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Growing in Confidence

When we first started out on this journey, we had known that there were a lot of firsts waiting for us. For me (Jess) it was my first time traveling to a different country and the first time traveling to a place where English was not a common language. For both of us it was the first time packing up our belongings, in a few suitcases, hoping it was what we needed for a new home. There were so many other firsts, and the Lord has used those experiences to grow us. Since those first few days we have learned so much. Let me touch on a few situations that have shown us how amazing God is and how He provides the strength to adapt and change to our environment.

The first of these events was our trip to Lima at the end of May. This was both a business and pleasure trip all in one. While in Lima we needed to visit Interpol to have a background check run for our residency application and Brad needed to have a flight physical done. The pleasure part of the trip was to do a little shopping for items that could not be found in Pucallpa. I was so excited for this trip. When you have grown up loving camping, four wheeling, and going for drives just to get away and see something new, living in the jungle can cause you to feel claustrophobic. So, to us the trip to Lima was a chance to go somewhere and see something new.

The flight was seamless and upon our arrival in Lima, Eben took us to a Hostile in Miraflores (a more historic and nicer part of town). We dropped our bags in our rooms, grabbed jackets (due to the cold 70-degree weather) and headed to a wonderful juice bar for supper. God led, and the next day we were able to get the lab work for Brad’s physical done, along with His covid test (needed to see the doctor), and even a little walk around a mall. We then headed to Interpol for our background checks. This was an interesting experience. Eben was not allowed in with us, and we managed to stumble our way through the questions thanks to Google translate and a U.S. national who was there applying for Peruvian citizenship. Once this was finished, we headed to a Mexican restaurant for supper, a wonderful treat for us all. The following day included good food, Brad’s flight physical and a trip to an aviation parts store. However, our most memorable moment was on the following day.

We started the day by Brad deciding that we should rent bikes (for about $1.00/day) and ride through the median park to the ocean. The Pacific Ocean was something that we both longed to see, so that sounded like fun. Everything was going well, till we headed down the cliff to the waters edge. Here we realized that our bike path turned into a walking path with stairs everywhere!!! Somehow, we had not seen the stairs when we had driven past the path the day before. We had come this far, and knew that we would have to go back up hill no matter what, so we dragged/carried our bikes down the stairs, parked them and caught our breath while watching the ocean waves. It was so fun to see the waves spray up over some rocks, groups of surfers gathered and talking both on the rocky beach and in the water. Then came the task of climbing back up. Brad did a great deal of the bike carrying, with the help of a few wonderful gentlemen, along the way. I am afraid that I was not of much help on this leg of the trip. The rest of that day was spent shopping and flying back to Pucallpa.

This was a turning point for me. The trip had given me a little taste of something new, but it was also the first taste of some independence since arriving in Peru. We would walk through a store and select the items that we wanted, if we needed help Eben wasn’t far away. We were able to bike through parts of Lima on our own, and once at the airport we were able to go our separate ways, each ordering the food we waned for lunch. We knew what was expected going through security (it is different from the United States) and board with no problems. It really began to hit me as we were flying back to Pucallpa, how it was beginning to feel like going home. It isn’t 100% the same as the feeling home had in the States, but it was beginning to feel familiar. We knew what to expect. Once landed you are able to get your bags and use the bathroom without any surprises (hint the toilet paper is on the wall when you first go in, you have to get what you need before using the toilet). Best of all is the truck full of people that are there to pick you up. They know you and you know them. The hugs, handshakes, and smiles make you feel so much a part and welcome.

After our time in Lima, we have been growing more and more confident in our life here. On June 15th we went to town on our own!!!! I know that this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s a really big deal. This means that Brad new the roads enough to not get us lost, and that we are able to go shopping without an interpreter. We still use Google translate, but we are able to do a majority with out it. We visited two stores in the city center, which are local shopping stalls, along with two of the main shopping centers (much like target and Home Depot). You should have seen us. We couldn’t help smiling and laughing through out the trip. It felt so liberating, but most important was the freedom this allowed up to experience on June 21st.

Some of you know that June 21st is our wedding anniversary. We had both expected to celebrate with dinner at home. Then Brad surprised me and was able to take me out to eat. Eben and he had picked a restaurant and Eben had called ahead and ordered our food. We may be able to do things on our own, sometimes, but ordering food at a restaurant in town isn’t one of them. It was so nice to enjoy a date in a new place. The dinner was followed by purchasing a few things that were needed, but had been placed on the back burner.

I know that these events don’t seem amazing, but they are things that mean a lot to us. They are a taste of our begging to feel at home in this place. We are not only able to buy food, nearly unassisted, but we are also able to have the freedom and joy of being a part of the community. At the end of July there is going to be a Conquistadores (Pathfinders) camporee for all the jungle clubs. We are expecting over 450 people. The fact that we have been asked to help with bits and pieces, is just another testament that God is allowing this place to become our new home. Trials will still abound, and our Spanish is far from learned, but we are beginning to feel more confident in our roles and daily life here.

Yesterday we got to watch an 8-year-old girl from the church we attend get baptized. As she came up from the water with a big smile on her face, and gave me a big wet hug, I couldn’t help but think over the experiences that we have had over the past month. Here you have a little girl that loves Jesus with her whole heart and she wants to live her life for Him. Her journey will be filled with trials, that will produce both sad and happy outcomes. But if she will allow God to help her grow with each trial she will grow in her confidence of His love and her ability to share Him with others. We have faced some trials, nothing huge or extreme, yet how powerful the small accomplishments seem. Brad and I pray that as we face future trials, both small and large, that God helps us to continue growing in confidence with Him.

On a slightly different note… Brad has been kept very busy with the two airplanes. The Lake Amphibian aircraft has been put on the back burner as a 100 hr. inspection has come up for the Cessna. Whether it’s an issue with the engine cylinder compressions, or control surface systems needing re-rigged, there have been many little things on both airplanes that seem to make things get drawn out. I have been keeping busy with getting curtains made for our house, and prepping for school starting with Amy. I have also started to help teach English twice a week with a group of approximately 20 local kids. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we continue move forward with learning life in a very different environment. We have seen and know that God is leading. Feel free to reach out to us via Facebook or this website, we would love to hear from you!

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