Wednesday, September 26, 2007

new life

school parties.

costume parties.

flower stands.

streets filled with people all carrying brightly colored bouquets.

sounds like valentine's day. easter, maybe.

but what i witnessed last week around the city was the welcoming of spring. september 21st is the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. and it's a big deal here in buenos aires. i've never lived anywhere where the seasons are so marked. (remember, i grew up in sunny southern california, where the seasons go from hot, to warm, to a-wee-bit-chilly and back to warm.)

the coming of spring also seemed more pronounced this year because it was an exceptionally long, cold winter. it actually snowed in july! the first snowfall since 1918- almost 90 years ago.

while the temperatures are still resisting to climb. and we've not yet put away our hats and scarves, spring is in the air. and the anticipation of warmer weather, and new life is palpable.

i love how Carla Mae Streeter describes the coming of spring in her book Seasons of the Soul,

once the light returns and the ice melts... nature begins to stir, like some sleeper taking a stretch. spring can't come fast enough it seems.

and so even in my own little patio garden, i can see these signs of spring. and i'm reminded of the promise of transformation and the promise of new life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

earthquake in peru

my journey with word made flesh began nine years ago this month. many of you have also been walking alongside me for just that long. it was in september of 1998 that walter and i moved to lima. while we have since relocated to buenos aires, my life has undoubtedly been shaped by those initial years in peru. those experiences and friendships are a part of who i am today. in the days following the earthquake in peru, many of you expressed concern for our friends there. as an update, i would now love to share with you a letter written by the wmf lima community.

Dear friends,

We are writing this letter in the wake of the earthquake that shook Peru on August 15th. As many of you know, the aftermath of this earthquake found more than 500 confirmed dead, thousands injured, and tens of thousands affected and homeless. As you read this, relief efforts are continuing amid concerns of a coming health crisis due to decaying bodies, lack of drinkable water and the effects of cold weather on already traumatized people; everyone in Peru is affected by the earthquake in some way. All of WMF Peru’s staff, board, and volunteers are safe; no family has lost anyone. As far as our friends among whom we minister, many whose extended families from the provinces directly affected by the earthquake, information about their families is still forthcoming due to poor communication.

The Peruvian government, along with many secular and Christian NGOs and churches are responding to the immediate and long-term needs of the affected. There are dozens of major donation centers around Lima, administered by the Peruvian national army, receiving everything from water bottles to blankets to kid’s toys. The Red Cross is receiving blood donations daily from people in solidarity with the wounded, while the Peruvian as well as foreign governments, the UN and organizations like World Vision are opening funds to help rebuild lives through creating temporary jobs and to begin construction on schools and homes. Sadly, this is not enough to even restore basic order or respond to the immediate dietary and health needs of survivors.

During times of social upheaval, wars, and natural disasters, the poor historically suffer more. This is true of the current situation in the areas most affected by the earthquake because what little many families had as personal property resources has fallen or been crushed, the death of a bread-winner means a pending food crisis for their table, or the public hospital where they hope to receive basic medical attention is over-crowded and the family then suffers a health crisis.

For information about the location, severity and abundance of aftershocks, see:

For general information about the earthquake, see: or search or for “Peru Earthquake” to get the latest news updates.

WMF Peru staff Monica Ghali, Sarah Dobrin, and Linsey Higgins have posted blog reflections on the earthquake, please see:

Monica’s blog:

Sarah’s blog:

Linsey’s blog:

WMF Peru is responding in the following ways:

Prayer: Our belief in a loving God can be tested in times of crisis, and so our hearts come into solidarity with others and cry out to God on behalf of our situation. There was an old church, which the night of the earthquake fell on top of 300 funeral mourners. While there are Peruvian legends of churches and other sites deemed holy surviving past earthquakes, the truth is that we ALL, believers or not, live in a world which suffers. Please bring your hearts in line with ours as we pray that we would testify to a loving God through our commitment to and solidarity with our neighbors in their suffering.

