Saturday, 11 October 2014

Oikos Video update

Now that we are back from our travels we wanted to share a video with you about Oikos Ministries here in Peru and give you a taste of our daily life.  

Opportunities to make a huge difference


What is one way that a small amount of money can make a huge difference? 
Sponsorship!

We would love to share with you about some of the great opportunities we have right now!
 Even if you don't feel led to give right now we would love you to read about the gaps we have in our support for the coming year and pray for us and pass on this link to anyone you think might be interested. 

Sponsorships are a great way to enable others to advance in the callings God has given them without them being held back by lack of financial resources. They are a great kingdom investment.  

Future church-planters

In the last two years we have had 10 native Peruvian students in our discipleship and leadership school.  We have seen character maturity and huge spiritual growth as we have invested time and training into these students, who predominately come from homes where there are little resources. 
As we move into our third year, we are seeing some emerging church planters who should be ready in 2-3 years time.  
We also desire to equip the students with business and administration skills so that long term they may be self-sustaining as pastors and leaders. 

For next year we need sponsorship for 10 of the 12 students to cover their food and lodgings. 
Sponsor 1 student for 1 week: $25 / 16GBP
Sponsor 1 student for 1 month: $100 / 63GBP 

Vocational training alongside their ministry training costs $70 / $45 a month per student (6 potential students) 


Jungle pastors




Miguel and Vilma cover their food and basic living costs by making Shipibo, native jungle, handicrafts.  We want to send them a donation each month to support their ministry work and help to cover their travel costs to visit and encourage inner-jungle churches and evangelize.  

We want to be able to send $150 / 100GBP a month to them. 


Celebrations


Having so many students in our community means a lot of birthdays! We try to put up a few balloons and get a cake for at least each month! During Thanksgiving and Christmas we celebrate together and invite our neighbors and friends to join us.
Here is a fun thing to sponsor - joy! 
You could make a one-time gift towards celebrations: 
1 birthday celebration (cake and balloons): $20/12.5GBP
Thanksgiving celebration with students and neighbors: $100 / 60GBP
Christmas celebration: $100/ 60GBP


Safe, humanized childbirth

We are really excited that 2nd year students Rafael and Saida are expecting their first child! 
Childbirth in Lima is very medicalized and at a state-level many emotional and medical abuses take place and the woman is extra vulnerable because she is not allowed to have a partner or relative present at the birth.  
We would love to help Saida and Rafael have a safe and humanized birth with a recommended doctor.  
Cost of natural birth: $1200 / 750GBP 

Extra cost if a c-section was necessary: $2200 / 1375GBP 


Thank you so much for taking the time to read about all the great opportunities we have right now for sponsorship.  
We would love to give you more information on any of these things if you would like it - just send us an email at Burgessfamilyinperu@hotmail.com 

If you would like to donate, you can do so on the right hand column of this blog through paypal - either a one-off donation or a monthly commitment - just include a note that it is towards sponsorship and please specify which one if you desire! See below for other ways to give...

Oikos Ministries is a registered charity in Peru, charity number: 20546884741
 In the UK, taxpayers can add another 25% to their gifts by giving through Network Church Sheffield, by emailing Eric.Middleton@stthomaschurch.org.uk
In the US, we do not yet have tax deduction options, but we do recently have a Chase bank account. Checks can be mailed to a US address - email us at burgessfamilyinperu@hotmail.com for details. 

Where specified we will give money directly to the causes mentioned.  If we receive the limit for one category we will put any extra money towards one of the other categories until otherwise specified by the giver.  

Monday, 21 July 2014

Living with a Shipibo family

I wanted to write some posts on my trip to the jungle to live with Rosa and her family.  I have struggled to know what angle to bring to it.  I am concerned in presenting the reality of life for them because I know that my western eyes bring so much presumption about their life. 

This week has been eye-opening for me in many ways.  We have spent time with the Shipibos often.  We have made countless trips to the jungle city of Pucallpa; we have travelled to the inner jungle and visited and stayed in several communities. We have 6 students from the jungle currently in our school and we had Rosa living with us for three years.  We have had much exposure to their culture (their beliefs, their language, their handicrafts, their views on the roles of men and women, their traditional ways of hunting, their adaption to city life and how colonialisation has affected and transformed their ways of life both positively and negatively,) but we still have so much to learn.   

When foreigners come to Peru to visit or to live, for the first few years at least, their stomachs are delicate.  For that reason and also because of group size, whenever we have visited the jungle we have stayed in a nice, simple hotel.  It has air-conditioning and a swimming pool and more importantly it is secure with all the phones and laptops and cameras we bring.  When we stayed in the inner jungle community of Calleria and took the children two years ago, we took our own water and food (including 2 live chickens!) and cooked for ourselves to avoid getting sick.  

