Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Our Family Update and Plans to Return to the Mission Field

Our Family Update…

Since our last post, I have continued seeking out contract work in broadcast transmission (trading as Welcomm Australia).  But the reality is that the Australian broadcast landscape has significantly changed in the past three years whilst we have been away.  This is attributed largely to internet streaming media, such as Netflix, Stan, YouTube and tomorrow Disney arrives to compete too.  So finding work has proven to be a challenge for me as it seems all the key broadcast players are in some form of economic rationalisation and cutting back.  I have managed to secure a handful of short projects in this time, and we are getting by with some ongoing support from our faithful family and friends.

During this time I have also been working for Diospi Suyana part time, helping sort out maintenance issues, planning the two new FM transmission sites including site selection using Google Earth 3D, engineering design work, equipment selection etc.  An Australian based telemetry solution provider Maximation, has kindly provided me with free training days at their Central Coast headquarters to develop the software needed to complete the telemetry system of Diospi Suyana.  In addition, my former employer TX Australia have gratefully donated some now redundant broadcast equipment we can make good use of in Peru.

As for our family, we have been well for the most part.  Jake (20) is still living on the Gold Coast studying psychology at Southern Cross Uni.  He has just had to move house as the owners sold his apartment. We look forward to spending time with Jake at Christmas when we get together and go to Perth to spend it with Sandi’s family in the West.

Sam (18) has been progressing with his cycling aspirations with Northern Sydney Cycle Club Junior Development Squad.  He generally gets a place in B Grade amongst his “Dog Squad” teammates. So he plans to move to A Grade soon where he again must rise up the ranks, albeit much tougher this time.  He is also doing a TAFE Certificate 4 in physiotherapy to be an assistant, in the hope to get into Macquarie Uni next year studying physiotherapy.

Isaac (16) has tried his hand at archery and enjoyed that.  He and Sarah (14) have been studying at home with Australian Christian College Year 10 and Year 8 respectively.  Georgia (11) and Solomon (8) have been enjoying Cubs, cycling with juniors at Northern Sydney Cycle Club as we home-school them with Year 5 and Year 3 respectively.  Georgia also has taken on ballet and loves this to bits as she practices with her class for a Christmas concert in December.

Then there is Jessica (6) and Stacey (3), who we also home-school and fit in around the other members of family.  Oh and we have Georgia, Solomon and Jessica in swimming lessons at Hornsby, as when we got back from the Peruvian Andes, they did not know how to swim!

Sandi has been managing our family as she does so amazingly whilst catching up with our family and friends.  She maintains a delightful attitude about life as she glues our family with her love and sound direction which she will attribute to her parents bringing her up and her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

And we all as a family continue to undertake a weekly Spanish lesson whilst here in Sydney, to try and at least maintain, and improve on this base.

My mum has had a setback with another bout of breast cancer and a mastectomy in September.  But the one triple dose of chemotherapy has terrible side effects and so they have ceased that option. She is continuing the other HER2 treatment for a year, and we await, hope and pray that she recovers.  And we are grateful that we are “home” to be close to family during this time.

We visited the Australia Reptile Park to re-familiarise our “Aussie kids” with our native wildlife.
Our Return to the Field…

So what about our mission to Peru I hear you ask! J  We have firmed up plans to return later in February 2020.  However this time we plan to return for just over 6 months, as we have an ongoing need to be with our family in Australia.  Especially as our older kids study at University and need us.

I also believe this is all I need to hands-on complete the number of outstanding tasks with our Diospi Suyana broadcast network, such as complete the satellite telemetry system, complete a bunch of loose ends with the original installations, and effect some needed repairs.  And also plan for the next 2 new FM transmission sites that will cover an additional 200,000 people, and in so doing reach our original target of 1,000,000 souls reached, 24 x 7 x 365.  We are excited to represent LifeSource Church with such a mission, through Pioneers Australia.

In the future, I envisage I could return to Peru solo for short term fly-in, fly-out installation trips e.g. 2 weeks duration (doable without the family and economical).  With all the long term ground work by then well established, this is entirely viable.  And as already mentioned, I would always try to continue my support of Diospi Suyana from my office in Australia as much as my time and resources allow.

We presented this proposal to our Ps John Iuliano and Helen Rogers and met with them on 12 November, which was amazingly supportive.  They had incredible news that with two support donations, we had 2/3 of our needed funding!

