Many of you will remember that our first year working in the village of San Juan de Iscos was not at all easy. In fact, it was downright scary at times. We were accused of poisoning children, human trafficking, and harvesting human organs. We were verbally abused by locals and the children in our program were attacked by townspeople swinging leather belts and beating them for associating with us. We even had local witches cast curses on us and read tarot cards prophesying against us. We wanted to quit in a big way.
It was our little team of Peruvian teachers who begged us to stay, to stand up and persevere. And so we did. Years later, we had three educational programs, a women’s discipleship group, and community health and development works going in Iscos and the surrounding villages. Yet Iscos continued to be a “hard place” and we struggled to keep things going there while being people of peace amidst the chaos.
One of our Peruvian teachers, Rosio, has continued to work and live in Iscos, doing discipleship and working with the children and mothers in the area. She married a local boy from Iscos. She now has a baby and is a young mother in the town that worked so hard to persecute us for our faith. She has been a testament to all of the training and development work that we poured in to that small team of young teachers. This week, as I write this, she is holding a week-long Vacation Bible School in Iscos (it is summer in Peru) in conjunction with the opening of a new church that she and her husband have planted!!! Y'all, Rosio is planting a church… IN ISCOS! This is HUGE! This is the kind of fruit that we dream for and hope for and pray for. This is the reason that we train and mobilize and serve, that we pour out development and pour in to local believers who can carry on in our absence, who can reach their own people in their own language and culture. THIS IS IT!!!
Please pray for Rosio and her family as they begin this new work in a hard place. So exciting! Pray for the other young Peruvian teachers that we trained and developed in Peru, too. Tania has started an education program and outreach to families in Lima, and Milagros is working in areas of the Peruvian jungle where the government pays hazard pay and stipends to teachers because of active terrorism and narcotrafficking. And thank God for watering those seeds that we planted during our time in Peru. You sowed seeds of support and love and prayers in to us - we sowed seeds of love and encouragement, discipleship and development and formation in to the local people - Rosio and Tania and Milagros continued to tend those seeds and work that field - and now look what’s springing up! Thank you for being a part of that! Sometimes it take a long time and we have to have a long-term vision, but God is faithful and He will bless our faithfulness and obedience to loving our neighbors well.
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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!