I seriously can't hardly believe that we have been in Peru for over a month now and that it actually is starting to feel normal! Our emotions now compared to the first couple of days are miles apart! We are pretty much able to get all around the city without feeling disoriented and handicapped with our language. We have found favorite places to eat and shop, have found friendship with the teams here in Arequipa, have been spiritually challenged and encouraged in Bible studies, and have even made some random friends with locals that are completely unassociated with Extreme or the churches. Isn't this what life is?? These are the things that give us a sense of home and comfort no matter where we are...it is just finding yourself and God wherever your "normal" is. We are very thankful for all of these wonderful things!
About our new Peruvian friends... Last Sunday evening Cole was out for a walk near our host home and came across a group of 5 middle aged and slightly older men all dressed out in soccer gear. They ended up chatting and inviting Cole to be their goalie for their soccer games every Sunday morning (I think because he is about a foot taller than most Peruvians). They play Sundays at 9am and our church service doesn't start until 11:30am so Cole plans to play this Sunday. Cole is a little nervous to play but I keep telling him it's a lot like waterpolo...not sure if I am right! ALSO, about a week ago while waiting for a combi ride in front of the Real Plaza shopping center, I ended up having a friendly conversation with a woman named Mary who works at El Ekeko a nice restaraunt in the shopping center. We talked for about 7 or 8 minutes andthen my combi sped up and I left rather quickly. Yesterday we saw her and she ran up to me and gave me a cheek kiss (the common way to greet a friend here in Peru). She said she had been looking for me the past few days and that she would really like to keep in touch. We exchanged emails and ohone numbers... we will see but I am wondering if it would be ok to invite her over for dinner before we leave. We may consult the Extreme Staff to make sure it's not a problem. What a blessing...who knows what may come of these friendships!!
We also have the opportunity to get our own furnished apartment for our last month or so here in Arequipa! We have had great blessings and provision with out host family but aer also very excited to be able to cook for ourselves and experience life as a family in Peru for a little while doing everything on our own. We found a place not too far from where we are staying now in a gated community with two very cute children's parks about one minute from our front door! It will be very fun to "play house" again with our little family and hopefully invite our teachers over for one of our favorite meals from home.
Just yesterday we also got approval to get our flight to Asuncion!! As soon as we get the funds on our cards to pay for the tickets we will be booking our flight! Now that we are half-way through our stay inPeru it is feeling a little bittersweet...at least for me. We have settled in here pretty well and of course that will start over when we get to Paraguay. We sure will miss our teachers and the very cool staff/teams here in Peru. Right about the time we leave Arequipa will be a lot lighter in the way of North Americans. At the end of April the first Arequipa team that started over 2 years ago will finish up their work here and head home. Shortly after that we will be on our way to Asuncion. We are excited for our last weeks here but are still very excited to meet up with our team and see what God has waiting for us there. We are very optomistic. I think we will get along very well with the leaders and 40/40's working there. We are of course very stoked to meet Felix Vargas...that will be a little surreal the forst time after we have heard...but he is just a human following God's call. Really the excitement that we feel is for the work we know God has his hands in there...our joy is to see God there.
Please continuue always as you feel lead to pray for us. God is working in you and through just as much as he is working in those down here. He speaks into your heart ways you can pray and ways you can help beyond what you might imagine. His ways are beautifully complicated beyond comprehension and every called person of God plays an amazing role in his plans.
We ask specifically that you continue praying for our kids. We are considering whether we need to put our children in school while we down here. Teddy is currently 4 1/2 and Reese is almost 3. We believe having them attend school down here will be an invaluable gift of language and culture acuisition. We have a few months to figure out what we should do since we are not yet in Paraguay. Please pray for us in the matter. If we put the kids in school we will need additional sponors to support specifically the cost of schooling. These funds would NOT be tax-deductible as they are not an "allowable expense" under IRS guidelines for charitable giving. I do not yet know an exact cost but can estimate it at about $150 per month per child plus some extra for uniforms and supplies. Please pray that we will know what is best for Teddy and Reese in this and that if needed that the funds will be made avaialble.
We also still have a lotof room available on our "Kids Prayer Team." If you would like to support our kids by prayinffor them both during one particular month that we are down here and by sending them a postcard or letter during that time, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check it out on the "Kids Prayer Team" tab on the top of this blog. Maybe you can bring this before your Sunday School Class and see if anyone would like to sign up. I will try to fit you in on the month you prefer but may need to assign people. Prayer and encouragement is SO IMPORTANT. Your encouragement to our kids is a great blessing to our whole family.