The Deep and Busy Waters of May

How is it possible that May is basically over, and I haven’t written even once?!

This month has proven to be rather full and heavy in various ways for us. Being transparent, it has been a struggle for me to always keep my head up. But I have been working to choose joy and to choose to cast my burdens on the Lord, and He has been faithful. I’m grateful that God is real and that I have a real connection with Him. He has been a faithful Sustainer. What a privilege we have!

The store has taken a lot of time and effort, more than was anticipated. Praise the Lord, the store is successful. We made over S/400 the first week, over S/1,000 the second week, and S/1,500 the third. That is a great trajectory, and one that has beat all of our expectations. Startup costs have been about S/20,000 so far, which has been hard for me to believe. I’m so grateful that God has been providing for us so that we could make this happen.

We decided to take a break of about a month to “recuperate” in the store, saving up as much as we can of the income. Our goal is to have around S/5,000 saved up before we do the next step of opening the kitchen in the store. I have no more bulls to sell, and we sold all the female pigs except for one. It’ll be pretty lean for a bit, but what a joy we have in the store. I’m very grateful.

Grateful and a bit stressed out. Can both be true at once? This is the first that I ever tried to open my own business, and I have found that it is a great way to achieve more gray hair! But I am very excited about the potential of the store. I see it being a long-term blessing to the church and community.

But it takes work. While there is not a kitchen at the store, we are using the kitchen at our house to do all the baking. I’ve been trying to help Steph each day with the baking to keep it somewhat doable, but I’ve been more or less lame the past week. This leaves Steph with a large family to care for, a huge bake order each day, a limping husband, and needy sisters in the church. She’s getting stretched pretty thin. (But didn’t she just recently tell me she wished she were more thin? Be careful what you wish for!)

I’m lame because we as a church helped Percy harvest potatoes in the mountain last week, and I went barefoot for the day. I am never barefoot. But I went against my better knowledge since we were digging all day, and I didn’t want shoes full of dirt. I should have kept my socks on maybe. I ended up staying in the same position for hours on end, leaving me with my left foot completely cooked by the sun.

My foot swelled tremendously the next day and has seemed to have something akin to an infection from the extreme burn. The pain is quite difficult to work with. I then made the foolish choice to go with Caleb and José to Cusco two days after the burn; all the walking made so I could hardly put any weight on my foot afterward.

And now I am slowly recovering. Even sitting at my desk is painful with the blood pounding in my throbbing foot, so I take breaks to elevate my foot after I’ve had to either be on it or to be sitting. An annoyance when there is so much to do!

Caleb and José have been keeping after me to slow down and let the foot rest so it can heal. I am so blessed with them. They both jump to serve where they can. May they have stars in the crowns! And of course, my dear wife is doing more than her share.

While these things and more were going on, we have hit some deep waters as a church. We are dealing with one member who is finding it hard to take up the cross in a given area. The brotherhood has been working with them sometimes daily to help the hurting member; we all ache with them. And the pastor has been especially affected by the situation. The Psalmist says that God collects our tears in a bottle—He must have a very large bottle!

This difficulty has spread a sense of discouragement or despair throughout the group, which only adds to the weight we feel. We are trying to fight this battle in prayer, knowing that God is greater than these problems. But as I told a friend recently, I need a deacon! I continue to pray that God would lead other men here that could help with leadership. You can pray with us.

We do rejoice that Caleb and Belinda welcomed a healthy baby girl with no complications to the delivery. Arya is so, so petite and very cute, and Caleb and Belinda and Ashlynn are all very happy. We rejoice with them.

Caleb has been wrestling with his car, poor man. The computer board that runs, well, everything I guess, is rather oxidized and does not permit the car to stay prendido. Caleb would like to change out the board, which would be several hundred dollars, but he just paid for a birth and some other expenses and doesn’t have a way to do that right now. So, he’s trying his hand at working on the board and other little issues in the car a bit at a time as he has funds.

José and Rosita are still searching for a house. They had thought they had a good option just a field away from us, but the owner backed out at the last minute. They may have another option lined up though. It would be ideal for them to have their own place, and we wait anxiously with them.

We welcomed Sarina here a few weeks ago, but we had no school books. They came one box at a time over three weeks. One of the boxes got stuck in customs, and they said we would need to pay S/500 to release it because the shipping label was wrong from the States, but I was able to get a hold of the General Manager of Christian Light who wrote a letter explaining the situation to customs in a way that allowed them to release the box. Praise the Lord!

So, now we are doing English school three days a week, and Spanish school twice a week. We thank God for how He is providing.

What more can I say of Samson and Gideon and others…? I know this update is a bit odd and perhaps not very informative in a sense, but maybe it gives you an idea of what life is like for us right now.

We need God. We need Him to work in us. We need Him to work through us. And we need your prayers on our behalf. We are so very needy. Thank you for laboring with us in the work through prayer.

And thanks again to those who check in on us when I’m quiet here on the blog. I’m sorry I couldn’t write, but you understand why. Thanks for taking the time to call and listen or to send a message. It really helps us. And any of you sisters out there, please remember my wife. She could use some long-distance hugs right now.

Much love to you. I hope to write again soon.

Our store logo
Baking with Steph at 4:00 in the morning
A wedding Steph did
Sarina getting a bite of cake 😁
Sarina’s birthday
English school
Harvesting potatoes
An crispy foot
Elevating my sunburnt foot… in the sun.
Arya is in the seat somwhere.
Baby Arya’s first Sunday service
A beautiful sunset