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First Presbyterian Church, Huntington, WV  -- Gallito Trip 2011

Week 1

Day 1

Good morning all,
   After a little flight problem, we made it into Iquitos about 12 am yesterday. The LAN flight that Sherrie, Lynn and I were on got hung up in Miami for an extra 3.5 hours while they fixxed it so it would fly better. When we landed in Lima, Steve, Marcie and Ashley were still standing there waiting for us. It was great to see them. We caught up with the rest of the group to make our Iquitos connection in time. Once in Iquitos, we met with Pam, our resident missionary and Pastor Edwar, the Pastor at our sister Church in Gallito. Pastor Edwar is very excited to be able to present the SODIS water purification program to the principal at the school in Gallito. He also said that many people are anxiously awaiting water filters also. We are preparing to go to the village now and worship with all of our old friends there. After Church, we will get an opportunity to visit and look over some of the work we will be doing this week.
Living the Call,
Monty

Day 2
Buenas dias,
   Yesterday morning we went to our sister Church in the village of Gallito, which is on the other side of the Amazon and about a 45 minute boat ride up river. Once we arrived, all of our old friends were there to greet us. It was a wonderful reunion! We got to see the Pastor's house, which we worked on last year. The Pastor's wife, Soiya, was so proud to show us the pictures on her wall. She had put up the pictures of all the LOGOS children from our Church. Right in the midst of all of our pictures was a photo of her beloved grand-daughter!!! They have a very high regard for their friends in the USA!
   Pastor Edwar has also put a couple of the water filters on stools in the sanctuary. It was so touching to see the small children walk over to them and then their mother would come over and get them a cup  of water from the valve on the side of the bucket. We are making an improvement here!

   Halfway through the Church service, Pastor Edwar excused the children & us to go to the "Christian Ed" building to start Bible School while he continued with the sermon. Marcie's theme for Bible school this year is "God is Love" w/tons of hearts. She rolled out a huge sheet of bright yellow paper with "Dios es amor" written across it, then had each of the children draw a picture that shows God's love with crayons and put heart stickers on it. It was a real treat to watch.
   We had a great spaghetti dinner at el Jardin served up by Ina & Maria, and a very touching devotion served up by Steve Hatten. On our way back to the Hotel, we stopped at Ari's Burgers for a light snack. I got my favorite, pancakes w/peaches, caramel drizzled on and two huge scoops of rum raisin ice cream! Yowzers!!! Please don't try that at home, these folks are trained professionals!
   Today will be a busy day with Med Clinic, water filters, Bible school and whatever else Pastor

Edwar and the Lord has in store for us.
Living the Call,
Monty

 After Church, we walked around through the village. The first thing that caught our eye was the new highway system through Gallito. They have put an all-new two-lane sidewalk from one end of the village to the other. Two lanes!!! They are certainly moving on up, or as Jonathon Ross so eloquently put it, "Gallito is recession-proof!"

Day 3

Good morning,
   Yesterday, we carried some boards to the church from about 3/4 mile away. These were not mere boards, either. As many of you know, these were probably 10-12' long 3" x 4" boards that weigh a ton, some of the densest, heaviest lumber you'll ever see. While we were doing that, Sherrie, Lynn, Ashley and Pam were setting up the medical clinic.
   Once we got the 12-14 boards to the Church, we started tearing down one of the outer walls. We are going to replace all of the termited boards and be ready to replace the support posts underneath next week.
   When Bible school started it was pouring a very hard rain and we only had about 20 children. By the time it was over, we had about 40. It was wonderful to see the Pastor and Cesar, and Jairo down on the floor and doing the crafts Marcie had prepared to show that "God is Love". Cesar and Jairo are two men of the Church who are always at the Church when anything is going on and usually the first two people you meet when getting off the boat.
   Today we return to Gallito to do the same thing all over again!!! I can hardly wait!!!
Living the Call,
Monty

Day 4

Buenas dias.
   Yesterday was a great day in Gallito with a lot of great works done. Jonathon, James, Steve and I started paintimg on the Christian Ed Building out back of the Church. Jim and Ben helped the Pastor, Cesar, and Jairo replace some more bad boards under the Church. Marcie and Natalie had some pre-Bible schoolers come in to catch up on the crafts they hadn't gotten to do on Tuesday. So, everyone was busy! After lunch, Bible school took off again. Once again, our theme is God is Love. We were making more things out of hearts. Ben and I were busy making angels with hearts. We have a huge day planned for today and continue to work wherever we are placed!!!
Living the Call
Monty  

Day 5

Ola,
   Yesterday, when we arrived in Gallito, we returned to the same tasks we had been working on: replacing bad boards under the Church,  the Med Clinic, early arrivals for Bible School and painting the Christian Ed building. Pastor Edwar, Marcie, Steve, Ben and I distributed some of the water filters to homes in the village. Pastor Edwar gives a great speech, telling all the features/benefits of drinking clean water. They are very grateful to get them! The Pastor took Ben and all the rookies for a walk back in the jungle to the pond, looking for any wildlife that was available. In the afternoon, we finished Bible School up with a chocolotado again. This is a huge pot of hot chocolate that the children (and adults) really enjoy.
   Last night, the Pastor and his family came to El Jardin for dinner and shared communion with us. It was a very heart-touching service that ended with all of us sharing stories about how much we enjoyed the time spent together serving with God's people!!!
   Today, we are going to visit the village of Tamschiyacu, which is a little farther up-river. Some of us have been there before, but it has been several years. We want to go to see all the changes being made there. Our flight to Lima is at about 5:30pm or so today, and we will be back in Cincy by 10:35am tomorrow. Jim and Jonathon Ross left at 5:30am today for Lima, then Cuzco, where they will begin a 4-day hike into Machu Picchu on Sunday. Please keep their safety in your prayers.
Living the Call,
Monty

