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 CafĂ© 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!