So we need to raise the balance in our budget to return.  If you know of anyone or organisation who would like to partner with our work, then please be in touch (chrisandiw@gmail.com).  We believe our work is so easy to justify with Diospi Suyana doing the “heavy lifting” with regards to our projects such as;
·         the programme creation from a charismatic evangelistic team of producers in an established studio base in Curahuasi (see below photo)
·         FM licence acquisition (often expensive)
·         site acquisition (not a trivial process)
·         site civil construction (to my plans)
·         FM transmitter equipment funding (to my direction)
·         tower funding including installation
·         satellite equipment
·         funding of electricity connections (poles, wires, transformers)
·         payment of ongoing electricity bills 

And the list goes on….  But they can’t make it happen without a broadcast engineer to design, select equipment, install and commission it.  And I maintain that I am called to return to continue our LifeSource prophecy that I received back in 1998.
 
The Diospi Suyana Centro de Medios production team (as at 24 Jul 2019)
 Thank you again to our amazing supporters helping us to achieve these goals.

With fondest love from us Welches on our way back to Peru! J

Chris

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Our Diospi Mission Presentations in August

Sunday 4 August 2019


We are pleased to announce our Sydney LifeSource Christian Church presentation.  Sandi and I are presenting along with Dr Klaus John in English, at 2:00pm on Saturday 17 August.  The main entrance and parking is via 175 Lower Gibbes Street, Chatswood, NSW, 2067.

We would love to see you there!

Klaus will be presenting at the following churches in August, at which you will be most welcome to come along;

Brisbane
  • New Hope Church, 46 Kelvin Grove Rd, Kelvin Grove, QLD – 9:30am service, Sunday 11 August
Toowoomba
  • South Toowoomba Baptist Church, 279 Geddes St, Toowoomba, QLD – 7:00pm, Tuesday 13 August
Sydney
  • LifeSource Christian Church, via 175 Lower Gibbes Street, Chatswood, NSW – 2:00pm, Saturday 17 August
Newcastle
  • Hinton Baptist Church, 42 Elizabeth St, Hinton, NSW – 10:45am service, Sunday 18 August and Sandi and Chris present at 5:00pm service.
Melbourne
  • St David’s Uniting Church, 128 Parkers Rd, Parkdale, VIC – 10:30am service, Sunday 25 August
  • Stairway Church, access via rear entrance, 171 Rooks Road, Vermont, VIC 3133 – 02:00pm, Sunday 25 August
Blessings,

Chris and Sandi

Sunday, 7 July 2019

On Home Assignment

Sunday 07 July 2019

Having arrived back in Sydney now, here is a brief on what we’ve been up to… 

Firstly we flew back with only 30 items of luggage!  We think this is a significant advancement on the 94 items of luggage when we arrived in Peru in 2016! J (see our original post http://welchesinperu.blogspot.com/2016/06/our-amazing-arrival-in-lima.html)

Here we are with “our stuff” in Cusco to embark on our first leg back to Sydney.
Our arrival greeting including some of the same friends from LifeSource Church who made the miracle happen to help us get away in the first place on 31 May 2016.  It involved a budget rental truck, our LifeSource Church van, balloons, Easter chocolates and other goodies.  And then to arrive at our rental house in Mount Colah, that Chris’ family had furnished for us in advance.  Thank you so much everyone who blessed us so much to make our arrival perfect!!!

At the other end in Sydney, we were greeted by an incredible loving team of friends.
Over the coming weeks and months we caught up with many family and friends.  We have renewed licenses, obtained new licenses, renewed Medicare, banking cards and accounts, presented for numerous medical appointments and the list goes on…  Not to mention our kids’ Australian education, as Peru education is not recognised by Australia.  And we have also started weekly Spanish lessons in Sydney to be ready for a return to Peru next year.

We enjoyed many Aussie things like fish and chips on the beach and other favourites we missed during our 3 years in Peru, from simple Aussie pies to Thai food.
 
Fish and chips at the Dee Why beach public pool.
Our family along with Sandi’s sister Kylie and son Brody from WA, visited the Sydney Harbour Vivid light show - such a contrast to Peru!
It has been wonderful to share special time (including birthdays for example) with family and friends. And to catch up with Jake again in Australia, once on the Gold Coast and then in Sydney.

