2015 second LAMA Mission trip - El Carmen, San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru
Getting a late start on this blog, having been down here for a week now. Let me see if I can recap a bit ...
Our main goals for this trip are:
1) complete the construction. Although the building is pretty much done, we still have to do a lot of tile of the 5 bathrooms, installation of 7 toilets, 7 sinks, 5 showers, complete the electrical wiring and installation of nearly 80 outlets, purchase and install lighting fixtures, and whatever else we didn't get done on the last trip.
2) Acquire some furniture - We also will need to build or purchase many bunkbeds, if not some additional functional furniture for the upper floors.
3) Build on the local Relationships - With the physical construction phase getting behind us, the 'people' part is solidly in front of us. How to really make this 'investment' as alive as it could be with the primary goal of bringing people to Jesus.
4) Receive Missionary family - The above hopefully will be done before the arrival of the Sanchez family from Mexico early October, who have (God bless them) stepped forward for long term missionary assignment of building this mission up.
5) Make Missionary family fully accepted to community - With the Sanchez family coming to the mission, we certainly are excited. But making them as successful as possible is a major goal, so that when we depart, as much as the village and relationships we have formed will work even more with them than us since they will be here year round. We have another person who will reside here and also help them and take on role of getting building expenses, taxes paid, and can assist them with local relations as well. The Sanchez family will have full reign on building the missionary role with existing and new programs, the primary purpose being to lead as many souls to Christ as possible. We will continue to stay in the picture and return next year as well but want the mission to move forward and are excited about what the future holds.
With that as the goals of this trip, on with the blog ...
18th Aug Tuesday - our flight left LAX (no issues with freight, surprising) getting to Lima Peru after midnight.
19th Aug Wednesday - After sleeping in a bit, Lily went and did some errands while I worked a little around the Lima (Miraflores) facility. Lily got our bus tickets for Ica for next Monday. Also exchanged dollars for Peruvian soles at an exchange rate of 3.268 soles/dollar. (went to 3.27 next day, wondering what is going on). When we were last May, only 3 months ago, the exchange was 3.0 soles to the dollar. In reading the news it seems that China is down a bit on buying copper, a major export of Peru. The next two exports here are gold and fish. I am assuming the US economy will be effected by China next.
20th Aug Thursday - Local luncheon with friends. Rest.
21st& 22nd Aug Friday/Saturday - Rest, legal and dental visits. Great dental care down here and a huge savings over similar care in the USA! So if you need a root canal, why not tack on a Peru vacation as well? ;-) Just kidding. Also met with our local Miraflores contractor who came by and we discussed doing some upgrades to electrical and interior doors. We will need to supply materials as usual.
23rd Aug Sunday - Enjoyed Francis Chan for TV church at home, and then went to meet family/friends in Lima for lunch. After which we did a trip to Maestro for supplies, not finding doors at the first one, and arranging for a small truck to bring some furniture items from Miraflores to the Mission. Rushing back to Mission, we got bed and dresser/desk loaded for transport but took some times to take off doors that we were going to upgrade, giving old doors to local friend. Finally got the doors removed and truck departed. We made a second trip to another Maestro closer to Miraflores and found paint, doors, hardware, electrical items, etc. for work to be done in our absense. Returned to Miraflores for an early rise for morning bus to Ica.
24th Aug Monday - Got up at 5am to be sure to be ready, packed and find a taxi to catch 7am bus to Ica. Surprising how few people were on bus. Possibly due to 6:30am bus to Ica being far more loaded, but also seeemed like another sign in economy down here not doing as well as when we were here before. El Niño's apparently are affecting fishing, China downturn affecting copper sales, not sure what is affecting gold and rest of economy but exchange rate can be a major cause. It should heighten tourism though. We have talked to our local contractor at the mission and apparently he has far less work now as well. Amazing how things change in just a few months.
Arrived in Ica about 11:30am, our ride got us about 11:45 and we filled his station wagon taxi with our excessive bags. Took the normal 30 minutes to the mission. Disappointed that the last 4 kilometers before El Carmen is still all gravel. One of these days they will get that paved. Did enjoy seeing so much of the work that was done at the mission after I left last May, leaving Lily down here for a few weeks more to complete. Painting wasn't even started when I left, and it's pretty much done (with some cleanup needed) now when I return. New concrete corridor, front and back of mission, new external stairway, framework for future roof on 3rd floor, four new exterior doors, all windows completed, and more. Amazing how much Lily gets done when I'm not in the way!
Pulled all the bags indoors and started re-arranging furniture a bit. We will have a building administrator living in the room we use to occupy (master bedroom) and we needed to relocate some furniture in
anticipation of his arrival. Got ourselves relocated and comfortable in the 2nd bedroom. Moved a lot of construction items as well as shoes and clothing for the local villagers up to two rooms on the 2nd floor. Pretty full day. Had a late afternoon visit from Jose, our Christian neighbor up the street, as well as our contractor Abel who showed up with a worker on their way back from Ica. We discussed some work, timing, and Abel will be coming back by Friday/Saturday to initiate. First task is to tile all the bathrooms upstairs, 5 of them.
