Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Lucre Church!!!

In October the Mennonite church in Lucre celebrated its 17th Anniversary!!! That makes it the oldest Mennonite church in Peru. I had the privilige of joining in with their Sunday morning service. The service started with ponché for all who arrived early enough. Ponche is a breakfast drink made from haba beans. I know it sounds strange to drink beans but it really just tasted like watery oatmeal and I liked it.

Several members of the church got together to create a special worship team for the event. They really did a great job singing the typical Quechua type of worship songs! At one point Pastor Alloy got up and talked about how a church anniversary really was a great time to celebrate and that we should celebrate just like at a wedding or birthday. Then everyone from the worship team can down and went to the congregation to give hugs, say "happy anniversary" and put confetti on their heads. There was so much confetti all over the place!! What fun! Part of the morning as well was that John Kreider (who was there in the very beginning of the church) preached a short sermon. Four of the missionary daughters: Hannah, Destiny, Oriana and Bethany did a special dance that they had come up with themselves. It was a wonderful morning!

After the service the men started a line and brought in: FOOD!!! The first part of our special meal was a soup with all sorts of things (not to mention chuño-freeze dried potato and sheep guts). It really tasted quite good considering the contents. The main dish was sheep meat, a spaghetti noodle salad and two potatos. The meal was complete with a cup of chicha morada (a drink made from purple corn - yes, drinking corn! It's true and it really is not so bad). Let me tell you I was SO FULL by the end of this meal!! What a great way to celebrate a CHURCH'S BIRTHDAY!!!

Yummy Sheep Gut Soup!
Notice the sheep guts and the black chuño (freeze dried potatoes)!!
Our lunch - our very big plate of lunch.
Who knew that a drink from boiled corn could be good??!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knitting Emergency!!!!

Okay so maybe it's not exactly an emergency. I just started knitting a fun combo scarf using plain black scarf intermingled with some fancy fur. The current problem is that I only have one skein of my fancy fur and I've realized that I don't have enough. I can't buy fancy fur here in Peru. Perhaps it exists in Lima but I'm in Cusco and not Lima. So, I'm wondering if someone could buy some for me and mail it to me in an envelope? My address is: Carrie Kleinschmidt, Apartado 708, Cusco, PERU

If someone is going to do that, could you please let me know. Otherwise I may have to take another scarf apart and think of some other creative idea. :0) thanks!

Here's a picture of the yarn. It's Fancy Fur, Color Number #254 Stained Glass!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


As a school we celebrated Columbus Day with a field day! It was a day where students, parents and teachers participated in many different kinds of games and enjoyed a picnic lunch together. There were 4 teams made up of a mix of kids and parents from different grades and teachers. I was a part of the green team and we had a grandmother and little baby as a part of our team. Unfortunately the red team beat our socks off but we had a fun time with the different relays: broom and ball, transfer the water, transfer the child and transfer the water balloon. We also played a game of futbol (soccer) with a huge ball and a water balloon toss game. There was also a few rounds of Shark & Guppies were there were two or three kids who were it (sharks) and the rest of the kids (the guppies) running across the field trying to escape. The best part was when the parents played this game...they were pretty competitive.

Despite the fact that the day was overcast, we didn't have any rain. Here the sun is so strong that sometimes you are very grateful for the cloud cover!!! After our morning of games, we handed out prizes (lollipops for first place and candies for the other teams) and sat down for lunch. Some of the moms had prepared a meal that was available for a fee. The meal was bbq chicken, a potato, a sweet potato, a sweet plantain and salad. It was very yummy!!

Overall it was a very fun day spent with the kids and parents and quite a break from our normal routine.

Broom and Ball Relay

Transfer the Child Relay

Sharks & Guppies
A tired shark...
Run Guppies Run!!
The parents have their turn at Sharks & Guppies!

Water Balloon Toss


My 4 yr. old student, Suney with her mom, Nilda.

Profesora Ruth is ready with her water balloon! Watch out!

Miss Carrie and two of her 4 yr. olds: Flor & Lizet.

Camioneta? Cambimeta? Caminame?

