Peru Mission Trip – 2014

This mission trip was very challenging for me but also very rewarding. I have more of an awareness of what God is already doing in the lives of billions of people around the world. Here is a summary of our week in Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machupicchu.

Cusco is a city of about half a million people, filling a valley high in the Andes mountains The people are friendly and open to strangers. They speak Spanish, and most speak the native Quechua (Inca) language as well. It is a city full of young children. Transportation options included taxi, public bus, and a lot of walking. Q: “What is the seating capacity of a Peruvian bus?” A: “at least one more!”

Air travel took about 18 hours each direction, with three flights, two layovers, and twice through customs and immigration in each direction.

Carrie Kleinschmidt is a missionary from the US who was the team’s main host. She has lived in Cusco for about seven years and leads the Corazon Kids Club. When it didn’t work out to worship with the Lutheran church for the first Sunday, she invited us along to a Peruvian megachurch called La Vid, where we all felt very welcome.

The Meeting Place is a non-profit cafe, giving all its proceeds to local missions. It is also a hub for the international missionary community, especially English-speakers, to volunteer and connect. Shortly after our arrival we joined Carrie to teach a group of kids there (their parents were selling arts and crafts in a nearby plaza). The next day we cleaned and repaired the building, then joined an evening discussion group and worship service.

Bible stories the team shared with the different children’s groups included the parables of the lost sheep and coin (Luke 15:1-10), the call of the disciples to “fish for people” (Luke 5:1-11 and Matthew 4:18-22) and the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20). For each story we had a skit, games, crafts, and a devotion. We tried to share the love of God through the stories and through our interactions during the activities. It felt a lot like cross-cultural Vacation Bible School most of the week.

Corazon is a holistic community ministry that arose from the vision of Pastor Americo Ramos. It is located on a mountainside south of the city of Cusco and serves the children of south-side neighborhoods. On Monday, the team joined Pastor Ramos and other members of the staff for a prayer-walk (which involved some climbing about 600 feet to the mountain’s summit and a panoramic view of the city). After that our team passed out fliers in the neighborhood about Corazon. On Tuesday morning we built and refurbished their playground equipment. On Tuesday through Thursday afternoons we joined the Kid Club’s 30 to 40 children doing the skits,crafts, and games.

Altitude for the week in Cusco was 11,000 feet plus. Thankfully no one got altitude sickness, but the thin air left the team huffing and puffing while hiking up and down Cusco’s hilly streets carrying craft supplies.

Huch’uy Runa is a private elementary school for about 130 at-risk children, located in the Old City of Cusco. Some children live with family members and commute daily, while others commute weekly and orphans live at the school full-time. For several years it has received funds through the ELCA World Hunger Appeal to which we are contributors. Our team got to spend Wednesday morning with the 1st-3rd graders and Thursday morning with the 4th-6th graders doing skits and crafts.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machupicchu – the team’s travel out of Cusco was on Friday and Saturday, by bus, train, and more walking. The Sacred Valley was the ancestral home of the Quechua/Inca people, founders of the empire. Cusco was their capital and Machupicchu a mountain retreat for their royalty. History was everywhere.

Talitha Kum is the name of the Lutheran congregation in Cusco. Communication ahead of time was difficult so they weren’t sure just when we were coming – we just showed up the first Sunday morning and met with the leaders. They are struggling without a pastor, but have a very warm fellowship and great connection to their neighborhood. We returned Wednesday evening to offer an adult Bible study and Sunday School for almost 30 children. On our last Sunday morning we shared worship and communion. We didn’t have to translate everything because everyone knew the same liturgy! After enjoying their hospitality it was time to begin packing to come home.

Thank you to all that prayed and contributed to my mission trip and made it possible for me to go. It was truly a gift from God and very inspirational to me and our whole team. Hope that you enjoyed reading this summary of the mission trip.

The photo album can be viewed here.

