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Panama Jack's Missionary Blog

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? – Matt 16:26

Peru, Wednesday, June 11th

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 23:10:27 -0400

Dear Family,

We have passed the midpoint of the final week. We just have 2 more days left to finish the job we came to do. I'll try to give you an overview as to what took place recently.

MONDAY (Day 17)

Let me regress just a little bit. Keep up with the blog has been a real challenge. It has always been my goal to try and write something every day and accompany it with some photographs. I missed a couple of days last week, and this week I have also missed this past Monday.

ELOY

When I got back from Lima, my driver, Eloy had purchased a pair of sunglasses. He had another pair but when his car was stolen, the sunglasses and many other personal things went to the thieves as well. When I asked him about the sunglasses, he said it was his Charles Bronson look. He said he wanted a picture of the both of us with our sunglasses on and said that it would be like Charles Bronson and Jack Palance in the Dynamic Duo movie (I don't know the movie, and when put in Spanish, sometimes the title completely changes from the English title). So I have had fun with Eloy calling him Charlie Bronson!

Charles Bronson And Jack Palance

KITCHEN

The kitchen is one of the hardest working groups on the team. They are up at 3:30 in the morning and arrive about 4:30 to begin breakfast. They work all day long preparing food (first week was about 120 at the peak; second week was about 206 at the peak). We have had a change of Head Cooks (Dan Whiteman the first week, and Chris Farber the second week) and some of the cooks. But, we have had TWO sisters from Lima who have helped us each year and do a TREMENDOUS job: Isabel and Abigail. They have brought consistency to the work and have provided a chance to get a taste of Peruvian food. I have included a picture of the TRUE "Dynamic Duo".

Two Hard Working Ladies

CLINIC

The clinic has been working very smoothly. The one difference this year is that we are using two Peruvian dentists because our regular got "wimpy" on us (Ok Jimmy you made the blog) and got a doctor's excuse to stay home. Actually, he contracted a very serious lung disease and had not been released to come with us. I called him and let some of the team talk to him. He wanted to be with us VERY BAD!

In all the cases we saw in the clinic, one was particularly bad (that I saw). A young man injured his foot while on a motor taxi (I call them Mosquitoes -- because they have a buzzing sound and they dart all around you in and out of traffic). His foot was in bad shape with a lot of tissue loss. Our docs have been treating him on various occasions. He should heal up, but before he came to us, he was in danger of losing a foot. I have included a picture of it.

A Bad Motocycle Accident

TUESDAY (Day 18)

At the beginning of the morning, I had one of our two interns "shadowing" me to see what I do during the day. As I was starting my rounds in the compound, I was talking to one of the workers. Sarah Dutton, our team secretary AND LAM administrative assistant, came to me and wanted a decision about a request that one of the teachers whose compound we were working in had asked her. It seems that the teacher's mother had accompanied her to the school compound today, and she wanted to be seen in our clinic. Since she had not been previously registered, she had to be authorized to be allowed to be registered. I did so, and she went through the clinic. At the end of the clinic is the pharmacy. We have one of our evangelism workers stationed there to ask if they would like to have a Bible study now that they are through the clinic. We have been having very good response considering that these same people had been asked to study the first week as well. I am told that about 1/3 of the people are accepting the invitation to study. As soon as the teacher's mother got finished, she accepted the study. She was assigned to a study group which began the process of sharing the Gospel with her. It wasn't long until she made a decision to be baptized and begin her new life in Christ. So, this process included me, Sarah, the evangelism worker in the clinic, the study group and all in the clinic process had a part in the salvation of this precious soul. That's why I tell our team each day that NO ONE OR NO JOB IS UNIMPORTANT! Kindness, a great attitude, and a smile can make all the difference as we give those who come into our area a good FIRST IMPRESSION!

A Conversion By Many

Well, that's what happened this day in Ica, Peru. Keep the prayers going up. We have a couple of days left to reach one more soul.

God bless.

