New Year!

Well, the new year has gotten off with a shot! Things are going super well, actually. I’m exhausted, but I knew that would happen. Hard to believe we’re only three days into the new school year! Already feels like we’re settling into a routine and things are running smoothly.

Like I said in my last entry – I have lots of different grade and English levels with two different curriculum. Here’s a run-down of my day —

  • Classes begin at 9am with my 13 year old 8th grader, Jeremy, and my 9 year old 3rd grader, Dana.
  • They work with a computer curriculum that I supervise from 9-1. I help answer questions, talk them through their work, and assign extra stuff, like book reports and memory verses, throughout the year. Mornings are relatively quiet, which is nice. I will probably end up tutoring them one-on-one if their work gets too complicated in English (which it did last year for Jeremy and I ended up verbally teaching him his English and history classes).
  • We break around 1 and I come back at 2 for my afternoon classes with two 7 year olds, Janelle (Jeremy’s sister) and Diana (Dana’s sister), and one 5 year old, Nathaniel.
  • We do Kindergarten from 2-5 with a short break in the middle. This is all me teaching and even though it’s fun… it’s tiring! 🙂

The afternoons are much more complicated. It’s supposed to all be in English, but my two girls don’t really know English yet. They know words and a few phrases, but can’t yet speak in English nor do they understand everything I say in English. Janelle is, for whatever reason, much more advanced than Diana, even though she’s younger. I’m assuming it’s because her big brother uses English a lot and she likes to hang out with English speaking visitors. Regardless, she’s catching on super fast. So, she’s able to understand longer phrases and at least think logically to figure out what they mean. She also tries super hard to form sentences and lets me correct her when she makes mistakes.

Diana, however, is a different story. First off, she’s super distracted. Not in a bad way. Just a typical, little kid — “Ooo look something shiny just went by the window!” — kind of way. I have to bring her attention back frequently, which is really no big deal. She also has had no outside training, so whereas Janelle can write most of her letters and numbers, Diana can barely write her name. Janelle can make out words and Diana has no clue. In a way, this is nice because she’s like a blank slate. I need to re-teach Janelle some things, but with Diana, I can just straight teach her new things, which is actually really fun. Diana is trying super hard and catching on relatively quickly. She’s seeing she can do it (which I think she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to) and she’s getting excited about learning new stuff.

Nathaniel will be new today, actually, so I don’t know a lot about him. A new American family moved to campus this week. Actually, his mom is a friend of mine since elementary school (long story about how we know each other and how we both got here). His dad is Peruvian – they met when we were here on a missions trip in 2001. His dad will be going through the Bible school program here and Nathaniel will be going through my school. He’s five next month, so he’s just in time for true Kindergarten age. He’s also an English-as-a-first-language kid, so that will definitely be to his advantage. He’s also had preschool, so like this week, even though he’s missed the first two days, I have no worries about him catching up because he already knows “F” and can count to 10.

The hard part is the language issue. Right now, I’m teaching kind of bilingually. I do the reading in English and then translate all of it (or the bulk) into Spanish. I give some directions in English, but occasionally need to repeat myself in Spanish. We have discussions about the books in Spanish, with me teaching them new English words. With Nathaniel coming, I’m not sure how this is going to work. I honestly have no game-plan. I’m going to see how today goes and… wing it. Does that sound like a bad teacher? It’s such a unique situation; I’m not really sure how to handle it. I think we’ll be fine, though. I began last year with Dana not knowing any English and in two months, she was doing everything in English. I think the little girls will be even faster than that, honestly. Yesterday I included more English than on Monday and they did just fine. We did math almost entirely in English with no problems. So, each day can only get better, right?

I am still so grateful to be here. These kids need a school – a good school. I love seeing them advance and excel. I love hearing them talk in a language they didn’t think they’d ever learn. I love the excitement of the little ones as they write their names perfectly for the first time. I love my job. This is gonna be a good year.

Recipe of the Week.

So, I made amazing hamburgers tonight. I say that in an astonished, “Wow, I made amazing hamburgers??!!” kind of voice, so don’t take me too prideful! They were so good, I think I might actually write it down. Which is, in essence, what I’m doing here. I don’t measure…anything…when it comes to cooking, so there are no precise measurements, just the idea. And the idea was great.

