Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February update

Olivares Family
February 2012

           February means rain! Most of our days are spent indoors as the rains have come in all their glory. The storms are marvelous and always remind us of the greatness and power of God. Isabella and Milan are fascinated with the thunder and lightning, always running to the windows, or going outside undercover to watch in amazement.

February also means carnival! It is a joyful time of year. A typical ritual is that of Yunza. It involves the planting of a big tree somewhere (here they usually cut down a eucalyptus tree, carry it among many persons to a desired location where it is placed in a large hole in the ground and then buried sufficiently so that it does not fall over.) The tree is hung with lots of gifts, and people dance around it and then slowly cut it down. The couple that gives the final cut before it falls down is in charge of organizing the yunza next year.

Carnival also signifies the festival of water. Children and adults alike, all throw water at anyone and everyone. Our first year in Cusco, we didn’t have a vehicle and thus walked everywhere; we unknowingly became the target for many rooftop water balloons. Another year we actively participated, but with an advantage. Ricky drove the van while the members of mission team opened the sliding door haphazardly to throw water balloons at random people. It’s all in good fun and anyone who is Peruvian understands it that way. The tourists on the other hand…are much better targets and the Peruvian kids love going to the Plaza de Armas with water guns!

Send a child to school project
March will be here soon and the children are preparing to head back to school. The school year goes from March to December. By this time, most kids are rather bored of their summer vacation and getting excited for school again, though the excitement fades quite quickly (Isn’t that the irony, wherever in the world.)

This time of year we receive donations that help send children to school. Most families have 4+ school-aged children and the costs of getting start-up materials are far too great to be covered by what they make in a month. Schools require a certain amount of supplies by each student by the end of the first month (end of March) in order to continue in the school. These supplies are not cheap and include things such as uniforms. Any and every help we can give them will help these children’s futures. It is our goal each year to help as many children as possible with these start-up materials. If you would pray and consider donating toward this project we would be so grateful! We invest in their lives knowing that, by the grace of God, they are the future of Cusco!

Praises and prayer requests
The church in San Marcos (San Blas) is doing well. We are currently having a weekly leadership class, a women’s Bible study and will adding one or two more house groups! As we have previously shared, we have outgrown our locale. We are still waiting for the final word and papers for the land that the community association wants to give to us. It’s not final until it’s legal. But we trust in the wonderful ways that God works. People have told us that this kind of thing never happens (giving land away for free), so if it does happen it will be a marvelous thing that we can only praise God for! So keep praying!

With love and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ricardo, Tracie, Isabella and Milan

IberoAmerican Ministries PO BOX 1493, Monroe, WA 98272
Donations should be made out to IberoAmerican Ministries, with a note attached directing it to the “Olivares Cusco Back to School Project” or for monthly donations, “Olivares Ministry”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

what everyone else thinks I do

These things just started popping up all over the web. I thought it was pretty funny and easy enough. Here's a missionary's try at it....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

an update after a few months

I'm sorry for the absence. I know it's time to write a newsletter, but I think I'll start by blogging.

Truthfully, I haven't wanted to write. And I get distracted so easily! With two young ones running around the house (which is more like three because Milan alone counts for 2 children. He's crazy!) I'm up every few minutes to clean up a mess or check on the quinoa soup or to kiss an owie... so many things that I would much prefer to writing. Nevertheless, I know there are a few faithful readers out there who remind me to keep blogging because you like to read our updates. okay.... so here it goes.

December and January went by in a flash! Dec was amazing with the Christmas party preparations and celebrations. God provided at the last moment all the money we needed and we were able to celebrate properly with gifts and candies and the like. The kids in Cusco LOVED it. We also celebrated with the adults at church a few weeks before Christmas. Then we went to Chile and spend Christmas and New Year with Ricky's family. Overall we had a great time, enjoying hot summer days, late nights, neighborhood walks, lots of Chilean food and fellowship with family. Isabella turned four. Milan turned two. and Ricky turned thirty-six. We had a birthday party with both kids together and their cousins, with a pinata and cake and presents... they had a blast. I can't believe how big the kids are getting. Milan still seems like a toddler but Isabella is definitely no longer a toddler and is all girl. I remember when I was pregnant with her I said I would never dress her in pink, but then she received so many pink things, I just went with it. Later I realized that it's not up to me to decide what color she does or does not wear... I think I just didn't want her to be a girly-girl. But I realized that if that's who she wants to be then I need to support her. And she LOVES pink. What little girl doesn't? She loves all things frilly and princessy and I love her all the more for it.

So birthdays came and went. And then we came back to Cusco. We returned to find the church growing in our absence and Jorge doing a good job and the people loving and sharing their faith. There are some new believers who want to be baptized and others who are serving. We are encouraged and blessed. A week after we came home we received two young men from the US who are on an exploratory trip, visiting our ministry and another in another part of Peru, to see if their church feels led to send teams and partner with our work. We're obviously praying they feel led to Cusco, because we are going through some time of change this year, are implementing new projects, possibly receiving a piece of land for the church (which means construction), and on top of it we have lost a few supporters. AND Jorge is asking for a raise. We would love to raise his salary, but without sufficient support we just can't. Well, we did. but just a very little. 

Our return has been good, except for my eyes. The same issues with the corneal erosions came right back once we arrived. Anyhow, we have a lot of decisions to make. Some we've already made, but have to go public with them, which we haven't been able to do yet. We're praying that it all be in God's will and timing. 

We just got some exciting news that my little brother is getting married! I can't believe it because he'll always be my little brother, but we're thrilled for him. He is an incredible person, has a wonderful heart and will make his future wife Kayla a happy woman! We all love Kayla too and I'm proud to have her as a sister in law! I just wish we all lived closer so we could see them more often. The wedding is in July, which means a trip for us to the States is coming up.

This isn't really an update of our life, but my parents are in the car moving from Washington to Iowa right now. My dad got a nice promotion at work in an area of Iowa where they had purchased like 100 acres several years ago. It's where they had planned on retiring, but now it looks like my dad will work for another 5 years before retiring, but they were able to move to their property ahead of schedule. These last few months have been incredibly busy for them. My dad traveling a lot, selling the house, the car, the trailer... Most of their things from over a decade living in their house in Vancouver. It was sad for me to see them over Skype packing up... my dad took me on a virtual tour of the house as the movers were loading... I'm sentimental I guess. I can't believe the next time we visit their house it will be in Iowa. 

That's what we've been up to.... now for writing a newsletter!! haha