Sunday, December 11, 2011

Missionary Pig Wrestling-A Blogworthy Story From Last Week

It was just last Tuesday. Our typical Tuesday where we, as a family, go to a small community outside of Cusco to minister, get ministered to, and just interact with the kids and youth of the area. We generally have a routine. We meet at the market, buy fruit, pile in a run-down taxi while getting taken advantage of because we do look like tourist. Nonetheless, we arrive at Huilkarpay.

Each day, the government sends a teacher to teach the young kids. Walter is the teacher’s name. He is a faithful guy that works with the kids in areas of basic education. While he opens up the community classroom, we get a chance to connect with the other kids that are a bit older in age. It is unmanaged, but we generally have our positions that we tend to. Teri, usually connects with a couple of the youth that need help with their English homework. She has made a good connection with Carolina, although, as Carolina has a few boys hanging around, Teri usually has a few others that she helps with homework as well. Once that is done, then the volleyball comes out.

With me, it reminds me of my days at Karcher Nazarene Church in Idaho. I get a chance to interact with a handful of young men and boys that crave male attention. Their fathers are workhorses. They are not culturally played with or interacted with in a fun setting. That is where God has given me a desire to serve. I bring the soccer ball.

Our goal is to reach people through relationships. I have been able to connect with these young men by just playing with them. It is quite rare for a Peruvian adult to play like I play. So we play soccer, they try to gang up on me and I make sure they understand the rules; Play fun, but not dirty. Have a good attitude and not whine, and if you want to dog pile on Mr. Scott, you better have a plan. I have a lot of experience in wrestling with large groups of youth group dudes. It is no different in Peru. I still have my tricks to win the battle.

So each week is a blessing to just be able to reach out to these guys. I am getting to know all of their names, their families, their lives. This is by far the best part of missionary work. Our goal with this community is to assist a local evangelical church to plant a new cell group in this community. We have to get to the people in order to do it.

NOW THE FUNNY PART

We had just wrapped up our time with the Huilkarpay kids, and it was time for our long walk back down the mountain. It is about 3.5 miles that we walk back as there are no taxis that regularly run the route. We typically gather our backpacks, our large bag of toys and the group of volunteers and head down the long and dusty dirt road.

On this particular day, there just happened to be an old 70’s Chevy long bed truck passing through the little community. It was a beater to say the least, but it was running, had space in the back for our group of 10, and was going the direction we needed to. We were already tired from all the playing, one of our volunteers was waiting on a foot surgery and was in pain, and we had a bunch of kids that would be wiped out by the end of our hike down. So, I gave the universal sign of “hey, are you going our way and can you give us a ride?” sign. They stopped, gave us the get in signal and the story began….

I stayed on the ground to help the 5 young girls get into the back of the truck. It was a rough sort of truck as the front half of the bed was wooden slats. I guess it may have been designed that way to give the animals that they carry around a good view of the spinning drive shaft. We told the girls to stay towards the back where there was some sort of metal to stand on. The truck had a large steel lumber rack that was ideal for us to hang onto while we stood strong as the driver raced down the hill.

There was also something else in the back of the truck; three bags to be exact. Each bag seemed to be just lying there as the girls started to enter the bed of the truck. All of the commotion somehow made the bags comes alive. They started moving. It was not long before there were 5 screaming girls in the back of the truck. They could not get away fast of far enough. The screams continued. As we realized the danger in the situation, and there really was none, we did our best to calm the girls down. We realized that there was a 35 pound pig in each of the bags. They did not like the noise, or the uncertainty of the possible predators that were screaming outside their polypropylene feed sacks that were tied up on the only end in which they could escape. So they started to wiggle as any scared little piggy would do.

We got the situation under control. The girls turned their screams in to laughing, although a bit apprehensive. It was funny! The truck began the decent down the rutted out dirt road as if he were in a rally car race. As we did our best to hang on, one of the little piggies decided he wanted to see the view. His snotty little nose wiggled through the string that was securing the end of the bag. Once he got his snout through, out came his body. During this process, the driver stopped, his Senora jumped into the back of the truck with us, and the driver quickly returned to his rally car race.