I got the actual idea from one of my favorite restaurants Stateside, Red Robin. My favorite burger there is a Teriyaki Burger that has mozzarella cheese, teriyaki sauce, pineapple, and tomato. To DIE for, let me tell you. So, I thought, I can replicate that, right? I have no idea how to make teriyaki sauce, though, and with no power all day, I wasn’t able to look it up online. So, I thought about the flavors in the sauce and what I would like on a burger and then went from there. Here’s what I did (I’ll insert general measurements just so you have an idea, but trust me, they are by no means precise!)…

Lisa’s Faux-Teriyaki, Pineapple Burgers

  • Mix about an inch (I’m telling you, I do not measure!) of soy sauce with a couple small teaspoons of sugar, a teaspoon or so of garlic powder, and somewhere around a teaspoon of ground ginger. Mix to taste – should be a little tangy because of the soy with a hint of sweet.
  • To the hamburger meat, add generous amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and a few shakes of ground ginger. Break in one egg and combine with your hands. Do not over-combine. Shape into patties.
  • In a non-stick pan, heat up a small dollop (hehe, dollop..what a stupid word) of oil and throw in a few big slices of red onion. Once those begin to simmer, add one or two hamburger patties, however many can fit.
  • When the burgers are just about done (maybe one or two minutes left), spoon over top a couple spoonfuls of the soy sauce mixture. Flip the burgers to soak up the sauce and finish cooking.
  • When all the burgers and onions are done, have sliced pineapple (without the hard middles..yuck) ready to go. In the same pan, drizzle the tiniest bit of the soy sauce mixture and then add almost immediately the slices of pineapple. Let them sit for maybe 40 seconds per side, soaking up the sauce, warming, and getting slightly brown.
  • Serve burgers with the pineapple, fresh tomato, and slices of mozzarella. Good with ketchup and mayo as well. 🙂

So. Wonderfully. Good. We also live in a world of ultra-thin, processed hamburgers, so having good ol’, thick, American burgers is a real treat. I’m feeding two guys on a work team right now and they about died they were so happy to see American burgers. My poor husband, though. The hamburger connoisseur has been just miserably sick all weekend and today, even though he’s on the mend, decided hamburgers with pineapple on top probably wouldn’t be a good idea. He ate his soup jealously watching us eat hamburgers in front of him. I’d feel bad, but morning sickness has prevented me from enjoying food since January; I am not going to feel guilty for enjoying food in front of him for once. 🙂

Tomorrow begins SCHOOL!! My school looks amazing, if I do say so myself. The “big kid” side is boring, but hopefully that will change as the year goes on. The kindergarten side – the new side – is so cute. It’s colorful and bright and airy and CLEAN and organized…I wonder how long it will stay that way? I’m looking forward to a new, fun year with my five students. I have five different ages, three different grade levels, five different maturity/intellectual levels, five different levels of English ability, and two different curriculum. I ask myself every morning, “What in the world am I doing??” And I love every minute of it.

But, if I don’t get a Grateful Monday up, you’ll know it’s because I’m dead tired and sleeping on my feet. 🙂

Oh, for the love of calendars.

I love calendars. I love organizational tools. Any big office supply store is much more appealing to me than any clothing store. I am currently bummed because calendars here in Peru are horribly expensive, so the one hanging on my wall is the one from last year…currently flipped to January. I’m not sure why. I think in my depressed state of not having a 2010 calendar, I’ve just given up.

Doing Bible study today, though, I came to realize where I got my love of calendars from. God. I inherited it, apparently. 🙂

Obviously from my last entry, you saw a taste of my eschatology. I’m not one that wants to debate eschatology. There are so many views and honestly, any one of them could be right. But, I believe you need to cling to one or drown in the midst of all of them, so I have my view that I have found to hold water for many years now. I don’t discount or disregard the other views; I don’t claim mine is the only one and I definitely don’t know for sure it’s the “right” one. Ultimately, God will do what He chooses to do when He chooses to do it and our eschatology won’t make an ounce of difference in the end. But, you need to interpret Scripture somehow and I’ve chosen the pre-mil, dispensational view.

So, doing the “Daniel” study by Beth Moore has been right up my alley. This week’s lesson was perfect timing. Now, granted, I don’t have a calendar, but from my memory, I believe Palm Sunday is this Sunday, right? Such an appropriate lesson today in light of that fact.

We went over Daniel 9 and the “70 7’s” that Gabriel is helping Daniel piece together. It was so cool seeing how Daniel’s prophecy occurred, down to the date. It’s mostly history to us now and we can literally know to the day when things happened. God is a God of calendars, what can I say?

From my eschatological view, the first “7” in Daniel 9 is 49 years, followed immediately by 62 “7’s” or 434 years. There’s then a gap (the church age) followed by the last “7” – the 7 years of the Tribulation. The first 49 years were the time it took for Jerusalem to be completely rebuilt and restored after their captivity. It began with Nehemiah 2, the Jewish month of Nissan, technically speaking, March 5, 444 B.C.

The 434 years followed on the heels of the 49 and were the waiting period from the time of the restoration of Jerusalem to the time the “Anointed One” (Hebrew – “Masiyah”…sound that out) arrived on the scene. Exactly 173, 880 days by the Jewish calendar, you arrive to March 30, A.D. 33, or Nissan 10. So, what happened on that day?

