Counting Blessings

I told Lamar sometime this past week that I have never been so busy in my life. Every day is full from the time we get up, until we go to bed. Most of it seems to involve surviving, but we’re also pretty busy building relationships, which is fulfilling.

The week before last our realtor helped us through the process of signing the contract on our house. The buyers are paying list price. The only thing we’re waiting on before closing is the home inspection, which was happening this weekend (today?). The realtor and buyers feel confident there will be nothing from the home inspection to stand in the way. You’ll remember the realtor had promised to sell the house in four weeks–she did it in three. We are rejoicing in that.

I don’t know what all happens with closing on the seller’s end. We need to pay the realtor, the contractor, the mortgage, and the IRS; then I think whatever is left over we get to keep. We are looking forward to having the money available from the house selling because we are hoping to purchase a van for our family. We can get where we need to go with taxis, but it’s not ideal.

The van market here is rather bizarre. Some vans are listed for sale at 2/S; others are listed at 2,000,000/S. We’ll likely buy one somewhere in between.

This week we ran out of water only once! That’s something to rejoice about. And we’re pretty sure it’s my fault for leaving our hot water supply valve open overnight. Tomorrow Lamar is very kindly going to bust a hole in our wall so we can see the pipes. I cringe at busting holes in walls, so I’m rather glad God gave me someone who seems to enjoy it. I would much rather patch the wall afterward (or not have a hole at all!). We think we have a plan for getting around the everlasting leak, which we are highly suspicious is under the kitchen floor. Unfortuantely, seeing through concrete kitchen floors is not one of Lamar’s skills.

On Monday, Lamar and I ran to Cuzco to pick up the new passports that had arrived for Joel and Juanita. There were numerous times throughout the day where the timing was simply perfect. It felt that God was helping us meet all the goals for our day with only seconds or minutes to spare. Was riding home in the back seat of a taxi with a drunk man God’s timing? The fellow declared he knew Levi’s family and had helped with the cows and with building the house. His name was Deófilo(?), and he plans to come visit us.

On Tuesday Steph, Beulah, and I went over the mountain and down the valley and up the other mountain to Curahuasi, the town where the German missionary hospital is. It was a tremendously long day with lots of waiting, but we were very pleased to meet Monika Schmidt, the midwife (nearly all the staff are German). Steph was given excellent care. An ultrasound with the sonographer, an ultrasound with the doctor, and a visit with the midwife cost us 15/S or around $4.50. The baby is healthy and big; Steph is healthy and also not small. We praise the Lord for an excellent bill of health for both of them.

On Wednesday I worked on installing the toilet in the upstairs bathroom. Hugo had installed the baseboard tile Monday morning, finishing the job, but I had to wait for the cement to cure. The first time I installed the toilet bowl flange, I had it perpendicular to what it should have been, which would have had the toilet facing sideways along the wall. But I was very patient with me and simply removed it and tried again. After another day to let the silicone around the base cure, and we now have a functioning bathroom upstairs!

This week the rest of the family caught a cold. I did not; instead, the cold caught me. Then it crawled down into my lungs, set up house, married another cold, and started having coldren (See what I did there?). Since this blog is about counting blessings, I am thankful the rest of the family is pretty well over it, and I have not died.

I was fairly bad off Thursday night, which made Steph and me a little sad because we had planned to go to Cuzco for a date Friday afternoon to celebrate our eleventieth wedding anniversary. I started studying a wee bit for the sermon I was to deliver on Sunday; I had the outline mostly complete by Friday noon.

Friday morning I thought I felt well enough to go to Cuzco if we took our time; Steph thought that wouldn’t be a problem since she’s only weeks away from the baby coming. We left at noon, stopping in Izcuchaca to pick up two ten-day doses of Tetracycline for about $5.00. That is one thing I love about Peru–you can walk into a pharmacy and get the medication you need without having to sell your firstborn to afford it.

From the bus stop in Cuzco, we walked several blocks to our late lunch. We stopped at a few shops to pick up gifts for the children (pencils, glue sticks, shower poufs…).We had debated what we wanted on the hour-ride over, and landed on something pretty fancy–McDonald’s! Ah… I cannot tell you how good those fries were. We then walked a little more and found a Starbucks. Then we went to find a taxi home.

On the way to the taxi, we stopped to look at ponchos for sale. Steph wanted me to buy one for my gift. I ended up with a white, black, and gray poncho with lamas and men embroidered on it. The lady said it had been made specifically for me, so I was very glad I had happened to find it!

We found a car headed to Izcuchaca and climbed into the back seat. Another man joined us; there was already a lady in the front seat beside the driver. Then another couple and a child joined us. Then another lady. Then we dropped the one couple off and picked up another lady. Those last few all rode in the back luggage area.

In Izcuchaca we stopped at the hardware store, and I bought as much as I could carry and a tic more. I’m learning from Lamar that when you take a taxi to town, you get your money’s worth out of it. We trekked across town toward the the combi bridge. Steph stopped at the market and got cheese and bread–she must be learning from Beulah.

I stood outside the market with our backpacks and the roll of chicken wire, waiting for Steph. Through the entry I could see a stand with yellow roses. I decided I wanted to get some for Steph, but I had too much to carry at that point, so I waited. Behold! Steph came out carrying yellow roses. She must be able to read my mind after eleven years together.

All day long Steph had been given royal treatment because of her condition. The people of Peru are very respectful and caring of expecting women and of the elderly or ill. At lunch, the counter lady made the line move out of the way so Steph could order, then sent us to a table to wait for someone to bring us our food. At the combi, they moved someone from the front seat so Steph and I could squeeze in beside the driver. Sadly, the door would not quite close, but didn’t faze the helper lady. She slammed and slammed and slammed–three times!–until my previously fractured rib was screaming, and the door was latched. How helpful!

We walked home through the fields, loaded down with stuff, and feeling very happy and romantical under the full moon. At home, there was a streamer and balloons and cake and loving family and friends. We are blessed.

Saturday morning I finished my sermon prep. Saturday afternoon we had guests, three different couples, some neighbors and Rafael and Elisabet, the hardware store owners. We enjoyed lunch together and volleyball games in our front lawn afterward. Everyone enjoyed themselves; in fact, the neighbors wanted to get together again the next day, but we opted for the following Saturday. They are going to bake potatoes in the dirt we plowed for our garden by forming an oven of some sort. That should be interesting.

Rafael and Elisabet stayed long after the others left. They are a dear, young couple in their thirties. They seem interested in the deeper things of life. I’m looking forward to building a friendship with them. This week on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I’m to help Rafael at his shop in exchange for his teaching me the Spanish associated with his work. I’m terrified quite eager to learn.

Last Sunday Alicia was with us for church; she came again today. I felt sorry for her having to sit through my first sermon (“Qué es Pecado?”). We had a fellowship meal afterward. Esmeralda could not be here because she is with Fernando in Cuzco; he had surgery on Friday to remove his gall bladder.

All in all, it was a busy week, but it was filled with joy. I’m thankful for how God showers us with good gifts. He is such a loving Father.