Mar 7 Tuesday – We are off to LA to catch our flight. We got an early ride with our son and had plenty of time at the airport before our 1pm departure for our nonstop flight to Lima Peru. We got through immigration and customs with no problems, catching our waiting ride at the airport about 1am Peru time. The drive to our lodging took about 30 minutes at that time of the day. Midday with traffic could take an hour so there was a blessing of arriving so late.
Mar 8 Wednesday - We slept in a bit of course, since we didn’t get to sleep till about 4am. Lily went out for groceries at 4am in the morning, so she could cook breakfast in the morning at leisure. Except we didn’t’ have that breakfast until about noon! ;-) Lily didn’t sleep well since she couldn’t find her cell phone but was suspicious that she left it in the taxi and turned out that she did. Thank goodness we use our regular taxi and we found out about 7am in the morning via Facebook message that he did have it. He brought it to her when he picked her up for the ride to the bus depot to get tickets for our planned ride to the mission later.
Mar 9 Thursday – We had another light day, breakfast at the apartment. We had a visitor at about 11am, Jean Pierre of El Shaddai church worship team in Ica. He has now moved to Lima for advanced schooling and work. We had brought some worship flags for him. We had a fun visit with him, discussing his move to Lima, and getting caught up. We had lunch together as well. Jean Pierre accompanied Lily to do some errands while I returned to the apartment for a bit. We all met again at the apartment before saying good bye to Jean Pierre. We had a few more needed meetings at end of day Thursday to get some needed chores out of the way.
Mar 10 Friday – After breakfast, we took off to the bus terminal for our 2pm departure for Ica. We arrived about 630pm, our regular driver “Leche” picked us up and we got to the Mission about 730pm. We had a great reunion with many kids on the street, and we also arrived during a surprise birthday gathering for Julio’s birthday. It is so good to see the friends and relationships that they have formed here in the village.
Mar 11, Saturday - We went to bed pretty early last night, since everyone but me were going to a Samaritans Purse orientation meeting in ica, to discuss ‘’Operation Christmas Child”. I didn’t go since I didn’t want Lily to spend the whole time translating for me. The presenters needed a means of projecting since they didn’t seem to have one at the church where the meeting was held. We just brought a new portable projector, courtesy of Branch Church of San Diego, so Julio came all the way back by taxi to the mission to retrieve it and a screen to project on.
Apparently the meeting was a very productive one. It is an evangelization program, which runs 12 weeks, having a lot of enjoyment, training and teaching. At the end of the program, the students get the training material, the Christmas box from the USA, and a bible. There are a lot of amazing stories that were discussed. We are glad that we are seeing this from the receiving end of the program, as we have been made familiar with it from the sending side from the USA with Lily working to get it to the mission. We are looking forward to finally bringing it to the Mission.
Mar 12, Sunday – Julio was the only one that went to El Shaddai on Sunday, as everyone else was pretty exhausted, and we knew that we would have services at the mission later in the day.
Helpers start showing up at 5pm, getting everything ready. At 5:30pm children’s ministry starts, opening with some outdoor games. They then come into the mission and have a bible study video with Irma, some worship with Yareni, and then actual closing in prayer from Julio. After which, the children all go upstairs for some further study and bible lesson learning, while the adult service is going on downstairs, also pastored by Julio. At the end of the adult teaching, the children return for a blessing as the next day was their first day back to school. Then services are over. I made a short 3 minute video to go through some of this, since the mission was really buzzing with all these children and helpers. Loved the energy.
Mar 13, Monday – Monday is a regular day of rest for the Missionairies. After breakfast, Lily met with Abel, our regular contractor. We set out a plan, got the estimate, list of material to buy, projected schedule with him starting the next day. Then Lily went to town to do some paperwork and buy some groceries.
On this day the Sanchezes left for Ica to catch a bus to Chile to renew their Visas.
Mar 14, Tuesday – With just Irma, Lily & I at the mission, we met for morning prayer, with one neighbor showing up to join us. Later we had breakfast. After breakfast we spent a good amount of time in Ica getting the material for construction. We bought two thousand brick, two varieties, 50 bags of cement, rebar, wire, nails, some miscellaneous items to manufacture screens, low voltage tracks, etc.
Abel and one worker were at lunch when we got back, but we ended up positioning the truck in the back next to the construction and spent a good amount of time doing the unloading of most of the material. I worked with the two contractors for the first thousand bricks, and even Lily and Irma came out for the second. We moved the truck around to the front of the mission to unload the cement bags and heavy wire spool. We still need a lot more cement, and another load of the lighter brick, a load of ceiling block, but that will be in another week. Before the day was over, Abel and his one helper did get started on the column construction and got one of the eventual ten columns erected.
