Official Llama Time

Powered By The Christian Gift

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Filling in the Gaps

OK, so a couple of "days" have passed since I last blogged. I guess a lot has happened and I could fill you in on some of the details.

  • Jenn and the boys are well into the school year. Jordan and Trevor are excelling in their studies and they have an excellent teacher.
  • Ministry is getting done. Things don't happen very quickly here, but we have seen the Lord working in our area.
  • Our team members, Courtney and Lindsey, finished their terms in Chavín and have since returned to the US.
  • We spent Thanksgiving with our great friends the McLambs, Holemans, and Bredbenners. That was 8 adults and 10.5 niños (McLambs are expecting a girl to add to their 3 boys).
  • Someone stole the glass out of the passenger's side mirror on our truck. Apparently, there is a market for that kind of random junk in Perú.
  • I watched a sheep get slaughtered. A 12 year old girl was petting the belly of the dying animal as its unborn baby squirmed inside. Several other disturbing things were observed during this process, but I don't want to make you puke on your laptop, so you'll never know (unless you ask me).
  • I saw a chipmunk get punted across the street by a teenager. Afterwards, I was told that chipmunks actually eat/kill the people's guinea pigs (i.e. their dinner). Can't have that!
  • A bunch of other things happened, too.

Life here can be a "little" random. I don't always think to report such "strange" details, mostly because they are part of normal, everyday life around here. The next time I go days...errrrr, months without updating the blog, check out my Facebook. I find that I'm on there more frequently.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

One of the Perks

I have a really cool "job" if you will. That is, I get to share the love of Jesus Christ with people who do not know him personally. Because of the generous mission offerings given by Southern Baptist Churches, I actually get paid to do what Jesus commanded each of his followers to do.

There are many positive things about my "job." However, I am experiencing one of my favorite perks this week. I have the privilege of working with a group of volunteers from Idaho for 5 days. They have been here for 3 days already and we have seen the Lord do great things through the team.

My favorite part is watching how the Lord changes and molds the hearts of volunteers during their mission trip. He especially has been impacting the lives of a few of the members of the group this week. He has called them out of their comfort zones and they have responded in faith. One overcame the fear of travelling on a very steep and narrow road (which actually brought her to tears) to be blessed by the many children and mothers that were waiting for us at the top. She said that God was really stretching her this week, but in a good way. Sometimes the road is tough but it always seems to be rewarding when we travel it by the Lord's side.

This group has experienced several "firsts" during their time in Chavín. Obviously, they have had many new experiences, but I'm referring to a different kind of "first." They are the first volunteer group (as far as I know) to travel up the scary road and minister in Rúntu. They are the first group to hear the Quechua ladies in one of our Bible Studies pray out loud from their hearts instead of recite a memorized prayer (one even prayed in Quechua). Tomorrow, they will be the first group allowed to teach English and share the Gospel in the elementary school in San Marcos. God has really allowed this great group of volunteers to take part in some amazing things. I'm thankful I have been able to share these experiences with them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jordan's Birthday (Chavín Style)

Jordan turned 10 yesterday!!! We loaded up the truck and headed out to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. We pulled out of the driveway, passed 2 donkeys, a small flock of dirty sheep, and ran over a few cow patties before we realized that the closest thing to Chuck E was probably the mouse crawling around in the attic. (Obviously that was made up, except for maybe the mouse part)

Actually, today we had a little Chavín style celebration. Well, more like our style (which just happened to take place in Chavín). Jenn made 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes with chocolate icing and candy sprinkles. Jordan told a bunch of the neighborhood kids to come over to play and eat 'queques'. Jenn was a little worried that the cupcakes didn't turn out perfect; but they wolfed those babies down in no time.

The best part was I asked the kids to sing "Felíz Cumpleaños" for Jordan. I counted to 3 and they all began mumbling in a sing-song voice "hoppy bearfday to you, hoppy bearfday to you..." I about cracked up. These little guys were all trying to sing the song in English. Not exactly what I had in mind. When it all started going horribly wrong they just cracked up laughing. Finally, I was able to get them to sing in Spanish. We finished off the party with some full court basketball and some good laughs.

