Friday, September 16, 2016

No Water - By Michael

This is our well.

When I turn the faucet on I expect water to come out. Today we turned the faucet on and nothing came out. When this happens I usually go into the backyard and switch a switch for the pump in the well to turn on. It takes about a half hour for our tank to fill up.

Today we turned the pump on for 40 minutes but the water never came out. I looked in the well and saw the water was too low for the pipe.

I got a bucket from the backyard and we tied a rope to the bucket. My mom tried to throw the bucket in but she did not get any water. Then I tried to throw the bucket in.

I have really good experience and I got the water out.

We washed the dishes with the water we got from the well.

Me and my mom talked about taking things for granted - that means we think things are supposed to be a certain way.

Me and my mom talked about being resourceful too - that means we do things that we don't know how to do but we figure em' out.  Missionaries always have to be resourceful because they are really poor and don't have all the stuff rich people have.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Relief for the VERY Poor - a Roof, Toilet and Floor!!

Before the storm, this home never caught our attention. It sits on the town plaza, surrounded by other "nice" homes of a similar style. At times, the door stands open and friendly people pass in and out.

For no good reason, we had never made the time to introduce ourselves... until a few days ago.

A friend from church told us that her brother's roof was torn off during the last storm. She invited us to look and humbly asked if we might be able to help. The roof had been constructed with two layers. The first layer, which is the ceiling of the home, is a bamboo lattice packed with mud.  Above that was a steel roof which protected the mud ceiling from the elements. Without the steel outer layer, his roof will quickly collapse into his home, leaving him with... nothing.

The humility of their request for help was humbling.  Neither Our New Friend, nor his sister, mentioned any additional needs other than the roof.  The initial impression we got from them both was this: If we could possibly have the carpenter put new steel over the mud roof, all would be well.

Then I went inside...

The front room was plain, but live-able.

I continued through a short door into his bedroom,

and then exited the house to find his outdoor kitchen.

I glanced around the yard...

and then spotted his bathroom, which is actually nicer than most because it has a cement stool instead of a simple hole in the ground.

We met with a local carpenter and discussed some options.

A new steel roof was a must.  In addition, we all agreed that Our New Friend's quality of life would greatly improve with a cement floor, which is inexpensive to put in.

While clearing out the house to lay a new floor, it only makes sense to dig a couple trenches, lay some pipe and give him an indoor toilet as well.

When we explained the possibility of having these home improvements done, Our New Friend was speechless.

Our New Friend is standing in the center.
When we arrived at his house, he excitedly told us his name.
However, our untrained ears couldn't decipher the merged syllables.
We look forward to getting to know him better... and figuring out his name.
For now, we simply refer to him as "Our New Friend".

We thank God for the opportunity to be vessels of love; that we're able to bring your love to Our New Friend here in Peru.

We thank God for using Our New Friend to teach us a little bit about the virtue of suffering silently.

Shortly before we left, I saw him standing on the ladder, smiling and laughing.  I glanced down and noticed his heels. Inside that moment, I felt embarrassed before God for all the times I've complained about a mild discomfort. Despite his hardships, Our New Friend is joyful and praises the Lord in all things. I can't wait to see what else Our New Friend has to teach us!! Please pray for the success of this project.  More specifically, please pray that his home is completely sealed up before the fierce October storms begin blowing in.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Is It Possible He Weighs 35 Pounds?


We try out best to say "yes"...
...even when it's inconvenient
...even when we don't have much money left for the month
...even when we're pressed for time
...even when we're feeling sick, tired or both
...even when it's someone that rubs us the wrong way
...even when...even when...

Sometimes, it's hard to say "yes"; other times, it's easy.

Last Saturday we gave our youth group a budget to buy food for the poor.  After thoughtfully selecting onions, rice, beans and other basic staples, the group headed out into the community towards house #1. Upon arriving, we visited, read the gospel and shared a large bag of food. The woman was surprised by our visit, but incredibly grateful and thanked us several times.  Our time there was pleasant, but relatively uneventful.  As we left, we all turned left toward the agreed upon house #2.  As we walked together down the dusty, dirt road, a girl in our group quietly said, "I know of a different family that needs help.  I think the man is sick.  Maybe, could we go there instead?"  In this type of situation it's very easy to say "yes". Immediately, we changed our course and headed to the unknown home of the newly selected family #2.      