We later went to a bible study in the adjoining village of ‘Invacion’. Irma led the study in the Sanchez’s absence. We had a half dozen adults and both Marianna & Estrella, two of our mission ninas’ who help out at the mission, also attended.
Mar 15, Wednesday - Another day, we started with morning prayer, this time having our same neighbor (Ageda) but also with her daughter-in-law, Deysi. During prayer, as always, contractor showed up. They brought the cement mixer to park it in the front of the mission, although they won’t be using it for a week at least, when they need the quantity of cement for pouring the ceiling and floor. Construction resumed with Abel and his one helper. He has committed that next week he will have a larger crew, but this week they are somewhat focused in building the columns. It will take a little while for the extended crew to break free of their current jobs.
As I was working on finishing a curtain rod in one of the dormitories, and was teasing Abel as he finished 3 then 4 columns .. he committed that he would have 5 done by end of day, doing the remaining 5 the next day.
At end of the day, we left Abel and his worker to go to another bible study in a small hamlet south of the mission in an area called ‘Cabildo’. Estrella and Angelus, a very spiritual girl, joined us for this study group. It was about a kilometer walk.
After the study, we returned to the Mission but Irma got a "collectivo" (shuttle) ride to Ica for a class at El Shaddai church, also spending the night in Ica. We hurried back to the mission, hoping to catch the contractors in case they needed us to let them out or something. We were surprised to see that they were not only gone but that ALL TEN (10) columns were in place! So, Abel was teasing me as usual! Love it! But a productive day for construction, allowing brick work to commence tomorrow.
March 16, Thursday – Morning prayer with Irma, who came back early, also joined by Ageta again. Contracting started on the brickwall and got a good amount done today.
After the construction was near complete for the day, we joined him to go harvest some mangos which are certainly plentiful around here. Lily was interested in a particular mango called a ‘sucky mango’ which is easy to eat but is not found on the market that much since it is too fragile to ship.
Irma left again that evening for Ica for her class. She spent the night again, and was not here when the Sanchez’s finally returned. They got delayed 8 hours just 14 kilometers south of Ica due to a washed out road. The floods down here have been causing a national emergency as a lot of mud slides have broken water pipes, washed out roads, swarmed over river banks, and more. We have heard from many in Lima and a traveling missionary in Arequipa that is stranded with four children without water. The country needs a lot of prayer to get through what is happening. I have been coming down here for almost 20 years and have never seen it like this. An excessive amount of snow melts apparently overburdening the rivers and water supply system. We were grateful that they arrived safely, although late.
March 17, Friday - We had morning prayer, this time with 3 ladies showing up (Ceci, Santa & Deysi), with the Sanchez’s, Irma, Lily and I, nine of us. We then had breakfast, work continued on the construction and I had many chores from Lily to work on. Irma cooked an interesting lunch a Mexican pork chop recipe (loved it) with ‘nopales’ , cooked cactus. Lily liked the cactus, but didn’t go for the pork chop which was a fantastic recipe, very spicy.
Most of two walls of brick were completed this day by Abel and his crew. Today and yesterday, I was tasked with building some homemade window screens out of wood and screws.
At the end of the day, we did another bible study to the north of the mission in the area called “Altura” about a kilometer north of the mission. While there, we all stayed inside with the older students, while Irma went out front and entertained the smallest children with coloring. She is marvelous to watch working with children.
We then returned to mission and had some Panettone bread for a treat before retiring for the evening.
March 18, Saturday – Opening the day in prayer again, this time just Lily and I. Construction team came and worked a half day pretty much finishing the two walls of the heavier brick. This will be the last day of just two workers, since Monday a larger crew will show up.
Lily painted the wood frames I made for three screens. It will take a few days for the paint to dry since it was oil based.
I have been working with getting the website updated with a developer from Canada who should have been done by now, but hope to have it completed soon. That has been consuming a good amount of time on my part.
Tonight we had movie night. We played a rather new one ‘Life of Pets’ and had a crowd of about 35 people, and they really laughed a good deal. We love to give them ‘cine night’.
March 19, Sunday - Today we went to Ica to attend services at El Shaddai. Last week only Julio went, and Pastor Martin was not here either as he was visiting his brother in Spain. We were much more rested this week, verses last week, so we all went. Difficult finding a collectivo for 6 people but we made it. Had a great service and we met with Pastor Martin afterwards, and took a group photo with him and his son Joshue, who speaks fluent English.
After services, we headed to Totoos (local department store) for shopping. We needed to buy some school supplies for the mission for the mission children to spend their 'mission bucks' on, a program that the Sanchez's started last year. The children earn 'bucks' for attending bible study, church, doing mission assignments, helping out, etc. We then open up a store for them to spend those 'bucks' at. We have supplied watches, whistles, flashlights, bracelets, compasses, and a lot of other chinese sourced (mostly) goods. This time of year, with school restarting, we are going to mostly have school supplies, with still some of the other items as well.
