Monday, April 18, 2011

Pastor Sergio's visit - Day 10, Monday, April 18

Day 10 
The final day.  
A day of bitter sweetness.
I spent a good deal of time last night getting the video transferred to a DVD for Sergio.  Things never go right when you are under pressure, but, by 2 AM I had the DVD burning away, and it was done by 8 AM when I awoke. Whew!  

After a good wake-up shower it was off to Nick's to pick up Sergio and Erin.  I wasn't sure if all their stuff would fit or not.  Here is the end result.  They fit everything in, plus two jars of peanut butter. We'll have to get the rest of the donated peanut butter from Cornwall to Peru when we go next March.  

 I tried to get into the house, and it was locked.  Imagine that.  : )  I guess Nick and Margaret REALLY have had enough of me this past week.  : )   

As usual Sergio greeted me with his wonderful smile.  

 This morning's breakfast was oatmeal.  I think Sergio has experience most ways to have breakfast here in Canada.  I wonder what he'll be thinking about his breakfast's over the next weeks as he accustoms himself to his home life again.  

I know that when we come back from another country, we appreciate certain types of foods from our home country/city.  It's a bit reversed for Sergio, in that I don't think he's had many of these foods before, and I know he really enjoyed the meals here.  

 After packing up the van it was time for a good-bye picture with Nick and Margaret.  They have been wonderful hosts to Sergio and Erin.  Thanks for taking them in.  

 Sergio has been concerned that he won't have pictures to show his wife and congregation when he gets home.  He didn't quite get the fact that all the pictures I had been taking were not for my personal edification : )  (though, I have to admit I do like taking them). Erin told him not to worry.  

This morning I gave him the photo albums with the 200 pictures in them, and the DVD of our time yesterday.  He was quite happy and immediately started going through them.   

It was a bit of work, but well worth the effort because I know the books will be well used by Sergio as he visits in the homes of his congregation, as well as anyone else he meets.  

 We all went to the church and held a Skype conference with Pepe  (I have to get savvy on Skype once's been a while). Here is my good and crazy friend Pepe.  He's gained some weight since I've seen him last......must be that good cooking that Erin does for him.  : )   

 We spent about 2 hours  (after some Internet glitches, and forgetting that the counting committee was using a room we were using)  in my office talking with Pepe and Sergio.  It was good to get some clarification on some things and work out some directions we might want to go in as a broader group.  I think I caught Nick in mid sneeze in this picture though.  Sorry about that Nick.  : ) 

 When we were done at the church, I dropped Nick off at home and we met Joycegina at Dick's for one last meal together.  

 As Sergio has been here, he has gradually relaxed more and more.  I have seen his playful side emerge.  Here you see him laughing and laughing (I forget about what again).  He showed his profile face in this picture.....

 ....and then turned the other way to laugh and show his other profile side.   

 He ordered the Salmon burger this time, as well as an order of Poutine.  After trying a sample of root-beer he also decided to try a root-beer float.  He thought the drink was amazing, though he didn't know that the spoon was in the cup at first.  I had to show him that.   

 When the food arrived, Sergio demonstrated his expertise in handling the french fries.....makes for a great picture.  

 Another hand full when it came to the burger, but this time he didn't use a fork.  He's getting better by the day....too bad he's going home today........

 When lunch was over, I shooed everyone back to the church for a minute for some final pictures.  Sergio and I.....

 Sergio, Erin, and I (I felt really tall in this picture).  Boy, Peruvians can be short, eh!  :)   

 And then Sergio, Joycegina and I.  Oh, I forgot, I also married someone who is not so tall...there goes that theory....BTW, I think Erin took, like, 6 shots of us here.  She just kept hitting the shutter button and pictures kept coming.  

 It was time for Joycegina to say good-bye to Erin...

 ....and Sergio.

Next we were off to Loblaws so I could get the last 20 pictures made for Sergio's album.  They went to the bank to get Canadian $$ changed back into U.S. $

We arrived at the Ottawa Airport at about 1:15 pm.  Erin and Sergio checked in, and dropped off the guitar to the over sized luggage counter.   We had about 1 hour to kill, and I offered Sergio one last Tim's French Vanilla, but he said he was full.  No Problem!  : )  

So, there was nothing left to do but say good-bye.  Sergio and I hugged each other.  

