Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sandi’s diary notes from our last week in Australia (and the 3 bag miracles)

24 August 2016

Our leaving…
There was nothing graceful about our leaving Sydney, it wasn’t at all how I imagined or wanted it to be. I know having 7 children and a newborn had something to do with it. I know we couldn’t comprehend how to pack our lives down into suitcases and tie up all the loose ends of living… so I can now 3 months’ after our departure, laugh at our journey and hope we have learnt from it.  I am putting this on the blog mostly as way of an apology, because I know we rushed many important goodbyes.   

Before baby, we had two garage sales and decluttered a lot, had armfuls of vaccinations, and sorted and packed and we enjoyed the last weeks of living the very full life we were used to…

After baby, in between cuddles and feeding… we knew there was a lot to do and we felt stressed and caught out by the administration that needed to be done.  We had amazing friends who understood I think more than we did how behind schedule we were.  Joy flew up from Melbourne twice to help us.  Jen, Bec, Fiona and Welch family helped out with our kids.  Jen lodged forms to be apostilled for us at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs.  In fact Jen was our every day, do anything baby holding angel!  Jane was our “bag lady” she sourced, picked up and delivered 24 second-hand suitcases to our house so we could pack.  God knew and provided just what we needed when we needed it.  Our Lifesource church gave us an amazing farewell. I know friends were covering us in prayer.

Then the plan was to pack up house in Sydney, visit Perth to say goodbye to family there, return to Sydney for two relaxing nights and then leave for Peru. Our plan even sounded restful!!  I even thought we had contingency room in our timing for a night away together.

BUT… after weeks of packing we finished moving out of our house at 4am just 4 hours before our flight to Perth… we had midnight to dawn packing friends… and instead of a kettle and a toaster sized pile in the carport… we unexpectedly left towering mountains of boxes in our carport with instructions for family, friends and neighbours.  Our kids slept that last night at Jenny & Drew’s place with Stacey, our 10 week old, having her first sleepover in a laundry basket!  We were so tired I packed all my shoes and was left wearing my socks (until Jenny lent me some shoes).  Chris packed all his clothes and so wore his jeans and pyjama top for two days packing and then on the plane to Perth.

We had 45 mins sleep at Jenny’s then we woke up our very excited children and Chris drove us in our Commuter to the airport. He was soooo tired that he unloaded all ten of us and our luggage at the wrong domestic terminal!  We then reloaded us and our luggage back into our van and trailer and drove to the Qantas terminal… unloaded again - then we missed our 8am flight!  During the 2 hour wait for the next flight which Qantas put us on free of charge (a miracle of Grace), we debriefed and practised our airport family security drills (to stay together as a unit) as we had been taught in our Pioneers’ field security course!

We had a lovely time in Perth.  It was great to see family and friends including my 94 year old grandma and share what we were doing.  Cousins spent fun time together.  Sam broke his finger trampolining ☹  Family were patient with our lack of headspace ☺ and we were overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, excited… AND standing in faith as we actually didn’t have the funds required to go to Peru yet according to Pioneers guidelines.  I don’t really remember talking about this with anyone… It was too late for that, we had moved out of our house, sold most of our stuff, said goodbyes…. The rest was up to God!
Saying farewell to our 94 year old Grandma in Perth (3 generations)
God was always good to us… as we left Mum and Dad’s to go to the airport, my heart wanted just a bit more time to have a cup of tea with my sisters…. our mobiles rang and it was Qantas ringing to apologise that they had moved us to a flight two hours later! I got the cup of tea and $150 worth of airport food vouchers for free C/- Qantas to compensate us!

On arriving back in Sydney we had 36 hours left.   We stayed at an Air BNB apartment close to the airport to make sure we couldn’t miss the Peru flight!!  With 24 hours remaining before our flight to Peru we received the official phone call to say that we had the support funds to go.  My faith was pushed to the limits… Chris was at peace God would see to it and we know God is always faithful, but phew!!!!

We spent our last Sydney day in Darling Harbour with our Pastors John and Anne and some friends, whilst Kirstie and Jen took our son Sam to the hospital to see a hand surgeon for his broken finger.  God was with even our bags, as we so exhausted we forgot about our snack bag for a few hours in a park, and when we remembered and returned to the spot our snacks were very safe… they were being guarded by two security guards on walkie talkies who thought the bag contained a bomb and had been watching our bag for hours!  As we say in Lifesource Church – “God’s got it!”
Our family farewell in Darling Harbour with pastors’ John & Anne (less Sam who was taken to the hospital to attend to his broken finger!)
Our last night in Sydney before our flight was spent repacking and labelling suitcases.  Elsewhere friends loaded a truck with our luggage, Drew & his mate scheduled for the early morning trip to the airport slept on our hotel couch, the clothes dryer hummed with last minute washing, pizzas were eaten, Sam put the bedroom air conditioning on 18 degrees to acclimatise to Peru ☺, the baby fed…

Then at 6am Rod and many amazing others arrived to load the remaining luggage. It took a team and a miracle to make sure our 94 items of luggage made it on the plane. As the truck was loaded, baby Stacey’s suitcase was accidentally left on the footpath outside our hotel.  It was still there, on a busy road in a not so safe suburb two hours later when Drew made a dash back to find it.  At the check in gate Jen managed our luggage check in with amazing ability and patience!
Some last minute baggage labelling with our friends helping the morning of our final departure
At the departure gate we had a minute to say goodbye.  In one last moment of ungracefulness… With loaded arms, I dropped my cup of tea on the ground leaving our friends standing in a puddle as we hugged, then hurried thru airport security!

On our way to the gate we stopped momentarily at a food stand to feed our hungry teenagers who had missed breakfast.  Moments later we saw our plane boarding.  We skipped eating and hurried to join the line, and left a hand luggage suitcase behind… I have to wonder why God chose us to go to Peru!

