Sunday, February 24, 2008

Green Gables Meets Dulce Refugio

It all started because Dulce Refugio houses the only VCR in the Mennonite missionary community. Destiny and Hannah (two of the teenage missionary daughters) really wanted to watch the Anne of Green Gables videos that they had inherited from the previous inhabitants of our house. So I said: "let's have a sleepover and watch them!" Then Carletta (our Wycliffe missionary friend from up the hill) wanted to see them too. Then Hannah and Destiny's younger sisters wanted to be a part and so did Hannah's mom (Regina), our neighbor Jen and her two little girls. Before we knew it a simple using of the VCR turned into an all out:


So, what does one do at such a party? Well, obviously you watch Anne of Green Gables! We decided to stylize our party with various foods that Anne would have eaten. Regina made a delicious plum pudding and caramel sauce (without any dead mice) and a raspberry tart. Dulce Refugio provided chocolate chip cookies shaped like teapots and raspberry cordial (the non-alcoholic kind). Well, I didn't have any raspberries but I did have a Lady Hannah berry tea (thank you Cheryl and the Spice Smuggler) that made a very yummy cold drink that was very berry-like. We also ate rice crispie treats, popcorn balls, oatmeal cookies, small chicken salad sandwiches and regular popcorn. Tea was available for anyone interested. I brought down all my hats and we all got to wear them during our fun movie watching experience.

After the first video, the younger girls and moms all left and the rest of us watched the other video. Anne of Green Gables truly is a wonderful classic and it's lovely to watch it anytime. Our party (however) really made movie watching a super special and important occasion.

We have two more videos to watch. I guess the question then should be: When is our Anne of Avonlea Party???

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Story of my Scarf

Here is the scarf that I made with the yarn that Mollie so generously provided (remember my "Knitting Emergency" blog entry?) a few months ago. The scarf was a gift for my friend Luz (the director of the PROMESA school) for her birthday in December. Even though it was not completely even she appreciated it and besides there is a fun story that goes along with the making of the scarf and how God used my attempt to enjoy an afternoon for His purposes.

Back in late November or early December, I decided to go downtown one day so that I could sit in a plaza and enjoy some knitting moments. My favorite plaza in Cusco is called Regocijo (Rejoicing). It has a fountain in the middle and is a little more peaceful than the main Plaza (Plaza de Armas). Well, I was all set to enjoy the afternoon alone but God had different ideas. I think part of the problem was that I was knitting with a kind of yarn that is not common in Cusco. In any case I attracted lots of visitors that afternoon.

My first visitor was the security guard who liked to cook. The second was an 11 year old boy named Waldo. We talked awhile about when subjects he liked in school and where he lived. Finally the whole reason he was talking to me came out when he produced a pan pipe and started to play it (wanting money of course!). Another visitor was a Quechua lady who was very interested in my fancy yarn and thought I should open a store in Cusco with fancy yarn.

My final visitor was named Julia and I think she was the reason why I was sitting there that day! She was interested in my yarn of course but somehow our conversation got on to what I was doing in Cusco. I told her that I was teaching and working with a church. Anyway, she opened up and shared some of her sad history: that her family was killed in the terrorists attacks in the 80s, that she used to go to church 8 years ago before her husband burnt her Bible and beat her up. You could still see in her face how her nose was crooked and her teeth missing from that. Anyway, that husband has left her and she was left pretty poorly off financially trying to take care of her kids. She paints and tries to sell her paintings to the many tourists that come to Cusco. Now the security is cracking down more on people selling their wares in the touristy places like parks and plazas. So, she had not been able to see many paintings because of it.

I took the time to encourage her to return to church. I told her that she needed the family and support that the church would supply. I told her that God saw her need and her pain over how her husband had acted and that God wanted to help her! I was able to pray for her and even to help her out by buying one of her paintings. I hope and pray that she will return to church and find the comfort and help she needs from the Lord.

