Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 5

June 16, 2016

By Brian Chambers

On our first mission trip to Peru our group was able to visit La Plaza de Armas, the beautiful area within Lima containing the Presidential Palace, Congress, and the Cathedral of Lima. Though we could walk around the cathedral’s impressive exterior, we were previously unable to enter.

PeruDay5.JPGHowever, this time around our small group was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter into this awe-inspiring building. Enormous sculptures of meticulously crafted wood and stone adorned several inlets within the main chamber of the cathedral, great care taken to perfect even the smallest aspects of the artwork. Our tour guide, Marta, took us into the crypt below the altar. Once in the crypt our music minister, Carey Cannon, lined up the youth choir and we proceeded to sing “Esto Les Digo”. The sound of the music echoed through the catacombs, enhancing our voices. Other visitors to the cathedral came down the narrow stairs leading to the crypt, some with cameras in hand, to listen. The entire experience was extremely moving and unforgettable!

Brian Chambers is beginning his Freshman Year at Texas A&M this Fall. He was active in band, but this week is helping in the Discovery (science, art, gardening) and Recreation Classes at OSA. He is the son of Mark and Jeannie, and the brother of Suzanne.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 3

June 14, 2016

By Isabella Baar-Hill

As a member of the music and dance team on the mission trip to Peru, I teach the kids songs and dances to perform for their parents and friends at the end of the week. Breaking through the language barrier, we learned specific Spanish words that are often used in teaching music and dance. During our second full day in Peru at OSA, we presented the children with the theme of Cultural Exchange; we worked from American & Texan perspectives so the kids got a taste of our culture. During dance, we played many rounds of musical chairs (a game I’ve quickly learned they LOVE). We only played English music because that’s what we know and brought with us. While others led the game, I played and stopped the music, watching the kids from the side lines. I began to notice that the kids were quietly singing and humming along to our English songs, words they couldn’t have known. I realized these kids were subconsciously, and joyfully learning our culture in ways we had not planned.PeruSummerBlogDay3During the music classes, Carey took time to teach and translate words we could use in common enabling us to bond with them in a unique way. I was reminded of how excited the kids were two years ago when I came when they would ask how to say things in English and I’d attempt to teach them. This was a new and eye opening experience because I was accustomed to being their student, struggling to learn Spanish. Their willingness to overcome our foreign language and pronunciations with attitudes of joy is a gift I will carry home with me. Their openness to a new culture despite the struggle is inspiring. Every moment I spend with these kids who show such eagerness to learn despite failure, makes me strive more and more to be like them.

Isabella Baar-Hill completed her Junior Year at Houston Christian High School. She is the daughter of J Hill and Hillevi Baar.


Meet Nely

August 16, 2012

ImageNely has a son, Ribaldo, in the Operacion San Andres’ secondary program. For work, Nely owns a little store inside of her house in Collique, where she sells all sorts of goodies including food, drinks, necessities, and office supplies. She has owned the store for about five years, but has just recently taken out a loan from her brother in order to grow her store. Just in the past couple of months she has been able to fill up her store with all that is shown in the picture. Nely got involved with OSA through a friend and is grateful for all that OSA has done for her son.

What does she need?
Since the growth of her business, Nely has lost control with the administration and organization of her inventory. She wants to learn how to administer her business so that she can see the profit she is making in order to care for her expenses, including paying back her loan to her brother and providing necessities for her family. Nely is a very hard worker and believes if she can do the basic organizing needed for her business, growth will occur. OSA is working to help her organize her store by showing her how to write down her inventory, find her profit, and invest back into her store so that it may grow.

How can we help?
Although Nely does not currently need any loans, encouragement for the hard work she is putting into her store is essential. Pray that she has the integrity and perseverance to continue to write down her inventory, find her revenues and expenses, and with discipline, find her profit. Nely is the only employee of her store, but to know that people around the world care for her and are working with her through prayer to grow her business could be one of the best ways to help grow her store. If you would like to send a letter through email to encourage Nely and remind her that she is not alone in working in her business, please send it to kabbring@operacionsanandres.orgOSA believes that this is the best way to maximize Nely’s talents and skills as a store owner. By encouraging her with prayer, you will be investing in the economic improvement of her family’s life.


Chao, Peru!

July 2, 2010

By Elizabeth Edwards, South Main Member, who recently completed her 6 week medical internship in Collique Peru.

Wow. I can hardly believe the memories I am taking back home with me today. This has been 6 weeks of my life that I will always look back on as an experience that changed me for the better. Above everything, I will always remember the people. I will always remember the kids, who have nothing, who are victims of poverty, abuse, and hunger, but yet are full of so much joy and love for life. I will remember how they hung on to me from day one, saying “hermana Elisabet, no te vayas!” (“don’t leave!”).

