Happy Thanksgiving

We are grateful.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we are thankful for the many blessings in our lives, for Will, and for our supporters and faithful prayer warriors who have partnered with us during the 13 years we have been serving in Peru. We’re thankful for each one of you – for your prayers and support of our ministry.

From Peru, may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

– Kate, Billy & Will

CAFO Summit & Puericultorio Training

We started October with a quick trip to the States to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual summit in Atlanta. This was the third year that Billy and I have attended the CAFO Summit and this year proved to be as beneficial as previous years. It was 3 days of learning from organizations around the world who are doing similar work with teens and young adults aging out of residential care. We also were able to participate in a session for all organizations and individuals specifically working in Latin America which meant we finally were able to meet some people in-person that we have communicated with previously only over Zoom. This year’s theme was “Planted, Not Buried” and one of my biggest takeaways was a quote one of the workshop presenters gave, “Relationships are the soil we want our youth to be planted in.” The quote fit the conference theme but also particularly spoke to our desire for the young adults we are working with. Relationships are critical and we want them to develop profound roots within their community.

Billy met with the Trauma Free World staff – the organization that created the Trauma Competent Caregiver training he leads

After CAFO we headed to Charlotte, NC for meetings with the Paths of Hope board. It was a lovely weekend of fellowship and planning as we look forward to 2023 and beyond.

We ended our quick trip with a few days in Michigan to visit family and have a few days of Midwest fall. When you live somewhere that basically has 2 seasons and humid all the time (hot summer and cloudy winter), the dry crisp air, changing leaves, blue skies, pumpkin patches and cider mills are just missed.

It was just warm enough for Will to go for a ride on the tube with the cousins and great grandma!

Will went on his 50th flight while we were in the US and has mastered the art of moving 3 carry-on suitcases at once.

Upon our return to Lima, Billy started an in-person Trauma Competent Caregiver training with the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar (PPA). As we have mentioned previously, the PPA is a children’s home that is operated and funded by the Municipality of Lima and there are approximately 250 children from birth through 18 years old at the home. As of this week he is halfway through the 10 week sessions and it has been a positive experience. The staff participating in the training have been coming prepared with questions and great contributions to the training material.

We made this short reel to share on Paths of Hope’s social media after the first session:

At school, Will’s class performed a play that they wrote together. It was about 20 minutes long with choreography and a story that included 4 languages. His class this year is quite multicultural with students from France, Spain, China (2) and Will “from” the US. Will was the wise tree and was on stage throughout the whole play!

Halloween is slowly becoming more of a celebrated holiday here but is still not as big as in the States – but somehow it has become Will’s favorite holiday. There are no pumpkin patches to visit but some grocery stores in Lima will stock a limited number for about 2 weeks at the beginning of October – or until the foreigners have bought them all for pumpkin recipes! We bought a few ourselves and invited friends over to carve pumpkins and roast the seeds. Knowing ahead of time that trick or treating also isn’t a thing here, we asked the neighbors within our small apartment building if they would be willing to pass out candy that we provided them. At 5 years old, Will is the youngest child in the building (next youngest is 16!) and they were happy to share a little Halloween magic with our little magician.

We are so grateful for each of you, for your prayers, encouragement, and financial gifts, and how you allow us to remain on the field and be healthy here as a family as we work to build the Kingdom alongside you!

While support raising to continue to stay on the field has its challenges, we have learned more and more what it looks like to live each day conscious that we depend on God. Over and over again, the act of support raising has brought us to reflect on Matthew 6:25-34, where we are reminded that if He provides even for the birds of the air and the lilies in the fields, then why need we be anxious—knowing that we are infinitely more valuable to him than they. Time and time again, the Lord has reminded us of his faithfulness and of his provision as we pursue his calling.

We would also be remiss if we didn’t include an opportunity for year-end giving. Your donations are truly what makes our work possible, and any amount is so appreciated. In the next few months we are needing to raise about $1500 in ongoing monthly support so that we can continue in this work with Paths of Hope. We invite you to consider partnering with us! We’d be so grateful if you would prayerfully consider giving a year-end gift or beginning a new monthly commitment.

You can give online with a one-time gift or recurring support, through United World Mission, here.