Rosa and lunch back in Jan 2012
I can’t believe we have lived in Peru for 7 years and this is the first time I have stayed with a Shipibo family.  (I know that that is also because I have small children and this is also the first time in 7 years I have been able to leave them for a week. Mark and I did stay in an inner jungle Spanish community back in 2005 before we had kids.)  It is amazing how just living with them for a week has helped me understand where they come from and to begin to see things properly through their eyes.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here and observe how normal life looks for them.  Just as when people come for mission trips to Peru they often see a sped-up version of our lives and not a normal day-to-day living, it is fascinating for me to see how they live when we’re not in town with a mission team doing a conference or having meetings all day.  

Rosa - due to give birth any day - that's why I'm here! 

THE FAMILY HOUSE


Rosa’s family’s house is a nicely built wooden house with concrete floors.  They have a table and chairs, a sofa, a couple of beds, a stove and a refrigerator.  On all appearances they look to be doing fairly well.  But it is their son who has built up the house and Rosa's family live pretty much hand to mouth.  When I arrived they smiled and laughed about how we would all be having an early night because they hadn’t been able to pay the electricity bill and so we would be going to bed with the sun at 6pm! 






Rosa’s parents told me they were ashamed to have me in their house because they were afraid it wasn’t good enough for me.  They told me they were worried I would get sick on their food, and they were embarrassed that they have no bedroom to receive me in. (I knew this beforehand so I brought a tent and blow-up mattress which works perfectly against the mosquitos which is parked in the corner of their living room.) They felt bad that they have no bathroom and that we squeeze through a hole in the neighbors fence to use their toilet.  The toilet is an actual toilet with a wooden fence you can see through around it, some of the holes covered with sacks, and you fill up a bucket with water and throw it down the toilet to make it flush.  

I felt bad that they felt bad.  

My bedroom!

As westerners we can be so tempted to feel sorry for people who live in circumstances we are not used to.  I think part of this is that at first contact we can be shocked by how different people live without the things we are used to.  We can feel the need to solve the problems we perceive and fix them.  One of the things I noticed soon on arrival was that they had only enough (non-matching) plates and mugs for the family.  A couple of the mugs had lost their handles.  My immediate reaction was to want to go out and buy them a simple set of crockery that wasn’t broken and to ‘fix’ the solution.  But then I realized that they might not bothered by eating out of mugs with broken handles - as long as they had a mug.  I wondered if buying them some crockery would also be taken as an insult that the things they had weren’t satisfactory for me personally. In the end, Rosa ended up breaking a plate and so the situation was becoming increasingly desperate! I spoke to Rosa about it and she seemed to think her mother would be pleased so I decided I would buy them a small crockery set as a thank you for having me to stay.  

HANDICRAFTS: 


I decided I want to get involved what they were doing when I first arrived to and it seems that much of the day for the women (and in this household also for Rosa’s Dad because there is no other work available) is spent doing handicrafts.  I know the basics of sewing but I was intrigued by all the different stitches they use in their handicrafts so I asked if I could do one of the basic ones to learn.  They handed me a black cloth circle and Rosa showed me what she called the easiest stitch.  Looking carefully at some of their designs I could work out a couple of the other stitches, but Rosa was always able to show me an easier way of doing it, and give me hints on how to knot the thread (they use a finger rolling technique) and get rid of the little knots that turn up as you are sewing (they know just where and how to pull the thread to get the knots out).  As a westerner growing up going to school with classrooms with 20+ kids, I have been taught to be independent and to not ask for help unless it is really necessary.  I soon learned that my asking Rosa to show me her way of doing it, after I had a basic idea of how the stitch should look, always gave me hints and tips that I wouldn’t have worked out on my own and saved me having to undo my stitching!  It highlights for me once again the importance of relationship and humility in learning and the importance of interdependence over independence. 
My Shipibo handicraft 
This is a pot Rosa's 75-year-old grandmother made and sells for s./3 (80p / $1.20) in the town centre.  She asked me to buy this pot off her so she would have enough money to get the bus into town to sell her pots. The paints are made of crushed up stones.  

 My circle took about 6-7 hours to do.  They can finish two, sometimes three a day and they receive just s./3 (80p, $1.20) each.  That explains why they eat so simply and hadn’t paid the s./45 (10GBP /$15) a month electricity bill! Rosa’s parents didn’t seem upset or angry that they had no electricity, they just got on with life without it.  They were grateful that they had food to eat. 

