Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is that a nipple stuck to my ribs?



It was a Saturday at the market, when my wife stopped by to pick up some meat for the week. As she strolled through the dozens of tables riddled with every conceivable animal part, she began to rethink the idea of buying meat late in the day. How long has this stuff been lying out on these tables?
Everything from lamb hooves to bovine heads and fish extremities to llama fetuses can be found. One can buy every weird thing imaginable. However, my wife only wanted to purchase some pork ribs. Should be easy enough…
As she approached the table where there appeared to be a plethora of pork parts, she casually commenced a conversation with the lady behind the table. “I would like some ribs.”
“How much would you like?” The lady said.
Teri responded, “I’m not sure how they come.”
The lady responded as most non-service minded shop operators in Peru respond, “how much do you want?”
Teri could tell that the lady was not going to be very helpful. So with a bit of coercion, Teri was able to get the lady to show an example of something. From there, Teri was able to steer the lady down a path to provide Teri with some items.
It was about this moment that the story took a strange twist. Teri, of course, only wanted to pay for the ribs. However, somewhere during the exchange, the lady ended up cutting off a chunk of ribs along with a good assortment of undesired and unnegotiated attachments.
Teri learned a lesson…again…Never assume that the clerk put the items that you desire in the bag. In Peru, this is like learning to breath. Without it, failure will always ensue. Check everything…Well, it didn’t get checked until it was time to get the ribs ready for dinner.
To Teri’s surprise, inside the bag was something out of the ordinary. It was something that a typical American shopper would never get a chance to see. It was something that is usually removed from the perfect cuts that are on display for the customer…It was extra weight and no one knows why the lady failed to remove everything but the ribs.
As Teri laid the slab of pork flesh and bones on the counter, laying there before her was the underbelly of a pig. Complete with a large amount of skin, belly hair, and interestingly enough, a fair set of nipples.
There is nothing more exciting than having a mad woman in the kitchen with a knife in her hand, growling with frustration, asking the rhetorical question, “That lady charged me for this?”
At that very moment, Teri also realized that she had to do something with the hairy nipples, skin, and extra fat. So it was with each slice of the knife, that her frustration grew. Each nipple represented more anger towards the lady that knowingly sold the extra parts at the high price of ribs.
It is not something that you can take back. That concept does not work in Peru: Buyer beware is the mantra.
So as we approach the holiday season, I wanted to give you all some advice on holiday shopping:
If you don’t pay attention, you might be surprised at what is sticking to your ribs.

Friday, November 2, 2012

It came back...



It was not a pleasant email to read. It started off with “I am afraid I have some bad news,” the email continued from Dr. Pelo. There have been some recent findings in the medical situation of Jason that have set us back with his treatment. If I understand it all correctly, Jason has had a relapse of one type of leukemia. This is a relapse of the type of cancer that he had a few years back. They had found some inconsistencies with some of the symptoms. It made no sense that he would have cancer in his testicles with the AML leukemia. When Jason went to Lima, the doctors there were building the case of all his treatment, symptoms, and his current status. They found out that there is more to the case than what was originally sent in the file. With a number of new tests, it is confirmed that Jason now needs to run through another round of treatment to make sure the relapsed leukemia is eradicated. If it is not completed removed from his body, the bone marrow transplant will not work. Sort of like taking your antibiotics for half of the cycle and having the infection come back to get you.
At this point, his transplant in up in the air.  We have no date, but God willing, this current round of treatment will be successful and the transplant will take place in the coming month. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Please keep Jason and his family in your prayers. This kid is going through some trials. I am still convinced that if anyone will make it, Jason will.
Also, I want to thank those of you that have been helping out with some of the costs for Jason. When I have more information on Jason's status and the current needs for treatment, I will be sure to fill you all in. Thanks so much for your prayers and support for Jason…It is truly appreciated and is a huge blessing for this family. Until next time…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Englund Homecoming 2012



