Friday, April 2, 2021

Attack on Jesus

Luke 23:35–37 (RSVCE): 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

 Last month the interim president in Peru issued a decree prohibiting all religious celebrations during Holy Week. He decreed all churches must be closed and no public celebrations are allowed. The capacity limit has been revoked completely. On top of that all people have been mandated to stay in their homes at all times. Only one member of the house may leave to purchase supplies for one hour a day. All private transportation is not allowed but you can ride a bike or walk. The stores are opened to purchase but the churches are closed to worship.

What makes this even more upsetting is that next Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, Peru will hold their national elections. All peoples will be together to cast their vote in the election. Everyone will descend on the voting stations and wait hours in line next to each other to vote but today no one is allowed to worship together in a church.

The Peru Confrence of Bishops have sent multiple letters to the president asking him to remove this unlawful decree since all peoples for the right to worship. The president has not changed his decree. He has spat in the face of Jesus.

One brave priest from Moyobamba Padre Jaime has publicly spoken out against this clear attack against Jesus and the church. I thank God for this priest and the courage God has bestowed upon him to speak the truth without fear.

 My hope is all of us would unite to speak up for our suffering Lord on this day of His Passion and Death. I can not stay silent against this clear attack against Jesus Christ. I need to speak up. 

I can’t help but think that today as He is walking to the cross He fell because we were silent. His heart broke and His breath was stolen from Him in this exact moment because it was then that He saw us standing silent on this day when He needed us the most.

I desire to alleviate some of His suffering today. I hope I am able to give Him a little help during this long and painful walk today. I want to give Him just a moment of relief during His last humiliating torture today. And I desire to be there to tenderly wrap Him in His burial cloths. To let Him know I do love Him and I am grateful for the sacrifice He just gave for me. 

I am here Jesus! I want to help carry your cross! I know I cannot do it but I want to help support You as You do!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Prayer and Confession... Who knew?

On Saturday we were blessed to have had two of our mission communities meet each other. Our youth group from Buenos Aires came with us to Nuevo Control for our monthly class.

On Monday of last week I, Katie, had our confirmation class with members of the youth group who are preparing for confirmation. There are four young men who are preparing to be confirmed in December.

Our topic last week was prayer. We discussed what is prayer, the importance of prayer and how sometimes our prayer life can show us we need to go to confession.

****Isn't that interesting? Our prayer life can in fact point to our need to go to the sacrament of confession. How can it do that? When we have sin we have shame and when we have shame we tend to hide from the One who has no sin, God! We act just like our first parents did after the fall. We read in Genesis 3:8 'And they heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.'

But how exactly can we hide from God? We don't run and hide ourselves amongst trees like Adam and Eve did because our interaction with God today is different than how they experienced it. Our "walking with God" is in the form of prayer. We come together with Him when we go to Him in prayer. It is when we take time to have conversations with Him by talking to Him and by listening to Him. But all too often when we have sin on our hearts we turn away from God due to the shame we feel. We know that we can not be united with God if we are not perfect and sin shows us just how far from perfect we are. So instead of running to God asking for His help, mercy and forgiveness, we run away from Him and to other things. We focus our free time in other things. We neglect these opportunities to speak with Him. We may stop reading the Bible and we might dive deeper into a sin that has ahold of us.

I am first to admit that I am a sinner. I am not perfect. And I due neglect my relationship with God when a sin is marked on my soul. I let my prayer time slip throughout the day. I spend more time focussing on other things throughout the day. Things that just are not important but are now the number one priority in my life. I always tend to end up organizing something that doesn't need to be organised or I create a spreadsheet for something which was not necessary. Why? Because I am ashamed. I am embarrassed of how I have let God down. And no matter how hard I try I keep ending up here hiding from God. I also get frustrated faster, I am definitely more cross, I smile less, and have misplaced my joy.