FOOD:


This is also the first time I have eaten Shipibo day-to-day food. Whenever we have eaten with them before we have always asked them to cook fried food for us to avoid bad stomachs.  I was really challenged by a verse I have been talking to my kids about in preparation for our travels in August which says ‘eat whatever is put in front of you.’ (Luke 10:7)  I have been trying to put my faith in action and believe that if God says we should eat what is given to us, I need to believe that He will protect my body.  
The food that Rosa’s family eat is simple and based around carbs.  Breakfast is a grain of some sort (flour, wheat germ or rice) boiled until soft in water.  Sometimes there is some bread.  It is eaten from a mug with a spoon like a soup.   
Lunch is meat or chicken if available with large quantities of rice or spagetti and often fried banana. 
Snacks, if eaten at all are fruit from the trees or whatever someone has going.  I bought a watermelon from the supermarket so we have been enjoying that.  Sometimes coconuts are taken from the trees or other jungle fruits when in season.  Currently there are no fruits in season in their garden.  
Evening time left overs from lunch are eaten or fried or boiled plantain bananas.  Last night Rosa’s mother prepared a sweet porridge-consistency dish from mashed boiled up plantain bananas.  

Boiled sweet plantains
I have to say I wasn’t sure how the food was going to be so I did bring some cereal bars and biscuits with me and I am drinking bottled rather than the boiled water they drink, but I really felt that part of understanding life for them was just receiving the food that they were eating.  

SECURITY: 


Another thing that has surprised me, in so much as I never really recognized it before, is the lack of security in the house. This is it: 
Roca - he sometimes barks when someone comes to the door
Front gate with no lock

Their house has a door, but on one side there are no windows and a door which just swings open so the house is totally open to anyone who wants to to walk in.  The wooden gate above is ‘secured’ with a piece of wood held across it at night but during the day anyone can walk in and anyone who desired to get in at night could easily too.  

The other evening the family left me in the house whilst they went across the road.  Meanwhile a man knocked on the door. I knew it was important to answer the door else they might think no one was in, so I went but I didn’t recognize the man and didn’t want to open the door.  Fortunately Rosa’s dad showed up at that point. He asked the man who he was looking for and he wouldn’t answer and quickly got into his moto and drove off.  Rosa’s dad reckons he was checking to see if there was anyone in the house to come and rob it.  

Rosa’s parents laughed as they told me stories of people who have come into their house before and stolen things.  Once, Rosa’s Dad told me, they brought 15 branches of bananas home (we are talking each branch needing to be carried by 1 strong man separately) and left them just inside the gate.  When they woke up in the morning, all the bananas had gone! Another time they came home and someone had stolen their gas bottle.  At other time, when the house was left unoccupied for a while, they came back and ‘everything’ had gone.  Another time, he told me, an opportunist thief had stuffed a saucepan full of clothes off the clothes line and ran off.  They were caught in the street and the neighbors found not only items from their house but also from other houses in the street too! Rosa’s dad was telling me that if people are caught then often common law is applied - the thief is tied to a post and stoned and beaten up until someone takes pity and calls the police and they taken away.  

Now in some ways, they don’t really have many ‘valuables’ in their house - the fridge and oven are probably the most valuable items, so investing in high security is not necessarily of highest importance for them.  Rosa’s Dad did tell me he would like to replace the wooden fence with a concrete one though and I think if other foreigners are going to stay with them in the future with valuables then it would be a worthwhile investment.  Thankfully they only told me stories of opportunist rather than violent crime, but seeing as I still have a few days left sleeping in their house I didn’t ask about that! Meanwhile, I am taking my laptop, phone and camera with me wherever I go and just praying that God will protect me! Not sure if leaving them behind or taking them with me is more risky…?! 

DAILY LIFE: 


Here are some other pictures of life around the house: 


The neighbors children are in and out constantly.  They come and sit up close to me and stare at the computer screen whilst I write or my phone when I read. Although I find it rather distracting having someone reading over my shoulder, as you can imagine, I actually love that their culture automatically brings children into everything the adults are doing.  They are included and participate wherever they can. The children help to wash a needed pan or are sent on errands. They communicate messages between the neighbors and help out.  They come and play / torment with the ‘cat’ that has been brought to hunt the rats.  I think some of the rats are a bit bigger than this little kitten! 
We have called her Cleopatra.  She tries to meow for food but it is pretty pathetic.  

