Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Did you ever watch the Big Bang Theory (TV show) where Sheldon says ¡BAZINGA! Whenever he pulled a joke on someone, well whenever someone is acting dumb, don't you just feeling saying ¡¡MORINGA!! Lol. Well that's not what moringa is, actually quite the opposite.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 NIV
[11] Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Probably the wisest man that ever lived said this, I believe the last sentence in this verse holds the answer. "Nothing was gained under the sun" but how about if we never worked for anything under the sun, how about what ever we did, we did it for the glory of God, to gain a reward ABOVE the sun. Colossians 3:17 NIV
[17] And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Revelation 22:12 NIV
[12] “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I could go on quoting verses but the point is, if we do things for this world, even if it's done with good intentions we will at some point become discouraged and it will seem meaningless, but when we work for the kingdom of God and for his glory without expecting to gain or even accomplish anything, then we can become open to receive from God all he has to offer us, peace, love, understanding and wisdom. And no matter how things look from our point of view and from what the world sees, we can feel accomplished because we have worked for Christ and in so doing we have become closer to him. 

Some time ago, actually quite a while ago pastor Jeff from Selah Fire, my home church in Canada, sent some seeds along with a couple that came here for a visit. And at the time I wasn't too excited about it, I never was one to fall for too good sounding schemes, and because we didn't have any running fresh water I left them sitting in a drawer. But once the town was finished with the new water lines and we had fresh water I planted some, and I have to say I have not been disappointed. They seem to thrive in our sandy soil and scorching hot sun, with very minimal water.

After about 6 weeks of being
planted outside.
 There is all kinds of information on them if you google them.
They are packed full of nutrition, they can be trimmed to use as a shrub bush or let them grow into a nice shade tree. In my first experiment I figured out that they love to be in the open and free, so just last week I put another six outside so we will see how they look in another month from now. Trimming the bottom leaves off encourages growth so we have already enjoyed some leaves in our salad.
 If you haven't caught on, the name of the tree is ¡¡MORINGA!! We had one that got eaten down to a little stub by some sort animal, figuring that it was dead I stopped watering it for probably well over a week, maybe two.
Some more in the ground
about 10 weeks outside
 after taking the bottom
leaves off
The dead one
 One day while walking by it caught my eye, and I noticed a couple little leaves poking out of the "dead" stub. And it's been doing fairly well, I think it will make it. I think maybe instead of making up my mind that it will fail, I need to just do it, plant them and water them and leave the result to God :) if he wishes to give us a miracle tree then who am I to say no. Bless you in the name of Jesus. 

Washing Clothes

I woke up a bit earlier than usual yesterday morning, and decided to use that time to get started on the huge mountain of laundry waiting to be done.  I put my shoes on and went outside to go to the laundry room, and on my way I ran into Norma.  I greeted her and asked how she was doing.  "Bien" She smiled but looked a bit stressed, and then asked where Jake was.  When I asked what was up, she started talking about the washing machine "no funciona".. meaning, the washing machine is not working. Oh no, I thought.  The washing machine already has an electrical problem where it gives off small shocks if you touch it while it's running. We have still been using it with caution while we wait for them to send someone to fix the problem. But now we won't be able to use it at all anymore until it's fixed.

My big mountain of laundry suddenly didn't seem so big anymore as I thought about the MANY mountains Norma must have waiting for her to tackle.

{Norma is the hired laundry girl for Casa de Paz. She is a beautiful, hard working young lady who does an amazing job keeping up with washing clothes for all 30 or so kids!}

Right now there is only 1 washing machine for her to use - the one that we bought for the orphanage only a few months ago.  We don't have a washing machine in our own home, so we also use the same one.  This machine runs almost 24/7 and hardly gets a break, so it didn't really come as a surprise to us that it was already having problems.  But trying to get things repaired around here is not always easy.  Having warranty or Guaranty doesn't seem to mean a whole lot around here.  Exchanges and returns are almost never an option; once you buy it, it's yours. And if you want something fixed, you gotta fight for it.  This means calling and reminding them everyday until they send a repair man.  

