When new Peruvian acquaintances meet us, they always ask, “What parts of Peru have you visited?” Until January, our response was
woefully boring. After all, we were working alot! But January has been the month of travels, and we lived out of our backpacks for at least a third of the days. And now I feel like we know Peru a little better. I know for sure that my soul and spirit got a recharge!
We brought in the New Year in Cotacachi, Ecuador with Sarah’s grandfather Carl and his wife Nancy. We really enjoyed the wonderful conversations, the fresh food, the beautiful mountainous landscape, and the plentiful shopping. We are so grateful that they shared their lovely, peaceful home with us and showed us a great time.
Sarah’s parents, Melody and Randy Vaal, came to visit Jan. 1-9. Our vacation with them took us to the beautiful, fascinating city of Cuzco, where we spent five days with an amazing tour guide who explained the ancient Incan architecture of Saqsayhuaman (pronounced “sexy woman”), showed us the scientific Incan greenhouse terraces at Moray, took us to llama and alpaca ranches, explained the amazing food preservation techniques of the ancient Incas at Tambomachay, and gave us a tour of the beautiful Cuzco Catholic church. Oh, and lest I forget, yes, we went to Machu Picchu!! As it was rainy season, we got a little damp, and
our pictures didn’t turn out so well, but it was an unforgettable trip, and we get to cross that one off our bucket list! On our return to Lima, we went with the Vaal’s and a missionary couple, Rusty Edmondson and Sara Armstrong, on a breathtaking sailboat trip. We toured three islands off the coast of Lima and we each took turns steering the 30 foot sail boat
named the Mardulce. In addition, we took a break to swim with the sea lions and we were treated to an amazing seafood feast prepared fresh by Captain Eugenio Oliveira. The weather was refreshing, the view was lovely, the company was fun, and we are trying to find an excuse to go again before we leave Peru.
Sarah was invited to help with a workshop for children with different abilities in Ayacucho, Peru on Jan. 16-21. The organization Sonrisas de Amor y Fe brought in specialists for three days of evaluations and therapy. Sarah worked on speech and language and Shane was put to work doing family and spiritual counseling. We saw about 60 families from the community, and did a lot of good bringing knowledge and guidance to
the parents, some of whom had never brought their children to a doctor. We met a 9-year-old girl the size of a 3-year-old who had never been diagnosed with spina bifida, was incredibly malnourished, and was being carried everywhere on her mother’s back. We met a 12-year old boy who, after an ear infection when he was 2 years old, had lost his hearing and, for lack of the funds for hearing aids, had not heard or spoken to anyone in 10 years. We met many struggling single mothers, abused children, and impoverished families doing their best to care for the special needs of their differently-abled children. On the fourth day, Sarah gave a presentation to the leaders of the association about speech and language, so that they can continue to learn and help others in their community. It was a lot of work, but we did take a little time to explore the town and some of its important landmarks.
Now that we are back in Lima, it is back to work. Since the Ann Sullivan Center where Sarah works is out for summer vacation, she is working with Shane at the Compassion Program until the end of February. She is being kept busy there teaching workshops about Speech and Language development and dance classes for the summer session.
January will culminate with Shane’s 29th birthday, and for his birthday present he wants to paraglide over the 70m cliffs over the beach in the Miraflores district in Lima. We will probably also go out for all-you-can-eat sushi with some friends. Hopefully this will make up for friends and co-workers smashing eggs on his head that day, which is a tradition that they are gleefully looking forward to!
So as you can see, 2012 has started out pretty well for us! We pray that your New Year has been blessed as well. As we approach the half-way point of our YAV year, we continue to ask for your prayers as we continue our journey with Christ.
Sarah & Shane,
What a full and faithful life you are living. Enjoy every moment. And keep the good words coming our way. We are having a party at our home on Sunday night, the eve of MidWinters at the Seminary, for a group of our former colleagues. Should be fun.
Excellent post – per the usual 🙂 I would LOVE to go out on the boat whenever you guys are ready for round 2! Awesome to read more about your adventures and week in Ayacucho. Much love to you both. Elena
I’m in for the boat, too.
Hi, I would really love to do this trip to the sea lions as well. My bf and I will be there early next year. Do you have any contact details to get in touch with Captain Eugenio? If yes, please send them to me. email@example.com Many thanks!! Malena
Thanks for hosting us, kids. We would never have managed Peru without you “natives!” We miss you both already, and we’re glad you made it back safely from Ayacucho. I will be interested to learn of the impact that your time in Ayacucho had on the community there. Love you both always!
Sounds like you are both having fantastic adventures. Blessings and happiness in the years and days ahead. My heart breaks for the conditions you are finding in those families. How can I best help to get needed resourses to these people?
Chris has met a superb girl and they will be married on a cruise Feb.of 2013. We will all be going along-8 days in the Carribean in February. What can be bad about that? We are all looking forward to it…The happiest of birthdays to my very special nephew-Shane
Love Aunt Cindy
Once again, you guys ROCK! I am so proud of your ministry at your placements in Lima as well as the ministry in Ayacucho. Happy that you had a great vacation and time with some of your family – and that you’re recharged. Much needed, as you already know. Love you both!
All this news in fantastic, Sarah and Shane. Thanks so much for sending it.
I know you had a lovely visit with Randy and Melody and saw the photos of your all looking relaxed and wonderful.
lots of love to you for the new year,
Hi Shane and Sarah,
I really enjoyed reading your letter. The world is an amazing place! You are in my prayers as you move forward with Christ as your guide through this next year. Is there a particular project that could use some financial support? Go to http://www.gsolympia.org
to get some information about the Dawn Fehring Love of God Award. Let me know if you can’t find it.
I so admire you both. Sending you guys much love from the States!!!
It does sound like you two are doing a GREAT job of balancing your service efforts with having fun and trying new things! My heart also goes out to those who have not had the opportunity to benefit from even the most basic of medical care, though…