Halfway Through

Gosh, it has been waaay too long… we’re sorry about that.

This last year has been quite the whirlwind for our family. It seems ironic that one of our first big events after being granted my Peruvian citizenship was to temporarily move back to the United States, but that’s how our story has played out!

As we have already shared, I am working on a two-year master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College. It is hard to believe that my second and final year begins in just a few days!

I am really enjoying the program thus far, as we study what it means to have meaningful relationships. I am also really enjoying getting to know the faculty and my classmates as we go through this together. God has quite literally brought us together from all over the world, and it is an incredible opportunity to learn as we share our unique cultural and personal perspectives and experiences. I also really appreciate the opportunity that we have at Wheaton to wrestle with what it looks like to integrate our Christian faith with our profession.

During our first year, apart from class, we had the opportunity to observe live therapy sessions from behind a one-way mirror for a couple of hours each week. I feel that this experience was really helpful as I try to envision and conceptualize my approach to therapy.

In June, I began my clinical internship at Outreach Community Ministries and have started seeing my own clients two days a week. In addition to having a wise supervisor, one thing I have greatly appreciated about my internship is the ability to provide therapy in Spanish. I am the only Spanish speaking therapist at the office and there are a number of clients who have desired therapy in Spanish. It is great to be able to gain practice as a therapist and also to be able to do it in the language I’ll be using in Peru. My internship will continue through the school year, so please pray for us as I juggle my days at Outreach, classes, homework and being able to spend time with Kate and Will.

It has been such a blessing for us to have this time where I can concentrate on developing my professional skills so that God may be glorified through our work when we return to Peru. We continue to ask Him to lead our steps through the rest of our time in the States and as we look toward returning to Lima.

In other news:

We can’t believe our little boy is already 18 months old! He loves Elmo, going to the little zoo in Wheaton and dancing to music, and he absolutely loves to read books. He has learned how to climb up on our couch, and we will frequently find him sitting there flipping through pages with two or three books next to him. Now that he is walking, he definitely keeps us on our toes!

We are really enjoying being closer to our families. They have been able to come visit and spend time with us which is definitely something we are enjoying – even if we know they are coming primarily to see Will! We were able to enjoy a good old American summer full of pools, popsicles, road trips, friends and lots of zoos!

Visiting St. Louis

Spending time with cousins!

Playing in the backyard

Loving the slide

Visiting Katie in Grand Rapids

Shortly after settling in, we started attending Wheaton Bible Church. In January, we joined a small group and participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. The small group and Financial Peace course have helped us meet some other families at the church, and Will is enjoying playing with the other kids in the nursery.

Will, Kate and her mom, Ann, have just returned from a quick trip to Peru to renew Kate’s visa. Unfortunately, because of my internship I was unable to join them, and since both Will and I are Peruvian citizens it wasn’t necessary for me to go. In order to keep Kate’s residency active, she needed to be present in the country for a few days. Right before returning to the US last fall, she was able to change her residency to ‘permanent resident’ which requires her to be in country at least one day out of the year. While they were there, they were able to visit with a few different friends. Will was a great little traveler and really loved his first, real taste of Peruvian food. While we are enjoying this time in the States, being back in Lima made Kate realize how much we have been missing our life there!

Would you join us in praying for the following things?
– For the Lord to continue to develop us as parents and role models for Will.
– For Billy, as he learns to apply the theory he is learning in class in the context of therapy.
– For Billy’s internship. Pray for the clients that he will see and that the Lord would use him as a conduit of healing in their lives. Also, that Billy would learn to trust in Him and not be anxious about leading sessions.
– Continued financial and prayer support while we are in the States.

We cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for our family and our ministry over the next semester and months, and we look forward to sharing His testimony in our lives along the way!

A big hug,
Billy, with Kate and Will

Merry Christmas!

May the wonder of Immanuel – God with us – fill you this day.

Wishing you and your family much love and happiness throughout this holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family and God’s abundant blessings in 2018!

– Kate, Billy & Will

Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Happy Thanksgiving

We are grateful.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family today, we are thankful for the blessings in our lives, our little 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 contribution towards our ministry.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

– Kate, Billy & Will

A Season of Change

2017 is shaping up to be a big year for us!

Our family has grown, and we are enjoying the ministry opportunities where the Lord has placed us. We are also excited to share some changes on the horizon as we continue to seek the Lord’s calling in our lives. We appreciate your continued prayers and support, and want to share some of the latest happenings in our lives with you.

As you already know, in February, we added a new little human to our family! William Noah Greenman was born on February 21st at 2:01pm here in Lima and we immediately fell in love. It is amazing to watch how fast he grows and changes and every day we discover a little more about his personality. It is hard to believe that he is already 4 months old! During February, March and April, Will has had the pleasure of meeting all his grandparents. Their visits were a great blessing as Kate and I were just beginning to learn the rhythm of life with a newborn!

