Greetings from Lima Peru! As another season comes to an end for all of us, a new one begins. Here in Lima, we are happy to be seeing the sun after the last 4 months of "Lima grey" that covers the city here in winter. This is the time of year that I miss most back home since Fall is my favorite season and it seems to represent a fresh start to many.
Before giving you an update on life here for our family, I thought I would share a little reflection of what God is teaching me these days.
Recently, Kaleb has begun to start to have fears of things. Things that he didn't have before. I know child development talks about this as a normal developmental process. But it got me thinking.....We have never shown this sweet boy fear, nor have we labeled the word or anything. But all of a sudden, these fears are bringing him to tears and he is waking up in the night. All we can do in this time is console him until he is calm and feels safe. It made me start to wonder about this and what maybe God was trying to teach me. For some reason I thought that fear was a learned behavior. Something that maybe growing up you learn from others. But that doesn't seem to be true. Thinking deeper, fear is an instinct that helps us in times of crisis to respond. The whole fight or flight response in times of danger right? So sometimes it is GOOD to have that instinct. But what happens if like Kaleb our fears are not actual crisis or real danger but just perceived? We begin to then have irrational thoughts and then behaviors that follow.
For example with Kaleb, He LOVES Mickey Mouse! Everywhere he goes that he sees Mickey, he shouts his name! He loves the TV show and sings all the songs. His birthday is at the beginning of November and we have decided to throw him a Mickey Mouse themed party. So last week, as we were leaving the grocery store, we saw a person in a costume of Mickey. From the car Kaleb was so happy, screaming his name and insisting we get out of the car to go see him. So we did....But, as you might have guessed it, like most almost 2 year old children, Kaleb who was SO excited to see Mickey just seconds before became overcome by TERROR of getting close to Mickey. This interaction was harmless; it was even something that Kaleb WANTED. Yet when it came to standing right in front of Mickey he was overcome by fear that he couldn't enjoy the moment. We are like that sometimes huh? Wanting something so much until it is right in front of us and then all we can do is stand in fear. Being fearful is OK, as long as it doesn't keep you from moving forward and enjoying life.
So what changed from his fearless and trusting attitude to now suddenly having these fears? Well, developmentally, Kaleb is processing and thinking more than he had before. He is more aware of things in his surroundings. So, he is trying to process how a figure on TV that clearly isn't a person could be real. He is trying to make sense of things. As we know, he will get past this fear and will eventually enjoy these cartoon figures in costumes. But, right now, he clung to us and sought us for his comfort/safe zone because it didn't make sense and was scary to him. Without even thinking about it, Kaleb knows we are safe for him. That we will protect him because we love him.
I love how God uses what is close to us to continue to teach us. One of the biggest things that I struggle with is fear. Fear of all sorts of things that are out of my control. My imagination sometimes gets the best of me and I stand in fear like Kaleb with Mickey. Unable to rationalize my way out of it. Sometimes it takes me a long time to choose to trust and give it to God so that He can protect me and comfort me. Sometimes it is the same fear that I keep having to give back to God over and over because it creeps back in. Sometimes I am frustrated because I struggle with the same fears over and over. But what I am realizing is that just like with Kaleb, (who needs us to calm his fears and comfort him as many times as he needs), God does this for us too.
Update in Life:
1. My sister Traci came to visit! It was her second visit! Life has changed a lot since the first visit 4 years ago. We really enjoyed our time together! We traveled a few hours outside of Lima for some rest.
2. We had Kaleb dedicated at church while both my sister and Clever's mom were in town. It was a really special moment for all of us.
3. August-Nov is our family's high season for birthday celebrations! On Nov 2 we get to celebrate Kaleb's 2 birthday! We are so incredibly thankful!
4. After 5 months on not seeing anyone from his previous home, we invited Hermano Juan (the director of the orphanage) and one of the many beloved kids to cover over for lunch. It was really special for everyone.
5. Clever had his interview at the embassy last week and received his immigrant visa for the US!! We are so happy about this. This has been a very long process. Last January we had to return to Peru before Clever could get his green card because we were waiting to receive Kaleb and we needed to be in Peru to do that. So, we left the US knowing that we would have to start this process all over again. Thanks to some incredible and generous help with the immigration law, Clever received his approval and will be traveling soon the the US to get his Immigrant VISA!!!! Then we will apply for an expedited citizenship for him so that he can come and go as he pleases. Please pray that this continues to move forward as the lawyer describes it should.