Also, in January and early February (Will’s summer vacation from school) we will be in the United States to visit with supporters and build relationships with new churches and individuals who may want to consider partnering with us. If you know of a church, a small group, or a person who you think would be interested in joining our team, please reach out to us. We would love to connect and talk more!

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

– Kate, Billy & Will

A New Partnership

It has been another busy few months since our last update!

Peruvian Independence Day is at the end of July and it also coincides with the mid-year school break. This year Peru celebrated 201 years of independence and Will’s school spent the week prior to vacation doing all sorts of celebrations. Every class performed a dance from either the coast, mountains or jungle and this year Will and his classmates danced Los Caporales, which is a traditional dance from the Puno region (mountains). The students rented dance outfits based on their chosen dance and performed for the parents. Will’s dance included boots with big bells on the sides and I can only imagine how noisy it was in his classroom with 13 five and six year olds all wearing these boots.

Later in the week, Will also participated in the Peruvian Cajón group. He and another classmate were chosen to represent his class in the group.

Will and his teachers, Miss Judith and Miss Magy

At the end of July, we had our last meeting with our board games small group. We normally would meet for a few hours on Thursday evening but since everybody had the day off for Independence Day, we offered to host the group at our apartment for a longer game of Risk. It was a great afternoon (which turned into late evening!) to close out the small group series. Throughout the weeks, we enjoyed getting to know the others in the group and learn a few new games.

At the beginning of August we traveled to Arequipa for a week for vacation and to attend a wedding of a friend and co-worker. We all have been to Arequipa before but this was the first time the three of us went together. We spent a few days in the Colca Canyon, which is the deepest canyon in the world, and another few days in the city of Arequipa. Billy and I agree that if we were to live in another city that wasn’t Lima, we would pick Arequipa.

From my first trip to Colca in 2008, compared to 2022.

Will standing at the same window in the Santa Catalina Monastery in 2018 and 2022.

While in Arequipa we were able to see our friend Alex and finally meet his wife and two children. We know Alex from our time working with the Scripture Union children’s homes and were happy to be able to meet up with him again!

In August, we participated in an event hosted by Perú por los Niños in Lima. The event was about promoting a transition from residential to foster care and was geared for churches, children’s home staff, government staff who work with vulnerable children. The speakers were the director of foster care from the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations and staff from Casa Viva in Costa Rica. Casa Viva is an organization that started with children’s homes but has successfully transitioned into a foster care model by working with local churches. The event was informative, inspirational and helped the participants to envision a similar type of care for children here in Peru.

We have recently signed a partnership agreement with the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar in Lima. The Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar is a children’s home in Lima that is operated and funded by the Municipality of Lima. It was founded in 1930 and at one point was home to upwards of 1000 children. Currently there are 200 children and teens that are residing in the home. Starting next month, Billy will be meeting with the staff weekly for 10 weeks to provide the Trauma Competent Caregiver training and we will begin the mentoring program with a handful of teenagers at the home. Participants from the previous Trauma Competent Caregiver trainings that Billy has led on Saturday mornings have volunteered to serve as mentors.

Signing the agreement with Andrea from Pérez Araníbar.

Last week Billy held an informational meeting with volunteer mentors from the Caminando Juntos mentor program

The 3rd Sunday of August every year is Children’s Day and there are tons of activities for kids across the city. For the first time since 2019, our church was able to celebrate Día del Niño in person with a service completely geared towards kids. Will’s school celebrated a few days prior with some special activities during class.

Part of Will’s class got together for a weekend lunch with their teacher Miss Magy, and the extra curricular teachers (gym, dance, karate, technology and music).

We also had a special couple weeks with a visit from my brother Randy. It was fun to have him here and to be able to spend time together which we don’t get very often. Knowing that it would be the only thing he would focus on, we didn’t tell Will that his uncle was coming until a few days beforehand. He spent an afternoon making welcome decorations for our guestroom and the rest of the time asking how much longer until Uncle Randy lands!

Billy and Jocabeth (our co-worker at Paths of Hope) traveled to Ica for a couple days to spend time with the staff at the Girasoles home to work on the Comunidad Girasoles program. Comunidad Girasoles is a joint project between Paths of Hope and Health Bridges International and the goal is to prepare the youth for transition into adulthood, focusing on necessary life skills, and building connection to their local community and systems of support that they can rely on as the look to life beyond the homes. At this meeting, Billy and Joca met with the staff to develop the working plan.