Upon entering the room my chest tightened and I lost my breath. Never before had I seen a man so emaciated. Unable to ignore the analytical part of my brain, I quickly estimated that Ulise weighed 50 pounds; the same as our 7 year old son Michael.  As I rubbed Ulise's legs and arms I realized that he been reduced to the frame of the man he once was covered in a thin layer of skin.  Later, I learned that the human skeleton comprises approximately 15% of the total body weight.  Knowing this, I changed my guess to 35... which is the weight of an average dumbbell.

We greeted his wife, grand-daughter and great-grandson who stood nearby.  They solemnly informed us that Ulise hadn't eaten in weeks. We asked what was wrong, but they simply said they were waiting for God; they were waiting patiently for Ulise to die. We stayed for quite a while to visit.  We shared the Word and prayed the rosary altogether.  As we were preparing to leave I hugged the wife.  Her stoic facade collapsed under the weight of a sea-full of tears and grief.  She cried and talked, talked and cried. Unable to understand even one word, I simply listened. The granddaughter was uncomfortably relieved to see her grandma so expressive.  Both appreciated our promise to return, which we did today.

While visiting today I sat next to Ulise and rubbed his back.  We all got a good laugh when he feebly swung his arm and hit me while grumbling.  Apparently, he didn't appreciate being touched by a stranger.

Toward the end of our visit I explained that Team Carmody prays for those we serve.  I humbly asked if we could take their picture so that you know who you're praying for.  Ulise wasn't interested in posing for any pictures, but thankfully his family agreed.  We ask for your prayers during these next several days, knowing that these will be his last.  We thank you for saying "YES" and generously supporting us.  Your contributions will make it possible for us to purchase Ulise a coffin and have him buried in the cemetery here in San Hilarion.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Anna's Dance Ministry

Anna's voice echoed through the halls of the all-girls' boarding school in Shomboyacu:

"Forward - 2 - 3 - 4 - back - 2 - 3 - 4 - forward again, let's go!  Step - clap - step - clap - everyone together.  Great job girls!  Let me see your big rainbow arms."

It touched my heart to hear Anna confidently instructing her newly formed dance class ~ in Spanish, of course!

She has 25 students that range greatly in age, ability and interest level.  

When I asked Anna how she felt things were going, she simply said, "It's challenging."   I know it's tough, but if anyone is up for the challenge, it's Anna!  We're all SO proud of her!

After teaching a couple classes, Anna figured out that instructing 25 girls (that have never had a dance class) alone was ineffective. 

So, she solicited the help of her sister Katelyn and our missionary friend Andrea.  

After teaching her new helpers the moves, Anna broke the class into three smaller groups and assigned each group an instructor.  

The old proverb says, "Many hands make light the work."  We discovered that extra feet are helpful too! 

Last night the girls were incredibly blessed with the shoes donated by Anna's dance teacher in the United States.  The room filled with shy giggles as they attempted to wriggle their toes into the snug slippers.  Even though they had no experience with formal dance and had never tried on dance shoes, they quickly figured out the potential of their new footwear.  It was beautiful to watch them spin around and glide across the floor with grand smiles. We can't wait to share a video of their recital, which is scheduled for November.

We had a little miracle regarding the shoes that seems worth sharing:

When the shoes were first put out, several girls grabbed and fought over the "nicest" ones.  This rush on shoes left the less aggressive girls with nothing.  It was terrible and Anna didn't know what to do.  I prayed and asked Mama Mary to petition our Lord; that He would perform a multiplication of shoes.  Like the wine that ran out at the Wedding in Cana, our shoes had run out - at least shoes of the correct sizes.  I saw the box sitting off to the side and begged Jesus to put more shoes in the box.  We needed more large shoes since most of the girls are older.  Sure enough, when I got the box down, there were 8 pairs in the box. and they were exactly the sizes that the last girls needed.  As the quieter girls slid on the brand new white slippers, their smiles revealed the joy they felt inside.  Last night, in a little village in the middle of a Peruvian jungle, the Lord blessed these girls abundantly for their patience and gratitude.
It was beautiful!   Thank you Mama Mary.  Thank you Jesus!