Back from Brazil

Hello Prayer Team!

Thanks so much for your prayers. It’s hard to believe that two weeks have already passed, and I’m back from Brazil. Terry and Karla Smith and Asbury Church from Alabama also had a wonderful time doing the literacy workshop with the Quechua in Panao.

Other Praises:

  • For my increased confidence and ability in the use of Bible translation software, as well as improved abilities in the revision of drafts of Scripture translations.
  • For new friendships formed and colleagues met in Brazil.
  • For the chance to meet the Asbury Church team members in Lima.
  • The Panao Quechua translation team scheduled a meeting with many Panao Quechua leaders! The discussion of the nature of the Old Testament translation project will happen on Saturday the 27th.

Prayer Requests:

  • For a safe trip to Huánuco- I’m about to board the bus!
  • That I would be able to take what I learned at the Brazil workshop and use it to help the translation team to the fullest extent possible.

I ask continued prayer for:

  • The Smiths and I, that we would have a very good time of mentoring and learning when I get back from Brazil.
  • Continued networking with stakeholders, and continued development of my own community.
  • That I would continue to adjust to life in the village Tipsa.
    For continued spiritual growth and vitality.

Finally, I would like to ask you to pray for my mother Vivianne who is getting ready for a major surgery in early December, to remove a precancerous growth on her digestive tract. Right now, please pray for good planning and that she and the medical team would be able to make the best decisions possible.

Thanks so much!

God bless,

Alex

Off to Brazil!

Hello prayer team!

Thank you for your prayers. I’m writing this from the airplane that is taking me to Brazil for an intensive training workshop for translation consultants. While I studied just a bit of Portuguese for the trip, I’m grateful that the training will be in Spanish.

Here are some praise items:

  • A recent visit to the city of Pucallpa to work on my visa went really well!
  • While my cross-country bus passed a severe accident yesterday, we were able to arrive to Lima with just a dent from a minor collision.
  • Through there were website complications with getting a government document needed for this flight, we were able to have it made and printed in the final hour.
  • My forerunners Terry and Karla Smith are packed and ready to come to Peru for six weeks, and a short-term mission trip team from Alabama will join them in Panao shortly thereafter.
  • My ankle continues to strengthen.

Prayer Requests:

  • For the team as they spend many days working together with the Smiths on Psalms and other books of the Old Testament. The Quechua translators must make a big sacrifice to spend this much time at once, because there is not yet a formalized protect, nor funding.
  • Please also pray for the team as they ask their communities about what they think a translation project should look like, and as they work on the Panao Quechua Old Testament Translation Project Proposal
  • For safe travels and good health for the Smiths and the team from Alabama, and for a successful, positive reading workshop during the weekend of Friday October 12th.
  • Please pray for health, strength, and stamina for me as I go through this workshop in Brazil.
  • Please pray that the Smiths and I would have a very good time of mentoring and learning when I get back from Brazil.
  • Continued networking with stakeholders, and continued development of my own community.
  • That I would continue to adjust to life in the village Tipsa.
  • For continued spiritual growth and vitality.

How can I pray for you?

Thanks so much! God bless you,

Alex

Connected at last!

Hello prayer team,
Thank you for your prayers.
I am delighted to inform you that after 81 days of living in my apartment in Huánuco, as of today I now have home internet! I am very grateful for this privilege, as collaboration and research are integral to my Wycliffe ministry.
Some other praise items:
• I went to Lima two weeks ago to work on my new visa. The whole process went really smoothly. Praise for knowledgeable colleagues and a government office that was professional and even compassionate, despite a massive influx of immigrants fleeing hardship in Venezuela!
• I saw my old physical therapy doctor while in Lima. Prognosis: I have full range of motion! I just need to strengthen my ankle with some exercises.
• I have set up some “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals to aid me in my work and my study of Quechua.
• Immediately after my week in Lima I went to the village of Tipsa for a denominational conference. Praise for the chance to lead an improv Bible study with a bunch of teens and tweens, and for the chance to meet so many people in the Quechua-speaking community.
Here are some updated prayer requests:
• For the remaining steps for my visa.
• That I would be able to dream big and make good progress on my goals.
• For those impacted by God’s Word at the conference, that they would seek to absorb more of God’s Word in their language, and seek to know Christ.
• For safe travels this week on windy mountain roads.
• Continued ankle strengthening.
I also request prayer for the Venezuelan government and people. Due to a really difficult economic situation and runaway inflation there, “eating meat is now a luxury,” says my Venezuelan friend. And now many Latin American countries are making it more difficult for Venezuelans to enter.
Thank you so much.
How can I pray for you?
Thanks, take care, and God bless,
Alex

