Hello Again

Hello friends! It’s been quite the month, or should I say months. Lot’s has been going on here first we had Maribel’s graduation in August- where I finally got to make my hanging balloon globe things since I was in charge of decorations. I was also asked to make the scrapbook for Maribel’s graduation gift. She’s now working at a restaurant and visits the house frequently.

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A week later Jan’s parents came to visit. They were really fun to have around!


While they were here we had our first Friday in our new location in el Cerrito with the women. This new location was a project Christ Community Church worked on and painted and it turned out great! The women are very happy with the new space especially the bathroom!

We’ve been working on making scarves and slouchy hats and the women have started cooking on Sundays. Olinda, Esperanza’s sister also had her baby girl. Her name is Liceth.

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In Luz de Vida we’ve been having all kinds of activities and events with the youth. The first was a retreat with the just the girls in the house where we played games and learned about understanding differences and conflict resolution.


Then, the whole month of September has been dedicated to “Talents and Youth.” We had two youth nights of talent shows- where Jan and I did a “untalent” and sang and danced to Mahnamahna. Luckily no one took pictures. The last night of the month we announced the results of the talent show and Luz won with her embroidery. We played games and got all dressed up 🙂

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I have other exciting news! We had out first meeting in Alto Trujillo where we will be starting another women’s project teaching them cooking, knitting, embroidery, and jewelry making. We didn’t expect many to come and went and knocked on doors for about a half an hour to invite people and were shocked that we had about 12 women come to the meeting! Luckily all of them had knitting experience and were excited to learn more and be apart of the group. Currently we’re meeting in Sisy’s house and are partnering with another baby church. We hope to help the church reach out new families in the community.


I’ve also had a lot of events in my school. We had two festivals; one was the festival on Creationism (Christian school) and the more recent one was this week where we celebrated the 20th anniversary of my school. Miss Abi, the first grade teacher, and I hosted a hula hoop contest. 🙂

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Well that’s all until next time. Love ya!

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A Sad Hasta Luego

She might kill me for posting this picture of her, but then again, maybe she shouldn’t have stolen my ipad and left this gem on it. Sadly, this week I had to say goodbye to Breanna, my partner in crime,  “running” buddy, roommate, and friend. We shared so many great memories in the six months. Although she may not look angelic (hehe) she really was a blessing to me and the people she was around. In her wake, I see all the relationships she made with her kids in El Cerrito, friends at church, the girls in the house, and even a neighbor lady and security guard. She is a very special person and is deeply missed.


Okay, that’s enough of the sentimental stuff- in the last month we had two wonderful visitors. Liz Jacobs who happens to be a friend of my mom’s and Brylee Beggs (Brea’s sister) came to visit us for a week. While they were here we helped out at an orphanage, cleaned, and celebrated two birthday parties.


Luz turned 20 on July 16th and Eyni actually turns 18 today (July 26) but celebrated her birthday early so Breanna could be there. Somehow I was designated entertainment planner and worked with Dhaly to think up games/ activities for both parties. For Luz we played Fish Bowl (a mix of catch phrase, charades, and more) and then “HeadsUp”. It was a hit. If I didn’t think I’d get fired from my volunteer job I would post a picture of our director Liz prancing around like a horse trying to get us to guess the word. For Eyni’s party we went head to head in group karaoke. Well I didn’t. I was the DJ. This might have been one of my favorite nights- the groups were great with their choreographed dances and rock star voices.

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On a different topic, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my new church before. I’ve been attending Más Vida for the last couple of months. Last Sunday I taught Sunday school and it was so much fun! We also invited Jensen and Caleb and the Pastor’s wife to youth group at our house to sing. (Picture on the left below). Jensen and Caleb are responsible for introducing us to Peruvian sushi. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive them. Darn it, now I got myself thinking about sushi! In the picture on the right is a new friend- Whitney! She was a volunteer at Hogar de Esperanza and is a teacher in the states. We had the chance to get coffee and chat which was really nice.


Last month we received a HUGE donation of yarn from friends in the states. This was a tremendous help and is allowing us to continue knitting while we continue our cooking project. In the picture below we are preparing tamales. On other days we’ve made papa rellena  (stuffed potato?), cookies, picarones (sweet potato donuts), and chiclayo (a dessert made with squash). We’re currently in the process of doing all the paperwork to make Hilos an official business. We could really use prayers in this area that the process would be speedy and without catches.

