Two Months Back

The last two months have been busy with the usual Zoom meetings, curriculum development, lots of preschool activities, and some weekend adventures in and out of Lima.

Billy and I have continued to meet weekly with the staff at the two children’s homes that are part of the Center of Excellence training program that is being developed with Health Bridges International. Billy has helped with the curriculum development, has taught a few of the lessons and also assists with translation when an English-speaker is teaching. We’re encouraged by the questions that are asked and what the participants share during the lesson exercises.

Wayne, the director of HBI, was in Peru and was one of the first visitors in our house post-COVID

We are also in the preliminary stages of starting the mentoring program with a girls home here in Lima and the church that they attend. Paths of Hope will train volunteers from the church who will serve as mentors to the girls in the home. Billy has met with the house director, pastor of the church and the staff at the home to discuss the mentoring program. Next step will be to identify the volunteers and then lead a training, using the Trauma Competent Caregiver material created by Trauma Free World. Join us in praying for committed, loving volunteers who will be positive influences on the girls at the home.

Meeting with the staff at the girls’ home

When we’re not in Zoom meetings or Zoom preschool, Will and I have been spending quite a bit of time at the playground. Playgrounds were closed in March 2020 due to the virus and remained closed for almost 16 months. Most simply had orange snow fence and caution tape around them, but some districts went as far as completely removing the structures from the park. When we returned from Michigan, we were pleasantly surprised that many of the playgrounds near us have reopened and are full of kids. It is great to see Will running around with other kids and his Spanish has exploded in the last couple months as he interacts with them.

We also were able to get together with a group of his classmates at a little playground. The 8 kids (of 14 in the class) were able to see each other face-to-face for the first time ever – despite being classmates since March 2021 (or March 2020 for some of them). They greeted each other with big hugs, played together like they have been doing this weekly and all enjoyed a snack together. We spent almost 2 hours at the playground, and Will talked about it for days afterward.

Will continues to participate in Zoom preschool. They are learning how to write numbers, write their name in cursive, play fun games and do lots of art projects. He recently had to share a talent and showed his classmates how to make chocolate chip cookies.

Celebrating the first day of spring at school

Showing his classmates how to make chocolate chip cookies

On the weekends, we try to add as many hours as possible to our #1000HoursOutside challenge for this year. We made the 2 hour drive to the Lomas de Lachay on the north side of Lima. During the winter months, the clouds are low and cover the hills. The clouds bring just enough moisture to cover the normally dry, sandy desert hills with lush green plants. Another weekend we drove an hour east to Cieneguilla in search of sun. We also met up with Will’s teacher from last year to spend the morning at the park together.

Miss Dani, Will’s first preschool teacher

A neighboring district held a kids’ movie in the park

Now that the Paths of Hope team here is fully vaccinated, Billy was able to get together with Jocabeth and Linda recently for their first in-person meeting since they became an official team in February. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and brainstorming for future projects.

Last month we had an unfortunate experience when we returned to our car and found our rear passenger window had been broken and our things were stolen from the car. We’re thankful that the thieves did not take anything of great value but it was disappointing that some of the things they took were items we had just brought back with us from the US. The hardest thing about it was processing the event with Will for days and weeks after the fact.

September also marked 2 years of returning to Peru after our time in Wheaton. COVID and quarantine aside, these last two years have been very different than our first 8 years pre-Wheaton. Will and preschool has brought a stability and more time in Lima than we’ve ever spent before. That evening we celebrated God’s faithfulness and provision as we continue serving here in Peru.

As always we very much appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.

– Kate, Billy & Will

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