Here Jake visits us in Sydney to reunite our family of 10 for a few days, plus Sandi’s mum and dad from WA.
Our good friend Rob even brought “home” our billy cart that we sold at our garage sale before going to Peru – now renovated with a new paint job for the kids to enjoy.

From left to right, Jessica, Sarah and Stacey in Sam’s refurbished billy cart.
Sam has wasted no time in getting back into cycling with his NSCC Cycling Academy.  He missed his club rides with his cycling mates and the Australian racing circuit.  But he is making up for lost time now.  In fact Sam just came 2nd in the NSW Metro Road Racing Championships that was held in Penrith on 7 July.

Questions are being asked after 3 years of absence in Australia, just where has this Sam Welch guy come from?☺
Our eldest Jake, now 20, is loving studying his degree in psychology at Southern Cross Uni on the Gold Coast.  He has even tried his hand at politics as a local rep for the National Democrats where he got 4% of the vote in his division of Fadden.

Chris continues to support the Diospi Suyana Media Centre whilst we are here.  From Australia he can advise, problem solve and also help plan the next license and transmission site/s.

Whilst Dr Klaus plans to visit Australia for the second time to share the story of Diospi Suyana and to launch his 2nd book in English “God has seen us”.  His tour is planned for August 2019 as we put together his schedule for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.  So if anyone would like Klaus to present at their church, school, radio station, work or any group for that matter, then please let us know ASAP.

So here’s as a recap of where we got to in Peru…

We estimate some 800,000 people in Peru today can now receive Diospi Suyana FM radio and hear the Gospel along with Christian music and medical information, in both Spanish and Quechua.
 
(2017 population figures)
Diospi’s radio program can also be received via satellite in all of Latin America, by some 400 million Spanish speaking people direct to their homes if they have satellite access (see below coverage map).

We can share many stories of thankfulness, and of lives touched by God which stream in daily to the studios in Curahuasi by calls, WhatsApp messages and email.

We can truly say God was faithful to his promises to look after us, despite many difficult moments with work, Sam had a bike accident or two, the kids were challenged by attending school in Spanish and Sandi navigated many family moments whilst Chris was often away on travel... through it all God was sovereignly with us.

We thank you so much for all those who supported us.  Chris is looking for work while we are on home assignment to finance the period from now until 2020 when we plan to return to Peru.  As despite what we have done, there is more to do in finishing these sites and preparing for more in the future.

Chris and Sandi,

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Diospi FM now On Air in Puno!

Sunday 07 April 2019

I am proud to announce that on Monday 01 April 2019 at 5:22pm I switched on Diospi Suyana Puno FM 103.7 MHz.


This is our 6th Diospi Suyana FM transmission site, which according to the 2017 Peru Census, is home to some 128,637 inhabitants.  But our reach is beyond just the city of Puno and so per my originally tabled population estimates, we believe we will reach conservatively 200,000 including the surrounds of Puno.  A more optimistic estimate is as high as 300,000 inhabitants are in our FM coverage area.

Our Puno FM computer coverage prediction.
This is a prime FM site for Diospi Suyana as is a significant patient intake district for the hospital (as of Friday 5 April, our register shows 46,084 patients came from Puno).  And for the Gospel message to go forth 24 x 7 x 365 for all to hear - the rich the poor, the permanent and the visitor alike.
 
The thriving city of Puno viewed from the main highway access.
This view is from our transmission hill, reminding us that our radio coverage reaches the very poor as in the foreground (showing a typical Quechua farmer’s house) to those more well-to-do in the city further afield.
Our installation took some 7 full days including the 10 hour scenic road trip over a 4,335 metre snow caped mountain pass alongside the railway line which services Puno with tourists.

Our installation went relatively well except for our satellite telemetry modem which for some reason was faulty out of the box.  So until a replacement unit arrives, this site’s security will rely on the security guard who lives amongst the towers on the transmission hill overlooking Puno.  And the supply utility Electro Puno installed a supply cable sufficient for not much more than a light bulb, and not a medium power FM transmitter system load, as we had well documented with them from the outset.  So we had to use our supply of larger cable (very expensive) which we brought with us to upgrade their supply back to their pole.  We then had to purchase more cable to cover the shortfall in our installation.  It’s not fair, but that’s how things work in Peru.
 
