Nolan

Saying Goodbye

Since our departure from the US August 4, 2013, we’ve enjoyed many new experiences, had a host of challenges, endured frustrations, missed our friends and family, and made many new friends.  It seems nearly impossible that our time here has come and gone!  The past few weeks are filled with “last times.”  I find myself thinking things like, “is this the last time I take in the view on Capitan Rumi, the last time I try to find strawberries at the market, the last bike ride through the mountains, last group Bible study, the last time I see these co-workers and patients?”

However, there are also a few things I won’t miss too much, like lugging water from the hospital because we don’t have water at the house, school meetings that last forever (if you think meetings in the US last a long time, try Peru), struggling with the language, and bugs, spiders, and parasites.  But overall, Peru has been good to us.  Working with those at the hospital, from more than 15 countries from around the world, has been insightful.  Working with Christians from different denominations has challenged some of our beliefs, but ultimately strengthened them.  The kids have been through tough times at school, both with their school work and being one of the few “gringos.”  But overall they have done extremely well and we all have grown a bit closer as a family.

We would also like to express our sincere thanks for the support from each of you!  From cards and letters, to prayers, to financial support, packages, visits, and even buying clothes for our kids when we get back.  You don’t know what a blessing you have been and our faith has increased as a result of this whole experience.  Financially it looks like we will finish our term here with the exact amount needed to cover our last months budget. Praise the Lord and thanks once again!

In John 16:33 it says, “I have told you these things so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  In whatever part of the world we live in, there will be troubles.  It may be struggles with basic needs (more common in third-world countries) or it may be relationships, finances, or sickness.  But we can be encouraged!  Our God is bigger than any of those and if we walk with Him, He is able to give us peace and guidance.

Everyone tells us that returning home after time in the mission field is always harder than leaving.  Things change, priorities change, and you’ve been separated from the “important” happenings at home for years.  Please pray that our transition is smooth and that we continue to rely on God for peace and guidance.

May God bless each of you and I hope you have been blessed by being a part of this ministry.

Nolan, Konika, Benjamin, and Sydney

Benjamin with classmates: Alajandro, Yefferson, Favian

Benjamin with classmates: Alajandro, Yefferson, Favian

Sydney with classmates: Mariela, Annie, and Maria Pilar

Sydney with classmates: Mariela, Annie, and Maria Pilar

Konika's last womens group

Konika’s last womens group

Last church group at the house.

Last church group at the house.

Hiking up Capitan Rumi for the last time.

Hiking up Capitan Rumi for the last time.

Sydney with Doris from the hospital

Sydney with Doris from the hospital

Last time to play bass for the devotional

Last time to play bass for the devotional

 

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Exciting Weekend

This past weekend was quite busy.  It was the weekend we had planned with the Abancay SDA church to pass out more of the 5000 “Viva con Esperanza” books we had purchased.  Once again, thanks to all those who have given to our fund, which made this purchase possible! It began Saturday morning when the pastor from Abancay (1.5 hr drive from Curahuasi) came with five members from the church. He led out in our worship service Sabbath morning and in the afternoon we organized the logistics of passing out the literature.  That night they stayed with us and were up early getting ready for the help that was arriving.  Sunday morning more than 30 members of the Abancay church descended on Curahuasi to distribute the books.  It was great to see the members (the youth were in their Pathfinder uniforms) helping spread the hope of Christ in our town.  Pray that those who received the books will read them and that they will be directed to the Word of God.  Also please pray for the pastor and the church in Abancay.  They would really like to find some land here in Curahuasi where they can eventually build a church.  Hopefully we will be able to help them with this in the future! .

The pastor also helped us during Holy Week with some in home Bible studies

The pastor also helped us during Holy Week with some in home Bible studies

Church Sabbath morning.

Church Sabbath morning.

