Have you ever waited on something for a really long time? How long is long? 1 year? 5 years? 10 years or more? Well, for some funny reason, I thought that after the LONG time I waited to find the right match for me (my awesome husband, Clever), for some silly reason, I thought my waiting days were OVER. I was mistaken. Over the past few months, many things have come into our lives with the message of "wait". I'll be honest, waiting is HARD. It frustrates me at times to have to wait yet again for something that is beyond our ability to do anything to help speed up the process. But then, that is the point right? The truth is, we really don't have control in the waiting and so the real question, is what do you do in the waiting? How do you handle life? What is your attitude?
We have our sweet boy Kaleb with us in a foster care situation. We have had an incredible 16 months with him and we love him as if he is our own. We hope and pray that soon we can be his forever parents, but the wait seems like it is going on FOREVER. It has been a challenge of the heart. To dream of our future together but also know that maybe it won't happen the way we hope it will. For a long time, I spent so much time and mental energy with the "what ifs". It got me nowhere. So, this is what we decided. We gave it to God and every day that we are waiting on answers, instead of being frustrated with the system, we thank God for giving us one more day together. We TAKE EVERY DAY CAPTIVE. Nothing is taken for granted.
So, while we are waiting on this answer and many other things in our lives, what we chose to do while we wait matters. We can sit and sulk or complain to others and God about the wait. With a bad attitude the waiting can feel so heavy. Or we can CHOOSE our attitude to be one of being grateful of what has been given. Remembering and enjoying ALL the things that God has given us. Being reminded that God WANTS to give us good gifts. Psalms 103:5 says, He fills my life with good things. He is not withholding what we are waiting for to intentionally hurt or frustrate us. We often don't understand the reason why we have to wait until AFTER the waiting is over. I remember wondering why I had to wait 3 years from the time I decided to move to Peru and the date I actually left. I am 100% sure now that the reason was because I was not yet spiritually and emotionally ready to handle what was ahead of me. Had I pushed and gone earlier, I would have failed within the first 6 months....But God knows what we need and gives it to us in his perfect timing.
So, here is a question for you. What are you in waiting for? Have you given the control up to God. Have you thanked Him for what he is giving you NOW? What is your attitude?
So in our waiting of greater things to come, here is an update of what we have been able to do here in all of 2019.
In the area of wheelchairs, we have been quite busy.
In the first part of the year, Clever traveled to 4 different provinces in Peru to do 4-day trainings with churches that are connected to Camino de Vida. The idea is that we help them learn to distribute wheelchairs so that they can serve their own community. Our pastor, Pastor Robert loves encouraging other churches to serve their own community. That way it is the local church serving them and there is a better chance they will get connected into the local church.
Clever and I both led a training in Lima where 26 new volunteers spent 4 days learning how to properly build, adjust, and deliver a wheelchair including giving the message of Christ. It was our biggest training yet! We have also done follow up trainings both in Lima as well as in the provinces to teach volunteers how to do special adjustments for children. We have trained 2 incredible women who are now part of the special adjustment training team who do most of the trainings for the special adjustments.
At the end of January, Camino de Vida celebrated their 30th anniversary as a church!! It was an incredible celebration that started with an all day serve day all over Lima on Saturday. While there were many volunteers serving in various projects over the city, Clever and I served and help lead in giving away 170 wheelchairs in 3 hours. There were weeks of preparation to review the paperwork asking for wheelchairs. It was an incredible day!
The following day (Sunday), Clever and I had the honor to host 3 of the recipients who received the wheelchairs the day before at the 30th anniversary celebration in the National Stadium. It was an unforgettable event where we celebrated our Pastors, Robert and Karyn Barriger for starting the church 30 years ago.
We have also been able to help identify potential Free Wheelchair mission recipients for a scholarship (Laurie Schoendorfer Endowment for Education (LSEE) to help pay for the education of technical/university level students. At the beginning of March we were able to give the good news to the first in Peru to receive the scholarship. His name is Juan Jose. He is 24 years old with a spinal cord injury from a stray bullet that hit him as he was driving a taxi a few years ago. This young man has an incredible attitude and determination to move forward in his life. He even adapted his taxi with hand controls so he could drive himself to pick up his wheelchair. It was the first time he drove since his injury. We are so excited to have the ability to follow this young man through his studies and see where he goes in life.
