Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Saturday, 13 January 2018

We Have Been in Curahuasi for Just Over a Year Now

We have been in Curahuasi for just over one year now. It is time to share with you what each of us has been involved in on our mission journey so far.

Chris… Is truly amazing!  He has written many blogs about his work at Diospi Suyana Media Centre. He is working hard, travelling many mountain miles to establish the radio and TV network for Diospi.  There are stories already of isolated villages being blessed by the teams’ work.  At home he is still amazing! He can fix or build anything and he has needed to! Often into the night he is repairing the water pump so we have water or replacing parts on our Peruvian appliances that often need repairing. 

Chris leads us all in God.  He continues to read the bible to us most days and we pray together as a family.  Many responsibilities fall on the hands of the Dad and he is always working out the next step.  At work he is coping well with a culture that operates so differently to Australian engineering standards.  Like me, this is our year to improve his Spanish!

Sandi… I like this place where God has us! I couldn’t always say that.  In the beginning it was scary at home and in town.  I can remember the first tour I had of our village - a missionary friend offered to drive me around the village, after a few minutes I had to say thanks but that’s enough… she took me to her house and gave me a cup of tea and some Nurofen.  I have come a long way since then.  I can honestly say now that our farmhouse is rustically amazing and absolutely a blessing for our family.  We spent the first three months renovating madly and installing a kitchen, and inside hot and cold water and reliable electricity… now we are having fun… with the vegetable patch and garden and I know how to shop and cook.  I have to make bread for us and most things from scratch.  Here we have a big lunch and simpler dinner at night time.

I have been Mum this year and the manager of many people.  The house is never empty here, there are family, friends, workers and the farmers who work alongside our house in the fields.  It is lovely and also stretching!  God has been faithful in extending my patience and flexibility and I hope helping us bless many people.  I don’t like to send the workers home empty handed or hungry so I have spent much fun time cooking and learning about high altitude baking.

I meet weekly with a group of missionary mums to cover our families and Diospi in prayer.  God has been so faithful in protecting us here from harm. We have had a constant bout of challenges, from scabies and typhoid to bike crashes and tarantulas!  There are many cultural frustrations.  There is nothing quite as frustrating as driving out of our driveway ready for something to find the highway blocked for hours with no notice.  One day after dropping the kids at school at 7am the road was blocked on our way home. I decided not to wait it out in our car, so we left the car and walked home.  We looked a sight, little white kids in pyjamas and no shoes walking down the highway!

I have to admit that my Spanish is terrible!  I can understand much and speak little… but this is the year I WILL learn.  We were able to have our Peruvian Pastor present the gospel to our house keeper.  She has not decided to follow Jesus… yet. In the last year I have learnt much about God, about how much he loves us and am learning daily that his joy truly is our strength. 

Jake… Jake spent the year sharing his many talents with many!  It was a hard year for him, he missed Australia but he made a difference whilst he was here and many local kids cried when he left!  

He was involved in many things.

Jake worked for 6 months at the Diospi Suyana Media Centre, 3 days a week. He was part of a live youth radio program three times a week and he edited many music programs and promos and was the technician for live and studio radio recordings.  He did this so well and was a valued part of the team.  God’s timing in Jake being here was perfect.

For 6 months Jake played keyboard for our Peruvian church on Sunday mornings and then for the English church service on Sunday nights.  He DJ’ed for our town’s ultimate Frisbee outreach on Wednesday nights where his music style and enthusiasm was loved – encouraging them all to play better.

Jake became friends with a local teenager and taught him basic computer skills and also how to make music on his computer.

He ran an afterschool chess club once a week in the Diospi Colegio.  It was attended by many children and he was an expert at settling them down and actually teaching them chess. They loved him.

Jake enjoyed the amazing environment here.  He did many hikes, up volcanoes, down canyons and across mountain ranges.  He also loved Inca Kola and is the only one of us so far to eat the local speciality of guinea pig (Cuy).

As well as all of this, Jake studied successfully for his Australian university entrance and will be studying a Bachelor of Business in 2018.  Jake returned to Australia in December 2017 and is setting himself up for University on the Gold Coast and catching up with missed friends. We miss him here but are so thankful that he was part of our journey in Peru.
Jake in radio “talk-back” with Caroley Rojas
Jake’s chess club junior class
  Press Play to hear Jake on Diospi Suyana Curahuasi radio FM 103.7

The School Kids… Sam, Isaac, Sarah and Georgia were definitely brave and courageous in 2107.  They went to “real” school for the first time in their lives and it was all in Spanish AND in the breaks the other missionary kids spoke German!  They have learnt so much about different cultures and languages and about themselves and about how God can be trusted!  Nothing will ever be too hard for them again!  So yes it has been a tough year for them but they helped each other and really did amazingly.  They had a mix of Peruvian, German and Austrian teachers with different teaching styles and different curriculums.  Our kids didn’t have to do all the Peruvian subjects and so a bonus for us was the English room.  It’s a dedicated classroom that we could use to do their Australian schoolwork.  This was such a blessing as it also gave them a place to visit when they needed a language break or time to cry and rest.  Our kids ended up in classes with few other or no missionary kids, this was in the end a blessing as they made Peruvian friends and had to speak Spanish!

The Diospi Colegio (school) is fantastic and the teachers were very patient with our family!  Each day started at 7:30am… for those that know us well you can imagine the shock to our home schooling body clocks!  The school gates shut at 7:30am and then the guard swapped the early arrivals green stamp for the latecomers red stamp… I think our kids’ entry record diaries are exactly half green and half red!

