Saturday, July 27, 2013

The last of the filters

It feels like we haven't stopped for quite some time, with the constant moving and travelling and train catching and bus riding and hiking. It has been a very full few weeks leading up to the remaining days of our time here. So right now I don't even know where to begin, with the end.
Close to a week after my last blog post and visit to Canchaque, we were joined by the group of Aggies that spent ten days with us in Piura and Tambogrande before they went to Lima. Reid, Andrew, Kailee, and Riley are wonderful people, working very hard right now as you read this with families from the states that planted a church in Lima. They worked their tails off with us in the fields and distributing water filters to families in Malingas.

That brings me to the filters. All in all, there were close to 45 filters put into homes and a school in that village. One of the last nights that we were going into their homes and installing them, we went kinda nuts and ended up staying till 8:30/9 at night just darting from house to house, lugging around these bucket filters and talking to the families. All of it could not have been done without the sweet woman that allowed us to put in the first one, Mary. She was going just as crazy as us, pulling us along, yelping with joy in Spanish at every house visited. Mary, thank you, I doubt you ever read this, but that is okay. What you did and how you helped was big, we could not have done anything compared to what happened without you. Bless you.

Before leaving for this ten week journey, I would have thought 45 filters was a small number, that more could have been done, and that more should have been done. But now after spending this time in Peru, where everything seems to run on lazy gear, or even in reverse, I'm happy this happened. I'm not proud of myself or the others with me, that would be terribly wrong. Shoot, looking back we could have done more. I think anyone looking back on a similar experience would say the same. I'm thankful I was there to see the faces of the families and the children, that those relationships were made, that I got to see such beauty in the people and in the creation. I feel blessed. Eucharisto. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Magic gates

        "The Man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder Wicket Gate? The man said, No: The said the other, Do you see yonder Shining Light? He said, I think I do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that Light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the Gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do...the Man began to run...and ran on crying, Life! Life! Eternal Life!"      --The Pilgrim's Progress

We had a last minute experience this past weekend where we hopped in the car with some friends and took ourselves to the small village of Canchaque. This place is tucked away in the beginnings of the Andes two hours away from Piura.

On a hike Saturday morning, coming up on the ridge, we came upon this gate. Instantly this book came to mind. The "Man" is a character called Christian in the book, and at the start of it all, he is perplexed and in anguish due to conviction found in reading the Bible. He meets a man named Evangelist, who points him to the wicket gate, which symbolizes the door that is talked of in scripture, and tells him to knock upon it. There he will find what he is looking for, what his heart is wanting, what his heart needs.

What's next may have nothing to do with the above quote, but I don't care. I just thought it was cool and went along with the book I was reading.

Remember when we were considered children, and the times that we were playing and imagining things that were outlandish and only made any kind of sense to us. It was the stuff that when we talked of it to someone else, probably older, they would give an odd grin, pat our back and say, "That's nice." But we didn't care, actually we didn't even know- it was fantastic to us.

I see these gates or doors like this, that are old, with rust along the edges and nails jutting out from the wood, and think. I think about that above quote and book, and other books that I've grown up reading. And then my imagination kicks in and this intrigue and interest comes over me, and I feel like a kid again. I end up taking my time just a little slower than I normally would as I pass. What I really want to do, and have done a few times, is quickly sneak up to the gate/door and slowly fold my hand around the handle, and with a few creaks just take a peak past, like the biggest discovery lay beyond.

I want to see something magical beyond, like the door is a gateway. I want there to be a whole different world, that is but steps away. One that no other eye has ever seen, full of life and beauty and vivid colors that just seems full, feels real compared to our world. Maybe my deepest dreams would come true and the lands of Narnia would be awaiting me. Or maybe the one place I've been looking for my whole life would be there. My real home.

You can pat my back next time you see me and give me that grin.

But, what lay just past this gate wasn't Narnia, but was probably the next best thing. We stepped into a whole new world, that sucked the breath out of my lungs. I felt like Jesus was walking next to me, giving me a tour of this part of his creation, and just telling and whispering the whole time--I love you. 

These guys were the best guides we could have asked for to take us up to the 360 view, where we could see the village of Canchaque tucked away on one side, and the Andes growing on the other. 

Sorry for the repetitive photo-dump. I have so many more and know I'm leaving out some that I will want to share later, so be ready to see others. Thank you for reading and keeping up. I don't know why He would show me something like this, I really don't know why He loves me the way He does. I do know I love Him more because of this day. Eucharisto. 

Thanks Dad. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Let's get to down to graft some trees

Well, we've been moving along fast, spending time in the car and time in the fields. Much has been done when we think about what we have done, but more is to be done. The same schedule has been kept, with going to Tambogrande and Malingas during the week, and spending the weekends in Piura. Our time in Tambogrande has involved much time in the fields with the trees, cleaning up and chopping away at the brush surrounding the trunks. I wish we had a time-lapse camera set up to document the brush that we and the workers have gone through. I wish also there were microphones that caught us while we were practicing our Spanish with the Peruvians, it would be funny but mostly embarrassing.

We are hoping that we can catch the very beginnings of the grafting process right now. There were some difficulties and setbacks which kept pushing the date further back. So if we don't get to physically be present for the process, we can still be glad with helping everything get to that point.
But it is really incredible, looking back to when we first arrived, how much we are better understand and speaking the language. We like to bring up and joke about the first time we ordered food at Mcdonald's in the Lima airport, it was like we were trying to perform surgery. 

We are now somewhat switching gears and focusing on some things that weren't in the forefront of our minds before. We installed a water filter many weeks ago in a house in the town of Malingas, and last week the second was given to another family. The time we now have here is getting closer to an end, so we are putting a lot more of our focus on this project. With a list of family names and more filters travelling this way, we hope to install as many as we can before this chapter ends. 

We are getting these filters from the group of Aggies that are stepping off the plane on Tuesday morning. Those guys will be here the 19th. We get the privilege to go along with these guys as they teach english in one of the schools of Malingas. We will also get to have them along with us in the fields and hopefully preparing for the mass installment of water filtration systems. 

It's into the homes that contain little ones as these, that those filters are going. 

We pray that God works wonders and is heavy in the households, around the families, in the fields and schools for a very long time. I wish I had better eyes to see all the big and small things He is doing. 
The cathedral at the Plaza de las Armas. 

He is faithful. He keeps His promises.