The lady started her attempt to get the pig back into the bag. It was not working so well. The pig actually got further and further out of the bag. She did have a good hold of hind right leg of the pig. But that was it and she was using both of her hands. Knowing that the pig could potentially get hurt by falling through the bed of the truck, or just jumping over the side to escape the large load of gringos, I jumped in to help secure the swine. While I wrapped my left arm around its midsection and my right forearm on the back of its head, Kass, one of the volunteers was able to work the bag back over the pig’s body. All of this while we raced down this hill as if were really late.

We got the pig back to where he needed to be. It was not exactly what I thought my day would look like, but it was an adventure nonetheless. You never know what your life will look like on any given day. There is a verse in Proverbs that talks about not boasting about tomorrow as you never know what today will bring. Well I can assure you that this was not on my to-do list for the day.

Scott

If you would like to join the Englund Family and their ministry in Cusco Peru, you can make tax deductible donations through Commission to Every Nation by following the link at http://tinyurl.com/cuscoscott




Sunday, November 27, 2011

He asked me to bring him bibles…


NOTE: There are no pictures included as I want to make sure that the people in the story are not made to feel uncomfortable. They are new believers and I do not want to ask them for their pictures in order for me to "show" them to people back home. I apologize if it takes from the story, but I felt it was quite important.

It was late evening as I cautiously walked down the wet and extremely slick cobblestone street where I ran into Alex and Edgar. It was there that the story really unfolded. You see, Alex and Edgar were walking together with their leather bound portfolios full of paintings. They are vendors that sell their works to the tourism market. Alex nearly brought me to tears with one simple request…He asked me to bring him bibles.

I had met Alex and Edgar when we first arrived to Cusco. In fact, I had met their whole group of vendor friends. One of them had invited me to play soccer with them during their weekly routine soccer time. I, being a good missionary who loves to play soccer, decided to join them. It was there that I realized that I was surrounded by a group of ruffian young Peruvian vendors whose lives were not what one would generally call wholesome.

They spend a lot of time in Plaza San Blas where we have our restaurant, The Meeting Place Café. Over the course of my time in Cusco, I have gotten to know these guys quite well. They have also gotten to know me and my purpose for being here in their country.

It was a few days before my recent trip to the US that I was informed that Miguel, one of my vendor friends, had made a decision to follow Christ. I was so amazed and surprised. I quickly inquired about what had happened, and found out the story.

It went something like this;

Edgar, one of the ring leaders of this group of vendors, has a brother who is a Christian. For a long time, Edgar had been the recipient of a faithful brother who loves him and wants to see Edgar’s life reformed by the love of Christ. It took a few years of work, but Edgar finally conceded that a life with Christ was really the place he ought to be. It was then that Edgar gave his life to Christ.

Shortly thereafter, the group of vendor friends started to see Edgar in a different light. He really changed. He stopped doing the things he used to do. No more cussing, drinking, fighting. His life cleaned up. He formed a joy in his life. He really changed. The other guys could see it.

It was not long after that Edgar started to connect with his buddies over the subject of Jesus. They started to dig into the possibilities of giving their lives to Christ as well. Within a short period of time, a number of these guys had given their lives to Christ. One by one, this group of ruffians was changing, and it was not just a little change. These guys were being transformed in a huge way.

When I left for my trip to the US, the count was somewhere around 5; Edgar, Alex, Jose, Forrest, and Michael. In fact, Michael came clean with a bunch of past issues and we found out his name is actually Mario. He is a free man now that he finally came out and let go of his tainted but forgivable past. God is good to clean the slate. What a comfort he must feel! He now uses his real name. The significance of changing his name back to his given name is huge. He is done with his fake life and now is moving forward in his new life with Christ. He celebrated his decision by being baptized last month. What a celebration it was for Mario.

As for my vendor friend, Alex, the one that I ran into the night before I returned to the US, he knew I was going to be heading to the US soon. He had begun working on me to bring him some original Nike shoes from the US. Each time I would see Alex during the month before my departure, he would remind me about the order that he had placed with me; Original Nike size 42 any color, any style. I never made any promises, but he was as persistent as a typical Peruvian vendor trying to sell a painting to a tourist. Each time I saw him before my departure, he would remind me about the shoes. The night before I left, I ran into Alex and Edgar.

There they were, Edgar and Alex, looking for tourists to which they could peddle their paintings. As we struck up a conversation, once again, Alex brought up the subject of the shoes. This time it was a bit different. He was not so worried about the shoes. He had changed his tune. There were other things more important. You see, he had given his life to Christ and quickly determined that those around him needed the same relationship with Jesus that had recently transformed his life. He needed the tools to reach these people. Alex told me not to worry about the shoes, but rather, he asked me to bring him bibles.

