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.
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.