The Englund's are coming back to the US
We are excited to announce that our family is going to return to the US for a visit in November and December. It is time to reconnect with many of you that we have missed over the time we have been here in Peru. We look forward to seeing many of you while we are visiting in the Oroville, California and Treasure Valley, Idaho areas.  If any of you would like to connect with us, please let us know and we will try to make it work. Just let us know.
We would also like to ask for your help. We are bringing some organic Peruvian coffee, the same stuff we serve in The Meeting Place CafĂ© in Cusco. For a suggested donation of $20 per bag, you can have a ½ kilo bag (1.1 lbs). This will help offset some of the cost of travel for our family of four. You can do all of your Christmas shopping and support our ministry and family at the same time. Send me an email, and let me know if you want whole bean or ground, and how many bags. We will be bringing plenty of coffee for all, so don’t be bashful. We will either deliver it in person or send it to you via post office. We will be in Northern CA and Nampa Idaho, so if you are outside of these areas, please add a few bucks for shipping.
Thanks in advance for helping out our cause!

Update on Jason
Jason continues to work towards the ultimate goal of having a bone marrow transplant by the end of October. The doctors have been putting all the information together to make sure they have a clear and concise picture of his past treatment as well as make sure his current status is at a level where he is able to undergo such an operation. He recently completed an operation to irradiate his testicles as there was a cancer tumor present. It was a success, but there are many more appointments and tests in Jason’s future. We are still waiting on the masses of paperwork and items to line up in order to get the green light. Please keep Jason, his little brother Antauro (the donor) and the rest of the family in your prayers. There are still a ton of hurdles to overcome. We are still raising funds for the costs associated with the transplant. If you are interested in joining in to help, you can send tax deductible funds directly to Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene and they will help us with administering the money to cover the various parts of the treatment. They have graciously agreed to help with the process of donations. Please make sure that you write Jason in Peru on the memo line on the check. The address is:
WVCN-Missions
601 State Route 94 North
Warwick, NY 10990
If you want to make other donations and need help, please respond back to Scott at scott@themeetingplacecusco.com.

As we wind down the year, we are excited to be coming home. However, there are a ton of details that need to be done before we jump on a plane. Please keep us in your prayers as a family. Also, please pray for our ministry stuff here while we are away. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jason Heading to the Unknown


Checca! Checca! Checca! This was the chant of the entourage of young classmates of Jason. Screaming,  hands in the air, tightly surrounding Jason with a unison jump as if in a high energy concert. Smiles engraced the face of the 10 year old kid who was just on his way to the airport for a journey to a place far away.
Together again for a moment
The Community Meeting at the Jardin