As excited as I could be, I told him that I would figure out a way to get him some bibles. When I returned from my trip, I was able to bring Alex about 20 bibles. They needed them for the cell group that meets in the home of Edgar’s brother, Walter. With these bibles, they can use them for the new people that come and may not have a bible. They can also use them during the group time and if someone needs one to take home, they are able to give it to them to study and use in their own homes.

They invited me to a bible study in the home of Walter as they wanted me to present the bibles. It was little awkward as they really made a big deal about the bibles. But it was wonderful to see people who are desperate for God’s word. I brought with me a guest as well. We had a wonderful time connecting with some local Peruvians that love Jesus. They sing like tomorrow will be the last day of their life on Earth. What a refreshing thing to see; People pouring their lives out to their savior in song. Praise God, he asked me to bring him bibles!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scott made it home in one piece!

Well, I have to recap a little bit about my recent trip to the US. What a whirlwind of activity!!!

First of all, I need to say thank you to the Alumni Board at NNU for nominating me for the Young Alumnus of the Year award…This was the main reason that I was able to come back for a visit. What an opportunity it was for me to share our ministry and God’s call on our lives to so many. My time in Nampa included a number of activities at the university such as morning devotionals, business classes, ethics panel discussion with business department, chapel and award ceremony, a reunion lunch with class of 96, meetings with project heads working on cross cultural studies and MBA program possibilities, a business alumni function, as well as interviews from various students and faculty. What a great time for me to share what is really at the forefront of my life-service for Christ through missions.

While on campus, I was able to connect one on one with a number of people that may be interested in volunteering/joining our ministry for various lengths of time. How encouraging it is to know that we have a lot of people that are interested in joining our work in Peru. That lets off a little pressure for sure.

In addition to my time at NNU, I was able to visit with my Nampa home church and update them on our current ministry. Thanks Karcher Church of the Nazarene for standing behind our family! Thanks for your hospitality---I never once had to spend a night in my car or a hotel... In addition, the food was outstanding. It was good to see many of the faces and spend some quality time with those that are supporting us through prayer and finances.

After Nampa, I went back to California, as I was given the opportunity to share in my other home church-The church I grew up in. While there, I was able to reconnect with many folks as well. It is always great to go back to Oroville Church of the Nazarene and see how things are going there. What an exciting church! One funny thing that has happened each time I have spoken at Oroville, is that the worship team is so able to bring the atmosphere of worship to such an exciting level, that I find myself singing my voice away. Then I realize I have to speak for two services…Absolutely brutal, but don't stop doing it! Even though my voice was thrashed, God still knows the heart. It was a pleasure to worship with you all.

For the lighter side of things, many of you know that I was able to spend some quality time doing some things I love, with some of the best friends a guy can have. My plane ticket was covered and the award ceremony was pretty close to hunting season. Do the math! After an entourage of begging, my family gave me the green light. From then on, it was pretty much like old times around the Englund house; Getting my stuff all ready and setting by the door weeks in advance, me never shutting up about the upcoming adventure, all the worry about if it will work out, will I be healthy enough? how much will it cost? All the preparation phone calls to my buddies in which we recap the past 10 years of hunting trips each time we talk. I think I get to be pretty annoying when I get excited about things like that. Maybe that is why I get the green light…They cannot wait to get me gone so I will stop driving everyone nuts….Regardless, it all worked out great. A 6 point bull elk, 4x5 muley buck, and a bunch of birds…I did find out that I lost my touch with the marksmanship…Took me a bit to get my edge back…It finally came…I guess it’s kind of like riding a bike. Speaking of riding a bike: Thanks Brent and Von for taking me out riding one afternoon. Also, thanks Al for sharing your precious motorcycle with me. You guys are great Amigos!



For the business side of things, I was afforded numerous opportunities to connect with people. I had a threefold purpose to the trip. One was to join NNU in the Award celebration and support the university as much as I was able. Second, the fun hunting and guy time reconnecting with friends, and third, the business part of missionary work; The support raising part that requires a lot of one on one with people.

