Friday, November 23, 2007

Vickie Miller

Today, November 23 at 8:15 in the morning, Vickie Miller passed away. Vickie is the wife of Dave Miller, and they are the founders of Hogar de Esperanza. She was surrounded by her husband, daughters and family. Before she passed, her family read scriptures together, reassuring themselves that this life is temporal and our hope is in eternity with Christ. Vickie was a strong woman with a beautiful heart full of love, hope and the peace of God. Even in her pain, she reminded her family of God's faithfulness.

Dave and Vickie's daughter, Mindy, wrote an email thanking all the people who have supported them, visited/called and prayed for them. Mindy asks for continued prayers for the family to feel God's grace as they suffer with their sorrow. Dave is grieving. He is sharing stories and memories about Vickie with his 4 daughters.

The staff, children and volunteers at the albergue are overwhelmed with sorrow. We would like to have a short service (here at the albergue) in her memory, including pictures and stories of Vickie. The service will be held Monday afternoon in Peru. Vickie loved the library that was started here at the orphanage. She spent her time in Peru organizing the books and working on reading programs with the children. In her honor, the staff, children and volunteers will purchase 50 new books for the library.

Joel and I continue to see God at work in the midst of trials, hardships and sorrow. We ask for your prayers and guidance as the Miller family grieves and as the orphanage continues without Vickie's amazing leadership.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving (Acion de Gracias)

The other volunteers, Joel and I took the afternoon off and did our best to make a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving meal. We all had a dish or two or three to make and the cooks helped us out with pans, more butter, utensils and understanding how the stove works. We had turkey breast, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, mashed turnips, very salty gravy, scones, squash pudding, apple-too much butter-crisp, maracuya sauce (instead of cranberry) and green been casserole. We did all of this with only a small 'oven' (space for two small round pans and no temperature gauge... just a covered flame), a stove top and a few metal pans. We decorated the table, toasted each other with our water and listened to Christmas music being played from our computers.

It was actually a great time and a great Thanksgiving (especially for Joel, since his Cowboys won.) We spent time talking about our lives, sharing stories, laughing and reflecting on what it is to be truly thankful. We shared about our families, the Millers, and the children here in the orphanage. What an amazing blessing to spend this day of Thanksgiving here, in Peru, where all we are thankful for is heavy on our minds and hearts.
Joel and I are missing our families and friends, but we are so thankful that God has richly blessed us with so many beautiful relationships. And, we are grateful to be able to share our lives with the children and staff of Hogar de Esperanza. Thank you for reading our blog, praying for us and keeping up on our activities in Peru! We are grateful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Guest Lutherans

Last month (late blog) Joel, myself and two other volunteers were invited to a small group that helps organize Friday night services at SALI (San Augustine Language Institute), which is an outreach of Peru Mission and is based out of the Presbyterian church. Every Friday night they have a service reaching out to young adults. Since most of the young adults are learning English, they invited us to play and sing songs. We threw in a few 'upbeat' songs from our youth group days and it took a while to get the Presbyterians in the groove. The pictures are from our practice nights.

Another tidbit... the night we were invited happened to the night they talked about the reformation. Joel actually played "Mighty Fortress" on his guitar while the crowd sung it in Spanish. They introduced Joel and I as the "Guest Lutherans." Pretty funny.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The orphanage has quite a bit of land, here, in Peru. There are several buildings and a small house on our property. A few weeks, ago, the 'Rancho' building and the small house were robbed. These two buildings have families living in them and the families were present during the robberies. It was traumatic for the families, as you can imagine. The 'ladrones' took all of their money, cameras, cellular phones, televisions, a stove and the baby's milk. Thankfully, the robbers did not hurt anyone.

Looking back, there are so many reasons we could give about why the robbery occurred, but, instead, I'll share that we were able to work on some positive changes for security at the albergue. Joel and I witnessed everyone pulling together to make the changes and even the local churches, community and some police came to help.

We have created an emergency plan for the workers, madre tutoras, volunteers and children and we added 2 more vigilantes (or night watchman) for each night. The orphanage has also formed friendships with two surrounding companies and their vigilantes. Overall, our facility is much safer and we, again, have seen the blessing of community.

We painted some of the walls white, which surround the property. This provides more illumination/reflection when the vigilante is on duty. He is able to see if people are passing by and has a clearer vision of the property.

We also put in a ton of lights around the buildings that were robbed and also more lights at the orphanage. Thanks to Erin (one of the volunteers), her church and family, and to First Lutheran Church in Gypsum we were able to buy enough lights for all 3 building and the driveway.

A local company brought their tractor and helped us install lights along the main driveway. A few weeks of work and we have a safe and secure facility.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Treci Had Puppies!

This puppy was named Joel by the volunteers taking care of Treci and her puppies. Joel was one out of two males in the litter of nine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tesoros del Rey

There are 4 casitas or houses for the children. Each have their own madre tutora (mother figure) and their own personalities. Casita Tesoros del Rey is special because they have a madre tutora AND a padre tutora. Hugo and Sarita are married and together they parent this casita. They live with the children and have 4 days off a month. Hugo is also responsible for cleaning the albergue and facility. They invited us over one night to chat, play and get to know Casita Tesoros better. It ended up being a wonderful display of each of the boys' talents... one-handed cartwheels, dance moves, arm wrestling and joke telling.
Sarita and Hugo (Madre y Padre Tutoras)
- also Sarita is sporting one of my youth's t-shirts that was left behind in June
Jesus doing his one handed cartwheel
Junior, Samir, Joel and Arnold (top left to right)

Is that really Robyn? Chito, Robyn, Dani and Abel

Thursday, November 1, 2007


About 10 or 15 years ago, Peru decided that they needed a Peruvian holiday on October 31st, since other countries had Halloween (or day of the witch, as the say here.) One of Peru's favorite traditional singers died all those years ago on Oct 31, so this day became "El Dia de la Cancion Criolla." It is celebrated with concerts, food and dancing to this type of music. Some of the young people observe Halloween at the discotechs, but most of Peru celebrates with Criolla music. We didn't do too much to celebrate either holiday. However, I watched some videos of Criolla music and some friends tried to teach me to dance salsa. It didn't work, but at least I tried!