Thursday, January 18, 2007

 

Go Church! Beat Marcion!

Interesting article in Christianity Today about the dearth of translations of the whole bible available to many language groups. Understandably many translation efforts begin with translations of the New Testament, which is much smaller than the Old Testament, and in which "God has spoken to us by His Son" (Heb 1). But, as well, too many translation projects have stalled out there, either failing to see the importance of the Old Testament or simply being intimidated by the sheer size of the task. Again, epsecially in regard to the latter, understandable.

However, I'm encouraged to see that translation societies like Wycliffe are seeing the importance of translating the whole bible and are committed to seeing these full translation projects through to completion. It's also encouraging to see that increasingly the translations are being done by nationals, who know the language and culture from the inside out. The time, effort, and expense necessary for nationals to acquire biblical Hebrew and Greek, though costly on the front end, increase the chances of better quality translations, both in understanding the original text and then in translating that into native languages.

Not surprisingly, missionaries are experiencing breakthroughs where they are bringing all of the scriptures to a people in their native languages. Why would we expect a full-bodied faith from those who have only about one quarter of the sacred scriptures available to them? And to bring it close to home, how can we in the United States expect full-bodied faith and mature churches when we often survive on one quarter of the bible, not because of a lack of access, but because of a lack of interest.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

 

From Peruvian Summer to Midwestern Ice storm

The ten of us who were returning to St. Louis (Kim was returning to Dallas to pick up her kids and Paul Webb stayed behind in Peru) pulled in safe and sound in two groups. The first group landed about 12:40 p.m., the second group aroudnd 4:00 p.m. We're grateful to God that we were able to get into St. Louis before the worst of the ice storm hit. I personally had a great reunion with my family, passed out gifts to everyone, took a long nap, and got a wonderful, hot, shower with pretty good water pressure. Thanks for reading this last week. I'll try and post a couple of updates whenever I hear from Paul Webb.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

 

Left (One) Behind

I wasn't completely accurate when I said that we all were leaving Trujillo for Lima. One member of our team is staying behind for almost another two weeks. Paul Webb, who is certainly the most skilled among us, will live in a Sunday School room at the Wichanzao Church. Here's what Paul will see each morning when he wakes up. Paul's skills will be very helpful over the next several weeks, as he continues to help on the Wichanzao Clinic. I also have a hunch that Paul will find a way to work some hiking and mountain climbing into his schedule. The Lord bless your continued work, Paul. We're praying for you.


 

Finished in Wichinzao

Today we finished our work in Wichinzao. Last day of English instruction for the kids, last bit of painting, spackling, and pulling wire. Here you can see the multiple base coats in clear contrast to the unfinished bottom section which will be eventually be tiled.



During lunch the pastor from the Larco Church, Ricardo, brought flowers to his wife, Dani, who was one of the ladies who helped with the cooking for our team all week. It was their 10th Wedding Anniversary, so we all got to share in congratulating them on their first decade.



After lunch we all briefly visited the Saint Augustine Language Institute (SALI) before driving out to see the Huaca del Sol and the Huaca de la Luna, both temples were built by the Moche people, whose culture flourished from approximately 100-700 AD. It was fascinating. The pictures simply do not do it justice, but this temple is amazing. The murals in front of Monte are between 1300-1800 years old. They have never been restored, all the paint you see is the original paint.



Here's the team on top of the Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon):



Then it was off to Larco Church where I gave my final lecture on the life of Charles Simeon and then we went back to the Baker's house for dinner.

We leave the hotel at 6:40 AM tomorrow to catch our flight from Trujillo to Lima. Then once in Lima, we have all day to ourselves, because we don't leave Lima for Miami until shortly after midnight. Then it's on to St. Louis (via Atlanta for some of us).

Don't know if I'll get another chance to blog or not...so Dios les Bendiga (God Bless You).

 

Arevalo & First Patient in the New Clinic

Wednesday morning we took a trip to the other church in Trujillo -- the Arevalo Church. It will be the largest and most ambitious project among the three churches, because it has the most land surrounding it. The church has come a long way since we saw it last year. As you can see from this picture, it will be beautiful when it's finished. By the way this picture shows where the church currently meets for worship, but that will actually be the Fellowship Hall when the building project is completed. The sanctuary will be to the right of the present building.



After the visit to Arevalo we returned to Wichinzao to continue working on the clinic. Mainly painting, spackling, and wiring. The progress is really evident, and although we're just putting on base coats of white, even that really dresses up the clinic.



Not only have we had the privilege of working on the clinic, but as well, we've been able to enjoy some time with Dr. Dan Doolittle from Carbondale who is the lead doctor here at the medical clinic. Dr. Doolittle is here for three weeks getting some things in order, but we also provided him with the opportunity to see his first patient in the new clinic. Monte scraped his thumb near his nail when sanding earlier in the week and it was giving him some discomfort. He was also afraid it had gotten infected -- a minor thing, but a bit of a bother when you're working with your hands all day long. Well, Dr. Doolittle evaluated his patient, and treated him with a topical antibiotic and a band-aid.