God’s Blessings,

Aug. 4, 2014 – Russell, KS

Just a quick note to say that we left Milwaukee on Friday, Aug. 1, and are on our way home. We spent 2 nights in Fremont, NE, visiting one of Lorna’s cousins. Tonight we are in 90+° temperatures that will be the norm all the way home. We expect to be back in Spring Branch on Thursday or Friday at the latest. I expect Lorna will write up a summary of the past few months for posting later.

June 2, 2014 – Oak Creek, WI

We arrived here on Saturday, May 31, and will be here for only 2 months this year. We had our friend Lisa over for dinner last night and this morning Lorna headed for the Twin Cities for her granddaughters’ and a nephew’s graduations. She’ll be back on June 12, I hope. We don’t expect anything exciting to happen while we’re here, but if it does, we’ll post about it.

May 26, 2014 – In MN on the way to Milwaukee

After a relatively uneventful winter, we headed north from Spring Branch on Monday, May 19. The first 2 days were pleasant, with tail winds and warm, but not uncomfortable weather. On Wednesday, we stopped for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Springfield, MO. Leaving the Cracker Barrel, the motorhome started but the speedometer wasn’t working. After a few miles we pulled off and shut down the engine. We had seen this a few times in previous years and a brief shutdown and restart always fixed it. This time the engine wouldn’t even turn over, let alone start. The short version is we were towed back to the Cat dealer in Springdale where we got 2 new chassis batteries and were on our way again about 6 hours later.

Tonight we’re in Lanesboro, MN, for an RV Forum rally with some friends we’re just meeting and some old friends arriving tomorrow. We’ll be here until Saturday when we’ll be coming to Oak Creek for the next 2 months. If anything exciting happens we’ll post it here. I have also been posting occasionally to my Google+ account so you can find me there as well.

Lorna has some interesting news too, but I’ll let her write about it and post it later.

December 6, 2013 – A recap of 2013

Holiday Greetings to all,

This has been a very exciting, but up and down year for Ned and Lorna. It all started almost a year ago when Ned mentioned to Lorna that he thought it was time to buy a house. We put our lot up for sale and decided to buy our neighbor’s house because we like the area and all our neighbors. The long and short of that story is our lot sold and we were down to the last week before leaving for the summer when the deal fell through. The people that bought our lot, who were friends from the RV Forum, came and offered to sell the lot back to us for what they paid for it. That was a most generous offer from good friends.

We left for Wisconsin and spent the entire summer putting together a deal with Clayton Homes to buy a manufactured home. We love those depreciating assets now that we own three of them. We left Milwaukee the middle of September with the understanding that the house would be delivered the second or third week in October. Well, so much for delivery dates because we arrived back at the lot the end of the third week of September and figured that we had at least three weeks to prepare the area for the house. At this point the fellow Ned had been working with at Clayton informed us the house would be delivered the middle of the first week of October.

Before it arrived we had about six cedars and a Live Oak to remove, a wood pile and rocks to move. Of course the weather was hot and humid. The day before the house came the company had four loads of rock delivered for the base and had it spread and leveled.

The house arrived in two pieces, the front half and the back half. Now this was something to watch as they hooked this mini caterpillar tractor to the back half, controlled by a joy-stick on a belt around the boss’s waist. He brought it up the drive and maneuvered it into place on the rock pad. Then the tractor was attached to the front half and he brought it up the drive to place it in front of the back half, but before he could finish getting it into place the back half had to be pulled forward. Once the front half was in place he moved the back half back. At this point we had to make sure the house was 15 feet from the lot line which is required by the rules of the sub-division. The house arrived mid- morning and all of this was finished by mid-afternoon. Then the crew laid down a sheet of heavy plastic as a vapor barrier and then they leveled the back half before they could quit for the day.

