Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words

We thought it was time to let our pictures tell a blog story. We hope you enjoy the story below of some of the things we are doing in missions. How we are bringing Jesus to the people and some pictures of our daily life. But there are some pictures missing from here. It never seems to fail that when something really exciting happens I never have a camera ready. 

For instance when the Jehovah Witnesses came to our door. Last Sunday they came to convert us. They had first came on Mother's Day. Taylor kindly asked them to leave since it was Mother's Day and it wasn't a good time since he was cooking me breakfast. He asked them to come back some other time. Praise the Lord they choose Pentecost Sunday. I fully believe that our Lord gave Taylor the gift of tongues to defend His name. Taylor was able to debate them in Castellano for over thirty minutes. The Jehovah's eventually conceded and walked away. The youth from our community just happened to walk by when all of this was taking place. They witnessed Taylor defending his faith and once it was over asked us to teach them how to do the same. Praise you Lord Jesus for opening up this avenue to us which was previously closed!

I also learned that I need to start bringing my camera to mass. Malachi is now an altar server and he has read prayer intentions in Spanish. Yes that is right Malachi read in Spanish. He had a hard time reading in English but now Padre Paco is encouraging him to read prayer intentions in Spanish with some help.

At mass this past Monday Ruth led choir practice in Spanish. Yes that is right, she led the choir in SPANISH. Praise you Jesus Christ. Ruth told the kids what to sing and then proceeded to sing the song into the microphone with the correct Spanish words. God is so good!

Now after a few words it is onto the picture book. We hope you enjoy it!~ Katie

Malachi sharing his testimony in Spanish with the people from the pueblo of Puerto Rico with the help of Taylor. Malachi shared that he loves Jesus more than his own life! I love it when God speaks to me through my children.

Teaching the kids Football Americano as they refer to it here. This happens a couple times a week in the afternoon when it is a little cooler. Usually we play after we do our teaching on Jesus and the church.

Some of our neighborhood friends who come everyday to play and to learn. These children have been such a blessing to our family. They were the first kids we met. They have been great friends to our children and they are excited to learn about the faith. They knock at our door throughout the day to make sure that we are still planning on teaching them in the afternoon. They are the first ones at our door when there is no school and they come to lead us to the rosary every night.

Learning about forgiveness with the help of Brother Francis! Praise you Jesus for putting it on our hearts to bring all of our children's movies. It turns out that all of them can play in Spanish. We used these movies to help in teaching our children and now we can use them to teach the children in Caspizapa.

The rosaries I have been making. The cord is twine, painted wooden beads, and metal crucifixes.

Guess who won this wrestling match? Faustina has the upper hand. There are many times we walk into the girls room to find out why they are giggling. Faustina is usually on Adele staring at her. These two are so funny.

Waiting for the rain to pass. What it rains here in the Amazon jungle? Who would have thought that? Next off to purchase more beads for the rosaries. We promised to make more over the weekend to hand out before mass on Monday.

Riding to mass in style. Be sure to keep a look out for flying birds! The hazards of missionary life- a bird to the forehead as Taylor found out last Sunday! No worries though. He only had a headache. 
This young lady was very excited to receive a new shirt and a sweatshirt. When we were handing out the clothes we were very surprised to see the sweatshirts since it hardly ever gets below 75. The people here wear sweatshirts when it is in the 70's. We are just thankful for the cooler weather to finally be able to move without sweating instantly.

Begging for rice is hard work. We have accompanied Padre Paco to beg for rice. The rice is then used to feed the children through the Comedor. The children are able to purchase lunch from the comedor daily for 1 sol. A sol is roughly 33 cents. The typical meal is rice and meat. Sometimes it is the peruvian version of spaghetti. It is one way the church ensures that the children receive one meal a day.

Yes we ate this. Any thoughts what it is? It is a snail. The snails here are incredibly large. This snail was about the size of two fists put together. Our wonderful neighbors had us over for dinner on Leo's birthday. We ate snail and jaunes. Jaunes are rice with chicken and an olive cooked in banana leaves. I was so proud of all the kids. They ate everything that was placed before them. They smiled as they ate the snail. I can say that this was the first meal that they didn't ask for seconds though. 

Anthony hugging one of the Bibles that Holy Family Catholic School supplied us with thanks to the awesome penny war they had. We hope you enjoy those extra minutes of recess!!!! The youth will hopefully love their Bibles as much as Anthony does.

Adele taking a little siesta on the church pew. Why is it that all of my children insist on taking naps during mass when they just woke for the morning.

