Cumbre ACH 2024

And just like that we’re already into the second quarter of 2024!

Quite a bit has happened since we last shared an update. January and February are summer break from school here south of the Equator so we have had a bit of an erratic schedule between trips, summer activities and the mentor program.

Since we were not here last summer (and previous summer breaks were clouded by COVID), this was the first opportunity we’ve had to enroll Will in some summer activities while on break. In addition to continuing with soccer lessons at a nearby field, Will also participated in an amazing archeology day camp put on by a neighboring district at an archeological site/museum. Every Tuesday and Thursday for 8 weeks 20 kids from 6-12 years old got together to learn about pre-Incan cultures that occupied the pyramid, make adobe bricks, and so many different crafts like weavings, masks, clay figurines etc. Every session Will came home completely covered in dust but smiling and excited to share what he had learned that day about the Wari or Yschma cultures and recount what happened during the 3-hour session. They even did their own excavation dig during the final sessions where they found bones, ceramics and other items left over by the previous inhabitants.

Will with Huaca Pucllana in the background

Billy was recently asked to share about caring for vulnerable populations during the monthly outreach team meeting at our church, Camino de Vida. He shared a reflection from 1 Kings 19, on what we can learn about caring for the vulnerable among us in light of knowing how the Lord draws near to us in our own vulnerability. It is always a joy to share and serve alongside a great group of people with servant’s hearts!

In the middle of February we made a quick trip back to Michigan for a family wedding, for Will to gain a new aunt, and to spend as much time as possible with the cousins. We have really enjoyed having many different family members visit over the last 8ish months but it is always great to visit the Mitten.

Most of our time recently though has been occupied by getting ready for the Latin America conference hosted by Alianza Cristiana para los Huérfanos (ACH) and Perú por los Niños. ACH, an organization based in Guatemala, hosts a conference about caring for the vulnerable each year. In recent years ACH has decided to take the conference from being held in Guatemala to different countries around Central and South America, and in 2024 it was held here in Lima, Perú. As members of the Perú por los Niños network of organizations, churches and individuals, Billy and I were part of the organizational team helping with publicizing the event on social media, coordinating the event space, lots of printing, and the volunteer team.

A lot of spreadsheets were created and Zoom calls had leading up to the event

The event was held Thursday through Sunday and over 400 people participated from across Peru and South America. In addition to the participants, there were another 40 presenters/speakers and an amazing team of 40 volunteers. We coordinated the volunteers and they were a dream to work with – they anticipated needs and stepped up before we even asked. The volunteers really made participants feel welcome and made the event a success.

Perú por los Niños team with the presenters

A small portion of the amazing team of volunteers at the end of the first day

Perú por los Niños coordinating team with the leaders of Alianza Cristiana para los Huérfanos (ACH)

During one of the plenary sessions, Billy co-lead a panel about various ways we can care for vulnerable children. An adoptive family, foster family, a mentor, a mentor family and a family with a child with disabilities shared about their experiences in being part of the child welfare system. The panel shared that while we all might not be called to adopt, there are varying degrees of caring for the vulnerable and we can all do something.

Patricia (floral dress in the middle) is one of the Paths of Hope mentors at the Puericultorio.

In addition to helping coordinate, Paths of Hope was also able to have a presence during the event. I created fliers and materials to share with prospective volunteers and finally got the Paths of Hope website ready in Spanish for a Peruvian audience (see it here in Spanish)! Many of our volunteer mentors were able to participate in the conference and also staff our table and share about their experiences as mentors at the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar. We were able to meet many people who are interested in becoming mentors and learning more about Paths of Hope.

Since the event ended with the Sunday morning services at the church where it was held, despite not having participated in the conference itself, the church congregants heard a moving testimony and message about caring for the vulnerable. At the end of both morning services the pastor invited the congregation to learn more about Perú por los Niños and how they could get involved in mentoring, foster care or adoption. Billy was able to share our vision for mentoring with many people from the church and meet many others who are interested in doing something.

Join us in praying that these connections from both the conference and after church conversations turn into committed volunteers so we can provide more mentors to the teens at the Puericultorio.

Also this summer our adventure-loving, thrill-seeking, curious and active little boy turned 7 years old! He was very happy to be able to celebrate with extended family during our quick trip to Michigan (cousins!) and again on his actual birthday here in Lima.

The fun summer months finally came to the end and Will returned for another year of school. He is in second grade now and in the Mozart classroom (first grade classes were all artists, second grade are now composers). Typically here the 25 to 30 classmates you start school with will be the same kids in your class every year until you graduate. Will’s school mixes up the students in the classroom each year like they do in the United States so it’s a different batch of kids each year and new friends to make in the classroom. Unfortunately his close friends from last year are all in different rooms but they still see each other during recess. Nevertheless, our outgoing extroverted child has already made some new friends over soccer and Pokémon! We’re excited to see what he learns this year and how he develops and grows.

We want to thank you for your generosity that has allowed us to be here, serving in Peru. Your support and prayers make it possible young men and women who have graduated from children’s homes to have access to mentors once they have left the home.

You are making a difference in the lives of many who greatly desire and long for community as they navigate independence. Your generosity is a testimony to your love for God and your willingness to share in the burdens and blessings of others.

To continue this work we are needing to raise additional monthly support.

We’d be grateful if you would prayerfully consider increasing your current giving, beginning a new monthly commitment or giving a year-end gift. If you feel led to partner with us, you can support us through United World Mission.

Your financial support is providing community and guidance to teenagers as they age out of residential care. We believe in this ministry and see its impact, and we are deeply humbled to get to serve in this way with you.

As always, thank you for your prayers for our family, the mentoring ministry and the people of Peru.

– Billy, Kate & Will

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *