Wow what a blessed few weeks it has been in Leoncio Prado. God is so good to His children. The last few weeks we have been wonderfully busy working on floors for some of the families we serve through the ministry of Hogar Ezekiel. We wanted to let you in on some of our joy and some of you reading this have helped make possible.
In our last blog we wrote about our good friends Crespo and Sarina Armas and how God had blessed us and them with a new project idea and some possiblilites for a work that would give Crespo a much better paying job and help local kids in our poor town who live in mostly dirt houses with little sanitation. Since we last wrote we have been blessed to be able to help 5 other families through generous benefactors and prayer partners.
One little girl Colin attends Teresa’s drawing and painting classes. She has been an integral part of our church choir since its inception and has a beautiful smile and cheerful disposition. Her brother Kris suffers from a large tumor in his leg. We are still unsure of whether it is cancerous but are hopefully praying that God will heal him and/or help him get the appropriate medical attention. His father, Chicle, told me last night that they have to bring him to Lima to be looked at and are hoping to raise enough money for the airfare. We know God will help them. We were so blessed to have Tony and Monica Habashy contact us desiring to partner with us in getting them a floor and also pray for them daily that God will be present in their lives and help them with their needs. I remember the day we laid out the floor we were brought to Colin’s grandmother’s house down the street who raises Guinea Pigs (here called Cui). Micah immediately grabbed one up as the other kids ran about the room chasing the 20-30 cui that live in her kitchen. It was a bit wild. As a side note guinea pigs are great eating!! I think we all preferred them to giant jungle snail;)
Our third project was in Jorge’s house. Jorge is one of our older choir members and has one of the most beautiful smiles. He has been a great example for the younger kids always cheerfully helping out with church services and clean up. Last Sunday he was head of the church clean up and set up crew for our Sunday morning service. He also is currently in catechesis and we are so excited to think that he will receive baptism and First communion this September for the feast of Saint Martin de Porres, who is our town patron saint. When we worked in his house his mother Silya prepared us some Yuca chicha with salsa on the side. It was strange and good. You basically take a spoonful of the salsa and then drink the slightly fermented yuca juice which combines to give a very unique flavor. They call it masato. This project was helped by Jorge’s prayer partner Susan Taylor. Thanks to her generous gift Jorge can actually sweep out his room and keep clean. He came over immediately after the project to tell us how much he love his floor. I smiled thinking it was so strange to us in the US to think of a young man receiving a floor as a gift. It was beautiful seeing his gratitude.
The fourth floor was given to the Cordoba family. I was contacted by Gemma’s godparents, Mike and Angela Larkin who were glad to be partners in the project. Their son Drew is one of the semenarians in the Savanah diocese. The project was actually funny because Roberto, the father, who is our town’s main hunter, was going out into the mountains to hunt so couldn’t help out for the whole project. He showed us a small mountain cat fur and some unspecified jungle meat that he had brought back form the night before. It was interesting. He and his wife, Margarita have three girls, Corey, Nikita and Ruth. They all share the same bedroom. When we mentioned the project to them you could see their eyes light up. They were so surprised and began to apologize for not being more faithful church goers. I told them this was not a payment for going to church but rather a free gift of God’s love and grace. They were so happy. Margarita made us a wonderful salad out of a vegetable they grow here called caiwa. It tastes kind of like a mix of bell pepper and poblano pepper. It was an amazing treat.
Yesterday we put in a floor in the Davila house. They live near Crespo and Sarina. The father Polidoro helped us out with the project. He and his wife Mercedes live in the house with their three kids, Jhon (spelled that way) Gerson, and Vilianita. Gerson participates in our church choir. Gerson’s mother is a seamstress and his father works in the chacra (farm or large garden). He actually was one of the hardest workers we have worked with. He seemed so thankful. His wife, Mercedes, made us chicha from slightly fermenting corn (which is more common here than that of Yuca). I had to leave a little early to be home for Gemma when she got out of school (12PM). They actually brought us lunch in their personal bowls. Probably our favorite part was the caiwa salsa that we put over our split peas. They had a puppy that would not leave us alone. It seemed to know exactly where to go to be in the way and get attention. This project was partnered by John and Christine Brooks. Thank you so much for your prayers and generosity.
This morning we put in the sixth floor in the Garcia house. We met Eylin and her mother Estefita earlier this year when a number of nursing school students from Benedictine Collage came for a medical mission. Eylin needs glasses and has been had been having problems with her eyesight. Their house is particularly dark and she was having real issues finishing her homework. I remember feeling touched as both she and her mother cried. Estefita felt ashamed that they couldn’t do more for their daughter. Estefita earns a living cooking for the neighborhood when she is able. She once sold me something called “mountain soup” which was basically oily water and armadillo meat. It wasn’t our favorite but we were thankful for her giving us an extra large helping because we were missionaries:) Eylin has a lot of hopes for her education. She is one of the few girls in our town who definitely hopes to go to the university after high school. We were blessed to be able to do this project with the help of Saint John’s CYM.
So far so blessed. Please continue to pray for us as we seek benefactors and prayer partners to keep working to give young people here more safe and clean homes. Pray that they come to know more deeply the great love Jesus has for them and that they would come to realize their important identity as children of God and disciples in mission.
P.S. to see more photos of our work please visit Jonathan Kiehl’s facebook page.