Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feeding the Children

A good education can be lost due to the ill effects of malnutrition. That's why we're so grateful for the generous help of Fire Peru and Feed My Starving Children. Those ministries have enabled us to feed nearly 800 children daily. Here are some shots of the kids eating in one of our schools in the Amazon jungle.

I suggested that these two look like they were on a romantic date. The class laughed so hard I almost couldn't take the picture.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Preparing to say goodbye -- for a year

Normally, I post stuff here then put it on facebook. Today, it's the other way around. Earlier this week, I was in Iquitos--the largest city in the world that you cannot get to by car. It is in the Amazon jungle and can only be accessed by plane or boat. I was there to take pictures of cute kids, so that we can find sponsors for them when we return to the states for our year of re-connecting with churches and supporters. The year back home is obviously welcomed, but it comes at a cost. We'll be leaving behind the friendships we have here, to strengthen those we left behind 3 1/2 years ago. 

The streets are made of sand and mud.
Some experiences are harder to leave behind than others. One of those is my love for the jungle and the friends that I have there. I posted one of those experiences on facebook a couple of days ago: "I had a tear in my eye as I rode through muddy streets on the back of Jose's motorcycle. This would be my last day in the jungle town of Iquitos for at least a year. Close by, half-naked kids were playing marbles in the mud. It began to rain and I looked up to see black storm clouds hanging over the Amazon river. I thank God that I get to serve Him in Peru!"

The sewer ditch in front of one of our schools.
Yesterday, I spoke with one of the pastors I work with in the northern coastal region. Like all the pastors I work with, our friendship is deepened by the need to resolve difficult problems. Trying to build an evangelistic community of transformation in a context of poverty will either make or break a friendship. For the most part, we've made some great friendships. Yesterday, as I spoke with my friend about our return to the states, he understood that our departure was necessary for the ministry to continue, while at the same time lamenting our departure. The conversation ended and I was about to hang up, when he called out, "Bill!"


"Un abrazo. (A hug.)"

"Egualmente, Hermano! (Same to you, Brother!)"

A taxi-boat.

Motorcycles are the transport of choice in jungle towns. They are shipped in boxes and assembled on-site. This is a great picture for this blog entry, since it has motorcycles in Iquitos and also contains a shot of my friend Tim Wolf (whose last name is wild, like the jungle).

These houses are next to one of our schools and display how the children live.  

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Eber 1 - The lame will leap

Eber is a Latin America ChildCare (LACC) child who lives in the Amazon jungle. He had meningitis as a baby, with a dangerously high fever. Surprisingly, it is a disease I (Bill) also had and which, for a time, left me paralyzed. By grace, I had excellent medical care and recovered. Eber’s story is different. Eber’s family did not have the money for medicine; so, they applied a poultice of jungle plants. Eber survived, but the disease left him crippled. His bones grew, but his muscles did not. The result was that his leg bones were bent, his knee-caps were in the wrong place, knee joints faced inward, and his flat feet faced outward. It was impossible to straighten his legs. Rather than walk, he hopped. The doctors said that if he did not receive surgery, the stress on his knees and hips would destroy them.

Eber receives a Christmas gift from LACC.
The schools in Eber’s jungle town rejected him, telling his mother that they were incapable of mainstreaming a disabled child. That’s when Pastor Fernando stepped in. He directs the LACC school in Eber’s town. He accepted Eber and asked LACC to help. Eber now has a sponsor who pays $32 per month so that Eber can learn to read and write, be discipled in Christ and have the hope of a future. Pastor Fernando’s eyes well up when he tells the story of how the kids in the school accepted Eber and how they help him. Now LACC is helping Eber to walk. Through the “extreme poverty fund,” LACC is paying for Eber to receive surgery. That’s where we come in (i.e., Bill, Lena and fellow missionary, Phyllis Rose). We brought Eber to Lima to receive surgery. The doctor had to stretch his legs out with plaster casts in order to make his muscles long enough to be detached and reconnected in different places. The knee caps had to be removed and reattached. The leg bones needed to be cut and straightened. And, his feet required complete reconstruction.

His feet were deformed.
It also meant taking a crippled boy out of the jungle and flying him to Lima—a city of 9 million people.

The casts were used to stretch his muscles.

To be continued …