P.S. One final note; in the last blog I sent you I failed to mention one picture. I have a picture of what looks like someone climbing over a brick wall. I entitled it "Trying to escape". Stephen Besson, one of our docs, was helping put up the dental area to provide some shade. When tying a wire to the brick wall, it looked like he was trying to climb over the wall. It DOES show the hard work EVERYONE did in making this trip successful. I hoped you like the little bit of humor!

Trying To Escape
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Peru, Sunday, June 8th

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 21:57:40 -0400

Dear Family,

A lot of things have transpired since I last sent out a blog. First let me tell you that the first week ended with 19 baptisms. There were 14 to start the second week off on a right note.

Our team for the second week has almost doubled. Again, yesterday at noon we fed 206 people working on the team (that includes all local members and all Peruvians from Lima and around).

One of the hardest times on a team like this is the transition from week 1 to week 2. There are 3 distinct groups: the one who came and stayed one week and then left and went home. There are those who came the first week, and stayed behind to work the second week. Then finally there are those who came for the second week only. The melting of these three groups can be a challenge. The first week makes associations with the group they came in with. They grow together and form a bond that last perhaps a lifetime. By the end of their week, the machine is well oiled and functioning well. Then part of that group goes home leaving the second group which is the two week group. Then the third group comes in and begins to work. It takes a little while for them to get up to speed (at least on a par that the first group was accustomed to. It is critical to mesh the new team together with both the experienced first week with the new second week. It was a beautiful sight to behold as the new team went forward and was blessed with their efforts to have 14 new precious souls baptized on their very first day working together. The ground work that the first week laid bore fruit. There were several instances where a study that was started on the first week was completed on the second week which bore fruit.

That's all for tonight.

God bless.

Making Evangelistic Assignments In The Morning

One Of 14 On Sunday
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Peru, Wednesday, June 4th

Sun, 8 Jun 2008 06:47:25 -0400

Dear Family,

The first night we had preaching services, we had visible proof of just how people were feeling emotionally because of their experience of living through a major earthquake. We are in a compound where we have 6 classrooms -- 3 on the ground floor and 3 on the second floor. There is a wide staircase at the end of the building made of metal that gives access to the second floor. The children's class is on this upper floor. The children have a class that lasts as long as the preaching. The restrooms are downstairs in a separate building, so when they need to use it someone takes them down. During this first night, several went down and on the way back they hit the stairs on a run; their bouncing on the metal creating a noise and a vibration inside the adjoining classroom on the 2nd floor where all the kids were in class. It felt like an earthquake and it immediately spooked ALL the children and caused an instantaneous reaction of kids screaming and running to the door to get out. Before the teachers realized what was happening, most of the kids were out the door and on the walkway leading to the stairs. A couple of the teachers got the frightened children stopped before they got to the stairs. Fortunately the small children were sitting in the class room so that they were the last ones out or some of them might have gotten trampled. It took some time to get the kids settled down again and go on with the Bible lesson.

Separately, one of our evangelistic team leaders told me that many people have told them they want to be sure before they are baptized because immediately after the earthquake there were many people who went to church only to quit later demonstrating that they were not serious. The earthquake is still in their mind. About a week ago they had a 5.3 tremor. During the breakfast prayer this morning, we felt another tremor that rattled the windows.

We are now at about 10 baptisms. The latest one is a man 95 years old. He had a clear enough mind that he wanted to make a decision to follow Jesus. He has a daughter that wants to be baptized but at the baptism she said she had a cold and wanted to wait until it got better. Before the daughter let her father go, she wanted one of the team members to stay behind to make sure they would bring her father. She specifically wanted one of the ladies to stay behind. Johnnie LeMaster was the group leader and laughingly said the lady wanted a hostage to make sure we brought her father back!!

Time is flying. We are grateful for your prayers. KEEP THE PRAYERS GOING UP!

God bless.

95 Year Old Man Wanting To Obey The Gospel
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Peru, Tuesday, June 3rd

Wed, 4 Jun 2008 09:58:41 -0400

Dear Family,

I have as a driver Elogio Tolintino. I call him Eloy or "Clutch". He has driven me for about the last 6 years. I first met him several years ago, before he was a Christian. I had been invited over to his house to have a group Bible Study. I had been invited by Norma, his wife. When I arrived at the house there were more people than just Eloy and his family. I found out why after lunch. It seems I was to teach a Bible Study. Norma's dad, Lazaro and another relative was present at that time. After the study, Lazaro was baptized and I believe also the other relative. A few days later, in the medical campaign Eloy was also baptized.