It was Jason’s first trip to Lima. It was his first time on an airplane. In fact, it was the start of a journey of many firsts. In a taxi, leaving his one room adobe home in Huilkarpay, Jason, his family, and my lovely wife headed down the dusty road that weaves through about 13 houses to reach the center of the community. There, is the jardin. It is a community building where the neighbors had gathered for a meeting. Jason wanted to say goodbye one last chance before his 4-7 month journey to the unknown. What he encountered was an encouragement of colossal sorts.
Happy to spend some time with big bro! Jason,Chaska, and Antauro
As Jason jumped out of the car, into the crowd of familiar faces of his neighbors, he began hugging and high fiving like no other. It was a welcome home, but also another goodbye. He had been in the hospital for 7 months. He was released just the night before. Many had not heard that he was in town. It did not matter. He headed straight into the meeting and let the people know that they were missed. Jason has spent his life in the “campo,” and now he had returned to spend one night with his family in their humble home. Now he was off to the big city of Lima. Boy, was he in for an eye opener.
During the goodbyes at the Jardin, the vecinos (neighbors) passed a hat around and filled it with a solid sum of cash. This was a huge blessing as the family has next to nothing with regards to financial resources. They were heading into the abyss of Lima where things cost a lot, getting around is unknown, and places to shop economically are outside their realm of knowledge.  It was a great encouragement for Jason and his mother Isabel. Who knew that people would come together like that and do such an incredible thing? If you ever have given up on humanity, this was a moment to bring you back to having faith in people.
This is how we roll...when we travel that is...
After the hellos and goodbyes were all had, the patient taxi driver that was coming just to pick up and return finally got to head down the road toward the airport. It was there that another detour was in the works. Isabel had planned a few things before leaving town. One was to swing by the school of Chaska, the only daughter in the family. This school was also where Jason had attended when he was able. However, for 7 months, he had not shown his face. Upon his arrival, the students were in formation on the large asphalt field in their respective classes. They got a chance to have Jason come up in front and say a few words. It was great for Jason to see his classmates.  The director of the school said a prayer for Jason and let him know that he was in their thoughts and future prayers.
Jason and the mob of his friends
From there, it went crazy…The boys were released from their formation, rushed Jason with enthusiasm, and began chanting the last name of Jason in a wild form of energy. Checca! Checca! Checca! They shouted in unison as they bounced up and down. With little frail Jason in the middle of the madness, it was utter chaos. However, it was good for him to feel the love of his classmates and friends. I am convinced that there is a type of medicine that beats science. It is just what Jason was prescribed for the day.
At the end of the mayhem, there was a part of the day that just iced the cake. The boys began passing around Jason’s hat. One by one, classmates began filling it up with their bus money, lunch money, or anything they had in the bottom of their pockets. They dug deep. It was quite an ordeal. Jason had been treated with the best medicine available;Love.
So the story continues. As Teri had been preparing Jason and Isabel for travel, she quickly realized that they were not prepared for the big city. One set of clothes for each, shoes without laces for Jason (he had grown out of his shoes in the time at the hospital), and they were carrying around a baseball hat full of money with no wallet or purse. Teri took the family to the local market. It was there that she was able to outfit Jason and Isabel for their trip; Shoes for Jason and a purse for Isabel. A funny thing happenedat the market. Isabel is a very Peruvian Peruvian. She is straight out of the movies. She wears typical clothing, meaning the stuff that is weaved from alpaca, dyed with plants, and sewn by hand. Not the typical stuff you find at the market. Teri had a hard time finding what would work for Isabel. She was able to make due with a few things, but it was a tough situation. After a little time shopping, Teri was able to take the family out to lunch. It was there that they insisted on paying for lunch. Teri obliged and ate at a little hole in the wall place near the market. Then it was off to the airport.
It was a new place for Jason and the family; The airport. Never had they had a reason to go to the airport. They had lived just up the hill where they could watch and hear every airplane that enters Cusco, yet they had never stepped foot inside the airport. Literally walking by the airport hundreds of times to get to school, Jason was finally going to, in his words, “the place where the gringos go to travel.”
It was there that the goodbyes were said, pictures taken, and anxious kids smashing their faces against the glass to get a closer look at the enormous flying machine that stands still just meters from the glass viewing area. It was a first for sure.
Jason's first view of the ocean
Through security, Teri, Jason, and Isabel went. Leaving the father, and the siblings, it was a moment that would forever be carved into their memories. Jason is on a journey with no end date. He will come back as a healed kid, if all goes well and as planned.  For this day to arrive, the mounds of paperwork, politics, and finances had to all come together. This is just the beginning of the end. Off to the big city, Teri, Jason, and Isabel went… Into the unknown… Into the hands of their creator.  May God bless Jason’s journey. Now would be a great time to pray…

