Friday, December 21, 2007

Graduation & Trip

Hope that you enjoy these pictures. Click on any picture to see an enlarged version!

We graduated five students on December 8 from the Bible School. There were actually 10 who were part of this class, but the the other 5 lack a few credits.

This is Beto, he has a university degree in Spanish, and has been helping us better our language ability. He graduated this year, but his wife is one of the ones who lacks a few credits. He has a great heart for the other students, and we have asked him to stay and help us in discipling and teaching for this coming year at the Bible School (His daughter, Irlen, is pictured lower-left).

We were able to take this year's class to the jungle for a whirlwind graduation trip. We saw some amazing scenery including a herd of very inquisitive llamas. We covered a lot of ground in only four days, and had multitudes of discipling opportunities!

Loren and Alicia (as well as the rest of us) enjoyed some mangoes on Alicia's family farm. Alicia was saved about 3 1/2 years ago at this same location when we visited the family. What a privilege to lead a young person to the Lord, train them in Bible-school, co-labor with them in the church, and disciple them "in the way"! She will be graduating next year, Lord-willing!

We had to cross some fairly deep water in order to get down to the jungle. The rainy season started last month, so the rivers are all growing.

We also got to see some amazing scenery! This is called "seven pools" for rather obvious reasons. We had a great time climbing, although Loren was the only girl to make it to the top.

This is one of our graduates, Wilfredo, who I have spent much time discipling.

While we were on the trip, we held open air meetings, passed out hundreds of tracts, and got to witness to multitudes of people!

The the man in the center of the front row is the pastor of the first church that we visited. His name is Hernan, and he and his wife, Diana, graduated from the Bible school a few years ago. They told us over and over again what a great blessing it was to have us there.

This the church in Quillabamba, another jungle town. The pastor recently slid into immorality, so they were in desperate need of strengthening and encouragement. The young man in blue in the center of the picture is the youth pastor. We had a tremendous time here as well.

We had a different young man preach in each location. It was a joy to hear them preach the word of God after working with them on preaching this year in Seminary.

On the way home we stopped at a recently discovered ancient Inca site where we photographed this Inca altar. It is reported that they made human sacrifices upon these altars for many, many years before the Spaniards arrived.

This is Elmer, otherwise known as "the bone". I think he was the only one who fit through this amazingly thin wonder of ancient engineering and construction.

This is a granite stone cut from the mountain in the background. It measures roughly 6 feet wide, by 6 feet deep, but 22 feet long. According to the calculations that I found, that means it weighs over 160.000 pounds. No one knows for sure how the "uneducated savages" moved such heavy chunks of rock.

Also on the trip home, we encountered a land slide of many, many tons of earth and rocks covering the roadway. There were about a dozen cars lined up on each side of the land slide waiting to get through. Because we had a tall four wheel drive truck, we decided to pioneer the pass, hoping not to be crushed by additional tumbling boulders, or slide off the edge to plummet to the bottom of the gorge roughly 1000 feet below. We had all the students run across in case of mishap, but the Lord protected!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Camping with the Seminary

We all crammed into and on top of the trucks for the ride up the mountain.
It was not the first time, nor will it be the last that we are thankful for your giving which allowed us to purchase a reliable used 4x4 truck.
Here is a view of our campsite
Yes, we were actually camping at a fish farm, for those who were wondering.
We actually got to catch and eat some of the trout, although it was not very "sporting".
We were thrilled to enjoy God's amazing creation.
In the midst of God's amazing work is the town of Urubamba, where we are currently working and living
These are most of the seminary students, as well as several of the professors. It was quite a hike for those of us past college age (even a little bit past) We are very glad to be investing our lives in training and discipling national leaders who will continue the work even when we are gone.
We brought our puppy with us, and even though he has proved to be quite fearful up to this point he actually barked and "protected" us all night. We think that he was making up for lost time.
Click here to see a larger picture.
It wasn't all fun and games. This was the first of two times that I was stuck by a cactus on our hike up the mountain. The first time I was merely minding my own business when.... well, you know the rest. The second time I was actually diving to save Loren from tumbling down the hill when the second cactus viciously attacked me.

Loren enjoyed showing the seminary girls that American girls play soccer too!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome to our beautiful apartment!