Shortly after that (perhaps the next year) Eloy started driving for me. I had rented a pickup and had asked for a driver. Eloy was sent to drive. I recall that it was then he earned his name "Clutch". While he was driving, I noticed him "riding" the clutch, so I started calling him "Clutch". The name stuck.

We have had several things happen to us as we have driven together over the years. One time we were going to a meeting with all the campaigners to the San Juan congregation in South Lima. We had just gotten inside and started the meeting when all of a sudden there was a banging on the door. We ran out to find that someone had driven up, broke a glass in Eloy's car and then popped the hood. While the motor and radiator were still hot, they yanked the radiator. They did not have more to 5 or 10 minutes.

Another time, we were leaving the airport and headed to someplace in Lima. We came upon a stop light and wound up about 8 or 10 cars at the front. While stopped, my door came open. Two hands went for my cell phone that I had in my hands. He almost got it but I started kicking him (I was in my seat belt) and he finally gave up. While I was battling my guy, another had come up on Eloy's side and hit him in the face at the same time my guy opened the door. That prevented Eloy from helping me.

A little over a year ago, Eloy was driving a customer to his destination when he pulled a weapon on him, and stole his car. That particular incident really rattled him. I know last year when I used him (he had to borrow a car), he wasn't quite the same (he was even more reserved than normal). He talked to me about it several times and said it was quite an experience. He decided shortly after that to not pursue being a taxi driver. His other profession was a carpenter. Also, Norma's father was widowed and she was spending a lot of time with him on his farm some 2 hours away. Eloy moved up there to Huacho to be nearer Lazaro and shortly after that began to drive a taxi again.

While we have been here on the campaign, he has started talking to our other driver about the Lord. Last night just before services I noticed he was helping a study with an elderly crippled man.

Just before school started Rodolfo informed me that Eloy had wanted to go to school to train to preach. Since it was very late, and the scholarships were so hard to come by Eloy did not get in.

Eloy, Norma and Lazaro have started a congregation where they live. Eloy is the main man to preach, lead singing, etc. There is a slight possibility that we might take a campaign next year to Huacho.

I truly enjoy having Eloy with us on the campaign. I have no doubts about sending people with him with the complete assurance that they will be well taken care along the way.

I don't have a lot of pictures of Eloy mainly because he is busy taking pictures with my camera. I am attaching two with him in it. One was a surprise to Sarah after Eloy got left off a rooming list. It is NOT in his nature to complain about anything. BUT, since I had forgotten to have someone at the airport when Sarah arrived and she reminded me on a couple occasions that I forgot her, I thought I would play a joke on her and have Eloy complain to Sarah that SHE had forgotten HIM on the rooming list. The other picture was him behind me admiring my new hat. I had told him I need a hat because the Sun was too bright and I need protection from it, he drove to a hat place and picked out a hat to my liking. HE SAYS I look good in that hat!!!!! So not jokes from anyone, OK!!

Eloy has come a long way since the first time I met him. Every time we begin our morning runs, he always asks if we can start with a prayer. I am impressed with him and his growth spiritually. I count him as a good friend and a fellow worker in Christ.

Everyone here is well and healthy. I certainly hope it stays that way.

Keep us in your prayers.

God bless.

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Peru, Monday, June 2nd

Tue, 3 Jun 2008 00:41:04 -0400

Dear Family,

I grew up in the Arizona desert. It's a beautiful place, but in the summer months (June to September) it is constantly over 100 degrees. I have seen it 100 at midnight and the highest I can remember is 122 degrees. I know that there are hotter places in this world, but I can tell you that once it's past 105 it doesn't matter if there is humidity or not, it is just HOOOOOOOOOOT!! I have seen some large temperature changes in a day's time. That's particularly true in April and May. The desert can get quite cold after the sun goes down, and then when it comes up the temperature climbs fairly quickly. Now I told you that for a reason. It was unusually cold Sunday night during the service time. There was a breeze with gusts from time to time that just was plain cold. It was good that I had a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, a vest, and a wind breaker. Sitting in that situation, and not moving can chill you to the bone.