A praise report, slightly overdue

Dear prayer partners,

Thank you for your prayers. First, a testimony and praise report, slightly overdue:

A prayer partner commented on my last post and helped me realize that I forgot to share a testimony from my time of ankle recovery in Lima. I was making daily trips in taxis because walking to stops with crutches and standing in crowded buses wasn’t feasible. By God’s grace, I was often able to strike up a conversation with the driver and was able to share a part of my journey from hurt to healing. The young men often found my description of Proverbs to be intriguing and relevant to their lives.

“What part should I read?!” they would often ask. I would get their number and send them a link to download a Bible app. About a third either spoke a minority language themselves or had parents that did. In those cases, I was able to direct them to Scripture and Gospel resources in their heart language.

I was surprised by the number that later responded, thanking me, or asking for more direction. I am grateful to my Wycliffe mentor that taught me to make the most of these opportunities, and ultimately to God, that he uses us in his mission.

In regards to my last post, the city protests have stopped for the time being and the Christian wedding of my Quechua brother went splendidly. The translation team is exploring options for funding. I also praise God for a wonderful first overnight visit to the village! The two days went by fast, though the allergens did give me some difficulty.

At present my ankle is continuing to improve, though progress towards 100% recovery seems to be tapering off. Even so, I am still working on it and incredibly grateful to be able to walk 1 to 3 miles at a time without much trouble.

Getting my work visa involves collaborating with a partner organization, and scheduling challenges have prevented any progress. Please pray for good collaboration, a clear path, and safe travels to Lima next week so that we can finally get the process started.

It is difficult for newly arrived foreigners to get home internet installed. Only being able to access the internet through my phone’s prepaid data plan has proved to be quite inhibiting to my work. Please pray for a solution.

Please pray for me as I sometimes struggle to be patient and have a graceful spirit when facing obstacles and delays. I strive to live humbly, with the attitude of a learner.

Please also pray as I work to develop good, disciplined Quechua study habits, even when away from the language community.

How can I be praying for you?

Thanks so much,

Alex

Walking Without Crutches!

Dear prayer team,

Thank you for your prayers. I am glad to report that last week the doctor told me to stop using crutches! It was the 45th day since my fall.

Some more praises:

  • I’m settling in well in Huánuco. I am still learning a lot, but am not as overwhelmed as I was before.
  • For many good and helpful conversations with my forerunners Terry and Karla Smith while they were in town.
  • While I have not yet spent much time in the village (where I anticipate more allergens), these past weeks I have been allergy free! Some may remember that this has been a major trial at times.
  • My Quechua learning is progressing steadily. The other day someone asked me a question in Quechua. I had never heard that particular question before, but was able to recognize the components and answer. A very exciting first!
  • On Wednesday the 18th I was blessed to be a part of a civil wedding of one of my Quechua brothers. He and his fiancé got married in the rural town where he grew up. I am honored and humbled to have been given a significant role not just on their wedding day, but also in the future of their marriage and family. Praise for the chance for my Quechua family and the town officials to listen to Scripture in their heart language!