It is only when I take time to on why I am so cross that I realize my prayer time is completely lacking. And when I realize my prayer time has faltered is when I can see I need to go to confession. When I make this connection I want to run to Picota for mass and confession as soon as I can, which sometimes can end up being a week or more due to the fact we have only two priests who have 134 pueblos.****

After I shared my testimony with the teenagers they all quickly decided they needed to go to confession. The earliest we could all get to mass was Saturday so we made plans to go to confession, mass and then we would have dinner and a study on the vocational call.

It wasn't until Wednesday that I realized what I had just done. I had scheduled to take the youth group to confessions and mass on the same day as our monthly ministry in Nuevo Control. There was no way we would be able to drive two hours to Nuevo Control, have our lesson, drive two hours to Buenos Aires to pick up the youth group and then arrive in Picota for confessions and mass. I couldn't cancel either of the commitments so we were going to have to improvise.

I let the youth group know that the truck would be leaving at 2:00 to head to Nuevo Control. If they wanted to go to mass they would have to join us for our ministry and then we would go to mass.

Saturday was a cold and rainy day. Of course the worst rainstorm in months happened that day. But at 2:00 nine teenagers were eagerly waiting at our door to join us in Nuevo Control. Thankfully the rain was finished and the road wasn't horrible.

I spoke of Nuevo Control in my last blog. They are a fairly new faith community which we helped start. Our once a month ministry consists of formation as well as teaching them hymns. This is where the youth group came in. Our youth choir practices once a week. It is led by a friend of ours, Roberto Carlos. He has taught a few of the members to play instruments. We have a guitarist and two drummers. The youth spent Wednesday through Saturday practicing hymns to teach the community. They did such a good job! We were so proud of them. Taylor led formation and we ended with another song. It was so cool to bring these two communities together.

We made it to Picota for mass and confessions. The four young men went to confession. Our vocational call study was very blessed over dinner. They had many good questions. I ask that you keep these nine young people in your prayers as they discern their personal vocational call. Please pray especially for three of the young men. Two are feeling called to the priesthood and have made an informational seminarian retreat while the other young man is feeling called to marriage. Please pray for strength and wisdom in their continued discernment and their ability to say 'Yes' to God. Please also pray for their chastity and purity. Please pray for the young women as they discern God's call for them. Please especially pray they are able to see the dignity God has given them and for the ability to allow no one to strip it from them. ~Katie

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Realities About the Amazon Mission in the Prelature of Moyobamba, Peru

I have felt the Holy Spirit asking me to write a blog concerning the mission here in Peru for two weeks. I have put it off until now because I have not wanted to enter into dialog regarding the Amazonian Synod but I can ignore Him no longer. The things I will be sharing have come from our family's direct experience as missionaries here. I will speak from our experience. I just ask that as you read what I have to say you will take that inconsideration and quick to prayer and slow to attack.

In the Love of Jesus,
Katie Schmidt

Servants of the Good Help
Our Lady of Good Help- Pray for Lost Souls!

Here is a map detailing the pueblos we work. Picota is the parish head and it is where the priests live. Nuevo
Control is on the bottom marked with a purple pushpin.  
The Realities About the Amazon Mission in the Prelature of Moyobamba, Peru

My family and I have been serving in the Prelature of Moyobamba, Peru since February 23, 2015. When we arrived here we spoke no language and at that time we knew absolutely nothing of the missionary need of the zone we were entering in. After a month of struggling without the language we travelled to the coast and spent a month in school to learn basic Spanish. Upon returning to Picota, San Martin, Peru we moved into the town of Caspizapa and continued to learn Spanish as well as took the time to learn the culture and tried to evangelize. Those six months were especially difficult for our family adapting to a new language, new culture and with the added difficulty of newborn twins. Through much prayer we persevered. We have since learned the language, welcomed a seventh child into our life through the birth of our youngest child in 2017, taken on a more active role in the missionary parish of Picota by developing marriage retreat and preparation material and helping prepare and give formation to the local church leaders, as well as taking on a new zone in the region of Picota which has seventeen pueblos to minister to. All and all we have fallen in love with the mission and we desperately desire to bring spiritual relief to so many people that have not have any contact with the church. 