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Hooray! I have two weeks of vacation off school because we just ended the first semester. But at the same time we have a group coming on Tuesday, so it won’t be much of a “break” persay. All the same, I’m looking forward to the group and some downtime from school. It’s interesting, for their independence day “Fiestas Patrias” every grade practiced and preformed a traditional dance. Below are my 1st graders (I know, they’re too stinkin cute) in their outfits as well as a picture of me and the 1st grade teacher with Braulio. He wasn’t happy because he didn’t dress out and couldn’t participate. I guess I wasn’t very nice taking a picture… but oh well.

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Lastly, I wanted to share a few pictures from Jan, Brea, and my trip to Huaraz. The short version of the story is that we (yes you too Brea) are below novice hikers and attempted some pretty tough hikes- one up to our hostal, and two up to lagoons. We met some pretty cool people along the way (one lady gave us a Hershey bar when we said we were going to give up because we were out of food) as well as some med students from Trujillo and some French guys- oh and Jan met a cow. It was really cold and really beautiful in Huaraz. The trip served as our last hurrah and was definitely a growth experience.

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Lastly, I have some big news: I will be coming back to the States in December. God has showed me a lot of things about myself and how he uses his people. I plan to start looking for teaching jobs around September/November and to continue selling our womens’ products in some capacity. Only God knows what is in store, but I am pretty sure missionary training or mission work is in my future. Love you all! Sorry for the long post 🙂

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A visit home and back

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Hello friends! So at the beginning of this month I took a ten day trip back to the states for my friend Stephanie’s wedding

groupI spent a few hours in Austin, then two days in Nashville with my mom, two days in Marion with my dad and then three days in Lawrence for the wedding, then a day in Miami when I missed my morning flight- which is a long story I won’t go into here. Since then we had two groups visit- Peru Crew 2015 with Robyn and WRCC who visited us for youth group.

It’s also been a busymonth at school. Of-course my high schoolers didn’t do what they were supposed to while I was gone, but atIMG_20150630_084050_612 least they sort-of practiced their skits. With the first graders I sang a song (Open the Eyes of my Heart) in English with them (I’ll try to get pictures later) for a kids Prayer Marathon. They were so stinking cute. These kids have stolen a piece of my heart. I also went on a field trip with them (just to accompany and help out) to visit the historical center of the city. They were terrors and we got kicked out of a museum. I was put on duty of guarding this one- who thought it was a game to try and escape from me. (He’s a twerp… but still stinking cute). I really enjoy teaching here- although it took me until second semester to find out we have a projector I can use for high school!!! It’s going to totally change the way I teach. (I DID ask them what technology we have- they told me there was just a video room that doesn’t even have desks).

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With the women right now we are cooking while we prep for another round of knitting! I am soooo excited because the last group donated a bunch of yarn and the women acookingre going to be so excited. Last week I brought a chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe to try and it didn’t go well. What we’ve been doing is making them and then selling in the surrounding area. First, we couldn’t find baking soda and second, I guess only kids eat cookies- weird. This   week we’re making tamales. Hopefully those will go better.

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Parties and Fun!

Hello my friends. So the adventures continue.  Before I begin, I should probably tell you that Breanna and I are sitting in Starbucks with a sign saying “Albino Peruvians in their natural habitat” hanging on the glass window. People’s faces are priceless.  We came here in an attempt to get some personal work done as I prepare for my trip back to the States. I am SO EXCITED, but also sad because I know the time is going to fly and I won’t get to see everyone- but try I will!


So this last month Alex Nebel came to visit. He is Breanna’s boyfriend and also Jacob (my brother)’s freshman roommate. It was great to see a familiar face, and be around someone with childish sarcasm. But more importantly, it was great to see Breanna so happy.

We’re also starting and ending knitting with the women this month in el Cerrito de la Virgin. We’ve made headbands and hats and are preparing to start selling appetizers/ snacks/ desserts to the neighbors. This idea came from the women themselves; as much as they love knitting, they love cooking more. Also, Yovana had her baby! I was there when Nancy told her she was getting fat and she revealed she was pregnant to the group. After waiting so long, Eric is finally here! I have also become really fond of Marjorie, who is Liz’s baby. (She is a newer member of the group).

