On Chinos and Chirimoyas

Two of the things I've learned so far this week: 
1. DON'T try and get across Lima on a Friday afternoon, especially in public transportation.   2. DO peel chirimoya before cooking it. 
Alongside Assistant Volunteer Coordinator Courtney and Regional Human Life Coordinator Jamielynn, I'm in Lima, Peru, for the 3rd time with yet another short-term team. This one is an "assembled team" representing two congregations in IL and IA. They're here to do "Community Health Evangelism" (CHE) - helping to improve the holistic health of a community by teaching dynamic, faith-based lessons on any number of topics. There are literally thousands available, some of which have been translated into Spanish already. 
Typically, I'd get to Lima a day earlier than the team I'm hosting. The national pastors and local leaders here are phenomenal, so all I need to do is grocery shop. This time, I allowed an extra day with the goal of learning how to get to both chu…

Anything but Plain-O

Last week's unconventional short-term team was a welcome distraction from ~ recent events ~. I'd also like to point out that this is the first group to come to Santiago for which I didn't abandon Courtney by leaving the country! Rather, we co-hosted ten individuals from Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Plano, TX, that spent a long weekend doing what we call "mission education." In lieu of a traditional work project, the group took a deep dive into just about every aspect of the DRLM's work of spreading the Gospel, planting Lutheran churches, and showing mercy. They toured ministry sites, participated in church and school activities, and got plenty of face time with missionaries, students, and local leaders. Even in just three full days, I don't feel like we skimped anywhere with the exception of not road-tripping to Kilometer 28 or Santo Domingo. Take a look:

The team explored the many institutions that operate out of Palmar on Friday, beginning with Conco…

Books, not Souls

The library at Concordia the Reformer Seminary in Palmar Arriba looks a bit different than it did just shy of a year ago at this time (2/19/19 vs. 1/25/20).

After drastic renovations and months of back and forth, a container of books from Theological Book Network in Grand Rapids, MI, was unloaded into two waiting rooms in November. Now begins the arduous task of sorting through, cataloging, and shelving hundreds of boxes of new & used (think retired or late pastors' libraries) resources. 

Mere days after the Burches were the hosts with the mostest at Camp Concordia in their hometown of Banana Ranch, Belize, Markie Burch flew to the Dominican to give us a TWO WEEK jump start. She has a degree in library science AND experience in academic libraries in Latin America, which makes her our de facto library guru. In all seriousness, she's been able to lend wonderful insight on the project since its earliest stages. Given the fact that I worked in a public library in high school a…

Erin and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Long story short: I was mugged on Tuesday afternoon.

Long story long: I went home for lunch on Tuesday afternoon, worked on my computer at the kitchen table for a bit, then decided it was time to head back to the green office (~ 1/2 block away). I was carrying my purse with a cross-body strap and my brand new laptop, in its case, in my arms. In front of the house on the corner, I recall sensing dread as I heard a moto coming from behind pull up uncomfortably close to me. My next conscious thought, sprawled on the pavement, is that everything of value that I owned was gone. The whole episode lasted seconds, and I remember next to nothing. I think it was two men, but I couldn't pick them (him?) out of a lineup. In shock, I made my way into the regional office sans my glasses, which were later found on the ground only slightly bent, and with my office keys and my sunglasses case (?) in my hand. Two of our Spanish teachers met me with hugs, escorted me to the couch, gave me a glass of…

Camp Concordia

LAC's regional team gathers in-person twice each year: in August following our regional conference when we're all in one place anyway and in January. Historically, the January meeting has been in Santiago, but this year we met in Belize, home of Area Facilitator Herb Burch and his wife Markie. The reasoning was two-fold. Firstly, Belize City is far more economical and convenient than Santiago for those not traveling from Santiago (for the sake of my sanity, I altered my travel plans and went directly from St. Louis, meeting up with most of the gang at MIA). The game-changer, though, is a piece of property adjacent to their home in Banana Bank that the Burches purchased and are in the process of gifting to the LCMS: Camp Concordia. We were some of the first guests to stay there and envision all of the ways the Lord will use the property for His glory and the furthering of His kingdom in Belize!

Beware of the other residents at the shrimp farm where we paused for lunch on our wa…

I Met You in St. Louis

Many of you, anyway! 
Following my sister's graduation and a short-term coordinators' conference in the Czech Republic, I had a solid two weeks in the Lou over Christmas and New Year's. When I wasn't worshiping at my home congregation every chance I got or relishing in holiday traditions, my days were a mix of lounging in my PJs watching too much Netflix and racing between coffee dates, appointments, errands, and parties. My mom and sister were gracious about letting me borrow their cars, and I managed to curb most of my urges to honk at and pass people. The weather even cooperated in that temps were above freezing nearly the whole time; we even had a few days of 60+. I'm not going to claim I saw everyone I wanted to see, but I was able to catch up with a broad cross-section of family and friends from numerous circles, as you'll see below. 
Walking at Francis Park with a former CPH coworker and her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, just like old times!