There is a hose for running water and everyone fills up the buckets and then uses them for washing plates and clothes and showering.  It’s simple but it works.  It is easy to see why people can get sick though - large buckets of water are left out in the sun without lids on where it is easy for mosquitos to breed (I have seen health campaigns in Lima telling people to cover water tanks to stop disease). Buckets that are still half full are filled up again continually, so there is often left over water in the buckets time and time again.  I wonder if it is lack of education, habit or lack of lids that means this is the norm for both Rosa’s family and the neighbors and I presume many other families.  
The family built a 'shower' before I came - it is a wooden raised platform with a plastic sheet around it.  You take your buckets of water in with you and let the water fall through the planks of wood. Provides some privacy - I am thankful! I really fine with bucket showers as long as it is hot - I hate cold water if it is cold!
So, my time in the jungle has been very different from our usual action-packed mission trips but I am really grateful for this time to see what 'normal' life looks like for Rosa and the Shipibo families we work with.  I am grateful to be able to spend hours writing (I am working on a book as well as other bits of writing I haven't had time to do in Lima.) Both Rosa and I are struggling a bit being patient waiting for her to give birth, but I am making the most of the space I have here to really have some time to retreat, think, rest and write - something I haven't had the luxury of doing for such an extended time since Daniel was born nearly 8 years ago! 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Women, Art and a God of Unity - Reflections for the jungle women's conference

Sometimes when you are planning things, you are not really sure exactly what you are meant to be doing.  You have a vague idea and a vague plan, but honestly, you are not sure where God is in it all and whether it is just your own desire leading the way, and you are still waiting for a lot of confirmation.  

Doing this conference was not one of those times. From the outset, the whole thing was God led.  Back in March, one of the ladies had asked me when I would come back to the jungle and teach the women. I reluctantly told her I would pray about it.  She also asked if I could teach them some new jewelry or craft skills, and although I am creative and could probably come up with something, I didn't feel particularly inspired.  

Then I thought of Jane.  Jane Savaas stayed with us last year and did various workshops reaching out to women and children using art and crafts.  It made sense to work with her and do a conference for the women! 
Our crazy team (All from Oikos Lima, except Jane)

It was the first time I had left the boys for more than a night and initially I was very apprehensive about leaving them with Mark (not because I don't think he is capable - he is a very hands-on Dad, but rather because having had him away so much in the last year, I know how hard it is!).  I was also apprehensive being away from Mark in a situation that I knew would be challenging spiritually and lacking confidence in myself as a leader without Mark at my side. 

This was one of the best teams I have ever been on or led.  It helps a lot that we all know each other well as we were able to look out for one another, but also seeing everyone stepping into their individual giftings and roles on the team and working together was amazing! Seeing people who didn't know a year ago how to hear God's voice sharing the dreams, visions and things God had put on their hearts during prayer was incredible and the insight that God gave which we were able to use to pray effectively was so encouraging.  It really felt like Psalm 133 was being lived out: 
How wonderful and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in harmony!...   
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
    even life everlasting.

The week was not without attacks - Daniel came out in a horrible itchy rash a few days before we left, many of us had nightmares, threatening stomach upsets and faced much discouragement the week before we left and during the week itself.  The jungle is full of witchcraft and you can feel the hostility of the spiritual darkness there.  Personally, in the past I have struggled a lot with depression and discouragement in the jungle so we prayer specifically about those things and saw victory! It did not feel like those things held us back at all - we identified them as attacks, prayed and saw victory! 

Boiled plantains for lunch

Time in the Shipibo village for the conference was not actually as dramatic externally as I was perhaps expecting (especially with all the spiritual attacks going on!).  The women are very shy and reluctant to share what God is doing in their lives as they live under a lot of fear of one another. 

That said, I really felt that this week was about planting seeds in the lives, and even since returning to Lima I have heard testimonies of things God was doing in their lives. I think that the women need time to process the things we shared with them and we will see the fruit in visits to come.  

It was the same with the art initially. The first day Jane explained to them what they would be doing and gave them all a piece of paper to draw out their design.  My group looked at each other awkwardly and shifted the pencil around in their fingers.  They asked several times what they should do, and looked to me to perhaps draw for them.  But I didn't.  I just waited and encouraged and gave them a few ideas.  Slowly, over the next ten minutes or so, the began to draw. One, then another, and as the inspiration began to flow they began to physically relax and laugh and enjoy themselves.  As they began painting their designs, their faces came to life like the colors on their paper! Some of the women had never painted before and as the day drew to an end, the sense of satisfaction and amazement at what they could do was tangible. 