The ladies have continued to receive crowds of enthusiastic children and yesterday we could all hear the children enthusiastically shouting out "January" "February" "March" and "One" "Two" "Three." The girls have done a great job and the children have really gotten attached to them.



I had the second of my three lectures at the Larco Church and will give my final one this afternoon. This one will be on the life of Charles Simeon.



Not only do I wrap up my lectures today, but we wrap our work at Wichanzao. Tomorrow we'll leave the hotel in Trujillo early in the morning and fly to Lima where we'll await our connecting flight to Miami.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

Posting from Wichinzao!

Tiene Hambre? (Are you hungry?) Here's what the ladies at the Wichinzao Church lovingly prepared for us yesterday. Chicken with an orange sauce, rice, and the purple vegetable beneath the chicken is a sweet potato. Apparently Peru is famous for it's 3500 varieties of potatoes.



Yesterday at lunch I was opening up my MacBook to show some pictures I had just taken to one of the other members of the team. When I opened my computer I noticed that it had detected a wireless network. Wes Baker, one of the missionaries here, could not believe that there was a wireless network in Wichanzao. I walked around the room with my comptuer and detected a total of six wireless networks...in a neighborhood that only has the water turned on 2 out of every 48 hours!

In fact, I'm sending this post to my blog using a wireless network in Wichinzao!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

 

Tuesday Wrap Up

Tuesday morning we again ate breakfast at the church and then promptly started to work again on the medical clinic. After having sanded on Monday, we put two basecoats of paint on the walls and ceilings.



We also continued to pull wire and we broke ground for the sidewalk in front of the clinic and began to build the forms.



The English instruction went well, with even more children than on Monday. The girls had their hands full, but did very well and will, I'm guessing have even more kids on Wednesday.



While the team finished up work and theb ate dinner at the church in Wichinzao, I went back to get cleaned up so that I could teach my first class on the doctrine of vocation. There were about 15 people there, both students and members of the church. I thought the lecture was well received and will finish up the doctrine of vocation this evening.

Everyone's holding up well. Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, January 08, 2007

 

Getting to Work

We arrived bright and early at Wichinzao this morning to get to work on the Wichinzao medical clinic. After they fed us breakfast we started sanding wall and ceilings to prepare them for painting--we'll start painting tomorrow--we pulled wire for all of the electrical fixtures and outlets, and we dug a hole 1 meter x 1 meter x 1.6 meters deep to bury the main ground wire for the building (that's what the code here in Peru requires).

Here is the Wichinzao church (where I preached Sunday morning by the way)...



and here is the medical clinic where we did all the work today:



One of the great opportunities that we've had over these last two years is to minister to folks who are outside of the church in addition those who are already a part of the churches here. For instance, today Mary Kate, Hannah, Kim, & Jessica walked around the neighborhood in the morning and publicized a mini-English School that they just whipped up off the cuff. Gringos, as we're called here (it's not generally a derogatory term in Peru) are very interesting to most of the Peruvians. White skin & blond hair are curiosities here, and most of the kids have enough Gringo curiosity and desire to learn English that they'll show up for 1-2 hours of English instruction. The girls had 40-45 kids from the neighborhood -- both from the church and from outside the church. The ladies are planning to do English instruction each day and my bet is their number will increase each day.

Another example is that Shane & I jumped on a soccer "court" (it's a concrete pad like we'd use for basketball in the states) with a couple of neighborhood kids to play some soccer and within about 5-10 minutes we had a game of 4 on 4 going with kids waiting to play on the side.

One of my faovrite examples of this kind of opportunity is with the taxi drivers who take us literally everywhere that we go here in Trujillo. Peru Mission uses some of the same drivers over and over again, because it finds those men reliable. Therefore we got to know a handful of drivers -- two in particular -- last year. Bran Steadman really hit it off with one of the drivers, Ronald (see them below). When we met Ronald last year he had nothing but good things to say about the Peru Mission, but he didn't want any part of going to one of the churches. Well we came down this year to find out that both of the two drivers Ronald and another driver, Santos, are both going to church now -- one at Arrevalo, one at Wichinzao. It's been a great blessing working both with our brothers and sisters in the churches here, but also with the people that God brings us in to contact with in the surrounding neighborhoods.



Time for bed. Buenos Noches. Adios.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

 

Lord's Day in Trujillo

This morning we worshipped with the church at Wichanzao, which is where we'll be doing most of our work on the medical clinic. Pastor Guillermo Diaz (pictured below) taught Sunday School before the worship service and then led us in worship. I had been invited to preach this morning at Wichanzao, and was very honored to bring God's Word to the people there this morning. There should be more pictures of Wichanzao over the next several days as we begin work on the medical clinic there.



