Fall in Lima

It has been a busy few months between school, meetings and trips!

Will has thoroughly enjoyed being back in school for his Kindergarten year. His level of Spanish has increased drastically in the last couple months and it’s amazing to see him interacting with his classmates and other Spanish speakers while we’re out. They recently celebrated “Día de la Educación Inicial” (Preschool Education day) and on another day were asked to dress as their favorite storybook character.

Billy and Jocabeth (a Paths of Hope staff member) recently traveled to the Girasoles homes in Ica and Urubamba to meet with the staff to discuss the Comunidad Girasoles program we are working on in partnership with Health Bridges International. The goal of Comunidad Girasoles 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 they look to life beyond the homes. They also met with the older boys in the homes who will be ageing out of care in the next 1 to 3 years to discuss next steps and seek their input as active participants in the program.

Billy continues to walk alongside a few men who are currently in prison here in Peru. A few months ago Billy received a call from one of them saying that he would be released soon but not sure exactly when it would be. Of course it ended up taking longer than originally expected but all the paperwork was finally sorted and Billy was able to have lunch with him in-person!

In-person visits to the prison have very recently begun again and Billy was able to go visit one of the men. Unfortunately there were long lines to get in and out of the prison, so they were not able able to spend a long time visiting but did manage to have lunch together and catch up. These stamps and numbers written on Billy’s arms are part of the entry and exit process of visiting an inmate.

Billy was invited to share at a missions conference about our Caminando Juntos mentoring program. The conference was held by the Christian Missionary Alliance church in Villa El Salvador, on the south side of Lima. Ana, who participated in our first Trauma Competent Caregiving training, attends the CMA church and has been volunteering at a children’s home close to the church. She invited Billy to meet with her pastor and the children’s home staff to open the door for the church to begin a mentoring program with the children’s home. The pastor was interested in the ministry opportunity and invited Billy to share in their upcoming conference. There were over 50 people from the church in his session who got to hear about the mentoring program. Billy also shared about our next Trauma Competent Caregiver training and encouraged them to register.

This week was the last of our virtual Center of Excellence trainings with the homes in Ica and Urubamba. Later this month, the Center of Excellence team will be traveling to the homes to wrap up these 13 months with one final in-person unit before we shift gears and review data to determine the next steps of the program. Billy will travel to Ica and Will and I will be able to join them for the Urubamba visit.

For Will’s school break in May we traveled to Tarapoto and Chachapoyas in northern Peru to spend a week in the high jungle and mountains. It was Will’s first time in the jungle and a region of Peru that was new for all of us. We had planned to visit Kuelap, a pre-Incan fortress (sometimes described as a Machu Picchu in northern Peru) located close to Chachapoyas, but unfortunately it had closed about a month prior due to excessive raining and subsequent landslides that damaged the ruins. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time, hiked through lots of beautiful scenery, and spent lots of time outside!

Will acquired a new skill in this last week and now can ride a two wheel bicycle! After us loosely holding his bike going back and forth many times through an empty parking lot and lots of shaky ‘almost falling’ moments, something clicked the next day when we went to practice, and he just took off down the sidewalk. He would also like to share that he can swim with his face and head in the water (while using goggles) and swim down to touch the bottom of a pool – another little skill that developed literally overnight. Apparently there have been quite a few developmental milestones going on here recently!

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

– Kate, Billy & Will

Winter, Summer and School

And just like that another *few* months have passed since our last post!

A few days after our last update in mid-December we traveled to the States for Christmas. It was a great trip filled with time spent with friends and family, a couple weekend trips to Nashville and New York City and lots of winter outside activities we do not get to do in Lima!

Will excitedly plane watching while at the airport

Perks of a brother/uncle in the lighting industry, we got to go a For King and Country concert in Nashville.

And got to check out the new Andean bear exhibit at the Nashville Zoo

We spent lots of time in outside and especially when it snowed. Hiking trails and playground slides are just more fun with a layer of snow!

Thanks to some frequent flier miles and grandparents who were willing to watch Will, Billy and I were able to spend a couple of days in the greatest city in the world. We walked all over the city and had tickets to see The Tonight Show. The main event though was being in the room where it happened and seeing Hamilton. tAfter having to modify our original plans a few times and almost not being able to go because of the show shutting down due to COVID, I must admit that when the first number began I teared up in joy – and then again when it ended!

We even started Will’s 5th birthday celebrations early with an Octonaut party with the cousins

2021 was the first year that we participated in the 1000 Hours Outside challenge. While we didn’t quite make it the full 1000 hours, we did spend 803 hours outside. As city dwellers living in an apartment, this meant lots of neighborhood walks, picnics in city parks, playgrounds, day trip hikes outside of Lima and being intentional about spending time outside together. We started the challenge again at the beginning of January and are hoping to get as many, if not more, hours outside this year too.