Just a little paint and some furniture (including new termite proof cabinets that we will take with us to the Jungle) and Viola!!

Our Widow Maker!
(It makes the glacier water lukewarm or it makes widows)

Yes, we have a flushing toilet!
(For now)

Our refrigerator didn't fit anywhere else.

Buddy's office

Our beautiful bedroom. My heavenly Father is so generous. We are definitely blessed! Now for those who were worried about us suffering for Jesus, remember that our heavenly Father knows how to give better gifts than our earthly fathers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Church Anniversary

This week was the anniversary of the church where we are serving as short-term replacements in the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cuzco. We had services every night, and I was the choir director, so it made for an interesting time. Also, on Tuesday we were asked by Loren's pastor to produce a 5-7- minute video for Hillsdale's missions conference—by Friday! Wow, we have been busy! The video is actually posted on our blog: It would be impossible to describe all the roadblocks that came up while we were producing the video. But needless to say, the Lord is always good and always faithful. We finished the video on Friday afternoon and started loading it on the Internet right away. We had to load it five or six times before it actually worked, but finally on Saturday afternoon it was done.

Saturday was the central day for the anniversary, so we were out at 6:30 a.m. picking up lime to make soccer lines and stayed busy till late afternoon playing, directing, and refereeing games. Then we had a service in the evening and arrived home exhausted late at night.

Sunday was a special day in several ways. We had Sunday school and the morning service, and then we went to a man-made stone pool and baptized two young men who are both headed for ministry. What a privilege it is to be a part of discipling and training these men for God's great harvest. One of the young men, Eliut, grew up in the jungle in a community called Miaria. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Loren and I spent three weeks there teaching Bible classes and creationism, evangelizing, and discipling on our first trip to Peru together! Eliut actually grew up in a home where witchcraft was not only acknowledged, but practiced regularly. Eliut's older sister, Magnita, was a student of mine in my Pastoral Epistles class just two weeks ago. One day during class, they received word that their uncle, who was known as the most powerful witch doctor in their community, had just passed away. Their mother and father are still unsaved, and they fear that their younger brother may actually be possessed because of his numerous "treatments" by their witch-doctor uncle.

It has been absolutely amazing to see God's redemptive work first hand. Both Magnita and Eliut were not actually saved until they came to Bible school and saw true Christianity portrayed before their eyes. Praise the Lord they are both training for ministry, and Loren and I have the privilege of being a part of that training and discipleship. In fact, tonight (Monday the 5th) Loren is starting a Bible study with Magnita, who is then going to teach the Bible study to the other girls here who are from the jungle! What joy to see God's kingdom grow through multiplication as He planned!

After the baptism, I had the opportunity to preach on Christ's example of service at the Last Supper. Then I had the somewhat nervous joy of administering the Lord's Supper for the first time! The Lord truly blessed, and it was a wonderful time of prayer and fellowship for the church.

Thank you so much for your prayers and for thinking of us. We truly count it a privilege to be your representatives to a place where Christ is not named.

We also hope to see you in Peru as soon as the Lord allows. May the Lord bless you.

In Christ Alone, Buddy and Loren

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quick Summary of the Last Few Weeks

What has happened since our trip to the jungle…

We left the jungle with the intention of getting our residency visas, buying a truck, and picking up our container in Lima. In order to accomplish this task we had to fly to Cusco then to Lima and finally to Arequipa. Once we arrived to Arequipa we hopped on a bus to Tacna. The bus ride was comfortable and entertaining. From Tacna we crossed the border into Arica Chile to prove that we had left the country as tourists, and entered as tentative citizens. All was going well at this point.

We left Tacna the same way we had arrived: we took a bus. Unfortunately, we opted for a more economical bus. (We are learning that economical has a different meaning here in Peru. It usually means “This will be an extremely rough ride” or “This item will only last you a week”). The bus we took did not have a bathroom. You may be thinking, that’s no problem for the Fitzgeralds, since they are accustomed to going to the bathroom behind trees etc. That is true, but the ride between Tacna and Arequipa is all desert! There were no trees to hide behind, merely the occasional abandoned shed or building. The trip from Tacna to Arequipa should take about 6 hours but due to some illegal activity on the bus, the ride took about 10 hours! I know you are a wondering what kind of illegal dealings, right? Well apparently it is illegal to bring used clothing from China, since it is apparently uninspected. Many individuals on the bus had sacks filled with such “contraband”. We suspected that there might have been drugs, but certainly did not ask! One lady begged me to carry a bag for her and then begged me to wear a particular jacket. I kindly told her that I could not because those items did not belong to me and that would be lying. She made all kinds of excuses, but finally went in search of a different victim.

