Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reflections after our return

I sometimes think that we are supposed to know all the answers and comprehend the fullness of events as they happen, but it doesn't work that way for me. After several weeks with the help of some very timely bible passages and a word from God I am beginning to have some understanding of what being part of this team was all about for me.

Actually it wasn't about me at all and I'm not sure how much was about the team or about the work we did with the children in Arequipa, Peru. A reading in Hebrews (Chapter 10 & 11) really helped to provide some clarity. The 10th chapter speaks about sacrifice and Christ's perfect sacrifice in giving his life for us. The 11th chapter is Paul's discourse on faith. I never had seen any relationship between the two concepts of 'sacrifice' and 'faith' until this reading. Maybe the reason for that was I had never explored the idea of sacrificial acts in my life.

In connection with our trip to Peru, we did sacrifice some of our money and our time to make the trip. We definitely sacrificed a little of our creature comforts to the inconvenience of being taken completely out of our comfort zone. Finally, we sacrificed our physical well being as most of us experienced the discomfort of illness. Admittedly these sacrifices pale in comparison to what long-term missionaries experience on a routine basis and can not even compare to the suffering of Christ on the cross. What I did come to understand through this experience, however, was that anytime we make sacrifices of any kind for the sake of Christ, we are building our faith and the faith of those around us.

I know that my faith was increased through working with the team and the children in Arequipa.  I was touched repeatedly by the simple acts of giving and receiving hugs, playing children's games, watching the way in which the children inter-related with each other and the adults in their lives, trying to communicate without a common language, sharing meals together, praying together, listening to the voices and sounds around me and experiencing the sights and sounds of the city and surrounding country side. The miracles were sometimes small but overall to have accomplished the work we had been given, as we overcame the daily challenges and obstacles, was a major miracle and faith builder.

Another aspect of our sacrifice is that we become one with Christians all over the world, both living and past who have sacrificed for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I realized this fact, my respect and appreciation for all who seek to follow Christ was increased enormously. Also a real exercise in humility.

Although we do not have to travel great distances or go to extremes to make sacrifices in our lives, for me this trip has highlighted the role that sacrifice for others has made in my own spiritual journey.  I now know that when I sacrifice my agenda for that of Jesus Christ I am taken to higher ground in my faith.

 1 Hear my cry, O God;
   listen to my prayer.
 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
   I call as my heart grows faint;
   lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
   a strong tower against the foe.   Psalm 61:1-3

Pat Mc

Friday, July 29, 2011

Got a bug!

Hello Everyone,

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. Several of us, including me, caught a bug that includes fever and GI issues. I was down for the count yesterday. I slept most of the day yesterday and today. Can't wait to get better. Talk to you in later.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A good night's sleep

What a regenerative power there is in a good night's sleep. Unfortunately that doesn't allways happen for me. Often I wake up early in the morning with thoughts of work chasing through my head and then spend 2 or 3 hours tossing about trying to solve tomorrow's problems. When I finally get back to sleep the alarm goes off and its time to face the real problems of the day.

Here in Arequipa, Peru I have not had those problems. We wake up with morning prayer, a devotion, a time of worship and the love of God and our team-mates wrapped around us. The day is filled with activity, sights and sounds (lots of sounds, this is a very noisy city), laughter, some tears, but most of all the lyrical language of spanish all around and the beutiful children and adults of the Casa Hogares orphanage. I hate to use the word "orphanage" as we all know there are no orphans of God.

We work hard and play hard (yesterday I played to hard and pulled my hamstring). We taste food with aromas and flavors different than we are accustomed to, we pray (after the team prayed over me last night my hamstrings appears to be completely healed this morning) and we have endless conversations of coffee and card games. The day is full.

WE end with evening prayer and devotionals and discuss our moments closest to God (there are many). This daily routine seems to be the perfect Rx for a sound and peaceful sleep in which our energies are renewed and we awake with a new appreciation of life in every sense of the word. We are grateful and humbled by the infinite extent of God's love and grace and mercy. Here in Peru we are especially in touch with the fact that God is present everywhere and His love and grace and mercy is available to all people of all colors in all parts of the earth.

Pat Mc

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a gift!

I can not begin to let you all know how grateful I am for this opportunity to be hear in Arequipa. I am enjoying my time here with the kids. I am learning a lot about myself and aprreciate what I have at home so much more now. The workers at our hostel and at the orphanages have been so welcoming. God is here among us here and He is with the kids! I am looking forward to the rest of the week.


The Park

Hi Everyone!

We spent the day at a beautiful park with both groups of children. We played duck duck goose, jump rope,frisbee, and soccer. I failed miserably at duck duck goose. The weather was gorgeous. The mountains were beautiful. Must run. Will blog later.

I'm alive

Wow....I came all the way to Peru to get a free "colonoscopy."  Not a fun night last night.  However, God has restored my health this morning.  Praise God.  We are headed to the park this morning to play with the kiddos.  Our plans have changed to day and minute to minute.  We were reminded in our daily devotional this morning that we need to focus on the presence of God in all things rather than focusing on our plans that have fallen apart.  We have no control over what will happen....only God does.