With all of the school supplies, and now groceries also, we needed to take two collectivos back to the mission. Got back in plenty of time for a little rest before getting ready for evening youth programs and services.
March 20, Monday - Day of rest for staff at the mission, but construction continues.
March 21, Tuesday - Construction continues, Knitting and Crocheting with adults and youth today. We introduced some changes to the program since we are just going through so much yarn so fast, being that it has been free to everyone up to this point. We wanted to change things a bit, and model ourselves a little more after the Hearts and Hands program in San Diego where the primary reason that yarn is free is for craft time where the final craft is made for the needy. We will continue to provide yarn to those that are making things for the church to give those of most need. We will continue to want to help even the youth, who usually use the looms to start with, to continue to grow in number and give them free yarn for awhile as well. This will also go for new adults, as long as they are active participating members of the Mission, attending services, etc. For all others we would like them to repay us for the cost of the yarn, we are still paying the shopping and transport cost and welcoming all to knit and crochet and learn to do so at the mission with everyone else. Subsidy's would also be considered for hardship cases. We introduced the changes to the program, lets see what effect it has.
March 22, Wednesday - Construction continues. Bible study in south of El Carmen as well as Invacion.
March 23, Thursday - Knitting for 2 hours today, 4-6 I believe. Construction continues, we need a large merchandise delivery. Ran out of brick, still need some panderetta (lighter) brick to finish bathroom walls. Will also need a lot of cement for the roof, as well as rebar and ceiling block. We will then also need a lot of cement for the first floor where we will continue to work once the ceiling is poured on the 2nd floor. Abel, our contractor is preparing a list.
March 24, Friday - Prayer from 8 to 9, breakfast from 9-10. Sanchez's were taking online classes and tests. Choir practice with Moses, a local parent who likes to sing with them. Evening we had bible study in Altura.
March 25, Saturday - Craft preparation for Sunday youth, movie night.
March 26, Sunday - Went in to Ica for morning services. Shopping for groceries and return to mission. Evening youth activities and church services.
March 27, Monday - Closed day for the mission, Breakfast, prayer - construction
March 28, Tuesday - Prayer, Breakfast. Staff meeting at 10. Construction receives a lot of ceiling block and more rebar for delivery. We had knitting activities from 4-6 with all new yarn purchase. We had an interesting bible study in the evening with three teenagers who didn't really know what they dropped in on. They gave it their best effort though. We had one regular young boy, Armuno who has been faithfully reading the bible, down from Altura
March 29, Wednesday - Aggressive progress on the roof of the construction going on. Main beams assembled, four should be in place. Stairway will be poured tomorrow, hopefully entire floor by end of week. Two bible studies going on tonight to the south of El Carmen and also Invacion. Since Lily was pre-occupied with the contractor and Irma didn't feel well, hence both my bi-lingual missionaries were not going, I decided to stay as well and work on the computer a bit. Apparently I missed my 'mija's' attending (Luciana), who just had a birthday tomorrow. I will have to get her something. We go back for a good 4 years and she is a special girl, with her brother, to me.
March 30, Thursday - Big day for construction. Crew of 5 worked to complete all the lumber framing, the block placement, the rebar ties, the rebar beam assembles, plumbing and electrical tubing, with the effort to get the roof poured by this weekend. A lot of work goes into putting up one of these floors. The walls are all pretty much columns and brick, but what a major ordeal to raise the actual roof. Anyway, looks like one more day of preparation, and then Saturday we get our delivery of a lot of cement for the major pour. Will probably have about a dozen guys here doing a bucket brigade to pour the floor. Moving forward.
Lily spent a good amount of time on the new scaffold supported roof, walking off future plumbing for a 3rd floor (if and when we ever do one) but mainly the placement of the lights for the ceiling of the 2nd floor. Also need to pour a new stairway going from the 2nd to the 3rd floor. Lot of progress.
Tonight Julio, Yareni and Irma all went to Ica for discipleship classes at El Shaddai Christian Church. I believe they do this every Thursday but will be coming to an end soon as they are completing the program.
March 31, Friday - This was supposed to be the big final day of prepping the construction site for the big pour tomorrow. Lots of construction work.
Bible study group held in Altura that Irma and Lily both attended with a few youth from the mission area. I stayed behind to assist when we saw Pastor Cody Martin, from El Shaddai, and one other person, come to the mission for some online training for the bible school that Tanto Hussain runs in Mexico. Julio and Yareni were going to give them a feel for the online course work and videos. Cody brought her new 'US bought' computer and I helped her get it set up for spanish. Surprised to see them both stay till after 10 pm, catching a "collectivo" (shuttle) into Ica pretty late.