Some of these purposes coincide with each other. For instance, I was able to have some guy time with some of our support team. So to justify the fun, I can say I was working…yes, I am a businessman at heart…

One major focus of the business side of my trip was to raise the necessary funds to start our new missional business, MotoMission. Keep an eye out for our printed newsletter. It should be coming out before the end of the year and will spell out the details of this amazing project. For those of you that heard it first hand while I was in the states, please continue to pray that God will lead this project to places only He can know. We are quite excited about the future of this awesome project that will serve the needs of kids through education, Christ based interaction, and basics needs such as food.

We have made some good headway on finding financial partners for this project. We still have a little bit more to go. Please keep the project in your prayers. I am still looking for more partners so don’t be surprised if I you get a phone call from me. Once you see how this project is set up, you will want to participate somehow. It is a compelling type of project…pure grass roots ministry…people who love Jesus…pouring their lives into the lives of others…If anyone is interested in learning about it first hand, you can call me or email me. You won’t be disappointed!

That is all for now. I do have a lot more to write about, so keep your eyes open for more stories. Thanks for following our adventures…Many Blessings!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Feed the Poor and House the Rodents!

I often find that I write a lot about fluffy things. Sometimes that works, but this time I wanted to give you a run down on some of the specific things that are happening with us and our ministry here in Cusco.

A few weeks ago, we started planning the design of a guinea pig cage. This is not just any guinea pig cage, but a cage designed as a responsibility project which is being offered to the youth at Project CORASON. The program is offered to those that have successfully completed an in depth discipleship program. As the youth finish up with their discipleship training, they are given an opportunity to learn about responsibility and business.

The program looks like this: We help the kids build their own cage. The kids are taught how to care for their animals. It is nothing more than a responsibility lesson and also teaches them how to make something larger out of a smaller investment. This is one thing that most kids in Cusco will never learn. As many of you know, business is my passion. To share this passion and get these kids excited about taking on a business venture is great fun for me as well.

The Meeting Place has donated all of the materials for the cages from the profits of the business. In addition, each week, we work together with the kids, showing them how to mark the cuts, cut the lumber, and then put it all together.

Once the cages are completed, Project CORASON will give a male and female guinea pig to the students to begin their operations. The students then take the operation to their homes, feed and care for the animals , play some nice romantic music, and voila…A lot of guinea pigs. These little critters are easy to sell as there is a large market for them. Individuals as well as large farming operations can bring their guinea pigs to the same market. It is a simple business that will allow the kids to develop some responsibility for their own well being. They are involved from step one to the finish line. They invest time and energy which can result in a good return. It is simple business, but a concept that is often hard to find in such a socialistic type of culture.

As we continue to work out the bugs in the program, please commit to praying for these young people and this project.


This is what happens when you give…

One thing that is often overlooked by missionaries is that they fail to let people know what is happening to the resources that are entrusted to them. For many of you, it was explained in the beginning. However, I want to give you all a brief refresher on the flow of funds through our mission organization(Commission to Every Nation-CTEN) to our family on the field, to the ministries with which we support.

To begin, we are what are called faith based missionaries. We are 100% supported by individuals that believe in us or our mission or both. Funds are sent to CTEN, a 501 non profit, then they are sent to us to use for living and ministry expenses. It is a pretty simple process, but what is more important is how your support helps us in our work here.

We are not allowed to earn a wage in Peru. We are volunteers on a missionary visa…However, we can and do, run businesses that make money, that we can then use for the purpose of supporting local church projects, social projects and anything else that needs some help. There are quite a few negative connotations out there about doing business in the mission field. I can understand and appreciate some of the issues, but there are some that are actually working the way they are intended to work. For example, our café is sustainable. We do not need any more cash poured into it. It is going to continue. Many other types of missions have been started in other parts of the world that are entirely supported by donations. In my opinion, that has nothing to do with business. That is an outreach that is a liability. If it cannot sustain itself, one cannot call it a business.

We are in business! When resources are given to our family, it allows us to live here legally and not have to take a wage and also operate the businesses. We use as much volunteer labor as we can as it allows us to be more profitable which allows us to give that much more away.

To begin businesses, we have a couple of options; borrow or raise money through donations. A loan is not the best option as it creates an unacceptable amount of debt and risk. The other option is to raise capital through partners. We find willing partners that would like to participate in our mission and vision. A businessman can understand that, if he donates one time, it will allow the business to be profitable from day one. No loans to pay back, just going forward from that point. I have an opportunity to help bring people into ministry with their blessings that God has given them. I think it is sound stewardship to participate in this manner. It is all Gods! However, I want to make sure that what God has entrusted to me gets the biggest bang for the buck.