Here is a little background for you. A territorial prelature is not a diocese. Our prelature is was established in 1949 and has been an active missionary prelature since that time. All our bishops have been missionaries from Spain. There are ten departmentos or county/parish in the Prelature of Moyobamba. There are currently very few Peruvian priests serving in the prelature. Almost all of the current priests are missionary priests sent from Spain. 

Picota is considered in the southern part of the prelature. We have currently 134 pueblos which are ministered to by two missionary priests from Córdoba, Spain. The priests from Córdoba are on a four year rotation. There are also two orders of missionary sisters, our family which represents Servants of the Good Help and americans who come and go from other organizations. 

How many of the 134 pueblos have access to the sacraments and mass frequently? Picota has mass every single night. There are four pueblos that receive mass monthly. One pueblo receives mass on a weekly basis because one of the congregation of sisters live and serve here. This leaves 128 pueblos who receive mass once every two months or more. The vast majority of these pueblos fall in the category who receive mass once a year or once every two years. 
Can you imagine this? For most of us we can't even wrap our head around this statement. It seems almost impossible to think of since we usually can walk into a church any day of the week for a mass, confession or to sit in adoration. That is not so here. This leaves what then? What does the church look like? How are the needs of the people being met? In all honesty, their needs are not being met and the church is quite frankly nonexistent in so many of these places. 

I am going to recount the stories of a few of our pueblos for you to help bring this all into perspective. 

Nuevo Chachapoyas was founded 30 years ago. The families are originally from the mountain region of Peru and travelled here to start a new life because of the lack of work in their area. During the 30 years no one from the catholic church entered their town. Not one representative went to evangelize them. This is in part due to the fact that the town is not noted on a few maps as well, lack of missionary activity due to the immense need of the zone and it being difficult to reach them during the rainy season. Before three years ago when a road was put in it was necessary to hike 11 hours to reach the pueblo. Since then it is only an hour hike from where the road ends. And all it took was a crazy missionary family to ask what is beyond the road to go out in search of them. That was last year when we learned of the town and hiked with our seven little children to find the town. When we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and prayers of thanksgiving was given to the Lord because He had sent His workers to find them. They were the first to admit that they knew nothing of God. The only thing that they knew was ' We are living like animals.' We have spent the last year hiking the mountain side to minister to their community. On March 10, 2019 Padre Rafael celebrated the first ever mass in their town in the local community building. The matriarch of the community was able to receive the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time in 30 years. Padre said it was a special day for him to be able to be able to bring them Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time in the history of their pueblo. He also was able to celebrate the sacrament of baptism, first communion and confirmation. It was a blessed day to say the least!!! But their spiritual struggle continues. We continue to visit them weekly to evangelize them, form them and catechize them. Every other Sunday we are in their community to lead a Liturgy of the Word service. But they are still so young in the faith, so fearful and so unsure of themselves. They are constantly doubting their right to have us visit them. They do not have anyone formed in the faith living in their community to help keep the community animated. They are still in such a spiritual desert. A high point for having our presence there is we are able to advocate on their behalf for more frequent visits. On November 23, 2019 Padre Rafael will be visiting their community once again to bring them the mass and the Eucharist. But clearly this is not enough. They need such tender loving care and more access to the sacraments. But how is that possible in this case?
Our children drew this in the sand to show
just what Jesus did for us!
Class in the community building