Participation in relief efforts: Local churches and Christian organizations, among them the Evangelical Free Churches of Peru, Calvary Chapel, the C&MA of Peru, and World Vision Peru are coordinating visits and relief efforts to their ministries in the affected areas. Our community is participating on these relief teams.

WMF Peru Earthquake relief fund: We have opened a relief fund until December 31, 2007, which will be exclusively used for WMF Peru’s earthquake relief efforts, including direct aid to families, purchase of food, clothing, and medical supplies, and participation with partner organizations involved in relief efforts. As we evaluate the need in the coming months, we will make every effort to support groups working locally in a respectful, sustainable way. Checks can be sent to (with attached note reading, “WMF Peru Earthquake Relief”):
Word Made Flesh

PO Box 70

Omaha, NE 68101

Thank you for caring,

All of us in WMF Peru

jose luis, anna, sebastian, monica, sarah, david, linsey, brian, rachel

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

back home

i'm back in buenos aires. i've been back for a while now, but have shamelessly abandoned this blog. (i blame it all on facebook.)

our trip was amazing. jam-packed and amazing. five states (six for walter). california, nebraska, colorado, massachusettes and maine. yup, maine! thanks to our dear friend mia and her invitation to celebrate her wedding. and yes, it's as picturesque as one would imagine. and yes, we ate lobster!

i'm always so grateful for trips like this. so nourishing. so many sweet moments...

grandparents loving on my girls-
amani and cora making memories of their own.
camping. swimming. road-trips.
the big 5th birthday in the presence of so much family.

reuniting with old friends. best friends.
being with our beloved Word Made Flesh community.
being understood without having to say a word.

(o.k. the blueberries and creme frappuccino was blissfully delightful, too.)

but it's good to be home...
and so good to have been missed.

(to view more pictures from our trip you can view my photo ablums on facebook (told you it's all been facebook's fault). just click on the facebook link under my profile picture.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

growing up

amani turned six months this past tuesday...

the same day that cora lost her first tooth!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

dia de campo

Mercedes, Argentina

this past weekend we celebrated a good friend's birthday out in the campo. being in the country, away from the big city, its traffic and its noise, gave cora a wonderful opportunity to run free. she doesn't get to often. it was beautiful to watch.

she spent all day climbing trees, rolling down hills and playing tag. she walked around with the biggest smile.

mine was bigger.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

market day

tuesday is market day.

and market day means cilantro.

and cilantro means peruvian food tonight!

my tuesday market is one of the only places i've found in the huge city of buenos aires that carries this illusive herb, so central to peruvian cuisine. sometimes seven days of anticipation is too much to bare. but once a week, when our neighborhood park comes alive with vendors and music, i make my way to the far end of the plaza and find the sweet little lady that hooks me up.

it's curious how taste is associated to memory. nothing brings back the warmth,comfort and happiness of the six years i spent living in peru like a deliciously prepared plate of seco de res.

so tonight, as i savor my comfort food, i'll think of sweet sarah and rae.
of little isa and B.
of techi (whose recipes i follow)
and soy
and mia
and craig.

i'll remember jesus maria and grau.
lurigancho and paraiso.

i'll smile at the thought of stella marris and my very own peruanita.

and my heart will ache at the distance between me and patty, vero, edith, luis...

maybe that's why tears are salty-
they go good with food.

Monday, May 14, 2007

hot dogs and answered prayer

took cora with me this past friday to visit the kids. she loves to go and it had been a while since she'd last been. at home we pray for the kids every night and ask God to "provide" for them. quite an abstract thought for a four, almost five year old.

as we were hanging out on the train station floor, talking, coloring, drinking mate (mah-teh), a local vendor appears with free hot dogs for the kids. an act beautiful in itself, was also a vivid example to my daughter of how God provides for the youth we work among. that vendor was a real, live answer to a little girl's prayer.