Saida, one of our Oikos Lima students, with some of the women

The conference lasted three days and the first two days were showing them painting and sewing techniques (they nearly all know how to sew as their main form of income is through embroidered goods.)  The final day they used the panels they had made to make up a 'jungle journal'.  Jane was keen to not only give them new skills, but show them how to make new crafts that they could sell which would be unique but also wouldn't be so time-consuming to make. The final results were stunning and the women couldn't stop smiling! Seeing these quiet, reserved women laughing and smiling and so encouraged at the new skills they had learned was priceless.  At the end of the time we prayed for the women and they all kept asking us when we would be doing another conference.  The mix of short talks, worship, prayer and craft was so refreshing and the women were clearly leaving so much lighter than they had entered.  Although time consuming regarding the preparation, and obviously requiring a budget, doing these creative conferences is a really powerful way to reach out to these women - meeting them where they are at, but empowering them to go further in their walks with God and in life.  

The women at the end of the first day with their painted panels.

Finished journals!
 Mark and I and the boys, along with Shaun, Amanda, their son Judah and Gabriel, one of our Oikos Students are planning on spending the coming month in the jungle. I am really looking forward to spending more time with the women and seeing the things they have been taught begin to grow in their lives.  Our main focus during the coming month is to spend time with the leaders - Shaun teaching them financial management skills and Mark, Amanda and I teaching and encouraging the leaders in their personal walks with God.  It is going to be a powerful time, but we would really appreciate your prayers for wisdom, protection, provision and unity for the jungle team.  


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Should we all eat from one plate? Reflections on Community and Culture


We love our community.  Most of the time we love having people around all the time, lives shared, prayer happening every weekday morning, a feeling of an extended family on mission. We love seeing our core team daily and it feels like ages if we don’t see them for a day. Yesterday’s stories are old news, and every day we get to share the latest things God is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us. 
Some of our community eating at Shaun and Amanda's house

People come from around the world and from different churches in Peru too, to spend time with us, to experience what we ‘do’, to see how God is moving, to share our lives.  

But it would be a mistake for us to think that our community should be replicated elsewhere.  Sure there are things that inspire, things that are encouraging, things that are good.  But it is wrong to think that just because God is doing something here, the same formula will ‘work’ elsewhere. 

When we spend time with the Shipibo people in the Amazon jungle town of Pucallpa and further up the river, we see community played out in different ways.  The men and the women often divide up the different tasks (men traditionally hunt, fish and gather food, make shelter, boats etc, and women cook and do the majority of the child and house care.) 

For us there is a temptation to think about how our values and culture can be placed onto them.  How we can teach them to adopt our culture?  But it is not about that. Of course there are values and practical biblical practices (prayer, eating together, generosity etc.) that can be encouraged but how that looks is going to be very different to how it looks for us in Lima. And really it is Mark and my heart for the people we work with that they take ownership of how things look - we might provide some scaffolding, but the end result and how it looks is up to them. 

When I was recently in the jungle the Shipibo women were telling me about how they often eat in community already, but in a very organic way.  (Nothing like our rota-ed, weekly planned and bought military effort!) Each day the women prepare a meal and then they may call a neighbour or family members who live nearby and they will come and bring a pot of food to share.  The food is all divided up into different bowls - one for the men, one for the women and one for the children.  They then sit on the floor around the bowl, in little groups, one sat behind another so there is space for more people to get in, and eat the food from a communal bowl.  
The Shipibo women showing me how they eat their food together traditionally. 

Believe me, when I saw that idea, I wondered if it would work in Lima - it would certainly save a lot of washing up! But organic, waiting for people to turn up with food, would be much more stressful than life-giving for us in Lima, where freedom comes from planning out each day and knowing who’s turn it is to cook.  

Even in Lima, community life does not, nor should it look the same with the different communities that we are involved with.  We have close friends who are starting to disciple others in community, and they look at what we are doing with mainly full-time foreign and Peruvian missionaries - eating every lunchtime, praying together every morning and that is just too much for them and their community where many of them work in salaried jobs.  Many of their friends are involved in the music scene too which is overnight and means they are on a totally different schedule.  They need a much more organic, whoever-is-available-when-they-are-available flexibility, for their form of community, which may include overnight prayer and worship times (using drums, turn-tables and vinyls) once a week rather than a daily routine. 

It is freeing for me to know that once again the real answer is not: how can I transport this community into mine, but rather: what is God saying to me, and how am I going to respond? 

Really is it about us drawing close to God in relationship and asking Him how we can create community where we are at, with those we are walking out life with Jesus together. And I love that, because it would be a disaster if we didn’t need God to work it all out! Because He cares much more about our relationship with Him than he does about how we do all that we do. 