Our equipment delivery truck arrives to unload before a heavy rainstorm reaches us.
All hands on deck to unload the heavy boxes – here we are unloading the satellite antenna.
Here Oebele de Haan stands on the scaffolding we brought to upgrade the Electro Puno supply authority power cable.
The FM antennas get installed by our contractor’s riggers.
I install the 2.4m C-Band satellite antenna with the help of a local school teacher.
We are out for dinner in Puno, and I am alarmed to see people setting up business on the active train line.  Sadly here there is a total lack of safety understanding and/or law enforcement in Peru.
Oebele and Isaias install the electric fence around the Diospi Suyana FM compound wall.
We have some curious local visitors during our work.
Doris attends supportive churches in Puno who are excited about Diospi FM radio commencing soon!
The RF feeder cable is prepared to be hauled up the tower.
Oebele installs the 4th CCTV security camera and strobe light on the tower.
Here I hang around conducting the final installation inspection of the FM antenna system J.
I found the RF radiation levels too high from the other 55 towers on our hill over Puno, and would have damaged my R&S ETL test instrument.  So unfortunately I could not fully test our FM antenna at this site but no reflected power and achieving the predicted coverage was a sufficient indicator in this case.
Our team take a moment for the traditional service commencement photo in front of our transmitter, 5:22pm Monday 1 April 2019.
Glancing over the fence, I see not all transmitter sites are created equal.
A main street of Puno where Quechua farmers make their way to sell at the weekend markets.
Here Quechua vendors make stalls for the tourist trade on the side of the Panamericana highway at the 4,335m snow caped mountain pass between Puno and Cusco.
Here Oebele, Doris and I arrive back at Diospi Suyana late on Wednesday afternoon, 3 April.
I am delighted that this 6th FM site completes the prime objective for our 3 year mission term in Peru with Diospi Suyana.  It has been a lot of hard work and a testing time, not only for me but Sandi and all of our family.  With language, culture and missing family and friends back home in Australia.  But also incredibly rewarding and enriching.

Again I want to say a huge thank you to all our supporters who have made this work possible!  We look forward to catching up with hopefully all of you during the course of this year that we are back in Australia.  And as previously, my love and thanks for Sandi keeping life running smoothly back at home with our great kids whilst I am away on these installation trips.

And not overlooking thanks for the one true God, who is always faithful to His promises.  As noted at the beginning of this Welch family journey to Peru, the one of special note given to us is this, of which we have quoted and assured ourselves with countless times;

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
(Psalm 121:1-3)

And I can testify He has done just that for all of our family.

For now, we are all busy with packing up house and selling many things that we cannot store for our pending return in 2 weeks’ time.  Sandi has had a garage sale here whilst I was away and I have since travelled to Cusco to try to sell our car.  As well I have additional upgrade works to try and complete in Curahuasi and Casabamba. 

Please pray for us that all this goes smoothly including our flights to Australia.  Not to mention that we find a suitable home in which to live.

Chris

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Our House in Curahuasi - Access to Video

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Dear all our emailed blog followers,

It seems that our automated emailed blog post from yesterday did not include the video - sorry!

For this you need to view our original blog post via your web browser.  The short cut is to simply click on this link;

http://welchesinperu.blogspot.com/2019/02/our-house-in-curahuasi.html

Saludos,

Chris (aka Welches in Peru IT Administrator J)


Monday, 11 February 2019

Our House in Curahuasi

Monday 11 February 2019

Today we recorded a brief video of our farm house in Curahuasi (this was done prior to moving out a bunch our furniture which we have sold, as we prepare to return to Australia for our first furlough on 21 April, 2019 after almost 3 years in Peru).

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our home life in Curahuasi these past 26 months.


(Please be patient when clicking on the video for the first time, as it may take time to load)

Blessings,

Chris, Sandi and clan

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Diospi FM On Air in Echarati

Thursday 31 January 2019

As of 7:01pm Tuesday 29 January, Diospi Suyana is on the air in Echarati district on FM 107.1 MHz.  This is our 5th FM site and so we now cover an additional 40,000 people. 


We left Curahuasi on Tuesday 22 January to see the long line of patients standing in the rain waiting for a ticket to enter Diospi Suyana hospital and receive first world professional medical care.
 