When I got up this morning at 3:45 am, it was still cold out there, but no wind to speak of. As the morning wore on, it was still some what chilly, and I kept every layer on that I had the day before. About 10:30, the Sun started breaking through, and you could instantly sense the change. With in minutes with the Sun out you had to immediately start pealing off some layers. By the time lunch rolled around, it was definitely short-sleeve weather. I have NEVER seen such a drastic change is short a time. I have seen cold that allowed ice to freeze on puddles of water, and then see it slowly warm up to about 60 to 65 degrees at the peak of the day, but NOTHING compared to this.

After devo and clinic set up, the first thing on the agenda was to baptize a member's 12 year daughter. There was talk that another member of that family was waiting to be baptized. By the end of the day (not including the night time preaching services) there were 3 more precious souls added to the Lord's body.

I don't have a "procurer" on this team, so your's truly has had to go out and find stuff for the team. Today was the second day of being the "gopher" and get the needs of the team. Today not only did I need to get some fresh vegetables, and bread, but the maintenance team need some "stuff". I can tell you that finding anything in a hardware store that resembles what we might ask for is truly TOUGH. My list consisted of bailing wire, duct tape, a 500W bulb, Teflon tape, clear plastic tape, electrical tape, electrical wire nuts, two sizes of screws, 1 size of bolts and nuts, a gas can, a 50' garden hose, two 25' tarps, one 10 foot tarp, and a few other things. To my surprise, I found the screws and the bolts and nuts, Teflon tape, clear plastic tape, a gas can, and the 25' tarps. What I thought I thought I would find easiest was a 50' garden hose. It turned out to be the most difficult. You could find hoses that you could cut to length, but none that already had ends on it.

Everyday several of the members whose home was destroyed have come to work in the clinic. One of the ones that I have told you about before is Yolanda. She probably lives the farthest away from the site than almost any other member. Yet, each morning when we open up, she is there to help out. On Sunday, there was a need to have someone to go get some bread. I talked to Paulino about who could go and after talking about several members currently in the clinic area, it was decided that Yolanda would probably do the best. We sent her out and she did a good job. This morning when I took one of the cooks out to the market, I also took Yolanda. She showed the cook around and also bought the needs for the kitchen. This afternoon, the cook section needed some things from the town open market. One of the cooks wanted to go, so I sent Yolanda with her to get what was needed. I heard later that they had a good time and got what was needed.

Well, it' getting late, and 3:45 comes VERY EARLY!!!

Below are a couple of pictures of Yolanda and one of our cooks out shopping.

Keep us in your prayers.

God bless.

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Peru, Sunday, June 1st

Sun, 1 Jun 2008 23:31:31 -0400

Dear Family,

Well here we go. We have to get everyone up and running so we can see 2000 patients. So, after breakfast, we got everyone stationed as to where they were working, and began the days work. We'll get the numbers and get you an update in tomorrow's blog. I can say that we registered 90 patients in the morning which is more than I expected.

At about 4:00 pm, we had the first of 3 baptisms. I don't know the final results because since I get up at 3:45 am to help the cooks get started, I go home with the cooks.

Well, that is all for now.

Keep us in your prayers.

God bless.

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Peru, Saturday, May 31st

Sun, 1 Jun 2008 23:31:31 -0400

Dear Family,

We got up early so we could eat breakfast, load up and get out early. Our target hour is 7:00. We actually missed that time by about 45 minutes.

It took us until 12:30 to arrive in Ica. Once there we had to get settled in and have lunch. We had the hotel to make us a Lomo Saltado lunch. It was delicious. Following lunch, we had our team meeting. Then at 4:00, we left for the work area.

Basically, our trip to the work area was to have supper prepared by our own cooks, and to let everyone to see the lay of the land.