On Saturday the 6th of October a fun outing was planned for the youth of the San Jeronimo church. There isn't what you would consider a youth group in the Mennonite church any longer. Now the youth meet in separate youth cells and only are all together in once-in-a-while occasions like the event of October 6. Since I'm an unmarried person I'm still considered a JOVEN (youth) here. I'm not sure what I think about that since I'm no longer in my twenties but I guess I'll let it make me feel YOUNG!!!

So ever since the talk about this event which happened to be a hike started I've had trouble pronouncing the Spanish word for hike which is caminata. Many times "camioneta" would come out of my mouth which means van, light truck or station wagon. Can you imagine trying to say "hike" and saying "station wagon" instead?? I don't know what my problem was with the word but it was so bad that I just tried to avoid saying it altogether. Thankfully our camioneta is over and I can now breathe easy until the next hike (which may be a sketching hike with some artist friends...doesn't that sound like fun??).

We had about 20 youth come out for the hike that bright Saturday morning when we took the bus from Cusco to Chinchero. We hiked from Chinchero to Huayllabamba on an ancient Incan trail. No, it wasn't THE famous INCA TRAIL but it was an ancient path that we followed. Doesn't it sound nifty to say "we walked an ancient path"??? Anywhoo, we passed by ruins and rivers and streams and mountains. At one point I felt like I was Much-Afraid from "Hinds Feet on High Places" trying to find her way on rocky precipes. Well, it wasn't that high or rough terrain. In fact we were going downwards for most of the hike. What gorgeous mountain views!!! I don't know if I'll ever get tired of the scenery around here. We had quite a dispersal of different age people in our group but I hiked mostly with Alicia and Marisol some older gals who are more along my "wavelength." It was a very nice day and we ended it by taking public transportation to Urubamba and eating lunch in the park there.

Enjoy the pictures!!

Wendy, Uri, Alicia and Marisol are ready to start our hike in Chinchero!

The whole group!!!

The ancient path we traveled.

Part of the Sacred River (of course, we were in the Sacred Valley you know....)

Q is for Queen

Disclaimer: this post does not have any silly stories, intelligent words or spiritually uplifting content - just cute pictures

A couple of weeks ago we worked on the letter Q and one of our WORDS OF THE WEEK was QUEEN!! Here are some pictures of the kids from my 5 yr old class with the cute crowns they made. Thanks to Jenny V for sending this project in one of her graciously huge packages!

King Fabricio, Queen Canela and King Alex

Queen Acsa

King Carlos and King Edwin

Queen Alisson and Queen Ivanna

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Adventures in High Altitude Cooking: Bagels!

I don't know who invented bagels but they were pretty creative. Think about it... why would create a bread with a hole in the middle? Maybe to make you think you were eating a donut except without all the calories? I'm not sure but when I first heard about how to make bagels I was pretty intrigued and ever since then I've had the urge to try my hand at bagel boiling.

So, here I am in Cusco, Peru where bagels do not really exist. Sure there is a little bagel shop (owned by an Israeli man)downtown on "Gringo Alley" but it's expensive and not conveniently located near to me. There are plenty of different types of fresh breads available at the local bread shops: wheat braided bread, cornmeal bread, cibiatta bread, lengua de suerga (mother-in-law's tongue), french bread, quinoa bread and baguette bread but NO BAGELS.

Thankfully, I'm a brave type who likes baking adventures. The first time I got my recipe online for bagels. They turned out a little flat but made okay bagel pizzas (my original plan for those holey bagels). There is a Wycliffe missionary in town who is a fantastic baker and cooker and I found out that bagels are a regular occurance at her house. Well, I got my next recipe for bagels in an email from her. These turned out much better but I was still confused about how long the had to stay in the boiling water. Well, I think they are getting better everytime. So far I've tried: plain, oatmeal, cinnamon raisin and wheat bagels. I think the plain and raisin have turned out the best. YUMMMM!!!! Here are the step by step pics and instructions.

Making Bagels!!

Step 1: Mix together 1 Tbl. Yeast, 3 Tbl. Sugar, 1 tsp. Salt & 1 cup of warm water. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour to this and knead it for 8-10 min. Leave your ball of dough in warm place to rise for 30-40 min.