I hugged Erin good-bye and noticed that Sergio was quiet.  He was stoic, realizing that we were parting ways.  He said some very nice things to me, and we hugged.  He was genuinely sad about our departure.   In previous times when we were in Peru, Sergio and I would say hello, work like crazy for the day, and then say goodbye.  

This trip was busy too, but much different.  We spent a great deal of time together on this trip, and when you spend a lot of  time together with someone who's lots of fun, and a deep spiritual person like Sergio is, parting hurts.  You don't see it in the picture, but I did kiss him on the head.  I've come to view Sergio as a good friend.  I will miss him too, and hope to see him in 2012.  

I think even Erin was touched by the experience as I looked over and saw her. She's so sensitive. : )    So, we parted ways, and Erin and Sergio entered the security line.  

A final wave goodbye from our friend Sergio.  

Oh, not quite.  After going through security I got one last picture.  I sat down to watch the planes for a bit, and then looked at the departure board.  I was shocked to see that their flight was now 45 minutes late.  Erin just happened to be looking up and saw me.  She pointed to the arrivals and baggage claim. She was going to go out of security with Sergio and meet me there.  

Erin is a savvy traveller.  That's an understatement really. : )  She, "likes to keep her options open" so she wanted to talk to Canada Immigration in Ottawa to see if Sergio could get his exit visa stamped here to save time in Toronto.  They would only have 45 minutes between flights, and that's tight.   

The end result was that Sergio needed to get the stamping done in Toronto.  It did give me a chance to hug Sergio one more time.  : )  They went back through security, and I went to Redeemer to do the daily pick-up.  As I drove there, many great memories flooded through my mind.  

I was reminded of the conversation over lunch in which Sergio once again told us of his nervousness in coming to Canada.  What would he experience?  How would he handle the weather?  What about the food (making pancakes for example).  I reminded him that we feel the same way when we go to Peru, so this experience will be good for Sergio the next time we come to Peru.  It has been a good 10 days and it was all worth while.  

As you go home to your wife, daughter, and congregation, let me say thank you Sergio.  You're love for God, deep thinking, and humble heart have inspired many here.  I have enjoyed becoming your friend.  We pray that you will be able to sort out all your experiences here and sift through what to keep, and what to let go.  

May God bless your church, your school, the feeding program, and the book making initiative.  Remember to plan well, go slow and walk in God's time, not your own.  I hope we will meet again soon, and you will be able to take me out for a coffee and a donut.  : ) 

To Erin, I also say thank you.  You've been fun to bug, but under all that ribbing is a deep respect for what you do.  You are truly one of a kind.  You are gifted, good at what you do, and have a true heart for your soon to be new country, Peru.  You are sincere and not afraid to be bold when you need to be with the churches you partner with in Peru.  At the same time, you are sensitive to what is happening around you.  You are gifted with children and an excellent teacher.  Frontline is served well with your partnership with Pepe. 

So, the trip is over.  Time for a bit of a rest for me.  After that, it's time to get the Peru group together to discuss next steps.  I'll tell anyone I meet that this trip for Sergio was worth all the time and effort.  It just feels right to be able to get Sergio to come here and see things from a different perspective.  I've increased my global perspective even more, and I know that many in our church were touched by what they experienced in Sergio.  

For some of you that will mean going to Gamaliel church in 2012 and learning and growing in the broader church of Christ.  For others of you,  it will mean supporting those who do go.   For all of us, it should mean that we use these experiences that happen in a set time period to be a catalyst for doing the work of God in our own city.  There's tonne's of opportunity, you just need to hear God on it, and then obey.   Will you?    

Post Script:

 Erin gave me these pictures from her computer.  This is Sergio leaving Peru 10 days ago.  

 This is the picture of the the goose that pooped on my camera.  I think it might have become the goose that I ate at Peter's house the next day. : )  

Nick and I spent a good deal of time together this week too.  He was a great tour guide and I enjoyed getting to know him better.   

Colin came over and Sergio helped him put the picture that we received in church this past Sunday onto a backing.

