I can’t believe it’s already been a month since we returned from our last-minute trip to the US in November/December. Unfortunately we had some complicated technical issues with our website which delayed this post and resulted in rebuilding the website and creating a new design. If you’re reading this entry through an RSS reader or our email delivery, check out the new design at 12degreessouth.com. I promise we had this entry written earlier, we just couldn’t log in to post it… and we promise to be better at updating more often 🙂
Billy and I weren’t planning on being in the US at the end of last year since we’re still waiting for his Peruvian citizenship papers to come through. Unfortunately Scripture Union Peru is facing a large financial deficit for 2014 so we were asked to organize a trip to try to raise support for the organization and its ministries. Within a week of having the trip approved, we purchased tickets and were on our way to New York.
We started our 5 week adventure with a couple days in Manhattan. Every year a small group of people connected to Redeemer Church come to play with our Girasoles boys in Kawai. We were grateful when the group invited us to share about SU and also a place to stay in their homes.
During those first couple days we met with people from the Redeemer group, set meetings up for the following few weeks of the trip and also got to spend some time exploring the city before we headed south to Charlotte, North Carolina.
We wanted to go to Charlotte to visit South Lake Christian Academy, a school that SU Peru has had a longstanding history with and to meet the staff of United World Mission. As of January 1st, Latin America Mission and UWM merged and Billy and I are now UWM missionaries (more on this to come soon). We spent 4 busy days in Charlotte which included meeting with a home group, talking with volunteers from another group in the area that come to Peru regularly, sharing with an upper level Spanish class at South Lake, meeting with the chair of a missions committee, attending church with a friend of Billy’s from Ward youth group friend and his wife, meeting the UWM staff and many meals with friends we don’t usually get to see while we are in the US. It was a busy four days and then we were off to Michigan.
We spent the majority of our time based out of Michigan. Between spending some time with family and friends, we met with both our home congregations, First Presbyterian Dearborn and Ward Church to share with our personal supporters what we have been doing over the past year. In addition, we were able to be present at an art gallery fundraiser hosted by a few dedicated parents from Catholic Central High School. We also enjoyed Thanksgiving at home (something Billy hasn’t done for 5 years), met our nephew who was born in August and experienced a bit of jealousy and reverse culture shock walking the aisles of Target and Costco (so many brands and varieties of cheese!).
To end our trip we headed back to Manhattan to meet up with the same group of people from before. Thanks to some of their personal contacts and ideas, we were able to meet with a staff member of The Grace & Mercy Foundation and attend a few seminars on grant writing and raising funds for non-profits through the Foundation Center among more exploration of the city and being able to see Tim Keller preach at Redeemer Church and worship at Hillsong NYC.
Before we knew it, our trip had come to an end and we were on our way back to Lima.
We are very thankful to the people who generously opened their homes and let us stay with them during our trip and to those that helped put us in touch with their contacts in an effort to share the Girasoles ministry for abandoned boys here in Peru. We had some success in raising support for the organization and learned things along the way that will help us with future trips but it isn’t enough to cover the deficit for next year. Please join us in praying for the directors of SU Peru as they make difficult decisions over the next few months and that through this time of financial difficulty that we will still keep our eyes and hearts focused on God and that He will guide our steps and provide for the staff, volunteers and boys in our care.