Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas party 2010

all wrapped and ready

Isabella with her friends dancing before the party began
it was raining really hard right before the party, but that didn't stop them, the kids were still outside waiting to come in


Carmen and Darwin, enjoying their Christmas bread and juice

William receiving his gift

Sandra.. waiting till everyone has theirs before opening

"are we almost done?"

Andy showing his excitement

1,2,3, open!

the aftermath

girls from the "youth" group with Karla on her last day

Luis and Joselo

Hermana ("Abuelita") Jony and Milan

Monday, December 06, 2010

medical clinic 2010

our team of translators and helpers

the medical team, docs nurses and helpers

*thanks Steve and Rorry for loaning these photos!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

its been just over 24 hours since Ricky left with the team for a trip to Machu Picchu. I miss him terribly! When my "other half" is gone, it leaves me feeling like something isn't quite right. I'll see him tomorrow.. so it's really no big deal, right? I think we've been apart for a maximum of a week since we got married. I think a week is long enough. Isa cried last night when the translators left.

They did a marvelous job, by the way! We enjoyed the company of Alfredo (this is his 3rd or 4th year with us for the clinic), Lucia (Karla's younger sister, who is getting married in May and I'm sure she was crazy for a week without her prometido!), Claudia (a young woman whom I had the pleasure of meeting just this week... she is such a sweet and fun person), and Angel (who I had met in Tacna when I lived there in 2005 but had never had the chance to really get to know. He had us cracking up even more than Alfredo did, and that sure says something).

As the four of them left for the bus station, Isabella cried. It wasn't a sad goodbye cry, but she really broke down for a few minutes and I just had to hold her... and all that came out of her mouth was, "my papi". Several hours earlier she waved and happily said goodbye to Ricky as he got on the bus with the team. But later when saying goodbye to the Tacna kids, she realized how much she missed her daddy. We love him and can't wait for him to come home tomorrow!

By the way, my eye is feeling SO much better today! Turns out I had a scratched cornea and the drops i was given made it worse. I can actually see now, praise the Lord

Oh and this picture is us trying to get a family photo... of course the kids just wouldn't cooperate, this one was the best out of all of the ones we took. (y gracias Karla, te robe unas fotos de los chiquillos!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the doctors are here and in the last 4 days have been able to help nearly 500 people! Tomorrow is the last day of the clinic and they expect more people than they can receive. Tonight they even had to turn some people away as it was getting really late.

and i have been one of those patients. i don't know what it is (maybe sheer exhaustion) but I always seem to get sick whenever the doctors are here. While fighting a long cold, the other day my eye started hurting. The doc said it was a little red and maybe was infected so he gave me some drops. Ever since I started those drops (and no longer am using) my eye started burning. It gets so bad and is so sensitive to light that I need to wear sunglasses indoors. I can't focus on the words on the pages of the book to read to Milan before bed and I feel the overwhelming sense that i need to shut my eyes, but doesn't bring much relief. Doc said I probably scratched the cornea (how on earth that happens, i have no idea). I'm waiting for it to get better... It's a little too painful to even focus on the screen to write.. just say a little prayer for me! I'm not being of any use to anyone around here like this and especially for my kids who need me all the time..i need to get better!

Friday, October 22, 2010

photos from last weekend

i accidentally loaded some recent photos of the church and kids on the wrong blog. and since it took me forever the first time, i'm not going to put them here. Instead, click HERE to see them! Or here..

or here...

ok you get the point

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


this morning we visited immigrations. it's been a long process trying to get residency. and we discovered that it continues to be long as there is no end in sight. When we received the new 2010 documents (in August!), a few documents were missing from the IAM corporation and legal representative in Peru, who happens to not live in Cusco. It took more than 8 weeks for us to get these missing documents.... all the while, the other ones conveniently expired. And this morning we were told that a few signatures were also missing. lovely.

Finally we were told, the process while done from Cusco, everything is send through the capital Lima, and will take 4-6 months. During this time frame we are not allowed for any reason to leave the country. This request is pretty difficult for us, especially since we already have trips planned for Dec-Jan and May-June. We were advised to go to Lima and do everything there, which takes 14 days (or 20 or 30, depending on the day of the week and if people aren't on strike or anything). So our process is yet again stalled as we have to decide, 4-6 months next year, which isn't impossible... or 30 days now, in Lima, where we don't have any connections (ie, place to stay) and the costs of traveling to and from Lima, which would require 2-3 round trips with the entire family, add up.

