Sunday, January 27, 2008

House Hunt

We’ve been in Lima, Peru for 2 weeks now and are loving it. (That's us in front of the President's Palace.) It’s like living in New York City in the middle of August—congested, noisy, smelly, extremely humid and full of adventure. We're really grateful to the Lord for calling us here and grateful to everyone on our team for partnering with us. Thank you!

We've had five items on our agenda over the past two weeks, each of which has involved getting lost in city traffic. I've written a new proverb for my life: Never get lost in a big city during rush hour. Here's a rundown of our 5 agenda items:

1) Finalize our residency visas. This involved trips to Interpol (the international police agency) and Immigration. We were fingerprinted in both places. At Interpol, a doctor drew a picture of our teeth, while we lay inverted in a dentist's chair. It's hard to tell, but I think he was very impressed with my teeth! We received our "you can live here now" cards a few days ago. Praise the Lord!

2) Meet with the National staff. The Peruvian Assemblies of God were having their General Council meetings the week we arrived. So, we met with the General Superintendent (the top official for the country) prior to those meetings. Later we were presented to all the ministers. After the meetings, I met with the superintendent again. Since all of the Assembly of God missionaries were in town for the Council, we had a chance to go out to dinner with them. This is important, because some of them live 1000 miles away or on the other side of the mountains. It was great to meet them all, but it was a double blessing since one of them (Gwen Kovack) offered to take us on a tour of Lima and fill us in on some of her experiences in ministry. That was invaluable.

3) Find a car. We're in the process of buying a Kia Grand Carnival (known as the Kia Sedona in the states). I'll write more about that later.

4) Find an apartment. House hunting in Lima is a daunting task. The real estate agents work word-of-mouth. If you want a house, your agent calls all of his/her friends and asks about what they've got and if they've heard anything. While your agent is calling, you go driving around the neighborhood you want to live in and look for "For Rent" signs. We were really frustrated in the process. We wanted an apartment that was close to the kids' school, since we'll have one car and I'll be all over the country. The ability to walk to school or to a grocery store was a high priority. Unfortunately, we couldn't find one in that area that was large enough for us and still in our price range. (If we wanted to pay $3000, we could have found one or two.) For me, calling people and talking real estate over the phone has been a challenge. We should have had a class in this in language school!

We found one apartment that was small and expensive. We were about to take it, when we met a teacher at the kids' school. He knew of another apartment about 1/2 mile away. It's connected to a park where the kids can play and it's within walking distance. It's more money than we wanted to spend, but it's the best thing we've seen so far. When I was asking the Lord for his perspective on it, I felt like he said, "It fits all the criteria you asked for, doesn't it?" So I said, "Yes,...Thank you!" We'll get the keys on Monday and (hopefully) get our furniture on Wednesday or Thursday. We're really grateful for a place to soon call home. We've been living out of suitcases for a month and a half. We're all looking forward to a larger wardrobe selection.

While we were home over Christmas, we visited friends at Akron-Springfield Assembly. Here's a picture of our "looking for an apartment notebook" with the pen I've been using. We we tell our partners that we couldn't do it without you, we really mean it!

5) Grocery shopping, learning the city and surviving. Whenever you're in a new town, this takes time. For us, in a new town that's 10 times larger than our old home and where everyone speaks a new language, this has been a stretch. But, it's a blessed stretch!

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