As we continue in our plans to begin operations on different businesses, know that it is a long term investment into the kingdom. It will be a café that will provide funds for an Easter program at Huilkarpay, where dozens are introduced to the gospel. It will be a language school that helps provide food and shelter for an orphanage in San Jeronimo. It will be the guest house that provides some funds to support the grand opening of a new orphanage in Santiago.

One of the key benefits of the cafe is its location. Situated in the heart of Cusco, it provides a place for the church to gather and fellowship together. It also provides a meeting place for outreach programs that teach the bible to the local children and for a weekly cultural/biblical discussion group.

When taking over the Meeting Place, we discussed changing the name to something that reminded people of the kind of food we serve, but after much discussion, we realized that it already has a great name. The Meeting Place is more than a place that sells coffee and waffles. It is place that is involved in ministry. Some ministry is deeply rooted and others are still being developed but the "soul" purpose of the Meeting Place is just that, to bring people to Christ through the support of local projects.

In the future it will be any number of other types of businesses that will be operated to support local projects…That is our mission and call.

Just because it comes in the package that is labeled business, don’t discard the positive long term effects that it will have on the kingdom of God.

To this point, I have not even mentioned the people aspect of our ministries. This is the one area that most people are interested in anyways. What is happening to reach people in these ministries? Know that the mission purpose is business, but the end result is touched people. When people come to our cafe, they are reached. We do not put a hard evangelism message in front of them, but there are no punches pulled. When we get an opportunity, we tell our customers about the reason for the Hope that we have in Christ. There is no doubt that our business is Kingdom business. Some walk away without a change, but many others are refreshed by the fact that the Christians are not just preaching and talking about it, but living it. Our volunteers invite clients to our church outreach on Sunday nights!

You can call it business, ministry, business as mission, BAM, or anything else. What we are involved in is people. We are called to reach people through missional business. Know that when you support our family and ministry, it is an investment that will continue to pay off for years to come. As for our business model, we are using donations for start-up capital. As the businesses begin and/or continue to operate, they will reap rewards into the future by reaching people and providing indefinite resources to key projects with which we are partnered. And that my friends are what we are all about.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just a bunch of youngsters...

Coming home!

Young Alumnus of the Year-What is that all about? As I keep myself rather active in the mission field, I often find myself feeling the effects of my age. However, as I often say and also wonder if it really works, “it’s all in my head.” In November, I am going to be at Northwest Nazarene University receiving an award called the Young Alumnus of the Year. It is often that I do not feel so young. I still play soccer with the young guys that sell paintings in our plaza, and I am not the last one picked each week, but I am almost twice their age. I must say, but would never admit it to them, but when soccer is over, I hurt! How is it that I can be a “young” alumnus? Not sure, but I will take what I can get!

The university is providing my plane ticket to return and receive the award. I am really honored and excited about it. For one, it gives me an opportunity to share about the work we are doing here in Cusco. My hope is to be able to round up some volunteers that may want to join us for a period. The other is that it gives me a chance to be back in the states for a short visit.

The downside is that the family is not returning with me on this trip. We are hoping to return for a longer time in the summer of 2012. Please be in prayer for them as we are apart for a while. Teri will be taking the responsibility of the café, language school, and Guest House. I am a bit scared to leave it in the hands of someone more capable, as I may not have a job when I get back… I am sure the café will prosper in the time I am gone…

So, there you have it! They think I am young and worthy of an award…What a blessing!

Thanks for your prayers!!!

From the time I wrote that last newsletter, there have been a number of you praying for our family and ministry here in Peru. I must say that many of those prayers are being answered as I write. I am in contact with about 5-6 volunteers that are praying and seeking God’s guidance in whether or not they should join us. What an answer to prayer! We also have had a number of local people join us in our ministry. These are English speaking missionaries and or volunteers that are here for months to years. We have been able to keep the café staffed without me having to work 6 full days a week. Thank you all so much for your prayers. They are working!

Motorcycles…What?

