• I had forgotten to turn the space heater on overnight, so the “church auditorium” was pretty cool during the service. It helped us to have beautiful vibrato as we sang.
• I labored pretty hard to get my devotional translated into Spanish. I called on a few friends to help at the last minute—It was like a rhino stampede!
• We had no visitors. A number of us were struggling with discouragement, so while Joel led songs, I went digging in my notes on my iPad and found a devotional on discouragement and gave that in English. (So much for struggling with Spanish all morning!) I spoke from Psalm 42. God was faithful to restore our spirits.
• Lamar preached a message on “Praying With Thanksgiving.” It was a good reminder that we are to have an attitude of gratefulness, regardless of our circumstances. As the motto in our living room says, “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Remember that.”
• We two families had lunch together out on the lawn. It was delightful to thaw out. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun and of our friendships. I am blessed we are getting along; it takes love and forbearance and forgiveness, but it’s worth it.
• For supper we had soft pretzels (Remember, it was Sunday) up at Lamar’s. We played Twenty Questions while the pretzels were pretzeling. We spent the rest of the evening telling stories, each one more outlandish than the last—except for Jolynn’s stories….
• The ladies all went to Izcuchaca to collect the final foodstuffs for our visitors. Some things could not be gotten here (coffee, por ejemplo), so that stuff would need to be gotten in the afternoon. The ladies had hoped to pick up the tile we needed to finish the downstairs bathroom while they were in town, but it was in the next town over and wouldn’t be in Izcuchaca until after 5:00 pm. Joyously, the women had ample opportunities to exercise patience!
• While the ladies were gone, I washed dishes—several day’s worth! We had been out of water, but we finally had a trickle. I washed while teaching school at the same time. I’m sure that was ideal.
• We needed to run to Cuzco for a few necessities we couldn’t get in Izcuchaca. The one I was most anxious about was a replacement toilet flange. Lamar, Beulah, and I were the ones brave enough to go.
• Lamar borrowed Fernando’s car, which we took to Izcuchaca. Lamar then went to finalize permission for Veritas to sing in the town plaza. Unfortunately, the officials had lost Lamar’s paperwork. Since he was delayed, Beulah and I went on. He didn’t get permission; they said he had to come back the next day.
• Beulah and I started on the shopping in Cuzco. We had pledged not to come back loaded down with extra stuff, but to get only what we needed. Oh, look! Cranberries! Raisins! Other stuff! Let’s get a kilo or two of each!
• Lamar met us after awhile. Beulah finished up her shopping and headed back to Izcuchaca. Lamar and I went on to find a few more things across town. I thought we’d never get left! The taxi we took back to the bus station ended up dying. When the policeman came, Lamar and I jumped out, and he helped us push the taxi uphill so he could jumpstart (Yay for manuals!). Then the bus we took stalled on a steep hill. He restarted a few times, but we ended up crawling backwards down the hill. Ah! The music of the horns! At the bottom of the hill he took off with a roar! We made it.
• We were supposed to pick up the tile we needed the next day before the ceramic shop closed at 7:00. We were not going to be back to Izcuchaca until about 7:30. A call to Steph, and we had a number to reach the shop. They agreed to wait for us. That was a blessing. I jumped off the bus in town, while Lamar went on to the bus station (Except he didn’t because they wouldn’t go all the way back). I had to try to explain to the store owner what I needed. Groan…
• I had to wait extra long in the cold night air because poor Lamar was struggling to get Fernando’s car to start. How many things can break in one day?
• We all worked hard to get ready for our visitors coming the next day.
• The mason finished the downstairs bathroom. We had our first shower in our house here! That was fun (and the floor was freezing!).
• Lamar, Joel, Juanita, and Jolynn left bright and early for Cuzco. They met Veritas there and went on an open-top bus tour of the city with them.
• Veritas gave a program in the cathedral of San Cristobel in Cuzco.
• While that was going on, the ladies cooked and cleaned here. I worked on small projects. I also started our compost pile. I was excited to get the compost pile going; I’m looking forward to the results. It was also kinda necessary, given how much kitchen slop we’d be accumulating with the large group of visitors.
