An April Report

The Store

We’re getting closer! This week, we plan to be working at things like getting the floor tiled, moving a concrete wall, sourcing shelving, and so on. Some of this work will be hired out; some we will do ourselves. Probably next week, we will begin setting up the shelving and buying the first of the inventory.

We’ve been holding off a bit on moving forward because money has been an issue. I keep asking myself if I’m trying to build a tower without having counted all the costs, but I think we just need to move forward now.

Caleb and José are doing most of the running forth and back. Today, Esmeralda is working at pulling the licenses for the store; we decided to put the store in her name since she is Peruvian, and that will make things simpler. We’ve had numerous meetings with all the various peoples, and I think we more or less know what we want to do. It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re all excited about it.

At the store location
Store meeting

The School

School is off to a good start. Rosita is teaching completely in Spanish, seeing as she knows no English. I’m already noticing the difference in the way the children are talking, especially Juanito and Dane. The girls are slower to change, but Abbey is finally using the subjunctive form. I’m afraid I have been a bad example for Anne who still has many creative ways of avoiding the subjunctive. (What is the subjunctive, you ask? If I knew, my children would already be using it.)

The English teacher is Sarina Summy from Virginia. She has her ticket now, so we’re all getting excited to meet her the end of this month. She has volunteered to help here for a year. We’re hoping she falls in love with Peru and stays at least two! 😁

Busy bees

The Church

It is a great joy to have a third man here! I can hardly contain myself at times. God has richly blessed us/me with Caleb and José. It is interesting how very, very similar Caleb and José are in their habits and personalities. They work together super well and are such excellent help and support for me. José has thrown himself into the work 100%, which has been a joy to see.

José and Rosita are staying in Esmeralda’s house for now, but they are hoping to find a house soon. They would prefer to be fairly close to the farm, but we haven’t yet found an ideal place for them. There are quite a few less-than-ideal options that are available, and they may end up taking one of those if something else isn’t provided.

Caleb and Belinda are still in Percy’s house above the church meeting place in Huancarpata. They are expecting the baby to arrive in only a couple weeks from now, at most. They had planned to use the same midwife we did, but they were feeling uncomfortable with her, and we encouraged them to look elsewhere, too. They found a clinic in Cusco they plan to try.

Esmeralda and Leonela are in the upper house. They are enjoying Yeni’s visit currently. They have been very gracious to share the house with the school and with José’s family, but I think they are looking forward to having a bit more space again once they find their own place. Sarina will be staying there in the room across the hall from the school room, and I believe Esmeralda and Leonela will be great friends for her. Maria Gracia is back and forth bi-weekly between Fernando’s and here. We thought she may come to our school this year, but Esmeralda could not muster the courage to talk to Fernando about it. Maybe next year.

Alicia is doing very well. She brings us joy to see her so full of joy. She has taken to coming one day a week to help Steph and another day to help Belinda, which is a blessing to all involved. She’s very excited about her baptism, which is scheduled for this coming Sunday, April 9. Yesterday we had our preparatory service for Communion, and her tearful testimony blessed us all. She has thrown in her lot with Jesus, even though her family and neighbors are rejecting her. The cost is great to be a Christian here.

Most people shared that they have been going through a valley of trial or discouragement in recent months. It is too easy to become weary in well-doing. In our small group, there aren’t but so many to spread the work among, so everyone is busy. We’ve all wondered if the planting we are doing is growing at all when we don’t see any fruit, but we encouraged each other to carry on. Jesus gave all for us; we want to do the same for Him.

We have a regular prayer request for more workers here. We don’t know the future, but when I think about that José and Caleb could be gone a year from now, leaving me as the only man again—let’s just say, I’ve been walking through some dark moments myself. I told the group that I have complete faith that God is sufficient, but I cringe to consider going through that fire again. I shrink from the trials of my faith, yet I say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Prayer meeting (snapped a photo while trying to keep Daisy quiet)
Passing out tracts
Esmeralda learning to sew
Alicia making lunch for us

The Farm

There isn’t much excitng happening now, but we sold five bulls, two cows, and some calves in March, and I was happy with the prices. I would like to reinvest in bulls in May, but we’ll have to see. Everything I have is going into the store right now. The farm may need to take a back seat for a bit.

We do have three female pigs that we hope are all pregnant. If so, they should have their little piggies soon. If not, they may get sold instead. Besides the pigs, we have about ten goats, a couple dozen chickens, an alpaca named Potato, and the rabbits.