So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. Then the crowds spread out their coats on the road ahead of Jesus. As they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. “Bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!” But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones alone the road would burst into cheers!”  -Luke 19:35-40

The triumphal entry. The time when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was acknowledged as Messiah – the One they had been waiting for. The Anointed One. Masiyah.

Down to the day. How awesome is that? My God is a God of calendars. Of time. Of organized history and planned futures. He started out by creating the world in seven days; He’ll finish the world with seven years. Seven years that are fast approaching. I don’t know when they will begin, but I know our time as a church is coming swiftly to a close.

My husband and some friends were talking last night about the movie “2012” and how some actually believe that’s what’s going to happen. I just couldn’t help saying over and over, “Aren’t you glad it’s not? Aren’t you glad we know how it’s all going to end? Aren’t you glad we don’t have to worry about any of that??”

God has shown us these things in His Word to strengthen our faith. Even if you don’t agree that the exact date was the Triumphal Entry, most believe it pointed to some point in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Regardless of which one, God knew ahead of time when His Son would walk the earth and He gave the information to the Jews hundreds of years beforehand. No wonder Simon and Anna were waiting in the Temple. They must’ve been well studied and knew the time was coming to a close. No wonder the Pharisees got so mad at Jesus the day He came into Jerusalem. They weren’t stupid men; they knew exactly what the crowd was saying and when they were saying it. No wonder Jesus said the very stones would cry out. They would have no choice! This was the day decreed by God that Jesus was to be announced as Messiah! Somebody was going to give Him the praise He deserved!

So, this Palm Sunday, be encouraged. God has a very specific time line and He put you on there for a reason. Nothing that happens on God’s timeline is accidental or coincidental. You are where you are, doing what you’re doing, for a very specific reason that fits perfectly into His plan.

A God of calendars. A God of purpose.

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father.” (Eph. 3:14)


Healthcare and End Times. My two cents.

For Thankful Monday…

  • A good, productive week last week. I felt good 90% of the week and was able to get a lot done.
  • Homemade dinners that make the whole house smell like home.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mini Cadbury eggs from the States!
  • The safe arrival of new co-workers.
  • A fun birthday party for the newest 7 year old in our BCM family.
  • Good conversations with great friends.
  • Curtains that we bought in June finally getting hung up – the baby room already looks better!
  • The funds to buy the rest of the curtains for the upstairs! Finally!
  • Warm, summer weather, despite all the flies.

And for healthcare…

So, I guess the healthcare bill passed. I have purposefully kept myself out of the loop on this whole thing. To be honest, I don’t understand everything because I just plain haven’t read enough. If we had TV and the news or something, I’m sure I’d be much more in tune with what’s going on. I know it’s bad. And I know it will affect us, even though we’re thousands of miles away. It’s incredibly disappointing that our “representatives” didn’t listen to the voice of the American people. Defeats the purpose of a democracy. I watched one interview last week online with Obama and Brett from Foxnews. I was honestly surprised that in twenty minutes, Obama basically said nothing, never answered one question, and yet complained when Brett would interrupt to get him back on track. Twenty long, long minutes of NOTHING. Only a politician. If he was in my class, I’d fail him for public speaking. You need to say SOMETHING and “uh” is not a word, Mr. President. If my tenth grader can’t use it, neither can you.

There’s a reason I keep myself out of the political stuff. I get too heated up over it and then I can’t sleep and it’s all I talk about and I get really worked up…and Brian gets really upset. I cherish my marriage. Therefore, I don’t watch politics. 🙂

On the plus side, I agree with one of my friend’s Tweets – God is still on His throne. He’s still in control. None of this has surprised Him. Once again, going through the Daniel study is just perfect timing for this. God sets up rulers and He dethrones them. He gives them their power and He will take it away. They are ultimately responsible to Him and we can know for sure that God, as Judge, will vindicate.

However, I am always appalled at the reactions of some believers. It’s like they honestly think that just because they’re elected officials, they’re going to make the right decisions and then are shocked when they don’t. Well, duh. America is not a Christian nation anymore; we can’t expect non-believers to act like they’re believers. I think there’s a couple of things to keep in mind, for those that are hyper-worked-up over this whole thing.

#1 – You still need to respect authority. I know, they made an awful decision and it looks like things are going to go downhill. I know your life is going to drastically change and the lives of our children will never look the same. But – for whatever reason – God has ultimately been the One Who has allowed these men and women to be in charge, at least for the time being. It’s our job to respect them. We don’t need to agree with them. But, we do need to respect them.

