Peace in the Midst of the Storm

This week has been emotionally trying, but at the same time I cannot deny that I have seen the Lord’s hand at work in the midst of numerous obstacles. This past weekend, Scripture Union’s board of directors held a meeting to discuss a number of items—the most pressing of which is the current year’s budget shortfall. Sadly, in the last couple of years the expenses for running our children’s homes have gone up significantly. At the same time, some key contributors to our regular operating costs have had to step down. Kate and I spent a large portion of time in the last year traveling around the USA, visiting many of you to raise funds for the Girasoles Program as we work towards building a more sustainable budget. While we are encouraged by the new support that has been raised over the last year, the reality is that we are still significantly over budget in 2015, having to spend into our reserve funds to sustain the program. For that reason, our board made an incredibly hard decision to close two of our homes at the end of this year.

In addition to this information, Kate and I have reviewed our personal support over the past 12 months, and we are also coming up a little bit short. A few friends have had to reduce support, and our required support level for 2015 rose slightly as compared to 2014. In total, we are needing to raise new support in commitments of approximately $650 per month.

Parallel, though, to all of this, I was reminded of my need to completely depend on the Lord at multiple points during this week through multiple conversations with four different young men who were a part of our program and have now come to Lima to continue their education.

Day after day this past week I received various phone calls — completely unrelated and each involving difficulties that these guys were facing. My calendar quickly filled up, but honestly I didn’t mind at all. I had an excuse to procrastinate some office work (sorry Kate!) so that I could really fulfill my deepest passion — sharing Christ’s love and compassion with those around me. Some of the conversations went late into the night or even into the early hours of the morning. I had the honor and the opportunity to listen to them speak from their hearts. So many different topics came up: computer problems that led to difficulty in school, academic issues, feeling alone — the loneliness that comes with not having a family (while we constantly remind them that they are a part of our family, there is still the natural longing for an immediate family), problems with girls and relationships, personal economic issues, seeking a new place of employment, being a victim of a recent crime, unwise decisions, struggling in maintaining a relationship with God, etc.

On a quick tangent, I want to stop here and express how blessed I feel to be in a position where I can be available to sit down and talk with these guys—none of whom have a traditional family or support structure to fall back on. Fourteen years ago, when I first traveled to Peru, I would have never imagined the opportunities that the Lord was going to provide me to really pour into these lives!

While in many cases they were looking for help or advice, the common thread in each conversation was that each of them needed to know that someone was there for them and that they didn’t have to carry all of these burdens alone. Deeper than just fixing the problem (which we are also working towards), they needed someone to hear them and to tell them that they are cared about deeply. It was my joy to be that voice of reassurance this past week.

Over and over, I found myself sharing some advice that a friend who happens to be a great psychologist shared with our staff in Iquitos a couple of months ago. Often times we trap ourselves in a negative mindset. We constantly worry about our circumstances or about something that happened in the past. Those thoughts often lead to feelings of depression, low self-esteem, sadness, et cetera. While we can’t control our emotions, we can absolutely control our thoughts, which eventually effect our emotions. We need to remember that our thoughts don’t need to end at our present circumstances. Instead, we have so many promises that God has given us to which we can hold fast—even in the darkest moments. Promises like:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
–Psalm 27:1-3

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. –Romans 8:28

And the list goes on! I encouraged them to spend time meditating on the promises that God gives us. After all, following Christ is all about having a relationship with Him; and how can we expect to have the faith to trust in his plan if we don’t know Him? And how do we get to know Him? – by spending time in His word and knowing His promises for us! We live in a fallen world, and bad things are going to happen, but when we walk with Christ we can trust that He has already overcome the world!

I had the opportunity to tell them that even when times are difficult, there are people in their lives who deeply love them. They might not have a family to fall back on, but they now know that Kate and I are only a phone call away; the house parents at each of the homes where they grew up are only a call away — they are not alone.

So many times in my life, I have found myself in need of the very advice and reassurance that I am giving. As I reflected over the conversations this week — in the midst of our present financial circumstances — I was amazed at how much I needed to take my own advice. Yes, we are facing large obstacles. Yes, there will be difficult times and trials ahead, but I needed to be reminded of the Lord’s promises to me. He will never leave us or forsake us. The large hurdles in our path are nothing for Him. We continue to trust in His plan — not ours!

Please remember Kate, myself, and these four young men in your prayers this month. Pray that the Lord would guide us through our trials, and pray that we would be constantly reminded of His promises and His plans for our lives. Often, they don’t coincide with our own personal plans, but we step out in faith and we trust that these guys’ future, our future, and this ministry’s future is in the hands of the One “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20

— Billy & Kate

P.S. We are so thankful for many of you who are currently supporting us financially. Your prayers and support are invaluable to us, and we literally would not be here if it wasn’t for your encouraging us to pursue our calling! If you do not currently support financially and feel led to contribute (either to us personally or to the children’s homes), or if you feel led to increase your current support, we would be honored and glad to talk with you. Feel free to send either of us an email!

End of a Season

It’s the end of August and we’re finally able to come up for air after this year’s volunteer team season. It is always a good feeling to be on this side of the season knowing that life is going to be slowing down, suitcases have time to air out and a resemblance of a routine starts to form.