After going from home to home passing out books, we all met in Stephen and Finley’s house for some refreshments.  However, the water soon ran out!  Luckily we had water to drink, but nothing was coming out of the tap.  Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence here in Curahuasi, but just added to the stress trying to keep the toilets flushing and difficulty washing things (like your hands).  Fortunately we were able to head over to the hospital (they have their own well) and load up on some water to at least be able to clean up a little and keep the bathrooms functioning.  🙂 Konika and Finley did a great job preparing food all weekend for our visitors (lunch and dinner on Sabbath, breakfast Sunday, and refreshments for the 35-40 people in the afternoon). In the afternoon was the “despedida” (going away party) for the Wright families.  Though we won’t be leaving until mid-June, Stephen and Finley will be leaving next week.  We had a great time with some skits, songs, food, and friends.  We are realizing how difficult it will be to leave here next month! Thanks once again for your prayers and support!

Some of the boys helping to unload the books

Some of the boys helping to unload the books

Pre-distribution meeting

Pre-distribution meeting

Pastor giving books to the Pathfinders

Pastor giving books to the Pathfinders

Members from the Abancay church

Members from the Abancay church in Curahuasi

Empty boxes

Empty boxes

Loading up on some water

Loading up on some water

Stephen getting doused with water at the going away party

Stephen getting doused with water at the going away party

Funny skit

Funny skit

Christian, the school principle praying with the kids.

Christian, the school principle praying with the kids.

Final prayer

Final prayer

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Rough Road Ahead

This morning I saw  a patient who had been hit by a truck last October.  He ended up with a fractured femur and tibia in his right leg (among other things).  He was stabilized at our hospital and then sent to Cusco since we currently don’t have an orthopedic doctor.  In January the bones still had not healed and he underwent surgery (in Cusco) to stabilize the bones with plates and screws.  His traumatologist in Cusco told him last week that he needed to start physical therapy, and thank goodness he did, because this guy is limited!  When he first came in he couldn’t move his knee more than 30 degrees (less than 25% of normal) and only had about 30% normal movement in his ankle .  He has kept his leg straight since the accident in October, which makes for a very stiff leg.  He has been in a couple times and is improving, but its going to be a long, rough road.

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Around the Hospital

Its amazing how the weeks just fly by.  It seems like a few weeks ago it was Christmas!  I guess the older you get, the faster it goes.   The weather has been slightly cooler here, but not nearly as cold as many of you have had it in the US. 🙂  For the most part its still in the 60’s during the day and around 50 at night.  However, I am getting a bit tired of the rain, mainly because the road outside our house becomes a muddy mess.  Its just not fun riding your bike through the slippery mud on your way to work.  Should be much dryer in April.  Here are a few pictures from work at the hospital the past few weeks.

 

They start each day at the hospital with worship.

They start each day at the hospital with worship.

Then its off to do some PT.  That's me walking with my assistant.  Yea, as most of ya'll know, I'm not a big guy, but here in Peru I feel big.  :)

Then its off to do some PT. That’s me walking with my assistant. Yea, as most of ya’ll know, I’m not a big guy, but here in Peru I feel big. 🙂

 

A ten year old patient with cerebral palsy.

A ten year old patient with cerebral palsy.

After lunch I walked around the hospital grounds to find the new alpaca.

After lunch I walked around the hospital grounds to find the new alpaca.

Explaining what happens with a herniated disc and why spending time prone can be beneficial.

Explaining what happens with a herniated disc and why spending time on your elbows can be beneficial.

 

My cutest patient of the day had broken her elbow.

My cutest patient of the day had broken her elbow.

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Fun Family Visit

Its always so fun to have visitors and a couple weeks ago we were blessed to have my parents, my brother David, and my sister Emily and her husband Jeremiah here in Peru with us!  We had such a great time exploring, hiking, biking, camping, eating, talking, and worshiping together.  Its always such a blessing to see friends and family from home and they were such an encouragement.  Here are a few pics:

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The family the day they arrived in the Plaza de Armas, Cusco.

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After hiking up to some ruins in Ollantaytambo.

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Going down from Huayna Picchu (the mtn you see behind Machu Picchu. That’s Dad in the green and Stephen in the black below him.

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Machu Picchu

Lake Humantay at about 14,000 ft.

Lake Humantay at about 14,000 ft.

The next day we took horses up to Salkantay Pass.