• We were hoping to help avoid altitude sickness for our visitors, so we had a comforting chicken-noodle soup, various teas, and coffee. The group arrived shortly after 5:00 pm; they seemed hale and hearty!
• Just before the group arrived, we ran out of water. We are tired of saying that, but we are glad that God always provides what we need. It was a bit stressing to have three dozen people here needing drinks and restrooms and showers, only to have no water, but the reserve tank kept us going through the evening.
• We were hoping to have an 8:00 am breakfast, but around 7:30 the water committee showed up, and they were upset. The community was out of water again (no surprise to us); they were going around to each house in the community and inspecting the water usage. They were claiming we hadn’t paid what we should, and that we were illegally using one house, and…
• Beulah and I leaped into action, heating biscuits, pouring coffee, brewing tea. We set up a small table on Lamar’s front porch. It was truly surprising how quickly their attitudes changed as we were kind to them. They said they are going to cut everyone’s water off in the valley, but they’re going to leave ours on because we need water for biscuits and coffee! They were trying to teach us Quechua, the local Incan language.
• Before the water committee left, we asked Veritas to sing for them. They shared two songs in Spanish, which really seemed to touch the committee members’ hearts. One lady was crying. The chairman asked Lamar to translate his thanks; he welcomed Veritas to Peru and encouraged them to continue what they’re doing to bless people.
• After devotions all together, the men went out to work on planting fence posts, while the women did laundry and cooking. We were running behind schedule, so we had only a snack instead of lunch before heading into Izcuchaca for the program.
• The group did beautifully in their singing. They blessed many people. I look forward to seeing what God will do with the seeds they planted in La Plaza de Armas in Izcuchaca.
• Esmeralda made supper for the group; our ladies helped her. The dish was noodles and beef strips with onion, sauteed in soy sauce. Whatever was in the dish made the group rather energetic; the men playing Settlers of Catan were somewhat frightening in their ferocity.
• We all got to bed fairly late, which caused some of us to have wild dreams.
• Veritas left by 6:30 am. They were a joy to have around, but we are glad to be able to go back to figuring out life here.
• We were all so exhausted, we did not get much done. We did get a nap in.
• Hugo came mid-morning to continue work on the upstairs bathroom tile. They are installing the floor tile, which is the final step. I was deep-frying some food for lunch when he arrived, so I asked Lamar to come down and help by putting in a cut-off valve upstairs.
• The old supply line snapped off in the connector in the wall. Typical. With Hugo’s help, Lamar got it out and replaced in only two hours (not bad for a ten-minute job, eh?). We are learning patience with lower quality supplies than we are used to.
• We received a message from the States that someone had given us a hefty donation. My immediate thought was, “I wonder what difficulty God is preparing us for.”
• The ladies went to Friday market for the normal weekly shopping. Steph’s phone was stolen, it seems. We cannot track it. The vendors at the market were sure it was stolen. She will be without a phone until we can figure out how to get a replacement. The timing of the donation was just right.
• The Friday night pizza supper became a leftover noodles supper. We will be eating noodles into next week, without a doubt.
• Saturday was another low-energy day. I watered the compost pile and added a short, makeshift wall beside it to keep the pile tamed. It grew nicely with our company here.
• Hugo could not quite finish the tile because he was one piece short. Joel and I ran into Izcuchaca to get the tile. Hugo plans to finish at 6:00 am on Monday.
• I had run out of data by posting so many pictures and videos to WhatsApp while Veritas was here. We were able to get some data put on while in Izcuchaca. It’s pretty strictly limited until we’ve been here for three months. I’m looking forward to after that. I will need to limit photos for now.
• However, having less data on my phone has benefits. I’m reading a lot more. Yay!
• Lamar and I deduced that some of our water is escaping through the hot water supply to our house, but we cannot comprehend where the water could be going. It is many, many gallons that are escaping. For now, we are keeping the hot water valve closed, except for showers. Please give us ideas for how to track down a huge leak—hundreds of gallons over a week—a leak that leaves no visible trace.
• I was feeling pretty blue with the invisible, yet enormous, leak. But Lamar’s family came down and played Monopoly Deal with us and cheered us up. When we all work together, how happy we’ll be.