A Typical Day

There is no such thing as a typical day.  However, in an attempt to capture what our day-to-day life is like, we decided to take pictures of everything we did one day and share it as an example.

Around 1920 Chinese evangelist, Leland Wang, coined the phrase "No Bible, No Breakfast". His dedication to the gospel was life sustaining and provided him the strength he needed to be a zealous missionary for several decades.  

Making coffee like this is our new normal
so it didn't occur to me to take a picture until I started
writing this bog - so I had to have Chris pose....
so silly!
Like Wang, we are nourished by God's Word. Each morning Chris and I wake early to read our bibles and have personal prayer time before the busyness of the day begins.

Wang insisted that one not eat before he reads his bible, but he didn't say anything about delaying a much needed cup of coffee.  

To make coffee, we pour boiling water into a canister with holes.  As the water drains through the delicious, locally grown grounds it absorbs the flavor and provides a mild, but delicious treat.

Breakfast has always been an important meal in our house.  So, after prayer time I walk to the bodega (a little shop setup in the front room of someone's home) to buy eggs, rice, yogurt or oatmeal.

When breakfast is ready we wake the kids.

Katelyn, Anna, Jack and Michael sleep in a hallway of sorts by our backdoor.  They have bug nets to protect them from poisonous spiders, cockroaches, and the droves of bugs which enter in where our walls don't quite meet up with the steel panel roof.  Their fan provides a cool breeze on especially hot nights, but more importantly drowns out the noise of the disco-tech nearby which plays really loud music all night long.

Isaac considers himself our 5th child. Coming from a broken home replete with addiction, abuse and occult activity, he cherishes every minute we get to spend together.  For his 15th birthday he humbly asked if I could make pancakes for breakfast. Pancakes are a super special treat compared to the standard fare of rice and plantains. At 6:00 a.m., when we heard his knock at our door, we rushed to greet him while singing - in English and Spanish.

Isaac left in time to walk to school by 7:00. After breakfast we always work together to clean up the kitchen, taking turns washing the dishes. Today happened to be my turn. Although hand washing all our dishes seemed like a lot of work when we first arrived, we now count our blessings because, unlike our neighbors, we have running water in the house and therefore don't have to start our day by hauling heavy buckets across town.

After breakfast we start school work. Usually we're uninterrupted because we've explained the importance of this time to our friends and neighbors.

However, sometimes things come up.

Today Edgardo, our carpenter friend, stopped by needing direction on the finishing touches of a house project he is completing for us. Without hesitation, Chris and the boys jumped in his moto and zoomed off.

At first these interruptions were difficult. However, having been here a year, I now appreciate all that the kids learn each time we get distracted from "learning".

At times, our kids try to convince me that they don't need to do "regular" school work...

"Mom, everyone here is incredibly resourceful. They do so much with so little and we're learning all that by watching them. Do you know how much we learn by just living here and seeing how people survive?"

While all this may be true, I don't know for sure and therefore error on the side of caution and require the "regular" stuff to be completed as well.

I suppose if nothing else, it helps me to sleep well at night.  

Today, Katelyn gave a presentation on elements and molecules for Biology.

The kids have always done a lot of hands-on activities, projects, experiments, and presentations because it helps them to learn the material ~ plus it's fun!

We've continued that type of homeschooling here.

We've used the same curriculum for five years, which has also helped the kids learn. When Katelyn studies a given topic everyone is introduced to the information. Then, when Anna covers the same material it's a review for Katelyn and an additional introduction for the boys. When Jack and Michael begin studying those same topics it is typically pretty easy for them because they've already been exposed to the material multiple times.  Plus, it's a great review for the girls.

Today was Chemistry 101, which was most exciting for Chris who fondly remembered his days of Chemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Chris has been an AMAZING addition to our otherwise small homeschooling staff.

He's an incredible teacher and we all learn so, so much from him.

As the kids finish their school work we begin thinking about lunch.