We had supper and then a devo. At 8:00 pm we left for the hotel so we could catch up on some of the sleep we missed yesterday.

God bless.

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Peru, Friday, May 30th

Sun, 1 Jun 2008 23:31:31 -0400

Dear Family,

Today is "crunch" day. There will be a multitude of things that will almost always spring up that require immediate attention. To add to the juggling of time, I have been asked to attend a meeting of the local preachers that could have serious consequences. I had to spend the early morning hours getting material ready that might be needed in this meeting. I predicted that it would take until at least to noon. My prediction was off -- we did not get through until 2:45 (non-stop without lunch). I must say that the meeting came to a satisfactory conclusion.

One of the things that is CRITICAL is the buying of medicines. We actually don't need the medicine until the second week. We want it on the first week so we can package and label it and have it all ready when the doctors come on the second week. Well, even though we have sent the medicine list down several weeks in advance, it didn't get started on until yesterday. All it takes is one little glitch and it gets bottled up. That's the case today. I got a call from the doctor that is helping us. She has been helping us since we began purchasing medicine in Peru several years ago. Generally what happens is someone changes the law or a protocol. When that happens, you are back to square one. Well, that is just exactly what happened. NOW, we are being told it will be ready either Monday or Tuesday. Rodolfo Espinoza, our contact man since the beginning of LAM's work in Peru, will be in Lima, and he'll have to get everything ready for us. It shouldn't be a problem other than it's late.

After the preachers meeting, I had to go to the airport and get Alonso Racine, our preacher who will preach the meeting. Fortunately, he arrived on time even if we were a few minutes late.

After moving to the Las Palmas Hotel (one hour away), we had supper, and then I'm on my way to back to the airport.

Each year I try to get permission to go back to Customs to help the team get through it. I have found out that my request submitted by the Ministry of Health has not been approved. Therefore I will not be able to go back into Customs and help the team through. Fortunately, Johnnie LeMaster had his phone and he called me when they arrived. I told him that I need him and others to get everyone through customs. They did and we left the airport.

By the time I got to bed, it was 2:30. WHAT A SHORT NIGHT.

God bless.

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Peru, Thursday, May 29th

Thu, 29 May 2008 14:02:02 -0400

Dear Family,

We are in the throes of the nitty-gritty of mission work. While some may look at the glamour of traveling to a foreign country and enjoying the sights, sounds, and a different culture, that is NOT what mission work is all about. There are the small things and the needful things that have to be done in order to have a successful campaign. Sometimes it's just sitting and waiting. Those of you who know me well know that I don't have a very good "sitter". My wife has always said that the reason I became a preacher is so I could stay awake during the sermon (by preaching it standing up)!! In every work there are the things you truly enjoy and then there are the things that you work through in order to get to the good stuff.

The past two days have been wading through the small but important things like, finalizing bus lists, negotiating for busses, etc, etc, etc.

Our list of workers is always fluid and therefore plans for housing and transportation are in a constant state of change. The list we made in the States does not match the final list: that is the one that literally happens. We worked on the bus list Monday so that we could finalize the transportation needed to travel to Ica. Since the prices have gone up, we are cutting every corner we can to try to stay in budget. We have a 67 passenger bus that will almost fit our needs. We won't get everyone on the bus (Gringos and Peruvians), so we will send about 15 of our local brethren to the bus station so they can get a ticket and travel by regular means to Ica. (It's not ideal, but it gets the job done.)

Milagros Reyes (Millie) is the school secretary. She has handled more of the coordination this year than ever before. She has a good command of English so that makes her services MUCH more valuable. We worked with her the last two days as we worked out transportation for everyone the campaign. Yesterday afternoon we made our contract with our bus service and all is set in this area. It was tedious work, but never the less it is done.