The rabbits are a recent hobby that has been steadily growing. We can sell bunnies for an okay profit. With ten does, we have bunnies to sell every couple of weeks. We have not been very cut-throat about it, so we’re not getting the maximum price yet, but I think that could grow. Leonela has been doing most of the selling lately, which is a tremendous blessing for me because my guinea pig allergies are only worse every week.

I ended up taking three different allergy medications to counteract the guinea pig dust this past Friday because I had gone to the animal section to buy another rabbit, but I had neglected to take my medication before entering. I can feel pretty miserable afterward. A few weeks back, I had a pretty bad attack one Friday night after I had already gone to bed, during which my throat decided to close, and I couldn’t breathe. Steph got my inhaler and a steroid pill for me, and after some anxious minutes, I was able to catch my breath. Super annoying allergy to have when one lives in the Andes of Peru.

Selling sheep
Selling bunnies and goats
My newest bull calf from Estrella
God’s promise

The Family

We are doing well and better. Steph and I have suffered—Steph more than I—these past weeks with a rather colicky Daisy. We learned that if the mom takes iron, especially in large doses, while nursing, the baby is pretty guaranteed to get colic. Steph was taking iron tablets because of her blood loss, so… But Daisy is doing much better now that Steph has been off of her iron supplements for about a month. It is debilitating for parents to have a baby who screams bloody murder for hours and hours of the day.

The rest of the children are all well. We have our regularly scheduled crises: busted lips, cracked heads, cut arms, twisted ankles and knees—it is a wonder any child makes it to adulthood. But overall, everyone is happy and healthy.

The older children are absolutely loving school though Anne had pledged in her heart not to like the new teacher who could never replace Aunt China! Turns out, we can live through changes and find that the new thing, though different, can be its own sort of good.

Daisy being happy
Willow helping Mama
Walter with his coffee
Seth keeping the little ones entertained
Juanito enjoying his magnifying glass
Dane teaching José how to pay 10,000
Abbey helping Keyla
Anne making breakfast
Steph being wonderful, per usual


Rafael and Elisabet come faithfully every week for Bible study; they have rarely missed in months. Even though we have gone through some more difficult lessons for them recently (assurance of salvation, judgment on the disobedient, etc.), they continue to come. I am confident that if their family was not so against Christianity, they would already have made the commitment. Why do we value man’s opinion more than God’s? Maybe because God isn’t very real to us, nor the veracity of His promises of both judgment and salvation. Somehow we think that God will just have to accept me as I am, disregarding His commands.

Percy has not been to a service in recent weeks. He seems to have become more and more distant from us. We keep inviting him to services, and we have invited them for meals a few times recently, but there is always something that comes up that keeps them away. They do not seem happy.

Edward suddenly left the farm a number of weeks ago. He seemed more interested in what he could get out of us than what he could contribute, and he was not willing to become more disciplined in his walk with the Lord. It’s much easier to talk grandly about the Bible than it is to simply obey Jesus, but the blessings come only through obedience.

We continue to regularly hand out tracts and take time to visit people to talk and pray with them or just read a chapter of the Bible to them. How will they hear the message if there is not a messenger? So many of them say they believe in Jesus, but it is easy to see they believe in Him only as Savior and not as Lord; they continue living in sin yet claiming the promise of eternal life. Every covenant comes with requirements; why would God’s promise be any different?

Pray for us that our faith would grow. Pray that our love could grow, too. When we feel true love for our neighbor, we can’t help but warn him of the danger of God’s wrath and show him the way to God’s love. But we are often unlovely. We continue striving to become more like Jesus.

Prepping tracts
Supper on Bible study night


Caleb and I asked José if he would be willing to take on the job of working with our attorney to get the residency moving forward. Bless his heart! He has done so well with this. He simply hounds the attorney with phone calls throughout the week.

This has resulted in Caleb and Belinda finally getting their residency approved! The latest report is that they should be able to pick up their residency cards soon. Praise the Lord! And thanks to José!

José is now working on our older children’s residency, which was only submitted in September of 2019! The attorney had—once again—lost our children’s birth certificates, but he found them in another missionary’s file. He is supposed to be scheduling an appointment for all five older ones soon to get their pictures taken at immigration, which is the final step. We’re excited.