Ever since he turned one month old, Will has been consistently sleeping for 7-8 hours every night and we are so very thankful for that! Will has traveled with us to the beach and has met many of the boys and staff at Scripture Union’s homes. He went on his first flight to Cusco and first long road trip to Ica! Since Will was born here in Lima, he is a dual citizen and carries both Peruvian and US passports.

There have been plenty of challenges and tired days, but we could never imagine going back to life without Will. The Lord has really helped us reflect more deeply about His fatherly love as we experience parenthood for the first time!

Girasoles Graduates: Kate and I continue to regularly follow up with several the graduates from SU’s Girasoles program. It continues to be our joy to regularly meet with these young men and pour into their lives. We are also excited that four more recent graduates are in the process of applying for the government higher education scholarship which would cover their tuition and provide a stipend for living expenses like housing, food and transportation. The process is still ongoing, but all four of them are doing well. Before they can apply for the scholarship, they must be accepted into a technical institute or university—all of them have been accepted!

San Juan de Lurigancho Prison: Over the years, hundreds of children have come through our homes. Even years after they have left, we continue to consider them a part of the Scripture Union family. As family, we rejoice with them in their successes, and we are present with them in their struggles. Last year I was made aware of two of our ex-Girasoles who lived in our Lima home years ago (both are about my age). Unfortunately, they made some bad decisions that led to a jail sentence for both. I have had the opportunity to visit them monthly, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be an encouragement to these guys. I have had the chance to tell them that I have not given up on them because I know that the Lord hasn’t either. It is so wonderful to serve a Lord who is full of grace. My prayer is that the Lord would use these encounters to reveal His love and His grace to these guys.

UWM Retreat: In April, Kate and I had to opportunity to attend United World Mission’s first ever retreat for all the South American missionaries. Thankfully, the retreat was held here in Peru at Kawai (the same Scripture Union retreat center where Kate and I were married). The close proximity to Lima made travelling with a two-month old much easier. The theme of the retreat was, “Rest and Rejoice.” The verse for the week was Exodus 33:14, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” It was the first time we had to opportunity to meet other UWM missionaries in South America. We had a great week of bonding as a community, sharing with the UWM staff from main office in Charlotte, and resting in the Lord.

Work Teams: We are once again, right in the middle of a busy season of hosting teams who come to partner with Scripture Union Peru and the Girasoles program. Please pray for all the logistics that need to be coordinated for the upcoming teams. We are in the midst of final email communications to coordinate each team’s itinerary, booking hotels, reserving flights and buses, preparing work projects, and organizing our calendars to be able to host the volunteers. Pray that the Lord would be at work in the lives of each of the team members as they prepare to come and do ministry. Pray for our staff, the children in our homes, and the communities around our homes, that they would be blessed and encouraged by the teams’ presence.

We have already traveled to Ica twice and Cusco with groups and have just a few more trips planned over the next couple weeks. Will has joined us on these trips and we love seeing the boys and staff at the homes interact with him! While traveling with the work teams, we spend the week at the home doing activities with the boys, assisting with a work project like making adobe bricks and depending on the location – delivering water to communities in the desert and putting on a VBS program for the local community. It is always a joy to see how the Lord works through our volunteers to serve the local community and staff and boys at each of Scripture Union’s homes.

Later this week a group from Kate’s home church will arrive to spend 12 days with us at the home in Ica. We are looking forward to doing ministry together and introducing the group to Will!

A Season of Transition:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11

This past year has been a year of many changes, difficulties, joys, and triumphs. It has been a year where Kate and I have really done some searching, trying to discern the Lord’s direction in our lives and understand His calling to us according to His purpose. During this past year, Kate and I have been holding fast to this promise from Jeremiah.

For many years I have felt a desire to continue my education and pursue a graduate degree. My desire has always been to further equip myself professionally and to develop the gifts that the Lord has given me so that I can better serve on the mission field and continue to be used by His Kingdom. My biggest problem was trying to figure out what I wanted to study. Over the years, I have spent many hours researching different graduate programs that I thought might fit with the ministry here in Peru—everything from non-profit administration to Biblical studies to leadership development. Still, I never felt like I had a clear focus. My prayer was, “Lord, when the time is right, make the next steps clear.” Slowly but surely, God has been revealing His answer.

A few years ago, when I was first asked if I would consider directing Scripture Union’s Girasoles Program for abandoned and at-risk children my initial thought was that I would need to learn so much! I was passionate about the ministry, but I knew that there was so much that I didn’t know! I accepted the position, but I also made a personal commitment to dedicate time to research best practices in working with vulnerable children. This lead us to the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) and their annual Summit where we met many different individuals and organizations working with orphans and vulnerable children around the world. CAFO also extended us an invitation to participate in their Collaborate Forum for global leaders in the international orphan care movement. Additionally, having made contacts through CAFO, I was invited to attend the World Without Orphans Forum in Thailand in 2016 where I met even more Christian brothers and sisters across the globe who are passionate about responding to the orphan crisis—and doing so in a way that highlights best practices in ministry with vulnerable children who come from backgrounds of trauma.