This weekend is the final session for the Trauma Competent Caregiver training. It is the third and final iteration of the 6-week training for mentors this year and Billy was able to train 35 people throughout the course of the year.

Next week we will travel to Atlanta to participate in the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual summit. This will be the third time that Billy and I attend the conference and it has always been a great place to meet other people working with orphans and vulnerable children, learn from other organizations and to be inspired about what we can do here in Peru. After having to miss the last few conferences due to COVID, we’re looking forward to being back at this one!

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

– Kate, Billy & Will

Another New Peruvian!

On Thursday July 14th, 2022, I became a Peruvian citizen!

Since I was able to obtain citizenship through marriage to a Peruvian it was a much, much shorter process from start to finish (five months versus Billy’s five years!) but now all three of us are dual US-Peruvian citizens.

After hearing some words from the Superintendent of Peruvian Immigration, 48 people were sworn in as citizens and then presented our naturalization titles. Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions and the number of people receiving citizenship, Billy and Will had to watch the ceremony via live-stream from another room.

When I traveled to Peru for the first time at 15 years old way back in 2001, I never thought that one day I would eventually become a Peruvian citizen. Peru is a place I have seen many majestic landscapes, met lovely people and life-long friends and, of course, have eaten richly. It is where Billy and I were married and then eventually where Will was born. It has been our home for more than a decade and now we all can proudly say that we are Peruvian.

Viva el Perú!

– Kate, Billy & Will

A Few “Firsts”

Hello from mostly gray but sometimes sunny Lima. We have entered into the winter months here in the Southern Hemisphere and while this time of year it is usually all gray skies all the time, there have been a few days each week where the sun has burned off some of the clouds and blue-sky peeks through and just makes the city look so much better. Sometimes the sun is only out for a few hours, so Will and I try to take advantage of those moments to squeeze in some outside time – even if it means doing some coloring down in our apartment building entryway!

Billy started leading another Trauma Competent Caregiver training on Saturday mornings. This is the third time he has led a TCC training over Zoom and hopes that the next one will be able to be in-person. This group is smaller than the previous training, but they have brought great insight to the training through their comments and questions. This Saturday is the 5th week of the 6-week training. The hope is that these participants will become mentors for older youth at a large children’s home located here in Lima.

Billy traveled to Ica and Urubamba with Health Bridges as we continue to collaborate with them toward creating a Center of Excellence. The COE team met with the staff at the boys’ home to conclude the year-long Phase I which had been meeting weekly on Zoom. As we have previously written about, the team and staff explored different materials and methodologies aimed at building a trauma informed culture during Phase I. The in-person gathering was in part to celebrate the completion of the first part and to begin discussing some possible next steps for the next phase of the project. Will and I were able to join the group for the Urubamba portion of the trip, and it was a joy to see Will interacting with the boys and staff in the home now that his Spanish has increased drastically.

At the end of the visit to the children’s home, we decided to stay on a couple extra days in the Sacred Valley and explore a couple areas that were new to at least Will and me.

We also recently had lunch with Huberth to celebrate him finishing another semester of university work. He is studying architecture and urban planning and has just a couple more semesters before graduating. Billy meets with Huberth regularly, but this time Will and I were able to join as well.

The last few weeks have also been filled with a lot of firsts!

Billy was able to attend his first in-person Father’s Day celebration at Will’s school. The kids performed a choreographed dance and then headed out to the playground for some relay races.

At the end of June, Will had his first swim lesson at a local swim school. He absolutely loved everything about it until we found out that the school closes for the month of July and that his next lesson wouldn’t be until August!

Will had the honor of participating in his first wedding. The bride, Miss Dani, was his first teacher and has always held a special place in his (and our) hearts.

Billy and I joined our first in-person small group at our church in Lima. We had participated in a previous small group, but due to the pandemic restrictions we had to meet virtually over Zoom. It has been fun getting together to play some board and card games weekly while getting to know other people from church.

Will also went to his first ballet and his first show at the Gran Teatro Nacional. The national ballet company was performing Cinderella. Tickets were $8 a person, so we figured it was a safe introduction to a new medium. Will left mesmerized and we’re keeping an eye on future shows at the theater.

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

– Kate, Billy & Will