Friday, March 27, 2009

So I had my first encounter with a Peruvian policia

I was on my way home from the office when it all began. I was simply driving through the chaotic flow of unbridled traffic near the center of town, when, in the most inopportune time, my cell phone began screaming at me to pick it up. It happened to be my lovely wife. Should I answer? Of course. Or maybe not. The traffic is daunting, I am almost home, she can surely wait a few minutes…right? Not really. I answered the phone thinking that there might potentially be some need that she had. I would much rather take care of it now.

In that fleeting moment when I drew the phone to my ear, I arrived at the one intersection that I fear the most. I quickly told my wife that I had to get off the phone and that I will be home in a few minutes. In essence, I hung up on my wife. As soon as I could remove the phone from my ear and toss it into the passenger seat, I heard the sound of a whistle calling out my name. I glanced over at the uniformed policeman and watched him as he raised his arm, drew out his finger, and began pointing through the hordes of traffic precisely at me.

The last place I want to end up is in a Peruvian incarceration camp. It sounds as fun as a sticking a needle into the center of your eye. Not something I want to try out for an afternoon. So I respectfully pulled over as soon as I could get over and out of the way of traffic.

I had rehearsed this process in my mind as it was bound to happen. It was game time and so on with my plan I went. He graciously said good day in his good Peruvian Spanish. I quickly replied with the most nonsensical response of ignorance. I did nothing but act like a numbskull alien with zero knowledge of his language. He tried to explain the process of paying for the ticket, how much it would cost, and how it might impact me. I gave him nothing but blank stares and jumbled Spanish phrases. My plan was in full swing. It took only seconds for him to realize that he was sending a message that was never going to be received with any clarity.

And just as I had visualized in my head many times over, the policeman gave up. He threw in the towel. He slowed down his Spanish in hopes that it would help. It didn’t. Moments later, he finally realized that he could neither give me a ticket to keep me from doing the same action, nor could he even explain to me what I had done wrong.
What had I done? Well, it was the cell phone. I am not supposed to talk on the cell while driving. I had broken a rule.

Within a few short moments, he gave me the universal wave; you know the one that says, “get outta here!” He was done with me.

I got off Scott free…excuse the pun. He checked my documents, tried to explain why he was pulling me over, then he realized that it was a lost cause. Acting dumb never felt so good. I never thought there would be a benefit to not knowing the language here. I have now discovered the benefits not knowing. I now know.
No ticket, no fine. Just a lesson learned; don’t talk on the cell phone while driving.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A little note from a little missionary in Arequipa Peru

Hello, this is Emma! You know, Emma Englund. Missionary in Peru, remember me? I know it has been a long time but I have not forgotten any of you. My daddy was snoring so loud that it woke me up. I thought I would sneak out to the living room while Mommy and Daddy were sleeping and write an email. I am so excited about living in Peru that I had to tell someone about it.
The name of my school is Vencedor. It stands for WINNER. My teacher, Ms Gila says that we are all winners in Christ. I think she is right. Daddy and Mommy have been praying every day that I will begin to enjoy school and that I will make friends. I am so excited that I have two friends. One is named Bombara. I also have another friend called Validia. It is so much funner now. School is really hard for me, but Daddy says it will just keep getting easier. My sister and me are really having fun here in Arequipa. Mommy and Daddy are in school too. Daddy likes to talk funny sometimes. He seems to be talking funny more and more. It is really funny when Mommy and Daddy talk funny. Me and Kayle just giggle. It’s OK. I always thought Mommy and Daddy were a little cookoo. I love em anyways.

Daddy just got us a car. It is really cool. I don’t have to use a car seat any more, but I still have to wear my seatbelt. I even have a seatbelt for my baby Emma. Our car is really small, but it is just right for our family.

Mommy and Daddy keep telling us about the people back home that are helping us live here in Peru. I don’t really understand it all, but it sure is nice to be able to be here in Arequipa. Daddy always comes home from the office excited about something and cannot wait to tell Mom. He’s kind of crazy! He really likes it here too.
My Mommy is super helpful with my homework. I never had this much homework at my school in Idaho. I guess these kids here don’t like to play as much because they are always doing homework instead.

One thing that is really tough for me is that they talk funny here. For some reason, when I ask for something, they just look at me with a funny smile. But nothing ever happens. It is really weird. I am learning about how they talk. Hopefully soon I will be able to talk funny too.

At church, there sure aren’t many kids. Mommy and Daddy keep telling Kayle and me to invite all our friends from school so that our Sunday School class will grow. I am not sure how that will work, but I will try. They sing songs funny at church too. For some reason, the songs sound the same, but they don’t use the right words. It is really strange, but I guess they will figure out the right words as long as they keep practicing. Daddy says that with practice anyone can be better. I sing really loud so that the rest of the church can hear the right words. I will keep trying. I guess I will give it some time.