First mass in the history of Nuevo Chachapoyas
Walking in the mud and rain

Nuevo Piura is another one of our pueblos. This pueblo was also founded 30 years ago. It is another hour and a half beyond Nuevo Chachapoyas. This pueblo is on the district line of Picota and another county. One time sixteen years ago a visiting missionary priest stopped in their pueblo and baptized the children after an hour long class. Since that time no one has come into their town. They were forgotten and abandoned. Once again all it took was a crazy missionary family to go out in search of them. We had received word from a man in the town of Mirador of another pueblo which had not been visited. We didn't need to think about it. We knew instantly that we needed to go out in search of them. Let me just say our first family climb to their town was not pretty. Our children were 11, 9, 7, 6, 3-½, 3-½ and 1. The climb was long and hard. We brought candy, water and snacks to help break up the long journey. When we arrived we were again welcomed with open arms and unbelief that we were searching for them. We met in the community building and asked questions. In the middle of our time there it started to rain. By the time we had programmed our next visit the rain had stopped. Our hike back home was a long, muddy and hard journey. Two and a half hours in and three and a half hours out. The first climb out of town took us 30 minutes. The mud sucked our boots in and it took all that we had to make it up. Right then we learned mules were a necessity for the journey. We found and purchased two to help specifically with our visits to Nuevo Piura. 90% of our visits happened to include a rainstorm that started as soon as we entered town. The mules have been such a blessing to have to help carry our supplies as well as most of the children each visit. With each visit the people rejoice and sing praises to God because He has not forgotten them. On August 7, 2019 Padre Rafael celebrated the first mass in their town in sixteen years. This time padre was able to celebrate the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, first communion, confirmation and marriage. It was another blessed day!!! And just like Nuevo Chachapoyas the struggles for a spiritual life are very real and very difficult. 

Still all smiles after our long muddy hike out 

The five young girls who received their first communion.

We are thankful to have animals to help carry the little
ones up that big muddy hill when it rains!
First mass in sixteen years for the pueblo of Nuevo Piura.

I would also like to share a little about the pueblo of Nuevo Control. We first arrived to Nuevo Control in January 11, 2016. The town of Nuevo Control is the second town of the Valley of Bombonajillo. The priests would travel once every year to visit the catholic communities there; however, they never stopped in the town of Nuevo Control. Why? There was no active church community and when they had previously asked about catholics they were told everyone living there was not catholic. We were asked by the priests to start ministering to the pueblos in this zone in December of 2015. Taylor made the first contact with the town and asked for the catholics. Initially he was told there were none but when he probed more he learned that there indeed were people who considered themselves catholic living there but there was no active church community. When we visited them for the first time we met with one couple. He is a carpenter and she is a house wife. Initially they told us the town couldn't receive the church because there was no one there to take on the responsibility. Rafael's exact response was 'I am just a carpenter.' Taylor quickly responded that Jesus was a carpenter too. And with that he agreed to allow us to come and teach those interested in learning about the faith in his carpenter's shop. Every Friday we would travel two hours in car to spend two hours teaching the community. Over the course of two years the priests came to celebrate mass three times. They also celebrated the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, first communion, confirmation and marriage. Rafael and Esilda were married in the church. We were blessed to share that special day with them as their witnesses and we were Esilda's godparents when she was baptized. Rafael and Esilda took on the responsibility of leading the local church community. Unfortunately they have also had problems. Two years after we started visiting them we were asked by the priests to move to the zone we are currently ministering to. They placed another group of missionaries in charge of the continued formation for the community. We learned from the community and also from the other group of missionaries that they were no longer visiting and forming the people of Nuevo Control. The initial contact was made, there was an active church community which desired greatly to continue forming but the church dropped the ball. The were abandoned and left to try and figure it out on their own without any help. It wasn't the community of Nuevo Control's fault. The fault lies with the local catholic church. The fault falls on the missionaries who choose not to drive two hours to teach them and to check on them. The church failed this community. Praise be to God that they did not lose hope! Over the course of the year of abandonment they continued to come together to pray and to read the word of God. We were given permission in June to once again take on the formation of their pueblo. Due to the workload we currently have with the seventeen pueblos of Buenos Aires we can only commit to visiting their community once a month. The last Saturday of the month we now travel three hours one way to minister to them. They joyful receive us. We dedicate some of our time to teaching new hymns as well as focusing on formation. We also take time to lead a Liturgy of the Word Service for them. We are thankful to the Lord to once again have the opportunity to spend time with these beautiful people. We also are very thankful the Lord guarded their hearts and souls and kept their faith alive!!! 

Here is Esilda with Adele. Adele still loves her.

Rafael is in the white shirt. This is from the first day we met him. And this is the carpenter shop where the community meets.
Photos from Rafael and Eslida's wedding mass.

