And just like that another *few* months have passed since our last post!
A few days after our last update in mid-December we traveled to the States for Christmas. It was a great trip filled with time spent with friends and family, a couple weekend trips to Nashville and New York City and lots of winter outside activities we do not get to do in Lima!
Will excitedly plane watching while at the airport
Perks of a brother/uncle in the lighting industry, we got to go a For King and Country concert in Nashville.
And got to check out the new Andean bear exhibit at the Nashville Zoo
We spent lots of time in outside and especially when it snowed. Hiking trails and playground slides are just more fun with a layer of snow!
Thanks to some frequent flier miles and grandparents who were willing to watch Will, Billy and I were able to spend a couple of days in the greatest city in the world. We walked all over the city and had tickets to see The Tonight Show. The main event though was being in the room where it happened and seeing Hamilton. tAfter having to modify our original plans a few times and almost not being able to go because of the show shutting down due to COVID, I must admit that when the first number began I teared up in joy – and then again when it ended!
We even started Will’s 5th birthday celebrations early with an Octonaut party with the cousins
2021 was the first year that we participated in the 1000 Hours Outside challenge. While we didn’t quite make it the full 1000 hours, we did spend 803 hours outside. As city dwellers living in an apartment, this meant lots of neighborhood walks, picnics in city parks, playgrounds, day trip hikes outside of Lima and being intentional about spending time outside together. We started the challenge again at the beginning of January and are hoping to get as many, if not more, hours outside this year too.
We returned to Lima in mid-January with full hearts and full suitcases – leaving our winter clothes behind and ready for the sunny, blue skies of summer. It was quite the adjustment to leave a snow-covered Michigan in the afternoon and wake up to hot and humid Lima.
Apart from regularly scheduled meetings and weekly trainings with the Center of Excellence program, one of the biggest things Billy did these last couple months was leading another Trauma Competent Caregiver training for 23 participants. Many of the participants will become mentors at Hope House (a girls home in Lima), and some were potential future partners/mentors who wanted to learn more about the ministry and become trauma-informed. There was even a small group of participants who are staff at a children’s home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia who found out about the training from fellow United World Mission missionaries we met during the regional retreat in December. The training went really well and the participants engaged in the material with examples and great questions. We’re excited about this new group of trauma-informed people! You can read more about the training on our Paths of Hope website.
In February we were able to spend time with Kate’s mom. It had been 2 years since she was last able to visit Lima and she wanted to be here in-person for Will’s 5th birthday and first day of school. Will and Kate were able to spend time with her at various parks around the city and she had a refresher in what it is like to live in Lima. We were also able to spend a weekend a few hours up the coast in Barranca to visit Caral – the oldest civilization in the Americas.
February also brought a special birthday that we have been counting down to since mid December! Will turned 5 years old and after having to cancel last year, was very excited to be able to have a party with friends in the park. Even his preschool and pre-kinder teachers Miss Dani and Miss Angie were able to join us too! The theme of his party of course had to be Octonauts.
As COVID numbers go down and the vaccination rate goes up, the Ministry of Education finally approved the reopening of schools across the country. March is the beginning of the school year and after 2 years of logging into Zoom daily for virtual preschool, Will was able to return to the classroom! He is in Kindergarten this year and so far, is really enjoying being with his teacher Miss Magy and classmates. It was a little bittersweet dropping him off for his first day of class in his uniform and sending him off on his own, but we’re excited to see what he learns this year, see how his Spanish continues to improve and the few extra hours each day where we can get some work done!
Looking forward, we are continuing with the Center of Excellence weekly training with the staff at the two children’s homes and are making plans for another in-person retreat in June. Kate continues to help Perú por los Niños with sharing resources and material in Spanish geared to people working with at-risk children on the PPLN Facebook page and Billy is helping coordinate the first in-person conference which is planned for November this year.
Next week Billy will celebrate 13 years of living and working in Peru. He arrived on March 18, 2009 with two suitcases ready to start a new life and serve full-time here in Lima. His job description has changed a few times over the years, but his love for serving others has remained the same.
As always, we very much appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.
– Kate, Billy & Will