The next day we took horses up to Salkantay Pass.

There were a few spots you were praying the horses didn't trip.

There were a few spots you were praying the horses didn’t trip.

At the 15,000 ft. pass.

At the 15,000 ft. pass.

Launching some old fruit into the Apurimac Canyon

Launching some old fruit into the Apurimac Canyon

Some worship time together

Some worship time together

Benjamin and John Paul took them on a mt bike ride through the surrounding hills

Benjamin and John Paul took them on a mt bike ride through the surrounding hills

Had a good cross-country race for the neighborhood kids the last day they were here.

Had a good cross-country race for the neighborhood kids the last day they were here.

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Market Day

Each Sunday is the big market in Curahuasi.  The fruits and vegetables change a little with the seasons, but for the most part we have a good variety all year long. Usually this is the day we stock up for the next week and do all our cleaning and disinfecting.  When you buy your broccoli here (or just about any other fruit/veggi) you can’t just rinse it off before eating it.  It needs to be disinfected (we use bleach because it is cheap).  After it sits in the solution 5-10 minutes we rinse it off and let it dry.  Its easier to do this on the front end so during the week you can pull things out of the fridge and use them immediately.  It also cuts down on confusion, “Hey Konika, is this apple safe to eat?”. It turns out to be quite a process and a decent portion of our Sunday often involves buying and disinfecting everything.  Usually the whole family is involved and it normally isn’t all that bad, but sometimes you still wish for your neighborhood Publix.   🙂

We often use Sunday to make some applesauce or tomato sauce also. You can find tomato sauce here, it just isn’t very good, and you just don’t see applesauce much.

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Many come from small villages in the mountains to stock up or sell their items

Lots of fruit.  We've been excited the past few weeks with some small cantaloupes.

Lots of fruit. We’ve been excited the past few weeks with some small cantaloupes.

Fruits and vegetables all over the kitchen.

Fruits and vegetables all over the kitchen.

 

Kids finding tomatoes in our small garden (actually I think Benjamin is killing ants)

Kids finding tomatoes in our small garden (actually I think Benjamin is killing ants)

Those plants are producing!

Those plants are producing!

 

Making delicious tomato sauce from our tomatoes

Making delicious tomato sauce from our tomatoes

Cutting up apples for applesauce.

Cutting up apples for applesauce.

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Literature to Curahuasi

 

Some exciting things have happened the past few weeks in conjunction with the SDA church in Abancay (town about 1.5 hours away). Currently there is not an SDA church in Curahasi, but recently the pastor from Abancay has been talking with Stephen and I about trying to evangelize more in Curahuasi. A few weeks ago we passed out about 2,000 books to the local schools (Viva con Esperanza by Mark Finley and Peter Landless). Since it is mainly a health and family book, all the principals were very open to distributing the books to the students.  In January the pastor plans to bring some youth from Abancay to go door-to-door and distribute more of the books (10,000 in all; currently about 4,000 are at our house). He plans to follow this up with an evangelistic series. Its really exciting to think we may have a church here in Curahuasi in the near future! Stephen and I have agreed to pay for half of the cost of the books; we haven’t budgeted for this, but stepped out in faith knowing God would provide.

Thanks to each of you, many in Peru have been helped spiritually and physically.  Once again, thanks for all your support, prayers, and care packages, they are all so encouraging to us!  Currently, we lack about $15,000 to finish funding our second year. If you would like to give a year end contribution, please prayerfully consider helping the ministry in Peru.

Blessings to all and have a Happy New Year! 

Nolan, Konika, Benjamin, and Sydney

 

Unloading books

Unloading books with the pastor

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Stephen talking to the students

 

Taking books to one of the schools.

Taking books to one of the schools.

Distributing the books to the classrooms.

Distributing the books to the classrooms.

 

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Outreach to Huancarpuquio

A few weeks ago Stephen and I had the opportunity to visit a rural community for an outreach campaign.  These campaigns are organized by a dentist and her husband, Erin and Brenden, who work in Abancay.  They do an excellent job and their mobile dental equipment allows them to do most dental procedures just about anywhere.

