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

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