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jason Has left the Hospital



Cuando vamos a jugar? When are we gonna play? These words from an excited little Jason just filled my ears with jubilee. I just got off the phone with Jason. He is at the hospital with Teri finalizing the paperwork for his trip to Lima tomorrow.
It is with great delight and joy that I write. Jason has been in the hospital now for about 7 months and has left for about an hour during that time. I am happy to tell you that he is going to spend the night with his family in their own home. Teri and the mom packed up all their things that they had at the hospital and hauled it to their house in Huilkarpay.
Tomorrow the journey to Lima starts. It is the first time to Lima for the Jason or his mother. They are out of their league for sure. Teri has been working on the details of which are far from abundant. In fact, there is hardly any information about the place where they may or may not be staying, whether there is any type of furniture, bedding, cooking facilities, or anything for that matter. Teri is going into this with an open mind. She is ready to help them with getting settled into the big city. She has two days to accomplish the task. I must say I am a bit jealous that she gets to go with them. She deserves the blessing more than anyone. I am so blessed to see my amazing wife just dive into the life of this kid and his family. Tearing up as I write.
The situation is this: Jason heads to Lima tomorrow to have an operation to remove his testicles. They have been damaged beyond repair from the chemotherapy. Once he recovers from that, he will be run through a barrage of tests that need to be done before the bone marrow transplant. In the meantime, the doctors are working to secure the location of the BMT. It is almost for sure to be in Santiago, Chile. Jason will be in Lima for about 3-5 weeks. Sometime during this period, Antauro, Jason’s little brother and bone marrow donor, will need to meet up with the doctors in Lima. From, there they all will be heading to the BMT center. That is what the scenario looks like at this moment.
I am super excited to see this thing moving forward. As many of you have been following this story, you know that this has been a wild ride. I beg you to continue to keep Jason and his family in your prayers. We are not out of the woods yet. We still do not have a total number for the costs of the process, but it looks like it may be around $30,000 US dollars.  We are scrounging up resources from everywhere. I know that God will provide.  If you would like to chip in to support this little guy and his family, you can send tax deductable donations to Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene-Missions. They have graciously agreed to help with the process of donations. Please make sure that you write Jason in Peru on the memo line on the check. The address is:
WVCN-Missions
601 State Route 94 North
Warwick, NY 10990
If you want to make other donations and need help, please respond back to scott at scott@themeetingplacecusco.com.
Thanks in advance for your prayers and financial support. More updates to come…
Scott

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Jean Pierre and Jason




Emma and Jean Pierre
It is with a sad heart and reality streaming through my thoughts as I tell Jean Pierre, feliz cumpleanos. It may be his last. He is one of the kids in the leukemia ward that is fighting for life. He is thin. In fact, when I was a kid, I watched Sally Struthers on the TV asking for donations to help starving African kids. Those images of malnourished children are brought back as I see the bony structure of Jean Pierre. He may not make it to his next birthday…rough reality.
As Teri packs up each week for her visits to the hospital, I know it must be going through her mind as well. In fact, we have talked about the urgency that she feels when she says good bye. It may not happen again.  It makes one think a bit differently about how to say good bye.
Well, it was his birthday, so we celebrated his life. He still has a smile. He still has life. He can still blow out his candle and eat the cake. So we did. It was a fantastic day of blowing bubbles, playing games, and celebrating Jean Pierre.  As you pray, lift this young kid up. He is struggling through something I cannot even imagine. He is doing it with resolve, but it is tough. In fact there is a handful of kids here in the Hospital Antonio Lorena that need prayer.  Feel free to pray for them by name. Luciana, Jean Pierre, Michael (just went back home), Kelli, Jason, Juan Daniel, and Felicitades. There are more that come and go as they finish treatment or are between certain types of medications. However, they all need your prayer. Also, please pray for my lovely wife that is pouring her life into these kids. She loves it, but it is not easy.
Never short of a smile!
Kelli and Emma
As for Jason, he just recently had a birthday. He is looking forward to his next. It looks a lot more likely than Jean Pierre. However, Jason has a lot of hills to climb in the coming months. Regardless of the future, we were able to celebrate Jason’s birthday with lots of excitement. My wife Teri grew up in a home where birthdays were really celebrated. Needless to say, she can pull out the stops for birthdays!
Jason and His Mother
Sweet Luciana
While at the hospital, the kids got a little too wild and got busted by the head doctor. Apparently we all were not acting like we should in a hospital. Not to worry…She has no idea what kind of medicine laughter and fun really are. It is just what these kids need and want. That is what Teri was able to bring to the table. Bubbles with Ninja Jason trying to karate chop each one before they explode on the cold dry floor. Some of the parents joined in the festivities with a game of volleyball with balloons over the steel partition for the rooms. It went on and on…Then it was time for the cake. Tradition has it that the song “ Happy Birthday” is sung in English. Not sure what form of English they were using, but it had a slight resemblance to the one we sing in the US. After the song, then the candle gets blown out, then the face of the birthday boy gets gently shoved into the cake. Like clockwork. It was great to see the smiles. Happy Birthday Jason and Jean Pierre. I pray and wish many more in the future for you both!