Monday, January 25, 2016

Today Class...

The Peruvian school year goes from March to December, so kids here are all off for the summer.   (Remember in the southern hemisphere the seasons are opposite).  We’re actively praying whether to send our kids to the local schools or continue homeschooling… so, please join us in our discernment.

We intended to do “regular” school work yesterday, but a little voice kept calling from the corner, “build me…please, make me into something beautiful!”  The materials we had struggled to find in town were waiting to be transformed into shelves for our clothes, books, dishes, etc.  We measured, sawed, wrapped wire and marveled as our sketch came alive....

Here are some pictures which capture our first shelf building experience:

Our First Few Days in Peru

Close your eyes and imagine your house completely empty… no beds, no dressers, no silverware or toilet paper… Where does one start when building a new life in a new place…?  Here’s a glimpse of how we’ve gone about it these first few days.

First, the story of our house… Through divine providence, Father Paco was able to secure a house for us in San Hilarion.  This was a tremendous blessing because nothing has been available these last several months.  Finding housing for missionaries here in Peru is often a great challenge because in most villages every dwelling is occupied by people that have lived there for generations.

Pedro is the man that recently built our house.  He poured his heart into this project, expecting his own family to live here upon its completion.  At the last minute, those plans fell through for reasons we may never know.  Pedro was stuck in a bad situation.  He was alone with a large vacant house that was outside the means of most locals to rent.  Fr. Paco crossed paths with Pedro at exactly the right moment.  Everyone’s prayers were answered.  Pedro had someone to help him pay his bills and we had a place to live…praise be to God!!   When we arrived the neighbors rushed out to great us.

We ventured out into the town to find some basic necessities.  First on the list were mattresses.  We quickly learned that they are all stuffed with dried corn stalks.  Each kid climbed up into a rickety loft to select theirs.  We took them home “missionary style”.  

Next were toilet paper and trash cans for the bathrooms.  Just like in Mexico, the toilet paper does NOT go into the toilets, but rather into trash cans.  This allows the waste to be piped out into undeveloped areas where it soaks into the ground.  Mosquito nets for around our mattresses were a must.  Katelyn got 71 bites the night we slept in Picota because we didn’t have nets.  

We also needed wash tubs and a clothesline since all laundry is hand washed.

We hoped to make our own dinner the first night at “home”.  Thanks to the generosity and tireless help of our missionary friends, we were able to pull it off.

When we awoke in the morning we opened the door to welcome the Amazonian sunshine.  Moments later the doorway was filled with neighbor kids eager to meet their new playmates. 

The small, but faithful Catholic community enthusiastically welcomed us with a celebration at church the following night.  We filled the air with songs of praise to our glorious God who brought us altogether.  Chris and I shared stories about our call to missions. The locals tearfully shared their stories; for decades they’ve been praying for missionaries to come who could help combat the evils which are swallowing up their society.  

Afterward, we were all invited for dinner at one of the community member’s homes.

During the celebration we found out that we were expected to lead a funeral service the following day.  Wow, talk about hitting the ground running! 

When we returned home there was a bedframe waiting for us.  The community members also gave us tables, chairs and food.  It was incredibly humbling to accept so much from people who have so little, but they insisted. 

Long after the sun set over the Amazon jungle, we fell into our corn stalk beds exhausted, but thrilled to finally be missionaries.

Team Carmody Arrives in Peru

As FMC missionaries, we present ourselves as humble servants by kissing the ground of each place we’re called to serve.

Despite the fatigue from last minute packing, a 2 ½ hour ride to New Orleans, a 6 hour plane ride, and a 1:00 a.m. landing, we burst with excitement upon landing in Lima…”We’re here!!!”

During our layover, we camped out by the airport chapel with our friends and fellow missionaries - the Kiehls. 

We played a little…

Slept a little… ate a little and then boarded the plane for Tarapoto.

The Schmitts (another missionary family here in Peru) welcomed us with a beautifully made sign and lots of hugs. 

The Carmody, Schmitt and Kiehl kids in a six foot bed.

6 adults, 16 kids and about 35 pieces of luggage piled into two trucks.

We headed to Picotta, which is the town where the local priests live.  The kids were a little disappointed that the priest’s pet monkey wasn’t around, but they happily played on all the monkey’s hanging ropes.  We stayed our first night at the rectory.

This is the town of Picota.  It's about 45 minutes from San Hilarion.

The next day we loaded back into the trucks and drove through the  to San Hilarion, which we’re thrilled to call “home”.  Thanks a ton to all those praying for our placement.  We could tell from the minute we arrived that this is exactly where the Lord desires us to be…praise God!!