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