Friday, April 7, 2017

All About John

In July we will be heading to the U.S for our second home assignment. I was thinking about all that has changed in the three years since we were last home. Since we go home every three years, so when we first moved to Lima, our kids were 2, 4, and 6. When we went on our first furlough, the were 5, 7, and 9, with a new 6-month-old addition named John. This time, our kids will be 3 (turning 4), 8, 10, and 12!

It is strange and sad to have our families miss out on such huge chunks of our kids' lives. And likewise, to miss out on so much of our nephews/nieces lives, too! Kids grow so fast, and a lot changes in three years. 

I was thinking about how, in some ways, this will be the first time a lot of my family and friends meet Johny. I know they met him as a baby, but they haven't yet met Johny "the kid". So as a sort of introduction for everyone who doesn't yet know Johny the kid, this post is all about my Johny. 
  1. John is what they call "tranquilo" in Spanish. Meaning, he is an easy-going kid. For a three-year-old boy, he is pretty calm and quiet. He can also be shy when he meets new people, but it usually doesn't take long for him to open up. He has a sweet and gentle heart. 

  2. John loves animals. If you want to get John talking, ask him what his favorite animal is. He'll tell you all about jaguars, dolphins, and elephants. He spends a lot of time pretending to be different animals. I don't mind when he is a dog, cat, or cheetah, but his sloth impersonation can test my patience! (Maybe a future wildlife biologist?)
  3. John has always loved to draw. Even when he was just a year and a half, he could sit sometimes for a half an hour, practicing drawing little circles and lines. Next, he started drawing "funny faces" (and I have proof of it all over my walls. 😏) Now, he likes to draw people and animals, and he especially likes to staple pieces of paper together to make "books." (Future author and illustrator, perhaps?)
    The left he calls "Funny Johny".😊The right is a collection of animals.
  4. John adores Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and all things superhero. If he is in a bad mood, I can usually coax him out of it by talking about superheroes. What tickles me most about his love for superheroes, is that what he is most fixated on is not that they have special powers, or that they fight bad guys (though he likes that part too). He is especially impressed that they help people. What does Spiderman do, Mom? Does he help people? Does he save people from the bad guys? Does he beat the bad guys up and take them to jail? And what does Superman do?...That's a conversation we have almost daily. I hope that his super-passion for helping people will always stay with him. (Hmmm, maybe a future police officer?)
And now to let you in on a little secret...John is neither a wildlife biologist, author, or police officer. Watch the video below (made by John and his sisters, and watched by John a thousand times each day) to find out his TRUE IDENTITY!!!



Katie

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Through the Eyes of a Kid

 
Hi,

I am going to write about what a missionary conference is like for a kid like me. It is much more fun to be a kid and not an adult at these things.

                Reasons

1. You do not have to go to meetings every morning, instead you get to go to a kids program. 😊

2. You get to run crazy. (Most of the time.) But if you are an adult, you just talk. 😑

3. You get lots of candy and you don't care about diets. 😉


At conferences sometimes teams come down from the States or Canada to take care of the kids which is awesome and fun.

                        Reasons

1. Teams are always real fun. 😁

2. They bring candy that you can't get here or are too expensive, like Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Good n' Plenty, candy bracelets, Ring Pops, Butterfingers, Starbursts,  Fun Dip, Goldfish, Tootsie Roll Pops, Jolly Ranchers, Kool Aid Packets, and lots more.😄

3. Super cool crafts, like making our own beach balls, hats, shell, bracelets, etc. 😆

There are two places for our conferences, the beach and the jungle.  This year it was the beach. Here are some pictures.

Every one loved the ocean
                         
And the water slide.


This is all the missionary kids. There are three other kids my age. Three kids around Lydia's age and one kid Davy's age.
There are two kids older than me and nine kids younger than Davy. 


If we walked a little ways we would come to a whole lot of rocks. We found a lot of ocean animals like a squid, an octopus and a starfish and these weird things (below).
I called these asparagus, but they are alive. When you touch them they move. 

Highlights of the Trip
 
Once when we were down by the beach we saw two destroyer ships. I was standing by two boys and the first one said, "Wouldn't it be awesome if a nuclear bomb shot out?" and the other said "Oh yeah, that would be soooo cool." And I thought, "No, that would be terrible. It is so NOT cool." I told two other girls and they agreed with me.
 
Another highlight was that it never rains in Lima and it rained at the beach every night, which was so much fun.
 
One of the kids walked by the pool and found an iguana in the pool. She told every one and we all watched one of the workers try and get it out of the pool.
 
We swam every day.
 
 
Well, that's the 2017 missionary conference.
 
