Furlough 2012 Begins

We are home.  We left Arequipa at 6:30 pm Monday afternoon, and we arrived to my parent's house around 6:30 pm Tuesday afternoon.  Tid-bits from the trip…

  • there was a hoard of people trying to fly stand-by on our flight from Lima to Miami.  If Greg had booked our flight one day earlier, we would have been with them.
  • Cohen ran a fever that we didn't notice until on our way from Arequipa to Lima.  The Lima airport has a pharmacy that sells children's medicine.  Praise God that made him feel better.  Note to self: always pack children's Tylenol in carry-on just in case (I had some packed in our luggage).
  • Except for Cohen (who felt bad and lied there with his eyes open nearly the whole flight), the girls slept the entire two flights (Lima and Miami).
  • our kids were absolute troopers during our 8-hour layover in Miami.  Then they were absolute troopers during our one-hour delay sitting in the plane to go to Nashville.
  • Cohen was DONE when Mom picked us up, but he calmed himself, made the trip home, took a bath, ate a little something, took some medicine, and slept from 7:30 pm to 10 am the next morning!
  • We sat on a small plane from Miami to Nashville.  Guess who flew with us?  15 9-12 year-old Peruvian soccer players on their way to NYC.  None of them knew English.  They couldn't believe they were sitting with Arequipeños.
  • I forgot how delicious yellow squash tastes.
  • The little things: green grass, wide open spaces, driving, Funyuns, Sun-Drop, Colby-Jack cheese slices, sandwich bread, tasty bacon, a pool in the backyard, the farm, grandparents to baby-sit…
  • And we have only just begun.  Thanks for praying for our trip.  More pictures to come.  Farmington now has WiFi!  We are excited to see so many of you.  CL peeps, we will be at church tonight.  Looking forward to seeing so many of you there.  🙂

    the night before we left (la noche antes de salir) They can hardly wait!
    Ana finally got to mark the final day on her count-down calendar.
    We are quite a sight with all our bags. Everyone helped (even Cohen helped by letting me hang our bags on his stroller).
    Good-bye Volcan Misti.
    The McKinzie row
    What Maggie decided to do for part of our Miami layover.
    outside my parents front balcony (oh, how I have missed green Tennessee)
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    Furlough 2012 Begins

    2012 Resolution, Part 4

    Livermore’s third strategy for making a global difference right now is, work it into work.

    This can be very challenging, especially for those jobs that seem to have little to do with the wide world.  Livermore writes, for example, “Some people working in manufacturing jobs might find little satisfaction in their work because they have a hard time seeing how the widget they produce fulfills their priestly calling.”  Global difference aside, many of us find it difficult to make even an immediate difference in our jobs.  A friend of mine in property management once wrote:

    My job is basically to serve the wealthier (or as we have found out in the last couple of years, those with access to a bank or lender’s wealth) and help them make more money off of those who are less wealthy. It’s a passive system of oppression and I’m not unaware that most of our owners are white and most of our tenants are black. Nothing that I do in my job gives me the opportunity to relate to people. They want me to fix their problems or affirm their feelings. Nothing more. Also everyone in my office is a believer.

    This might represent opportunity to work for reform, or it might be an intractable situation.  But assuming the best case scenario, even Livermore’s advice has a very local orientation.

    There are countless other ways Christians can live out Christ’s presence in the world through the work they do. There are lawyers doing pro bono defense work for those unable to afford it, politicians working for legislation that brings about redemptive change in cities and nations, and pilots safely transporting people from one side of the world to the other. There are third-shift factory workers who make parts of gadgets that make our lives safer, and while they work, they relate graciously with their immigrant coworkers. There are retail associates dealing with cantankerous customers in ways that embody the grace of Jesus, and baristas who serve people with a smile and use their coffee shop as a platform for advocacy. Construction workers are taking into account how they care for the environment and fixing the homes of people in need. Military personnel, police officers, and firefighters are protecting us, farmers are feeding us, and truck drivers are getting goods to people near and far. Meanwhile many stay-at-home parents are working for love, sometimes only for love. Look around you for creative ways to connect your global concerns with your work!

    That last sentence seems disconnected from much of what the rest of the paragraph mentions.  How does pro bono legal defense, kindness to customers, or stay-at-home parenting relate to global issues?  All of those things are good and necessary, but how does Livermore make the leap from local to global in such scenarios?  If I’m doing something thoroughly local, the advice to look for creative ways to connect my global concern to that work can be a little frustrating.