I think now after recounting these few stories it is fair to say that there is still so much the church can do here. The church has yet to truly reach and minister to those who identify as catholics let alone evangelize to those who have not yet heard the name of Jesus. 

The question then becomes "How?" and "By whom?" Clearly what is currently in place is not enough. I can attest to that. There is so much need and not enough people to answer the call for help.

I have heard many people upset about the items being discussed regarding finding the people necessary to evangelize. The things that are being said upsets me greatly. It truly sickens my stomach to read some of the comments. I think in the first world has lost sight of the fact that the people here in the third world have an equal right to hear the Word of God and to have a relationship with Jesus. It almost seems as if because they live in a third world country they do not have the same dignity and right to God as people living in a first world country. Their needs seem to be wiped under a rug and thought as only their problem to solve. But this is not true. We were all created in God's image and we all have the same dignity. We also all have the same right to Know, Love and Serve God. And it is OUR responsibility as the Catholic Church to care for the needs of ALL of our brothers and sisters. We should ALL be concerned that we haven't reached the ends of the earth. We ALL should be looking for solutions and NOT condemning those who are trying to find the answer. It is time to get throw out the thoughts of them and us.  The division that people are talking about was only created by this exact mindset. It has been created by our own selfish pride that we know what is best. It is time to wake up and realize that this is not so. There CAN NOT be a them and us! There is ONLY us !!!!! We are in this together. 

It is only when we realize and accept there is ONLY us that we can finally move forward. And from there we are finally able to address the great needs of the church and work together to find the answers. This is the means of the Amazon Synod. It is to draw awareness of the great division that has infiltrated the church by our own selfishness. By our own unwillingness to think of someone other than ourselves and to look beyond our own thoughts and desires. It has put faces and names to the 'them.' This has brought even more outrage at times because now we can no longer ignore God's image in 'them' and we can no longer look past their dignity. 

I say "ENOUGH!!!" We are ALL created in God's image, we ALL have the same dignity and let us not all forget that God wrote on each of our hearts to search for Him. Some of us have tried to find Him in sex, money, drugs, alcohol, other people, animals, the environment, and material things. We ALL have searched for Him in other things at one point in our lives. We ALL have at one point in our lives held something other than God as the first place in our lives. We ALL have had a false idol. But it wasn't until we were brought the Good News that we recognized that sin and made a change. Then how can we condemn those who have not had the same chance of us to know the True God and to repent of their sins? We can't because we were once in the same exact place and if we do continue to judge we are a living hypocrite. 

IT IS TIME TO STOP THE ATTACKS!!!! Let us cast off all of the differences that we see; our race, our language, our cultures, and our customs. Let us instead look to the things that we share; we are

But this can change. We just need to act. We need to come forth and reconcile for what we have done. I am speaking of the sacrament of confession. We need to ask for forgiveness and we need to make an effort to not fall into it again. For some it will be easy to do and for others it will be one of the hardest things they have done. It will be especially difficult for those who have voiced their outrage and attacks publicly being that a public penance may be necessary but this would be determined by a priest. The sacrament of reconciliation is an amazing gift we are blessed to have. It is the sacrament which can reunite us. 

Let us step out in faith that this is what we need to do. Then let us work together to find a solution which will benefit our brothers and sisters who have been neglected for so long! ~Katie 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Why so many pictures of hot chocolate and fruitcake?

We have been posting quite a few pictures of people drinking hot chocolate and eating fruit cake this past advent season leading up to Christmas. Some people have asked why is it that we are drinking hot chocolate in 90+ degree weather. That is a very valid question and sometimes we wonder why we enjoy drinking it when it is so hot as well. Some other people can't believe we are serving fruitcake to children.

For the record it isn't too bad, but it is definitely not my grandmother's fruitcake. I am one of those people who enjoy fruitcake. I especially loved the Christmas season because my Grandma Jane would make fruitcake with my godmother LeAnn. It was so moist and delicious and I always looked forward to eating it. Oh how I miss my grandma and her fruitcake!!!

Sorry I got sidetracked. The answer to these questions is simple. We do it out of love! Love for Jesus and love for the people we have come to know over this past year.