We returned to Lima in mid-January with full hearts and full suitcases – leaving our winter clothes behind and ready for the sunny, blue skies of summer. It was quite the adjustment to leave a snow-covered Michigan in the afternoon and wake up to hot and humid Lima.

Apart from regularly scheduled meetings and weekly trainings with the Center of Excellence program, one of the biggest things Billy did these last couple months was leading another Trauma Competent Caregiver training for 23 participants. Many of the participants will become mentors at Hope House (a girls home in Lima), and some were potential future partners/mentors who wanted to learn more about the ministry and become trauma-informed. There was even a small group of participants who are staff at a children’s home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia who found out about the training from fellow United World Mission missionaries we met during the regional retreat in December. The training went really well and the participants engaged in the material with examples and great questions. We’re excited about this new group of trauma-informed people! You can read more about the training on our Paths of Hope website.

In February we were able to spend time with Kate’s mom. It had been 2 years since she was last able to visit Lima and she wanted to be here in-person for Will’s 5th birthday and first day of school. Will and Kate were able to spend time with her at various parks around the city and she had a refresher in what it is like to live in Lima. We were also able to spend a weekend a few hours up the coast in Barranca to visit Caral – the oldest civilization in the Americas.


February also brought a special birthday that we have been counting down to since mid December! Will turned 5 years old and after having to cancel last year, was very excited to be able to have a party with friends in the park. Even his preschool and pre-kinder teachers Miss Dani and Miss Angie were able to join us too! The theme of his party of course had to be Octonauts.

As COVID numbers go down and the vaccination rate goes up, the Ministry of Education finally approved the reopening of schools across the country. March is the beginning of the school year and after 2 years of logging into Zoom daily for virtual preschool, Will was able to return to the classroom! He is in Kindergarten this year and so far, is really enjoying being with his teacher Miss Magy and classmates. It was a little bittersweet dropping him off for his first day of class in his uniform and sending him off on his own, but we’re excited to see what he learns this year, see how his Spanish continues to improve and the few extra hours each day where we can get some work done!

Looking forward, we are continuing with the Center of Excellence weekly training with the staff at the two children’s homes and are making plans for another in-person retreat in June. Kate continues to help Perú por los Niños with sharing resources and material in Spanish geared to people working with at-risk children on the PPLN Facebook page and Billy is helping coordinate the first in-person conference which is planned for November this year.

Next week Billy will celebrate 13 years of living and working in Peru. He arrived on March 18, 2009 with two suitcases ready to start a new life and serve full-time here in Lima. His job description has changed a few times over the years, but his love for serving others has remained the same.

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

– Kate, Billy & Will

December in Lima

The first few weeks of December in Lima were unusually quick and busy!

We spent the first weekend at the United World Mission retreat for missionaries that are working in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. We gathered with four other missionary couples for a three-day retreat at an Airbnb about an hour from our apartment. Peru currently has very few UWM missionaries; we are one of two couples in Lima and there is one couple in northern Peru. Since we’re such a small group, we were also accompanied by a couple from Bolivia and another from Paraguay. It was a nice weekend to meet others who are serving in South America and learn more about their respective ministries. Will was the only child attending the retreat and loved spending time exploring the backyard and playing with the dozens of snails he found in the plants.

The school year also ended in December and Will finished Pre-Kinder. Because Will’s birthday is in February and during the summer break, his teacher, Miss Angie, made sure to include a little birthday celebration for him in a class at the end of the semester. He was so excited to celebrate with his teacher and classmates, even if it had to just be on Zoom. The last week of school was full of Christmas crafts, some baking activities and end of year presentations. We’re proud of what Will has accomplished this year and can’t believe he will be in Kindergarten when school starts in March!

We also were able to attend church in person for the first time since February 2020! Churches have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and things were getting better enough for our church to decide to open for some in-person events; starting with the annual Christmas program. It was so nice to be back in person, even if it was just for a brief time. The church planned to resume limited capacity in-person services on December 26th, but unfortunately, due to the Omicron variant, they have postponed a reopening date until further notice.

Since we planned on traveling to Michigan for Christmas, Billy spent a lot of time in the week prior to leaving visiting many of the young men that we are helping. He was able to spend some face-to-face time with each of them and give them a Christmas gift. He also was able to finalize plans for the upcoming mentor training that begins in mid-January. There are ten people signed up for the training. Please join us in praying for the participants and for Billy and Joca as they lead the six three-hour sessions.

We traveled to the United States on December 17th and will share about our time there in our next update.

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

– Kate, Billy & Will

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

Happy Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, we are thankful for the blessings in our lives, for Will, and for our supporters and prayer warriors who have partnered with us over the years. We’re thankful for each one of you and for your prayers and support of our ministry in Peru.

From Peru, may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

– Kate, Billy & Will