I end these blog entries with a sad, and happy heart.  I hope you've enjoyed peeking in on the activities of the week and I await what God will do with this experience both in Pachacutec, and Ottawa. 

I know I've written a lot, and if you read John's comment in the last entry, you'll know I like homophones.  It was great to allot my time to Sergio, and I hope we will all take away a lot of great memories.......until the next entry....  : ) 

Que te cuides.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pastor Sergio's visit - Day 9, Sunday, April 17

Day 9
Let's begin this entry with day 8 though.  

 As you know, I left the Brinkman's early so they could enjoy the evening without me. I asked John to get a picture of the family, with Sergio, and he graciously obliged me.  

I found out today that Sergio didn't know, realize, that I was not going to be staying at the Brinkman's.  He was sad that he didn't get the chance to say goodbye to me.   I was touched by that thought.   

Now let's get back to today. 

This morning was the service in which Sergio would be involved. Palm Sunday.  Our morning began at 8:00 am, getting things ready with the Youth Praise Team.  We are in the middle of putting in new speakers in the sanctuary so things were a bit hectic getting the sound set up to work.  

I confess I was getting a bit pushy, as I wanted the praise team to get singing.  Pastor Ken took Sergio and walked him through what would be happening for the Communion portion of the service.  Eventually everything was settled and we were ready to start the service.  

I was the liturgist today, with Pastor Ken doing the Communion portion with Pastor Sergio.  

 Our youth praise team got things underway.  They sounded really good with the new speakers in the Sanctuary.  

Peter introduced Pastor Sergio to the church in Spanish, and then in English.  

 Then Sergio spent some time talking with our children.  He told a story of three trees, and how they all had a different wish that came true during the life of Jesus.  I'll have to get that story from the Christian book store someday. 

 Sergio loves to tell stories and use his hands allot  (and yes, Megan, allot is actually a word...check it out in your spell  check and you'll see).  

 The church school children in Pachacutec drew pictures for our church school children.  Each of our church school children got one.  Neat.  

 Sergio also gave each child a Llama finger puppet. He then showed a couple of pictures of the church, school, feeding program and his family.   

 After singing "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart..." in Spanish  (and me forgetting to have the kids do that song, and creating some confusion in the process)  Sergio spent some time sharing God's word with us.  

 Erin interpreted for him.  He spoke on the theme of unity.  

 Once the Sermon was over, Sergio gave a gift to our church.  This painting is really two paintings in one.  On the left are mountains in Peru, and on the right is a scene scape from Alberta.  Sergio was wanting to symbolize the unity between our two countries.  A wonderful painting.   

 Pastor Ken received the painting on behalf of the church.  I'll be getting it framed and we'll place it somewhere in the church as a reminder of our continuing partnership.  

 Then it was time for Communion.  Pastor Sergio and Pastor Ken did this together.  It was neat to see things being said in both English and Spanish, and Sergio did a marvelous job doing something he hadn't really done before.  

 Here is Sergio helping distribute the bread to the Elders. 

 And then the juice.  

 Words are spoken by Ken and Sergio when taking the bread and the juice.  

 It was soon time for the offering, and then some announcements.  In the process of thanking Sergio for coming here, and sharing with the Congregation about some of the new foods Sergio has tried, Peter piped in and reminded me that Sergio had tried Goose as well.  It was comical.  

We ended our service holding hands and singing the song, "My friends, may you grow in grace."  It was neat to watch this from the front of the church.  

After church was over we shook hands and passed the peace of Christ.  I think Ken and Sergio were passing holy hugs instead.  : )  

Once church was over we had coffee in the fellowship hall.  Soon afterwards we set up tables and chairs and out came the soup and buns.  

 There was lots of food.  Thanks to everyone who made soup.  I heard nothing but compliments about it.  

 Look at the different colours and textures of the soups that were made by loving hands.  There was even salmon soup...made by none other than John B.  It was delicious.  

 After the soup, it was time for me to get things in gear and have Sergio begin to share with us.  I shared a bit first about our week, and the wonderful work that Erin has been doing this week too.  I had to, to combat all the blog comments I've been making about her.  : )  

 Sergio did a wonderful job of sharing his church's history with us.  John B input some slides of the beginnings of Calvin CRC, and they were a nice comparison for where we were, and where Gamaliel church was as they began.  