As I return to the US, another purpose that I have is to raise the initial start-up capital for our next mission business. This next venture is a high end tourism company that will offer motorcycle tours of southern Peru. As many of you know, I am very passionate about motorcycles…I have spent much time and preparation tying my passions and gifts that God has blessed me with, to a specific business model that uses those talents, gifts, and passions. We are seeking to raise a minimum of $66,000 to begin operation. Most of the initial amount is in capital assets such as motorcycles and support vehicles. I need specific donors that can understand the vision and scope of this project. If any of you are interested in hearing more about the project, I would love to share the vision with you. I also have a fully detailed formal business plan with all the numbers and details of the business. Pray about how you can be involved. This business model is designed to generate high amounts of profit so that they can be provided to a local ministry here in Cusco. This is the same model as we are using in our current businesses. I understand that this is not a typical missionary venture, but then again, I am not an ordinary missionary. Please be in prayer that God will line things up and that HE will be glorified through all of this.

Coffee anyone!

As I return, I will be bringing a load of coffee. This is the same coffee that we use in our café. It is great stuff! Many of you have had it in the past. We get great reviews on our coffee. It is organically grown just outside of Cusco in the high jungle. Coffee is an easy and great way for me to bring some Peru with me on my return. It also works as a fund raiser which provides you all with wonderful coffee and us with valuable resources. If anyone wants to put their order in, I need to know in the next few weeks. We are suggesting a donation of $20 per bag. It is a ½ kilo bag which equates to a little over a pound. I have whole bean or ground. I will have a limited amount I can bring back, so get your order in…First come first served.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too Busy Being a Missionary to Pray!

One thing for sure, this missionary stuff is not as easy as it sounded in the beginning. I have never been so busy in my life! Missionary work is draining. In fact, sometimes I think I am too busy to stop and take time to pray. I know it sounds crazy, but I bet I am not the only one that is reading this that has felt the same way. It is not a good place to be. Needless to say, we are tired! I want to be honest with you all, so that you know how to pray for us. I am including a specific prayer request list in order that you can specifically ask God to place His hands on our ministry and everything that surrounds it. Our family is doing fine. We have just been feeling the burden of long hours and high pressure from all the angles that Satan wants to highlight for us. I am asking for your petitions. The last thing God needs is another burned out missionary. Please join us in lifting up our family and mission.

PRAYER NEEDS
Our spiritual health-there are a lot of pressures that we have never experienced before (Why should I pray and read my bible, I am a missionary! Satan tries to make us believe that our lives are enough devotion and why bother with God-A terrible lie!)

Our business mission-I love what I do! The problem is that it takes too much of me. There is an ideal balance that needs to be met between ministry and family and personal. Pray that I can find that balance (I am too busy being a missionary to pray!).

Financial-because of the nature of our ministry, there is an additional pressure of making sure that the business is profitable. Like a CEO keeping tabs on his company’s stock price, I am constantly working to make sure we make a profit at The Meeting Place. If we don’t, the monies that we live on need to cover the expenses. Because we are faith based missionaries, we are reliant upon the faithfulness of our support team to provide for our family expenses. As we have been on the field for a while now, and have not returned to specifically raise more support, we have seen a drop in our overall support. These items all put together, create a large amount of pressure for us. We know God will provide. Please pray and ask God if He would have you join our support team. You may already be supporting our family. Give thanks to Him that you have the financial blessing to be able to do so.
This is an area that Satan can use to discourage us and wear us down.

Our Residency process-We are currently trying to process our residency paperwork for our family. There are a number of items at work, but they all seem to be going nowhere. We are currently exploring another option in hopes to get our residency status up to date. This process is costly, and takes a lot of time and will require travel back and forth to Lima. This is a 24 hour bus journey, which leaves an already understaffed café ministry. The other option is flight. The cost is about $220 per person and for our family of four, to go back and forth a few times gets expensive. Pray that God will work out all the details.

Volunteer help-We are currently talking to a number of folks that are considering coming down to join our ministry. They all seem to be waiting on the Lord to make it happen. Pray that people would step forward and help these families and individuals financially so they would be able to join us. This would relieve much stress and pressure on our current team and family.

Future business missions-As other families join us and begin to take over the operation of the Café, this will allow me to start additional businesses. We currently have the next business ready to start. It is an adventure tourism company that will operate in Southern Peru. This business is designed to provide a higher profit margin, while using much less time. In other words it will be much more efficient than the restaurant business. Ideally, more profit for less work, which allows me that balance of family/work/ministry that I believe God wants me to get in line. The business model is in place. The funds need to be raised. Please pray for volunteers as well as the initial capital to start this new ministry. With more profits coming in we will be able to expand our support to local projects in the area.