 
 
Written by Lucy
 
 
 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How We Celebrate Christmas

We are a tad past the holiday season, but...I decided to post this anyway!
---------------------------------
A friend of mine asked if celebrating Christmas in Peru is different than in America. So, I thought it might be fun to share what Christmas is like for us.
 
We just celebrated our sixth Christmas here in Peru, and Christmas for us has become a mix of Peruvian and American traditions--with a couple Anderson-isms thrown in for good measure.
 

How We Celebrate Christmas

  • Christmas Music: We like all the American classics, and the Michael Buble Christmas album is a fun favorite. But Peruvian/Latino Christmas music has grown on us. In our house you are just as likely to hear "El Burrito Sabanero" playing as you are to hear "Jingle Bells". (Not the kind of burrito you eat...the kind that Mary rode on!) That "tuqui tuqui tuqui" line is catchy!

 
  • Christmas Cookies: We love Christmas cookies and bake batches and batches all December long!

 
  • Panetón and Hot Chocolate: Christmas cookies are the American Christmas treat of choice, but here in Peru, it's all about the panetón. Panetón is a sweet Christmas bread with candied fruits and raisins, and we love it. It is almost always served with a cup of hot chocolate, which is never actually hot, but only slightly warm. The weather here at Christmastime isn't exactly hot chocolate weather!


  • Chocolatadas: A chocolatada is a Christmas party, which always ends with the serving of panetón and warm chocolate. We have a chocolatada every year at both the Oasis and the Juniper Tree, and families of the kids are always invited.
Excited for the chocolatada to begin!



The kids always receives lots of goodies at the chocolatadas.

The Juniper Tree houses always have a house decorating competition which is judged during the chocolatada--here is the Purple House celebrating their victory!

  • Christmas Tree: Most people here who have Christmas trees use artificial ones, but we wanted a real one. We bought this unique pine tree (common here in Peru) at a nursery, and potted it. We've used it every Christmas for the last several, and we put it out in the yard the rest of the year. It's a bit (okay, a lot!) Charlie Brownish, but we like it because it is real.

  • Juniper Tree Christmas Dinner: Every year we have a big turkey dinner with all the kids at the Juniper Tree along with "extended family" and friends associated with the Children's Home. We sing together, eat, have a telling of the Christmas story, and the kids usually prepare some sort of skit or choreograph, etc.
The newest addition to the Juniper Tree enjoying her first Christmas with us.

They worked hard on their dance!
  • Christmas Eve Burger King Run:  Yeah, I know that sounds strange. When I was growing up,  we always celebrated Christmas Eve by putting out an assortment of snacks and grazing all evening while hanging out and playing games. But here, with most of our traditional snacks not available, we've been experimenting with new traditions. We've tried lots of different things, most failures or requiring too much work. Last year we had a family meeting and brainstormed what special thing we could on Christmas Eve. We decided it would be great fun to hop in the car and drive to Burger King to get burgers, fries and a shake, coming back after to hang out and play games. But due to the almost two-hour round trip drive to get there, plus the post-fast food stomach pains, we've decided that it wasn't so fun after all. We'll keep looking for a new tradition!



  • Midnight Fireworks: In Peru (and much of Latin America), Christmas is celebrated with fireworks. Most Peruvians let off fireworks at midnight, immediately followed by their big Christmas dinner and opening presents in the middle of the night. Since we celebrate with just our family on the actual Christmas, we prefer to keep our American tradition of opening presents on Christmas morning. But we still get to enjoy the fireworks of all our neighbors!

And that's how we celebrate Christmas!

Katie

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Little Bit of Everything

Here's some theme music for you, if you like listening as you read!
 
 
Since I last posted...

This handsome fella turned three! We love this happy little guy!


We've received four new children at the Juniper Tree Children's Home--all girls, and all four as sweet as can be.


Over Thanksgiving, we got a visit from Aunt Hannah! Hannah is Dan's sister. She was here for her birthday so we celebrated with ice cream and Tres Leches cake.


We had so much fun showing her around Lima and spending time catching up.

We were proud to attend the seminary graduation of Estefanny, who grew up at the Juniper Tree. What an outstanding person she had turned into! Beautiful inside and out.

Here is Estefanny with her housemom, Oli. It was a small graduating class of two--and the Juniper Tree filled half of the seats available, all of us excited to cheer her on.


Found in our grocery store: Honey Nut Noonies. Nope, they don't taste anything like the real thing.


A 5k was held to benefit our ministry and another local ministry who helps children. It was a huge success! All the kids and staff from the Children's Home ran in it, along with hundreds of other Lima runners. It was a fun family event.

My favorite moment of the race was when we passed a group of bystanders who were clapping and cheering for the runners. One little girl that we were running with saw the crowd and put on a show, sprinting past them in her best running form, waving as she passed. She was a bit short-sighted as she slowed down again the moment she passed them (even though they could still see her), but I'm guessing they thought it was as cute as I did!

