Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Love a Rainy Night Update

Bags of the items we collected in Buenos Aires
It has been two weeks since the awful disaster of mudslides and flooding that struck Tres Unidos and Shamboyacu. Fourteen days of hard work with days that have brought more rain to already beaten down communities.

The first few days following November 2nd were long and exhausting. Taylor left early every morning and returned home after dark each evening. His goal each day was to bring hope to the people who had lost everything. He did this by bringing the love of Christ with him. He took the time to listen teach person's story and prayed with them. He also brought in things that were desperately needed water, food, clothes and even a tent for a family who lossed their home.

Hygiene bags for families
November 3rd Taylor helped organise a truck to bring in drinking water and food to the community. He also went around asking what else the people needed. Taylor also asked the community in which we live to help support the flood victims. There was overwhelming support from the people of Buenos Aires. Throughout the whole day on Friday people knocked at our door bringing donations of food, clothes, shoes, blankets, jackets and cooking supplies. I was so touched by the generosity of our community.

A few people I spoke with explained why it was so easy to help. They said it could have been them in need and they would want someone to be generous and help. They also explained the great fear they all have whenever the rains come. One woman shared how fear overtakes her whenever she sees clouds forming in the sky. She said the only thing more terrifying is the sound of rain at night. Not knowing if this rain will be enough to bring a flood crashing through her door at 2:00am. Can you imagine living in this constant fear?
Our youth group from Buenos Aires and the donations.

That evening five members of our youth group came to our house to sort through the items collected. We wanted to separate the clothes into their proper category before arriving the next day. We also wanted to make sure that only the clothes free of holes and stains made it to Tres Unidos. How many items do you think we needed to discard? Just ten items. Only ten of the hundreds we received were not in the condition to be donated. Incredible. The people of Buenos Aires gave the best to the poor.

Taylor and the youth had to walk across this tree to get to Pairiso
One of the young men sorting through the clothes spoke up. "This is mine" he said as he laid his own clothes on the piles to be brought to Tres Unidos. What a testament and what a beautiful sight.

On November 4th Taylor and twelve teenagers from our youth group brought the donations we had gathered. In one day our pueblo of Buenos Aires was able to fill a truck which also included ziploc baggies filled with personal hygiene products to be given out to families.

The youth were excited to help not knowing what to expect. For many of the youth this was going to be their mission trip let alone their first time out of the district of Buenos Aires. What the youth found in Tres Unidos was something none of them had seen before. As they pulled into town they came across the house of a family that had six feet of water running through it when the flooding hit. That water took everything they owned but Praise be to God they were able to get to safety before it happened. In the streets everyone had what ever belongings they had left strung out on lines to dry. Somber dirty faces.

The view as they were hiking to Pairiso
Half of the youth group stayed in Tres Unidos to hand out the donations they brought as well as to pray with people with some fellow missionaries. The other half left Tres Unidos with Taylor in an effort to get to the man who had lost his family. This man lives in the pueblo of Pairiso which is an hour drive from Tres Unidos. The bridge leading from Tres Unidos was washed away in the flood. Thankfully the river was low enough that they could drive through it to get to the other side. The drive to Pairiso was uneventful but the moment they arrived to their destination another mudslide hit. Taylor had a split second decision to make- Do they abandon their mission to Paraiso and raise the mudslide down the mountain to cross the river again before it gets to Tres Unidos? or Do they continue on as planned and just trust that God will work everything out?

The mudslide rushing in

Taylor decided to continue on with the plan in search of the man who lost his family. This man was on the family farm higher up the mountain when the disaster struck. He learned his parents, his wife, and their two children died when he returned to Pairiso. As you can imagine he was devastated. They were able to locate the man where his house once stood. Nothing was there except two rocks laid to mark the graves of his family. The youth group sang to this man and prayed with him. Taylor embraced him and tried to bring him the hope of Jesus Christ. Trying to console someone who had lost every earthly possession is extremely hard. What do you say to someone who has only his life and the clothes on his back? Without the Holy Spirit there is nothing you can offer him. The Holy Spirit gave Taylor the message He wanted the man to hear.