At the halfway point of the year, Camino de Vida was part of a very large event where we distributed approximately 500 wheelchairs in all parts of Peru during the same week. It was part of a larger event that provided medical care and evangelism in all of Peru called One Nation One Day.
We are preparing for 2 short term missions teams who will be coming to give out wheelchairs in September and November. We love hosting these teams since this is really part of our story of how Lisa arrived in Peru and how ultimately we met!
We continue to lead and develop the special needs area on Sunday mornings. We offer one on one volunteers at all 6 campuses. We also just began offering support on Thursday evenings during the women’s service that meets once a month.
Lisa was able to attend and help support 3 kids with special needs at our children’s ministry summer camp in March with a team of volunteers. It was really fun to see the children enjoying the summer camp, however it was clear after the camp ended that God was brewing up something in our hearts for something MORE. Read below in Plans for the future……
In June, we received for the 2nd year, a team from a nonprofit called Miracle 139 from California. This year they poured into our ministry, leaving us with many tools, trainings, and recommendations for individual kids who attend our Sunday program. We are incredibly grateful for their support this year and are excited to begin to use the tools they have created.
Every August in Peru they celebrate Kids Day (generally the 3rd Sunday in August). This basically is equivalent to Mother’s and Father’s Day, but for kids. Camino de Vida goes ALL OUT for this day. All the morning services are converted into Kids Church Service, and following the service they had inflatables, face painting, and sweets at each campus. It really is a wonderful opportunity for our team of volunteers to connect with the parents of the kids they care for each Sunday. Here are a few pictures and comments from parents and volunteers…
In the campus Lince: “ We are good! We just finished the 2nd service and Alani and Manuel are VERY happy!”
In the campus La Victoria: “Cielo, Valeria and Marcos all enjoyed the inflatable slides.
Cielo’s mom commented as she was going down the inflatable slide:” The truth is that it is incredible to see her progress! Only those who have seen her years before can believe in what a joy it is to see her now! Blessed be our Lord and THANK YOU Camino de Vida and your volunteers!”
In the campus San Miguel: “Our kids loved the face painting. We even had a new kid (Zacari) come for the first time!”
In the campus Surco: “ Carlita, Zoe and brothers Rafael and Facundo happy in Surco.” “All 4 kids with special needs in the trampoline together. I LOVE seeing how the parents united all at the same time without any help from the volunteers to connect!”
We are also just finishing a 3 month sign language certification class! We now have 12 volunteers who will be certified in Peruvian Sign Language!
Kids HD Plans for future….
- Our hope for 2020 is to have our very own overnight family camp for families of kids with special needs. This will be an adjunct to the parent retreat we normally host in November each year. This year, we have decided to take off this year, so that we can keep planning for this major plan for 2020. Please keep us in prayer for this as we keep investigate how we can do this.
- The children’s ministry has begun writing their own curriculum!!!! KIDS HD is part of this so we will have our hand in adapting each age group curriculum plus have an individual curriculum for our kiddos who are not able to integrate into the classroom!
- Online trainings for our volunteers.
- Kaleb started preschool in March and LOVES his school. He asks to go every single day. His vocabulary has skyrocketed in both English and Spanish as well!
- Clever has his green card so we are thankful that he is able to travel freely back and forth to the US now as needed.
- We are all excited for a visit from Lisa’s sister and brother in law at the end of September! It will be her sister’s 3rd time visiting, but a first for her brother in law!!!
- We have been accepted by the judge to be 1st to be considered in Kaleb’s adoption. This recommendation also needs to be approved by the public ministry in order for us to formally petition for adoption. We hope to hear an answer by the end of August or early September. We don’t know how much longer it will delay but ask for prayers for a final decision to be make before Kaleb’s 3rd birthday on Nov 2 so that we can then apply for a tourist visa for Kaleb and then come to the US for Christmas!!!
As you all know, we continue to serve as missionaries in Peru. This means that we do not receive payment from the church here in Peru and rely on the generosity of supporters in order to continue to do what we get to do. We thank you in advance for any support you provide for us. We are grateful for this opportunity.
If you would like to support us, please contact click on the tab labeled WAYS TO GIVE.
We have opened a website where we will also be migrating all our communications including future blogs to our new website. We would love it if you would continue to follow us there. The website is CleverandLisa.com