Even on a Sunday, our schedule was full.  After cleaning up everything at church  (thanks to all those who helped to do that) it was off to Calvary CRC for a Spanish service with some families.  

 After a week of taking Erin's picture, I think she's just about had enough of me.  She just turns her head away now, even when I try to sneak in a picture.  

 She said she was just trying to look in the window here, but I know she was shielding her face from a picture.  Sneaky, sneaky.....

 I didn't know anything about the Spanish church we were going to, and when we got to Calvary there were only 2 cars in the parking lot, and the side door was closed.  We walked around the the front of the church, and found the sanctuary door open.  We walked in and found a small group of people gathered for a time of teaching.  

Apparently this church comprises 2 - 3 families only.  I found out afterwards more about this church, and you can ask me about it sometime if you are interested.  Sergio had a wonderful time of singing and praying and listening to God's word, in his own language for a change.  That was all that mattered to me. 

 I've been taking allot of pictures this week, and I will be giving them to Erin to take with her to Peru.  Sergio will get them too, but I also wanted to print out pictures for an album so Sergio can take them to the homes of his congregation when he visits with them.  I ordered about 200 pictures, and here is Erin putting names on the back of them so Sergio will be able to remember who they are.  I stuffed them into the albums when the were completed.  We did this while Sergio was in the service.  

 We weren't supposed to be at Reg and Marg's until 6 pm, and we were done at 4:30 pm, so I took Erin and Sergio to Tim's for a coffee.  Apparently Sergio has taken a liking to French Vanilla coffee.  : )  He had a medium one, with a double chocolate donut, or as Erin said when she ordered, "I'll have a chocolate, chocolate donut please."  She hasn't gotten our donut lingo down yet...and won't be here long enough to become an expert I don't think  : ) .   

Sergio loved the different varieties of donuts.  I think Erin asked him if he'd ever had a muffin before, and she pointed it out to Sergio.  He said, "No, but I've been to Tim's now a couple of times, so I think I can take my wife out to a place like this in Lima and be able to impress her by ordering these new things for her."   I had to chuckle once again. 

 Time to enjoy.  

It's amazing how Erin's dainty eating style has become infectious. Notice how Sergio is using his napkin to eat his donut......  : )  

We spent a good hour talking together about different things.  How to get Internet to the church, how to be able to possibly use that Internet to take online courses for ministry so Sergio wouldn't have to travel so long to the school.   We also laughed allot about many funny things.  Sergio is so much like a little kid at times.....I think that's what I really like about him.  

Before we knew it, it was 6 pm.  Thank goodness we were already close to Reg and Marg's place.  We arrived and Reg and Marg greeted us.  

 I warned Sergio that I wouldn't be staying for dinner here either, so he wouldn't be sad all over again.  Before I left, I snapped this shot of Sergio's new friends.  Oh, I see Erin decided  to be in the picture this time.  

"The gift"  showed itself as well.  

I left after this picture and am now at home getting some final things done for Sergio before he leaves.  Getting the video of this mornings service to DVD, and finishing up the pictures in the albums, as well as ordering the final 20 from today to complete Sergio's album. 

I don't really want to think about tomorrow, because tomorrow brings with it bitter sweet things.  I know it's time for Erin and Sergio to go home  (I also know they are ready to go home)  but they will be missed.  I've gotten into a routine of visiting (THANKS an tonne BTW to all of you who opened up your homes to us during this week) and then blogging things, and it will seem strange after tomorrow night to not be doing this.....

It will also be strange not hearing Erin's voice as she interprets the words of Sergio.  I will miss the quick Spanish (oh, BTW, in Tim's today, there were a couple of times I actually got the gist of the conversation, and Erin didn't need to translate that for me......I thought that was cool!) being spoken between Sergio and Erin.  I'll miss Sergio's thoughtful insights as we drove in the van between places.  I'll really miss his sense of humour and laughter.  

Until tomorrow then...and the last entry about Sergio and Erin's stay here....then, sometime soon, some reflective thoughts about next steps and moving forward.