Well it has been a couple weeks now of waiting, and laundry can only wait so long.  We are very grateful though for the pastor's family for being kind enough to offer their machine for us to use in the meantime.  Theirs is a much smaller one though and is not able to handle the amount of laundry Norma does each day, so she is still WAY behind.

This morning I looked out the window and saw Norma and a few of the girls sitting outside with washtubs of soapy water. They were washing clothes by hand.  I decided to the same and washed some of our clothes as well. 

As I watched the girls scrub and chat away, I noticed that they were smiling and laughing, they seemed to be having a great time.  It's amazing how having the right attitude about a situation changes everything! Instead of complaining, they worked hard together and got the job done, all the while enjoying each other's company.  1 Corinthians 16:14 came to mind "Do EVERYTHING in love". When it's done in love, it's done with joy and a positive attitude.  I'm definitely going to try to learn from and practice the girls' great example. :)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Sunday, January 26, 2014


A little while ago one of the girls wanted to tell me something, and by the light in her eyes and huge smile on her face, I could tell it was something good.  She could barely sit still long enough to quickly type the words into Google translate. I skimmed over the roughly translated words.. something about paperwork and waiting.. then my heart leaped with excitement when I saw these words "Someone wants to adopt me!"

Adoption.  This word sounds like hope to most of the kids at Casa de Paz.  The thought of getting adopted is to these kids what winning the lottery is to the average person. And I thank God that they can have that hope; that childlike faith that always believes and hopes, no matter what.  This is the whole reason for a place like this, to give kids hope for a better future.  Casa de Paz is a great place where the kids get loved and cared for, and in a sense we are a big family here, the kids have lots of mamas and are all brothers and sisters,  but the truth is, it is still not the same as having one mom and one dad to call your own.  I think about my own three children and how different their lives would be living here without their mommy and daddy.. It is our hope and prayer for every child to have a loving family to call their own.

In the short time we have been here at Casa de Paz, we have been blessed with seeing 2 adoptions happen (six kids in total)  Last year, just shortly after we moved to Peru, FIVE siblings (ranging from age 9 to 17) were adopted by a beautiful, courageous couple from Missouri, the Sterlings, who already had 2 daughters of their own, making it a big happy family of nine. We also just heard the good news - they are expecting another child! :D

The Sterling family

The Buttress family

About one year later, this past November we got to watch another of our boys go home with his new family, the Buttress's, who are also from Missouri!  But, the best and most amazing part about this story is - the two families are neighbors! How awesome is that?! I love how God works, He had it all planned out. The right connections, the right family, the right place, at just the right time. It is stories like these that remind us of why we are here, and give us energy to keep going. In a sense it is kind of like a reward from God for not giving up even when times are tough. Galations 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  It is all worth it when you see the fruit it bears.
And it is stories like these where you say There is no way that could have happened without God, to Him be All the Glory! I believe God has more stories like this all planned out and ready to happen in His perfect timing. :)
Friday night Jake and I, along with Larissa and Dawn, took a very special young woman out for dinner to celebrate her 22nd birthday. I have only known her for a couple years, but even in that short time I have seen so much growth and change in her.

Her story is one of those that really pulls at the heart strings... She came to Casa de Paz as a young teen, broken, and about as down as a person can get, having seen and endured more in her young life than most of us endure our whole lives.  But she still had hope.  God was her hope and He brought her here to Casa de Paz.  This is a house of peace, a place of healing and restoration.  I have seen it many times now, when a child comes in here, the transformation that happens. Love heals.  Praise God for how He is using this place!

I look at this young 22 year old now and see a strong, accomplished, independent woman. She is in school studying to be a psychologist, her heart is to help other young girls who are going through the same things she's gone through.  She is also a part time house mom and spends her free time here with the kids at Casa de Paz.  She is a great role model and a beautiful example of how God works all things out for good to those who trust in Him.