    To be fair to Livermore, a number of the subsequent chapters aim to make suggestions for specific fields of work.  Yet, the real issue is about perspective.  We need a global perspective on our local work in order to see the importance of doing that local work rightly.  The connection between the global and the local generated one of those bizarre new words that is utilitarian rather than elegant: glocal (from global-local).  This word is the symbol of the realization that the world is more powerfully integrated than ever before.  I’ve written about this here if you are interested in further explanation.

    The point being, the first step of working it into work is to change your outlook on your local impact. There may be overt ways to make a global difference from your job, but even if not, the opposite of overt is not imaginary but covert—hidden.  We need to begin discerning the truth about our glocal lives.  When we do, we see how our connection to the rest of the world means that doing our work excellently and righteously reverberates globally.  As an individual, that may realistically be the tiniest of tremors, but as an intentional Christian community, those collective tremors build momentum.  In addition to discerning the glocal aspect of your life, therefore, I also think refusing to see your work individualistically is indispensable.  Every one of us needs a community with a missional outlook.

    Some might have the impression that my job as a cross-cultural missionary is easier when it comes to working it into work.  Foreign mission work appears to be “making a global difference” by definition.  Yet, the reality is that we are as focused locally as the next church.  Sure, as an American I’m attempting to make an impact in Peru.  But as a minister, I’m trying to disciple and serve those around me.  It’s very easy to keep my head down and fail to look up at the global horizon.  For me, working it into work means fostering a glocal perspective and making sure that the Christian community understands how “spurring each other on” is about the world rather than just the individual.  Hopefully that will result in the Peruvian church sending missionaries out as well, but just as importantly, is should result in every Christian looking for those creative ways to make a tremor.

    2012 Resolution, Part 4

    CT—16 months

    I am getting this post in before the week gets away from me.  We will be in the Lima airport awaiting our flight to the US one week from NOW.  Cohen, here are a few new things about you, little one:

    1.  You love to fist bump. Tonight, you actually blew a kiss that ended in a fist bump.  I thought that was pretty manly of you.

    2.  “Hola!” is still your word. And you know exactly when to say it.  I need to get you on camera when you wave.  It always makes me laugh.

    3.  You dance.  You are an Arequipeño after all.  We went to Jose Luis and Miriam’s wedding.  It was late, and you were half out-of-it sitting with Daddy.  At around 9:30 pm, you decided to get up, walk out to the middel of the empty dance floor, and show every your moves.  You like to bounce up and down bending your legs, you like flap your arms in the air really fast, and you like to turn in circles.  It didn’t take long before the bride picked you up and then later, Jose Luis.

    4.  I was Skyping tonight and heard you in the kitchen.  I stopped my session, walked in the kitchen, and found that you had discovered my big oatmeal container.  You had dumped it all over your head and into the floor.  When I say that you are a mess.  I mean it with all my heart.

    5.  You LOVE bath time (when they don’t turn off our water).  I say, “you want to go to the bath?” and there you go walking straight to the bathroom.  You know. You are full of personality, and that has certainly come through this month.  I am loving it, but you are most definitely… ALL BOY!

    You have loved mandarin orange season this month.
    a place to lay your head, your paci, and your monkey make for a quiet, still Cohen
    dancing is a new thing for you this month
    CT—16 months

    A Big Fat Highlights Post 2012

    I love to blog.  I love to journal, and I have loved the venue of using our family blog to document special things in our lives that I will want to look back on and remember.  This year, because of several factors, I have not had the time or energy to blog like I want.  So today I decided to sit down (almost one week from our furlough departure date) and document some things with pictures.  We have two collage posters hanging in our living room of the first two years we were here in Peru.  I just recently ordered 2 more– TWO MORE.  We are coming up on four years in the field.  On one hand I can't believe it, and on the other hand it seems like we have been here forever.  Anyway, “home” is definitely Arequipa for our family of five, and here are some highlights from this past year.  I won't cover all of them, but there are several that I know I have failed to mention in other posts…

    Emilio with our two families

    We had a dream as a team to start an NGO here in Arequipa.  We joked about opening a cafe.  Well, both of those came true this year.  Emilio is our only full-time employee for the cafe.  He is the first contact we made in Arequipa on one of our survey trips here.  I can't get over how neat that is.  The cafe has done well.  Our NGO office and meeting area sit above it.  It is hard to believe that this dream became reality.  Many of you will be receiving Cafe Connection coffee very soon…

    Greg eating Adobo with some of the group

    Last year we hosted our first medical campaign.  This year, a group of engineers from my home church came to install solar panels.  Mark and Joel are on our support team.  David is the overseeing elder for our Peru work.  It was a fantastic campaign filled with multiple opportunities for our work here.  I am so proud to call these guys friends and fellow laborers for the work here in Arequipa.  What a blessing to have had these guys in our lives!  We can't wait to see them in a couple weeks.

