Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kissing Grandma Never Felt So Good!

   With a lot of anticipation, Christmas Eve is here. It has been a fabulous year in so many aspects. As we spend Christmas in Cusco, we want you all to know that we are thinking of you. One of the things we miss the most is being around family and friends for the holidays. This time, it’s us! We are super excited to have that special focused time with the four of us for Christmas. We have been blessed enough at The Meeting Place Café to close the doors for 5 days. This allows our volunteers and paid staff the time off to spend in celebration of our Lord’s birth. It also gives us a few days to relax and enjoy each other.

The Kissing Grandma...she know how to do it!

We were blessed today as Teri had the idea to take some gifts up to the Checca family in the community of Huilkarpay. In case you don’t recall, this is the family of Jason who died of cancer earlier this year. It has been a while since we all had been up there for a visit. Kayle had the chance to see some of the Checca fam the other day, but I had not seen my little buddy Antauro for a long time. We went Christmas shopping for Antauro and Chaska and also bought a traditional panetone(kind of like a fruit cake) for the whole family to share. We then took out for a surprise visit.
Laughing til it hurts!
We showed up to the smiling toothless face of Grandma. She is the most adorable Quechua lady. She can hardly speak a word of Spanish, and zero English…just Quechua. Papito lindo and Mamita Linda is what she calls us. It is the most endearing greeting one can make in her language. She holds her arms out, puts her sun beaten cheek up against ours, and makes the universal kissing noise, while grabbing the side of our heads to hold you tight and close. Kissing Grandma never felt so good!
She cries with joy when we show up. I thought WE were bringing the presents. I left there with a tear in my eye and a fresh understanding of Christmas. It is all about giving.  
The parents were not at home when we arrived. We will certainly go back in a few days to finish our celebration with them. But for now, we left some gifts for them to open tomorrow.
A whole lot of sweet in one picture!
What a refreshing day we’ve had. I am satisfied with Christmas already and its only Christmas eve and the fireworks have not even started. At midnight, you can bet the Englunds will be out watching the zillions of flagrant fireworks shooting all over creation in celebration of the coming of Christ. It is a wonderful way to celebrate. We get to do it tonight.
Chaska and Antauro in front of their house.
As we celebrate, I cannot tell you how thankful we are to so many of you that have allowed us to experience this journey in Peru. We have grown over the past 5 years in so many ways. We miss so many things about being back in the US, but know this is where God has us at the moment. From our family to yours, we wish the most abundant blessings of life and love to shower every part of your lives, so much so that you cannot contain them and they spill out to everyone around you. May God protect you and guide you through the next year. And let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas for next year!
The Englund Family
Scott, Teri, Kayle, and Emma

An old dirty hospital mask gave me a reminder.
On a side note, while I was up at the Checca's home, I was goofing around with Antauro and found this laying on the ground. It made me think of Jason. It was probably one of the dozens of hospital masks that Isabel, Jason's mother, wore on a daily basis. It was laying in the mud. I can imagine that after a long day at the hospital, watching her little Jason wither away from a formidable disease, she tossed it onto the ground in utter fatigue before she went to bed to do again the following morning. She fought a long battle of cancer that eventually took her oldest child away from her arms. Please keep this family in your prayers as it will be the first Christmas without Jason. I sure miss that little guy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Emma Goes to School