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(LEFT PICTURE: Yovana, the mother is the one in the green tank top. Her mother is on the far left and her sister-in-law is to her immediate left. This is here baby shower that we threw two days before she gave birth. RIGHT PICTURE: If only this picture had sound. As soon as Jan took the picture little Eric let one loose. His big brother Carlos is really excited to have a little brother.)



(LEFT PICTURE: Marjorie wearing our new knitted headband. RIGHT PICTURE: Myself and Santos modeling the another new headband. I don’t think purple is my color)

It seems that may is the month of non-stop birthdays and parties. We celebrated the psychologist Patty’s, Jessica’s, and will soon celebrate the director Liz’s birthday along with Mother’s day in this month. Although I have many Peruvian mothers here, it was difficult to celebrate Mother’s day without seeing my real moms.

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Mother’s Day Luz de Vida


A couple of other notable experiences I’ve had this month would be going to the water park with the girls of the house. We played games (where my team won), ate papa rellena, and walked around. Also for youth group we had a family visit and talk to us about forming families and what to look for in a future spouse. Although it seems like every talk I hear lately is on this same topic, the pastor did an excellent job and sparked a lot of discussion in the house. It is truly amazing to see how the girls are learning and growing. Lastly, in our most recent trip to Lima Breanna and I went to La Cuidad church again and were recommended the church Más Vida here in Trujillo. I’ve been attending it for the last three weekends and have been really enjoying it. However I’m trying not to be hasty and jump churches before I’m sure.


Lima Trip


Water Fountain Park (in Trujillo)


Visiting Family Speakers at youth group

It’s been kind of a rough month in regards to decision making, managing finances, and balancing work, Hilos, volunteers, and house responsibilities. If anyone is out there reading theses please pray that God would guide my decisions for the future, that he would give us wisdom in making Hilos into an official business, and that the girls would continue meeting their goals (especially that Maribel would find a job and that Jessica’s reading comprehension would improve- by the way, I’m helping her work on that and I absolutely love it). Please pray for the other volunteers; that through Brea’s teaching the kids can learn more about God and that Jan would be given more and more opportunities to get to know the staff and other Peruvians. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Love ya all!

PS: Don’t judge my picture placement too much, I just figured out you can put the picture next to text, but haven’t quite mastered it yet… Maybe next post, whenever that happens. 🙂

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Mariachi, stungun/flashlights, and doors

Time seems to be flying by now days. Pretty soon I’ll be back in the states to visit in June! I can’t wait. So, I think I left off at Easter.

This was my first Easter in Peru, and let me tell you it made me feel bad about how we celebrate Easter in the states. Here in Peru you will not see the Easter Bunny or large quantities of candy but instead movies about Jesus in the public movie theaters. Also, churches send out commissions (mini mission trips) to encourage small churches and to share the gospel in less-reached areas. The also have usually go on a Paseo- which I translate as  “day trip”. That’s what we did with the girls. Dhaly and Brea went to visit Chiclayo so Jan and I took Eyni, Jessica, Maribel and Esthefany to a sort of camp complex where they had a pool, field, picnic tables, etc. We had a really great time.

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Also, the first 15 days of April, Dhaly was on vacation so Nancy our spiritual counselor stayed with us as the coach. She has two girls 8 and 17 years old. They all practically lived in the house and it was great! It was so nice to have a mom and little sisters for a while. Visitors always are so much fun. We also had what we called “Happy Day” lunch where we had combinado- which is basically spagetti (or noodles) and ceviche with the words- yucca, sweet potatoes, and choclo (corn). It was a delicious lunch! (Picture below).


Also, a project I’ve been working on is teaching Jessica to sew new things. Luckily she already knows a lot about sewing or else we’d be in trouble because I am a self-taught craft sewer (okay, 4-H and middle school classes helped me learn too)- but I’m no expert. But check out the bags she made! She’s now selling them too to make a little bit of side money while she studies. So proud of her.