    Ibon, Paty, and me

    Over the past two years, I feel that God has blessed me so much with opportunities to share my faith in Spanish.  It has been a stretching experience.  My Spanish is still lacking in many areas, but it hasn't stopped the Spirit from using me and opening doors to sharing my faith.  This is Ibon and Paty.  Paty is my Christian sister and fellow CUDA worker (for the micro-finance project).  Ibon is her sister-in-law.  I had the opportunity to gift Ibon with Jesus Calling during a very difficult time in her life.  Little did I know, but it opened the door for having a weekly study with her.  Ibon is such a sincere, real person.  She bakes for the cafe, and something we have in common is that we are far from family.  Her daughter works abroad, and of course, my family is not here.  We joke about being “adopted” Mom and daughter.  We are going through the book of Mark rediscovering “Who Is Jesus.”  It is my first evangelistic study in all-Spanish, and I love having the support of Paty right there with me.  I love my time with these ladies.  What a blessing they have been to me.

    Miriam and Jose Luis

    Jose Luis was the first baptized Christian in our group.  This year, he has courted a very lovely lady named Miriam.  Greg baptized Miriam this past June, and Jose Luis and Miriam will wed this Saturday.  Miriam just moved, officially, to Arequipa.  I am very excited to get to know her sweet spirit better.  I love Jose Luis, and I am confident that this marriage is a good thing for his life.  He is a leader, and we pray to see his leadership alongside of Miriam for the Peruvian church in the near future.  Ana is a flower girl in their wedding and is beyond excited.  I will be sure to post pictures of their wedding.

    some of the teachers and directors in our library program

    The biggest change for me this year is the opportunity to invest time in teaching.  Obviously, I have a passion for it since it was my career choice since middle school.  But this year, I am a little bit freer with my time since Cohen is older and the girls are both in school.  Manuela keeps Cohen and cooks lunch on my designated work library day, Thursday.  I visit three classes, model reading comprehension strategies, and work on other things for the program.  The Living Library program has changed so much in this past year for the good.  I am so excited about the potential it has for the future.  Nadia, my dear friend, has agreed to work in my place during the two months I am gone.  I have been so blessed by the group of teachers and directors that I serve.  I have several opportunities to speak on behalf of the library program this furlough, and I am excited to see what comes from those opportunities.

    Areli and Etelvina

    Etelvina has been a special person to us for quite some time.  She attended a Bible study that Greg hosted in one of our original community libraries, and she came to faith in that study.  Well in this year, I have been blessed beyond measure to get to know her daughter, Areli.  Areli is fun, bubbly, intelligent, and servant-hearted.  After meeting her and seeing her a few times, we just clicked– like friends do.  I love having a Peruvian friend to hang-out with and laugh with.  I would consider Nadia and Areli to be my closest Peruvian girlfriends here for sure, and that is a blessing to have.  In this last month, Areli expressed interest in studying one-on-one with me.  We finished Mark 9 yesterday, and I am excited to continue our study when I return from furlough.  She has become so special to me and my family (my girls LOVE her).  Such a blessing to my life.

    my visit to the states in May

    A reality that struck me this year is the distance I am from family when I desire a quick trip home. My granny, one of my heroes, got very sick this year.  She got to such a low that my father didn't know if she would make it to my furlough trip.  I surprised her by flying in with Cohen, and we stayed the week.  What a wonderful visit we had.  I am beyond blessed to say that she is doing a little better now, and we are SO EXCITED to see Granny AND Granddad when we fly home as an entire family.  The last time Granny and Granddad saw Maggie, she couldn't walk or talk.  Lots has changed, and I so look forward to spending lots of quality time with them.

    my hunk of burning love turned 30 (so did I)

    Greg and I both said good-bye to our twenties this year.  For his birthday, I wanted to something a little more special.  He requested a dessert party.  After two days of baking (which I happen to love, especially when it is for him), I created quite a buffet of desserts.  It was a lot of fun and we are both officially old.  🙂

    our fantastic group of interns learning to bake empanadas with Ibon

    We love intern time, and this year we had a blast.  Taylor, Ann, and Emily lived with us– sweet girls.  It is a busy two months, but I always miss them when they leave, and we create so many fun memories while they are here.  My kids love having them around as well.  I am excited that we will get to meet up with all of them during furlough.  We are visiting both Searcy and Abilene on our trip.