Happy Birthday buddy!!! I love you.
PS- We'll get your presents when we get to Lima!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Riding Bikes

A few times a week Jordan, Trevor and I go riding our bikes around town. There are several interesting aspects to our rides. It's not everyday that 1 gringo and 2 little gringos pass by on bicycles in Chavin. We get a lot of looks and the boys get a lot of comments like "Oh, how cute!"

These short journeys allow us to see new areas of town and the surrounding communities. Another benefit is that we have met many people on our treks that we wouldn't have met otherwise. I usually end up stopping to talk to people while the boys practice bike tricks in the background.

The boys really look forward to our rides and ask me to go just about everyday. Truth is I enjoy our time together as much as, if not more, than they do. I told them on our last long ride how cool it was to go exploring with them. During that ride Jordan decided to name us "The Roadrunners."

Everytime we have to ride up a hill Trevor asks me if they make kid bikes with gears. They're a little jealous that I can change gears and climb (ever so slightly) easier. But we're not too proud to walk our bike up the hill if it's too steep. I told them they're going to have huge leg muscles if we keep it up. Jordan said, "Yeah, and huge lungs too."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Roads

Roads in Lima:
2 words= Ridiculous!! Traffic is crazy. Drivers are crazy. It's all stress and no fun!

Roads to Chavin:
We live about 9 1/2 hours North of Lima, the first few hours of the drive are so-so. You pass through Lima (thumbs down), through the desert (thumbs down), and eventually get to the Andes (thumbs up). The final 2 hours of our drive is a combinations of heaven and hell. The views are incredible/heavenly. We see snow capped mountains, mountain lakes, and the occassional llama. The road itself is a completely different story. I'm pretty sure the road to hell is a little less bumpy. After 2 hours of that mess, you need a good chiropractor. Unfortunately, there aren't any in the bustling metropolis of Chavin. I'm not complaining, I'm just not signing up for that drive very often.

Roads in/around Chavin:
We have paved roads in town. To get to the towns higher up we have to travel the dirt roads. They vary in width and roughness. Friday I travelled the first road that actually got my adrenaline pumping. I had to use the good ol' 4WD (4L to be exact). Praise the Lord no other cars needed to pass because that baby was only one lane wide with very few "wide" spots. In the rainy season that road will be impassible so I better plan ahead.

Monday, July 20, 2009

#2: Jordan and Trevor

Man, these 2 little guys are awesome!!! They are adjusting to the "Chavin life" very well. Since day one they have been making friends and spending a lot of time outside playing and riding their bikes in the park in front of our house.

Jordan- He has a natural gift with languages and can basically communicate anything he wants to in Spanish. He has really learned a lot since we've been in Peru. He spent this morning walking around with me and another gringo from TN inviting all the kids in Chavin to attend a sports camp. He did all of the talking and passed out all of the invitations. He lead our closing prayer in Spanish at our Bible Study this afternoon and afterwards, the 3 Peruvians began to brag on him to eachother. It was pretty cool!
He is excited about his upcoming tenth birthday, anxious about the start of homeschooling, and can't wait for his friends (the Bredbenners) to arrive from Costa Rica. They'll be here in mid August.

Trevor- Regarding Spanish, he is doing way better than I thought he would. In Costa Rica he was very shy about speaking Spanish and I thought it might be an issue here, but he has really opened up and makes an effort to talk to other kids. His personality has really been coming out since arriving in Peru. He cracks a lot of jokes and is becoming very quick witted (you have to be to survive in this family). We catch him dancing and shaking his booty quite often. He's been known to watch HS Musical with subtitles so he can sing along. He told me the other day that donkey poop was yellow on the inside. When I asked him how in the world he knew that he said, " Because I used a stick to break one open."
Duh...why didn't I think of that???
He loves to play Lego Star Wars on Wii, practice light sabers in the backyard with his brother, watch the same movie several days in a row so he can learn to quote the funny lines word for word, and play LEGOS with dad and brother.