I never understood why everyone calls Faustina a muñeca, which means doll. There have been many times when people have stopped my to ask why I am carrying a doll only to be surprised that Faustina is a real baby. Well after looking at this picture that I snapped after mass I can now see what everyone else see. She looks like a peaceful little doll. My little muñeca. 

Guess who found a mono? Taylor did. This little guy was so happy to play with Taylor. He jumped out of the tree and started climbing all over him. He ran up Taylor's arm and tried stealing his glasses. He also nibbled on his ears. Taylor said that it felt like he had suction cups on his fingers. That was something he didn't expect. Just so you know we did not bring him home. I didn't need another baby to change diapers on. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happy Mother's Day Mary!

We have had the great pleasure here in Caspizapa Peru in participating in the celebrations of Mother's Day and the month of Mary. The tradition here in as in many places is to pray a rosary with the traveling statue of Mary. We have been participating in this every evening with the community. It has been a humbling but amazing experience. Humbling because the small children can pray in Spanish better than I can. Amazing to see their fervor and love they have for our Blessed Mother. Processing by candlelight and singing hymns loudly through the streets traveling to the next house with Mary. We had the great pleasure of having Mary come to our house last Friday. With our house packed with women and children like sardines in a can we prayed and sang fervently with great love and respect for our Blessed Mother. Begging for her intercession to her Son Jesus Christ for the growing of the faith in this community and for the children.

We feel that Mary has had a special hand in having us sent here to this community, this region in Peru. This was made apparent to us at our first meeting with we the priests. As they shared with us the background and demographics of this area it seemed oddly familiar to me and became clear when they shared the patron of the region is Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As it was in the early days of the settlement of Wisconsin in the year of 1859 when Our Lady of Good Help appeared to Adele Brise the area filled with young immigrant families attempting to scratch out a living in a new untamed land without easy access to the sacraments and religious formation. The Blessed Mother appeared to Adele with this message "Teach my children about Jesus, how to make the sign of the cross, confess their sins, and receive Holy Communion. Do not be afraid for I will be with you." And so it is here in the province of San Martin and the region of Picota that the majority of the people are young immigrants from other parts of Peru. We work with two amazing priests who are in charge of 120 pueblos stretching across vast areas of the jungle. And Mary has brought us here from Wisconsin where her message began to a young Belgian girl to Peru and said" teach my children about my son Jesus. Help them to prepare for their sacraments and help them to see the dignity in each other and themselves through the Theology of the Body a great gift given to the church by Saint John Paul II.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

I was. Today I experienced a brief moment during the crucifixion. Around 11:30 I received a knock on my door. It was one of the animadors of Caspizapa. She had with her a young woman. They were looking for the number of Padre Paco. I explained in my very limited Castellano that I didn’t have our phone because Taylor took it to Picota with him. When she heard this she was deeply troubled. She went on to explain that the young girl’s brother was very ill. They needed Padre Paco. I explained that when Taylor returned I would have him call Padre Paco. Just then I remembered our bottle of Holy Water that was in the kitchen. I brought it to her and explained that it was blessed water. She grabbed my arm and said let’s go. I popped my head back inside the house and asked the kids to play nicely while I went out for a few minutes. 

The young lady led us to her house. As we walked I prayed silently for the graces necessary to heal the man if it was the Lord’s will. We went inside of the mud house where we were led to a room where the family was gathered. There on the bed was a very ill man. He was so weak from dehydration. His breathing was slow and shallow. He moved every so often in pain unable even to moan due to his weakness. His mother was weeping by his bedside. She knows that it is only a matter of time before her 33 year old son will be called home to be with Jesus. 

I laid my hands upon him and prayed for God’s healing and comfort. I placed Holy Water on his hands and head. I again laid hands upon him and asked God to ease his pain. The animador then led us in a decade of the rosary as well as a song. I asked if this man had been to the doctor but I was unable to make out if he had seen a doctor in Tarapoto or if the only doctor that could help was in Tarapoto an hour and a half away. After a half an hour of being with the man and his family we left. On our walk back to my house I asked the animador if there was anything we could do. She said no this man is going to die. Knowing this I called Padre Paco and asked if he could come and administer the last rites. This evening he is coming to administer the sacrament for this young man.

Upon returning home my emotions finally surfaced with what I had just experienced. I wept in the entrance of my house. I leaned on the wall and slowly slid down it weeping while relaying the experience to Taylor. I can no longer remember the young man’s name. All I know is that I was with Jesus. I was with Jesus today. Watching Him slowly die. Hearing Him ask for water and when it was brought to Him He was unable to drink it because of His weakness. I saw Mary weeping at the foot of the cross. Weeping for her child. Knowing there was nothing she could do other than be there for Him. Knowing her presence was the only comfort she could offer her son. ~Katie