#2 – We know how this is all going to end. Why are we worried? It’s like global warming, for instance. I know that there will never be a worldwide flood ever again. Therefore, I’m not worried if a few glaciers melt. I also know that the world is not going to spontaneously combust. That’s not how it ends. We are protected. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me. Now, according to my eschatology, I don’t believe the U.S. is going to be a world power when the end times do arrive. So that means that the U.S. needs to go down in power before the end times can begin. I don’t know if that means the U.S. will cease to exist or if it will just no longer be as powerful – or powerful at all – I just know that the U.S. is not on the screen during Revelation. Which means something has to happen, probably before the Rapture. Now, the same people that are freaking out (and I do mean freaking out) over the government right now are the same ones that are convinced the rapture will happen in like the next ten years. Well, then it stands to reason that something substantial has to happen to the U.S. before then. I’m not worried. I’d much rather usher in the Rapture and the reign of Christ than have it be stalled another three hundred years, wouldn’t you?

#3 – If you’re of the bent that the end times are rapidly approaching, then you should also realize that the world is going to get worse for believers. The U.S. has had it so easy for…. well, the entire time it’s been in existence. Jesus promised that each of us would face opposition and it would get worse as time went on and the end times approached. Something, therefore, needs to happen in the U.S. for it to “get worse.” Face it. We’re living in a world where things go downhill, not up. If you want Jesus to come back, realize it’s going to get harder, not easier. Realize the world we’re bringing our kids into is going to be worse than the one we were born into. It’s a sign of the times and it merely means that Jesus is coming back a whole lot sooner than we thought.

Now, personally, I’m not of the bent that the Rapture will happen during my lifetime. I do believe it will happen soon, but “soon” on the scope of eternity is still long on the timeline of humanity. I think we’re much, much closer than we’ve ever been. Every day brings us closer than we were yesterday. We’re getting there, of that I’m sure. And honestly, if I see it in my lifetime, that’s fine with me, too. Regardless, the world has to get much, much worse before it does happen and I don’t think we’re there yet.

All that to say, rest. Rest in the assurance that God has it under control. That sounds trite and trivial, but honestly – what else can we do? Worry doesn’t add anything and it’s a sin TO worry. Just let it go and trust that God knows what He’s doing. We’ll be okay. Maybe it won’t be ideal, but we’ll all be okay. This isn’t home anyway. We’re just passing through.

St. Paddy’s Day.

I don’t actually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but since it’s the holiday, might as well write in green. Helps that it’s my favorite color. 🙂

Today is actually Brian’s little brother’s birthday! Patrick (yup, Patrick) turned 18 today. I did something my in-laws I’m POSITIVE will never let me live down. I made Brian send him an email and then I sent him an email and we wished him a happy… 17th….birthday. Woops. He did that last year. Now I’m just so OFF on Brian’s brothers’ ages!! And I’m afraid to ask! Isn’t that horrible?? The WORST part is Brian’s family is not the normal we’ll-laugh-it-off-and-forget-about-it family. They’re the we’ll-bring-this-up-at-every-chance-we-get-for-the-rest-of-your-lives-and-make-you-feel-like-an-awful-member-of-this-family family. I try my level best to avoid doing stupid stuff like this for that reason. Well, that streak is broken. And I’m sure it’ll never be forgotten. Keeps ya humble if nothing else.

Found out that some ladies from our sending church are sending baby stuff down to us in July with a team coming to visit. I’m supposed to make some sort of a list…and I have no idea what to put on it. My friends are giving me ideas and I’m going to start compiling a list (probably when I’m done blogging tonight). One lady already bought us a gift… I’m so excited about this… she got me a SLING! There are only two things I KNOW I want – a sling and a nursing cover. Both of them are too expensive for us right now and I was a little nervous to ask for the sling. I love watching God provide before I even make it known.

On a totally unrelated note, I washed my couch today. It’s borrowed and a green suede – really pretty. But I’d noticed it was looking rather…dull. One armrest looked downright disgusting. So I wiped it down and used some cleaner on the really bad spots. I picked up the cushions and found… dead moths, dead beetles, and a spider web. UNDER the cushions. What in the world? How does that even happen? Needless to say, I feel much better about napping on my couch now and will probably clean it more frequently in the future. Although Brian told me Monday that we finally have enough money to purchase our OWN couch. We’re thinking a wrap-around in dark brown with red pillows. Shouldn’t be hard to find in our huge industrial park. It’s just getting there and doing the shopping that we have no time for. Maybe before May?

Well. That’s my St. Patrick’s Day. Nothing exciting. Although I did have enough energy to do a load of laundry, clean my couch, organize and dust the downstairs, sort through more school supplies, update our prayer letter, and update our ministry blog! In my book… that’s a pretty good day right now.

In a Flash.

