Friday, February 24, 2012

One Week In...

So we have been here about a week now! There have definitely been some tough things... for one helping the kids to settle in and be okay with so many changes. This is also pretty much the first time Cole has moved so far away from home for a long period of time. He was born in Lindsay, and has only moved away for one summer to work at Sugar Pine Christian Camps, then also a semester of college in Canada. As for me, I am just not letting my thoughts fully develop in this. We are trying to take this one day at a time and not let worrisome thoughts consume us or take the joy and wonder out of each special day. All in all, I think we are doing very well in this!
It has also been a little tough being here, but not being in Asuncion with our team. They have been in Asuncion working very hard for a couple of months already since they started this journey ahead of us and have been finished with training for a while. We are very eager to be with them and to have a home we can nest in a little. It has felt like we are "homeless" for more than a month now because of all our packing and transitions. For me a sense of home is so important and for now we are in another home that is temporary. It will be wonderful to be able to root ourselves a little more when we get to Asuncion.
All that said, Arequipa is a great city with some very wonderful people in it! The people we have met with Extreme are doing such important work here as they all have left lives in the US to be where God has drawn them for reasons that are sometimes obvious and I imagine others that are yet to be revealed. So it is with us as well : ) We have gotten pretty comfortable riding the combis, which are like city buses. They have regular routes but no regular stops. You have to hail them like a cab and then you have about 10 seconds to get on before it starts speeding off! They are a little nuts at times but quite efficient and cheap (only 70 Soles, about $0.30). There is a mall called Real Plaza which is fairly close to us and I just love this place! There is a store in it called Casa & Ideas and this is totally my favorite store! I think I should stop going in there though because it makes me want to set up our household already which we can't do until we get to Paraguay : ) They also have some crazily amazing chocolate that is made here in Arequipa called La Iberica. I have alerady eated like 4 large bars of this... if it is normal to lose weight here, I think I am forfeiting it for this chocolate!
Our Spanish classes are pretty neat. Cole has gotten to walk all around the city with his instructor, Manolo. I just adore my instructor, Julissa! She is the sweetest lady! In our classes we pretty much get to chat a lot (in Spanish) about whatever we feel like because it is all practicing the language. So I get three hours of hanging out with a new friend every day. I love it! So far there isn't a lot of crazy homework but I think it is coming for both of us very soon!
Some other funny and different things here: the trash man comes three times a week and plays classical music loudly so that people will put their trash out; most people keep their dogs on their roof; pedestrians DO NOT have the right away; they have a bridge here made in the 1800's out of the left over metal from the building of the Eiffel tower; there is a volcano nearby that is sleeping butthey cannot say it is inactive; every house has about 4 bathrooms for some reason; most things you might buy for a baby is like two or three times the price you would be in the US; nuts are off the charts expensive; Spas are super cheap (about $7 to go in for the whole day); you can get a mani/pedi for about $7 and a haircut for less than $1; purses here are so expensive considering the comparison of quality in materials in the US (almost any leather purse is like $200+ no idea how crazy a fancy Coach purse might be!)... Well there are some tid bits...
Things you can pray for: Pray for rapid and thorough learning of the language, for our team in Asuncion, for health (Reese has been a little sick), and for little opportunities to connect with others to share Christ. I find myself wondering very often if the people around me know Christ and I don't want to miss the opportunities that Lord will have to share the hope that I have.
Lots of Love to you all! Grace and Peace!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mailing Address for Peru

Our Mailing Address while in Peru!!! I think we may only be in Peru for 2 months instead of 3! We will keep you posted when we have better details about our arrival date for Paraguay...

Cole and Kelly Williams
C/O Ministerios Nazarenos Extremos
Urb. Primavera Entel Peru D7
Yanahuara, Arequipa
Arequipa, Peru

We would love packages of course!! But keep in mind that we will be flying to Paraguay soon. If you have things you would like to send, it might be best to send them after we getto Paraguay since we will be there for 2 years. If you have cards, letters or very small packages mailing them to Peru will be just fine! After we get to Paraguay and see what we can and cannot get there, I think I will make a list of suggested package items : ) I can already think of some things here that we could totally use that cost a fortune here and small change in the states, but I shall wait for Paraguay! Thanks to each of you!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

We are here!!