So what is God saying to you about creating community? 
How are you going to respond? 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Kaleb's perspective on our trip to the jungle...

We have just finished a three day conference in Km 13, at a Shipibo church there.  We took (just) Kaleb along whilst the older boys stayed at home.  Kaleb had between 9am and 4.30pm every day to explore within a 200m radius of the church, which he certainly did! Here is the trip from his perspective...


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Keep On Keeping On...Anna's Monday...An unusual usual day

I am awake at 5am.  Kaleb is not getting the ‘sleep until 6’ memo.  I decide to use the time to pray.  I fight back sleepy eyes, choosing to trust that God knows and His strength is enough.

6am I spend an hour with the Lord as Mark makes the boys breakfast.  His Word sinks convictingly deep and I drag my guitar case onto my bed to force myself to worship – it is my self-subscribed medicine against that dark cloud at the moment.  I have to worship.  It has to be all about Him.  It just doesn’t work when it begins to be about me. 

8am – It’s Joel’s first day back at nursery and after supervising the feeding of all our animals (a rabbit, a tortoise and three guinea pigs), I pile all the boys into the car.  They are all in good spirits, excited.  I ask them what they are thankful for as we drive and the two who can talk are both thankful for Joel going to nursery.  I am thankful for the provision to pay for it.  In my mind, the negative bank balance threatens me but I push it away, telling it that God has always provided up until now – there is no reason why this month will be any different.

8.40am I join our community prayers (40 minutes late) in the living room. Everyone is sharing their personal discipline challenges.  I feel my life is so disciplined and ordered that I need to be disciplined to allow ‘go with the flow!’… 

By 9am I am sat down with Daniel guiding him through his homeschool curriculum on pollution and valuing earth’s resources, and that verse I read this morning: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them continues to nag at me all morning. It nags at me as I make lunch for just 5 adults and 3 children today (lasagna – the 5 other regulars are busy today) throw the unnecessary polythene wrapping into the bin whilst thinking how I need to communicate with Mark to try and buy things with less wrapping…

The downstairs is a total mess.  The lady who comes to help clean in the mornings hasn’t arrived and the sink is piled with dishes, the floor covered in mess (having over a dozen people coming and going all day and 25 for lunch yesterday takes its toll, to add to the boys!).  How am I going to homeschool, cook and clean before 11.50am?? The Lord knows – I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  Rosa offers to wash up and clean the kitchen so I do a quick toy and book blast-clear-up, stuffing toys into boxes, and aligning cushions.  There. Sufficient. Perhaps it will be okay.

The liquidizer gets a double use today – once for the veg for the lasagna (hidden vegetables are the only sort that get eaten by my boys), and once to make paper pulp.  It seems ironic to me that I use up more paper towels cleaning up the water mess than I ‘save’ by making recycled paper, but Daniel loves it and we add dried leaves and oregano into the paper as it dries in the hot, hot sun.

By 11.30am I am wondering if we will get the paper and the lasagna done before 11.50am when I have to go and pick up Joel.  The garden is so dry from lack of watering (we live in a desert so there is no natural rain), that I stick the hose on. I try to remind myself that a) it doesn’t matter if I am slightly late to pick up Joel, and b) God knows what I need to do – he will work it out.  Trying to speak out that faith, but my stress levels are beginning to rise…

I am 10 minutes late to pick up Joel.  At least Kaleb is wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fall off his feet this time.  I apologize to Joel’s teacher and she is not in the least bit bothered.  Peering into the classroom, I can see why – we may be the first ones to pick up.  Well, this is Peru…! Joel is happy and communicative (amazing!) and we drive home trying to get Kaleb to sing the odd words in our songs. Us: Cows in the kitchen… Kaleb: Moo…moo…! Daniel and Joel are in hysterics and I am reminded that they are so carefree and I am meant to be like them, not them like me…anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it…

12.40pm: For some unknown reason I let Kaleb and Joel play with the hose (yes, it is still going) and Kaleb gets soaked whilst Joel constantly asks me if he can play carnavales – basically he wants me to fill up 100 water balloons for him.  (Now is it more of a waste to have them stuck unused on the fridge, or burst and in a landfill?!) There is no way that lunch is going to be ready if I stop for the balloons, but I do have to stop every 2 minutes to tell Joel ‘no’ and re-explain to him why… The postman arrives bringing magazines from G.G. and chocolate.  (2 of the 3 bars are melted, but nothing the fridge won’t sort out… well, those aero bubbles are never coming back, but it still tastes good!) Daniel is now unreachable, lost in the world of his magazine.