Today passed so fast. I hate to admit it, but I did not crawl out of bed today. I didn’t sleep last night. Turned off movies at 4:30am and tried to rest, but nausea was just so bad, nothing worked. I woke up with a horrible headache and Brian encouraged me to just rest today. I fell asleep after he went back to work this afternoon and just woke up 20 minutes ago… it’s now 5pm. I want food, but I’m forcing myself to get it myself instead of waiting for Brian. And yet somehow, I don’t feel like I wasted a day. I knew I was useless; might as well sleep instead of sitting downstairs feeling useless and nauseous, ya know?

So, here’s a quick Monday Grateful List and then it’s off to the shower for me….

  • A nice weekend with my husband – always a highlight and almost always on my grateful list because they’re just so nice.
  • Knowing we might get a car here anytime soon… we’re getting closer!
  • Finding out ladies from our home church are already packing a suitcase full of baby stuff for us! Coming in July!
  • Fun emails with my big sister. We ‘get’ each other the way few do. 🙂
  • Packages that came last week – pictures of my beautiful, beautiful niece, pregnancy books, a DVD, and pictures of our goddaughter we had to leave behind in the hands of someone else (meaning, she’s no longer our “goddaughter” because we moved to Peru and her mom didn’t want us anymore in that role).
  • The blessing of having my school cleaned by friends.
  • The knowledge that we’ll soon be able to get some of our own furniture! Like our OWN couch! yay!
  • Beautiful sunrises – just enough haze to filter the light and make it just gorgeous out here in the country.
  • Playing my piano early Sunday morning to welcome the dawn.
  • Not having to do daylight savings time.
  • A great doctor’s visit last week, complete with hearing a super healthy heartbeat.

On to another week! Many blessings to all of you for this middle of the month week!

Corrie.

I’ve been trying to upload pictures here for a few days now and nothing is working. While I wait for the tech support to get back to me, I thought I’d do just some writing, sans photos. It’s a lot of writing. If you get through it, I applaud you.

I love anything that has to do with WW2. I don’t know why; it all fascinates me. I own quite a few books on the subject and enjoy reading biographies/autobiographies and watching films on the subject. Most recently, I saw “A Woman in Berlin” which was based on an autobiography I read before moving to Peru – a female, German journalist who wrote every day during the time the Russians were living in Berlin. Fascinating. Graphic, but interesting.

This week, I have managed to run out of my own book supply, so I went to the schoolhouse and came home with my seventh grader’s reading book of last year – “The Hiding Place” – Corrie ten Boom’s autobiography. I read it in three days. I hadn’t read it since probably middle school, although I remember liking it back then. This time, though, I read it with such fresh eyes, it was like hearing the story for the first time.

What an amazing woman. Amazing family! There were a few things that stuck out to me most vividly.

The first was when her father, Casper, and she were looking out the window at the street below, before being taken captive. They watched a German beat up a Jew on the street and Corrie said she felt pity for the Jew. Her father said, no, he felt pity for the German. They had touched the apple of God’s eye.

Imagine that. Touched the apple of God’s eye. How true! Going through the “Daniel” study, I’ve been reminded over and over that God is Judge and He will dole out penalties to those who have hurt His own. I would not want to be on the receiving end of that anger. I think of Hitler and the impish way he died. Suicide? Are you kidding me? Much too easy. But, he will stand before the God of the universe and give an account. He will be punished for murdering millions of God’s children – His chosen people. God will not let it go. He has not forgotten. They are the apple of His eye. You mess with them, you mess with God. How true Casper ten Boom’s statement was!

Over and over again as well, Corrie’s sister, Betsie, reminded them that they were to love their enemies. While Corrie wanted to build a home for the mentally handicapped after the war because she felt they were in the greatest need, Betsie wanted to build a home for the guards in the concentration camps. She so sincerely felt that they needed to be rehabilitated and given time to heal from what they had done, she was willing to open her home to them and help them see the love of God. What love for your enemies! This love only came about through exorbitant, constant amounts of prayer. She was an amazing woman.

She also encouraged Corrie to constantly look around them and give thanks in all circumstances. While Corrie wanted to give thanks for just the good, Betsie encouraged her to give thanks for the bad as well. This included praising God for a bunker infested with fleas. This bunker was used during the day for the women who were not well enough to work outside – they stayed inside and sewed. Betsie became part of this crew. This was also the only building on the entire campus that the guards never entered, so when Betsie finished her quota, which was normally by noon, she would spend the rest of the day reading her Bible out loud and ministering to the women. They became the bunker that prayed for the rest of the camp, their guards, Germany, and the world. Months later, they learned that the guards refused to enter the bunker because… it was filled with fleas. Give thanks – even for the bad.

