Caleb’s Have Gone to Puno

I’m sorry for the delay in updates, but I have felt too busy to write the last few days. Saturday was a fuzzy day for me; I’m not sure why. Caleb and Belinda both thought it was hard to breathe, too, as I remember. We’ve been having rapidly passing storm systems, and I wonder if they don’t affect my brain’s ability to function betimes. I had actually noticed that feeling the other day and checked my oxygen level to find it at 91% saturation. No wonder.

Sunday we spent a few more hours in the morning working through our book study. We’re close to done with it. Something the book pointed out was how denominationalism and institutionalism proves deadly to the spread of the gospel.

For example, the book pointed out that North Americans tend to want to bring their church rules and culture to another country and force that on the people while refusing to work with any other group that is not the same as they are. The book called this idolatry because we put our preferences above Jesus. If we cannot work with other Christians, then the church here will not grow by leaps and bounds as it did in Acts, the book says.

Yet, the book warned that having thousands in a mega-church that doesn’t obey Jesus is simply another form of a cult or an institution in place of following Jesus. It isn’t the numbers that decide; it is obedience to Jesus.

This gave us some pause because we know we could be blind to the things that are merely preferences, values, or culture and go beyond the simple gospel of Jesus. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on that idea. What does Jesus actually require versus what denominations require? Is it idolatry to insist on pushing our church culture on others? What is the gospel of Jesus?

We have determined to try to work more closely with Percy who is a believer and see if he can help us find opportunities to preach the gospel to people nearby rather than trying to gain a convert to our North America church culture and its way of doing things. We do not want to be rebuked as the Pharisees who were told that their extra rules barred people from entering God’s family.

Some other believers we are happy to work with are Rafael Roca and his family from Puno. Rafael has spent a lot of time preparing weeks of lessons for Caleb, Belinda, and China. His sister Marta will be helping to teach them. They want to do this as a help for getting the gospel to other Peruvians. Their willingness to help is a true inspiration.

Rafael has been helping me along the way the past few weeks in preparing for Caleb’s travel. He even helped me with buying good bus tickets for them. It would have been much more difficult for me without his help. He’s also just a good friend to talk to. I need to take more time for that.

I can feel my blog is rambling a bit, but that makes sense with how sleepy I feel just now. I’ve been working at this update off and on for hours when I had a few minutes between teaching school. That wouldn’t be so tiring of itself, but I was out until 11:15-ish last night, having taken Caleb’s and China to the bus terminal for their ride to Puno.

We had been hoping to have them travel early in the morning one day so that I could take a day to do some necessary work in Cusco, but then the protests began yesterday. I don’t understand all the details, but various unions of truckers and other organizations, maybe taxis too, are protesting rising fuel prices and other issues related to their work. The way they are protesting is to block traffic.

They pull semis across the roads, place tractors in the way, put out logs or large stones, burn tires on the road, and other things. If someone tries to go through, they are known to throw stones at the vehicle. This is all part of the protest. They are threatening to do this every day until December 1 or until the Peruvian government does something to meet their demands.

However, the protests stop at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon for the night. Because of that, we decided they should travel last night. I was at school all day with Miss Elizabeth to figure out the routine. She left school early to pack. Caleb’s were also busy packing and getting their house ready for two weeks without them. Rafael’s came for supper, but I had a phone call, so I couldn’t be down with everyone.

We left at 8:30-ish and rejoiced that there were no roadblocks though there were still some sticks and rocks out at places. The only difficulty we had was that I missed seeing a speed bump. I declare that speed bumps lie in wait for me and leap up at the most inopportune times. I don’t think anyone chipped a tooth, but we were all thoroughly jostled.

We had no trouble whatsoever getting them on the bus. I was pleasantly surprised that I could go with them right up to the door of the bus. That made communicating for them much simpler. They arrived in Puno this morning with the sunrise, and Rafael was able to pick them up. They’ll be staying in an apartment Rafael had found for me on Air BNB.

I’m trying to remember what else may have happened in the last few days. Two things jump out in my mind. One was that Rafael and Elisabet came just as I had started to share the sermon on Sunday. We waited on them a bit, but they did not come in. Rafael later said he wanted to wait until he was sure we were done. They had come to collect two pizzas that Steph had prepared Saturday evening for them. Elisabet wanted to stay for the message, but Rafael did not, so they left. We continue to pray for him.

Another thing that is happier is that Percy came Saturday evening and helped us finish cleaning out the garden. Percy hasn’t been around for a few weeks. He told me that he has been rather ill. He suffers some problem that stems from malnourishment as a child. Occasionally, it will debilitate him for days or weeks. He has to receive IV and vitamins via injections until he gains his strength again.

He said he hopes to be working on the farm again this week and that I should not worry without my brother here to help me. That is very kind of him. I don’t see how I’ll get anything but the most basic things done around home with school added back into my schedule.

I did enjoy school today. They are doing Spanish subjects these two weeks, so we speak Spanish most of the time. I try to avoid using English unless necessary, and they do well about speaking to me in Spanish. I’m just a tad jealous of their accents, but maybe one day mine will improve to something similar.

This morning, I needed to take the trash–that has accumulated since July–and put it out at the main road for pick-up. I told the children if they could finish the chores before I got back, I’d get them ice cream.

Steph and Meldris helped me load the mountain of trash onto the truck. Meldris got her reward when she was able to witness Steph jumping and shrieking at a rather large rat that just wanted to be friends.

The children did get the chores all done (I had milked the cow), so we went to Compone for ice cream. It was a well-deserved treat.

Our meal at market last Friday, chicharrón
And trucha
Finishing the garden with Percy
Sunday sermon
Reading the Spanish story together
Rafael’s visiting
Ready to catch the bus
Finding seats
In Puno
Hunting for pet rats 🤣
Ice cream!