Happy Birthday Milagros!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What happened to Jill and Jan!

God has a specific plan does he not, his will is for all to come home safe and sound, but because we have a mind and free will of our own, and because of the enemy of God who will stop at no end to disturb the will of God, He needed to come up with a plan. But God being God knew this al in advance so it came to him as no surprise, he was ready, and the plan in place. The plan is to save all who want to be saved, and to protect them from those who would do them harm. And to be clear I'm not talking about physical harm, I am talking about ham to who we are in God's eyes, our spirit born of God. We may receive at times physical and emotional hurt from the world around us-actual we get hurt a whole lot, that's a huge topic all on its own. But our spirit, our identity, can not be touched. Not height, hate or hell itself can separate us from the love of God. When people choose not to be saved from the losing side, I think it brings grief to God.

Likewise when we have kids here who do not want to be saved from their old life, it grieves my heart. We get from time to time kids who are not here because of abuse to them but rather because of misbehaviour on their part. My heart goes out to them because I believe it's easier to save someone from someone else than it is to save someone from themselves. To mix the two together can be a dangerous thing if not supervised carefully. But we had to kids here who had stirred up some trouble for themselves. As it turns out they mastered up a plan to escape. They would take some things from the other kids that could be of value and run, our compound is secure but it's not a prison, you can get out if you mean it. They made it to the bus station, and with a sob story about a dead father and an MP3 player as payment they got on a bus to Trujillo. We found out only moments after they were gone but by the time we had done a quick search of the town and finally found out that they got onto a bus they where half an hour gone. And because we live in Peru and the bus had other passengers who didn't have the patience to stop, the bus kept going, so we set chase, we had to reach them before they got to Trujillo where they would be let off the bus. Not five kilometres before we got to Trujillo we finally caught up with the bus and pulled our kids out, meanwhile the cops where called (who didn't lift a finger for us ) but because they where called we had to bring the girls in to prove we had them in our possession again. Today they where ordered to court because they are considered a threat to the other kids(there's more to the story, I won't explain it all) So they are off our hands, where they will go from here we don't know. It pains me to see young teens, when they are handed such a beautiful opportunity to start fresh, and they throw it away. And I am powerless to help them. Pray for them, and pray for our kids that whatever negative was brought in will not stick to anyone here.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Seems I never realize how tired I am until I finally sit down at the end of the day.  It's usually a good kind of tired though, where I am content because I know that something has been accomplished today, even if it was just keeping up with the house and the kids.  Somehow I thought that life would slow down and settle down again now that christmas is over, but nope. The business of life just keeps on, when one thing's done the next one starts! Tuesday night women's group, Saturday bible study, Spanish lessons, Sunday singing practice, weekly staff meetings... and all the other in between. Awhile ago I thought that God had a special ministry planned for me here, I felt that what I was doing here wasn't enough and that there must be more, and up until just recently I've been waiting for him to reveal it to me.  But when our precious baby Tahlia came along it changed that for me. At least for now.  I am lucky now if I can keep up with cooking meals, house work and getting to spend time with our 3 + 30 kids all in a day! I'm not complaining at all though. most moms will agree that it is one of the hardest, but also BEST job in the world :) I'm thankful for early mornings and late nights (when the kids are asleep) of quiet moments. Moments to spend in prayer and devotions, reading, writing or just talking over the day with my man.

Overall, though it has been busy, it has been a good start to the new year for us.  We have two young volunteers here with us from Canada, and they couldn't have come at a better time. School is out until March, and the kids need to be kept busy and out of trouble, so we are thankful for Larissa and Dawn being here to help with that.  They brought lots of fun games and activities with them, and the kids are loving having them here.  For me and Jake today was a day of running about town to different offices signing papers. So while we were out doing paperwork Larissa and Dawn were here with the kids, it was great coming home today to see them playing soccer :) I'm sure that the month and a half they are here is going to go all too quickly for everyone, but it will not be forgotten and it will have (and already has) made a difference in these kids lives. We sure are grateful for people who take time out of their lives to come love on the kids at Casa de Paz.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. - James 1:27

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feliz Navidad

I know it's late to be posting about Christmas, but this was our second Christmas in Peru and we have never done a blog about it yet, and I would like to, so I hope a late post is okay :)

To say that the past two Christmas's have been different for our family would be an understatement.  From different foods and different weather, to different traditions, but I think the biggest change is the different people we are spending Christmas with now.  We love our Peru family incredibly, but at this time of year I always do miss my Canadian family a little extra much.