    It’s Monday morning as the sun pops up over the Andean ridgeline. The brightness enters the room of my youngest daughter, Emma. With anticipation of the day, she rises to her feet, comes downstairs for a bite to eat, and then prepares for a day at school. 
     Each day is pretty much the same routine. Awake, get hugs from Mom and Dad, breakfast, and then get ready for school. At times, there is a slight change in the routine. However, in Emma’s case, the routine sounds like normal for many kids her age. 
     As she says goodbye to a smiling Mom, Dad, and Sissy, she arrives at school moments later.  She greets the teacher, takes her backpack off, and sits down to begin her day at school. Sounds like the routine of so many kids. However, with Emma, there is always one part of her routine that is her very own. Emma is homeschooled.
     Her imagination has created this world of what she longs for. She walks out our back door with her backpack on only to enter the front door moments later. She doesn’t “go” to school. It is at our house. Her creativity and imagination have developed an imaginary situation that creates a piece of enjoyment.
     Some may say it is make believe. I would say that is exactly what it is. Isn’t our world our perspective of how we see it? Nobody can see it exactly as we do. That is one of the great gifts of creation. We can develop, in our imaginations, a world that is wonderful and full of life, or we can make this place a terrible disaster. 
     What a gift that Emma has to be able to make a new environment out of a situation that she is in. It puts a smile on my face every time I see her do her little act. She can play the part so well. It is like a Hollywood actress that can get into character and create an environment that makes for a great day at school. 
     If I can share with you a thought about this situation, I would have to challenge you to put on your imagination hat and take yourself to a place where your thoughts are encouraging. Take yourself to a place you want to be;  a place where you are important, valued, loved…  A place of normalcy… A place where you can fit in… A place where you can serve... A place where you can be what you were created to be.
     As a person who is generally positive, I sometimes find myself in a routine of negativity. I do it. Nobody helps change my mind; only me. Sometimes, when we need to break free from that negativity, I need a bit of imagination and creativity to walk out the door and come back into a different world. It is a discipline. Practice it and you will have a great tool in your shed to weather storms of negativity and foster the positive side of your life. I believe it is one of the reasons why you were given the gift of choice in the first place. Choose to be positive…Have a great day at school…

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where did October go?

Teri and the girls enjoying the sunshine at Bald Rock

It is always bittersweet to return to the US for a visit. We always enjoy being back home in our culture, but the plethora of emotional ups and downs can wreak havoc on ones mental stability, if one had much to begin with… Regardless, we are back in the Peruvian saddle here in Cusco. Our recent trip to the US was definitely a needed break. Our whole family has been blessed by some of the connections we made during this trip. We got a chance to just relax and have some fun without the pressure of things back in Cusco.
We have been fortunate to have a great young family manage The Meeting Place Café while we were in the US. They took care of the day to day stuff and kept the problems out of our minds. Thanks Matthew and Elisa! You guys are awesome!
The girls love the water...
We got some time with family as well.
Once we landed on US soil, we hit the ground running. We spent some quality time with a new church connection called Bayside. It is a large church in northern California. We participated in two of their events and really got connected with a bunch of adventure lovers in their ranks.  We spent time at a camping retreat in Santa Cruz, took our chances learning to surf, and ate as much sand as anyone could handle. It was a good place to meet some of the people from the Bayside Church. The following week, we prepared for another weekend retreat in Yerington Nevada. This was one of the deciding factors that brought us back for a visit.
The Englund clan exploring a mine shaft via moto
We were invited to come and participate in a dirt bike retreat in the desert.  They didn’t have to twist our arms too far to get us there… Greg and his staff at Bayside Adventure Sports were so welcoming and helpful. They provided motorcycles for our whole family, along with the necessary equipment and things to make it happen. We were able to reach out to a crowd of dirt bike enthusiasts. It was the perfect connection to give MotoMission a good kick start (excuse the pun.) We are consistently trying to build our ministry businesses through our client base as well as our support system which allows us to run the businesses as volunteers. We were successful in every way! To all the Bayside people reading this: Thanks a ton for making us feel so welcome!
During our time in the US, we had the chance to visit with family and a few friends. Our time was pretty full, but it was a good break from our hectic lives in Cusco. For those that we just couldn’t see on this trip, we will catch you on the next one.

Prayer Needs

  •        We had to sell our vehicle just before we returned to the US.  It is extremely difficult to purchase a quality used vehicle in Peru. We thought we were getting something that would work, but had nothing but problems. We decided it was best to cut our losses, and get rid of it before getting stranded again. We need to purchase another one. This time, we would like to stick with a Toyota Landcruiser as there are more parts available and people that know how to fix them. The cost will be quite a bit more, but once we get a good vehicle, we should be able to hang onto it for a while.  Pray that God provides the resources. We would like to purchase a 2007 model which will cost about 23K. We currently have about 10k from the sale of our last vehicle. If anyone would be interested in helping with this ministry need, please contact us via email or Commission to Every Nation, our stateside mission organization at www.cten.org. 
  •         We have a couple of possibilities on management of the café. Please pray that one of the options comes to fruition thus allowing us to move forward on our MotoMission project. 
  •         Please pray for our family as we hop back into the craziness of the ministry here in Peru.  
Thanks again for participating in this crazy ministry with us. You all are so appreciated and we are so blessed to be able to do what we do. Thanks for all of your support.
Scott and Bud Englund-a couple of clowns

In His hands,
The Englund Family

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Blood Said It All...

