17 February 2012

Travel time...again!

Heading out this evening for a brief trip to Asuncion, Paraguay. Looking forward to seeing some more of South America, but work trips always come with long hours and an element of stress so I'm also glad this isn't a long one. I'm excited about the story we are covering and getting to better know our staff in the country. It should be interesting! 

I'm also trying to mentally prepare myself for this weather report:

100?! Hmm, sounds like Florida minus the sea breeze! Good thing I've had a few years of practice in that temperature range. 

Anyway, we would appreciate your prayers during this trip. For smooth traveling, safety, and for the Lord's hand to be in this coverage. Pray that we will reflect Him as we tell the story of what He is doing!

Thank you for your faithful prayers. Also, please continue to lift up the rest of the team that will be staying here in Lima. There has been lots of work stress lately (I know, I know, when is there not!?) and we could all use your prayers and encouragement. 

Have a blessed weekend!

11 February 2012

Where have I been?!

Ok, so I remembered that I have this thing called a blog... and realized that lately I haven't been too good and keeping it updated. Honestly, I knew it would happen. It always does. Any blog, journal, diary begins with the thought, "I'm going to write in it all the time! I will have such a nice record of what I did and what God is doing!" And that quickly turns into, "Well, I'll write in it once a week/month/quarter and that way I'll be able to summarize what's going on!" And then it comes time to write and you can't remember what you were doing that kept you so busy you didn't have time to write before, and the daunting task of trying to summarize all that has happened since the last time you wrote makes you procrastinate because you don't know where to start, ...aaaaand next thing you know it has been two years.

Come on, I know I'm not the only one who does this.

Part of my problem is that I always set really high standards for what I write. I want to craft these well-written insightful profound blog posts. Then things get busy and I don't have the luxury of sitting around thinking brilliant thoughts and coming up with witty wording so I default to not writing at all. Thus, I'm trying to be better about not putting that much pressure on my blog. It's supposed to be fun, after all!

So let's see...run down of the last month. As you are aware, we spent two weeks in Chile for meetings. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and meeting new friends and catching up with others. Right after we returned, a worker from Caracas, for whom we've been doing a project, flew down for a week to go over last details. That meant an intense week of me doing little but editing more of the some 1700 images I captured in Caracas and working on prayer slideshows, etc. Throw in hosting team dinner, teaching some photo lessons, and all the regular work and house work, and it was a pretty crazy week.

In the midst of that, I got a surprise message from a friend in the states asking to come visit. With her flying standby, we were able to work it out so that she could arrive the day we wrapped up the meetings for the Caracas project. I would have wished for more prep time so I could really play hostess, but Laura was great and understanding guest and we had a really good time catching up and exploring the city. Our pretty sunny weather has been mostly replaced by heavy fog and clouds again, but at least it's still warmer. I loved having an excuse to visit the parts of town I rarely do and hit up some shopping in the Inca Market of course! And exploring with Laura reminded me of how much I love Peru and its awesome culture. It was a lot of fun having a familiar face from home and getting to laugh about old stories and enjoy some new memories. Here are a few favorite photos from our explorations when Laura was here:

Touring the ruins of Pachacamac outside of Lima.
Cathedral in Parque Kennedy at night. 
A performer dances during a cultural festival in downtown Lima. 

Department of Justice lit at night.

Marshlands near Pachacamac in the middle of the desert. 

Summer flowers in a Miraflores park.

Cultural performers in downtown Lima. 

Tree silhouetted against Miraflores buildings in the fog. 

A woman walks by an abandoned building in the Chinatown district of Lima. 

"What Our Children Needed"

‘What our children needed’

CARACAS, Venezuela – Mike Bennett sat calmly in the parents’ assembly, facing a battle he knew he might not win.
Bennett, an International Mission Board missionary in Caracas, had been hosting talks in local high schools on values. Each talk included a Gospel presentation, and the mother sitting across from him wasn’t happy about it.
“My family is very devoted to the Virgin [Mary],” she said. “I know that you people are evangelicals, and you’re coming to this school to try and convert my kid. I’m pretty suspicious about you.”
“I understand what you’re saying,” Bennett responded. “All I’m asking you to do is give me one shot, and you can come and listen. If you think that it’s inappropriate or we’ve done something to damage your child, I won’t ask to come back again.”
The mother agreed.
The following week, a visiting volunteer working with Bennett gave a talk on self-esteem for the students. The discussion focused on one’s identity in Christ, and the speaker clearly laid out the plan of salvation. Afterward, Bennett braced himself for the mother’s anger.
He was surprised when she hugged him instead.
“I can’t thank you enough,” she said. “This is one of the best things I’ve ever heard, and that’s exactly what our children needed to hear. You’re welcome here any time you want to come.”

PHOTO: “Venezuelan students walk to class in Caracas.” 

Check out more stories about Latin America here.