Hello blog readers!
It has been a while since our last post. As you will see we have two blogs this time. One post by Brad will provide an in-depth update on his work on the mission airplanes, and mine will simply talk more about what I have been up to. Heads up….it will be a long one!
Our last blog post focused on our unexpected trip, back to the United States, to see family and attend my grandpa's memorial service. It is hard to believe that all of that happened about 6 months ago. There are many things that I have learned while being here in Peru, one of them is how surprisingly quickly time flies by.
Upon our return to Peru Projects in May, we thought we would be settling back into a routine and work would continue on the airplanes. However, this was not to be the case. Eben Espinosa (friend/ Peru Projects primary pilot) was talking with us a few days after our return and mentioned that we had been invited to attend this year's ASI (Adventist-laymen's Services & Industries) convention in Orlando, Florida.
For those of you that do not know what ASI is, it is an organization that focuses on supporting and encouraging organizations and ministries, run by Adventist laymen, in their work of spreading the 3 angels’ message. Because we are a US-based organization, we have been members of ASI for quite some time. Through the years we have also received financial support for various projects our ministry is, or has, worked on.
Peru Projects has not attended an ASI convention for a least the past 7 years. So, it was decided that I would create a mock budget/expenditure sheet, and we would all be praying for the Lord's guidance in the meantime. Finally, the facts were in, and as a group, we decided that it was time a delegation from our ministry attended the convention. Thus began in earnest my role as fundraising and donation coordinator.
I have always enjoyed planning events and trips, but it’s usually been for family events. This was my first time planning something on this level for an organization and within a 1 ½ month time frame. It was so official! I spent hours, days, and weeks planning everything from transportation from Peru, covid-19 tests, lodging, exhibit booth space, decorations, printed material, promotional giveaways, and even troubleshooting some last-minute changes and situations. It was both exciting and nerve-racking.
During the few months that I had to plan, I also made a big personal decision. I held a parent-teacher conference with the parents of the girl I had been homeschooling and informed them that I did not feel I was able to provide her with what she needed. This was a very hard choice for me. I felt like I was failing as a teacher, friend, and individual. This choice was not made due to my not wanting to teach anymore, but rather for the betterment of the student. She needs to be in an environment where she had more structure and could see her teacher as more of an authority figure, not just as a friend. The hope is that eventually, I will be able to resume certain aspects of her education at a later date. I struggle with the need to justify this decision to people. Feeling afraid that others will feel I was just incapable or lazy, but I have realized that I do not need to feel guilty for putting the needs of my student first. I truly desire her success in both school and life, and if that means something different than what I could provide at the time, then that is ok.
After this decision was made, we got a chance to take a deep breath and have some fun, before I committed all of my free time to plan for our ASI trip. The members of our church got together to
celebrate my birthday, we drove along the lake next to the base, to a site where one of the church members is a live-in staff member/security guard at a resort that is under construction. The facade of this resort looks like a castle with a large pirate-like ship attached. The funny thing is that this sounds super cool, however, you have to use your imagination for part of it. This resort has been under construction for 14 years. Brad and I both couldn't help but smile as we walked around exploring. The structure was being consumed by the climate and jungle faster than it could be built. However, we were able to see some imaginative structures, and tree-top houses, play in a small pool with the kids, eat some local food, and feel loved and a part of a community of people.
Finally, all my planning was finished and it was time to head to the states. Eben, Brad, and I flew to Florida, a week early, due to the pricing of tickets. We stayed with our good friend Zach for that week, enjoying some good food and the freedom to communicate in one's native language. During this week, Zach's house began to look like we had robbed an Amazon truck, as packages arrived every day, filled with gear and items missionary students had ordered. There is kind of an unwritten rule, that if you go to the states, you come back with extra luggage filled with items that you cannot find here in Peru.
The day came for us to go to the convention center and get all set up for the long weekend ahead.
We arrived a little later than we had hoped, but thankfully many hands made quick work. It’s so much fun to watch something that you have been planning come together. After this, we checked
into our hotel rooms and headed off for the opening meeting. The rest of the weekend went by in a blur of meetings, conversations over wonderful meals, and trying to get a moment away from our booth long enough to learn about and talk with those at other exhibit booths. After the convention, we headed back to Zach's place for one final day of packing and final preparations for our return trip to Peru.
Since we have been back at the mission we have jumped right back into the craziness. By catching up with reports, letters, paperwork, meetings, airplane repairs, and a short visit from a friend. Throw in the mix my first time preaching and you have a very brief synopsis of what the weeks have been like since our return on August 11th.
I am sorry that neither of us has been keeping up with the blogs and other media as we should. One of the things I learned at ASI is the necessity of keeping in touch with people. Communication is something that neither Brad nor I have ever been very good at. I ask for your patience as we develop a better system for communicating more effectively and efficiently. I do know that we would love to have email addresses for those that wish to hear from us. If you want to provide that information to us, please let us know, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. On Sunday morning Brad and I have a bible study together. Right now, we are studying through the story of the Sower in Christ Object Lessons. It is an eye-opening parable to study. I encourage you to take the time and read it. Even if you have read it several times before, it forces you to take a step back and self-reflect. What type of soil are you? Not what type of soil have you been, but what type of soil are you currently being in? The Christian walk will always be one of constant submission, reflection, and obedience to our Creator. Are you willing to fully submit? Be honest with yourself about your answer.