In the Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis believes that “glory” involves being noticed by God, and that only the humble can carry such a weight. What we might call our “burden” as missionaries here in Peru also represents our privilege, which involves seeing what we believe God notices and reporting such good news to others. We invite you to take a few moments and “notice” some new things happening here in the jungle.
Orchard Children’s Home
A new arrival of an 8-year old boy has brought the first house to capacity with a redemptive family of 8 rescued children (4 boys and 4 girls).
The newly constructed house (the new roof on the left in the aerial view), once furnished inside, and most importantly, staffed with new house parents, will begin receiving more abandoned and abused children.
The children begin a new school year this week. While each child has unique challenges to overcome in the academic setting, report cards from the previous year indicated significant improvement for each one. After battling through an outbreak of chicken pox for the first few weeks of their summer vacation (Peruvian summer begins with Christmas and runs through February), the children participated in various clubs and summer tutorial classes to help them continue their growth. They also enjoyed the return of one of last summer’s interns, Eleah, for the month of January.
Mission TEC Care Center
Thanks to the visit of the Men’s International Missions service team in mid-January, who worked alongside our maintenance staff, the Care Center’s central area renovation is well underway, beginning with a new stage on the central court with renovated and new classrooms taking shape all around this area.
A new year of programming began the first part of February, with answered prayers coming in the form of new staff and volunteers to fill out the team for the coming year. Mark has already completed one series of workshops on “Meeting the Needs of Caregivers” with the staff in January and the beginning of February, with more training to come. Kristin began again as one of the group leaders with the AWANA program, and she will continue teaching children in the Homework Club the recorder, but now with a new expanded focus on music.
The TEC Care Center’s new outreach initiative continues with a local church in Panaillo Esperanza, a community more remote than ours. On Saturday, February 18, Kristin joined a group from TEC for a one hour boat ride to provide the children in this community with an AWANA experience. The children absolutely loved it (picture at top of post), and the adults in the community likewise took in all the music, games, and teaching that this Bible club program provides.
The new program for young moms in our community has begun to meet more regularly this year. Here is one story involving a new mother and her baby. It began for us when one of the Care Center teachers took our intern along with a senior from Lancaster County Christian School (Aubrey, who visited us for a week in January) out for some routine home visits in the community. They encountered a malnourished baby only a few weeks old on the same day that the mother ran out of formula for her baby (health complications prevent her from feeding the baby herself). We decided to provide quality formula in order to establish some proper nutrition at this critical time. During a follow-up visit a few weeks later, the Care Center teacher delivered life-saving advice for the mom related to a very dangerous unrelated treatment she was applying unknowingly to the baby. Now this mother and baby have attended the young moms’ group for the first time, and Kristin got to hold this dear baby boy for a long time. Having been very involved with the visits and in coordinating the support for this mom and her baby, holding him and seeing him healthier than before was a very rewarding experience for Kristin.
Tiffany Nuñez, a former volunteer at the Care Center and current medical student in Bolivia (through a Victoria’s Fund scholarship), stayed with us for one week in mid-February on her first return trip to Pucallpa in four years. We rejoice with her over the news of her upcoming marriage to a man who also seeks to follow the Lord in His mission.
During the last week in February, we renewed relationships with the older boys, their house parents and their daughter from Kids Alive Peru’s Juniper Tree Children’s Home in Lima. Two years ago, this group of boys served for a week in Pucallpa, and their return trip was likewise full of meaningful relationship and service as these boys mature into young men and seek to live out their Father’s purpose and plan for their lives. One particular inspirational time occurred when these young men shared their stories and perspectives with children in the Orchard. Many of the Juniper Tree teens entered the home in Lima as children, like those who are in the Orchard. Mark and the staff who were present marveled at this time of grateful sharing from the older ones to the younger.
Also during the last days of February, Kids Alive’s new Vice-President over Latin America, Benjamin Downing, visited our site with KAI directors from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Lima, Peru. Our time together was marked by the leading of God’s Spirit. Through a day of all-staff training on trauma care for rescued children who have been abused in unimaginable ways, followed by another day of reflection and planning as a group of KAI Latin American leaders, with a closing day of debrief and planning as a leadership group with Kids Alive Peru, we move forward with a renewed sense of awe and expectation to see God’s glory revealed through the rescue and restoration of abandoned, at-risk, and orphaned children. The fellowship around this gathering extended to our children who also enjoyed being with the other missionary kids from Lima.
Rachel declared Saturday, February 18, “The Best Saturday Ever.” For her it began with teaching her dolls during circle time. Then our three kids joined with some of their missionary cousins to do some new chores and explore spontaneous ways to have fun. First, they boarded kayaks and accomplished the challenging task of moving these floating plants (called “wama”) away from the deck at the lake, so that they could once again jump off the deck into the high water. We have heard that the eels like to lay their eggs in these patches of wama. (Speaking of eels, check out these electric eels caught by the night guard in some shallow water on our campus). Following the wama relocation effort and a boat-ride for the boys across the lake and back, they enjoyed plunging into the splash pool which had been placed at the base of one of the slides on the playground.
Kristin continues to teach Jacob the piano and Rachel the violin. Caleb began learning a new instrument in recent weeks…the drums. We are thankful for our fellow missionary, Fredi Rivero, who teaches him.
Held in a new location in northwest Peru, Mancora, the annual retreat (Jan 30-Feb 3) for the Kids Alive Peru missionary family provided a great time of rest and renewal. We are thankful for a team from a church in Arizona that provided the programming for the whole week. Before and after the sessions for the adults and the kids, we spent a lot of time in the pool, on the beach, and swimming in some tall and powerful waves. Here Jacob took a rest in the sand.
In another special gift to our family, we renewed our fellowship in person with Jim and Bev Peterson. After living for many years directly across from our home church in Millersville, PA, and then for some time on the Chesapeake Bay, in recent years they have moved to the coast of Ecuador. They traveled eleven hours by bus to visit with us in northwest Peru during the KAI retreat. Our time together was a sweet aroma of remembering and rejoicing in what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do.
Traveling through Lima provides opportunities for mutual encouragement with our Peruvian family there. We enjoyed visiting with the Rios family and one of our Care Center teachers from the past year, Paola.
Thank you for joining us in noticing His new mercies each day, as He makes all things new!
Mark, Kristin, Caleb, Jacob, and Rachel Coté
Missionaries of Discipleship and Development based in Pucallpa, Peru
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