12.45pm: Sink is full of washing up from cooking.  Kaleb is totally soaked. New nappy now totally soaked. Strip him down and let him run around for 2 minutes whilst I check on the lasagna. Kaleb comes into the kitchen. ‘poo…poo’.  Uh-oh.  A solid, no-mess poop sits in the doorway.  I quickly grab a wipe and clear it up.  Phew. Easy. 

‘poo…poo’.  I look at Kaleb.  He is pointing to the porch.  A squashed poop sits there laughing at me.  I lift both his feet and give them a wipe.  Another wipe clears up the rest of the mess. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.   I find another nappy quickly. 

Wash hands. Wash dishes. Check lasagna.  Grab Kaleb before he terrorizes the guinea pigs with his toy cars.  Yell at Daniel and Joel to go and get dressed for lunch. (They are both in their underpants from watering the garden).  Joel hears me, Daniel is engrossed in his magazine. 

1pm Amanda arrives with baby Judah for lunch.  Mark and Shaun are close behind.  We sit down to eat.  Joel finally eats his lasagna when we convince him that it is just spaghetti Bolognese with cheese and flat pasta.  Kaleb takes two bites out of a piece of fried banana and refuses to eat anything else. Daniel finishes up his plate.

By 2.00pm Mark has the boys for an hour and a half so I can rest/catch up on admin.  Today, the only thing that is happening is a nap.  I put on some music (Volume 1: Psalms 1-10 by The Psalms Project) and enter the land of nod. 

3.30pm I am with the boys again.  Kaleb wants milk and tries to fall asleep, but it is too late for a nap if we want him bed before 10pm, so I get up quickly and head for the stoller.  Kaleb is protesting and I am groggy from my sleep, feeling irritated and wanting to run back to my bedroom and lock the door, but I can’t.  Remind myself that a walk will get rid of that grogginess and get the boys ready to go out.  Mark is busy until 7pm. That’s 3.5 hours to kill.  Walking to the cremolada shop and back should kill two hours and then we can come back, eat and make cards and then it should be ready for the bedtime hour. 

By the time all the boys are in bed at 7pm I am tired, irritated and thankful.  I think back on the day, which feels like three days in one.  Thankful for the people God has sent to help with the boys and the mess and to allow my time with Him and to nap.  He truly does enable me to do all the things I need to do. And as for the other things that didn’t get done? There is always tomorrow…or the next day… 

I remind myself that it is all about one step at a time...so thankful that God doesn’t give up on me for my daily messes but that He takes me by the hand and reminds me: I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What does a 'normal' week look like: Tuesday

Day 2 Tuesday

The start of my Tuesday is similar to Monday, trying to be positive as the alarm (depends on the day which of the three boys is the alarm, although Kaleb is the favourite at the moment) goes off and a shower to wash off the tiredness ensues. 

Prayers start at 8.30 on a Tuesday, which is followed by an hour of admin, before my American huddle which has 5 members from a Church called Crossroads in Cincinnati Ohio, 3 staff members and 2 non staff members as well as 2 pastors from other churches in and around Cincinnati. 
In my admin time on this Tuesday I had a short conversation with Greg who is one of the leaders on my huddle and he was asking me about the Order of Mission (TOM) the covenant family of missionary leaders that we are part of. 
In the jungle preparing the leaders for the workshop in April

As with my other huddles it is a real privilege to lead it. It is such an honour to lead a group of leaders who you see grow each week in their love of Jesus as well as their understanding and practice of leadership and especially discipleship.

The process of Learning Communities through 3DM is something that we here in Oikos are trying to develop to help other churches in the jungle, Venezuela, and Brazil become more discipleship orientated. 
Ronald with his girlfriend Nancy


Normally on Tuesday it is Ronald's turn to cook for the 8-15 people that eat each day, (quite often more on Sunday). Therefore when illness strikes as passed today, people need to jump in and cook, as was the case for me today. Cooking for this many people means even rice with chicken and salad (one of our staples) takes a lot longer than cooking for the wife and 3 kids!

Tuesday after lunch is the highlight of the week. (I will now take my tongue out of my cheek). Anna and I have 3 hours of admin, finances and planning time together. 

Sunday Lunch, you get the idea!!!
After being here for 5 years we are finally keeping up-to-date and on top of all of our finances thanks to our Tuesday afternoons! (Rather than previously doing an exhausting stint of receipts and accounting every 3-6 months!) We now know exactly what we are praying in, rather than just praying for God's provision! Matthew 6:11 speaks of the daily bread we need. We always have this but it doesn't stop us regularly needing to enter our overdraft. Sometimes our theology doesn't agree with our experience. We however do not plan to put our experience above our theology.

