Many of you will recall that we lived for 5 years in a remote Quechua village in the Andes mountains of Peru. Our time there was sweet and we lived an amazing life alongside a wonderful group of neighbors and friends—raising chickens and goats, working to develop community development and education ministries, and discipling young Peruvian leaders.
I (Laurie) recently opened my Facebook to find a message from one of the young teachers that we worked with in Perú. She was sharing a flyer for the 6th anniversary celebration of the church… a church that we seeded and she planted and has fostered for 6 years now. This is long-lasting fruit! Fruit from our time in Perú that is continuing today and being grown and developed by one of those young teachers that we discipled and poured into for the 5 years that we lived there.
Then, Billy received a friend request from Alfonso - our neighbor and friend from the village of Patarcocha, Perú. We had lost connection to him when we moved to Spain and he did not have a computer or a way to stay connected via phone. As soon as Billy hit “accept” on the friend request, his phone rang! After 10 years apart, Billy and Alfonso were now speaking on the phone - Alfonso from Idaho (he immigrated and has work there), and Billy from the stands of a horse competition in Spain. What a sweet reunion! He sent pictures of the grandkids and of his first winter in Idaho.
Then, my neighbor Elva called us on WhatsApp from Patarcocha! We got to talk to her and to her children and grandkids, catch up on the neighbors, and see the views of the village and the mountains. Two of her children were in our early childhood education programs when we were there. They are now in university! That is amazing! We started those education programs because of a lack of resources and adequate education for the children of shepherds and potato farmers on the mountain. And now we hear that two of those are in university!
We also know that one of our young teachers moved into the jungle to teach in a school that couldn’t staff it’s classes because of the remote location and danger involved, but Milagros said yes to the call and carried both her teaching skills and the Gospel to children and families in the Peruvian jungle. Another teacher moved to Lima to begin an early childhood Christian education program modeled on what we started in the village. Another has continued to be a teacher in one of the villages that we worked with. And another has married and lives in the village and has planted a church. All of our young teachers have stayed committed to serving in mission and spreading the Gospel as they have scattered to other areas of Peru.
Technology has brought us great news! Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether our work is accomplishing much and if there is any lasting fruit to our efforts. And then, God is so good and helps reassure us and show us just a glimpse of what He is doing with the seeds we plant. We are so grateful and happy and we wanted to share it with you!
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!