Monday, July 16th, 2007

Today was our first day of manual labor and it was no easy task. We split into four groups: 2 went out in the city and cleaned up trash, 1 worked at a school moving desks and chairs, and 1 worked at a school creating a courtyard out of an empty lot filled with trash. I was part of the group creating the courtyard. When we first stepped into the empty lot, we thought that there was no way we would finish in 3 hours. We set to work cleaning up the trash and broken glass and miscellaneous objects. Then Jess Erickson, Scott Wilson, and I dominated with the pick axes! We were instructed to make the ground as even as possible... let´s just say the lot looked more like the rocky mountains when we started.

2 hours and 5 water breaks later, it actually began to resemble a place where plants could grow. Everyone worked so well together; it was true teamwork. After lunch we had our first VBS session. The kids learned about Jonah and the whale, played sharks and minnows, and had way too much fun with the party noise makers. The language barrier is no longer intimidating; I am learning that you do not need to have a conversation to show God´s love. We are all adjusting to the living conditions, some better than others, but other than the freezing cold showers there isn't´t much to complain about. I can´t wait to see what the next 7 days have in store for us.   

Amanda Ervin

     I´ve been keeping a journal since we got here and so I volunteered to do the blog for the first few days, BUT... Bruce had me do TODAY´S instead. JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT!!!!
First let me tell you all what an amazing group of  kids are on this trip. Every one of  them have had incredible servants hearts.  They are all having so much fun together while they pour out a ton of love all over our new peruvian friends.
We started off our day today by cleaning up trash in Santa Rosa. There had to be at least 30 bag fulls of trash collected and we followed it up by cleaning the yard at the church.  We cleaned up the school and we pulled a ton of weeds and did yard work (being very careful of poison ivy of course)  Many people thanked us and were so surpised that we would do that for them. We were able to have many conversations with people about why we´re here. Steven and Keith helped an elderly lady carry bags to her home, she was so appreciative and wanted to know who they were and where they came from. Justin and Coco had a converstion with a young man who had just purchased a new car without ever speaking a word of the same language.

 There is so much to tell and so little time. It´s 10:00 and our faithful friend Bruce is about to fall asleep waiting for me to get this finished.

 To summarize quickly, we had our first day of V.B.S. today. Gina G. and her group led today and they were great. They did a craft about Jonah and the whale and used noise makers (blowers). It was pretty loud- to say the least. We did our mountain song for them. We played sharks and minnows and acted out the story of Jonah. There were about 100 kids there from the neighborhood and we are expecting many more tomorrow.
The best part of the day for me was to watch our kids interact with all the guests at VBS. It´s been a blessing because I have had so many conversations with our kids who were so concerned that they would not be able to communicate "the way they should " with the people.  If you could see though the way they are able to communicate in such loving ways regardless of the language barrier. WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY COMES THROUGH LOUD AND CLEAR.I am so proud of all of them and consider it an honor and an incredible joy to be serving alongside of them. THEY ARE DOING A MIGHTY WORK!
As a side note, just another thing for Peter and I  to be so thankful for, My family sponsors a little girl from Lima through Campassion international. I brought her picture with me in the hopes that by some miracle we would find her. I spoke with the pastor here and to make a long story short, He is going to take Peter and I to meet her and her family this week. What an amazing gift for us. God is Great! once again!

God Bless you all! We miss you and truly wish you were here to experience this with us.