The return trip was much more difficult because of the new mudslide but it was all worth it! Being able to bring a little comfort to a suffering man made all the struggles seem so easy.
This is where the house stood in Pairiso. The two stones on the bottom right mark the grave
of the people who died during the mudslide.




Please continue to pray for the people of Tres Unidos and Pairiso. There is still a lot of work ahead to rebuilding their lives. It will take many months especially now that we have entered the rainy season two months early. The community of Tres Unidos will need to rebuild their church as well. Please pray that the help and support they need will come. Our hope is to continue to journey with the people over these upcoming months since there are no missionaries currently living in that zone.

If you feel called to help support these people you can do so here. helpperu.familymissionscompany.com

~Katie

The people of Tres Unidos trying to dry whatever they had left.

Padre Francisco celebrated mass in the plaza of Tres Unidos on November 5th
because the church needs to be taken down due to a missing wall.




The river crossing before the mudslide. 


A house frame is the only thing left standing.
The special forces arrived to help bring supplies and to rescue people.



The waterline on the house is where the dark brown meets the light brown.
It is over the door at about six feet.

Part of the missing wall in the church in Tres Unidos

More rain coming in
Hiking back to the truck

The youth handing out donations to the people of Pairiso.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I Love a Rainy Night

Rainy Nights. The cool breeze and the soothing sound of rain drops on the roof normally sends me to sleep. The sound of rain is a welcomed sound in our house. Living without clean water is hard and something that our family has become accustomed to. We have safe drinking water Praise God but we do not have access to clean water to bathe in. Our family has come to depend on the rain! Typically at the sound of rain there are screams of joy heard throughout the house. Whatever we were working on comes to a complete stop and everyone runs to their station to help collect the rain water. Once we have filled all of our buckets and garbage cans we all change into our swimsuits to bathe.

Last night around 1:00am the rain started to fall. Taylor and I both awoke to the sound. Quickly Taylor ran outside to position our buckets to collect the rain. We both dozed back off to sleep happily knowing that in a few hours when we awoke once again we would have plenty of water for awhile. Joyously we went about our morning praising God for hearing our prayers and for providing the rain for our pueblo.

That joy soon ended when we received word of the utter disaster some nearby pueblos were in. The rain that was a godsend for us destroyed houses, hopes, dreams, and lives of others.

The zone of Tres Unidos is where the single men missionaries have been living over the past three years. Tres Unidos and their alturas, mountain villages, were hit hard by the rainstorm. We were told that the rains caused mudslides in the upper pueblos and traveled down the mountain. At the same time the river next to Tres Unidos grew and swelled beyond the banks. The river swept through town in the middle of the night taking houses, animals and belongings along with it. What it left behind was mud and tears. The community is grieving the loss of things and hope. But praise the Lord no one lost their life there.

Unfortunately that was not the case for many other communities. The community of Paraíso suffered a lot including the loss of a family of five. It is believed that over the next few days more people will be found dead or severely injured.

Currently no one is able to reach any of the communities beyond Tres Unidos due to the fact that both bridges were washed out. The president sent in the military today to rebuild the bridges and to search for the deceased. The hope is one of the bridges will be complete tomorrow so the missionaries can go in and access what is needed in each of the pueblos.

What do the people need right now?
 Prayers! They lost everything. They have lost their hope amongst all of their possessions. 

Food and clean drinking water. Taylor and the Carmody family spent the day bringing in food and clean drinking water to everyone that needed it. Tomorrow they will be returning to bring in more food and drinking water. They will also be taking the time to pray with the people and remind them that God is there with them amongst their sorrow.

What will the people need over the next few weeks?

More Prayers! It will take time to heal from this and to rebuild. They will need many prayers to help them see the good in all the sorrow and also to help them see the need of everyone around them.

Medical Supplies and medicine will be needed over the coming weeks. There is a good chance that the people will get sick from contaminated water. Many people have outhouses and when the water rushes through town it takes the sewage with it contaminating everything. 