Step 2: Form dough into 8 peices and form balls. Stick your thumb in the middle to form holes and let these babies rise for 20 more minutes.

Step 3: Boil water with 1 Tbl. of oil and add 2 or 3 bagels at a time to the water for a few seconds. Next take the sopping wet bagels out carefully and drain them on paper towels (this is the messiest part of the whole process).

Step 4: Bake the bagels on greased and floured cookie sheets at 400 F for 30-35 minutes and the bottoms are nicely browned.

Step 5: Slice and enjoy with some expensive cream cheese or make a delicious egg sandwich!!! yum!!!

Enter into My Rest


Everyday I go around and ask each of my students: "How are you?" The answers can be: Happy, Sad, Angry, Tired, Sick or Excited. I draw faces for each of the responses and we count "how many happy?" "how many sick?" and etc. It's very fun but each of the classes has taken on their own niche. The four year olds have recently all been ANGRY and they are very good at coming up with their reasons "why" such as "Miguel hit me" or "my mom made me cry." The five year olds on the other hand don't seem to be quite creative with explanations and just stare at you when you ask "why?" They like to collaborate as a table and have the same answer and try to win with the most of a certain face. Recently everyone in the five year old class has been HAPPY (even Alex who has been angry for most of the year). How can a teacher complain when her students are HAPPY??

Now they all are excited to have the chance to ask me: "how are you, Miss Carrie?"

My answer today friends is: I'm Happy!!

I'm happy because I have a weekend without plans. I'm happy because I have time to rest and relax and enjoy time alone!!! I'm excited because the government is having a census tomorrow and we all have to stay in our houses and not go out. Yay!!!! Last night I had such a fun time working on my school stuff, making an elaborate sandwich with chicken and guacamole and watching "Sense and Sensibility." AHHHHHHHHHHHHH....... BIG SIGH....

Sometimes you don't realize that you are emotionally stressed or drained until you stop for a moment. This morning I realized that I have been stressed by some hard things recently and that I REALLY needed to stop and have some time to myself. I think that's why God gives us a Sabbath's a time to stop and reflect and find new strength in the Lord. Thank you Lord for weekend REST!!!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Calling of the Missionary (and average Christian)

I have been thinking recently about my calling as a missionary here in Peru. Here I have left behind many things in my culture to come live and serve in this place. I am committed to living, working and serving with the people here. I didn't come to Cusco first, check it out and then decide that it was the best place to serve. I just came because I knew that God was calling me to come. There's a lot of trust in that and also the possibility of your commitment crashing with the reality of the situation.

We are always going to face problems and encounter immature and imperfect people in our path. The problem with being a Christian is that we cannot just write those people off. The even more complicated problem for a missionary is the commitment to serving the church and the people and the culture. What if the person who is in authority over you makes unwise decisions that don't seem to be led by the Spirit? As missionaries here we work with and under the authority of the local church. We live a delicate balance as people who are from the outside but working under the national church. We have an outside perspective and can sometimes see the problems for what they are but we also are not the ultimate authority. The purpose of missions is to raise up a national church that can function and flourish on its own. That's the point and that's what we are trying to get to in Cusco.

So, like all things that are in transitions there's such a thing as growing pains. I've recently had one of those type of growing pain situations - where I clashed with my authority and found him to be an imperfect human functioning in a leader role. What will my response be? I cannot give up on the Mennonite church here because of a bad situation or because people have let me down. I must seek restoration, I must seek redemption and I must press forward in the work with optimism. I am committed to the work and I am sent to serve here.

That seems like a very self-sacrificing missionary minded thing to say but I think it's actually closer to what God calls the "average" Christian to as well. God does not call us as Christians to work under spotlessly perfect situations or authority figures. Sometimes we face situations and people in the church that could discourage us from continuing to work and serve in the body. Those with the character of Christ will continue to press on and love those who've hurt of disappoint them. That is the calling of everyone who calls himself a "Christian" - to look like Christ and to love like Christ.

So my prayer in this situation is to respond in love and humility. I cannot do it in my own strength but with the strength of Christ I can do all things! AMEN!!!