Another task was getting things ready for the operation of the clinic. Medicine is the "biggie" here, and we have that working. Aside from that we need to prepare things like our registration forms. We need about 2500 of them printed for the campaign. Rather than carry those forms in my luggage or someone else's luggage it was decided to just take the computer file to the printing shops downtown and let them print it. Sounds simple enough. Well here in South America they do not use the standard sizes of paper like we do. We use 8.5X11 for letters and 8.5X14 for legal. On a legal size paper we can get three forms to a page. My file for this document is set up to fit that specific size of paper. Well down here the standard letter size paper is A4 which is in centimeters. Trying to resize the page to fit A4 was a real trip! Well we made it work, but it will not be the same size and the type will be slightly smaller.

Those two things dominated the last two days. We do have the forms complete now and ready to go.

Yesterday, the hotel where the team stays the first night called Millie. Apparently they want to see me. So, after a lengthy meeting with most of the preachers in the morning, we traveled to two places. First to El Señorio de Surco where we will have our team meal. We met with Roxana who is in charge of handling groups. We have known her for many years (maybe 10). We are well known here and receive great treatment. So after lunch and our chat with Roxana, we then went to Las Palmas hotel. We had to do some major rearrangement of room numbers. We spent about an hour going over our list.

The day was wrapped up by being invited to the local congregation near Rodolfo's house, Chicmabamba, to speak at the Wednesday night service. I have known and worked with this congregation since it got started back in 1999. They have been without a preacher for about 2 years, and it shows. We have a recent graduate who is now working there, but he has not gotten any support to do so. I had members of the congregation come up to me and plead with me to help them get support for Alberto and his family. I plan to do just that to help this struggling congregation.

I had conversation with Paulino yesterday, and it looks like we have found a lot for Yolanda that is reasonable. I also need to let you know that when we ran the story about Yolanda in our news letter a brother in Texas was touched by it and is helping on this specific case. There are still PLENTY of needs.

At the present time (Thur @ 5:16 pm) we are loading 2000 tubes of tooth paste, 2000 bars of soap, and 2000 tooth brushes. We came to buy at a "Sam's" place (actually it resembles nothing about Sam's except that you can buy in bulk). When we arrived at 3:00 pm to finalize the buying of what was agreed upon earlier in the day, we were told that it would take 1 1/2 hours to get it together. In Latin America the rule of thumb is to take any time calculation and double it, you will come closest to the true time. We now have 2 1/2 hours invested so I figure that another 30 minutes for sure (and probably more than that). We are however getting a great price.

We started out the day sending our food buying crew out to buy the needs to feed the team for a week. We are finding out that food prices are up from 30 to 50% over last year. We are buying foods that the average Peruvian buys and not imported "gringo" foods. Now for the good part; as we were paying our bill, the owner, Luis began to ask me what I was doing in Peru. It wasn't long that we had a very good conversation with him AND his wife Luz. There appears to be a genuine interest in the Lord's church. They are Catholic, but only in a minimal way. We finalized everything and left at 6:33 pm having invited Luis and his wife to services Sunday night at 6:00 pm. The Los Olivos congregation is less than 10 minutes from their business. At the same time that I am studying with Luis and Luz, our driver and brother in the Lord was also conducting a Bible study.

I need to mention that earlier today I had to take a taxi for the first time this trip in Peru. The driver wanted to know where I was form and what I was doing here in Lima. When I told him I was a missionary, he began to ask things about the Bible. He said he was a member of the "Christian Alliance" for 4 years. I gave him one of our "thank you" cards with the plan of salvation on the back. He wanted to know where the church was located. I showed him on the card I gave him the address of the one nearest where we were driving. He sounded like he wanted to come. I hope he gets to come, but I will be in Ica, so I won't know unless he is converted and stays active.

I spoke this night at Los Olivos. The church here is about 5 or 6 years old. I have the privilege of being in one of the first services of the church.

God bless.

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Peru, Tuesday, May 27th

Wed, 28 May 2008 08:46:11 -0400

Dear Family,

Today we hit the road. We were up at 5:30 so we could try and leave at 6:00 AM. I think we made it about 7:00.

Eloy is back driving us. It was great to see him since I did not in December when I came down.