The more I researched and networked with other people who work with at-risk children, the more the Lord began to focus my interest and answer our family’s prayers.

We are excited to share that starting this August, United World Mission has approved us for an extended home missionary assignment so that I can pursue a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College, near Chicago. During my studies, we will continue to serve as UWM missionaries, and we are committed to returning to the field upon graduation. On one hand, we find it difficult to think about saying a temporary goodbye to so many of our friends, SU coworkers, and the children at each of the homes. Still, the Lord has made it clear to us that this is His path for our lives.

Kate and I share a passion to care for and advocate for orphans and vulnerable children, and our desire is to ultimately lead them to the feet of Jesus. As we dream about long-term goals for our future, we have three ministry projects that we hope to be a part of after completing the Marriage and Family Therapy program and returning to Peru:

First, we are excited to work with recent graduates from children’s homes as well as graduating youth in general who may not have a wonderful support network in place in their lives. An organization has approached us about partnering with them as they implement a program to network with local churches to provide volunteer mentors who we can train to help provide continued support. Coupled with this mentor program there would be a formal curriculum of basic life skills to work through with these graduates.

Secondly, we would like to train caregivers in the current best practices of working with vulnerable children, and children who have experienced trauma in their lives. Having spent many years in Peru, we know that there is a thirst for knowledge, but there is not always a wide range of resources available to build such capacities. We would love not only to focus on training the staff at children’s homes, but also help build a strong network of organizations who could benefit from these types of professional development opportunities and work together towards the same goal.

Lastly, we want to assist in a church-led movement to provide care for abandoned and at-risk children not just in the context of children’s homes, but also dream about a day when they could be cared for in a family setting. The Peruvian government is just beginning to think about laws and regulations in regards to foster care. We hope to be able to encourage the Church and families to consider how the Lord might be calling them to be a part of meeting the needs of these children. We look forward to opportunities when we are not just training childcare staff, but also individual families who feel called to foster or adopt.

As we prepare as a family to make this transition, we want to pause for a moment and thank you for your ongoing prayers and support for our ministry. There is no way that we would have been able to remain on the field if it wasn’t for the strong partnerships and people who are continually supporting us, encouraging us, and praying for us. We truly appreciate your commitment to us and what God is calling us to do.

As we move toward studies at Wheaton and dream about the years beyond, working in the name of Christ to champion the cause of orphans and vulnerable children, we ask you to prayerfully consider making this transition with us, continuing to work together in partnership.

We cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for our family and our ministry, and we look forward to sharing His testimony in our lives along the way!

A big hug,
Billy, Kate and Will

A New Peruvian!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017, was a special day for me. Almost five years after applying for Peruvian citizenship, my wish was finally granted!

The entire process took seemingly endless amounts of paperwork, multiple visits to the Peruvian immigration office downtown, regular phone calls to different officials who had a hand in this process, and a final signature from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the current president of Peru!

It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon, that I was finally informed that my naturalization ceremony was to be held the following day in celebration of Peru’s Flag Day. Kate, Will and I were with a short term mission team in Ica, about five hours to the South of Lima. We jumped in the car Tuesday afternoon and drove home so that we could all attend the ceremony the following day. Wednesday morning we were joined by a few good friends here in Peru who were also able to share this special moment with us.

The ceremony was short and sweet. After hearing some words from the Superintendent of Peruvian Immigration, 21 of us were sworn in as citizens and then presented our naturalization titles and a copy of the Peruvian constitution. To end the ceremony, we all sung the national anthem together as new citizens!

New Peruvians

with the Superintendent of Immigration

I had no idea that the ceremony was going to be covered quite extensively by all of the national news channels here in Peru. Kate, Will and I were immediately approached by all of the reporters present (I think they chose us because they fell in love with Will — we can’t blame them!), and I had a chance to share how happy I was to finally call myself a Peruvian. Our interviews aired across the country that evening and again the next morning. For the last two days both Kate and I have been approached by multiple people to tell us that they saw us on TV. Kate was even approached by two strangers who recognized her and Will from the news! I guess we will just enjoy our 15 minutes of fame!

None of the reporters took notes so they have some interesting spellings of my last name!

Interview on América TV.

Interview on Panamericana.

In all seriousness, this is really a blessing and an answer to prayer. While I still retain my US citizenship, I am also proud to identify as a Peruvian and to officially become a part of the country that we have grown to love so much. Thanks to everyone who joined us in praying for this process. Once again, we can see the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives!

– Billy

PS – An English article was shared on Andina News here in Lima. Read it here!