Chris is our lunch chef. He has learned to use the local ingredients to prepare delicious and healthy alternatives to the chicken and rice which makes up the vast majority of our diet.

The first ones done with their assignments get to head out to the little markets around town to buy the items that Chris needs. Today, Anna and Michael found fresh chorizo and veggies that Chris used to make a pasta dish.

After lunch we rest along with the rest of our town.

Some days we sleep during rest time...

...other days we play, read or just relax and chat.

One of the kids' favorite activities is playing "trompas" which are Peruvian tops.

After hours (and hours and hours) of practice they've all learned to spin them well.

With that basics behind them they've moved on to tricks such as getting them to spin in their hands and even up their arms.

No matter what we're doing we always have an audience.

Gerald, our neighbor, loves to park himself in our doorway and wait patiently to be invited to join in whatever is going on.

Several nights during the week we have ministries that keep us out rather late. Given the logistics, dinner just doesn't work out for us those nights. Instead, we have a late afternoon snack.

Today we had the mangos and guavas which we received as a gift from the neighbor.

We also enjoyed crackers and fresh cheese that our friend's family made the day before.

Around 3 o'clock the activity in town starts to pick back up. Shops re-open and the traveling vendors begin making their rounds again. Knowing that this is a hard way to make a living, we support such families as often as we can.  Today we bought pomegranates and chirimoya.  Last week we got a large container of honey, which the family had harvested from the nearby mountains, for about $3.

This is a new favorite game.
One team tries to set up a bunch of tin cans without
the other team beaming them with the ball.

Some days we do ministry in the afternoon.

During home visits we give families food, share scripture, sing along as Chris plays the guitar and just pass time together.  

Other days our kids play with their friends.

We were supposed to visit a pueblo this evening, but plans changed when we got a call from the priest. Around 4 o'clock we found out that he could celebrate Mass in our town that same evening, which was super exciting for everyone!!

Now, this is typical. Plans here are nothing more than a suggestion of what might happen. People are incredibly flexible and open to whatever comes up.

As we were getting ready for Mass a young boy and his mother knocked at our door. Immediately we recognized him from the pueblo we had visited the night before. He had gotten hit in the head with a rock and the deep, open wound was badly infected.  I had cared for him the best I could with the first-aid kit we keep in the van, but I invited them to our home to get additional care.  And so it was that I had the opportunity to help this little boy who then accompanied us to Mass with his Mom.

Our time spent going door-to-door to invite people paid off because the church was full.

I explained my childhood tradition of playing
"Heavy, heavy, hang over your head, what do you think
it could be? Something to read? Eat? Wear? Play with?

Although we were all tired enough to collapse in bed, our day was not yet done. After Mass we returned to our house for birthday celebration #2.

Charo is the leader of the Catholic community here in San Hilarion. It has been a blessing to spend time with her almost every day and as a result we've become very good friends.

Her family is very poor because her husband's work driving a tractor in the rice fields is inconsistent at best. She cried when she saw the cake we had made for her (oops, I forgot to take a picture of that activity) and couldn't believe we had bought her a present. She said that she hadn't received anything in years.

As we were visiting, Chris took the opportunity to continue his guitar lessons with Charo's daughter Angie who hopes to be able to play as well as Chris someday.

As the day came to an end I thought about all the pictures we had taken and considered whether or not it was a fair representation of our life here in Peru.

Some days we run from this place to that as we fulfill commitments and attend to our many scheduled ministries. Other days we never leave the house; all our time is spent preparing for an upcoming activity or event - making posters, practicing songs, outlining talks, etc... When someone dies everything gets put on hold and we give everything we have to the family who has lost a loved one. What about the days we gather with the other FMC missionaries for a day of fun?  It hardly seems sufficient to say that there is no such thing as a "typical" day, but we wanted to give it a shot.

Thank you for taking time to read about what the Lord has been doing through Team Carmody. Please pray for our continued success as we work hard to preach the gospel and serve the poor here in Peru.

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