This season we hosted 14 volunteer groups from across the United States and Scotland. Hundreds of volunteers arrived at the Lima airport and spent the next week or two working at our Girasoles homes. We had some great interns who helped us by traveling and translating for the groups.

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And as always, the house parents at each of the Girasoles homes were welcoming and organized some fun activities. The final night groups were at the home in Ica, the house parents Sabino and Esther coordinated a cena de gala celebratory dinner for the group and Girasoles. It was a candlelight dinner on the patio where new friendships were celebrated.


And the usual evening activities in Kusi ensued.

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We spent a lot of time at the Lima airport – either to meet a group or traveling to Iquitos or Cusco.

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And ate many pollo a la brasa meals (yum!).

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We helped with translations and testing water samples.



And we got to spend a lot of time with the children in our Girasoles homes.

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Each volunteer season there are always special moments that remind us why we are here or make it evident that God is working in these children’s lives. For me, it was one afternoon while in Ica.

Each time we take a group of volunteers to the city of Ica to work in our Girasoles home, we rent a water truck to go out into a nearby shantytown to deliver free water to a community that doesn’t have electricity, running water or sewage system. The houses are built out of 6×6 feet straw mats and the streets are just dust and sand. Very easily the people that live in this part of town could spend up to 50% of their income on water alone.

When I go with groups to deliver water, I like to take some of the boys that live in our home with us. They are extra hands to help carry heavy buckets of water and they can help spread the word that free water is coming.

This particular day, Sabino and Esther, the house parents in Ica had 10 boys accompany us to Tierra Prometida, the community where we would be passing out water. For two of the ten boys, it was their first time going out to deliver water. After quick instructions and an explanation of why we were there, the boys joined the group gathering empty buckets and returning them with free, clean water.

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I can’t even begin to express how proud I was to see these boys generously serving their community. They carried countless heavy buckets without being asked and worked together like I have never seen before, all without a single complaint about how hot it was under the desert sun or expecting something in return. As high school kids who live in a children’s home, they are always the beneficiaries. More often than not, they only have their time and strength to give. It was amazing to see the young men that Billy and I normally serve going out and serving their community with what they had to offer.

We all have something to offer whether it be your time, talents or treasures and we think it is important that the kids we work with realize that they have something to contribute as well and can become servants of a world in need. Our message to each child in our care is that they do not have to be defined by their past or current situation. Instead we share that God created them in His image with a specific purpose.

For that reason, they have infinite value, are worthy of being loved and are worthy of sharing that love with others.

– Kate & Billy

PS. Would you consider helping us continue working here in Peru? You can find out more about us and give online through United World Mission by clicking here.

4 years.


Monday marked 4 years of living and working in Peru and it’s hard to believe that another year has passed.

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Year 4 was different than the previous years since we spent about 5 months on home ministry assignment visiting supporting churches, friends, and family. We definitely enjoyed our time in the States but are also happy to be back in Peru.

I’ve traveled 65,854 miles (that’s 885 hours or 36.88 days of travel) over these past four years here in Peru, going to & from Scripture Union’s seven homes for abandoned & at-risk children. I have met many people from around Peru and all over the United States that come as short-term volunteers.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve lost my voice translating games with the boys. Or how many times I’ve sat at a table with friends to eat the Peruvian classics. Or how many fields and dusty paths I have walked in the same pair of trusty Chacos. Or how many fútbol games I have watched on dusty soccer fields under the setting sun. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have laughed or smiled with the Girasoles boys and staff.

Both Billy and I are so thankful to the individuals, families and churches that generously support us with prayer and finances. We would not be able to continue working here without your help.

I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring to this ministry and the lives of the children we work with. The best is yet to come.

– Kate

National Conference in Kawai

Earlier this month, Scripture Union Peru hosted it’s third national conference in Kawai for all of it’s staff members, volunteers and directors. Since the conference was just a few weeks after our return to Lima, it was a great opportunity to see all of our friends and co-workers all in one place and be able to catch up with them during the week at the beach!

The theme of the conference was “Somos Familia” (we are family) and all of the sessions talked about the history, principles and ideology of the movement. It was a great opportunity for each of Scripture Union’s six ministries to interact together (something which doesn’t typically happen on a daily basis) and for staff members all over the country to get to know each other.

Each ministry director led a morning devotional and each day an invited speaker was asked to present something relating to the theme of the week. One of the most principle ideas of the Scripture Union movement worldwide is the use of volunteers to expand the ministry and many of the sessions talked about the importance of volunteers.

I was asked to document the week-long conference and wanted to share some of the photos from the sessions.

The week started with an inauguration ceremony in the chapel in Kawai.



The inauguration ended with flags representing the departments where SU Peru is currently working.

National director, Juan Alvear



Paul Clark, sharing about the beginning of SU in Peru














Celebrating 25 year of ministry in the jungle city of Iquitos

Billy translating for Clayton Fergie, from Scripture Union International



Just a small part of the great Girasoles team that work at SU’s seven homes for abandoned and at-risk children

It was a great week with friends while we learned about the history and principles of Scripture Union’s work in Peru.

– Kate & Billy