6. On Sept. 9, I celebrated 5 years in Peru! That is always something to celebrate and to be thankful that I listened to God's direction and not my own.
7. We moved to a bigger apartment!!! It is great because now we have a room for guests to stay when they come visit. If anyone wants to come for a visit, let us know! We would love to host you!
Update in service:
The special needs area in the children's Sunday school program (KIDS HD) continues to grow! We receive new kids every week in any of our 6 campuses over the city of Lima. Last week we met a new kiddo names Mateo. His mom is about to have their 4th child. Mateo is currently their youngest at 3 years old. Mateo has Down Syndrome. When we connected with his mom and told her about the support we could give her son, she was overwhelmed with joy as she noted that not many churches (including her previous church) welcome children like Mateo with open arms. We are so delighted to be able to support Mateo and their family in the way we can.
In August, a non profit organization called Miracle 139 from California came and gave our volunteers a training on how to manage tough behaviors. We learned a lot and hope to have a continuous partnership with them.
Every Sunday, Clever and I support all the campuses by covering when volunteers are short or the leader of the campus is not able to serve one Sunday. We also provide support, encouragement, and training as needed. In just 2 weeks we will host our 3rd annual parent retreat for parents with kids with special needs. This year we have 2 families who will be coming from the US to share their experiences and heart with all the families here. We have invited 50 families and hope that the turnout is the best we have had over the past 3 years. Please be praying for this event. There is nothing like this that exists in Peru. There are limited support resources for families and even fewer that are based in spiritual principles. Please pray for each parent to be able to come. For there to not be any reasons last minute that they can't come (illness, cancelled childcare, working) that often have been reasons in the past for not attending. Our hope is that each parent attending can leave this event feeling refreshed, honored, listened too and connected to others who are experiencing the same journey.
In the area of therapy, I have now 6 kids that I see each Thursday. With a waiting list of at least 5 more. 5/6 do not yet attend the church. While therapy is important, eternity is the goal. Our hope is through therapy that we can invite these families to church where they can begin their relationship with Christ. Please join us in prayer for these families to have soft and open hearts. Praise that 2/5 families will be attending the parent retreat!!
In the area of the wheelchairs, we hosted a mission team in August with Free Wheelchair Mission. It is always fun to see others impacted by the need for mobility as much as I was my first time here in Peru in 2010. In the church, there has been a lot of changes in the past few months. The leadership has changed and so Clever and I have been busy training the new leadership on how to complete a wheelchair delivery and then also help with anything else they need to learn. While change is challenging for everyone involved, we know that it will be good in order to reach more people in need of the gift of mobility and the gift of receiving Jesus in their hearts all over Peru.
Clever has been busy training regional government offices on how to properly fill out the forms to receive a wheelchair and how to take proper measurements to get the best fitted wheelchair for each person.
He has also been helping with leading US mission teams in various wheelchair distributions.
Lisa continues to work on the paperwork for improving all things related to training. This includes the 4 day training, mini workshops, and new training for new equipment given by FWM.
Our newest responsibility is to audit our sub distribution partners in different regions of Peru. Our first audit will occur mid November just after the parent retreat ends. Please pray for safe travels and a successful audit and follow up training that Lisa will need to do in just 3 days.
1. Prayers for finalization of Clever's green card to go smoothly. Prayers for wisdom with decisions that we face daily with Kaleb and our areas of ministry.
2. Our oven has broken and been repaired at least 5 times over the past year and half. It is only 4 years old bought brand new. I LOVE cooking in the oven and baking season is upon us. We are hoping to replace our oven so that we have a more reliable one to use for all our baking needs. We have also offered to host Christmas Eve here at our place which means I will be cooking my very first Turkey. We need a reliable oven so there are no Christmas disasters to report on the end of the year blog! We are also in need of a larger table than our current 2 chairs and bistro table that we have if we will be hosting dinner here for our entire family here in Peru. Both items are not "needs" per se but they are things that we would like to have to help our family enjoy the holidays and family gatherings. That being said, these things are big ticket items. Any extra financial support to help offset these costs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.