Day 6


Ola!!!
   Our last day in Peru started out with a boat trip upriver to Tamschiyacu, a community of about 9-10,000 people about a half hour upriver from Gallito or about an hour from Iquitos. Folks from our Church have some history with Tamschiyacu. There have been several work trips here with a lot of work getting done. When we visited there in '06, electric power was only available for about 6 hours a day. Now electricity is on 24/7, with new replacement generators ready to be installed. These generators are diesel-powered and make a lot of noise when they are running. There are several homes close by the generating station also. The town has several paved streets and a town square. Special Children of the Amazon also has a beautiful concrete and tile school building there, but is unable to use it yet due to some challenges presented by the Government agencies. Everything is there ready to start as soon as all approvals get passed.
   As soon as we got back to Iquitos, we all went to the Hotel Maranon to freshen up then off to Ari's Burgers for a great lunch! Everyone enjoyed sandwiches, papas fritas and frozen lemonades. After that, we went to get our stuff and head to the modernized Iquitos Airport. A lot of work has been done to the airport with new walls, windows and security system. The 'out-going' waiting room is even air-conditioned now!
   The Ross boys, Jim and Jonathon, left early this morning to go to Lima/Cuzco to prepare to hike the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu, a four-day/three-night trek across the mountain trail where the Andes meet the jungle. It looks to be a great time for them! It is also 100th anniversary of discovery of Machu Picchu!!!
   As we got on the plane at about 5:45pm, it was already getting dark and things were settling down for the evening. After about an hour and a half, we landed in Lima. This is always a tenuous stop at best. We seemed to take forever to get our tickets, a lot slower than usual. We finally found out that an entire flight had been cancelled with a large group trying to get to Charlotte on board. They got on our flight to Miami, then Chicago, then Charlotte - finally! Ashley was able to meet one of the girls in that group and recruited her to come to Marshall. We stopped at the food court for 25 minutes and by the time we got to the plane it was already boarding! L-O-N-G flight to Miami, followed by a long trek to customs and back to get on our Cincy flight. We made it to Cincy about 10:45am Saturday and were home by about 3pm after a stop at a local Big Boy restaurant in Kentucky.
We are good & GOD is Great!,
Monty

ps: Due to flight cancellations, etc, Jim & Jonathon were unable to get to Machu Picchu in time for their group departure and will be home Sunday.

Week 2

Sunday

Hello from Peru,



Today we had a great visit to our sister Church in Galito Peru.  We boated out there this morning and worshiped with the congregation.  The sermon today reminded me of Amy´s Easter sermon.  The Church now has a PA system and Pastor Edwar used it for his entire sermon.  We had a nice background humming noise, just like our Easter service at FPC.  After the service we were taken on a tour of the village.  The Pastor made a house call to one of his sick members, we then went to the school and to the Cemetery.  Along the way the kids where bringing us different fruit from trees in the jungle.  We tasted them all, some good, some not so good.humming noise, just like our Easter service at FPC.  After the service we were taken on a tour of the village.  The Pastor made a house call to one of his sick members, we then went to the school and to the Cemetery.  Along the way the kids where bringing us different fruit from trees in the jungle.  We tasted them all, some good, some not so good.

Tomorrow we will pick up where the first group left off working to replace the support columns under the Church.  In the afternoon we will be doing some crafts with the kids and playing games with them.  Pray for us.

 

Monday

Ola,

We had another great day in the village today.  We placed 23 support posts under the Church in the Morning.  We had Elise, Tori, Allyson, Wilson, and Laurie painting the bases of the posts.  Zach, Josh and Sarah Beth cutting the notches out of the posts and then C002hristopher, Brian, Mark, Bill, Ed, Dave, digging the holes and installing the posts. In the afternoon after the Children got out of school we made cross necklaces, had relay games, and played kickball and soccer.  Tomorrow we plan on continuing with the posts and more games with the kids.

 

 

Tuesday

Hola,

We had another fantastic day in the village today. We completed another 25 new column supports under the church.   There is not a lot of room under the church, but our whole crew was under there working.  Christopher Ey, Brian 0Saul, Mark Walker, and Dave Mullet did wonders digging 3 foot holes under the church, while on their knees.   Tomorrow we will be working for part of the morning and because there is no school, we will have some special activities for the kids.

 

 

Wednesday
Hola,

Today we finished replacing the support columns under the Church.  When we started on Monday, I did not think that there was any way that we could finish, but we did today.  The old support columns lasted 7 years.  The new support columns are of a more termite resistant wood, plus we also painted them in a creosote preservative.  These should last for another 10 years or longer. 

Today there was no school (Peruvian in service day, I guess) so when the kids started coming to the church in the morning our youth, Tori, Elise, and Wilson did face paintings with the kids.  In the afternoon we taught them how to play wiffle ball and we played other games with them.

Tomorrow will be our last day in the village.  We will be putting the Water Filters together and delivering them to homes.

God Bless, Bill

 

Thursday
Hola,

Today was our last day in the village.  We started the day out with some help.  A boat with 25 people pulled up to the Church and got out.  Come to find out that there are 3 families that live on the other side of the Amazon that comes to the Church in Gallito.  They could not afford to boat over everyday so they picked today to help us work.  In the morning we replaced a couple more rotten floor joists, we repaired the front steps to the church, and with the help of our friends we built a fence on one side of the Church.  And how could I forget, we also painted underneath the church again. 


After lunch we assembled Water Filters and then we delivered them to homes in the village.  After that we played some games with the kids and ended the day with a soccer match.  It is sad to leave today, but it has been a very busy and rewarding week.

Thank you for your prayers, Bill


 

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