It was a frustrating year, with the language barriers we spent most of the year not having a clue what was on or what the homework was.  We also just didn’t understand the thinking behind their communication… all the culturally unspoken, assumed information we missed!  For example, Sarah went on a school camp for two nights and we asked what to bring.  We were told just normal camp stuff like clothes and your hairbrush… we didn’t realise that meant her own food!  Her teacher and friends had to share theirs with her!

As the year went on and the kids Spanish improved, their half understanding and growing confidence made them dangerous!  For example if a rehearsal was on Friday at 2pm they told me Thursday at 4pm.  We were often sitting at the school gates waiting…. It seems silly, but Peru is a verbal culture and school notes to take home were rare.

They all made friends and by the end of the year all had had friends home to play.  A play date meant that we picked up the friends at the school and dropped them back to the school.  There was no checking with Peruvian parents, the kids were always there waiting.  I did say no to the friend’s smaller siblings coming along, as they tried to jump in the car as I thought their parents might wonder where they were.  Our trampoline and cute younger sisters were a great drawcard for many Peruvian kids!

We have been very blessed since September to have Benedikt, a 19 year old German in his second ‘gap year’ as a volunteer come to Curahuasi to help our kids at school.  He acts as teacher in the English room and ensures that our kids get their Australian Maths and English work completed.  This has helped me a lot as I don’t need to go in with our 3 younger ones not yet at school.  Benedikt also eats lunch with us after school and hangs out at our house, teaches the girls piano and is a wonderful blessing all of the time!  He assists with sport classes at school and also sings in our Peruvian church band and also in a Diospi weekly chapel service band.  He is enjoying his time in Curahuasi so much he has extended his stay until July 2018.  We are blessed.

Our kids have invested into the school culture and introduced handball to the playground.  It had never been played here before.  We had bought one handball and now it has grown into a break time craze and calmed down the previously crazy and troublesome school yard.  The Australians have impressed the principal! J

Sam is a school student here but also very much part of the Diospi Suyana Hospital mission as well as he participates in events and is friends with many German volunteers and missionaries.

Sam has amazing Spanish and we often have to use him as our translator with our housekeeper and with the many farmers that come to our front door, our pastor… anyone really!  Sam has also been taking German lessons one day a week!  Language is proving to be a gift to him that we never expected.  It has been exciting to see him mature and do so well. 

Sam has embraced the opportunities God has for him here and plays guitar, sings, participates in sport and continues his cycling.

The Diospi Hospital starts each day with a chapel service for staff and patients.  Sam gets two hours’ off school each Thursday to play in the worship band.  He also plays in our Peruvian church band and the English service band on Sundays.

Sam has had many adventures - joining Jake on many hikes and travelling to Bolivia with Benedikt and other places with friends for the weekend.  Cycling is still Sam’s passion and he still loves to get up early in the morning and go for a training ride.  He can even cycle up a Curahuasi mountain and still be at school on time!  He has entered and won many local races and is a mentor to local riders. Our church has begun holding outreach bike races.

Sam was in year 10 in 2017 and will do year 11 in 2018.  This is the final year in the Peruvian schooling system.  Sam was in a small class of 13 Peruvian students.  The other kids were all culturally very different to him but Sam tried hard to make friends and help them. We had the boys in his class over one night for a Christian movie, pizza and a camp out.

He is always ready to help out where it is needed, from guitar playing to setting out furniture for a function or giving his testimony.  He has learnt that God is indeed faithful!
Sam at the end of a 63km open road race in Abancay (2km above sea level)
Sam plays guitar and Benedikt sings in our Peruvian church 
Isaac… has been very faithful to his project of setting up a bee hive that we brought from Australia. It has been an adventure, others have been stung but not him!  He worked hard at school, Spanish came a little harder to him but he has persisted so well.  Isaac participated in many things with a great attitude this year and is learning so very much.  He is a great friend to our neighbour’s son.

Sarah… This was her ‘’promocion” year’- year 6 the last year of primary school.  It is a big deal here in Peru.  She went to Machu Picchu with her class and attended a graduation dinner.  She had a very special year with a very understanding Peruvian teacher.  She has learnt some Quecha dances and enjoys performing wearing the beautiful Quecha dresses.

Sarah has loved our farm and looking after the animals here. We have 12 chickens, two rabbits, two dogs, two cats and have had two litters of puppies and one litter of kittens.
Sarah dressed for a Quechua dance
Georgia… Is growing into a beautiful young lady.  She is now 9 years old.  She had a lovely Peruvian teacher but it often felt like she was given more homework last year than all of the other kids combined.  The upside is she has beautiful Peruvian handwriting J.  Her teacher had a baby this year, and returned quickly back to school bringing the baby into the class each day.  Georgia loved this.

Solomon… Solomon turned 7 in December and is growing into a definite gentleman.  He has lots of charm and wit. He started school but after a few weeks it was too much for him so he came home for the year.  At the same time he participated in many school activities such as Jake’s chess club and visited the English room to work with Benedikt.  He will try again in 2018.  He has been teaching our house keeper English and learning Spanish from her!
Solomon collects snow in the Andes in his drink bottle for mum
Jessica… Spent the year dancing!  She is 4 years old and had the confidence to join a dance class run by a lovely German young lady called Emily.  She performed with the dance group at school assemblies and if she wasn’t part of the dance she had a way of making her way to the stage to dance anyway!

Stacey… is now one and a half years old.  She is so very sweet and is a blessing to everyone.  She is graceful by nature and handles beautifully being the centre of Peruvian attention whenever we are out (they dote on babies, especially blond babies).  She speaks her own toddler mix of English, Spanish and German!

Stacey aspiring to dance with her big sisters
Thank you for your prayers, support, Weet Bix and friendship!

With love,