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