I had told the family that once we all have our Peruvian residency, we can schedule a trip to Machu Picchu to celebrate. It is many hundreds of dollars for foreigners, but for Cusqueños (residents of Cusco) it is only a few soles. Maybe that will happen soon!

I’m happy that we have José here to take care of Sarina’s residency as soon as she arrives. I expect she could break a record in getting her residency the quickest of us all, which would be delightful.

See why I want other men to help here?

Getting their photos for residency


We do have a few visits on the horizon. My closest friend James from Virginia is coming with his family the 18th of this month, which is very exciting. James is the friend who I do a podcast with. It’ll be good to see them again. I’m sure their two boys will be great companions for Seth and Walter.

A friend of José and Rosita may be coming to visit in May, which should be interesting. There are also some families from Puno who have asked about visiting, which we’re eager to receive. There is a wedding in Puno in July, so they may be coming before or after that.

In June, my oldest brother Thomas and his family plan to come visit us. They are bringing a group of up to twenty people with them! The church there has committed to doing some work projects here. They are an astonishingly generous church that is always looking for ways to serve foreign-serving missionaries. We still need Macedonians in 2023. I think their group will be here about two weeks.

The end of June we are looking forward to some of the Great Commision Ministries board members coming to visit, and one of them may bring his family, which is exciting. Our goal is for the brothers Levi and Peter to hold a week of evangelistic meetings here in Izcuchaca. We as a brotherhood are eager to see how God can use this.

In July, we may have one other visitor, but that is not yet determined. But a few of us would like to go to Josué and Marti’s wedding in Puno, if possible, the 14th of July. 🙏🏼

In August, we don’t have any visitors scheduled, but Steph and I are dreaming about our 15th wedding anniversary. I have been saving aside for that day for rather a long time, so we may be able to take a trip, but we do not know. Dreams are fun to have though, so we’re smiling about what could be.

Beyond that, there is another family considering a visit the end of the year. They are still thinking and praying about that. Leonela would love to have her family come visit us, which would be delightful, so we may have them dropping in sometime, too. All in all, it should be a busy year.


A few men have asked me to give a financial report of the mission occasionally. I don’t know how to do that, but I’ll try.

I made around $10,000 last year; I spent around $47,000. If you do the math, some would consider that Dire Circumstances.

Sometimes I feel that way, too. But God has been providing through the various Macedonians out there. Last year’s expenses included the two well projects, Alicia’s house project, birth expenses, a few small projects on the houses, and this and that. Most of those projects and expenses were covered by donations from people moved by God to share, including the GCM board. The rest came from my savings account from selling our house in 2019; that acount is getting smaller and smaller each year, but there is still some oil in the barrel.

Something I learned this year is that because we are not a registered something or other, all the donations from the States are taxable for me as self-employed income, so I am paying taxes for the first time in a few years (usually having lots of children makes that less likely at our stage of life). You learn something new every day.

All the farm income, such as selling bulls and bunnies, goes to wages for Percy, Esmeralda, Leonela, and so on. Caleb and I have decided not to take a wage from the farm or the store, mostly because there’s not enough to go around. I’m very grateful for Caleb’s sacrifice in that way (he also does some remote work to help supplement their income). The income I make from writing goes to paying for education and living expenses for us and for sharing with others in need.

We do not anticipate having as many expenses this year, but that is something we cannot know, of course. We have enough yet not too much to ask for more, as the song says.

One fellow I talked to essentially rebuked me for being this… poor? I guess. He said it is not sustainable or responsible and that it is not considerate of me to put that amount of weight on the churches in the States when it was my choice (fault?) for dragging my family to Peru in the first place. That’s one perspective.

Another fellow rebuked me for not being more transparent and allowing the churches in the States to help more. Either way, I deserve to be rebuked, it seems. Anyway, I don’t like talking about money, but it is a necessary part of life. We would have survived okay on my writing income last year, but the donations we received allowed us to bless many families here, including providing jobs for some members of the church.

We are going to do our best to make the store a success so that the church has a more reliable source of local income. The farm keeps itself afloat for the most part, including paying for a couple of wokers. To cover all the workers I pay, the church expenses, and our family’s expenses, we need $4,000-$5,000 a month. That’s split about 10 ways.

I would be remiss to close this report without a thank you to my Patreon supporters. Your monthly gifts have been vitally incorporated into the work here from the very beginning. There are now 20 of you. You may be few, but you are mighty! You are laying up treasures in heaven, for sure. Many thanks.