The road to Ica is a desolate road. I have often thought that if NASA ever wanted to find a place that could imitate a distant barren planet THIS WOULD BE AN IDEAL LOCATION!! There is absolutely NO native vegetation growing anywhere - PERIOD! Now having said that, the surprise is that as we followed the coast line and have an overlook of the Pacific Ocean, on several occasions you drop over a hill and to our wonder and amazement there is a green valley. It appears that this landscape lacks only WATER to make it fertile ground to grow things. I have seen grapes, asparagus, cotton, and corn growing in these areas. There are about 3 towns along the route. Two of them are well known for wine making.

It took us about 4 hours to go to Ica. I did get a little "cat nap" along the way. When we arrived, we met Paulino Charco, the local preacher at the church building. We were going to have him to meet us downtown Ica for lunch, but he quickly informed us that his wife Maria and Norma, the wife of our intern preacher Ruben Chacon, are cooking lunch for us. I can tell you that the Peruvian brethren are very loving and gracious. When I first went to Peru, and encountered the desolate landscape, the cold weather, and the overcast days, I was not favorably impressed. It has been the people that have won me over so that I truly look forward to my visits to this country.

We had a little time before lunch, so we went to the construction site of the new church building. We are told that it will take two more months to finish the first floor. Then they will start on the second floor. The cost of the building has skyrocketed up due to the demand of building materials and laborers. I am told that when you go to purchase materials the price you get today will be higher if you wait for tomorrow. The prices change daily. I am sending some pictures for you to see how the construction is going on.

We always work with the Ministry of Health when we are in these Latin American countries. We do all the paperwork and submit it to the official channels so that we can work with the approval of the government. We are now down to the local level, and so our second stop was to the local clinic that serves this area. If you get sick and are in need of a doctor, this is the first place you go to get treatment. I can tell you that I am not impressed. I know that they are doing the best they can, but I would not like to put the health of my family in this system. BUT, this is practically the ONLY resource the majority of the people can afford. The doctor in charge was not in, so Paulino has to go back on Tuesday morning to coordinate with her.

We made it back to Paulino's house and to no surprise to me Lomo Saltado is the meal for today. It is my favorite, and the brethren know it, so when ever I get an invitation I can almost always count on having Lomo Saltado. Lunch time is their biggest meal, so our plates are served BRIMMING FULL!!

After lunch, we made a tour of some of the members who are working on their houses. The government has given them some money, but it is not nearly enough to do the job. They are left to find the workers and the materials for themselves and wait for it to be built. They have been living in their damaged facilities or have a makeshift place that has been their home since the earthquake struck some 9 months ago. I have some pictures that I will be sending of some of these brethren.

One of the sisters told us that she got enough money to put down a foundation and 2/3's of the outside walls. She has been trying to buy the bricks for the wall, but only has money for 2000 bricks but needs 3000 bricks. She made a deal with a guy who makes bricks, but when she went to get them they were none. She got her money back and is seeking a place where she can find bricks.

We also visited Yolanda again. I wrote about her in one of the bulletins. Her conditions have improved SLIGHTLY. The Red Cross came in and put up a living area of about 12 X 20 made of bamboo curtains that have been lined inside with plastic to keep the wind out. She has made the place look nice inside for her daughter and her mother, but it is very marginal at best. One of the pictures will give you an idea of this.

We finally made our last stop at Hotel Sol de Ica. It is now operating, and has been so since about mid February. We checked several of the rooms, and all seem to be in order. They are waiting for us.

I can say this about Ica: there is MUCH that is lacking to remove the scars of the earthquake. While in the downtown areas a lot of the clean up had been done, we saw many streets in the suburbs that still have piles of adobe bricks that once was a house. The streets are still dirty and dusty, and for the average person, not much has changed to get their houses back into order.

The trip home was large, but I knew that I was going to a nice soft bed that was in a well kept and sturdy house. It is something to see just how mankind can survive such destruction.

For the team members you need to know that the low temperature of late here in Ica has been 44 and the high in the daytime reaching nearly 80. It was actually quite warm during our visit in the daytime. It is the night time accompanied with wind that can chill you to the bone. Come prepared to work in this environment. Layering of clothes is the best protection after the sun goes down. During the day you will need short sleeves.

That's all for now.

Keep us in your prayers.

God bless.

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