Monday, July 25, 2011

What a great day

Whew, what an amazing day our team has had.  As we move forward, God is revealing more to each of us about why we are here.  For me, I have been reminded of the parable of the sower that Fr. Mark preached on a few Sundays ago... 

From Mark 4 (NIV) 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

The children we are seeing already have a pretty good understanding of Christ's love; so they are "good soil".  I see a big part of our mission as a responsibility to make certain those seeds that have been planted by those before us receive water and fertilizer.  I can't wait to see what else God has in store for us.

John Martin

Pics from the little kids team

Making crafts with the young kids.

Day with the younger kids!

Were greeted by songs in English and Spanish. We then made some beautiful jewelry. We played games with the kids. I really enjoyed my day! Buenos noches!


First Day

We got back about thirty minutes ago from the different orphanages that we visited today. I tagged along with the older kids team today and took a ton of pictures. We had a lot of fun and taught the kids lessons about family and how we are all one big family in Christ. We also taught them about trust and how even though we can all trust in our church family, we can trust in God even more. We played games and had several activities with the kids. It was very cool.
Our team in front of our hotel.
San Lucas Orphanage

If someone from the other team blogs tonight, I will post one or two pics that Melissa took from that orphanage.

God is here

Why do I constantly need to be reminded of God's presence.  We started with morning prayer this a.m. This is a wonderful way to start our mission adventure and actually a great way to start any day - remembering how God left us the day before and how he's still there again today.  Its like being reminded of the sun rise.  Its always there but we forget to look for it each day.  Today I remembered.  Got to go, but for all of you, take God along with you today.

Pat Mc

Buenas Dias!

Hola from Peru!

We made it! I slept well last night and just finished breakfast! We are have sweatshirt weather this morning!.

We are about to go out and meet the kids! I am so excited! I will blog again later and fill everyone in.

The people here are so nice! The area is a desert, so the mountains are brown. I will post pix as the week goes on!

Thank you all for this opportunity.


Rise and Shine ...and give God the glory

My wonderful roommates (Melissa and Debby) and I had a great night sleep.  I woke everyone up at 5:15 instead of 6:15 because my iphone had not reset to the correct time.  So sorry roomies.  Anywho....after we got dressed I pulled out my daily devotional given to me by Ann Breitler...Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  The devotional today was so appropriate for us today especially after our gospel lesson last night.
"As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you.  I speak to you continually: through sights , sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures.   There is no limit to the vaiety of ways I can communicate with you.  Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come.  When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence.  You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief.  I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.  Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being.  John 10:27; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:13.


Holly Fox

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yea! Peru at Last!!!

As you know by now, we have arrived in and sound.  We are all excited and anxious to see the children tomorrow.  We sorted all the items and have had Eucharist.  We've already met many wonderful folks that are here to help us navigate through the week.  What a blessing these folks are!!!  God is good and providing us with everything we need to do His work.

Oh and the temps here are in the 60's...We're all wearing our sweaters and sweatshirts.

OK, time for Dominoes Pizza for dinner.

Keep those prayers coming.


Pic!! Finally!

Sign outside our hotel. I don't have the bandwidth to upload some of the ten megapixel photos (or 90% of the shots I took today). Tomorrow's photo(s) will be better.

We miss you

Hi mommy we miss you.  We just came back from getting snow cones and thought about you the whole time.  We are glad you arrived safe and are praying you have a great mission trip.  We are doing great and we love you.

The Fox Family

Introductory meeting

Met Susan Park this afternoon. we were briefed on the "do"s and "don't"s of Arequipa. It was very much a crash course in Latin American culture and customs. Among the highlights of the briefing for me was the "what to do in an earthquake" section; definitely not something we have to prepare for back home.

If I can get it working, I'll try to post a picture or two on here later.
We have finally made it to Arequipa and just had lunch at 3:30. I wanted to say hello to my precious family. I love and miss you guys.
The drive from the airport to the Hostal reminded me a lot of Mexico...a very poor and undeveloped country. We are looking forward to meeting the children tomorrow.
P.S. John: our red suitcase has been damaged from Lima to Arequipa. I guess it was time for some new luggage.:). Love you all.


Holly Fox
We made it!! At almost exactly 24 hours after i left the house we were picking up luggage at the Arequipa airport. We all arrived safely with all the luggage. Peru is very different than I expected. It is very arid and very brown. Winter is mild. We are in short sleeves and quite happy! The city is surrounded by mountains one with snow on top. As we flew over the Andes I was struck by the lack of trees--none. Saw one area in a valley that had agriculture from irrigation. We are at the hotel and getting settled now and are looking forward to sleeping tonight!
Halleluiah! We have arrived. Pray that as we begin our work we are led by the Lord!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

My darling family

Dear Daddy, Elle  and Annabelle,

     I love each of you very much and can’t wait to see you in 9 days.  I will have so many stories to share.  Please continue to pray for our safety and for the transformation of hearts and lives.  Never forget how much God loves and delights over you and that He desires to have a deep and intimate relationship with you.  It’s all about the heart….the place where God resides and speaks to each of us.  Thank you Nani and Happy for spending this precious time with the girls. 