After worship this morning we all went back to the Bradfords house for lunch. When I say all of us, I mean our team of 12, 4 Peru Mission interns, Bill & Allen Bradford, Wes & Jami Baker, Allen & Sandi Smith, John & Heather Ferguson, and each family's children (18) -- that would be a total of 38 people for lunch! All of the missionaries here are very gifted and well practiced in offering hospitality and it was greatly appreciated by our team. After lunch all 38 of us gathered in the living room to sing some hymns and pray before our team headed back to the hotel for a short nap before the evening service.

For the evening service we worshipped at the Larco Church which is where we worked and spent most of our time last year. It was great to see the work we had done last year not only completed, but to see that quite a bit more work had been done on the church as well. What was even better, however, was seeing familiar faces. We were eager to see friends that we made last year in that congregation and were warmly received by them. Larco Church is pastored by Ricardo Hernandez (pictured below talking with Jeff Hebenstreit) who recently graduated with his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Seminario Biblico Reformado (SBR) and was ordained. Ricardo is the first ever graduate of SBR.



Larco Church also honored me with an invitation to preach and so I did this evening. That makes four times now that I've preached through a translator. Preaching through a translator can be a little difficult, though my translator, Bill Bradford (see us below at Larco Church), is very good. It's simply not always easy to get into a good rhythm when you have to pause after every sentence for the translation. It's harder to complete long thoughts and can be a little challenging when trying to phrase things a certain way or use one's voice emphatically. I also had to rewrite my sermons a little to try and excise many of the idioms that I often use in a sermon back in the states. I'm sure that preaching through a translator gets a little easier when done more frequently. All in all I thought things went well, and I was humlbed and honored to have been asked to preach to Christ's church here in Peru.



After the evening service the team went back to Allen & Sandi Smith's home for dinner. Again we were treated to some first class hospitality--by the Smiths this time. We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves at their home and then returned to the hotel at about 10-10:30 p.m.

The group is doing well. Everyone is healthy, sleeping well, getting along fine. The work starts tomorrow on the medical clinic and I found out that my seminary classes will be taught at the Larco Church rather than at the SBR facility. The classes will be open to more than just seminary students, members of the congregations will be welcome as well. The classes will be offered at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Pray for me as I teach two sessions on the Doctrine of Vocation and one session on the Life of Charles Simeon.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

 

Safe and Sound (and tired) in Peru

The rest of our trip went very smoothly. The flight from Miami to Lima wasn't bad at all. We landed in Lima at about 7 AM local time (Peru is on EST). We had a bite to eat and then met our tour guide and bus driver, here's the whole team right before we got on the bus.



We spent the day touring Lima and had several hours to ourselves at an outdoor shopping mall that sits perched atop cliffs that overlook the coast - a beautiful setting.



We also toured a museum, which featured several of the ancient cultures that occupied what is now Peru. These ancient peoples spanned more than a millennium before Christ and ended with the Incan empire which was finally conquered by Spain's Francisco Pizzarro, along with help from the Inca's enemies in the rain forest. Here are several of the many artifacts that we saw in the museum. These are jars, from the Incan period, I believe.



We also toured Lima's main plaza and a Franciscan monastery. Since today was Epiphany the plaza was crowded with people watching a pageant of sorts commemorating the visit of the Magi to worship and bring gifts to the Christ child.

After a full day in Lima we headed back to the airport, caught a Lan Peru flight to Trujillo (350 miles up the coast from Lima), and were met by both old friends and new from the Peru Mission. From there we drove to our hotel, dropped our bags, and went out for pizza! By the time we got back to the hotel it had been nearly 36 hours since we departed from St. Louis.

We're all eager to get to sleep. I preach tomorrow morning at the church in Wichanzao and then tomorrow evening at the church in Larco. Pray that all goes well.

Friday, January 05, 2007

 

Yes I'm going to blog the Peru Trip again

Even though this blog has been lying dormant almost since last year's Peru mission trip, I am planning to blog regularly during THIS YEAR'S Peru mission trip as long as I have consistent internet access.

There are 12 of us going this year. Five of us flew to Tampa and are headed on to Miami in a few minutes. Another five flew directly to Miami. Two more are getting to Miami via Atlanta. We'll all join up in Miami and fly down together to Lima.

As for the Tampa folks (of which I am a part), the flight from St. Louis to Tampa was a little rough. A little airsickness, a couple of us spilled drinks all over ourselves during one of the turbulent parts, but we made it. May not have access again until Lima, or maybe even Trujillo.

We appreciate your prayers for us.

Here's Hannah, Monte, Mary Kate, & Jeff BEFORE takeoff!


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