     The other day while I was riding home in a taxi after a day at the café, I saw something that seemingly reached deep into my chest and ripped my heart away from the arteries and tissue connecting it to my body.
     The taxi slowed as the traffic was being compressed from three lanes down to one. As we arrived at the intersection, with the driver window down, the horrific sound of a sobbing mother entered the cab of the small taxi. My curiosity awakened as the driver began to explain the scene. My eyes moved to the place in the road where the young mother had laid her body over her young child. He had to be no more than 9 years old; Just a little boy. The blood that trickled from his lifeless body where he lay, across the two lanes of traffic, into the gutter on the other side of the avenue, said it all.
There was no pressure or sense of urgency as it was too late. It was just a tragic mistake…one bad choice to step out into traffic. He had probably done that many times before, but this time it was lethal. The mother was unable to protect him.
     This was a harsh reality for me to ponder. Our time is up when our time is up. It really got me thinking about my kids and the number of times I grabbed the back of a backpack, the top of a head, or a lock of hair to pull them back from a dangerous situation. I recalled the time while my daughters and I were out working at one of our projects. My youngest daughter, Emma, ran down the hill onto the dirt road at the bottom without looking. She was within inches of being kissed by the bumper of a Toyota truck. I was no more than fifteen feet from the truck and my precious girl. There was no way for me to protect her.
     I could not imagine the grief of this young mother as she moaned in the middle of traffic. As you go through today, take a bit of extra notice in your life of the miracle of just being where and who you are. Hug your kids extra tight. God did a pretty amazing thing when He created all of this.  Embrace life; Don’t take any of it for granted!

Drug Police-Are You Sure It’s Just Coffee?
Come and get it!
     Our family will be in California for the month of October. We have a couple of ministry connections while we are there. We are also looking forward to taking some time away from the craziness of our lives in Cusco. While we are in the US, we will spend most of our time in Northern California as well as Nevada.
     One thing we typically do when we return is continue to raise support for our ministry and our family. We will be bringing a bunch of coffee(the same stuff we use in our café in Cusco). For a donation of $20 per bag, you could help us with our costs of travel and being in the US. Our coffee is from one of the best coffee growing regions in Peru. You are sure to enjoy it! Send us a reply and include how many bags of coffee you would like. Also, if you would like whole bean or pre-ground. Thanks so much for helping out with our travels.

How Do You Survive?
Just another answer of how we survive
     Often, while I am sharing the vision and mission of our café, The Meeting Place, people ask the question, “How do you survive if you don’t take any of the profits from your business to live?”
This always provides an open door to share our vision, ministry, as well as the reason we do what we do. People are often amazed that there are normal(some might not call us normal) people that are actually Christians. I think it is refreshing for them to see it at work and without a condemning spirit. God calls us to be his sales force by the lives we lead. We ought to make our faith attractive so that others will want it as well. That is how people become connected with Christ. Boring Christians don’t excite anyone.
I wrote this blogpost while staring at this!
     We hope to continue our work here in Cusco. God has given us a great place to minister and work. It is always exciting, full of autonomy, and very rewarding.  We are also blessed to be part of such a great support team that allows us to do what we do. When people ask the question about how we survive without taking profits from the business, I am able to tell them that there is a group of faithful people who believe in the mission of our family and ministry. I also explain that they are part of our team. We cannot live here without their support and they couldn’t reach people in Peru without someone on the ground like our family. Together, we make a great team.
     I cannot remember a day in the café where I have not shared that vision. As missionaries on the field, part of our responsibility is to make sure we can survive financially. We do not receive a salary from a church organization. Raising our own family and ministry support is part of our job as a member of the team.  
     We are always looking to build up our support team with more partners. If you are interested in hearing more about how to partner with us, and we can arrange a time to meet while in town, we would love to connect with you. Just let us know.
You can also join our support team directly by contacting our mission organization, Commission to Every Nation. They can be reached via phone at 800-872-5404 or go on line at www.cten.org/scottenglund. We are so blessed by so many of you. Thanks for keeping us going!

    We hope to see many of you soon. For those that we do not get to visit on this visit, such as our friends in Idaho, we will have to catch you on the next one.
Many Blessings,
The Englund Clan
Cusco, Peru