    Women's Retiro 2012

    The past two internships the girls have hosted a women's event.  This year we had a retreat in a beautiful park.  It was so much fun and such a wonderful way for the Peruvian women to grow closer together.  I am already looking forward to our next outing!

    the moment after Nadia's baptism

    This can be one of the highlights of my entire time here in Arequipa!  Nadia and I have been studying together (what started as a conversational English lesson for her) since last November.  This July, she took the plunge, and became new in Christ.  What a beautiful day it was for me.  It is my first evangelistic Bible study to do completely with someone on my own.  I am indebted to the one that discipled me in how I lead a study, Greg.  We team-baptized her which I will always cherish.  Nadia is such a dear friend to me, and I am blessed beyond words to call her sister now.  God be glorified!

    Well, there you go.  Quite a few highlights.  Mission accomplished.  I feel like I can mark that one off the list of “things to complete before leaving for furlough.”  🙂

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    A Big Fat Highlights Post 2012

    MK 3—years old


    Maggie Kate, what a joy you have brought to our family, our middle child. I am so late documenting this milestone. You are the one that always gets to invite all the interns to your birthday party. I have plenty of pictures to post from your party, but I wanted to record a few things about you at this stage of life.
    1. You are our “payasa” or “clown.” You love to goof off and get people to laugh at you. You are sooooo silly, and you get such a kick out of making people laugh.

    acting silly in the tub

    2. You are super social. I thought Ana was social, and then you came along. Half the time, I think you are trying to make life “your own” because you want to be something apart from Ana. You show a lot of independence with this attitude, and sometimes it gets you in trouble.
    3. Your love language is affection. You want to be held and cuddled. When you get in trouble you will repeat that you are sorry over and over again until we give you some affectionate affirmation that things are okay.
    4. You love school (this has been your first year). And your Spanish is coming along just like your sister’s did. I love hearing you talk in Spanish with the Peruvians, and I especially love hearing you pronounce a word with your Spanish accent.
    5. When putting you to bed, you ALWAYS need a “big” hug and a “big” kiss. If I don’t master these two actions, you will pester me until I do.
    6. You love singing a song from one of our Barbie movies. You walk around the house humming it at the top of your lungs.
    7. Something I wish I had on video is of you and your sister reenacting The Little Mermaid. Your sister started singing Ariel’s song, and you came in with a big, deep voice and said, “Sing for me!” You then proceeded to use your hands to motion the voice out of Ana. You crack me up!

    the two of you have had several “weddings” also

    8. You tell everyone (even Daddy) in our family, “You’re pretty!” You love to tell us that to make us feel good.
    9. You have a blast with your sister, but you also share your fights. I love seeing the two of you grow up as close sisters, though. You are so sweet to each other most of the time.

    10. I would say Cora Smith is your BFF in this stage of life.

    11. When you are in trouble, I will many times refer to you as “Maggie Kate McKinzie.” It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, then, that when you really want my attention you say, “Momma Kate McKinzie!!!” Classic. It makes me laugh every.single.time.
    12. You wanted a “Booty and the Beast” birthday party.
    13. You are so excited about our trip to the US. You don’t remember the last time we visited, so we are excited to see your reaction to so many new things when we go.
    We love you, Maggie. You are full of expression, full of love, and full of life. Our prayer for you is that you grow into a beautiful woman of the Lord one day. His richest blessings are upon us in giving you to our family!
    And now, pictures of your party…

    my attempt at a homemade Beauty and the Beast cake
    look how much you have grown!
    Taylor was so sweet to dress up as Belle for the party
    your meal choice– you love pizza.
    you with our sweet neighbors, Nadia and Anita
    and with Areli and “Vina” (what you used to call Etelvina)
    our fun game so that everyone could be “Beauty”
    you and Taylor danced it up as the “Belle’s” of the Ball
    padrinos
    you got your first Barbie (from Areli) and were elated
    Momma and Daddy got you Belle, from the Disney Animators Collection
    all those silly interns posing as the characters from the movie. What fun!

    To see ALL of the pix from the party, click here.