Desperate for Him…always,

Holly Fox

 aka Mommy 

Truth: God's view of us

Truth:  God’s View

1.       I choose to believe that God loves me

2.       I choose to believe that God likes me

3.       I am a beloved daughter / son and God delights over me

4.       There is no comparison or competition in the Kingdom of God

5.       I am right with God through Christ’s work on the cross

Holly Fox  (compliments of my dear friend Karri Dutton)

Truth: God's view in Spanish

                            Verdad:  Vista de Dios        

1.                Elijo creer que Dios me ama

2.                Elijo creer que Dios me gusta

3.                Soy una amada hija / hijo y Dios se deleita en mí

4.                No hay comparación ni competencia en el Reino de Dios

5.                Estoy bien con Dios a través de la obra de Cristo en la Cruz

From my dear friend Karri Dutton

Holly Fox
The Road Ahead by Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  An I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
In His Mighty grip,
Holly Fox, Beloved daughter of the Most HIgh

Friday, July 22, 2011

Leaving tomorrow!

Hi Friends and Family,

I am leaving tomorrow evening for Peru.  I can't believe it!  I'm still packing my stuff!!  I can't wait to get to Peru to find out what God has planned for us all!  I am definitely looking forward to cooler weather for a while.  I am going to miss my family while I am gone.  Please check in on them for me.  Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and donations and kind words of encouragement.  They mean a lot to me.  Tune in later for more posts. 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can you believe it??

I am giggly with excitement and only one more day until we leave for Peru.  There have been some miracles already and I am sure there will be more!  First--It was paid for!  I couldn't believe this.  $3,000 a head was needed to fund this mission--and it happened 14 times.  I was a doubter on this one.  But there you have it!  If you are one of our very generous friends or famiy members I can only say thank you. You are participating in something much larger than all of us.

Next--I can't believe all the stuff got packed!  I personally toted three big Ikea bags worth of stuff up to the church last night, I have no idea how much other stuff was brought--but the pile was huge.  At the beginning we started sorting must go and would be nice to go.  We all opened up suitcases and like little squirrels we ran and grabbed stuff off the pile, stuffed it in our bags and ran back for more.  In the end it ALL found its way into a suitcase and we had plenty of room for the nice to have pile and ended up with room left over. It was almost like the loaves and fishes.  Who could have believed it would all fit!  The great news is we still have room to bring clean clothes for ourselves.

We got all the plans made for the activities for the week, and we have all been warned about the best laid plans... but at least we have a plan to deviate from! 

Keep praying--we still have to get to the airport, get to Lima, get to Arequipa, meet the kids, not get sick......

Here we go-

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just around the corner

I just arrived home after our "packing" party where we distributed our supplies and gifts among the 30 or so suitcases.  I can just see it now: a Peruvian customs agent looking in any one of our bags and finding screw drivers, Tinker Bell underwear, levels, used toilet paper rolls, crayons, sweet pea lotion, pashmina shawls, M & Ms, deodorant, soccer balls, toilet paper, diarrhea medicine, instant oatmeal, bug spray, gum balls, tube socks, construction paper, quilting squares, glue, sample size toiletries, etc. and wondering "How come nobody told me the Circus was coming to town."

I am soooo excited for this awesome opportunity to serve God and His children and prayerful that hearts will be open and transford by God's love and grace.  A dear friend once told me that God's highest priority is our hearts and that His passion has to return to it.  I strive to hear my heart speak first and foremost rather than the head because I have learned the hard way that you cannot think your way to God.  May we each seek to have that deep and intimate relationship with Him.  It's all about the heart:  the place where God resides.

Please pray for us and our families who remain behind...for safe travels and for changed hearts.

Holly Fox

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Here we go ------

Just sitting at our last Saturday night meeting before the trip, with the group that will be working with the older kids, I got a Holy Spirit rush.  The leaders of the older youth group, Deb and Cheryl have done their homework.  There is a plan, the materials have been provided or purchased and we are ready to go.  Fr. Mark gave us a pep talk and despite all of the distractions, we are coming together as a body of Christ within the larger body at St. Nicks.

There was a real feeling of the presence of God's Spirit with us tonight and I think we all felt a sense of expectancy as we await the unfolding of God's plan for our group in Arequipa. I cant wait to see what God has in store for the children and adults of Casas Hogares and for our St. Nicks Team.


One week and counting!

Here we are at our Sat. night meeting discussing details and hoping we have thought of all the details. Even the confusion is fun. We are excited, a bit scared, and hoping somehow we can do what needs to be done, do it with a smile, and most importantly, do it all in the name of Christ!
I am digging all the techy stuff Jack has set up! Can't wait to share things with friends and family back home.


Very cool. I look forward to seeing how all this high tech stuff works! John M

Last Meeting before we depart

Hello everybody!
I'm Jack Martin and I'll be maintaining our team's blog for this trip. I'm excited to have the opportunity to go to Peru with such a fantastic team. Tonight will be our final meeting before we pack and depart. I will be writing another blog after our meeting to inform you all of any developments and to give you all an overview of our trip.

Please note that if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. our team e-mail address is

Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks so much!