I’m blessed to have been able to stay here for so long with them, but that makes it so much harder to leave them today. I will also remember their mothers who I spent some time with as well. Women who are struggling in more ways than I can imagine, but still took the time everyday to ask me how I was doing and thank me for my work.

I will also remember how welcoming all the OSA staff members were to me during my time here. They have truly been my family for the past 6 weeks. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them and will miss them dearly. I have also learned so much from Christopher and Jessie. They have showed me what it looks like to step out of your comfort zone to serve others and serve God. I will be forever grateful for their hospitality and for making this experience possible for me.

This past week has flown by….read more here

To learn more about Operacion San Adres, click here

innerloopchurch.com


Chef Elisabet

June 15, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards with her students in Collique, Peru

Buenos dias! I can’t believe I’ve been here for over a month! A LOT went on this week, so I’ll highlight the most important things:

Last Tuesday I went out with Gloria, the OB nurse, again to make more house visits and distribute more prenatal vitamins. We took a combie higher up the mountain to the 8th zone of Collique. I live in the 4th zone, and this was my first time to go this far up. I knew that Collique was a big town, but this was my first time to realize just HOW big it is. About 1/4 million people live here! We made about 20 visits and stopped when we ran out of vitamins. I was really excited because one of the girls we visited was the girl who came last week with her mother to our prenatal class. It was great running in to someone I knew this far away from OSA, because it made me feel more a part of the community! Please continue to pray that all the women will understand how important it is to take the vitamins we gave them.

This week I also had to opportunity to teach two cooking classes to the OSA mothers! Charo, the OSA social worker, does a lot of work with the OSA families and all the mothers come once a week to a class with her. They do different activities each week and learn about things such as health, personal hygine, birth control, how to help their children with their homework, how to organize their houses, etc. Charo asked me if I would do a cooking class with them this week. So on Wednesday and Thursday (the mothers are divided up in to two groups), I taught the senoras how to make pancakes and a chocolate cake from scratch! It was a great learning experience for everyone, including myself! I had to learn to make substitutions for some of the ingredients that aren’t available to the women in Collique or that they can’t afford. For example, we used evaporated milk instead of regular milk, and we had to beat everything by hand – no such thing as electric mixers in Collique! The senoras were so fun and SO patient with me as I learned more cooking vocabulary during the process! And they each had a blast making their own pancake in the skillet. Everything turned out great…except for the cake we made in the first class that burned to a crisp… I was impressed by the senora’s determination to salvage the edible parts of it. Luckily, I had practiced making the cake the night before, so we ate that one instead 🙂 I am so grateful for this opportunity I had to spend time getting to know these women. I learned so much from them. Since I already know each of their children really well, it was fun seeing where the kids get their personalities. All of the mothers work so hard and have amazing attitudes in spite of the hard lives they lead. I was blessed by their dispositions and eagerness to learn.

Last Thursday morning, I taught my first infant stimulation class! I am teaching this class for the 3 Thursdays in June that I am here. This is a very important class and something that the OSA team really wanted me to teach Collique mothers. Many of the women here, unfortunately, do not show much affection to their babies. As we know, this affection is so important for babies’ growth and development. Because a lot of the women are single mothers, they just have to throw the babies on their back while they work long days. And others just don’t know how important it is to give their babies attention to stimulate their minds so they can develop motor skills and improve their neurological functioning. At the beginning of the week, Chris and I walked around the 4th zone of Collique to hang fliers about my class. The idea is that mothers with babies between the ages of 0-12 months will bring their babies to the class and I will show them activities that they can do with them to stimulate their muscles and minds.

On Thursday morning, I had no idea who would show up, but all I could do was pray that I would have someone to teach! Luckily four women and their beautiful babies came! Two of the women came an hour late (I’m now getting used to Latin America’s sense of time) so I ended up teaching two classes. The youngest baby was 1 month old and the oldest was a little over 1 year. They were precious! During this week’s class, I taught the mothers how to give their babies a massage and exercise their muscles. It was such a rewarding feeling when the babies would smile or show their mothers that they liked the activity, and this made the mothers happy as well. It was also really interesting for me to watch the mothers interact with their babies. It was really obvious which mothers were used to showing affection to their babies and which were not. I realized that all of the babies may not have been wanted in the first place. This broke my heart, but it was also a great feeling to teach the mothers ways to interact with their babies so they could form a bond and relationship with them. The last activity we did in the class was a mother and baby exercise, so I made the mothers work a little too! This was a lot of fun, and although the mothers were laughing, I don’t know how they felt about me making them do crunches and bench presses with their babies… 🙂

Please pray that more mothers will come to the next two classes. If you have any ideas for activities the mothers could learn to do with their babies, let me know!