It really was a very exciting afternoon and I'm glad that God interrupted my personal knitting time in order to use me to reach out to Julia. Praise God for interesting yarn that created conversation. I think I need to go out and try knitting in public places with special yarn in the future.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bienvenidos a Dulce Refugio!!

I would like to introduce you all to "someone" very important: MY NEW HOUSE!!!

My house is not a new house but rather a different locale for the single Mennonite missionaries of Cusco. At the beginning of January, I moved out of the apartment that the mission has used for 17 years in order to have more space and be closer to the section of the city where the church and school are located. The new house is located in L'Arapa which is above one of the two universities in town.

The view from my window!

The name of our new house is DULCE REFUGIO which means "sweet refuge." I named it that because I think all households of single gals should have a name and why would naming a house be reserved only for the rich and old-fashioned? I want our house not to be a place that we escape to but a place where others feel safe and connected to God!

The members of Dulce Refugio are myself and two new missionaries that arrived last month. They are Bethany who is staying for 3 years and Shannon who is doing a one year internship. They are going to be teaching at PROMESA this year and together we make up the English teachers for the year. We are all getting along well and enjoying fellowship, singing silly songs and praying together.

The gals of Dulce Refugio: Bethany, Shannon and Me

One of the features of our new house besides being beautiful is a chicken coop. Last weekend in the middle of a torrential downpour (complete with hail), we went out and bought (what we hope are) 8 egg-laying chickens. Well, they are still young yet but they hopefully will be good egg-layers in the future. We are naming them all different names for chicken in different languages. So far we have: Chickie (english), Poulet (French), Pollita (Spanish), Huehnchen (German), Gocki (Pennsylvania Dutch) and Chuchie (Quechua) and Kalkun (Norweigan). They are still cute but I'm sure soon they'll look like normal chickens.

Our house is really a huge blessing and definitely a peaceful place. I'm glad that we've started a new epoca in Dulce Refugio and I can't wait to see all that God has ahead for us!

The view from the hill above my house

Peruvian Snow Day!

It's a Peruvian Snow Day!!!

No, there's no actual snow. In fact we are in the middle of summer here in the high altitudes of Cusco, Peru. It never actually snows except on the tip tip tops of the higher mountains. We have hail of course but that's the closest thing we ever get to a White Christmas.

The reason that today is a Peruvian Snow Day is because there is a PARO or a strike on the transportation system. Sometimes they are national and sometimes regional and the strikes are for various reasons: to protest new law or to protest higher prices. It's usually not to safe even to go out in your own vehicles because sometimes people will be out in the streets with rocks. Paros are much scarier in big cities like Lima because it gets more violent.

Today because of the PARO there is no school!!! Yay! I am currently teaching the English summer classes at PROMESA. These classes are for the new students who are joining us for the new school year or need help from the previous year. I have three students who are going into 3rd or 4th grade. It's so much fun to have older kids even though I had to totally change my kindergarten mindset. These kids catch on so much quicker! They can read! They are curious about learning a new language (one boy kept writing new English words in his notebook)! They can write! They can conjugate verbs!

I wasn't planning on teaching the class on my own but just helping out with it (we thought we would have way more students). Unfortunately, the school principal (of sorts), Ron had to teach the general remedial help class and I the english class. It has taken up a lot more of my summer vacation because I've had to plan the classes but it actually has been a lot of fun. Three older kids are a lot easier to handle than 13 four year olds!!

So, I'm very happy for my snow day!! My classes are planned for tomorrow (we are learning the names of vegetables and going to the local market!!). Today, will be a day to sit and stare out the window at the mountains, soak in the Lord's presence and work on all those things that have been neglected for too long (like this poor blog). Last night at the Missionary Worship Night we sang an old Vineyard song that I hadn't heard for a long time:

You bring times of refreshing
You bring times of refreshing
You bring times of refreshing to my soul

AMEN God! Yay for Peruvian Snow Days and times of refreshing!!