It can be quite frustrating having to rely on others for documents that are time-sensitive. Of course, when it's necessary for oneself, time is always of the essence, but when it's for someone else.... it's so easy to forget (or not care).

Please, pray for us, for our decisions... also to decide whether its worth getting a religous visa at all or just stick out the next several years as tourists like we've been doing already, or applying for an investor visa. That brings other challenges too (like at least 25k in a bank account for the investment)... so we're weighing our options.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Five years. five years and I have yet to discover the meaning behind "pan de guagua"  - the infamous baby bread. This time of year I take advantage to ask as many Cusqueñans as possible, what's with the baby bread? The most common response is that it's tradition. yah, and? What's with the baptism... what's with the Catholic priest proceeding the ceremonies?... what's with the horse and rider, where did this origin? 

the simple answer> no one knows.

I don't think they care either, because they dismiss my question rather quickly with "tradition". And then go on to explain other celebrations this time of year, like the day of the dead (Oct 31st), el Dia de los Santos (Nov 1st), Cristo de los milagros, Cristo de los temblores, Cristo Morado...

There are other "traditions" that I do understand, like wearing purple all month. Which is a way of identifying with Cristo Morado (Black/Purple Christ, better translated, Bruised Christ). Years ago, there was a strong earthquake that caused devastation in the city of Cusco. And since the earthquake just happened to stop right as a priest brought out the enormous image of the Black Christ onto the street, the entire city celebrates this Cristo Morado during the month of October. 

Another tradition is hanging long pieces of purple fabric (which over the years has converted into fabric and balloons) from the doorway of your house or business. During the month, each of the 13 Cathedrals in the city will have various processions with their image of Cristo Morado, el Señor de los Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes). They will pass by and stop (how exciting) in front of YOUR business if you have the fabric hanging. It is considered a special blessing over your business. They also block off the street, while they paint enormous designs on the street using natural dyes make from flowers and minerals. The artwork is quite lovely especially since they spend hours upon hours to complete their work, but a little sad that it gets totally trampled as the procession passes by. Their hope in earthly things is impressionable. 

The Day of the Dead, also known as Halloween, is an interesting day/night. It saddens me what the Christian church does to promote this pagan holiday. And how the enemy uses commercialism to blind otherwise Godly eyes about the truth of this day. I feel like my eyes have been opened... the scales have fallen... and now I see what really happens on this day. I used to be in the camp of "oh it's a harmless day for kids to get dressed up and eat candy". I'm no longer in that camp. I think if I lived in a place like the US, where the "real meaning" of the holiday has been all but forgotten (except for a specific group of very anti-godly people) maybe I would let my kids dress up and go to the church functions. Do I think I was damaged by going door to door trick-or-treating? No. But then again, I wasn't living in a place like Cusco. 

Next Sunday night, October 31st, the cementaries will be a place for conjuring spirits of dead loved ones, of speaking through mediums and performing rituals... much done in ignorance while others, will be doing much darker things with full knowledge. Scorcery, witchcraft, magic, anti-God, anti-marriage, anti-anything-good will be at its full force that night. 

On October 31st, we will be celebrating LIFE.  A new life in Christ, Norma, is preparing for the birth of her first son. We will be having a baby shower! 

On the Day of the Dead, instead of celebrating the dead we will celebrate the living.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sept udpate

Dearest friends, prayers and supporters, 

I don't know how many times I've sat down to write this update and have been interrupted! I'm finally getting this done even as little sticky hands try to touch the screen. 

Our family is doing well, despite a little sickness. The last month we've all suffered from a cold, Milan being the final one to catch it. He has quite a nasty cough, but no fever. We just hope it doesn't get any worse. Pray for him. 
     Aside from runny noses.. our kids are doing great, growing as fast as ever. Milan just turned 8 months, has seven teeth, says papa, waves, gives kisses and claps. He's such a determined little boy, right after he learned to crawl (at six months, he started standing up and now he's cruising along the furniture, at times letting go, trying to walk. We are so in love with him and are so thankful this addition to our family. Isabella is such a fun, bright little girl. She dances and sings all day long, loves to make Milan laugh and is already talking about going to school (preschool that is) and wears her backpack wherever she goes. Ricky and I are blessed. 

