It’s been a busy past few weeks for Billy and me. We have officially kicked off the 2014 volunteer team season with 4 very different groups from around the States.
In February, we traveled to Ica for a week with a small group of 4 adults from New York City. They come every year during the final weeks of summer vacation to play with the Girasoles boys. We played sports, made crafts, went swimming a few times, saw the LEGO movie at the theater, went out for pollo a la brasa and had lots of fun with the kids at Girasoles Ica.
Shortly after we said goodbye to our friends from New York City, we were back at the airport to welcome another group.
This time, it was 40 high school seniors and teachers from Fayetteville Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They brought supplies to host a 3-day Vacation Bible School with the boys at Kusi and children from the surrounding area and helped with maintenance around the Kusi property.
With 40 people in the group, plus the 36 boys at the home and the 12 staff at the house, it was a busy week of activities, questions, jokes, translations, laughter, photos, and friendships being made.
Now just over a week later, I am in Cusco with our third team for this year. 18 students from the University of Tulsa have ventured down to Peru during their Spring Break to help us with carpentry work around our boys home in the Sacred Valley. All week they have been sanding dressers and drawers, tables and chairs with gritty and fine sandpaper, varnishing and painting.
While I am in Cusco with this team, Billy has started his tour around the 6 Girasoles homes with a small group of doctors and dentists from Health Bridges International (HBI). This is the second year that HBI has partnered with Scripture Union to provide a comprehensive medical and dental check up for all of our Girasoles boys at the same time (they have previously worked with the boys at Ica, Kawai and Kusi, but on this trip they will see all of the boys in our care). They started their trip in Iquitos at our homes in the city and Puerto Alegria and then they are off to Kimo, Ica, Cusco, Kusi and then finishing up in Lima. It is going to be a very busy next 17 days as they cover many miles of Peru by plane and overnight bus rides (like 53 hours of travel and just over 4,000 miles).
As we work with these two groups (University of Tulsa and HBI) and the boys at our Girasoles home, pray for nights with good rest, health, safe travels, and for meaningful conversations and moments with the boys an volunteers.