Corrie and Betsie also saw God work Old Testament miracles in their day. They watched their vial of vitamins last months longer than it should have – even after it was being doled out to up to 25 other women per meal, per day. Just when they were given actual vitamins, the vial ran out. Corrie was able to smuggle her Bible past security check-points, while the lady in front of her got searched three times! Corrie herself was released on a “clerical error.” A week later, every woman her age in Ravensbruck was gassed.

I look at her life and I think – look what God did with one, simple, Dutch woman. He didn’t use someone who was known for their bravery, their courage. He used a woman who willingly admitted she was not brave. In fact, after she was released, she was asked by the underground to do one more assignment and she basically blew it because she was so scared. She realized, openly, that God had given her bravery for when she needed it and when that time had passed, He’d taken it from her and given her the gift of public speaking instead. He used Betsie – a simple Dutch woman with major health problems, but a huge heart, to reach literally hundreds, if not thousands, for Christ. These two women would preach in the trains, the camps, the bunkers – anywhere and everywhere, allowed or not – and watch the transforming power of Jesus Christ change lives. They took the verse that talks about a light coming into the world literally. They became that light and in the midst of one of the darkest times of human history, they shone so bright, their stories are still told. They witnessed to guards, to captains, to police officers – God alone knows the ripple effect of these two lives.

They were both single, in their 50’s, no children, never married. Imagine if they had been married – if they had children. I’m positive God still would’ve used them, but their impact was so much bigger because they didn’t have extra cares and worries, like their older sister and older brother. Both of them were imprisoned as well, but had much less of an impact than Corrie and Betsie because they were both released earlier and spent most of their time with their families. I love being married and I wouldn’t change being pregnant for the world, but I firmly believe that God calls some to be single because He has such a big plan for them. They accomplished so much more because according to worldly standards, they had so much less.

I also highly respect their father, Casper. A Jewish lady with her newborn baby came to their house seeking protection. When they tried to place her with a pastor, the pastor’s response was that he could possibly die because of the baby and he adamantly refused to take them in. Casper ten Boom looked at the man and said that dying for that baby would be the highest calling he could ask for. He was in his 80’s during this time. He didn’t understand all the secretness of the underground (he questioned every “Mr. Smit” that came into the house with, “I knew a Smit family! Are you related to…?” never understanding that it was a cover name for hundreds of underground workers!), but he gladly gave up his freedom, and his life, for many complete strangers. He died ten days after being taken captive. In Corrie’s words, “He was freed.”

Corrie and Betsie said they never completely knew the political reasons why they were held as long as they were in different concentration camps. But, they both knew for certain that the spiritual reason was because someone needed to share hope in a place where hope was non-existent. Someone needed to shine a light in the pit of hell. For whatever reason, God called two, single women – a watchmaker and a caretaker – both in their 50’s, to be that light in hell.

I know I haven’t been called to that. I just pray that I can be the light He’s called me to be here, now, with the same boldness, the same love, the same excitement, that these women had in a place much more desolate.

Dinner.

Here in Peru, we don’t have a lot of luxuries that you find in the States. For one, nothing is canned and hardly anything is boxed. Let me rephrase that – some things are canned, but they’re about $5 a can (if not more). You can find select items frozen, but again, super expensive and none of it is vegetable. Some things come in packets (like soups and sauce mixes), but not much. So, all that means – HOMEMADE!

I love homemade food – like the true homemade food – but hardly ever needed to experiment with it in the States. Here, that’s all I can do. So this is new ground for me as a wife (and soon-to-be-mommy) and I’m loving it. Tonight’s menu? A Biegert remake of Chicken ‘n’ Stuffing.

Normally, this is made with cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken, frozen mixed veggies, and a box of stuffing. Super easy and really good. But, impossible to make here like that. No frozen veggies, no sour cream, and no box of stuffing.

So.. here’s what I did and it turned out GREAT!