The town sits at about 10,000 ft and is about 4 hours from Curahuasi, with the last 2 hours ascending to the village by dirt road (which can be a little treacherous at times).  Upon arriving, we set up in a building they had just built and were using as their church.  Apparently this is a very new congregation and the church was built just a few months ago.  A pastor from Abancay has been visiting this village and trying to spread the gospel and train church leaders.  The dental/physical therapy campaign provides a great opportunity to share Christianity as people wait for their appointment.  Most of the townspeople are illiterate and only speak Quechua, therefore, you can’t just share with them normal Bibles and reading material.  For generations the people have passed down their history through stories (the Quechua had no written language). Brenden as put together picture books of Bible stories.  He or the pastor can then tell the story and share the book with the people so they can then tell the story to their friends and family.

Here are a few pics.

 

Winding up the mountains.

Winding up the mountains.

 

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Getting higher. Glad we only met sheep, horses, and cows vs another car.

Setting up before breakfast.  They insist on feeding you. :)

Setting up before breakfast. They insist on feeding you. 🙂

Where we had breakfast and lunch.

Where we had breakfast and lunch.

One of the dental suites.  :)

One of the dental suites. 🙂

Teaching a few exercises.

Teaching a few exercises.

Stephen fixing a tooth on a young girl.

Stephen fixing a tooth on a young girl.

The waiting room.

The waiting room.

The house where we had lunch.

The house where we had lunch.

Quechua woman gaining some shoulder flexion.

Quechua woman gaining some shoulder flexion.

The pastor teaching outside.

The pastor teaching outside.

Doing a little manual therapy on my advanced plinth. :)

Doing a little manual therapy on my advanced plynth. 🙂

Packing up.

Packing up.

Loading up the truck.

Loading up the truck.

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bikes

On the weekends we sometimes like to do a little exploring. A few weeks ago Benjamin, Stephen, John Paul, and I made it up to the top of Capitan Rumi on our bikes. This can be a bit of a challenge, not only because you are pedeling uphill for a few miles, but you are at 10,000 feet when you reach the top, which causes a little extra breathing. The boys did great and we were all rewarded with the beautiful view as the sun began to set. The best part of this ride, however, is the decent. Unfortunately, a rock that was agled differently then Benjamin thought caused him to fly over the handlebars and also resulted in an immediately flat tire. We were very thankful that he survived with little more than a few scrapes on his elbow and side. His guardian angels were definitely watching out for him since he and his bike ended up about 15 feet from the rock he hit. Fortunately Stephen had a repair kit and pump in his backpack and we were back riding in about 5 minutes.

The next day some of the neighborhood kids wanted to try and go up the mountain. I had mentioned to them a few days before that we should all try and go sometime, but I really wasn’t wanting to climb the mountain two days in a row. 🙂 After riding almost half way up, the boys were all pretty tired and I didn’t argue when they all agreed to take another trail down the mountain. No wonder they were tired. Only one of the bikes had the ability to change gears. Another had gears, but no derailers or cables, therefore he would stop and physically move the chain to a different gear.

For the past month or so the doctors in the Peruvian health system have been on strike.  This past week, the strike ended (from what I’m told), yet Diospi Suyana continues to stay quite busy.  Most mornings I pass a long line of people as I ride up the hill with my bike.  We can only take a certain amount per day and its based on a lottery system, so some patients often wait a few days before they are seen.

Many are awed by the hospital once they get in.  We start out with a worship service and I’ve witnessed people taking pictures and videos of almost the whole program.  During this time they get to here the good news of the gospel, listen/sing to good music, and sit in a clean a beautiful chapel, something many have never experienced.

 

Benjamin and JP heading up the mountain

Benjamin and JP heading up the mountain

Passing the only house on the mountain.

Benjamin passing the only house on the mountain.

Taking in the mountains at the top.

Taking in the mountains at the top.

Fixing the flat.  He flew from the rock at the botom of the pic to where they are at now.

Fixing the flat. He flew from the rock at the botom of the pic to where they are at now.

The trail on "the edge"

The trail on “the edge”

Heading down.

Heading down.

