Little blessings

Our daily life is becoming more of a routine. We are adjusting to regular power outages ranging from 2 – 8 hours every few days. About two weeks ago the pump for the bore hole, where we get all of the water for our house, broke. It took just over a week to repair. Conveniences make life easier but they aren’t always necessary or available here in Malawi. For a short period of time we drew water from the neighbor’s outdoor spigot for essential water needs until the pump was fixed. [Read more…]

Busy in Malawi

The past few weeks have been very busy for us. The Lord continues to bless us with good health and happiness during our many activities. We thank Him daily for bringing us to Malawi and allowing us to share His love to those we meet. [Read more…]

Teacher, do you speak Spanish?

We are long overdue for a blog update. We have had a busy, but good beginning of the school year here. When we last wrote it was summer vacation, and the children were on break from December until March. During the break we took the opportunity to get involved with teaching English at vacation school, getting to know our neighbors, and helping interpret for a large medical brigade of U.S. doctors who came primarily from MN. Emily also kept on baking with the women’s baking cooperative during the summer. They are a determined group of women who didn’t want to take the summer off! We also took a small vacation to Ecuador, which was an incredible experience. Here are some updates about our ministries for the 2013 school year. [Read more…]

Welcome to El Porvenir

When Rafael and I first arrived here to Perú on January 26th of this year, we spent a few weeks living with the Comboni Fathers at their house in the city of Trujillo while we settled in and became more familiar with the area. In March we moved out on our own, to the housing that the Comboni Fathers have provided us within the district of El Porvenir, a slum on the outskirts of the city. Living in this district are an estimated 164,931 people, in an area just over 22 square miles. We live among the people here in the neighborhood of Grand Chimu. This name comes from the leader of the Chimu culture, which thrived here in the northern part of Perú, until they were conquered by the Incans in 1470. We live in a couple of rooms on the second floor of a small parochial school for children, teens, and young adults with disabilities, which is next door to a small chapel that is cared for by the Comboni Fathers. [Read more…]

Living out our dream

Emily and I are slowly but surely adjusting to life here in Peru. We are truly blessed to have such a privilege where we can uproot ourselves and have an amazing experience of being lay missionaries in Peru, South America. Many people have told us that it is amazing we have chosen to “suspend” our lives so that we can “give” to others less fortunate. The truth is we feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be living in Peru. [Read more…]

Retreating in Malawi

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to lead a retreat for our Catholic student group at the college. We decided to center the retreat on one of our favorite themes: Theology of the Body. Theology of the Body is based on a series of lectures given by Blessed John Paul II at his Wednesday Papal Audiences. Through these lectures he developed a beautiful theology of how our bodies reveal to us the truth of God’s intimate relationship with us. We in turn are able to imitate God’s loving relationship in how we relate to and share our love with others.

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Disappearing childhoods

I feel like Mr. Holland in the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. Except instead of standing in front of crowds of cheering ex-students, I am watching a 13-year-old girl run to me with her report card. She has an A in math and all B’s in her other classes. She is so happy and so proud of herself. She is the tallest girl in her class. She had a hard time at the beginning of the year since she felt self-conscious about being the only 13 year old in a class of 4th graders, but she kept going to school and now her teacher says she is the best student of the class.

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Health promotion in Guatemala

I arrived in San Luis in May, 2008, and one of the first impressions I had was that the dental situation here was abysmal for many of the very young children. Kids as young as four or five were lacking many of their front teeth and/or their mouths resembled some of the craggy caves I had visited in Peru, with their teeth resembling brown stalactites that had been weathered down throughout the generations (see picture at left).

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My hands are full

My work is changing a bit from 2006. Since I can talk to people more now, I am working in more complex situations, and that I enjoy very much. The priests have asked me to oversee a construction project in one of our chapels, Santa Isabel, starting next week. It should tax my language and other abilities a bit. We will be building a perimeter wall and two classrooms for a preschool there. This chapel is in a poorer area than where we live and sometimes is a bit hair raising to get there by public transportation. As careful as I am here in Rio Seco, I must be very diligent regarding crime in this area. But, we have been very lucky so far and for that I am very grateful. God is watching over us!

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First year in Peru

I spent a big share of my time teaching English up to mid-December when schools stopped for summer break. I am teaching a beginning level class in English once a week at the parish, but now I have no other commitment for English, except an occasional tutoring session.

The biggest share of my time is spent with plants right now. I started a garden inside the walls of the property of Señor de los Milagros soon after I came. There was really nothing there and they had a good supply of water, so it seemed very logical. Well, that has initiated a whole sequence of events that I can´t say I don´t mind. The area dedicated for the play of the children in the parish preschool (next to the garden in Señor de los Milagros) was in very poor shape and in part to build up the school I volunteered to upgrade the whole area.

[Read more…]