Transportation-We have been using taxis and busses for the past year since we moved to Cusco. While it is functional, it often creates issues with not being able to do certain things. Each Tuesday, a group of 5-8 people go to a small village outside of Cusco to minister and work with the children and youth in the town. The cost of the taxi is high. Often, we can only fit 4-5 in a taxi and need to pay for two taxis. The cost is high because we are going to the outskirts of nowhere. The Taxi cannot get a fare to return, so we essential are paying for his return as well. When we are done, we walk back to town. The walk is not the problem (although after playing soccer for a couple of hours with the young boys, the walk back to town is often grueling), it is the time. It is about a 3 mile walk. With kids, it takes a long time to get back. This is just one instance, but having reliable transportation would be a huge blessing to the ministry, and would make us more efficient with our precious time. Pray that we would be able to afford and find a good vehicle that will meet our needs.

Culture-Being here in Cusco has opened our eyes to a number of things. One, the culture and environment of business is one of the most frustrating things. To me, it seems really inefficient, corrupt, and full of discrimination of class, gender, and race. These items coupled with the fact that this is our second culture, we are still trying to understand why things are the way they are. I am not here to change it all, but there are some things that even the locals cannot stand. This creates a difficult and frustrating place to operate a business/mission as well as just live. Please pray that we can have patience and meekness to be able to deal with the differences in culture.

These are the main items. We constantly have little things that need prayer. I know that many of you have been praying and seeking God’s will for our lives and ministry. We truly appreciate your faithfulness. Many of you are also supporting us financially. We cannot thank you enough for giving our family the opportunity to serve in this capacity. Our lives have been changed and our eyes have been opened to a whole new side of the world. Thank you dearly!

Know that we pray for you supporters as part of our team. We would not be here if it were not for the dozens of people that are partnered with our family. Thank you again!

We are looking forward in great anticipation to the answered prayers and petitions. Blessings on all of you!

The Englund Family

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Good to be Blessed!

Sometimes when things happen that we perceive to be bad, we often are so blinded by the negative aspects of the occurrence that we fail to enjoy the benefits of the event. For instance, the other day, we had an event take place at The Meeting Place Café, our ministry here in Cusco. We are forever fighting with the municipality about signage and what is allowed and what is not allowed. All the shop owners in our plaza have to contend with the municipality on a daily basis. Also, our plaza is riddled with street vendors who are not licensed to sell their wares. That rarely stops them. What happens is that the vendors have their paintings in portable leather cases that they can carry. For the rest of us, we gamble. We lean our white board signs on the outside by the entrance. It gives the potential customer a little bit of info about our business. It mentions that we have amazing waffles, organic coffee, free wifi, and that our profits go to support local projects. It is a vital part of our business.

And so, the municipalidad, armed with a number of foot soldiers, came running through the plaza tearing down all the unattached signs that were not in compliance with the flexible code in which the most intellectual man would struggle to understand.

They grab and run. Like thieves in the night…

As I entered this lovely game of cat and mouse, I chose to have 3 of these signs made. I knew the municipalidad would have their way with me, so I have additional signs to replace the ones that they take.

The crazy thing is, just this morning, a couple of local ladies poked into the café to tell me that my sign had been taken by the municipalidad. With a little bit of frustration, and no surprise, I smiled and told them I have more where that came from. They laughed, but I was serious. You see, the signs cost about 20 soles each, the equivalent of about 8 US dollars. It cost me 35 soles to get my sign back from the municipalidad.(that is mostly bribe money, so I am told). If I start paying to get my signs back, the problem will only get worse as I become a cash cow for the person who grabs the signs. So, my signs are considered disposable.

As I was licking my wounds and brewing on the fact that the municipalidad was faster than I , into the café walked a group of four people. They sat down and we proceeded to serve them a whopping breakfast consisting of piles of bananas and chocolate which were smothering their enormous Belgian waffles. While they were enjoying their calorie filled platters, they heard some commotion outside.

It was another attack from the municipalidad. Thank goodness this time they did not get my sign. The clients asked what was going on and I proceeded to tell them about the municipalidad taking our sign that morning. They laughed and began telling me their side of the story.

They were walking up the hill looking for a place to eat and they happened to see our sign in the back of the municipalidad truck. The little bit about the waffles caught their eyes and thus, they searched for The Meeting Place and quickly found us.