The last several weeks we have seen many new faces at church. Some of whom we have prayed for for months, wondering if they would ever make that step toward Jesus. Jorge, who came on full-time in July, receives many of the neighbors for a mid-week Bible study at his house. His desire to serve the Lord is apparent in his compassion toward the many broken and lost people in the city. 
     Jorge and Karla kept normal activities going for the three weeks that Ricky, the kids and I spent in Chile. 

our travels to Chile
We were blessed to take a small break to spend with our family to celebrate Chile's 200 years of independence! Our days were filled with lots of good food and fellowship. We also had an interview with the US embassy to register Milan's birth abroad and apply for US passport and social security no. Although he gains US citizenship at birth because I am a citizen, we still had to go through a process of proving my US citizenship with several documents and numerous questions of where I lived and when, throughout my life. Though it was apparent I lived my entire life (until now) in the States, it still made me nervous that they wouldn't accept our application. They did, and we're thankful because without a US passport, we were told, Milan cannot travel to the States, not even with his Chilean passport.

back home, what's next
Now, we are back home, making preparations for the end of the year that seems to being coming upon us quickly. We are receiving a group of wonderful friends and doctors in November for a medical clinic. Each year, their visit is such a highlight!

We also are making preparations for the annual children's Christmas party! Can you believe I just said Christmas? Much to my surprise, I heard that in the US, you all are starting to see Christmas decorations for sale already! I love the fall that gives way to the Christmas season, but we are experiencing Spring here in Cusco. The rainy season is just about here. Today we are loving mid-70s warmth, but yesterday we got caught in a hail-storm that left us and many others trapped inside a shopping center, where the plastic roofing could not cover us from the invading ice the size of a marble. We waited out the worst of it, covering the kids' ears as the sound of the hail pounding on the roof was incredible. 

As I close, I just want to express our gratitude to you for your prayer. We have several prayer requests, so please continue praying for us!

-for good health

-for Karla, who may return to Tacna at the end of the year to work, which means we need someone who loves children to come and serve our amazing kids in 2011 

-for the upcoming Christmas party and for the $2,000 we need to raise for it to bless over 200 children this year (by month end we will send out another email concerning the Christmas party)

-for church property, we are still searching... And for a space to rent for our business endeavors

-for 2 interns for 2011, focus is in music ministry and children's ministry, a basic knowledge of Spanish is a must. (Write if you have any more questions about these wonderful opportunities to serve God)

-for a keyboard for the church and we are still in need of 3-4 laptops for our after-school ministry

We thank God for you, 

In His grace and peace
Tracie, Ricky, Isabella y Milan

Iberoamerican Ministries
PO Box 1493
Monroe, WA 98272

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

from Cusco to Santiago

The rainy season decided to come a little early this year... while it was still not quite September we'd already had a few days of rain, the first of which caught us by surprise as the loud "gotas" dropped on our red tile roof, signaling what soon turned into a heavy downpour, out of the blue- literally.  Running to pull the clothes off the line before they got a second (undesired) rinse I saw the nice black cloud that finally blew in after four months of drought. Our rainy season in Cusco lasts six months a year. Apparently this year will be at least seven. Hesitation fills the hearts of our Peruvian friends, wondering if heavy rains will bring flooding like they did in January. We pray they don't.

Ricky and I feel lucky in a way to have escaped these early rains.... we are in Santiago. Chile! 
There are a few reasons for our trip, one of which is to celebrate Chile's 200th anniversary of independence!! We also were obligated to leave the country as our tourist visas were about to expire. We (still) are waiting for our Peruvian residency. It has been such a hassle patience-developing experience. I (Tracie), find myself praying for patience on a daily basis. Our children are the joy of our hearts and bless me with the opportunity to be patient all day. As I type this, I have been interrupted a hundred times! Milan is crawling and is discovering the stairs, wants to climb them, chases the dog, stands at the patio door, front door, coffee table, chairs, and grabs the plants, the dog, the lamp cords, the drawers... spit up carrot puree on the floor and knocked over Nina's plant. I cleaned it up (don't tell my mother in law) but i think you get the point. The last thing he wants is to be held. He loves discovering this new world that unfolds before him now that he can move around. 

Isabella is the most independent little girl I've ever known. She doesn't want help doing anything. She gets up in the morning and goes downstairs, turns on cartoons, tries to serve herself some milk, goes to the bathroom and wipes herself, and just now she laid herself down for a nap saying she was sleepy. It's like one moment they both need mommy and the next they don't. What is a mommy gonna do? I guess I'll just keep listening to Leeland and writing then.

