We are about halfway through the busy summer season of short term teams. So far, I have been to Kusi three times, Ica three times, Kawai, Cusco and Puerto Alegría in the span of about 6 weeks. Billy has been to Kusi twice, Ica three times, Cusco three times and Kimo. Needless to say, it has been a lot of traveling.
Despite the many hours on buses and planes, the destination is always worth it. At each destination we find familiar faces, friendly hugs and smiles and we pick right up on where we left the conversation the last time we were there.
I’ve had two really great groups in June. The first was a team of 8 women from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. We started their 2 week Peruvian journey in Kawai working on painting the playground and also visited a school in nearby Cañete with Scripture Union’s schools ministry. It was an all-girls elementary school so the team shared about the importance of friendships and what it means to be a good friend.
From Kawai, we headed south to Ica where we spent 4 days playing with the Girasoles at the home. We went on a caminata (walk) with the older boys to the Bosque de Piedras, a “stone forest” not so nearby the home, explored the tall sand dunes at the nearby Huacachina oasis, had a movie night with the kids on the patio under the stars and delivered free water like we do with most groups to a poorer area of the city.
After four fun days, it was time to move on and head back to the city of Lima where we visited the students and staff at Scripture Union’s deaf center. A few of the students In the group had studied ASL and we’re excited to be able to share and communicate with the students at the center.
Next up was Cusco and a day at Machu Picchu. As the group toured the famous ruins, I stayed behind to visit our Girasoles home and catch up with the kids I hadn’t seen since March. The next day the group joined me at the home and we celebrated a birthday for one of the boys, Vlady, and watched one of the first World Cup games for this year.
Shortly after the Baylor group returned to the States, a group from my home church in Dearborn arrived. We are blessed to have faithful supporters from my home church, and even more blessed that the church has partnered and committed to support Scripture Union through a yearly work group. The church has been faithfully sending a work team every year since 2001 and has been a blessing to the Girasoles boys and Scripture Union staff and we are so thankful for this relationship.
This year we started the trip with a few days in Ica due to threats of an agrarian strike between Lima and Kusi. It is always great to go to Ica and spend time with the staff and boys at our Girasoles home there.
We did the usual things like deliver water, visit an oasis in the middle of the sand dunes, a movie night on the patio, group games and lots of photos, hugs and laughs.
This year the group did something a bit different for the Girasoles. They brought suitcases of teddy bears to give to the boys. Each boy received a bear and a photo of the person from the congregation back home who purchased their bear and who will be praying specifically for that child.
After Ica, it was off to Kusi for a week where they worked on making hundreds of adobe bricks to build a new laundry room for the boys at the home. Days were spent making bricks and evenings together with the staff and boys playing games, sharing testimonies over a bonfire, dancing and another movie night.
The group organized an afternoon of games, activities and a skit about Jonah and the whale to share with the Kusi boys and children from the surrounding communities. About 35 children came from Ongo, Aira, Shillcop and Yungay to participate in the afternoon and share with the group.
During the week in Kusi, I was given a big surprise. Throughout the month of June, Billy and I were traveling with different groups and would be apart for 32 days. When you work and live together, any long period time apart is hard let alone a month straight… Billy gave me a great surprise and came to Kusi for 24 hours in between two of his groups. I had absolutely no idea that he was coming and it was so great to see him even if it was brief. I am so blessed to have a thoughtful, wonderful husband who spoils me with surprises.
After finishing out the week in Kusi, we headed back to Lima and while the Dearborn group returned to Michigan, I headed up north to Puerto Alegria for the first time this season…
Part two coming soon.