I think they are adjusting just fine and we have a lot of fun in our home!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update 1 of Many

Confucius says, "The fool who doesn't update his blog for 2 whole months will have a lot of catching up to do!" Actually I can't prove whether he actually said that or not but the wisdom is still true. Since I am that fool, I decided to play catch up over the course of the next week or so. My plan is to write a short entry about different topics relating to our life in Peru. Hopefully that way I can inform you a little at a time without writing a super long entry that I myself probably won't even read.

I'm not sure in what order I'll address these topics but I'll cover the Quechua culture, daily life in Chavin, the people, difficulties/ struggles we've had, victories we've had, culture shock, ministry, Jordan and Trevor's adjustment, funny stuff, random stuff, diarrhea (oh...wait, thankfully we don't have much to say about that one yet), etc. Anyway, you get the idea. If I was type-A, I would give you a schedule of the order I would be blogging these topics. Actually, if I was type-A there wouldn't be a 2 month lapse in blogging thus requiring a catch-up calendar. But praise the Lord I'm not type-A because man that just doesn't sound nearly as fun!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Now THAT'S a Tea Party

I know I'm basically a 7th grader trapped in a 35 year old body, but come on- Who doesn't think this is funny?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Up, Up and Away

We've been cleared for take-off. My leg finally responded to the medicine and now it is healing nicely. All the gross blisters have dried up and the swelling is gone. Thank you for your prayers.

Our plan is to leave Lima on Sunday morning. We will drive about 7 hours North to Huaráz, where we will spend the night. We will take some time on Monday to learn the city because we will travel there often for supplies, groceries, etc. It has a population of about 100,000 people, compared to our town of about 2,000.

Monday afternoon we will travel to Chavín (our hometown) where we will meet up with a team of volunteers from Liberty University. They will be working in the villages around Chavín for about 10 days. At the same time, another missionary couple will be working on remodeling/ making our house liveable. We will be needed in both instances. Therein lies the problem. Ideally, we would have a chance to know a little bit about the community, know where the store is, meet some people, help our kids start adjusting to rural living BEFORE we got committed to so many things at once. BUT the Lord saw otherwise. So please be praying for us and especially Jordan and Trevor that they don't feel overlooked in such a huge life transition.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hurry up and wait!

Just a quick update on the leg issue. It is getting slightly better but still has some yummy, juicy blisters around the ankle. Today the doctor said continue the course of treatment and we'd talk again on Monday. Thanks for your prayers, I am seeing some signs of improvement.

We were able to pass our online driver's license exams on the first try (which is virtually unheard of based on stories we've heard). Jenn studied pretty well and you know me, I looked over some stuff and prayed that the Lord would be gracious. He was and it came down to my final question: get it right and pass, get it wrong and take that 10 hour drive back to Lima to take the test again. THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR UNDESERVING MERCY!!!!!!! For some reason the Lord said YES to that prayer and now we can drive legally in Perú. Now we just have to learn how to drive in a wild city where it is totally acceptable to make a left hand turn from the far right lane. Now ask yourself, "Why wouldn't that be normal?"

Oh yeah, we also have to learn how to hug the side of the mountain as we drive up over 15,000 feet to get to our new home. YIKES!!! Can you say, Scary? The missionary who is helping us get settled in has told me about the necessary things every vehicle in the mountains should have. For example, a shovel, a pick axe, blankets, water, tow chains, etc. My man should have included some clean underwear in that list cause I'm gonna be wetting my pants when I have to pass a big truck on a narrow dirt road hanging off the side of the flippin' Andes Mountains!!! I'm just sayin'!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Latest...Finally!!!

After a 2 month 'siesta' I thought I would share the latest information related to the Pennington family. We finished out our year of language study in Costa Rica and graduated on April 24. Interestingly enough, I thought it would be funny to jack my ankle all up so I could walk with crutches for our final week in Costa Rica. So, on the 21st I rolled my ankle playing basketball.
On the 25th we flew to Lima, Peru (crutches and all). We were supposed to stay in Lima for a few days in order to get a ton of paperwork completed BUT.... I thought it would be funny if that ankle got some kind of jungle-rot/cellulitis/watery-blister infection/allergic reaction that would slowly convert into a giant CANKLE!! Since I was succesful in accomplishing my task, we have been in Lima for 11 days and counting. I have another appointment on Wed, May 6th so feel free to pray for me and that the doctors will figure this thing out.
It's fun to be a missionary!!!
At some point in the near future we will be moving to Chavín de Huántar located at about 10,500 feet altitude in the Andes. We are looking forward to the big change to rural life and are curious to see what God has in store.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Official Business

