Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Catching up on Peru...

Folks,
I must admit, things have been a lot less stressful at other times in my life. With that said, we have not once regretted the decision to spend the next three and a half years here in Peru. Life is exciting and fun, for sure. Let me start by saying that there are a lot of things that I need to catch you up on. The question is, “where do I start?”
One major thing that is taking place as I write is the condition of one of our young missionaries here in Arequipa, Brad Hunt. Brad is a father and husband and is serving as our 40/40 logistics coordinator and will also be the head of our cluster support family for Cusco during the 3rd phase of our project. Monday, Brad woke up unresponsive. He was unable to communicate and was not very cognitive. He was taken to the hospital to figure out the problem. They admitted him and began to run a number of tests including MRI, CT scan, and EEG. To this point, there is no diagnosis as to the problem, but they are going to run more test. Brad spent two nights in the hospital and has been released to go home. However, we are all still wondering what has happened and why he had this episode. Please keep Brad in your prayers as he is a very special part of our team.
Something on a lighter note, Teri and I have two new sons! I know it was unplanned, but we are blessed by having two young NNU students living with us for a little while. Ryan Manley and Chadwick Pearsal are responsible for mapping each of the 120 communities in which we are going to plant churches. They have been a blessing and a fun addition to our family. Kayle and Emma have big brothers to wrestle with, to pick on, to get picked on, and to share space with. For me, I have long been awaiting a time in our house where the male gender is not the minority. My time has finally come. What a refreshing feeling! However, it won’t be for long. The “mappers” as we call them, were supposed to leave today to go on a long journey through the northern areas of Peru. However, due to protesters not allowing busses to make the journey between Arequipa and Cusco, they have had to postpone their trip to the north. They are working on our local mapping assignments right now. Hopefully the protests will subside in short order. They have a big job ahead of them. They have their backpacks and sleeping bags along with a little bit of cash and a video camera. What a cool job they have! Please keep them in your prayers as they travel. They are going to some areas way out in the boonies.
So, another cool thing that we recently experienced was a 5.4 earthquake. Our windows and cupboards started jiggling, accommpanied by a soft rolling thunder noise. We all looked at each other and simultaneously asked, "was that an earthhquake?" We got through it without too much damage. Our pipes are leaking a bit, but nothing that a little caulking won't fix.

As far as project stuff goes, we are within a month of our first group coming down. We are up to our ears in details. This culture thing is really a challenge. Everyone seems to have their own timeline. We are trying to do make this project work for the Americans that need to have all the info before hand, while working within a culture that values and appreciates a timetable. And so goes the challenges of foreign mission work. We are excited, yet filled with much pressure to make sure things are going to work out. Things always seem to work out, but sometimes our lack of faith creates an environment of learning.
Something that is really exiting is our mega event that is taking place on June 19th of 2010. It seems like a long way out, but the planning has been going strong for months. In fact today, I had a meeting with the manager of the facility that we are using for the event. We just found out that the bull fighting arena was not approved for such a large event. Too many people would put the facility at risk because of the condition of the structure. Let me tell you this-When a Peruvian tells you it might be a little unsafe, I would suggest listening. So we are scratching the use of that venue. We can use other space that is available. In fact, it will be better. There will be more people who can see the stage this way. What an answer to prayer. I like to say that on the backside of every mountain that people put in your path, there is an downhill slope to get your momentum going . The bigger the mountain in front of you, the bigger the downhill on the backside. I figure you cannot go wrong with that philosophy.
Have any of you met my good friend Rico! If you haven’t I would like to invite you to go to my Facebook page and find Rico in my friend list(Facebook.com). Add him as a friend. He is the mascot for our Love Extreme project. We just rolled Rico out the other day. He is a human size guinea pig. He is going to be our promotion mascot for our project. His popularity is very important. Our goal is to create a local buzz with Rico. He is going to show up in random places all over Arequipa for the next year. In fact, there will be a number of people in Rico costumes riding busses, taxis, walking through plazas and parks, and just gracing the streets with a big smile. Our goal is to have Arequipa know Rico’s name before they know why Rico exists. Then, a few weeks before the event, we will reveal Rico’s identity and connect Rico with our event. There are tons more details to this plan, but that is the general idea. Please pray that Rico will become world famous! Many of you have probably heard about our plan to have the world’s largest guinea pig lunch. That is why Rico is our mascot. We are not planning on having Rico as one of the 10,000 guinea pigs that we are going to eat, but he will surely be there to watch. Keep posted to hear more info about Love Extreme. It is surely going to be a mega event.
On another promotion note, we have a large crew of people that are going to be at the Nazarene General Assembly in Florida. If you are there, please stop by the ExtremeMobile. It is our 18 wheeler traveling exhibition for our project here in Peru. You do not want to miss it. In fact, somehow, we got the truck inside of the convention area at General Assembly. Not sure what act of God that took, but apparently something miraculous was done to make it happen.
I think that should get everyone caught up on some of the things happening here on the field in Peru and with our ministry. Our family is blessed daily by the fact that we are here serving in this capacity. God is surely taking care of us. We continue to pray for all of our supporters and wish blessings on you more than is possible to dream. Please continue to pray for our family and our projects. We are in so far over our heads…and it feels fantastic! With His strength, we will accomplish great things.

