Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cusco Christmas party 2009

Thank you to everyone who was a part in making this years childrens Christmas party a success. Without your financial donations we would not have been able to have such a special day for the kids who are a part of our ministry in Cusco. We had over 150 children in attendance and were able to bless them with food, gifts and the love of Christ.

May the love of Christ fill your hearts this Christmas as we remember His birth; His "step down into darkness". He is the light of the world and the door by which we enter into eternal life with Him. We are blessed to be His lights unto the world. Thank you for joining us on this journey and for being a part of reaching the nations for Christ!

With love, Ricky, Tracie, Isabella and Baby Olivares

Friday, December 11, 2009

November was a whirlwind. There is so much to comment on, but I doubt I will get to it all. It's already late, I'm tired as a pregnant woman and ready for bed already! But a post is long over due!

We moved into this pretty old house. The owners live next door which has turned out to be a blessing. For the first two weeks we had people coming over almost every day to fix something that either wasn't working or really needed an upgrade. We finally got water hook-up for our washing machine, got all the showers, toilets and sinks fixed, some electrical stuff done.. etc etc. It was nearly a month without internet, which was harder to deal with than you could imagine, especially because it happened to be during a time of mission teams. We needed to connect with people to check on flights, have conversations over skype and send updates. Needless to say, there we were on more than one occasion after the teams were done for the night driving around our neighborhood looking for a wireless signal so we could quickly check our email.

Isabella got really really sick. It was not fun and we almost took her to the emergency room because she couldn't breathe. But after a few sleepless nights, she began to feel better. Aparently she had bronchitis or something. It was probably even worse for her because of being in the high-altitude where there is already a lack of oxygen. She also had a few rough weeks... got 5 new teeth that we can see.. all at once. poor girl, she was miserable. But she's feeling much better now, thankfully!

We thoroughly enjoyed the 2 mission teams we had in November. The first team from Crossroads came to help with some random projects of ours, evangelism and outreach. They did a great job. We were excited to finally be hosting a team from Crossroads because our relationship with them began in such a random way nearly three years ago, even before Chuck became their senior pastor. It's funny how God works, and how through a random family friend we met someone who knew someone who was coming to Cusco.. and they wanted to meet us and see the church. We will post some photos of the team and their work as soon as we are able.

Two days after that team left, we hosted a medical team. Their work was different entirely and also a blessing. Through both teams' efforts, new people have come to receive Christ and have joined our church fellowship.

The church has been growing like crazy! And only thanks to God who has a perfect plan for calling people unto Himself. We are humbled and blessed to be a part of our church family. To see such tremendous growth in such a short amount of time makes us realize something. God uses multiplication. Instead of just filling a church, which we could do if we were only focused on numbers, it is of utmost importance to invest in people's lives and disciple them. With the very purpose of multiplication. Ricky and I, as husband and wife team, are really just one person. We've been in Cusco for nearly four years all by ourselves. How could one person reach so many? It can't be done without multiplication.

In the beginning we worked for many months with only two people. Thankfully the Lord did not let us lose heart. The amazing thing is that when one person shares their faith and disciples another, they have multiplied. Then two become four, four becomes sixteen, and so on, which eventually becomes a great multitude of Christ followers. If we teach multiplication in the church, we are not focused on numbers nor on filling our church for the sake of doing so. We invest in someone's life knowing that they will then invest in the life of another.

We have long outgrown our rented church building with the children, and now have outgrown it with the adults too. Investment in the future leaders of the church is a top priority for this next year. What good news to have need for a new building!

Well, December is almost half way through, we haven't had a chance to sit down and catch our breath, because we are preparing for the Christmas party! There were so many responses to our request for donations for the children's party. We reached and surpassed our goal for the party! The fiesta is being held this Saturday, Dec 13th. We have over 150 gifts and have everything ready and are expecting quite a turnout. We'll get photos up as soon as possible.

As far as my pregnancy goes. I. am. tired. but feel pretty good aside from that! I am loving this pregnancy and am fascinated how different it has been from my pregnancy with Isabella. We are looking forward to our trip to Chile. We will be there for the birth and until baby can fly back with us to Peru. It will be nice to be with Ricky's family again. They are amazing and caring people. Couldn't ask for better parents-in-law. Isabella is going to love Christmas in Chile this year and celebrating her 2nd birthday in January. We are loving the rain here in Cusco, but also look forward to summer in Chile.

 It has been such a blessing with my mom here these last few weeks. She has helped me a lot and has given me a much needed mental break from daily activities. Although things continue to be busy, just having her here and enjoying her company has helped me relax.

I love Abram's face in this last picture.
Closing for now, buenas noches