(Bag miracle number 3 was that the bag left behind at Sydney Airport contained supplies to get us thru the many hours we expected to be in customs when we landed in Lima… BUT praise God customs let us go thru without inspecting ANY of our bags (see previous blog post on that story)… so the kids were fine as the supplies were not needed!)

Sandi  xx

Chris' agreeable coffee mug the first morning after waking up in Perth

Sunday, 21 August 2016

ABC Español and Church

21 August 2016

Here is a brief update on our language learning here in Arequipa.  Each day Jake, Sam, Isaac and I attend language school ABC Español in the suburb of Cayma.  We live in the suburb of Asvea which is about a half hour trip on a usually overcrowded Combi (the Peru name for a small bus).  Each bus route is owned by a different company and we had to learn which one goes where as there are no maps or schedules available.  The irony is that one has to speak Spanish to know how to get to Spanish school! J  Seriously we had one of the teachers help us on the first day which was necessary for us to get there.
A typical combi (bus) trip to / from language school – here standing with some of our fellow missionary students.  The bus can be a lot more crowded than this as there are no capacity limits.
We arrive around 8:30am and classes go until about midday.  We then head home for lunch and then homework in the afternoon and/or the evening.  More often for me it is the late evening – as I have many day to day things to do plus I need to work at language harder than the boys (making no mention of the fact that it has anything to do with my age!).

But despite the difficulty I face with learning a new language (and yes I am finding it really quite challenging to say the least), one positive aspect is that I get to sit in the same class as my three eldest boys.  Where or when else would this happen in life?  It is such a privilege on the one hand, but on the other it is humiliating as I find them much more adapt to learning (expected but my pride has been well and truly cut down).
A privileged (and also humbled) dad in school with his three eldest sons – here in ABC Español grammar class with teacher Annalú
Although I am understanding more and more words amid sentences, I believe Spanish is a very mature language like English, and so there are seemingly endless different ways and words to say the same or similar things.  The learning aspect in favour of Spanish is that you always pronounce every letter and in the same way – unlike English where we have endless exceptions and merging phonetics depending upon the word (I have in fact learnt a lot about English which I previously took for granted!). 

In my limited experience with Spanish it is a language centred on verbs for which each needs to be conjugated (changed in some way) depending upon the subject or tense largely on rules but with many exceptions that must be simply remembered.  There are also many words and tenses we don’t have in English, plus the construction of the sentence is different (e.g. subject then verb then compliment).  Then there are plural verbs and matching gender alterations throughout each sentence.

I think this is what I am struggling with the most along with just remembering a large vocabulary of new nouns.

Moreover I have reassessed my progress in recent time with other missionaries of my age and conceded that I need to stay on an extra 2 months (from original plan of 3 months).  I believe I need this before I am proficient enough in constructing sentences in Spanish.  It would seem that 5+ months (up to 12 for some) is the norm for people in my category.  Dr Klaus John also agreed and hence we have adjusted our stay in Arequipa until November before moving to Curahuasi.

In the meantime I have been working from Arequipa with Klaus on the Curahuasi broadcast project (i.e. in addition to language school, which makes it a bit tough some days going into early mornings to fit it all in).  Some parts of the project cannot wait until November primarily for licensing reasons.  Such as designing the satellite network and selecting key hardware for purchasing.

We are after a home tutor for Sandi and the girls + Solomon at home.  We believe this is the only way we can function as a family.  Although we have not found anyone as yet.  Sandi and the kids are being adventurous and most days venture out shopping, to markets or to a park, learning about local life as they go.  We also watch some movies and familiar programmes in Spanish such as Peppa Pig (for the littlies) via YouTube and listen to the local Christian radio in Spanish.  For example we went and saw Disney Pixar’s La era del hielo (Ice Age).
Sarah, Georgia and Jessica at the movies posing in the “Buscando a Dory” (Finding Dory) photo promo set.
Another aspect of the ABC Español school is church.  It is one where all the students and teachers attend.  In fact one of the two directors of the school (Pedro) is the pastor!  Worship is great (often familiar tunes and always with words projected on the wall) but I am yet to get much from the sermon as it is of course all in Spanish! 

Importantly both Jake and Sam have joined the music team.  It is a lot smaller scale than Lifesource Church (from which John McLennan and team helped prepare them for this opportunity), but none the less is building them up amongst some also extremely talented musicians.
Our Arequipa Church consisting of ABC Español people – here with Jake and Sam on their debut with the worship team.
So in a nutshell – that’s language school and church for us here in Arequipa.  I will write more about life here in another blog (as there is much to fill you in with).

For those praying for us with language learning – please believe with me that that I still get this language supernaturally as there is urgency to get on with the job we came for at Diospi Suyana!

Thank you all for your support in helping us prepare for our work ahead.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Our First Peru Residency

05 August 2016

I was advised last week that my Peru residency (Carnet) was approved and needed to be collected in Lima.  Although short notice, I took the opportunity whilst it was the last week of the school holidays so as not to miss any language learning.

After a quick return trip to Lima I obtained my Peru residency from Peru Migraciones (Department of Migrations) and also included my application for the kids’ residency.  Note the Peru bureaucracy requires that parents must have their residency before the application for dependents.  Each step takes 1 to 2 months as it includes overseas criminal checks with Interpol and a return visit in person to Lima when ready! (I think you will agree it’s not exactly the most efficient system).

The first cab off the rank for our family with Peru Residency / Carnet in hand

As they say here in Peru – poco a poco which means little by little.  The same applies to my Spanish progress actually! ☺  More on that in my next post.

And THANK YOU to all our dear supporters, for without you this work would not be possible.