Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Brochure

Creating a brochure for our albergue in Spanish and in English is a project I was able to begin and finish in the past few months. The brochure came to completion with a ton of help from Liz, Clara & friends at Peru Mission and Grafica Real. We hope this tool will help spread the word of this wonderful ministry and bring more volunteers, prayer partners and supporters.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Thanks to Darrel, most of our bikes were fixed up and ready to be used, again. Joel supervises bike time - teaching some kids how to ride, fixing chains, helping reduce crashes and watching all of the kids smile!
Just a note: the orphanage is in need of new bike pedals, bike seats and tire tubes - all kid sizes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vocational Program

This program was a vision of mine before I came to the orphanage last September. I had talked with the Vickie Miller many times about the need to have a program for our older children - especially those who would not be going to University. We planned for several months and initiated our program last January with 3 students. I helped write the program and the first part was mainly socialization. The 3 students, Yulianna, Rocio and Kevin, spent three months learning how to use public transportation, city awarness and important locations. It's a tough system to learn and get the hang of - micros zoom buy calling out their destinations and barely stopping for you to board. After this part of the program, we felt they needed a little more preparation and entered them into a speech class. They spent two months interacting with a variety of students ranging from 14 to 55, where they learned self-confidence. I helped them go into town for each class, but eventually were able to go to class on the micro system by themselves and I only helped them return.

This past week, Yulianna and Rocio started the next phase of the program - vocational training. Two days a week, they attend a baking class instead of our on-campus school. Now they are able to go into town and return all by themselves. I had tears in my eyes when they came home from their first day of class successfully and showed me their very first cake! They were so proud of themselves and I have to say... it was one of my proudest moments, as well.

Rocio and Yuli

Thursday, August 7, 2008


In July we had a church group of 33 from First Baptist Church in Platte City, Missouri come visit the orphanage for a week. They did a number of things - painted, helped with our green areas, and did outreach in the Plaza and a popular mall. The group was led by youth pastor, Brady Testorff and his wife Trish.
Brady and Trish were at the orphanage when I was here in 2006, but they weren't with their church group. They were here on their own, finalizing an adoption of two children - Yessenia (13) and Paul (10), growing their family to seven. Here, two years later, they return. Yessenia was turning 15 and her desire was to have her Quinceanero at the orphanage with all of the children, workers and her new family. Quinceanero or 15th birthday party, is the most important birthday for a girl in the Peruvian culture. It was a first for the orphanage and was a wonderful celebration. The cafeteria was decorated with balloons, empanadas were shared and a beautiful cake was cut and served. We invited the officials from the family court system and those that knew Yessenia when she was at the orphanage. Brady spoke about the grace of God in Yessenia's life and he and Trish symbolically changed Yessenia's shoes to represent her beginning a new stage in her journey. It was an moving celebration and a wonderful testimony to the beauty of adoption.

Liz, orphanage director, gives Yessenia her bouquet

Brady shares a message with the help of a translator.

Joel and I shared a song

Robyn and Yessenia

They also decided to visit their biological mother while they were here. I went along to be a support and help translate. It was a nervous and quiet ride to the house. Tears were shed as they embraced their biological mother and other older siblings. Their mother thanked Brady and Trish for providing Yessenia and Paul with a home and a family that loved them and took care of them. One of their siblings had already died in a gang battle and another is very ill from drug use. The mother is now a christian and, with her fiance, is trying to stop drinking to end that cycle. It was an emotional visit and a shocking reality for Yessenia and Paul to see. They hadn't been in their mother's home for more than 6 years.

Yessenia and Paul's return was challenging. They were face to face with their past - seeing the orphanage and their past through new eyes. Their memories of how things were didn't always match up to the reality. Two years in the United States had changed them. It was interesting to see them on the other side - they were helping and serving the orphanage instead of being on the receiving end. The children and workers at the orphanage loved seeing them and when it was time to say goodbye - their role had changed. We stood on opposite sides - the children/staff sang and the group stood across the grass and listened. We thanked them for coming and they thanked us for hosting them. However, in the end, we all shed tears and hugged - knowing we will all miss each other and be a part of each other's lives forever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Independence Day

July is the month to celebrate independence - for the United States and for Peru. Here, the streets, stores and taxis are covered in red and white and flags are hanging everywhere.
The volunteers intitiated the month of celebration by hosting a party in honor of both countries and Amy's (volunteer) birthday on July 4th. Another volunteer and I searched all of Trujillo to find any type of fireworks or sparklers. Apparently the only time they are sold here in Peru is during Christmas and New Year's. However, Elias (our Peruvian McGyver) was able to find six firework/explosives, which we set off at the end of our party. The orphanage staff and volunteers gathered on the second floor and we all sang our national anthems - even Joy, from England, sang God Save the Queen. We shared a few stories of why we love our countries and the different traditions we use to celebrate independence. We ate chocolate cake (for Amy's birthday,) popcorn and 2 volunteers made my mother-in-law's apple crisp, which the Peruvians fell in love with. It was a great time of sharing the beauty of independence.Now, we're here at the end of the month where most of Peru takes two days off from work and some schools are off for 1-2 weeks to really celebrate. The streets are filled with parades and children showing off their love for the country by participating in traditional dances, dramas about the history of Peru and marching with their flags and songs.

The orphanage kids and staff ready for the parade

City officials and the Peruvian flag

Living history of Peru

Future military

Our kids from the orphanage - marching with their classmates