The women’s project is going well. We’re teaching knitting now- starting with headbands and scrunchies. Also- I’m so proud of Breanna- she has taken on the kids class all by herself. Imagine teaching 15-25 kids of various ages in your second language. This crazy girl does it every Friday. Prays for her and her students would be appreciated as she continues teaching them about the bible.

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This is Santos’ dog (one of the ladies in El Cerrito invited us over for a little bit). Isn’t he cute? I think I’m going to get a dog. I need the protection. Thoughts? Just kidding. I don’t need extra protection; my mom sent me a stun gun flashlight thing in my birthday present. (Not kidding). I quote “You can drop someone for 10 seconds with it”.

Prepare yourself for the next picture…. Gringa mariachi! Betsy, one of the sweetest, kind-hearted people I know- who’s also trying to set me up with her cousin- let’s see her try…. had ONE wish for her birthday- Mariachi. (I hope my students never find my blog because I’m making all the errors I tell them not to do). So Jan, Brea, and I did our best. We sang and danced like fools to La cucaracha. It was pathetic, but Betsy loved it! Mission accomplished.


Lastly, I want to share my unsure thoughts on the future. I love teaching. I love working with the women. I love spending time with the girls. I don’t so much love the business side of the women’s project. I feel like I’m not very good at it. I shared my feelings with my bosses (Peruvian and Stateside) and they think I’m doing fine. But I just wish we had more sales, and that I wouldn’t make things so difficult or complicated. I think God is trying to teach me how to trust him more. Right now I really can’t see the next big steps, but I guess that’s not that important right now. Let me see if I can express my thoughts a little better (however this might just come out a big mess). I just finished the book Radical with Jan and Brea. One of the biggest takeaways I had from reading it is that being “extraordinary” doesn’t mean doing something BIG, but that the extraordinary can be found faithfulness to the small things. Consistently giving time to a certain cause, being true to a small set of principles, essentially simplifying life so as to not get caught up in it all. I mean, what is this life all about? Perhaps we all have different answers to this question, but I think I’ve found my answer: My life is about trying to glorify God in all I do. I am not perfect- ooooh I’ve made a ton of mistakes and will probably continue making them. But this is a desire I feel very strongly about. Hopefully it will become very clear what my “next steps” should be,  but if not, please pray that God would open doors in the right direction.

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Birthdays are great!

Hello people I miss dearly.

So, it’s an unknown fact that my birthday is meant to be celebrated for two whole weeks (one before and one after). Fortunately, the Peruvians were up for it and we celebrated my birthday with the women in el cerrito last Friday. They met early and made my favorite meal! Tallerines Verdes! With potatoes and fried fish. It was delicious. The very best part though was that none of us got sick! I really can’t express how big of a blessing it is to work with these women. They make me laugh, tell me not to stress, show grace when I make mistakes, work hard to improve, listen attentively to the gospel; honestly they give back more than they receive. Eulogia, after my birthday gave me a present. She handed it to me a little embarrassed, as if she was ashamed because it wasn’t very much. It was a little bracelet that spoke volumes about her character, love, and kindness.

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More birthday celebrations! Nancy, our spiritual counselor also celebrated a birthday this Friday, and we threw her a surprise breakfast birthday party. Well, sort of a surprise…. she had to wait outside 10ish minutes while we finished getting the decorations ready. Hehe.

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Introducing the greatest thing since sliced cheese……. (drum roll)….. Hilos House Parties!! We hosted our first house party this weekend inviting close friends and people from my church. It was an experiment to see how many people would come, what things we would inevitably forget, etc. We learned that it might be better to go to the people instead of inviting them to the house. Luckily though the event we were invited to a few women’s bible studies and churches. Woo Hoo. My favorite part was seeing ALL the jewelry our ladies have been able to make. It looked so pretty laying out on the tables. A HUGE thanks to Brea and Jan for working on their day off to make this event happen. (Here’s the before picture)


So, we have a dream, or maybe more so it’s a mission/ calling to start our women’s project in another site, specifically Alto Trujillo. Please pray that if this really is God’s will that he will make it clear and provide the funds, and if it’s not… well, that we won’t be super disappointed.

Also, I would ask for prayers for the families of those involved in the bus crash last week. (A charter bus full of families of Christians on their way to serve in Lima got into an accident and more than 50 people were killed).

That’s a really sad note to end on, but I must go plan for this week. Although I’m really excited that I have Thursday and Friday off of school!!