The neighbor boys taking a rest on the way up the next day.

The neighbor boys taking a rest on the way up the next day.

The line oustside the hospital.

The line oustside the hospital.

The morning worship service.

The morning worship service.

A little traffic while riding my bike to work.

A little traffic while riding my bike to work.

Admiring the rainbow over our house with the neighbor boy Heber.

Admiring the rainbow over our house with the neighbor boy Heber.

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What a Process!

Finalmente!

Finalmente!

Its amazing, but Stephen and I finally have our Peruvian driver’s license! It took over two months and 7 trips to Abancay (a 1 1/2 hour drive), but we can now put this experience behind us. 🙂 It normally takes 4 trips, but we ran into some additional hiccups.

After turning in copies of your DNI, your diploma, a notorized letter stating you have an address in Peru, and some passport photos, you can get started with the process. The first visit is for a physical and psychological evaluation. They also have you take a short IQ test during this time. Of course all of this is in Spanish, so the 40-50 question psych test was a bit challenging. I actually scored 1 point below the mimimum amount, but the instructor said since Spanish was not my first language, he would pass me. 🙂 At the end of the test you have to draw a picture of a person for them to evaluate. Stephen was done before I was so I was able to hear the instructor giving him a hard time about his picture. “Eyes don’t look like that,” and “Where is the ground? Is your person just floating?”

Visit #2 we were expecting to take the exam, but didn’t know it was only given on certain days. Of course we were there on the wrong day.

Visit #3 we took the written exam which we had studied for. We were told the majority was multiple choice and then it had a section where you have to write in the name of a triffic sign, “No Voltear a la izquierda” (No left turn) or “No Camine por la Pista” (Can’t walk on the hwy). Unfortunately, the multiple choice test was nothing like what we had studied; they said it was the correct test, but it must have been for a different type of license since it was asking mechanical questions or what you should/shouldn’t do while driving a bus.?? Anyway, when I questioned the lady overseeing the test, she proceeded to give me all the answers. So we “passed” the written part.

The next week (visit #4) we went for our driving test. Unfortunately they didn’t tell us the week before that they would all be in Lima. Therefore they told us to come back the next week. 🙂

It can be difficult to change your schedule every week, so we had to wait a couple weeks before we were able to get back to take our driving test (for visit #5). The test is giving about 10 minutes from the center of town where they have set up a little driving course. You wait your turn with about 50 other people and get to perform for the whole audience. Fortunately we were able to parallel park, stop at the red light, and back into a parking space using only our mirrors. When we completed this they made us sign some papers and told us we could pick up our licenses anytime after the next Wednesday.

Three days later we got a phone call telling us we had forgotten to sign the “RICK” after our driving test. This had to be signed before they could issue our license. We would have been glad to sign the crazy “RICK” when we were in Abancay if they only would have told us! One more quick trip (#6) to sign the “RICK.” They then said we could pick up our license in about a week.

Ten days passed and Stephen called to see if our licenses were ready. Nope, not yet. So we wait another week and call. Great! They are ready!

When we arrive (visit #6) they can’t find our licenses and finally a guy comes out saying that when we signed the “RICK” we signed on the line and it was supposed to be only in the white blank space. Seriously! The lady watched us sign it and then looked over the paper and never said anything about our signatures needing to be in the white area instead of on the line!

After voicing some frustrations he told us to sign on a blank piece of paper and he would have our licenses ready in 10 minutes. In 20 minutes we had them in hand. Haaa. So it seems they have the ability to print them in the office; why coundn’t they have printed them for us 2 weeks before right after we signed the RICK???

We’ve tried not to dwell on that too much. 🙂

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Waiting at Abancay’s “DMV”

Everyone watches while you drive.  !!

Everyone watches while you drive. !!

Stephen backing into a parking space

Stephen backing into a parking space

What!  You can't find my records!   These are right next to chairs in the waiting area.

What! You can’t find my records!
These are right next to chairs in the waiting area.

They love their stamps!  Nothing is official without 5-10 stamps on it.

They love their stamps! Nothing is official without 5-10 stamps on it.

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