    MK 3—years old

    CT—15 going on 16 months

    I hate when I miss the month on the mark, but with child #3 and busyness, it happens. Cohen went through a period while the interns were here of having really whiney periods in the day. When some teeth finally pushed through, he was fine. He has been so much fun lately. Cohen, I want to record some things to remember about you before we leave for furlough…

    1. You learned how to open the gate on your bed. You learned the hard way, as in “hard” floor. So I pushed you babybed against your closet (the only place I could) so that you won’t fall out. The plus is that you stay in the bed. The negative is that we get to wake up every morning to you banging your closet doors open and close.

    2. I have taken you to get your hair cut THREE times. It seems to grow so fast, and it has the thickness of Ana’s hair. You HATE it. I hold you down on my chest and pray to God that the hairdresser doesn’t cut your head. This last time that we went, I told the lady to cut it short. She asked, “Cero?” I responded yes, and learned that “cero” means “no hair.” Maggie looked at you and told me, “Momma, I don’t like Cohen’s hair. He doesn’t have any hair.” Also, this haircut was Maggie’s first visit for her haircut. She was scared to death to have her hair cut after you went with all your dramatic effects.

    3. You play independently so well. If there is something for you to get into, explore, empty, you will entertain yourself. It certainly keeps us on our toes. I will work upstairs, close off the bathroom doors and my bedroom door, and you will entertain yourself a good 45 minutes. It buys me time even if I have to clean up a big mess after you. 🙂

    4. You have a new found love for climbing the steps. I allow you to climb them when I am behind you, but those baby gates are greatly needed. You haven’t figured out how to come down yet.

    5. You can now climb up on the couch. But you still don’t know how to come down.

    6. Your new word right now is “Hola!” You say it to everyone we pass if you think you are supposed to. You also wave using the “mas o menos” hand motion. I will see you waving when someone across the store catches your eye. You are quite social in this regard.

    7. You LOVE
    “Ella.” She takes care of you every Thursday when I am doing the library work, and you go to her with no problem. It is not uncommon to hear you calling for Manuela from your bedroom after a nap if you think she will come get you (even though she might not even be in the house).

    8. You love to say “Uh-Ohhh.” We smack your hand when you throw your food off the tray or launch your cup across the floor.

    9. You are so sweet. You pat the baby dolls or stuffed animals, and when you want to “give us a hug” you walk over and lay your head down on our lap. It is so sweet. You will lie your head on my shoulder and pat my back. Sweetest moments right there.

    10. You have this terrible habit of scratching your back and front around the collar when you are mad, tired, or frustrated. I am unsure how to cure you of that one.

    11. You blow kisses with the best of them. When you are ready for bed, you blow a kiss to communicate it.

    12. You are so tall! I need to take you to the doctor soon to see just how much you weigh. You are a load to carry around.

    13. You have discovered how to stick out your tongue and make a funny sound. You also love to play peek-a-boo. You place your hands in your eyes, and say, “Bee-bye!” You also love to applaud and dance.

    pre-haircut. You can eat your weight in strawberries, watermelon, and mandarin oranges.
    you love being “part of the gang”
    You love playing in the ball pit at City Toys
    you have no issues with climbing through tunnels
    Yes, you would think it would be the other way around, but I think you might outweigh your sister.
    “My-Bowl!” This is a new favorite word of yours for “ball.”
    you LOVE bath time. And washing your hair is nothing now! 😉
    you love talking on your phone. “Hola!”
    what you do best: getting into things (ex. my pantry) that you aren’t supposed to
    CT—15 going on 16 months

    Bruschetta Pizza

    Thinking of summer still!  What a great use of fresh tomatoes and basil.  This recipe was found in my Taste of Home June/July 2009 magazine.  It was a hit for everyone.  Greg loves his pizza sauce.  He warned me that he might not like it because there was no sauce.  Well, he liked it!  Score.  This recipe will definitely stay in my rotation of pizzas and calzones.  It was also super easy and fast to put together.

    Bruschetta Pizza

    PREP: 25 minutes  BAKE: 10 minutes  YIELD: 8 slices

    • 1/2 pound reduced fat bulk pork sausage (or chorizo argentino here in Peru)
    • 1 prebaked Italian bread shell crust
    • 1 pkg sliced turkey pepperoni
    • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1-1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
    • 1/2 c sliced basil leaves
    • 1 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 Tbs sugar
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/8 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • Additional fresh basil leaves, optional

    In a small skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet.  Top with pepperoni, sausage and cheese.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, sliced basil, oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Spoon over the pizza.  Garnish with the basil if desired.

    It is also super easy to put the tomato mixture on just one side for those that don't care for it…

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    Bruschetta Pizza