February was a mildly quiet month in terms of moving around considering we were back in quarantine again for its 28 days. All non-essential shops were closed and the only places open to the public were pharmacies, grocery stores/bodegas/markets and banks – which were limited to 1 person per family at a time. We were unable to use our car and were only allowed outside for 1 hour per day for exercise/mental health.
Despite the restrictions, it was still a busy month with lots of events, meetings and activities.
Billy started the month as a guest on the El Multiplicador podcast-turned-cable TV show. Our friends, Scott and Julia, are working in Trujillo leading a business as missions ministry and invited Billy to be a part of the weekly broadcast and share what Paths of Hope is doing in Peru. The interview which is in Spanish can be seen here starting at minute 25.
Billy continues working towards becoming an affiliate trainer with Trauma Free World which will allow him to train others using their curriculum and model. This is part of the curriculum that Paths of Hope will use to train mentors here in Peru. He is currently in the middle of their 6-week Spanish training and compiling a growing list of technical vocabulary terms. The training is being presented in Mexico, but the participants come from all over Central and South America. Billy is attending along with five other Paths of Hope volunteers and ministry partners from a girls’ home in Lima. Our partners have shared that they are especially encouraged by this training since it has given them new perspectives and practical skills that they can begin to implement right away in their day to day ministry with the kids.
Since the pandemic began last year and the country went into quarantine in March 2020, our church in Lima, Camino de Vida, has been meeting virtually. Every Sunday the church livestreams 7 services across Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. When the church went virtual, Willy (our friend who is a pastor at the church and who was Billy’s roommate right before we got married) asked us to join a volunteer team for the service he would be leading. Every week for almost a year now, we have been serving on the Instagram team for the 9am service. Part of the team interacts with viewers in the chat and Billy and I monitor the chat stream to write down any prayer requests and people that wish to be contacted. We also meet weekly as a team for a short message and prayer, and once a month for a social event over Zoom.
9am online service volunteer team
Billy and I have also been working with Perú Por Los Niños these last few months. PPLN is a group of volunteers who have a heart for Peruvian children and a vision for systemically working toward more family-based solutions for vulnerable children living outside of their parents’ care as opposed to larger institutions. I (Kate) have been helping share Spanish resources geared to people working with at-risk children on the PPLN Facebook page. Billy has had the opportunity to join the PPLN leadership committee as they begin to work together to better define roles and objectives as a network organizations with a shared vision.
Another month of Will crashing Zoom meetings
February also means celebrating a special birthday. Will turned 4 and reminded us every day that it was his birthday month. Assuming that we would still be in quarantine by the time his end-of-the-month birthday came around, we hedged our bets at the end of January and guilt-bought a ton of balloons, a large #4 balloon and a personal helium tank to at least make our house festive on his actual birthday since we would not be able to have the birthday picnic with friends as we had originally planned. Nevertheless, we had a great day together as a family playing in balloons that filled our living room, going for a scooter ride to a park where we had our own picnic and lots of virtual conversations with friends and family. Will loved the day and is quick to remind us that he is “no longer a little boy, he’s a big boy now”. I’m not sure if we’re ready to accept this yet, but I’ll compromise and call him my “big, little boy” for a little bit longer.
Helping mix ingredients for his birthday cake the day before
At the end of the month the government announced that starting in March they would be lifting the quarantine restrictions. Thankfully, more than one person from a family can go into a store at a time. As Will will tell you, “stores are open again for little boys!” With the new month, we’re also allowed to use our personal cars again which means a little more freedom in terms of which parks we can explore on our walks/scooter rides. We’re thankful for the park close to our apartment, but after being restricted to it for months now (collectively since March 2020), we welcome the opportunity to explore other areas of Lima!
Snacks at the “zigzag tree” in our park
New favorite activity is digging in the dirt
Making lemon juice for lemonade with real yellow lemons – a rare surprise!
Helping roll dough to make & decorate cookies for Valentine’s Day
Annual check up with Dr. Rivara who has been Will’s doctor since birth (6 months – 2.5 years – almost 4 years)
In March we will continue developing the two programs with Health Bridges International, Billy will begin a practitioner’s training with the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University (more on this next month) and Will starts school again! First day of virtual school is next week and he’ll be in the pre-kinder 4-year-old class at his school.
As always we very much appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.
– Kate, Billy and Will