Luis and Ruth Campos arrived in Collique yesterday afternoon -it was a lot of fun having them here at OSA! They’ll also be at church tomorrow so I’ll get to see them again! Many of the OSA team members (including myself) have been sick this past week, so please pray that we’ll all be back to 100% soon!

God bless!

Elizabeth


Take your vitamins!

June 5, 2010

Delivering prenatal vitamins in Collique, Peru

By Elizabeth Edwards, South Main Member on a Medical Missions Internship in Collique, Peru

Yesterday was a great day in Collique! In the afternoon, Jessie took me to meet up with an OB nurse, Gloria, from the Posta (the community health center). Gloria is an amazing nurse who knows almost all of the pregnant women who live in the community. All of the women are supposed to come to at least 6 controls, or check-ups, during their pregnancy. However, most of the women only come to 2 or 3. These controls are very important because Gloria checks for anemia, high blood pressure levels, malnourishment, etc. When the women don’t come to their control, Gloria makes house visits to check up on them. Because we have a lot of donated prenatal vitamins here at OSA, Gloria let me go with her on her house visits to distribute them. Most of the women here don’t have access to these vitamins that are SO important for the development of their babies. This is one of the reasons why so many of their babies are born malnourished.

This was a great experience for me that I will never forget. I expected that Gloria and I would have to walk pretty far to get to the houses where the pregnant women lived. However, I was shocked at first because it seemed like a pregnant woman lived in every house on one street, and we didn’t have to walk very far at all. At every house, Gloria asked the expecting mothers why they haven’t been coming to the controls and told them to take the vitamins once a day. I was surprised that many of the women seemed like they had never taken vitamins before and had many questions about how and when to take them. This is something that is very hard for us to understand, but we have to remember that in the U.S., taking vitamins (especially during pregnancy) is a normal practice. But think about all the resources we have that contribute to our habit of taking a daily vitamin: (1) we have access to the vitamins (2) we have water to take them with (3) we have the education to know why it is important (4) we are used to routine. These are all things that the women here just don’t have. After taking all this into account, I realized how hard it is to cross all of these barriers to get the women to simply take a vitamin a day. However, all the women were very grateful for the vitamins and seemed like they were going to take them. We can just hope and pray that they will!

I brought about 15-20 bottles of vitamins with me and we passed out all but one. The women ranged in ages from 17 to 40 and were in different stages of their pregnancy. We also passed out handouts that Dr. Campos gave me about possible complications during pregnancy and gestational diabetes.

Gloria and I ended up having to take a trek up a mountain to reach one of the houses, and I thought we were going to get eaten by “los perros” at one point! Heres a picture of Gloria and the dogs that almost ate us for lunch:

So….after that, we stopped at a little store on the top of the mountain to treat ourselves to an Inca Cola. I think Gloria was really appreciative of the prenatal vitamins, and asked if I want to make house visits with her again on Tuesday. I’m also going with her the next two Friday that I’m here!

I feel so blessed by everything I saw yesterday. I was amazed at how grateful the women were for something as simple as vitamins. It reminded me how little the people have here and reminded me not to take anything for granted.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for the prayers, too. God is good!

Keep up with Elizabeth’s blog here.


The difference, it seems, is infinite.

November 23, 2009

 

Kevin Sinclair, Minister to Youth

Back in the comfort of my apartment nestled nicely between the Medical Center and the Third Ward, I am trying to allow my memory to drift back over the course of this week, so that I might recall the soft spaces in my soul in need of kneading and coaxing so that yet even more understanding might surface. Today, a ragged band of weary missionaries, healers, builders, strugglers, saints, sinners, believers, doubters, and spiritual-paupers poured off Continental flight 590 from Peru. In the haze of this cool, sacred Houston morning, we were met by the smiling faces of friends, family, and mystical mixture of the two. Overjoyed to be greeted by one of my youth, Johnny, Susan, and I piled into the Moore’s van with Bill and Rachel. As we shared stories, I could see our breath dancing in the soft blow of the air conditioning, like the wisps and whispers of the memory and remembrances we were attempting to convey. We carried on the only kind of conversation humans are capable of after a red-eye flight and a week of immersion into another world.

 

What stories can we tell? What words can exhaust the experiences we share on this (or any) mission trip, journey, adventure, battle, struggle, retreat, etc etc etc…?

The difference, it seems, is infinite.

