Lima, Peru – 12° S and 77°2 W
Born and raised in Southeastern Michigan, we now call Lima, Peru home.
Our first experience with Peru was during the summer of 2001. We were 15, had just finished our freshman year of high school and both had signed up for a 3 week trip to Peru to volunteer with Scripture Union with our home churches. At the time, the youth pastors at our home churches were brothers and they decided to lead a combined trip. There were something like 45 people in the group – 40 from Billy’s church and just 5 from Kate’s.
We can’t say that we remember much about each other during those 18 days but we do know that upon returning home, a seed was planted in each of our hearts for Peru. Over the next few years, we both continued to return to Peru with our own churches. In 2008, we graduated from college (Billy from Indiana Wesleyan and Kate from Alma College) and spent the summer intern translators and leading volunteer work teams.
After 10 years of short term volunteering, we both felt a calling to work with Scripture Union Peru. Billy first decided to move to Peru full time and by March 2009, he had raised enough support to move. About a year later, Kate felt a calling and moved in June 2011.
We worked together for almost 3 years in International Relations (as a support to the 6 ministries SU has in Peru), and then took on a few other titles and responsibilities. Billy served as the director of the Programa Girasoles and Kate took over as the director of International Relations. Kate was responsible for organizing the 20+ volunteer teams that visited SU Peru each year, monthly sponsorship for SU’s Programa Girasoles ministry for abandoned boys, and international communication and web presence (the SU website, Facebook, Instagram, etc), while Billy had everything from laws to staffing and budgets for the 7 Girasoles homes under his care.
2017 was a big year for us – our little boy Will was born in February and in August, we made an international move back to the States temporarily so Billy could start a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. 109 N. President will always hold a special place in our hearts as Will’s “first home” – where he learned to crawl and subsequently walk, where he began solid foods, sleeping through the night and began to talk. It’s where we began living with a baby and left with a little boy. Billy graduated in May 2019 and we moved back to our old apartment in Lima in September.
Now we have shifted our ministry focus away from children in homes towards working with mentoring young adults with Paths of Hope.
We got married in January 2013 (twice!) here in Peru. Our religious ceremony took place in the chapel at Kawai (Scripture Union’s beachfront property about 90km south of Lima) – the same chapel that we helped build during our first trip to Peru twelve years prior in 2001.
About 12 Degrees South
Kate originally set up the blog, 12 Degrees South, as a way to keep a record of her travels and immersion in some of the world’s most interesting cultures. Over the past few years, this space has been dedicated primarily to her experiences living and working in Peru.
Now that “I” has become “we” – both Billy and Kate will be writing about their lives, work and things going on here in Lima and beyond. We’ll also be adding some videos, and of course photographs of our travels.