It’s summer volunteer season again!
Last week, Billy and I kicked off the summer season with a few different groups and have already made a few trips. This year, we have 17 volunteer groups coming to support our Girasoles boys homes from June to August. It will be a busy few months and with the exception of 1 group, Billy and I will be traveling apart, each with our own teams.
Billy has spent the last two weeks traveling to Kusi and Cusco with a Scottish school group, and will finish their time here with a trip to Puerto Alegria. He’s had quite the exciting trip with this group, from one of the volunteers spraining her ankle and requiring a cast, to being able to translate testimonies from a few of our older Girasoles boys from Kusi.
Last night, I returned from spending the week in the jungle at Puerto Alegria with a group of volunteers from North and South Carolina. The last time I was at the home was November 2012 and it wasn’t a very long visit, so I was anxious to return and see the familiar faces of the boys living at the home there – like Alexis…
… and Ericson and Lenín.
The volunteers had prepared a 2-day vacation Bible school program to share with the Girasoles and also in two different schools in Iquitos. The week was mostly spent at the home, spending time with the boys and spending 2 mornings visiting 2 different schools in the city. They were able to share their program with a first, third, fifth and sixth grade classes.
One of the women on the team owns a salon in the US and offered to give all 42 of the boys haircuts. The youngest boy at the house, Job Neber (6) was not interested in getting his hair cut but eventually caved once he saw it wasn’t going to be painful.
We ended their week in Peru with a day in Lima to see a few sites and spend some time at Señales – the Scripture Union ministry to the deaf. We try to take most of our volunteers to Señales on their last day in Peru, but very few have the opportunity to spend a few hours at the center. Since this group had a long day and a late return flight to the United States, we were able to spend almost 3 hours with the deaf students and teachers at the program.
After introductions and a little background about the deaf ministry, the group was able to share an abbreviated part of their VBS program with the students before we all had lunch together.
For me, the visit at the deaf center was a great way to end the week and I wish we could spend this much time there with more of our groups. The students were genuinely interested in the group and asked a lot of questions about what they during the trip and where they were from. While we had a language barrier between English, Spanish and Peruvian Sign Language (everything was taken from English, to Spanish and then finally to signs and vice versa), it did not matter to either group. Communication happened and ideas were shared.
Early this morning Billy headed to Puerto Alegria for the final leg of his Scottish school group’s trip and tonight I board an overnight bus to Kusi, to meet the group from my home church in Michigan.
Pray for us these next few months, we’ll be covering a lot of kilometers, living out of suitcases, apart from each other and busy with long days. Pray that we remain safe and healthy, but also take time to connect with the familiar faces we will see along the way. Pray that our time at each home will help the Girasoles grow and that despite being tired from travel, our ministry to these boys and volunteers will be meaningful.