25th Aug Tuesday - Slowly getting adjusted to winter at the mission. sweater and jackets are needed, although we are actually in late winter a bit as it is gradually warming up. The Pecan tree in the rear is naked of leaves since it is not quite Spring yet, just late winter. Nice and cool, sort of like winter in San Diego, sweater at best but lots of sun for just t-shirts as well depending on time of day.
Made an effort on the wiring with some help from Lily. Got half of the 2nd floor ceiling wired and then ran into a blockage. Also tried to finish the 2nd floor outlets and ran into another blockage. Hmmm.
26th Aug Wednesday - Made a request this morning to Abel to get us his air compressor so I could clear the blockages in the wiring efforts. Started this blog today waiting for the compressor. Got a few visits from the neighborhood kids. First our direct mission neighbor sisters, Adriana and Pia. Then later, the brother sister duo, Mario and Mariana. We have so many adoptees down here. Love them all. Or do they come mainly for the internet in the case of M & M? ;-) Anyway, they do like the mission. Let me see if I can escape their clutches and get upstairs to work on the electrical ...
After multiple tries with the compressor which did arrive, no luck. Lily will have to go to town tomorrow and get me a metal snake. If that doesn't work we got troubles ... one day at a time. My young hyper friend Mariano did some attendance with me working with wiring and the compressor on the 2nd floor, trying to play helpful cameraman ... but he needs work.
27th Aug Thursday - Anyway, enjoying the children greatly. Lily headed off at noon today to town to meet with a lawyer and to also get groceries and some electrical items for me, metal snake included. Lunch was delivered and I ate alone knowing that Lily was supposed to have lunch in Ica. Shortly after I finished my meal, the children started showing up again. I turned them away a few times but gave in after a few tries. Eventually ended up with probably about 6 or 7 of them. Got them occupied with a few playing card decks, a laptop and a tablet as I tried to some work ... ha!
Lily showed up with my items so I could do some more experimenting. Made a grocery run as well. Had a lot of 'stuff' to move in for our new resident property administrator as well. Busy day.
One big thing we are working on this trip, other than finalizing the plumbing, electrical, doors, and things on the 2nd and 3rd floor, is to have this place operational 12 months of the year, 7 days a week. Up to now, since we opened in October of 2013, it has been doing well with a youth group and a weekly adult bible study, both meeting once per week and led by two different couples from El Shaddai. That has changed a bit with a change in leadership of the youth group and the advent of AWANA/OANSA program. However, it is still a two events primarily per week, with all leadership coming up from Ica. What will change after this trip is the 'ability' to expand on that since the mission will now have both a mission coordinator, and a facilities manager.
The mission administration function is very important in that their goal will be to do all that they can do with the community around here, with the hope of maximizing this building as much as possible with outreaches, classes, bible studys, meetings, church services, OANSA, mens groups, womens groups, and more. Our goal is to have this 'House of God' (Casa de Cristo, as the new memorial plaque at the front door now says) be used to it's maximum with each and every function have the goal of leading more and more souls to salvation through Jesus Christ.
We are elated to have a volunteer Missionary family, the Sanchez's, step forward to commit to this job. Initially they committed for a year which was understandable, knowing they wanted to check it out as their training and heart was directing them to a 10/40 nation mission assignment somewhere in Asia or Africa. After much thought, and before even coming here, they have committed to a 3 to 5 year commitment to the mission administration and operation role. We are so excited. The Sanchez family comes from Michlecon, Mexico and are being sent by their own church, a very small church, as their first official missionary sends. We encourage our donors and supporters to pray for the Sanchez family as their support to live on will be solely from their church support and what other donations we can focus their way.
28 Aug, Friday - Lily went to Ica today to buy many electrical plugs for me to install, as well as plumbing hardware. Also needed to buy some groceries for tomorrow's childrens ministry as she has been asked to give sandwiches and chicha for them.
29 Aug, Saturday - Youth group leadership showed up about 1:30pm in preparation for the 2-4 Oansa/Awana youth session. We had 21 kids, down from a high of 35-40, but also competing with a Catholic holiday weekend. We gave the Oansa leadership each a new pair of sandals from LAMA and Beautiful Feet ministry. Adult bible study met later at 6pm.
30 Aug, Sunday - Day of Rest. Went to Ica to attend church services at El Shaddai, saw pastor Martin Laos, wife Cotty and son. He announced our 'missionary presence' during his announcements at end of service, much appreciated. Did not get to talk to him after since there was a long line. Perhaps next week.
31 Aug, Monday - Victor comes to initate some painting of the metal doors and windows, as well as to do some paint cleanup from his prior work. William initiates work on electrical outlets, switches and finished wiring. (to be continued)
2015 second LAMA Mission trip - El Carmen, San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (many more pictures than are shown in blog)