  • I started out with boiling two chicken breasts. Boiling chicken is something I hardly ever (if EVER) did in the States. Here, I do it often. Something I picked up from my Peruvian friends. Doesn’t take long, makes the chicken tender, and leaves a broth. I’m sure all of you know this already, but it’s relatively new to me, so bare  (bear? bare? Ahh…I don’t know!) with me. And don’t laugh.
  • While that was boiling, I got the stuffing ready. I sliced up a good chunk of red onion and sauteed it in about 1/4 cup of butter (probably less – I was running out). While that was sauteeing, I added a ton of garlic powder and some salt and pepper.
  • While multi-tasking those things, I got out my bread crusts. I keep all my bread crusts (we’re notorious for not eating the heels) for things like bread crumbs and stuffing. All our bread is in the freezer because otherwise it molds within days, so I needed to somewhat dethaw them and get them as dry as possible, so I threw them in the microwave for a few minutes. I used about six heels and four regular slices. Once they were relatively dry, I cut them into squares and put them in a big bowl.
  • On top of them, I poured the now transparent onion/butter mixture and mixed it up.
  • The chicken was now basically done. I pulled it out and diced it into small chunks. I used some of the broth on the stuffing mixture, making it a little more moist.
  • The chicken then went into a 9×11 pan.
  • On top of that, I added a mixture of my frozen carrots and peas (both of which I froze over two weeks ago – exactly like having frozen mixed veggies to choose from and so much healthier!). I peeled and sliced super thin one potato and added that on top. A thin layer of salt and pepper topped it off.
  • Before adding the stuffing, I took a packet of Beschamel sauce. It’s just powder in a packet that you add hot water and milk to (although you could definitely make a white sauce from scratch for this). I used the still-warm chicken broth and milk, added some nutmeg and pepper, and poured it over the top of the chicken and veggies.
  • To the very top, I layered the stuffing mixture.
  • If we hadn’t run out of aluminum foil a long time ago, I would’ve covered it. But, we don’t have any, so I just popped it in the oven as is, around 220C and left it for about half an hour. My nose told me it was done.

And VOILA…

gr. my pictures won’t upload. at all. sorry for the big letdown.

Well. It looked good. Crusty stuffing on top, sauce, potatoes, chicken, and veggies underneath. And it tasted wonderful, too. In fact, borderline better than from the box. No, scratch that.

TOTALLY better than from the box.

Nothing beats homemade.

Spiders.

Hi. My name is Lisa and I am an arachnophobic.

I think I’m getting better, though. Therapy of living in a spider-infested country seems to be helping. Although I am never ceased to be amazed at the exorbitant amount of the nasty little creatures that live here.

I felt WONDERFUL today for the first time in quite awhile, so I went down to the school to start doing some cleaning.

This is the entrance to my school. That bush last year looked like this:

It has grown. Although with the snakes that crawled into the school last year, I’m a little worried something’s living under there. I’ve been asking Brian to be sure it gets trimmed before school starts.

Along with my entrance…

Our gardener left in December and the man that might be taking his place decided to go on vacation after being the cook for camps for two months. So, no gardener. There’s a lot of gardening left to do before my school or IBYM begins.

So, I walked into the school and this is my view:

These are the Christmas decorations I put up the beginning of December. This is what they DID look like:

Never underestimate the power of South American sun coming through even skylights in a classroom!

My school is now the parking spot for motorcycles. The blue one is our friend’s, the red one is ours. You canNOT leave motorcycles outside – they WILL get stolen, so the boys have been parking them in the school for safe-keeping. I don’t mind, but they can’t stay there when school starts during the day. The school is also a wreck. I kind of just left it the day school ended because I was SO tired. I completely intended to go back and do some picking up before Christmas and the trip to the jungle, but that didn’t happen. So, it is what it is. And that is…. covered in spiders and their nasty little homes.

I spent the next hour walking around with the broom in front of me, knocking down cobwebs and sweeping the floors. Every spider I actually encountered was pregnant. The rest of the room was just so covered in cobwebs you can’t walk without running into them. I wish I was exaggerating, but they even cover the floor.

This is Dana’s desk, my third grader. This desk is notorious for attracting spiders all throughout the year. I cannot tell you how many times she’d come to my desk first thing in the morning and whisper, “Lisa, hay una araña abajo de mi escritorio.” [Lisa, there’s a spider underneath my desk.] Normally, it was like a pod of spiders. Nasty. What you can just BARELY see in this picture is the nasty cobweb that’s wrapped around every leg, every part of this desk, up inside the desk, and around the front, reaching down to the floor and beginning to snake across to MY desk, a good four feet away.

Okay, this picture didn’t turn out good, either. What you can’t see is that those green things are chairs surrounding a big, oval table. Each of these chairs was attached by a string of cobwebs. This back corner normally has cobwebs every single morning during the school year, but this time really beat all. Can you see the two sides of the bookcase? The cobwebs are so thick, there is almost no floor. On the right side, the cobwebs extend across the floor a good six feet to the divider and underneath the big table. This entire back corner of the school was just one giant cobweb.

HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU CLEAN THIS????

So, considering every square inch of that place needs to be swept, scrubbed (we have birds that come in, so there’s bird doo all over the floor and curtains, too), and dusted, then organized, a wall built, put back together, and decorated – I do not see school beginning bright and early Monday morning. Thankfully, I had already decided I needed to postpone. I’m so disappointed because this means I may have to run into December with classes and with the schedule here at the Bible school, that’s almost impossible, but I can’t see how it’s avoidable right now.

At least this is blooming outside my house right now… which greatly cheers me every time I go outside.

Quiet Monday.

