So much has happened that it would take about 2 hours to recap this year and I'll be honest, I need to get to bed. Sooooo.... I thought I would recap our one year by just briefly writing a few happenings:
- We started house churches among our team, one of them being in our home
- We started celebrations once a month gathering all the small groups into one and celebrating what the Lord has done during that month
- Our team has had our first medical campaign, our first Regalatera (Christmas gift drive) and our first Frazalatera (blanket drive)
- We have been teaching English to a 3rd/4th grade class in Villa Maria every Tuesday and the relationships built through this have been awesome. Its been so good that we've recently been asked to start teaching their religion classes (which are required here in Peru).
- Lee has been a part of a couple bible studies on a weekly basis with 3 guys and also tutors a young guy for an entrance exam he has coming up
- I am in my 6th month of teaching exercise classes in the park for Peruvians, attending a bootcamp with American women and have my first personal training client recently.
- I started a bible study with a couple American women I met through the bootcamp and it has been a God-send for me.
- Our team has hosted it's first Peruvian Mission's Summit (AKA: PMS) with 3 mission teams around Peru and it was wonderful.
- Our guys have truly used sports/athletics to reach a totally different crowd which includes Volleyball (American and Peruvian business men), soccer (every type of guys), rugby (business men), softball (all sorts of people from Americans to a old pro player from Venezuela) and football (a lot of embassy workers) Oh...and obviously ALL our guys don't play all of them but they are each involved in at least one and have built some incredible relationships/connections.
- Lee has been hosting English classes every Saturday night in our home and this has been a tremendous blessing and a great opportunity to nurture relationships.
- Once a month we host a "youth night" in our home and the first time we had 6 youths and this past Saturday we had 25! It has been a blast and probably one of my FAVORITE things here.
- Our team has been intentional about going out to Villa Maria (an area of town up on the mountain side that is very poor) and has done everything from just walking and visiting with people to building a home in 12 hours. God continues to lead us out to this area where the physical needs are obvious but more than that they are open to word of God. We now have a group meeting at the community center every Sunday.
- We have had our first Thanksgiving here, Christmas, Valentines, Easter etc... all the holidays have been TERRIFIC.
- Sofia is about to finish her first year of Kindergarten and Maddox his first year of Nido (a type of pre-school).
- Sofia had her firt "Peruvian-style birthday" as she turned 5 and Maddox turned 3
- Liam turned one in our first year here.
- Lee and I with our kids in tow, did our first 10K together and made it into the paper (headline should have read "5 crazy white folks with two double strollers struggle through race").
- We had a total of 26 visitors (some of those repeat visits) totaling 84 days in our home (just in case you didn't do the math that is almost 3 months!) and for the record we loved EVERY minute of it!
- Sofia has been in one publicity add.
- Maddox has made a name for himself around town as "the cowboy" because he wears cowboy boots every single day.
- Lee and I have taken Cuban Afro Salsa lessons to "really delve into the culture."
- We have watched NUMEROUS shows at Sofia and Maddox's school ranging from dancing, singing and performing awesome karate moves.
- Our kids now speak incredible Spanish...seriously, its amazing.
- We have been able to minister together as a family on a daily basis.
- We have tried to make our home a center point for hosting, sleeping (one day we had 3 people sleeping in different rooms at one time:) and just a place people can feel welcome. Monthly, about 125 people come in for some kind of function.
- We have shed lots of tears from being home-sick, fear and just plain stress sometimes.
- We have had incredibly happy moments, moments we have felt so removed from God, family and friends and moments of pure peace.
- Our kids have seen poverty like nothing before, they have seen sickness, they have seen wealth, they have seen the biggest birthdays they will ever see in their life, they have been servants, they have learned not all kids get to eat or have toys. They have learned more in this past year than I could have ever dreamed possible and I pray their hearts are being forever changed.
- We have felt loved, encouraged and supported through all your emails, comments, phone calls, boxes etc...
Thanks for journeying with us & enjoy the pics.
Much love from the 5 of us.
Maddox and Liam