It has been interesting learning and experiencing the Peruvian way of celebrating this special time of year.  We are thankful that the kids at Casa de Paz get very loved on at Christmas time.  Each Christmas we have numerous groups and organizations come in and bless the kids with christmas parties. Here they call it a "chocolatada".  It's a lot of fun for the kids. Games, candy, hot chocolate and the traditional paneton (Peruvian fruitcake) And gifts of coarse!  Most times the toys they get don't last more than a day, and balls have a way of finding thorns and going flat, but this year we were happy to see more gifts of clothes and shoes, things that are needed and can be used are far more valuable than cheap toys. and the kids loved them.

Thankful for kind donations from people with willing hearts

At Christmas we also love to bless the women and children in our bible study ministry.  Our friend Ysabel prepares a big bucket of hot chocolate, and of coarse there is always paneton for all.  Normally we have about 10 women and 30 kids, but at the Christmas chocolatada those numbers almost double. This year we put together treat bags with candy and toothbrushes for all the children, and we also handed out shoes that had been donated by a group from the States. I usually don't have Jake along for bible study but this day I was grateful to have him there to help out.  It was chaos. We had never seen anyone so happy for a new pair of shoes as those kids. As soon as the shoes came out people just magically appeared out of nowhere. But one look at the condition some of their shoes were in and we didn't have to wonder why. Finding the right sizes for everyone was hard, but in the end 30+ kids were blessed with a new pair. It filled my heart with joy watching them try on their new shoes and excitedly run to show their mamas.

The women with their gifts. Glass canisters filled with soap, towels and lotion.
 While Jake bravely handled the shoe situation outside, I sat inside Flor's house with the women where it was much quieter. We read from the bible the nativity story, spent time in prayer, filled our stomachs with hot chocolate and paneton while enjoying good conversations, and at last handed out gifts.

Christmas Day we went to Jequetepeque to visit our missionary friends Auden and Wendy.  We were blessed with a delicious meal that they prepared for us, and after lunch the kids played it the pool and even got to go for a ride on Auden's motorcycle.

After all the kids chocolatadas were done, it was finally our turn. The Saturday after Christmas we had our staff gift exchange. We enjoyed a nice pot luck lunch.  It was so nice to have a little break away from the kids, and for the house moms too. They had put the older girls in charge of looking after the younger ones during that time.  I love our staff! We are so thankful for each one of them and the role they play in keeping this place going.

Merry Christmas from Casa de Paz!!

A New Year

I realize that we haven't been doing the greatest job keeping this blog up to date. It has been crazy busy around here lately, but I know that's no excuse because it has always been busy.  I also realize that making new years resolutions is usually just a way of setting yourself up for failure (at least in my own experience) So I won't make any promises but we do want to try harder to keep the blog updated this year.  

It is a brand new year and I can't wait to put in writing all the things that 2014 has to bring! It is going to be a great year! I just know it. There is so much to look forward to - The Canadian team in February, new volunteers, A new start for the school, Avis' book.. So many amazing things that God is doing.  But this time something is different for me when I think about what the year has in store.  Out of all the great things I can think of could happen this year, there is one thought that keeps popping up in my mind, one more exciting than all the rest... I can't stop wondering - What if this is the year our precious Saviour will return..?  I would be overjoyed if 2014 was the last year of all time, and if not, I will be overjoyed anyway, because I know that whether this year or not for another 50 years, His return is near. And until then I will wait in excited expectation.