Clothing, shoes, and school supplies. Families lost all of their possessions. We will be bringing in all of the clothing that our friends from Holy Family Parish gave us. This will help many people but there is a chance it will not be enough.

Bibles. We will be bringing in Bibles again since many people lost their Bible.

A new church. Unfortunately the church in Tres Unidos was damaged beyond repair. The mudslides took out one of the walls supporting the church. Since then the church has been slowly collapsing all day. We will need to take down the church for the safety of the community.
Cleaning out the church. 


Please consider donating to help with the flood relief for these communities. You can do so by following this link www.schmidtfamily.fmcmissions.com. Please write in the comments box "flood relief." We will be updating you all as we know more.

Please pray for Taylor and our fellow missionaries as they help with the disaster relief efforts. Please pray that God will protect them from any illnesses that they might come in contact with.
~ Katie

Sunday, October 15, 2017

And we are back

Wow it has been some time since we have blogged. Sorry about that but we figured blogging while we were in the states would have been pretty boring.

We returned to the states in April to wait for the upcoming birth of our latest child. We had to return by the 30th week of pregnancy due to flying restrictions here in Peru. We spent the first few weeks visiting doctors as well as taking some time together as a family. On June 26 we welcomed our newest child into the world. María Araceli was born without complications and has been an absolute joy for our whole family. We were not sure how the twins would handle a new baby but they love her!

We returned to Peru on September 12th. You might be asking why wait so long. Well we had to wait for María's passport and we did not want to miss the wedding of Taylor's sister Anna. She was married to her husband on September 8th. Please pray for Anna and Steven as they adjust to married life!

Since returning to Peru we have kept busy. In all honesty we hit the ground running. A few days after we landed we led a marriage retreat for engaged couples among many other classes. We also moved to a new town 20 miles from our previous mission. Our new town is called Buenos Aires. It was named this by a priest who was passing through from Argentina. Along with working within the pueblo of Buenos Aires we have also been given charge of the two valleys that are part of the zone. The valleys have sixteen pueblos between them with eight of them yet to be evangelized. We are excited to begin bringing the saving message of Jesus Christ to the people.
María Araceli

Monday, May 8, 2017

Come and See

Have you ever wondered what missionary life is like? Have you ever heard the Lord calling you to something more? Have you ever actually considered selling all that you have and giving it to the poor after reading the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-30? Are you interested in bring the Gospel to those who have yet to hear its saving message? Are you looking for a closer realtionship and dependence on Jesus? If you have answered "Yes!" to any of these questions then attending a Family Missions Company "Come and See" retreat is for you!

What is Family Missions Company? Family Missions Company (FMC) is a lay catholic foreign missionary organization based out of Abbeville, Louisiana. FMC trains and sends out singles and families throughout the world to bring the Gospel to those most in need of the saving message of Jesus, the lost and forgotten. Family Missions Company is an evangelistic foreign missions company that currently has missionaries serving in nine countries throughout the world.

Family Missions Company offers a five day discernment retreat four times a year for individuals and families to prayerfully discern if God is calling you or your family to foreign missions. During the retreat you have a brief glipse into what missions looks like as a FMC missionary. You are also given an opportunity to serve in the community of Abbeville. The directors and staff of FMC also give you many opportunities for silent prayer before the blessed sacrament. Questions are encouraged throughout the retreat.

Does everyone who attends a FMC "Come and See" retreat join Family Missions Company? No, not everyone who attends a retreat feels or hears the call to foreign missions. However most people leave with a deepened relationship with Jesus and returns with an evangelistic fire to their home parish or diocese. Foreign Missions is a call from the Lord. We can attest to this. It is a secondary vocation that the Lord gives. There were five families and six singles present at our "Come and See" in 2014. Currently our family and one other family are in foreign missions from our retreat. The other families felt the Lord saying foreign missions was not for them but they also heard him calling them to something more within their own parish.
Here is a picture of our family from our "Come and See." Notice we only have four kids here. We found out we were expecting Faustina and Adele a month after we said "Yes" to the Lord. This was a miracle because my doctor said we will never be able to have children again in 2013 and now again we are expecting. María Araceli who is due in June. God is so good!