You see we work in the zone of Buenos Aires. This zone or district has 17 pueblos in it. Only a handful of these pueblos have been somewhat evangelized. The majority have not. The reason is simple for these pueblos going unevangelized is because the two valley roads are a nightmare to travel on especially when it is raining. Just ask Monica or Tony, Taylor's parents, they would be more than happy to share their experience with you.(Or read their blog post here)

Recently one of the valley roads has been recut through the mountain and it has been improved by putting gravel down. Surprisingly this has been a huge help. This gravel road takes us to the town of Mirador from there we then have to travel either by foot or with our horses and mules to the other towns further in. We have to travel four hours one way to reach one pueblo. This is the real reason why the towns have not been evangelized.

When we started visiting and ministering to all of these forgotten or unknown towns we learned that no one has visited them. We also learned very few people have baptism because the only time they have had baptism is when the families walk to Mirador. We also learned that the children and many of the adults have never her the birth of Jesus and the town does not have any Christmas traditions.

We wanted to help the people change that. We wanted to help the people start a real Christ centered Christmas tradition. From there came the hot chocolate and the fruitcake.

Hot chocolate is a very special treat. You see the town comes together to make the hot chocolate. Everyone contributes what they can. If someone in town has milking cows that person donates the milk, this is a sacrifice because that person will not receive pay that day. If someone has cacao, this is the bean chocolate is made from, a person will donate that. This is another sacrifice because the price for cacao is high. Other people will contribute sugar and clean water as well as flour. If the town does not have fresh milk or cacao the people will buy canned milk and chocolate bars.

You might be wondering why we would ask the people to sacrifice in this way. We explain that as a faith community they can come together and through their community they can help each other through prayer but also through action. In the beginning the families are skeptical that they will be able to handle making it by themselves, but as each family brings their collaboration they start to see the end result they desire is within reach. Then their spirits are lifted and everyone joyfully prepares the chocolate. It is after the chocolatada that the faith community starts to take ownership of their faith and it helps unify them together.

Fruitcake is a special treat that is only available during advent and Christmas here in Peru. It is sold in many stores but many people in the far villages have never had the opportunity to share this with their family because of the cost. It costs $6.00 for one fruitcake. This fruitcake can be divided into ten generous pieces. The average daily wage for a person is $7.00. This is the reason why most people are unable to purchase one.

When we said we would supply the fruitcake for the pueblo and also bring a movie the people were so excited. Not only would we all be drinking delicious hot chocolate a rare and special drink, but many children would have the opportunity to eat fruitcake for the first time.

When we arrive to town on our animals carrying a box full of fruitcake the kids are always excited. Then we setup a white sheet and our projector and the rest of the town gets super excited because they get the experience of a movie theatre as well.

It is during this event where we get to talk about the real meaning of Christmas. I really enjoy watching our friends reactions to seeing the Birth of Jesus for the first time. I love hearing them compare their lives with the lives of Mary and Joseph. I love how after Elizabeth gives birth and the women in the movie are celebrating my friends also celebrate in the same way with them.

I also get to experience the newness of this story all over again. The amazement that Jesus is man and He has shared in all of our experiences or joys and our sorrows. The beauty of Mary's yes without doubt. The self-sacrificing love of Joseph. God's never-ending love for man through his sacrifice of his beloved son. And what a true family is reflected through Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

I hope that this blog answered the questions you might have had regarding our hot chocolate and fruitcake pictures. If not please reach out so I can explain a little more in a future post. ~Katie

Friday, December 21, 2018

A nice breath of fresh air

When we decided to make the change to become missionaries as Servants of the Good Help we felt it necessary to define ourselves as a missionary family. Which means that if our whole family of nine are not invited to participate in a ministry or event we will kindly decline.

This new outlook on missions made us reevaluate how we have been evangelizing. There were many times prior to our change in April where Taylor and a friend, usually Max, would travel hours to minister to villages deeper in the jungle over a three day weekend. The rest of the family would be left at home to carry on with our daily activities and ministries by ourselves. After looking at this we realised just how un-family mission activity this actually was.