The next day the crew arrived to finish putting the house together. This involved bringing the front half to meet the back half, leveling it and marrying the two halves. The whole house sits on many concrete block pillars. Because we were putting the house on our RV pad the water and sewer were already there which saved us some expense. They did have to bring 200 amp electric service from the shed but they could use the existing trench which meant that they didn’t have to bring a rock saw in which saved us some more expense. Before they finished for the day the house was completely together and they had finished skirting it and painting the skirt. Both ends of the house were sided too. It was dark by the time that everyone left and we could enter the house using a ladder.

The next crew that arrived was two fellows that finished some of the marriage line because the house is all sheetrock, tape and texture. Another crew came and spent three days building the 10′ by 40′ deck on the front of the house and the 4′ x 4′ deck and steps on the back of the house. All in all it took about a week to finish the house before a couple came in and cleaned it. The house came with all of the appliances except the dishwasher that we bought locally and Ned and our neighbor installed.

The timing of the arrival of the house couldn’t have been better because after the outside work was finished it rained for the next week or two. Besides that the RV was paying us back for moving into the house because the refrigerator quit working and was leaking ammonia so we had to move into the house sooner than planned. Of course we had to get furniture since we had sold everything when we went full-time RVing 16-1/2 years ago. We were able to buy some used furniture from friends and other friends had a couch and computer desk they were donating to Hope House and gave to us instead. We did buy new beds and moved the washer and dryer from the shed to the house.

The past week Lorna has been selecting pictures from our travels to put into frames she picked up at our church bazaar and a few that we purchased. We are still looking for a desk for Ned and a comfortable chair that we can use in the bedroom or the livingroom. All in all we are very pleased with the house, but have noticed that we put on many more steps than in the RV. It was quite a change to go from about 350 sq. ft. to 1200 sq. ft.

Photos of the house installation and interior can be found here.

Oct. 27, 2013 – We’re in the house

We’re fully moved into the house.  We ordered beds about a week ago and were expecting them this past Thursday or yesterday, Saturday.  We were sleeping in the motorhome until they arrived.  However, on Thursday we were having frozen pizza for dinner and noticed that the pizzas weren’t fully frozen.  I checked the temperature of the freezer and it was 31° and climbing!  So we quickly emptied the freezer and refrigerator into the house refrigerator and turned off the motorhome fridge.  Friday morning we noticed nothing unusual and went to our usual stint at the local library.  We returned home just after noon as we were expecting Don and Mary Ann to arrive in the afternoon, which they did.  Friday night we again slept in the motorhome but on Saturday morning there was a distinct odor of ammonia.  We all know what that means, so we now had to move completely into the house as we weren’t sleeping there with that smell.  A call to the mattress company and we were told our mattresses were on back order.  Lorna told them of our emergency need so they delivered the bed frames and 2 loaner mattresses for us to use until ours come in.

Besides the refrigerator, on the trip south last month, it was quite hot and we started the generator to use the roof air conditioner.  After several minutes, still no power.  Apparently the transfer switch is stuck in the shore power position.  So we suffered in the heat for the rest of the trip.  Also, over the past month or so we’ve noticed our hot water wasn’t as hot as it used to be.  In fact, we can shower with no cold water mixed in at all.  Don’t know what’s causing that.

We think the motorhome just knew we were moving out and is shutting down one bit at a time.  The list of problems, large and small, is getting bigger every day.  Fortunately we have a good RV repair service not too far from us and now we can take the motorhome to him and leave it there to get fixed.

Don and Mary Ann have been very, very helpful in getting our stuff from the motorhome into the house and we’ve enjoyed their company these past few days, as always.

Here’s a couple of not too good photos of the inside:

Oct. 19, 2013 – Moving in

Frank and Barb left on Thursday and we’re starting to move furniture into the house.  Yesterday we ordered new beds and today we pick up the items we bought from friends near here.  We still have to furnish the office and order a television.  We still have to decide what we’re going to do about DirecTV, either stay with them or move to Dish.  It will depend on what kind of deal we can get from DirecTV on changing from an RV account to a residential installation.  We’ll post some inside pictures when we get some furniture in place.

RV Forum friends Don and Mary Ann are expected next Saturday for a visit.