Is a five day retreat in Louisiana really worth it? Yes it is. It gives retreatants an opportunity to sit with the Lord away from our daily distractions. We do not have access to internet during the retreat and we are all encouraged to turn off our cellphones. Without the unnecessary distractions you are then able to focus on growing your relationship with the Lord and listening to His voice. It also gives some people another opportunity to focus on their family. When you leave the retreat you feel revitalized and refreshed in the Lord. If you truly give yourself to Him during the retreat He will give you guidance.

How do you really know if God is calling you to foreign missions? One word, Peace! If when you think of foreign missions and an immense amount of peace comes upon you this is from the Lord. I can honestly say that when we were making out eighteen hour car ride to Louisiana from Wisconsin I was not at peace. I was very anxious and I was trying to think of reasons for us to turn around. I was really anxious when we were twenty minutes from Abbeville. I told Taylor we needed to turn our vehicle around and go home. He could not believe I said that just as we were arriving to our destination. I can say now those feelings that I had in those moments were from the evil one. When we pulled into the drive way I still felt anxious and did not want to be there. I kept telling myself I was there to support Taylor. But as the day progressed my heart softened and unbeknownst to me I started listening to the Lord. That night as we laid in bed I looked at Taylor and said "We are home. I feel at peace here." Through hearing those words come from my mouth I knew that this was the life God was calling our family to.

I want to encourage anyone who has any sort of thought for missions to prayerfully consider attending a FMC "Come and See." Please check out their website at Family Missions Company "Come and See" retreat. You can also call or email Erika at FMC for more information. Erika is the missions coordinator and we spoke to her when we were discerning missions. You can reach Erika at 337-893-6111 or Missions@fmcmissions.com.

Fear not and just go!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Daughter, your faith has saved you." Update

Taylor had the opportunity to head back up to the communities of the Bombonajillo Valley at the end of March. The journey to get there was exhausting, muddy and long. A trip which normally only takes five hours ended up lasting over nine hours. When Taylor and our friend arrived to Nuevo Chanchomayo they were both caked in mud, exhausted and a little beaten up.

After a good night's sleep Taylor was ready to visit the neighboring communities. He was excited to walk the hour and a half to Primavera to visit Isabel. It had been month's due to his health issues since he had last seen her.

When Taylor arrived in Primavera he found Isabel in her house. As soon as he entered she was so overjoyed to see him. Isabel confessed that the nighht before she told her husband that her friend the missionary were going to visit her in the morning and here he was. No one knew that Taylor was travelling to Nuevo Chanchomayo. The Holy Spirit Isabel to receive Taylor though.

Isabel felt the Lord asking her to share her testimony with Taylor during this visit. Isabel was baptized Catholic but did not grow up in the faith. When she married her husband she left the catholic faith and joined her husband's religion. When she became sick their church community abandoned them. They told her it was because of her sins that she became sick. No one came to visit or to help. She was left to suffer alone. Until last year.

Isabel was reintroduced to the Catholic Church through Taylor's visits. She was given a Bible and she was shown love, compassion and mercy whenever Taylor visited. It was inbetween these visits when God talked to her. He started to call her back to the church. She had conflicting emotions about following this call because her whole life she was told untrue statements about the Catholic Church but here was a Catholic missionary living the Bible. Here he was showing the true love of Christ. Praying with her, visiting her, sharing the word with her and being a true friend to her.

She confessed to Taylor all of these thoughts and at the end asked if she could come back to the church. Taylor joyously said yes. Isabel then started asking him questions about the faith and what it means to be Catholic. Taylor answered all of her questions and she reaffirmed she wanted to come back to the church.