I really thought we'd come to Santiago and discover that Spring is here! Not yet. We are totally spoiled by the weather in Cusco. It has been so beautiful the last several months. And even with the rains coming, the temperature will be quite mild. As a mother preparing the children's luggage, I kept going over in my head what will work for the weather, thinking it was much warmer in Santiago! I'm kind of kicking myself for not packing that extra sweater or warmer pj's. But we'll do fine with layering.... [way to go, mom.]

Chile's independence isn't the only reason we are here. We also are awaiting our upcoming meeting with the US Embassy to process Milan's report of birth abroad, since he was born here. We also are going to take advantage of the time, do some work on our property and visit with Ricky's dear aunt who is sick with cancer.

Though we've only been gone a few days, my mind drifts back to Cusco and I wonder how Bible study at Jorge's went last night. And I wonder if Ana and Grecia, teenagers, could solve their current drama without getting the families involved. And I do wonder if Grecia followed through with the threat of punching Ana in the face. 

Finally, Isabella is up from her nap and in the tub and Milan is sleeping. As for Ricky, he's helping his dad out with some things and as for me... who is that? I am not my own.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Date night

I love being a missionary and living in a place that is totally boring after a few months. It's been nearly five years. There is nothing to do in Cusco. Seriously. People come from all over the world and see this amazing, beautiful, ancient city and fall in love. They take their pictures, visit the pubs, drink the coca tea, see the sites and then go home. A few Europeans stay for a month or two to help out in an orphanage or some other "cool" needy place. But then they eventually go home too. We, on the other hand, stayed. And after five minutes you realize there is nothing to do here. Sometimes that can be a very good thing. Especially on days when we just go for long walks or read books or hang out with the fam. But there are other days, like yesterday, when you just want to get out and do something.

Wanna know what my idea of fun is? It's going to the LAN airlines office at 6pm (what a date!), wait for a half hour to be seen and then sit there for over an hour while the lady tries to make a change to our tickets. With the kids in tow. Both of them. I don't know why I torture myself. It seemed like a good "lets get out of the house for a half hour" idea. But then we were stuck there for way longer. Then I consoled myself saying this is a good lesson for Isabella to learn patience. Ha. She did.. and she was such a good girl, until the security guard closed the front door and the metal security gates. She cried. She thought we weren't going to get out. I was bored and said, hey we're gonna sleep here tonight, isn't that cool? She cried more. I finally explained that the guard has the keys and will let us out when we're done. What a FUN night. I'm sure you're jealous

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

at the clinica with the CCV team

The following photos were from a day at the Clinica San Juan de Dios, where the team from Christ's Church of the Valley helped out at a rehabilitation center for special needs children. It was a most wonderful and fun day for the kids, many of whom have families but have been abandoned in the live-in center due to their disabilities.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our church meeting was so good yesterday. Ricky shared about Jesus being la Pan de la vida, the bread of life. Food, and to eat, is a necessity that we cannot live without (on the long term). Just a few hours after we eat, we get hungry again. And without bread, hunger can lead to death. Jesus fills us with living bread, salvation and eternal life, and when we partake of it, we will never have hunger or die again.

Someone recently asked me why Jesus spoke in parables, which many didn't understand or needed Him to explain. If he spoke directly wouldn't it have furthered his fame even faster? I think that if the most intellectuals, the pharisees, couldn't understand his parables it was because they were too puffed up to understand. While on the other hand, the simple-minded could grasp what was being told. I believe that he spoke using parables so that it would lift up the low and bring low those who were puffed up. Parables about the bread of life or the harvest or some seeds being sewn, makes so much sense to a simple Quechua people. Using parables makes all the difference for them to see and understand what Jesus was trying to say.

There were four people who went forward to pray to follow Christ this past Sunday. We had 7 new visitors too. There were nearly 30 adults in attendance. While numbers is NOT our main focus nor our goal is to have a large church, we are encouraged that the church continues to grow and for the new believers.

We are busy this week preparing for a short-term team who is coming from CCV in California. They will have only a few days to work, so we hope to make the most of it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

so i began blogging an "update" post and then forgot about it. I just decided to start-over. since this is mainly my blog and is terribly informal, an informal post will have to do. I don't have time for blogging and writing letters and things like I used to. Having children is the best thing EVER, but it does take quite a lot of time and energy! Every night after the babies are tucked in bed, I usually check my email and try to talk myself into blogging. Usually what happens is that I just end up going to bed.