We finally arrived in Arequipa around midnight. Mike and Vicky Fester (also with Baptist World Mission) were so kind to pick us up. We spent the weekend with them getting to know their ministry, and had a blast! Praise the Lord for the blessings amongst the tests.

And the adventure continues…

To complete our residency visas we had to return to Lima. We flew there (praise the Lord!) and we stayed with Tim and Cheryl Chapman and their three adorable kids. We figured since we had to do all the paper work for our container, buy a truck, and finish our visas we would probably be staying with the Chapman’s for about a week at the most. The Lord was so good in completing our visas just as we planned, and we are now official residents! Unfortunately the visas were the only thing that stayed on schedule.

When we first arrived at the office in charge of our container we were notified that our paper work had “Buddy Fitzgerald” as the owner. Unfortunately, we have no identification with such name, and therefore we had to get that changed which took about two days. Then we were notified that our container along with another 180 containers was sent to Chile. The crane that unloads the containers broke, and apparently this company’s only work shop is in Chile, therefore they sent the crane and the containers to Chile. (Doesn’t that make perfect sense to you?) Well, it is mid-October and we still do not have our container. It is back in Peru, but it is currently going through inspection. They do not know if our things are environmentally safe for Peru. (This would be even more amusing to you if you have ever visited Peru and ridden in one of the public transportation vehicles).

Since our hands were pretty much tied concerning the container Buddy got right on the task of buying a truck. Unfortunately, vehicles in general are much more expensive here. They have very rigid rules for importing vehicles; therefore the used market is more expensive. Buddy did all his research and spent most of his days visiting different car lots to get the best deal. Tim Chapman introduced us to his trusted mechanic, Edmundo, who was a great help. Finally after about two weeks the Lord provided a wonderful truck.

We stayed with the Chapman’s for almost two weeks, and they were so kind. We are thankful for good Godly friends in Peru. I personally felt horrible for invading their home for such a long time, but they did not ever make us feel like a burden. Cheryl and I had many heart to heart talks that were such and encouragement to me. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need when we need it and my time in Lima was much needed. The Lord is continuing to teach me to trust in Him, and not to lean unto my own understanding. His way is best. I also want to praise the Lord for the witnessing opportunities that He gave us while running around Lima. Please pray the Lord of the harvest would bring to fruition the Word that He allowed us to plant in Carlos, Ximena, and Juan, as well as many others.

We drove our new-to-us vehicle back to Cusco, which took about 20 hours. We arrived just in time for the Sunday evening service. The people were so happy to see us, and excited that we were strong enough to attend the service. They had just finished praying for us when we pulled up in the driveway!

Typical day in Cusco…

Buddy is currently teaching a block course on the Pastoral Epistles. He is doing a great job! I am helping with home schooling the other missionary kids

Our co-workers Tim and Barb Whatley have been trying to get visas for their Peruvian children to go home with them on furlough. This has been a long and complicated process.

Barb has had to go to Lima and speak to the embassy directly. Therefore I have been left in charge of the house. It has been great! I am learning to shop at the market, cook in high altitude (9,500ft), and be a mom.

Tim and Barb have two natural born children, Brianna (10) and Caleb (6) which are staying with me. Little Caleb got parasites this week and was very sick. He is doing better now, praise the Lord.

Arriba Team…

Last week we had the Arriba Team come visit us. They were a total of seven college students and their host, Becky Carlton. Arriba is a program sponsored by Baptist Mid Missions. College students come to Peru for about 10 months and live with a Peruvian family while taking classes such as Spanish, Missions, Bible, and Biology. They travel around Peru visiting different types of ministries to get a feel for missions and they help with projects traveling.