Patients line up to receive help from Diospi hospital - many choose to sleep out on the footpath.
Echarati is over 6 hours’ drive from Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, and is in the region of Cusco on the descent from the Andes into the Amazon rainforest.  The town of Echarati officially sits at 1,010m above mean sea level and has a tropical climate averaging 24°C.  As the temperature does not change much throughout the year, there is simply a wet season and a dry season.  The wet season is from December to March, and so our installation was unsurprisingly damp.  A common hazard at this time in all these mountainous regions is road washaways and landslides.  When leaving Curahuasi, we narrowly escaped (by 2 minutes) a major landslide which dumped tonnes of rock and gravel across the Panamericana highway.

 A week before our Echarati trip, a torrential downpour took out this major bridge on the highway delaying us an hour to pass over a makeshift causeway.
Our Diospi Hilux waiting in line for an hour to pass the bridge washaway.
Our transmission equipment delivery truck got bogged accessing our mountain top site after heavy overnight rains.
This has been the most tiring installation yet for us, as we spent nearly 3 hours each day to drive to and from our the closest city of Quillabamba which has a civilised hotel (clean, dry, hot water and access to safe food vendors).  This makes for long days and overall, an extended installation.  In fact it took us 10 days straight of typically 15+ hour days to complete our work.

And we seemed to have our fair share of challenges for this site, not the least being site construction problems.  We were assured the site was complete and ready with some low resolution photos, but the reality was unfortunately different.  We walked into the transmission room to wade through water due to a hopelessly inadequate roof and the heavy nightly rain that is normal during the wet season.  Poor construction skills, skimping on materials, and extremely low grade materials are common in Peru.

It also flooded during our installation before a new building contractor upgraded the thin plastic sheet with metal corrugation sheets and professional flashing.
Local farmer’s trucks get bogged on the causeways of our Echarati FM site access road after torrential rains bring down gravel and rocks.
Due to the remoteness we have installed an electric fence and wall vibration sensors to detect break in attempts.
Our telemetry system which reports remote site data back to our Media Centre in Curahuasi, is becoming more and more complex with more sensors at each site.  In addition to the normal security features of infrared movement sensors, for we have now included an electric fence, wall vibration sensors and a smoke sensor.  The first site of these new additions is Echarati and I want to acknowledge the help from Steve Schilg of Maximation in Australia who has invaluably helped me to continue our telemetry expansion with programming the TBox product. 

In addition we always remotely monitor the FM transmitter health, our satellite system, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and 4 x CCTV cameras at each site. 
 
Finally our FM antenna is installed along with our new metal roof sheeting properly fitted to make our site weatherproof.
Here my German mission colleague Christian Oswald and I commence assembly of our 2.4m C-Band satellite antenna.
Our Echarati 30m tower with 4 element FM antenna nearing completion.
Here is our scenic view to the North West (away from Echarati) from our FM site with the Urubamba River winding through the valley 1.1km beneath us.
Here is our elated Diospi Suyana team at the moment of FM transmission commencement – from left to right is Christian Oswald, Doris Manco, me and Cristobal Pancorbo.
Doris gets out of the car to mark the southerly limit of our Echarati coverage.
Our first fruits of this installation was during the return trip, when we crossed the 4,316m mountain pass of Quillabamba. At this point Cristobal gives his heart to serve Christ – it was an emotional moment for us.  Since then our Curahuasi media Centre have fetched an endless number of calls and messages (WhatsApp) thanking Diospi for commencing our program in their region, and with so many calls for us to pray for difficult life situations people find themselves in here.  Despite my exhaustion from this installation, and the sacrifice of family back home – it is so worth the effort. 

I also wanted to acknowledge my wife Sandi who does the most amazing work “keeping the fires burning” in coping with day to day running of the house.  During my time away in Echarati, back home we had the suspension break on our van (meaning she had to resort to 3 wheel moto-taxis in and out of town), we had a water pipe burst, we had mice in our mud brick house – all of which Sandi takes in her stride.  In addition Sandi is managing the education of our 7 kids at home as they start school again now with distance education from Australia, running in and out of town over and over each day, baby sitting another families’ 2 infants and a baby on Tuesdays as they both work at Diospi Suyana, packing preparation for our return to Australia in April (our first return in 3 years), and managing so many other things.  She is the most incredible gift and soul mate for me, and I love her dearly.

Here our 2 year old Stacey is fascinated with a mouse in our house that Isaac caught while I was away.
Saludos,

Chris