That is when we decided to approach missions from a different point of view. We decided to try to go out to the far pueblos as our whole family as crazy as that sounds. We packed up the truck and drove an hour to the end of the gravel road. Once there we learned of quite a few more pueblos that can be reached by hiking. It was then that we decided to try to make the hike with everyone in tow. 

This is a picture from the beginning of our first ever hike to Nuevo Chachapoyas.
Needless to say our first hike was not glorious or for that matter pretty. There was a lot of crying, tantrums and complaining but we made the hour long hike to Nuevo Chachapoyas. And you know what, the people didn't care that the kids were crying and we were exhausted. They were just happy to have us in their town. In actuality that first trip was just to coordinate for our second trip back. 

I have to admit that the hike back to Mirador would have been a lot more ugly had the town people not shown us the short cut along a mountain ridge on the way back. There was still way too much complaining and crying, this time from me as well because I didn't wear boots and there was a lot of yucky stinky black mud on this trail. 

When we made it back to town we all shouted for joy. We had just completed our first mountain evangelization hike. Who would have thought we would have completed sixteen more mountain hikes since then? In all actuality we have made hikes to Nuevo Chachapoyas eight of those sixteen times. Our other hikes have been to pueblos that require two hours and even pueblos that take four hours to hike to. I can honestly say that I did not think our family would have been able to do any of this after that first one.

Julio the horse(front) and Molly the mule(back). We purchased
them with the money from selling Taylor's motorcycle
I have to give the credit where it is due! God is our motivation to go and do it. He is the reason we journey. To bring His love to His beloved little ones.

This photo was taken at the midway point of our first two
hour hike to Nuevo Piura.
I also have to thank Taylor. He is a great encourager. When someone gets tired he is there encouraging them to continue walking through prayer, song or by telling a story. He also had the foresight to sell his motorcycle to buy animals for the family to use to transport the little ones and also our supplies. When Taylor sold the motorcycle he had been using to evangelise with he was closing the door to serving missions as he had previously done but God used it to open wide the door for our family to serve together.

I can honestly say we have grown so much closer journeying over those mountain ridges. We have learned so much about each other and the Lord has used such moments to reveal little parts of His ways with us. These missionary journeys have blessed us abundantly and I am so grateful for them.

Tomorrow we will be mounting up the four animals again to vista Nuevo Chachapoyas and I can tell you everyone was excited when they went to bed last night knowing that Friday and the weekend was coming which means our weekly missionary journey into the jungle is upon us.

I like this new journey. I am very much blessed by it. i enjoy being able to experience it with my children. I especially love hearing them relate themselves to the first apostles as they went forth to spread the Good News.

This photo was taken after our two hour return trip from our first trip to Nuevo
Piura. Notice everyone's pants and boots are covered in mud. Yep it rained
and we fell down a lot in the mud. But we are still smiling!
Please pray for our far communities. They were the ones where the church had not arrived before us. Please pray they will continue to desire a relationship with Jesus and they will grow in their faith. Please also pray for our family as we make the journeys. Please pray for Mike and Molly our two mules and Julio and Gringa our two horses that they will stay healthy and no injuries will happen to them during our travels. Please pray that our family can stay healthy so we do not miss any of our appointments. Please also pray for our Christmas celebrations with these communities for some of them it will be the first time that they are celebrating Christmas.


Getting ready to leave Mirador on our four hour hike with Molly the mule,
Boaz (our protector the american bully), Bosco (our parrot) and Capitan
(our capuchin monkey). It was an overnight trip so the needed to come along.
Still hiking on our four hour hike but this time through the jungle. We are all
still happy!

Heading out on three of the animals. At this point we still hadn't purchased
Gringa. She came a few days later when someone knocked at our door
looking to sell her. Julio is Taylor's horse and Anthony is his riding partner.
Molly is Malachi's mule and Faustina is his riding partner. Gringa is Ruth's
horse and we rotate Adele and Leo as her riding partner. Mike is my mule
and Maria is always my riding partner. My other riding partner is whoever
is not riding with Ruth.