We celebrated a landmark at the Children's Home this month as one of the boys turned 18 and graduated from high school in the same month. There was a party to celebrate him and send him out into the world with love and prayers. He will stay at the Juniper Tree for the summer, and then plans on going to Bible school for one year, followed by university to study to become a veterinarian.


Merry Christmas, everyone! 'Till next time...

Katie

Thursday, November 3, 2016

One Little Boy's Story

There's a boy who was brought to our Children's Home after he was found sleeping alone outside on the street, at night during the winter, with only a light blanket. At five years old.

All of the kids at the Juniper Tree have hard stories in their past, but there is something about this one that makes me cry every time I think about it. I try to imagine what it must have been like for him; my thoughts go to Davy (my seven-year-old) being alone on the streets at night and knowing how terrified she would be makes me sick to my stomach.

I hate what happened to him. I hate that he had to experience that fear and vulnerability and danger as a little boy. It makes me angry.

It's easy to let my anger be directed towards the parents. I mean, who does that?! The anger rushes over me each time I hear a new story of the awful things that go on in this wretched world. How can people be so capable of evil towards their own precious children?

While I believe that anger is a reasonable response to their stories, I was challenged by a grace-filled attitude towards these parents in a blog post written by another Kids Alive missionary. He wrote:

...this redemption extends beyond the children to stand in the gap for their natural parents and families, who have been unable to care for their children. Perhaps [the Children's Home's] reach grasps some of the desperate longings of these parents and relatives, who may be trapped in the despair of poverty and its patterns.

The truth is that it's likely that few of these parents, at the birth of their children, had starry-eyed dreams of abandoning, abusing or leaving their babies alone on the street. Like you and me, their hearts probably melted with one look into their eyes; they probably felt fierce protection of them, if only briefly.  Sadly, sin, selfishness, and addiction are nasty, horrible things that sneak in and trap, ensnare and make slaves of us. There but for the grace of God, go I.

Despite my anger,  I have to admit that many of these families probably have deep longings for restoration but are trapped in their sin and in the generational cycles of sin. Which is heartbreakingly sad.

What hope we have in Jesus! He has set us free!

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25


Praise God!! The generational cycles of sin can STOP with these kids!!

Praise God!! The hopes and dreams of these parents for their children can be realized through the work of Kids Alive!!

Praise God!! From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children- Psalm 103:17 




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Our Week With the Howells

We just spent a week with Seth, Jessica and the girls before they headed up to Arequipa for language school. It was a pretty crazy week!

After arriving in the middle of the night on Tuesday, Dan and I spent an hour or two with them on Wednesday morning before leaving to make a quick trip to the notary for a simple document. The "quick trip" morphed into a "ridiculously long trip" as Dan and I ran around Lima trying to get what we needed. Because of a typo on Lucy's birth certificate, we couldn't get the document we needed and ended up buying last minute plane tickets to Chile! (The "why" for this is a very long and boring story having to do with visa renewals and paperwork, so I'll spare you.)

So, Day One of the Howell's missionary journey was spent babysitting our kids ALL DAY (we got home at 7pm) and even though they were exhausted after their travel, Jessica managed to make dinner for all of us and had it on the table when we got home. It will be nice having family here with us; normally, the kids would have had to come along with us on a long day like that.

On Day Two and Three of the Howell's missionary journey, they were abandoned by their hosts (us), who left the country. (Ha-ha!) The plan was to fly to the south of Peru, take a taxi across the border into Chile, stay the night, drive back the next morning and re-enter Peru (thus renewing visas), and then fly back to Lima.

When we reached to border, first we stopped at the Peruvian immigration building, which went fine except that it was very slow and we had to wait for well over an hour. After exiting Peru, we drove a half-mile or so through "no-man's land" to the Chilean border. When we arrived, this is what we saw:



These pictures don't do it justice, but there were several very long lines of people waiting to enter Chile. There was a strike, and they were only letting people through at a rate of 60 people an hour. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there waiting, it was nearing sundown, and starting to get pretty chilly. Waiting in that line did not sound like a good time! But our taxi driver had the brilliant idea of just turning around and re-entering Peru. Technically, we only were required to leave Peru, which, we'd done! So we drove right back to the Peru border and re-entered with no problem! We found a hotel and flew back to Lima the next morning. While it wasn't the most enjoyable trip for us, it ended up being great for the Howells, who, being left by themselves in our house for two days, had time to rest and recuperate alone.

After we got back, the time with the Howells flew by quickly, filled mostly with paperwork and making preparations for living in Peru. But we also found a little time for an afternoon at the beach and a couple of game nights. It was a hard week because of the busyness, made harder by bad colds that all four of them picked up on the airplane, but they survived and the cousins had a great time playing together.


