Abbey Had a Birthday, Dad’s Left, We Saw a Car Crash, and Esmeralda Was Baptized

A lot happens when I don’t write, it seems.

Our days were extra full with Dad and Mom here. We tried to share with them some of our daily experiences. I think we discovered a bit how Peruvian we’ve become and how very American Dad and Mom are. I expect it was a good, stretching experience for them.

A highlight during their visit was Abbey’s birthday. We did not invite anyone besides church family. It was a quieter event that way, and we enjoyed ourselves. Abbey turned ten. Anne will be twelve in a few months, and then we’ll be on our last year before teenagers. Imagine that!

Thinking of our girls made me remember that we found a midwife in Urubamba that will attend home births! We’re very happy to not have to travel for this birth, Lord willing. The midwife is a bit hipster, but she seems nice, and she is willing to let us do the birth how we please at home. She ordered an ultrasound, and we discovered that the baby is a girl, who we plan to call Daisy Alexandra. That will give us four boys and four girls. What a blessing.

The last few days that Dad’s were here, we had morning rains. The willow trees responded immediately and burst into leaf. Esmeralda has been working on cleaning out the garden in preparation for planting; Leonela and the children have helped some, too. This afternoon, we had a rain storm. Most of it passed over us and ended up as snow on the mountains, but we lost electricity for a few hours.

Mom wanted to try having some dental work done while she was here, so we scheduled an appointment for her with the dentist we’re using for Anne’s journey toward braces (some of Anne’s adult teeth never formed, so it’ll be a bit more involved that some cases). Mom was very happy with her two visits, and Dad was tickled that with both visits, the cost only came to about $35!

When we were taking Dad and Mom to the airport Monday evening, I noticed the vehicle in front of us was acting weird, almost like it had brake problems. I pointed it out to Dane and Dad and worried that they might wreck. Well, wreck they did! As we were climbing a sharp incline into Cusco, something went wrong with the braking, and the vehicle swung all the way around to face me as it went around a curve. It then hit a guardrail and went tumbling down a ravine.

I pulled over right away and called Rafael Farfán for him to phone the police. Caleb ran down the ravine immediately, and I soon followed. There were two people in the vehicle when it went over the mountain, and the wife was thrown with the whole windshield into the river where the vehicle landed. The husband somehow ended up in the back of the vehicle, partly under water. Several men soon joined us at the river’s edge, which was thankfully very low due to the rains hardly having started. We made a chain of arms and pulled the poor woman out of the river. By that time, emergency personnel were arriving, and we had to run.

Dad’s got into the airport with less than an hour to get through security and to their plane. Thankfully, Cusco is not a very busy airport, and they made it on time. Everything went perfectly smoothly for them on the way home, just like their trip down. I want to try a drama-free travel experience in the future, just to see if I like it.

Last Sunday, I preached a message on personal integrity, an essential Christian virtue. It was a moving sermon for me to prepare, and God used it to touch hearts. We were all blessed to have Esmeralda confess that she knew she was in sin to disobey the Lord, and she wanted to ask God’s forgiveness and the brotherhood’s forgiveness and move ahead with baptism.

I confess, I was not expecting such a fast turn-around though I did feel confident that God would be faithful to help Esmeralda come to the right choice. Such a joy it was to see her own joy return. When we trust and obey God completely, the peace we feel passes all understanding.

I am scheduled to preach in Puno this coming weekend. Steph, the youngest children, Leonela, and Esmeralda planned to come along. I knew it would be a more enjoyable trip for Esmeralda if she would already be baptized, so I talked with the church here, and we decided we could move ahead on Wednesday if Esmeralda was ready. She thought and prayed about it and decided to go ahead.

So, instead of prayer meeting, we had a baptismal service today! What a joy it was. Esmeralda was beaming with joy. She shared with us in her testimony that she feels privileged to be part of the family of God, and that we should know that for her, that is the only family she now has. She has truly given up all for Jesus and His church.

May we all be as willing—no, not as willing! May we all give up everything to follow our Lord Jesus, He who gave up all for us.

Esmeralda is a great example for us in what it means to follow the Lord. She chose for her baptismal song one that we may hear mindlessly sung at children’s clubs and Sunday schools, but for her, it means everything. She was crying as she sang, “I have decided to follow Jesus. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back!”

Abbey’s birthday
Dad’s at school devotions
Climbing a nearby ridge
Birthday girl
Mom visiting the dentist
The boys tustling with Grandpa
Walking to school
Playing table games with Grandma
Preparing the farewell ceviche lunch
¡Que rico!
The wreck
Pulling the lady out of the river
Farewells at the airport
There they go!
Esmeralda sharing her testimony
With her compatriotas 🙂
So happy 🧡