Shortly thereafter, we had another group of two join us as well. A similar story! They saw the police running with the sign towards the truck. They were able to read the name on the sign and decided that they were going to eat at a place without a sign. We were the one they chose.

When things happen, they happen! They are just events…We are the ones that choose to make them good or bad. So, a total of 6 customers, $50 of sales, loss of a $8 sign, and a great story to tell! What a wonderful thing to have our sign taken. It’s good to be blessed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

God supplies!

This past month has been a busy time in our ministry as we are in the heavy tourism season. There have been a lot of customers, students in our language school, and we have had a number of guests visit our guest house. In addition, we have had a lot of volunteer help which is a wonderful blessing. As I write, we have the pastoral care couple from our mission organization, CTEN, joining us and have managed to pamper us a bit(Thanks Dick and Berdie)To top it all off, Teri and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. Nothing better than honeymooning in Peru…17 years of adventure with my best friend…

The Englund family is doing good! The kids are doing well at homeschooling, the teacher(Teri) is wonderful and patient. We have been able to spend some quality family time together thanks to having a great group of volunteers. The volunteer group from Nampa only has a few more weeks left. What a blessing they have been. We have also had a group of Youth With a Mission(YWAM) missionaries helping out in the café as well as some other ministries that we are involved with. The Meeting Place Church has been packed full four Sunday’s in a row. Love it when it’s hard to find a seat! God is working here for sure. Keep on praying for us… We have a lot of work to do and many more projects to start.

There is a couple of housekeeping items that I would like to address here in this e-newsletter. First, I want to make sure that those of you that are supporting us in our mission here in Cusco know that you are truly our lifeblood as we march forward in our work. We are all part of this team and without all the players, we could not be a successful team. God has put each of us together for a reason. God doesn’t need us, nor does he need our money. What he desires is our obedience and willingness to faithfully jump in. Whether it is in the areas of local church ministry, foreign mission field, prayer, or financing ministry; there is a part for each of us.

We want to say thank you to all those that are continually praying for us and for those that are financially making it feasible to work and live in Peru. We are so grateful for the opportunity and privilege to do God’s work in this manner. We are truly blessed!

For those that receive our newsletters and may not be involved other than just reading it now and then, I want to challenge you to join our ministry team. There are no requirements, we just ask that you pray about your involvement, and then be obedient. God may have you be a prayer warrior for us. He may ask you to come down and join us as a volunteer. He may ask you to give financially.

We are always in need of prayer. That costs nothing, but time. However, it is so vital to our work here. In addition we have a couple specific financial needs. The most important is consistent monthly support. We have been on the field for 2 ½ years. When we were new on the field, we were supported sufficiently. Due to the economy or other reasons, some of our support has stopped or slowed down. While we have been blessed to be able to function, we are quite thin on our budget. An emergency or large equipment failure could put us into a bind. We want to be able to focus on our ministry instead of having to deal with money issues. Also, we want to stay true to our message and give 100% of our business proceeds away. With that being said, we are pushing for additional monthly support for our family. Any consistent amount is welcomed. You can set it up to do any amount as you are led to give.

The second need that we have is transportation. We currently utilize the local taxi and bus system. While public transportation has its benefits, there are times when it is much more difficult to use. Time is valuable. Being able to pick people up at the airport or take a group of people to a ministry project is an area where taxis are not always feasible and sometimes much more costly. We are looking to buy a vehicle that would help us with those transportation needs. The cost of the vehicle would be about $12,000( see picture below-1999 Hyundai-$12000). Any donation to this vehicle project would be a huge blessing to our family and ministry.

It is easy to sign up. All you need to do is to connect with CTEN (our mission agency) and let them know that you want to be a monthly supporter or donate for a car for the Englund Family. CTEN can be reached at the following link… http://tinyurl.com/cuscoscott. You can also reach them by phone at 800-872-5404.

Partnering with you is an honor for us. We are continually blessed when people stand beside us and our mission. Please prayerfully consider joining our ministry.

On another note, we also would like to obtain your physical addresses for communication purposes in the future. We like to send out hard copy newsletters at times. In order for us to do this, we need to have updated information. If you are not currently receiving an actual newsletter in the mail, please send us your current information and we will make sure our records are up to date. Feel free to send your updated info to scott@themeetingplacecusco.com.

May God bless you and prosper you and fill you with an unspeakable joy that never ceases,

The Englund Family

Scott, Teri, Kayle, and Emma