On The Road Again

Gosh, I feel like I just wrote a monthly update!

November seemed to fly by and now we’re just weeks away from the end of the year!

While I could start with my usual line of, “this month has been busy with the regular Zoom meetings…,” we can finally say that we had a few in-person events this month, both with work and Will’s school!

After six months of training via Zoom, Billy and the Center of Excellence training team had the opportunity to travel to two homes for abandoned and at-risk boys in Ica and Urubamba. For Billy, this was the first time he was able to visit both homes since leaving Peru in mid-2017. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to visit earlier and, of course, has prevented opportunities for in-person training.

The team spent two full days at each home answering questions and reviewing topics such as non-violent communication and attachment. More importantly though, the Center of Excellence team was able to encourage and train the staff as they work day-in and day-out with the boys at the homes.

Training with staff in Ica

Training with staff in Urubamba

Will started attending in-person school this month. In August, his school was one of the handful in Lima who was approved to start bringing students back into the “classroom.” They started slowly, working their way down the grades, starting with high school and finally made it to preschool this month. It is a very, very slow transition to in-person since he only attends for 1 hour a week on Wednesdays. After more than 600 days, Will was very excited to finally go back to school, meet his classmates and teacher, Miss Angie, in-person! Leading up to the morning, we reminded Will that he would need to wear two masks the whole time he was there, to follow instructions and to not touch anybody and give people space. When he saw Miss Angie, the very first thing he did was to run right up to her and give her a big hug! Nevertheless, he has thoroughly enjoyed going to school and asks every day if it is Wednesday and time to go back!

Had to retake the traditional “first day of school” photo

Waiting to check-in for the first day

Finally meeting Miss Angie in person

Billy started leading the Trauma Competent Caregiver training with the Hope House staff. The six-week training will culminate in December. The staff has been enthusiastic about the training and the mentoring program in general. This is the first part of launching our Caminando Juntos (Walking Together) mentoring program. In January, Billy will train the mentors from a local church and then pair them with girls from the home.

As a family, we traveled to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to celebrate Thanksgiving. Will and I had not been back to Cusco since June 2017, when he was just four months old! We visited the staff and boys at the Girasoles home, spent lots of time outside and took advantage of discounted train tickets to take Will to Machu Picchu for the first time. Will thoroughly enjoyed all the different animals we saw and loved pointing out all the llamas.

With Héctor and Maritza, house parents at the Urubamba home

2017 — 2021

As we prepare for Christmas and our upcoming visit to Michigan, would you join us in praying for these few things:

– For negative COVID tests. Despite being vaccinated, we will all need a negative test to enter the United States and are doing our best these next few weeks to minimize exposure so we can travel.

– For safe travels and a time of rest with family and friends this holiday season.

– For Will as he wraps up the school year next week. We can’t believe that he will be a Kindergartner next year!

– Praise for the opportunity we’ve had to visit the boys’ homes recently. Pray for the staff, that they can apply what they are learning during training in their daily work.

And, 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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