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Blog Updates as the Smiths minister the Gospel in Peru

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mudslides in Machu Picchu

Monday, Jan. 25, 2010, heavy rains and mudslides in Southern Peru triggered up to 40 landslides, one of which blocked the railway connecting Machu Picchu with the city of Cuzco (where we lived when we first moved to Peru). The train is the only means of transportation on the last leg of the trip to the ruins from the city of Cuzco. There were over 2,000 stranded tourists from all over the world. Some of the stranded travelers are being airlifted to safety by Peruvian military helicopters, but there are many still stranded in an area where there are no empty hostals and low food supplies.

Extensive areas in Cusco are now covered with muddy water, due to the overflow of rivers, roads are destroyed by mudslides, hundreds are injured, entire valleys are destroyed, people are homeless and displaced, and bridges are destroyed. In several towns of the southern Andes, families are trying to save their belongings and evacuate to bigger and safer cities. There are no official reports on the numbers of missing people yet, but there are reports of 5 to 10 people killed. The government of Lima has declared Cusco in state of emergency for 60 days.

Please pray for the many Peruvians who have lost their homes and crops and for the stranded tourist.
photos by

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monos y motos. . . a trip to the jungle

A couple of weeks ago, our family took a trip to the high jungle of Peru, to the cities of Tarapoto and Moyobamba. It was a really fun and adventerous trip for the girls. Our purpose for the trip was to attend a wedding of a friend in Moyobamba and for Allen to teach a seminary course, but we were also able to enjoy some family time. The main form of transportation in the jungle are motorcycles (motos), so to the girls delight, that's how they traveled during our visit, riding piggy back with our friends Oscar and Lenin. We enjoyed seeing the monkeys (monos), beautiful birds, a boat ride down the Rio Mayo, hiking to a waterfall and a lot of swimming and hanging out with good friends.

Hiking to a waterfall in Tarapoto. . .

Fresh fruit everywhere. . .

Riding motos. . .a highlight

Soccer in the jungle. . .

Does it look like he is giving us the peace sign?
Some of the monkeys we met. . .

It was so hot in Tarapoto, we were in the pool by 7am swimming. . .

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Four years ago. . .

December 2005 we watched all our earthly belongings leave on a 20' container heading to the New Orleans port and then on to the Lima port.

Shortly after, we began our lives in Peru by living in 11,000 ft. mountain city of Cusco, Peru for three months where we studied in a Spanish language school. I am so thankful we started our Peruvian lives there, it is truly the heart of South America.

We lived just a short train ride from Machu Picchu and our apartment was surrounded by ruins of ancient Inca civilization.

I remember finding the lowest and safest spot while on a visit to Machu Picchu and taking a rest with our youngest. These pictures remind me of how tired we were when we lived in Cusco. Between the 11,000 ft. altitude, four plus hours of Spanish school a day, and raising two toddlers. . . whew!

The girls preschool "Chaska Wasi" which is Quechua for "house of stars". It was a great school and where the girls kick started their bi-lingual lives.

Learning about llamas, cuye (guinea pig) and local shopping. . .

Outside our favorite Peruvian organic resturant, our gringitas were always fun entertainment for the local ladies. . .

Our family four years ago. . .

Our family today. . .

We are so thankful for you, our faithful prayer and financial supporters! We have been blessed beyond measure these past four years and are so encouraged to see what the Lord has done in the past four years. We have learned so much and have so much more to learn! The Lord is doing amazing things in our churches and missoin in Trujillo and we are excited about what the next five years holds.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rural church plant sings new camp songs

The Sunday after Twin Lakes camp Allen preached at our Arevelo church plant. It was fun to see the kids still excited about camp and many wearing their camp shirts. Even more exciting was that night. Allen preached an 8pm service at a church plant in an area called Parque Industrial, a community outside of Trujillo. There were at least three young girls there who had attended camp and requested to share with the congregation the new camp songs Allen had composed and taught them at camp. Here is a video clip of 1 Samuel 16:7:

It is rewarding to see God use Allen's gifts to help these children hide scripture in their hearts! We pray we will continue to see fruit from camp.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Twinlakes blesses us again!

For the third year in a row, Twin Lakes brought down a team of 21 camp counselors to run a week camp for 100 of our church kids, 40 orphans and 13 missionary kids. It was a week of fun they will never forget and never would have experience otherwise. Many thanks to Alleen Mclain, Andrew Vincent, Tuan La and Zach Owens who put much work into this week. We are thankful for them and I know they will see many Peruvians in Heaven that will be ever grateful for their labors.

Zach Owens (pictured with Allen below in the green shirt), one of the newest Twin Lakes camp directors did an incredible job of teaching on a different "king" in the Bible each day, ending on the one true king, Jesus Christ. He taught both in small groups and in the large assembly each day sharing the gospel in such a clear way with great enthusiasm . We really enjoyed getting to know he and his wife, Kristen (pictured below painting faces) and hope to spend more time with them in the furture.

Allen did a great job leading the camp music. He composed two songs for the week. He put the theme verse (1 Samuel 16:7) to music and also put one of the catechisms to the tune of the Peruvian national anthem. The kids loved it!

We plan to send our two oldest girls to a week of camp at Twin Lakes while we are in the U.S. on furlough, they are so excited! Abigail said, it will be so much fun to have camp all in English!!
Thanks Twin Lakes and First Presbyterian Church Jackson, Ms for blessing us again!

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years in Peru!

New Year's is the biggest and most celebrated holiday in Peru. The gathering of friends usually starts a little before midnight and there are many fun traditions. Making a muñeco (doll) out of your old clothes and burning it, eating 12 grapes at midnight, wearing the color yellow, just to name a few. This year the party landed at our house (our girls were thrilled of course) where we hosted many of our Peruvian friends, mostly college age, some new believers and some newly married couples.

Allen took three Peruvian traditions and put a Christian message to them:

1. Every Christian is a saint. Usually, Peruvians make a doll out of their old clothes, and name it after someone they don't like and burn it. We, rather, made our doll to represent the killing of the old man within us, our fallen nature, and bringing to life the new man through holy habits.

Everyone wrote a sin they have struggled with and stuffed our muñeco (doll) with those papers.

We later watched the doll burn, being thankful for the Lord's forgiveness.

2. Every Christian is also a missionary. Normally, Peruvians take empty suitcases and run around the block, with the hope that they will travel that year. Instead, we emphasized that all Christians are sent out by Jesus (John 20:21) on mission into the world.

Lenin and Jon on their way out of the house...

We all took some luggage and had fun running around the block together, showing that we are on a mission together as gospel communities.

3. Finally, we reflected on how every Christian is a disciple. Peruvians typically eat 12 grapes for 12 months of good luck. We said that 12 represents the 12 disciples of Jesus, who are the new people of God. We are found to be Jesus' true disciples by the fruit we bear. Grapes are not picked among the thorns, but rather among the loving, growing, disciples of Christ.

Later we partied in the street at midnight. . .

Some thought the night was quite loud. . .

In Peru, the party starts AFTER the count down and last until early the next morning.

It was the best New Year's Eve party we have ever had! We are so blessed to have so many good friends in Peru.

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