 


We're so happy to have them here! They left on Thursday for Arequipa where they will be in language school for the next 4-6 months.

Be praying for the Howells; there is nothing easy about the first year in a new country. It's very hard. I am excited for them though, because God always takes hard things and makes them beautiful! Looking back on my first few years, that's how I feel. I wouldn't want to repeat them (no, no, no!!), but I am oh-so-thankful for what God taught us in those years.

It's been a while since I have written a ministry update, but there are a lot of great things going in the ministries! I plan on writing an update this week, so if you don't receive our ministry updates, please be sure to sign up in the right hand side of our blog.

Katie



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Great Are You, Lord!

It's time to play catch-up on what's been happening in our lives here in Peru! The last few months have been pretty full. I've been neglecting the blog not for lack of things to write about, so much as lack of time to sit down and write them out! So here is a quick recap of what's been going on.

God tends to teach me things He wants me to learn in themes...staying with it until I get it! The theme in mine and Dan's life these past few months has definitely been connecting with God through prayer and simply being in His presence. And, wow, in His presence is where I want to be! He's with us all the time, but this song (below) quickly makes me aware of His presence, and so has been heard in our house a lot during this season. I thought it would make a fitting theme song as I think back over the last several months, so please push play, if you wish, and read on!


In June, we hosted an intern, Kenzie, in our home for a month. She helped us with a sponsorship project and taught English classes at the Oasis, all while getting a taste of missionary life. We loved having her! She was a hit with all the kiddos at the Children's Home (and with my kids, too!).

Kenzie wanted to do something fun with all the girls from the Home, so one night we bought a bunch of pizzas, played games, watched a movie, and stayed up late with the "little" girls...

...and the next night we took the "big" girls out for a nice dinner followed by a movie in the theater.

In June, Dan and I finally made it to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World! We have been wanting to go since coming to Peru, and the perfect opportunity arose when a team wanted us to accompany them to help with logistics. It certainly lived up to its hype. It really is amazing and beautiful. We brought John along but left the girls for the weekend with the Fietjes. It was a quick trip and the three of us suffered some altitude sickness, but not enough to ruin our trip.

In July, Dan and I celebrated our 16th anniversary! This year, since Kenzie was staying with us and offered to watch the kids, we got to go out on a real date to celebrate! I'm soooooo glad that Dan's my partner for this life!


In mid-July, I took a crazy, very last minute and unexpected trip to the US for a women's conference near Seattle. The whole experience was amazing, in particular how God worked it all out for me to go, as well as the ways He revealed Himself to me throughout the week. Plus, the week was full of sweet gifts from God...

...like seeing this...

...and spending an afternoon with my friends Heidi and Angela, where I got to pick blackberries behind Heidi's house...

...and spending a couple of days with my two cute nieces.

Dan spent the week as a single dad, and did awesome. But we were all super happy to be back together as a family when the week was over! 



June and July were so busy that I think we spent August recovering, so I don't remember much about August. Except that we had some friends over and tried our hand at making corn dogs! They were a success!

Both the Fietje's and Lisa have been gone for several months while they are on home assignment in Canada. As such, Dan and I have been covering sponsorship responsibilities. So, much of August was spent writing letters with kids, translating, and preparing the letters to be sent to the home offices.  Is this not the cutest letter? I love how she ended the letter with "Amen".

Winters in Lima are pretty mild, so if my kids want snow they have to make it themselves by putting ice in the blender. They had an epic 5-second snowball fight before running out of snow.

This photo was taken just as the photographer was pelted in the face by four tiny snowballs...

In September, Davy turned 7! We celebrated with strawberry cheesecake.


She's a sweet seven-year-old.

On October 2 we celebrated 5 years in Peru! Here's a picture of Davy on our flight here five years ago at age two--and as I write this, another sweet two-year-old is also taking her first flight to Peru! Dan's sister Jessica and her husband Seth with their daughters, Molina (4) and Marcie (2) are on their way to begin their time as missionaries with Kids Alive in Lima. Dan will head to the airport to pick them up in a couple of hours. We're excited! Jessica and Seth were with us when we first came down five years ago, because they came along to watch our kids while we were in language school. That was when they first started considering coming back. Five years plus two kids later, and here they come. :)


We´ve been busy this week preparing for their arrival and getting their room ready. They'll stay with us for a week or so before heading to Arequipa to study Spanish. 

 We have been enjoying some beautiful weather lately, and the sun is coming out more and more each day. Dan's wondering if maybe this will be the year he gets John out on a surfboard? ;) 

And that brings you up to date! Thanks for staying with me; I know it was a long one.