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.