After 8 long but sunny days on the road in Huanuco, we have returned safely to our home in Lima. We are travel worn and tired, but our trip was successful! We left last Sunday, geared up and organized for the normally 10 hour trip to Huanuco, but with truck problems and traffic it ended up being 15 hours on the road. It was really nice to have Susan K with us to relieve me of duty in the backseat with the boys for several hours. We got to a particularly bumpy section of road at about hour 12 and Pete, ever the good traveler, said the bumps were really cool and laughed through them.
Monday morning we started our StoryTogether workshop (crafting Bible stories in indigenous languages) with two small groups from both Huallaga Quechua and Panao Quechua. We reviewed 7 previously learned stories with Huallaga and helped lead Panao through the process of crafting 4 new stories. They did a great job and we had so much fun getting our hands in the work and stretching our Spanish and Storying. We hope to return late October to do another workshop and continue with the story set.
Please pray that the Quechua speakers will return to their communities and begin using these stories for evangelism and discipleship. Praise God for their passion to present His Word in a manner that is understandable and applicable to their lives.
Susan had the hardest job of all-watching our boys! She did an amazing job and Pete couldn’t stop talking about how much fun he had. We are extremely grateful for how our fellow missionaries love and serve our boys like their own family. We all regretted to put Susan on the bus back to Lima Wednesday night, but were glad for the arrival of fellow missionaries Brett B and Lisa T, our next partners in crime.
Thursday morning we headed out to the town of Panao – a bumpy two hour trip from Huanuco. Our purpose was to see the effects of one of our faithful US partnerships in the area. Edmin (national partner) accompanied us. After about 5 hours of bumpy dirt roads, we arrived in a town where we were served supper in a dirt floor kitchen with some of the believers and leaders from the area. They shared openly about the blessings and challenges of the Lord’s work out there. We then huddled together for a very very cold night in a rustic hostal. Oh and sharing that room with two little boys – what troopers!
The next couple of days we visited several more towns. We talked, asked questions, told some Bible stories, and were fed by Quechua believers (including being served in a kitchen, complete with a dozen guinea pigs running around our feet). One highlight for me was when we talked with a lady who cracked her door open and peeked around it as she talked to us. With the boys there to help break down the barriers, I soon had the opportunity to pray and share a Bible story with her and the whole family. As we got ready to leave, they rushed to bring us some dried corn and a young boy was sent to fetch two eggs for us – a generous gift we were blessed to receive.
Its often hard to break through the barriers that the mountain people, but when you do, it is hard to find people that match them in hospitality and generosity.
The boys having a great time playing with Susan in Huanuco while we worked on storying!
After traveling on more bumpy roads for a couple more days, Monday morning we returned to Huanuco and finished up with several more hours of great dialogue with Edmin before hitting the road back home. 10 hours later, we rolled into Lima, tired and dusty, but smiling.
Some of you (ok, most of you) will think we are crazy for dragging our little guys on such a trip. And we surely had plenty of misgivings both before and after the trip. But here are some of the reasons we took them on this long and hard trip.
We want to do ministry as a family. We want our kids to be involved, to be a part of this work that God has called us to.
We want to get them out of the bubble of the wealthy area of the mega city we live in. David and I are both country raised kids and having what I call “sidewalk” kids (kids who would rather walk on a sidewalk than on the grass) is hard to believe. We were excited to get them out to the potato fields and let them interact with farmers who are dirty and hard working, see sheep, chickens, pigs and cows up close and personal, and play with kids who don’t own toys but only 1 toy. All this is good!!!
They are useful!! Peruvians in general love children! When 4 scary white folks get out of an expensive truck in a tiny rural town up in the mountains, having two beautiful kids immediately break down barriers. Everyone wants to see them and take a photo, touch their blond hair. They smile delightedly when the boys grin at them.
My boys are awesome! When a lot of kiddos would fold under the long days bouncing roughly in the truck for hours, sitting on our laps instead of tucked cozily in their carseats, eating meals later than normal, sleeping in a different place every night, skipping baths, our guys seem to just keep plugging along. They are amazingly versatile and many times more resilient than we are. Pete found so many ways to entertain himself in the truck and Mike took many many naps bouncing along the road in my arms. As Lisa T said on the trip “they sure keep it entertaining”.
Now, we’re not saying it was perfect. Mikey did some screaming in the truck now and then. Pete had us stop about 5 times in 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, but wouldn’t go…and my jeans were stained with an assortment of milk, juice, cookie, cracker and coke. But as we look back we are amazed at how the Lord equipped Pete and Mike to participate in the trip with us. We also want to especially thank our fellow missionaries Susan, Lisa, and Brett for their patience, service, and encouragement to us and our boys.
They might be sidewalk kids, but deep down we’ve got two boys who thrive on the dirt roads of the Andes mountains.