Well, it's official! Today we became residents of Peru. We're still in Costa Rica but we finally jumped through enough hoops in the application process that the Peruvian Embassy stamped our passports with a "Resident Visa" mark. We are entering on a religious non-catholic visa. It was actually fairly easy but dealing with government offices is always a time-consuming pain in the tracero. When we left the embassy, it was a little surreal. I felt like a little kid getting excited about Christmas or something. I've felt called to Peru since I was in college and it was cool to look in my passport and see God's stamp of approval on that call.

I have a really cool opportunity to work with a volunteer mission team coming in from Tennessee tomorrow (March 7-12). They will be passing out the gospel of John in homes and telling people about the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the cross. I will be working with the team as a translator. I will have many opportunities to share with and pray for people. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would give me the right words so I will be an effective and useful vessel.

Also pray for Jenn and the boys. They won't be going on the trip with me. Pray for their safety, sanity (for Jenn), that Jordan and Trevor will get along with each other, and that they'll help Jenn out during the week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Faith and Flexibility

We just got an email forwarded to us that said our soon-to-be-mentor in Peru is resigning in order to move back to Alabama. We already knew very little (as in NOTHING) about our job assignment in Peru, now we know even less!!! Wait, technically that is impossible. But you get the point I think.

Thankfully, God has created us to be 2 of the most flexible and laid-back people that I know. This will obviously come in very handy on the mission field. Clearly God has a plan for us when we get to Peru. We just don't have a clue as to what it might be. Pray that the Lord will help us trust Him and His will for our lives even when we can't see one step in front of us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toilet Humor

Maybe I'm still in 7th grade, but I can't help it! Funny stories about bathroom related stuff always make me laugh. Today, I learned a new saying in Spanish that I just have to share. First the context. You know how sometimes you're carrying on a conversation with someone and another person walks up in the middle and starts trying to get in on the action. Eventhough they clearly have no clue what the conversation is about, they still try to give their input. In Costa Rica, they say that person is "peeing outside the urinal!" The half of you who have actually stood at a urinal probably find that very amusing. The other half of you have probably cleaned up the bathroom after a husband or son or brother so you know exactly what's up too.

Speaking of urinals reminds me of another funny thing that happened to me a few months ago. We were at the Tico equivalent of a Love's truckstop/gas station/restaurant on the way to the beach. We all went in for a bathroom break and to buy snacks. As I was finishing my "break" I turned from the urinal only to see an 80 something-year-old woman rinsing off her dentures in the sink of the men's restroom. AWKWARD!!!!! They didn't really prepare us for cultural senarios like that during our missionary orientation. As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "What the heck would YOU do in a situation like that?" I quickly spun back around like I still had some unfinished business and waited for her to get those pearly whites suctioned back in.
Once she left, all of the guys in there looked at eachother and thought in our own language, "Dude, Granny was totally in the men's room!"

Toothless Grannies always help break down language barriers!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What's Up

Hey everyone, we're still alive eventhough there haven't been any signs of blogging-life for a solid month. Sometimes a guy just doesn't have much to say publicly, other times he's just too lazy to type out his thoughts. This was definitely a case of the latter.

Over the past month we:

  • finished our second trimester of language school
  • returned to TX for my dad's surgery
  • saw our newborn nephew
  • attended our homechurch
  • ate at Chili's, On the Border, Fresco's, Chic-Fil-A
  • caught up with not nearly enough friends
  • returned to Costa Rica
  • spent a week on vacation with Jenn's parents
  • went to the beach
  • survived a 6.2 earthquake
  • started our third trimester of language school
  • and a partridge in a pear tree

We're back in class after a month of not studying on a daily basis. So far, our brains are a little rusty, but that's no different than any other day. Jenn and I are in the same grammar class for the first time since arriving in CR. Now when I fall asleep in class there is someone there to give me a jarring elbow to the ribs (someone other than the teacher, that is.)!

music llamas listen to :)