Uh oh! Daddy stopped snoring! I better be quiet and get back in my bed or else. I don’t think he would put me on a time out at this time of night, but I don’t want to make him mad. That is never fun. Before I go, I wanted to say gracias for helping us be missionaries. Mommy and Daddy say that God always provides. It is kind of neat that God doesn’t have to do anything because so many other people are helping us instead. I still thank God because Mommy and Daddy taught me that God provides everything we need. Maybe God is helping others help us. God sure is a smart fella. Well anyways, I gotta get going before Daddy catches me. See you later alligator.


P.S. Oh yeah, and we got a present in the mail. It was full of goodies. I am not sure who thought of sending us skittles, but that was really fun. I didn’t know they had two Christmas’s in Peru. I really love this place.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2 1/2 months on the field and going strong

It is definitely time to give some updates. There have been a lot of things happening all at once. To begin, I have to tell you that Kayle and Emma have made it through the first two weeks of school. The first week was extremely challenging. The second week was so much better. I am not sure we are out of the woods yet, but they are both doing really well. I must give out a big thank you to all who have had this heavy burden on their hearts. Thanks for your prayers. They are working.Another huge thing that we have accomplished was the purchase of a car. Here in Arequipa, it is relatively convenient to get around in a taxi. However, since the girls are in school and it takes 4 taxis each day just for school (there and back in the AM, and there and back in the PM). We have done the math and have decided that a car is a better option. Cars here are not cheap. We have searched for a car that would fit our budget. I found many different options, but quickly found out the difficulty of buying a car here in Arequipa. First, I had to figure out where to look. There were a couple of options. The first was to visit Avenida Dolores, which is a street with a lot of used car lots as well as many private sellers who park their cars on the side of the street for the entire Saturday. This is a good place to start as I was able to compare prices. However, buying from a used car salesman in Peru is quite a risky proposition. I figured out the type of car I wanted to buy and began looking at private ads in the newspaper. One problem-How am I going to call these people and ask about their cars for sale? It is one thing to do that in a language that you know. It is another to do it in Spanish. There are no hand gestures, facial expressions, or other visual communication over the phone. Needless to say, this was an intimidating process. Good for my Spanish, bad for my self esteem!Well, after looking at a number of cars, I finally found the one. It had to meet a lot of parameters as time was ticking and the taxi fares were adding up. We found a 94 Volkswagon Golf. It is a perfect size for our city as it is small enough to drive around, yet big enough to haul our family and possibly a few others if need be. It runs good and is in pretty good condition. The price seems really high when you compare to the US prices. This car would cost about 1/2 of the price of the same car in the same condition in the US. However, after 3 years, I should be able to sell it for about the same price as I bought it. Sounds crazy I know.Another thing that I want to pass on is that our event planning is really taking off. We have been putting together some amazing God sized events. I cannot spill all of the beans now, but just know that when this project is completed, the world will know about Arequipa Peru. It is so exciting to see how everything is coming together. Our team is mostly on site now. Most are still in language school right now. In fact, Teri and I have about 5 more weeks of language left. It will be intense, but God will provide a way. He always does.With everybody in the last half of language school, there is a lot more activity going on around here. Event planning is a big one. We have been putting together meetings with local pastors, laypeople, other Peruvians, and many more. We are trying to hit home runs on every one of our events. It will surely happen.One thing that I am super excited about is our 40/40 missionaries. We have our first group of 4 American missionaries on site and going through language school right now. It is amazing to see how our first group of 4 missionaries and their support family, the Smith's, are bonding. I can tell you that God has provided us with the right team for this important church planting mission in Puerto Maldonando. They have connected so well. There is great chemistry. They are already like a tight family. God is blessing their relationships and I cannot wait to see where this adventure will steer this awesome group of young people.Another thing that is getting me so excited is the fact that I am seeing a lot of names on our project rosters. The most exciting part is that many of the names that I am seeing are names of old friends and people that I have gone to school or church with in the past. That is exciting to know that I will be reconnecting with old friends on a project that will surely change all the lives involved.So there you have it - another update from the Englund family. We are doing well, our health is good, spirits are high, excitement is flowing through our veins, and God is so ever present that we can feel His protection each day. I must admit that we are not suffering. We have sacrificed some, but God has blessed us in a way that makes it very difficult to dwell on anything that we might have sacrificed. His blessing is all around. It is an honor and privilege to be here doing His work.Thank you all for your prayers and financial support. May God shower you with an abundance of sufficiency.