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Teacher Ann!

So, the idea was that superhero music would accompany the title to this blog post. Why? Just because it would be fun. I am very happy to be teaching again, and am fighting my tendencies to put too much pressure on myself,  get all caught up in English language teaching methodology, and over complicate everything. Instead, I’m try to focus on loving my kids. That’s it. That’s the goal. You’d think it’d be simple…

But it’s harder than you think. Sometimes I think I let all the other issues get in the way of accomplishing the bigger goal. Here are some things that could be seen as challenges, but that I insist will act as reminders of what God can do through those who trust in him.

-My first grade classroom is 15 ft wide by 30 ft long (about the size of a single car garage), with desks and every child has their wheely backpack and lunch box sitting next to their desk. There is barely room to move down the isles of desks.

-There is one teacher computer for all the teachers in the elementary and high school.

-We must submit copies on Tuesdays for elementary and Wednesdays for high school.

-All rooms have only whiteboards. No smart board. No projector. No wifi. But they DO have these really cool refillable dry erase markers. IMG_0388

-There is no air conditioning.

-There IS a student computer lab, but it only has 2 computers with internet.

I’m sure there are other things I’m forgetting too, but they don’t really matter. I am struggling to figure things out. Whoo it was a challenge to figure out how to control 25 6- year olds. But, praise the lord, I have teacher friends who helped teach me songs, behavior plans, and who gave me pointers on teaching little ones. I feel very blessed to have so much support.

Also, my kids are great! Well, they have their issues like any kids, but I am really enjoying them all. The 1st graders crack you up, and love participating. They need affirmation in everything and sometimes I think they just like to say my name over and over for fun. I am learning a lot about being proactive with expectations, talking in a sweet voice, and being over-the-top animated. Imagine, “sweet” Ann. Doesn’t work, but I try to at least not scare the children.

With my high-schoolers its a different story. I’m kind of lost on how much English I should speak, how to evaluate them, how to make things fun without technologies, how to incorporate biblical teachings and values, how to manage my classroom with high schoolers who speak a different language, and how to teach English grammar. Please pray for my students. 🙂

Oh the other hand, I am still working on the Hilos program and am really excited! We haven’t started our knitting project yet and already have a new professor, material, and projects planned. Wooo Hooo. The women are also really excited too to start knitting again. They like it more than jewelry. 😦 But really, they like learning new things. The idea is that we will continue to make more jewelry while we learn our new knitting projects. Also, off topic, but the women have invited just to eat lunch with them early this week for my birthday. I am moved by their generosity.


Lucia, our new knitting teacher!

Speaking of my birthday, everyone in the house threw me a big lunch party complete with cake, a piñata, a birthday present (Peru Jacket!!), decorations, yummy lunch, hugs, cards, and kind words. It was really fun. Then for dinner Jan, Dhaly, and I went to Pizza Hut and had a meat lovers pizza 🙂 Not that I was really craving pizza, but it just sounded great at the moment. (Brea was sick- lame).

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Oh, I forgot to mention that the girls, Dhaly, and Brea suprised me while I was lesson planning at midnight on Monday (the day before my birthday) by singing and cracking an egg on my head. Another weird Peruvian birthday tradition 😉 Love them!


Then this last weekend we went to Lima (Brea, Jan, and I). It was awesome! We rode a night bus (so glad I’m short- although this time it didn’t really help because my seat wouldn’t lay down all the way- I think it was because I wasn’t big enough- so it kept coming up. I asked the stewardess to move, and the next chair did it too!) We got there Saturday morning, and dropped our things off at my Peruvian family’s house (the family I stayed with when I studied abroad). We did some shopping for Hilos, went to a lunch/ Peruvian variety dance show, went out to eat with my family, then went out salsa dancing. Sunday we went to “La Cuidad” a bilingual church- we all cried at some point during the service, it reminded us of home, and had a great message and praise. In the afternoon we did a 3 hour city bus tour (which included the catacombs), then went to the magical water fountains park in the evening. It was just the perfect amount of time.


Tall people in small places.


Shopping with a big bag. What is Brea doing?


Magic water fountains!


Bus Tour!


Dance Show! Look closely, you’ll see Brea out there.

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