Bendiciones
The Englund Family

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Something to pray about...

Many of you have asked about specific things to pray for. Below is a laundry list of requests and praises. Our family is certain that people all over are praying, as we are constantly feeling His presence and peace that keep us knowing that we are in God’s will. There is a battle going on all around us and we feel like we are right in the middle of it, but we do feel that God’s presence is keeping our family, all of our volunteers, as well as our project clear from the havoc that Satan is trying to cause. It may seem odd to welcome such problem and strife, but I view it as confirmation that we are damaging the work of Satan. To use a Peruvian analogy, we are playing a big soccer game. I am for sure on the right team, and Satan has a lot of talent on his side, but I have the ball and am dribbling towards the goal. There are a lot of saints back home praying for us that we score some goals and win the game. Satan wants me off the field and has asked his teammates to cheap shot me so that I might get hurt and have to leave the game. Well, it’s not going to happen. Thanks you all for your prayers. Our family feels so well surrounded by God’s presence. There have been so many things that could have taken us out of the game, but God grace is ever so present.
Please continue to pray for the following items:
-Our transition to this new life has been filled with many trials. Praise God that we have made it over many of the bigger hurdles.
-Continue to pray for our girls as they are finding and developing new friendships. Also, as they are learning in a new environment, they are encountering many difficulties.
-Please pray for our personal finances in the US. The real estate market has made it difficult to sell assets. This also goes for many of the families on our team. Most have not been able to sell their houses and are at the mercy of the market.
-Praise for our team here in Peru. We have come together in a special way. Most everyone is on the ground now. There are a few more volunteers coming, and they will need prayer for sure. As for the team on the ground, please pray that God will protect them and keep them motivated to do His work. Our team has blended so well and that is a huge praise. Nowhere in the world, I am convinced, can you have this type of talent, without normal wages, and have the productivity that our team has. It is amazing to see these wonderful people doing what God designed them to do.
-Language barriers for all of our volunteers. This is a big item that God seems to be taking care of. However, as we continue to work, it is very difficult to keep our attitudes up about our language aptitude.
-We still have a few positions to fill. We need a few more 40/40 church plant missionaries as well as a couple more 40/40 cluster support families. These are vital to our project. Without these, there will be many less churches planted and many less people that will be impacted.
-Our first batch of 40/40’s and their cluster support family have arrived in Iquitos(the jungle), to start their 6 months of mission training. This is an intensive and rigorous training schedule and will surely take its toll on our people. Pray that God will keep those young people safe and spirits high as they have faced and will face many more trials.
-Pray for each of our events. We have 4 major events coming up. Pray for the planning and immense amount of details that need to be tackled. God is good and will surely provide.
-Rumble in the Jungle-pray that we can provide a safe and effective way for youth to serve in a capacity that breeds a desire to become lifelong missionaries for Gods kingdom. Pray for safety of the team as they will be fighting against the enemy in many different ways.
-Family Zone-pray that the details of all of the events of this project will play out to be effective for planting churches and changing lives in Cusco.
-Love Extreme-This has grown to be the most dynamic project ever tackled by our group. We believe that our event is going to jumpstart a church planting movement throughout southern Peru. God has blessed us with the creativity to come up with an amazing event. However, with this creativity, there is a realistic side as well. Funding such an enormous project is well beyond our power. The amount of details is well beyond our abilities. There is no way, without His divine help, that we can even come close to accomplishing such a huge task. However, we are confident that His grace will provide everything we need. Pray for our team as we labor to get the details ironed out as well as provide us with the creativity and wisdom to tie people into our project through their generosity, even when times are extremely difficult for many.
-We need three motorcycles for the Love Extreme event. We have had some people come together and donate the funds necessary to purchase one and half motorcycles. Pray that God would provide the other one and a half motorcycles. Once the bikes are used in the event, they will be sold to cover a little bit of the cost of the event. Having the Christian freestyle motocross show will be a huge draw of people for our event. We believe that the FMX show alone will draw in excess of 10,000 people. That is a lot of opportunity for the Gospel to be heard. Pray that our event will reach hordes of people that will make decisions to follow His way.
-Pray that God will provide the funds necessary to purchase 10,000 guinea pigs. This sounds crazy, but without the guinea pigs, it will be very difficult to draw the population that we desire for this mega event. Our reason for the large quantity is that we are going to establish a Guinness World Record for the largest guinea pig lunch.
-Pray for the people that will be presenting the Gospel during our events
-Vivian, the gal that we have helped free from the life of prostitution is moving to Arequipa and will join our team in the area of Impact and logistics. Please pray for her transition and her discipleship with a couple of the local women here in Arequipa.
-Praise that our new website is up and running. This has been a huge project and the first phase has been launched. http://www.extremenazarene.org/.
-General Assembly is coming up shortly. Pray that we can reach thousands with our mission projects and opportunities and that many churches will jump on board with what we are doing in Peru.
-Pray for the general safety of our people as we travel throughout the church plant locations in Peru.

We thank you for all of your prayers. We are so encouraged and honored to be on this team doing this mission. God is Good!
The Englunds