Yahoooo! We made it through all the crazy airport madness and were NOT overweight with our bags! We have two very spacious rooms in ou host home and are fairly settled in. The very first thing Teddy wanted to do was to decorate his room! So thst is what we did. Very late last night we were placing robot and owl wall decals and getting out all the toys that have been packed for the last couple of weeks. We read "Big Bad Bruce" and called it a day!

Today we went shopping at the mall, which has a big super-wal-mart like store inside of it complete with groceries. We thought we would buy a cheap umbrella stroller to use for Reese but they are about $40-$80!!! I think because they are imported. The same stroller we could get at Target for $15 is totally $40. But the fruits and vegetables are super cheap. It is about $1.20 for 2.2lbs of papaya...and some of the papayas here are the size of watermelons. They do not have brown rice here and no oats : ( We haven't yet told Teddy about no oatmeal... I sure hope they have oats in Paraguay!! The showers are heated with an electric shower head about the size of a grapefuit and it works much like an electric tea kettle.

It looks like we will be able to finish up our schooling here in only 2 months which would be pretty awesome! We feel very eager for Paraguay! We are excited to be with the 40/40's and to invest ourselves in the culture and people there. We are also quite excited to be here in Peru as well and to get to know the folks on staff here, to start classes Monday, and to lean more and more on God to be our comfort. We are happy to be here knowing that this is where the Lord has put us.

Pray for the children to be comforted and adjusted. Pray for Cole and I to grow so close, to keep our family safe, and to learn spanish rapidly!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Last Days....

This week has been pretty neat. I am feeling quite blessed these days...not only from watching impossible things actually happen...but because God has been showing me all the ways that He has always been with me over the years. Though some of my readings, conversations with Cole and with my older brother Sean over the last months I see that God truly uses all of us uniquely and according to the purposes he designed before we even came to be. All these steps I have taken have lead me here and even though I clearly fail at times, even those failures have been blessings of protection, learning, and comfort. It has been such a precious thing to look back and remember some very difficult times, especially as a kid, when I did not consider how profound it really is that the Lord says "I will never leave you nor forsake you"(Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5-6). It also says in Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." I am convinced that all that the Bible says is true. We are jars of clay designed with a purpose, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Cor 4:7). This is all to say that God has loved me so deeply and carried me in every moment of my life because he has created me to be just what I am...a fearfully and wonderfully made creation in his likeness. I love him because he has first loved me and it is this love that takes the focus of my life off of me and places it all in thanking Christ for his great gift. I am just a vessel created, held and sustained by the creator. It is humbling and profound to know one's place... to be so small yet treasured by our God.

These are the thoughts swirling around in our heads right now as we are preparing for this great leap. It is plain to see just how intricate his plans are as we get to see them unfold now. For me personally, it is just a shift of focus because certainly I am not always able to see the beauty of his plan. Sometimes I get stuck on my own plans and settle on feeling disappointed. If we remember that we are his vessels to be used as he wills, the burden is removed to carefully plan a life with meaning and fulfillment...all that is required is our submission to his will and to be obedient as it unfolds before us. We are entirely God's work. Nothing is lost is his hands.

For those who are watching and praying: We are at 86.73% funded still in need of 13 more families/individuals to support us with an average of $40/mo for 27 months. We have about a week and a half to reach 100%. Ask of the Lord to show you if you can join us in this. Just as he has called my family, he surely is calling some of you to support and he will provide!

We are flying out very early on February 16th. Please pray for us in all the travels and adjustments in our new South American lives. We will be missing you all tremendously and are so thankful for your continued love and friendship even while we are away. We will be praying for each of you as your lives change and unfold that you would keep your focus on Christ, not letting yourselves become discouraged for any reason. He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us...his plans are to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future.

Grace and Peace,

"Then Jesus said to his disciples: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26