At the end of the visit she asked Taylor to teach her a hymn to sing to God since she did not know any catholic songs. Taylor explained most of the hymns we sing in Peru are used by other denominations as well so she probably already knows a catholic song. He asked her to sing her favorite one. As she opened her mouth Taylor described she had an angelic voice and he was so touched by her song. It was not until after she had completed singing that he realized he did not tape it. He reassured her the song was also catholic and she could continue singing it.

As Taylor prepared to leave he informed Isabel he would not be returning until September when we return to Peru. In the time he is away he encouraged her to continue to praise God through her singing, to pray daily and to continue reading the Bible.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ask and You shall receive

The Lord blessed me tremendously yesterday! He knew my heart's desires and He granted them to me.

I have been resting a lot lately due to the temperature. Daily it is over 100 degrees here. Due to this it was recommended for me to rest since I am currently seven months pregnant. The heat has caused premature births and two weeks ago a woman lost her baby due to the heat. This has been very difficult for me. I enjoy taking walks around town and visiting with people on my way. I also enjoy visiting my home visits listening to them and just being present for them. All of which has stopped since I was told to rest, until yesterday.

The Lord knew that I desperately wanted to visit with my home visits one last time before we leave. Unfortunately do to the distance that did not seem possible. Then the Lord surprised me. Yesterday morning there was a knock on our door. It was Liliana, one of my home visits. She brought some bananas for the twins and she wanted to check on me. The Lord brought her to ME!

It brought so much joy to my heart. Here I was able to be with this beautiful woman in my own home. We sat and chatted for an hour. She shared with me her stuggles since losing her husband Oscar. We talked about how great and faithful the Lord is. She watched as I made her a rosary as we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. When she left we both were renwed and full of joy.

God answered my prayers. It did not happen the way I had intended but His plan was way better!!!

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Luke 11:9-10

Liliana, left, visiting in my home yesterday. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rising waters

We are asking for prayers for the community of Nuevo Egipto. They are very special to us. We have worked with them for almost two years now. Their community is off of the beaten path. They are surrounded by rice fields which employs most of the town. On one side of the town is a canal and on the side is a river.

Last week disaster struck Nuevo Egipto. At 2:00am on Wednesday the canal overflowed its banks and swept through town. As it swept through town the excess water overflowed the outdoor bathrooms which then contaminated everything.

Many people spoke of waking up because the rising waters soaked their beds. It was then that they started alerting their neighbors and the cleanup began.

We received a call midmorning from Max, our fellow missionary, explaining the situation because his family lives there. Taylor immediately jumped on his motorcycle and headed to Nuevo Egipto. When he arrived he found a mess. Houses that were built out of mud bricks were partly swept away exposing the sticks used to frame it. Houses without cement floors now had a soppy wed mud floor. The feces was mixed with everything which will cause illnesses if not removed. No one really knows how many items were lost when the flood waters went through. But it is our guess that many people lost clothes, shoes and their personal belongings as well.

Taylor came home to report on what he found and to call in backup from our fellow missionaries. When I heard his report I broke down in tears. This community is so beautiful. They have a living faith and they willingly give all they have to anyone in need.

Taylor, Andy, Max headed back to Nuevo Egipto to assist in the cleanup along with two visiting nurses from Spain. They spent the afternoon moving contaminated mud and assisting wherever they were called. Taylor helped a single mother with young children spread gravel in her house to create a new floor. Her floor was a sloppy muddy mess but as they laid the gravel it made walking possible. At one point Andy and Taylor had to move a paralized man from his bed. His family had no way yo move him out of their waterlogged home. The water level was to the mattress on his bed. His family abandoned the home knowing that if the waters continued to rise he would most likely perish but they could not move them on their own. The family was overjoyed by the help they received from Andy and Taylor. They were able to move the man across town to a family member whose house was not badly damaged.

Unfortunately none of our missionaries thought of taking photos during their time helping the community. They were so focused on helping the people in need that it did not cross their mind until after they returned home.

Please pray for the community of Nuevo Egipto. Please pray that the waters reside and that the rain stops for a bit so the cleanup can finish. Please pray that the people will not get sick from working in the unsanitary conditions. We are also asking prayers for the people who need to rebuild.