Experience is a powerful tool, and at times it makes all the difference between clarity and confusion. How many times have you heard someone finish a story with, once the story is met with faint chuckles, “Oh, well, I guess you had to be there…”? Yet, are those not the stories that bind groups of people together who, in fact, were there? Our experiences draw us together in a way that is very much human AND divine. I love the story of the Incarnation and how this idea becomes the fusion of flesh and Word, blood and spirit. God weaves us together into a patchwork of journeys–some victorious, some devastating–that allow us to make sense of our experiences together as friends and fellow-pilgrims on this road we call life. Such a journey was shared this week.

The heavenly sound of children playing, the crow of the roosters, busy echoes of the OSA House, the piercingly loud door-bell, the putter and cough of the exhaust pipes as our bus climbs the hills of Collique, and laughter and conversations shared by the team over Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches prepared by the loving hands of Charis Smith and company…these are the fragments of experience I brought back to Houston with me.

Nonetheless, these experiences are not enough. We must return not as weekend warriors who have done our good deed for the year, but as the Prophets and Preachers who proclaim into the darkness, “Behold, God is making all things new…” while still clutching onto the words of Saint Andrew at the feeding of the hungry multitudes, “…but, what is this among so many?” Marco told us today that we saw over 1,500 people in the clinic, and after the first day I spoke with Vince in the optometry office about how things were progressing, and he informed me that we had passed out 78 pairs of glasses. With a mixture of sincerity and levity, I said, “Wow, that is 78 people who before coming here could not see…Jesus didn’t even heal that many blind people in the Gospels!” After my somewhat flippant response I was immediately reminded of a verse that has plagued me for years:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…” (John 14:12)

For the longest time, I thought this verse meant greater in quality (Resurrection, Miraculous Healings, etc), and as one who does not have much of a taste for the pageantry of Benny Hinn, I put these red letters aside for another day. Now, here I stand, a stranger in a strange land, nose itchy and throat hoarse from the dust of the waterless earth of Collique, this text emerged in my soul once again. When Christ left, he did not leave us to do what we could with what we have–Christ gives us himself. He gives us himself in the form of the Holy Spirit…he gives us himself in the form of Community…he gives us himself in the creativity of the God-searchers and Christ-followers who first established hospitals, orphanages, monasteries, social programs, homeless shelters, and so many more things We do when We are at Our best…he gives us himself the skillfulness and discipline of doctors and carpenters and the giftedness and compassion of teachers…he gives us everything we need to be all he calls us to be. Every eye exam Susan Young gave, and every pair of glasses Vince and Anna Beth meticulously organized before the whole team arrived, was one person…a whole, entire human being…given the gift of sight so that they like the blind man might declare, “All I know is I was blind…but now…I see.” Every pill passed out by Patti is a stepping stone on the journey to wellness for a people who otherwise have nothing. Every nail driven deep into softened lumber by Johnny is a building block of not just a home, but space for a family to discover dignity. Every craft Melissa helped the children make becomes a gift joyfully given to a friend, parent, or one of us by the children…for “it is in giving that we truly receive,” and these children–these dear, sweet, wounded, yet vibrant and bubbly children–who have quite literally nothing are the ones who had to teach us who have so much wealth, power, influence, treasure, and stuff.

So, here I sit in my comfortable apartment nestled in my soft chairs, watch my television, and wrap myself in comfort…and I can’t help but realize that “they” are where Christ is and are who Christ is in our world. But, “they” are not just in Collique. They live in Eagle Pass, Guatemala, China, Mexico, and Houston. They are sleeping on the steps of South Main. They are huddled in shelters trying to make their way home. They walk the halls of our offices and schools, devoid of love and human contact. They are in every city, every town, every village, every hamlet, in every valley, and every mountain on this big, blue planet of ours. So, even with all the good we do as the Church, there is so much left to do. Maybe we pray the words of our Lord, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few! Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the fields.” (Luke 10:2)

I leave you with the words of Dr. Luis Campos, one of the many people throughout history who have turned a listening ear to God and a discerning heart to the winds of the Spirit:

“…Give them Hope! Hope in Him who is the Maker of the Universe but, ‘…had no place in this World to lay His Head.’ He knows all about poverty…[for] ‘Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.'”

In the name of the God who Dreams the Dreams we are called to live out loud, Amen.

Grace & Peace,

Kevin

 


Peru Mission Trip Updates

November 19, 2009

Please be praying for the OSA mission trip in Peru.  Updates are at smbc.org.  Just click on the “Peru Update” button.

Here is an excerpt from a recent update from Jill Hatcher:

“I decided to act as if this is my last trip so that I could savor every moment. All the sights on the bus. The sound of the bags clicking on the hotel tiles. The sound of the hotel door buzzer. The sounds of horns honking. You know the three short peeps to say hello. The one long horn which means to get out of the way.”

smbc.org