to walk on the beach and watch the waves. This afternoon, I think we'll just be hanging out, maybe with playtime in the park. Right now I'm listening to the Fergie kids as they go through their toys and decide what to keep and what to give away. So far there haven't been too many screams of protest! ;)

This will be one of my last posts from Trujillo, so I thought I would post a few pictures that kind of show everyday stuff. First, the Ferguson's house:
Many of the houses here in Peru are painted colors we don't see very often in the States: yellow, green, fuschia, browns. It makes a nice contrast to the brown of the desert. On a walk one day, I found a house in the Ferguson's neighborhood that I really liked.

I don't have too many pictures of Trujillo in general, but maybe this one will give an idea. This scene is actually a bit less chaotic than many of the things we see everyday, but it gives an idea. As you get closer to the downtown area, the streets get narrower, there are more shops per block and it's busier all around.

In addition to the colorfully painted houses and buildings, there's a lot of color in Trujillo from bouganvillea planted everywhere. We've seen it in several colors, but I really like it when two different plants grow close to each other and the flowers intermingle.

Ok, one last photo. A few weeks ago we all went out to eat to a restaurant called Roky's. They serve really good chicken, but Heather says the kids like it primarily because of the pirate ship playground in the front. I have to admit, it was pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence and Dependence

I read Brian's posting this morning about Independence Day, but wasn't inspired to write about that topic until later this morning when I went to the orphanage with Heather. Every week she does a Bible study with some of the women that work there.

One of the passages we looked at today was Col 1:13-17: "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins...whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Two things really stood out to me. "In him all things hold together." And that includes our country. The USA isn't held together by the unity of our congressmen, our economic system, or our military. We enjoy the freedoms we enjoy because God has seen fit to hold our country together. With the attacks and events of the past few years, sometimes I catch myself worrying about whether the US will stay the same, if we'll lose our freedoms, etc. Then I realize that ultimately, none of those things will last. All earthly kingdoms will fall in the end. Jesus' kingdom is the only eternal kingdom. In John 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." I think sometimes it is easy to forget that. Not that I want to belittle our freedoms in any way (I should be more grateful for them than I generally remember to be) but I need to be reminded where my ultimate allegiance lies.

Ok, I've already kind of started into my second point, but here's the rest of my musings on the subject: "he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Today as I read that I was struck by the image of being brought into a new kingdom. Even more than we won independence from Great Britain, Jesus has won for us independence from the power of sin. How great is that victory, yet how often do I really stop and think about what that means, and praise God for it.

One more thought and then I'll stop. I was thinking about our independence from sin, due to Jesus' work, and I was reminded that we are not altogether independent. Steven Curtis Chapman has a great song called, "Declaration of Dependence," all about how we need Jesus every day. "I was made for this dependency on the One who has created me." It's too easy some days to think I can do it on my own, I don't need help. Let me remember more often my total dependence on Jesus.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 Cuzco and Trujillo (the end)

Ok, finally, the last day of our travels.

Thursday we left Cuzco to go back to Trujillo for our last week in Peru. Thankfully we were able to sleep in a little bit. We got up and had time to eat breakfast and run down to the main square for a couple souvenirs. Running down to the square was easy. It was the running back up to the hostel that was difficult. Cuzco is at an elevation of almost 11,000 ft, which is definitely high enough to feel. Thankfully, we were spared from the worst of altitude sickness, but we were definitely huffing and puffing from our quick walk up the hill. Even normal activities, like walking up a flight of stairs, had me winded due to the oxygen-deprived air.

We had a long layover in Lima, so we left the airport and did a little sight-seeing. We visited one of Lima's zoos. We saw lots of llamas, alpacas and vicanus, which are basically cousins. I got a picture with a baby llama because he was so cute. I can't remember the name of the animals in the second picture. While seated, they look kind of like hares, but when they stand up you realize that their back legs are as long as their front. They walk like normal four-legged creatures, but when they run, they do so more like rabbits. They were really weird - we stood and laughed at them for a few minutes.

Another plane ride and we were back in Trujillo. We were met at the airport by a familiar taxi driver, and the drive through the familiar streets of Trujillo was almost relaxing.

Monday, July 2, 2007

...To Machu Pichu...

Ok, I'm finally getting around to telling about the main point of our trip - Machu Pichu!

On Wednesday morning, we took a bus up to Machu Pichu. The bus left at 5:30 in the morning and got us up to the Incan city around 6. It was so early, but definitely worth it. We had several hours to wander around and look at the architecture. It was really quiet, and it was just amazing to be there and see it up close. I kept trying to take pictures that would capture the 'essence' of Machu Pichu, but I finally had to accept the fact that it wasn't possible. I did take some photos that I really like, though. The day started off really foggy, which helped create the quiet, isolated atmosphere.

One interesting thing about Incan architecture is the trapezoid shape that appears throughout the architecture. The doorways, windows and wall niches are all trapezoidal: wider at the bottom than at the top. This shape helped with earthquake-resistance. The tour-guide we walked around with during the late morning explained it like this: if you stand rigidly with your feet shoulder-width apart, it's a lot harder to push you over from the side than if you're standing with your feet together. He also explained some other earthquake techniques, but I didn't understand all of it. I gathered enough to be seriously impressed by their understanding and technique, however.

The stone-work is one of the most well-known and impressive aspects to Incan architecture. All of the buildings on Machu Pichu were made of stone. The regular, secular buildings were built using stone and mortar. The sacred, most important buildings were made by fitting stones together without mortar. These stones were fitted together meticulously, with no space in between. It was incredible.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that this was built up in the mountains, practically on top of one? Stairs, stairs everywhere! I concluded that the Incas of MP must have had incredibly developed leg muscles. And hopefully no fear of heights!

I realized that I have lots of pictures that I want to share, so I'm just going to post some more without descriptions. Just more photos to try to give a better idea of the whole experience.