This morning I’m thankful for…

  • getting full night’s rest (or mostly) for about four days now.
  • the tantalizing effects of ginger!
  • beautiful weather.
  • cool, fresh fruit smoothies that cost about $1.
  • really good books and the imagination to enjoy them.
  • the fun of dreaming about our baby with my husband.
  • sermons online.
  • clean dishes.

Things have been off-and-on for the last couple of days. Friday was the worst bout of nausea I’ve ever experienced in my life. Spent four hours not sure how to control it and then my body just decided enough was enough and, well, it… ended. Not pleasantly. But it ended. And then, the weirdest thing happened. I showered and lay down to rest for a minute and was so sound asleep for the next two hours, somebody could’ve robbed the house and I would’ve never known. I felt like I had been knocked out and I woke up feeling drugged. So strange.

Saturday we wanted badly to go to the doctor to get all my blood work read, but there was no one to go with us to translate, so that had to be postponed yet again. I’m now over a week late visiting the doctor for my second check-up. I’m trying not to get anxious because I saw the results and they seem fine, but you just never know. There’s a small, very tiny chance, I’ll go tomorrow. As much as I hate the thought of driving down there (it’s a good 45 minutes), at least then it’d be over.

So instead of the doctor on Saturday, we went grocery shopping. Oooo, fun family outing, I know. But, it’d been almost two weeks and we were perilously low on food, so it was good timing. However, by the time we got there… I was soooo sick, I didn’t want to walk around. I did, however, want something to munch on. I bought a S/.3 donut (my first donut in who-knows-how-long). It was Boston Creme. And besides being slightly stale and over-priced, it was so good. I also bought a small slushi from the only place we know of that sells them. I bought strawberry. I don’t know why; I don’t really like strawberry in any other form but itself. It didn’t settle well. Was more sick by the time we got home and ended up just lying on the couch sniffing ginger the rest of the evening. Fun.

On the plus side, ginger is wonderful.

Yesterday, no church again. Another thing I’m trying not to get depressed over. Brian has promised we’ll get a car very soon, so maybe someday we’ll get to go to church again. I miss going to church. I cannot even express to you how badly I want to go to church. I could’ve gone to the second service yesterday, too. But oh well. Somebody had to stay here to guard the camp, so we stayed while everybody else we worked with left. Again, not trying to get discouraged, but someday… I want to go to church again.

I did begin a book yesterday that I’ve been meaning to read for… a year. A friend came to visit last year and she left me a book she thought I’d like. For some reason, I set it aside and decided just yesterday that I should read it. I started around 7am and put it down around 7pm. Read over 300 pages in a 500 page book. I could not put it down. It’s called “Germ” and it’s written by Robert Liparulo. Now, I like somewhat of a thriller when I read (sometimes, not all the time) so I really enjoy authors like Ted Dekker. This is along the same lines. Not everyone likes books like this; it’s like reading a graphic movie. But this one, the plot is just amazing, the characters are so well-developed, and the scenes are so vivid, you can picture everything going on. I really did feel like I was watching a movie in my mind’s eye. I can’t say that about every book I read. I have a hard time with books where, for example, you know they’re near a bank. But, are they in the bank? Outside the bank? Near the bank? Are they facing the bank? Across the street from the bank? Looking through a window at the bank? Or when they describe characters and you’re going, “So, what am I supposed to be picturing here?” as opposed to, “Wow. I can totally picture this person.” This book, you’re never lost as to where the characters are location-wise and you can picture each one without needing a full paragraph on the shape of their nose or their haircut. The plot is mysterious without being frustrating. You know the books where you know something sinister is going on, but they keep leading you on and not giving you answers so you just want to skip ahead and read a different chapter just so you can feel like you have a handle on it. This book has been providing  just enough back ground info at just the right times that you don’t feel frustrated and yet, you still feel like you’re reading somewhat of a mystery. Nothing has been completely revealed, but you have enough of the idea that you don’t feel just plain lost and are reading just because you can’t wait for them to just say something plainly. I just finished a book where they eluded to the girl’s mental problems the whole time, but didn’t recount what actually happened in her childhood til like the second to last chapter. That just makes for a drawn-out read, in my book (pun intended).

All that to say, one of the best books I’ve ever read and if you’re into “white knuckle intensity“, I would highly recommend it. It is put out by Thomas Nelson and it is not crass in any way; just very well-written. I fully intend on finding more of his books when we’re in the States on furlough in December.

And now begins another week. I have decided to officially post-pone school for at least another week or two. My morning sickness has officially moved to the actual morning instead of 2am and it normally doesn’t clear til about 11, making me a useless mess of a teacher until then. This has helped me relax substantially and has given my husband more time to build our wall in the classroom. Things will work out. They always do.

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