Life seems to be on fast-forward... and that's even living in a place like Peru, where life is slow in every sense. I can't imagine what life must feel like for those living in fast-paced cultures! I am so accustomed to life in Peru, I really can't (nor do I want to) imagine what it would be like to be back living in Lost Angeles.

The parties have really started this last month and so we are in the busiest time of year in Cusco. The Inca (Quechua) people had some very interesting beliefs. On winter solstice several days ago, we celebrated Inti Raymi, which is Quechua for Fiesta del Sol, which means Festival of the Sun (god). Inti is one of the most important gods to the Incas. On the shortest day of the year when the sun is furthest away, they believed that unless they had this huge religious celebration including the sacrifice of a llama, Inti would be angry and would decide to keep moving further away and eventually not come back. Farming is and was tremendously important to the Quechua people and so you can understand why Inti and his interaction with the Pachamama (Mother Earth) is important. Following Inti Raymi, there are numerous other celebrations for different Catholic saints, one just a few days ago was for Peter and Paul.. a day for the fisherman. Funny. you'd think they would only eat fish on this day, but that isn't the case.

We recently walked through one of the 13, yes thirteen, cathedrals in Cusco. (we have a population in the city of just around 200,000.... apparently the Spanish believed it that important to impose Catholicism on the Inca people). Anyway, we walked through the Cathedral and Isabella noticed Jesus and asked about the candles and all the shiny gold. Just next to us a guy from Argentina and a Peruvian woman got in a verbal fight inside the cathedral. The guard didn't kick them out he just kind of stood there and watched as they slung ugly words at one another. Apparently she did not think it was okay for him to take a photo. Isabella just watched as I hurried her out the enormous wooden doors into the chilly night. It will be interesting teaching her as she becomes more and more curious.

Earlier this week we said goodbye to a team from California. They did lots of outreach activities, including visiting the people of Huacarpay and Lucre, the areas devastated by the flood. Hundreds are still living in tents. With temperatures that drop to into the 20's during the night, living in a tent with only a thin sheet of plastic between you and the freezing night air is not only miserable, it's dangerous, especially for the children and the elderly. The government soon will be relocating the tent-city to government housing not too far away. The team, with the guidance of city leaders, went to the most needy and elderly to give food baskets and to pray for them. We hope to go back with the next team to help more families.

We also have a family from the States living here for several weeks. They have been a joy to have around and a help in many ways with the team and the church. We'll be sad to see them leave later this month.

There will be another team from California coming in just a few more weeks. We also are happy that Jorge will be coming to work with us full-time. He has been struggling with his job for the last several months due to the drop in tourism. And we received a new supporting church (thank you Crossroads) that made it possible to bring Jorge onto our team. He has been serving faithfully and without pay for the last 2 years. Always taking over whenever Ricky and I need to travel. He has a gift of evangelism, hosting a family group in his home. He and his wife Yanet (Janet) are always reaching out their neighbors and family and whoever they come in contact with. We are positive that God is going to use Jorge in amazing ways in the future.

Lastly, our family is doing well. We had a really nice Mother's Day and Father's Day as a family of four. Our babies are simply perfect, we love them to pieces. Milan just turned 5 months a few days ago. He already has 2 teeth. Which was quite a surprise, since 4 months is early for teeth. He is rolling all over and becoming so mobile. He is such a sweet little guy. Isabella is nearly two and a half years old... my my where does the time go... She impresses us all the time by the things she remembers. She knows her ABC's, and can count to 10 in both English and Spanish. She brings such joy to our lives. She sure knows how to make us all laugh. It's fun watching the two kids interact with one another.

That must be all for now as my mind keeps drifting, thinking of getting some sleep. Thanks for reading such an informal update. Life is calm and peaceful. We are happy and enjoying ministry, friendship, marriage and parenthood.

Buenas noches

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a day to celebrate the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, but in Cusco it is better known as a day of celebrating 15 saints and eating Chiri Uchu, meaning "cold plate (of food)" in Quechua, a Cusqueno specialty

(I couldn't find all my photos of Corpus Christi so I borrowed this from another ...sorry and thanks to you for loaning your pics)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

i love him so much

they are perfect

she just kisses him randomly