Following our admin time the kids are ready to burn off some energy, even though Rosa who is looking after them has helped the energy burning process to begin. Therefore a walk around our local neighbourhood is needed. This walk happens to pass the bakery as well as the cake shop. Any visitors here always try the lemon meringue pie.

Following the daily battle of bath time and trying to limit the amount of water outside the bath and on the floor Anna has her mentoring time with Karina. 
Nancy, Jane (the brains behind color de esperanza, and Karina

Karina is part of our leadership team and heads up our ministry 'color de esperanza', in English 'colour of hope'. Life is not easy for Karina in general as a single mum with grown up children, 2 of these bing single mums themselves. However we know she and her children have significant callings to make a difference. We just wait for God's timing.




Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What does a 'normal' week look like: Monday

I have felt led to do a small series on what a typical day looks like in our ministry. Before starting I wish to make a disclaimer, there is no such thing.



When I say there is no such what I mean is that there are regular activities we do, huddles (explained later on), visiting, leadership meetings, admin times. counselling, prayer, and many other things, but no day looks the same.
So join with me on this journey through the life of the Burgess Family in Peru in a ‘typical’ week.

Day 1 Monday 7th January 2013.

Sleeping peacefully
Sunday night had been a bad night for Kaleb which means there is a knock on effect for Anna and I. Lack of sleep is no longer an event that needs me to tell myself I am fasting sleep, it is a spirtual activity. I have died to the fact that at times I will be tired and just have to get through the day.


Following the ceremonial dragging myself out of bed and trying to think of happy thoughts, a working hot shower is always a blessing to try and shake out the sleep dust.
The daily event which is breakfast follows and the hour that Anna is having her quiet time is pretty much always a juggling act with juice to make, cereal to be covered with yoghurt, honey to put into juice, porridge to make, Kaleb to help feed, boys to stop from fighting over which colour vitamin they will get etc… 

Following breakfast the 3 boys then play or terrorise our pet rabbit Timmy, or try and find the most boring pet on record, our pet tortoise Shelly. She is normally seen moving about once every 2 weeks for about 20 minutes before returning to her dark home with under Timmy's cage. 

Shelly
8am on Monday morning is our extended prayer time as a team. This week I felt God was talking to me about war and David and Goliath and how we are called to seek first God, but also choose the right armour to advance. I also was looking at how we all have a role in the war in extending the kingdom of God, our role just differs.

To respond to the word we prayed as a group for ourselves, each other, as well as the people who are part of our church, whether that be in Pacifico, Los Cedros, San Genaro 2, or the jungle.

Rosa and Kaleb
Following Monday morning is a day I dedicate to work outside of Lima. At the moment I am preparing for several workshops we are doing this year with 3DM. We plan to do them in the jungle in April, in Venezuela in May, and Brazil in July. 

While I am working on this Anna is homeschooling Joel and Daniel. Rosa looks after Kaleb so Anna can be released to do this. 

Lunch is a community affair, and numbers vary from 6 to 12 on anyone one day, averaging around 10.  

Monday afternoon is a family affair until 5pm as I have a huddle with my Brazilian friends and pastors Rogerio and Estela, based in Sao Paulo. 

This Monday we went to one of our favourite places the local Cremolada shop. Cremoladas are a drink made from pure fruit and sugar, liquidised down and then frozen. We are far too well known in this shop as we are, firstly, Gringos (white people) with cute boys who talk to the staff. Secondly we frequent there far too often. This is mainly due to a lack of options within walking distance with three boys. (And in order to get them out of the house and to do some exercise, we need an incentive at the end!)  Daniel likes to have the Lucuma (a jungle fruit) cremolada, whilst Mark always has Coconut.  Anna often goes for a mix of mango and passionfruit and Joel sticks to Strawberry.  The staff know our 'usuals'! Thanks to Blake Goodfellow who first introduced me to this wonderful place. 

As I mentioned 5pm is time for my huddle with two amazing Brazilians Rogerio and Estela, who are working full time jobs, pastoring a church, overseeing an expanding network and had little or no support before being connected through 3DM. It is such a blessing to spend time with such people and I am really encouraged every week. 


Monday is finished with bath time (usually a time we and the floor all end up wet) and then I get to relax and Anna has her mentoring, accountability time with Nancy. 



PS:  Huddle is a group for leaders where we try to help our disciples grow in their character and competency to be more like Jesus.

PPS: 3DM is a ministry based in the US, UK, Europe and now in South America which is trying to help churches become more discipleship minded. See www.weare3dm.com for more info.