Barb left me in charge of giving them projects and scheduling their activities. Well… I had them work on our apartment. They worked hard and had a wonderful attitude. Becky especially was determined to have everything done before they left. They were a great blessing to me to say the least. They also jumped in and helped in home schooling. We had an American day where the Arriba team played typical American games with the kids. We had hot dogs for lunch and smores for dessert. The day was greatly enjoyed by all.

Opportunity Days at the Seminary…

Last week while the Arriba Team was here the seminary was having their annual Opportunity Days while celebrating their anniversary. It was a very busy week with services every night. Buddy actually got to translate the preaching for one of the services. The Lord truly blessed! He did a fantastic job, and I was extremely proud of him.

What I have learned…

It is easy to get caught up with schedules, activities, and plain ministry and forget the real purpose of it all. Last week in the midst of all the commotion we were invited to a birthday party. That day was booked with things for the Arriba team to do. Even so we chose to go the birthday party with the condition that we would only stay 1 hour. Well, the food took several hours to cook, though I even jumped in and cooked the meat. I was a bit frustrated because our day was shot. My schedule did not go as planned. Yet, my loving husband reminded me that the ministry is not about things or events, it’s about people and their souls. This reminded me of how our Lord stopped for one in need. He was on His way to Jerusalem to die for all, yet he took the time to stop for one (Luke 18:35-43). Oh it is so easy to choose good things rather than the best thing. I am often deceived. I ask you to pray for me. Pray that I would have enough wisdom to choose the best thing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back from the jungle

We awakened early Saturday morning with great anticipation. The sun was shining, the mountains were glistening, and the birds were singing. In just a few hours we would be leaving for Puerto Maldonado, the jumping off point for the real jungle interior. We were brimming with expectation at the thought of contacting the unreached Mashco-Piro tribe. Who knew how they would receive us? We certainly did not know, but we were thrilled to wait on the Lord for His plan. The five of us were preparing to depart around noon for the 20-hour trip to the jungle city; however, our schedule quickly changed as a marathon going right through our valley had the only road shut down for hours. We were to learn a lot about flexibility and the fact that God’s plans are sometimes very different than our plans. Originally this trip was supposed to include about a dozen people, including doctors, dentists, and nurses, but none of the medical professionals could make it; so Loren, with her intense jungle medicine course, was our only resource.
We arrived in Puerto Maldonado with no major issues, and after meeting with the office of tribal groups and making boat arrangements, we were on our way. The river is currently at its lowest yearly level, which makes travel either upstream or downstream very tedious. We spent nearly four full days on the river, while spending our nights camping along the way. We used the time to build relationships with nationals, gain insight from our senior missionary, fix equipment, read God’s Word, and pray together. The boat ride was longer than expected, but it was very valuable.
Friday afternoon found us finally arriving in Monte Salvado (Saved Jungle), where we were met with a scant but warm reception. The next morning the community came together for a meeting to talk about how to best use our visit. The Yine people of Monte Salvado, who speak a similar dialect to the Mashco-Piro, decided that we should have a devotional at 5 a.m. and a service at 4 p.m. daily. For our part, we passed out a very simple questionnaire regarding the basics of salvation in order to assess their condition. Within a few hours we realized that, although they called themselves the “Saved Jungle,” they had almost no knowledge of true salvation!
To make a long story short, we jumped into all aspects of tribal living: we hunted with them, planted with them, fished with them, collected roofing leaves with them, cooked with them, and ate with them. On Wednesday Loren spent the entire day finding, digging, peeling, boiling, mashing, and spreading Yucca in preparation for our special service. She taught the ladies how to make a special dish, and we had a great turnout for the Wednesday afternoon service. The Lord was obviously at work in hearts, and we had about eight people request a visit to learn more about salvation. By God’s grace, we were able to lead each of those individuals, as well as a few others, to a true saving knowledge of our wonderful Savior! They used to call themselves brothers and sisters, but during our trip to Monte Salvado, the Lord allowed us to bring ten people into His true family!
Our plan was to contact the primitive, nomadic Mashco-Piro tribe during this trip, but the Lord did not allow that. He had plans for ten sheep who were wandering astray and needed to be brought into the fold. Praise the Lord for His work for the sake of His glory, and please pray for continuing growth in: Daniel, Claudio, Herman, Felipe, Juan, Ronald, Ritma, Diana, Hilma, and Rosa.

For His glory,
Buddy and Loren
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