Please pray:

    • For the Panao Quechua Old Testament Translation Project.
      • As they seek project funding.
      • As they seek to update their translation software to the latest
        version- a complicated process that requires all team members to travel to the same site and update simultaneously.
  • For peace and safety in Peru, as many anti-corruption protests take place.
  • For me to be able to recover full ankle strength and range of motion in my continuing physical therapy sessions.
  • The same couple will have their Christian wedding on Saturday. Please pray for the couple as they prepare and seek the needed resources, and for family as they travel. Please pray for me- that I would understand and exercise my role to the best degree possible.

I request your ongoing prayer in these ways:

  • For sufficient rest for my ankle, and the ability to observe sabbath days.
  • Wisdom on how to allocate time when many tasks demand my attention.
  • For the ability to grow my community here in Huánuco.
  • That I would become more effective in my listening, and for increased awareness of how I impact others with even the smallest actions and decisions.

Thank you prayer team. You mean the world to me! How can I pray for you?

God bless,

Alex

Running With Crutches

Dear Prayer Warriors,

Thank you for your prayers!

Two weeks ago I entered the next phase of my Wycliffe ministry by moving to Huánuco. The night bus arrived safely and was pleasantly low-key. The day I arrived here I had the great privilege of sharing with 40 missiology students -mostly Quechua- about missions and a brief history of Bible translation! It went well and I was also blessed to learn more about their cultures.

Last week was much more intense than I had anticipated. Even now I feel a bit overwhelmed and stressed as I acclimate more to the Latino and Quechua cultures. The learning curve has been very steep, and I’m constantly digging into all my valuable training. Even so, mistakes and apologies are inevitable.

Praise be to God for the incredible help from the lead translator Edmin and his extended family as I learn, incorporate, and get settled. All this, even as I continue to recover from my sprain! I admit, I didn’t realize my sprain would be so “disabling” in Huánuco, and it’s taking longer to heal than expected.

I am also thanking God for the timely visit of my forerunners Terry and Karla Smith. Their 30+ years with the Panao Quechua allows them to give me much needed guidance and insight.

I request your prayer for me in these ways:
– For wisdom on how and where to establish healthy boundaries
– For sufficient rest for my ankle, and the ability to observe sabbath days
– Wisdom on how to allocate time when many tasks demand my attention
– For the ability to grow my community here in Huánuco
– That I would become more effective in my listening, and for increased awareness of how I impact others with even the smallest actions and decisions.

Finally, please pray that I would be able to learn the local languages and cultures at the rate I am being taught.

Thank you so much. I couldn’t do this without you.

God bless,

Alex

P.S. Here is an update on my CanIL professor Ben Kuwitzky and his son: It turns out Ben himself also needs invasive surgery to correct a gradually worsening issue with his ribcage. His son’s cranial surgery won’t take place until at least August, and then the ribcage surgery will occur after his son has recovered. Thank you for your prayers for this family.

Off to Huánuco!

All my bags are packed and waiting at the bus terminal, and I’m ready to go to Huánuco tonight. Please pray for safety in the journey and strength for a long day on Friday: establishing a new residence and giving a presentation on missions to 40 students! I’m feeling very excited. Also, my ankle is doing much better and I have stories to tell about my extra time here in Lima! Thanks so much.

Slight Injury; Prayer for Projects Nearing Completion

Hello Prayer Partners,

Greetings again from Lima! My orientation is going so incredibly well here, and I feel blessed at every turn. Thank you so much for your prayers.

There has been a recent challenge though. I would like to ask for prayer for healing and wisdom regarding my ankle. I sprained it fairly severely on Tuesday night, and the doctor says I am to rest and not go to Huánuco for at least a week. A sprain is such a minor thing, and for me, a constant call to prayer for those who suffer more severe maladies. But it is certainly impacting my work. Please pray for good, quick healing, and the ability to get done what I need to do in Lima.

Other praise and prayer items are below. As I like to emphasize on occasion, please don’t let these updates become burdensome. Please feel free to pray for all items, or just the ones that the Lord puts on your heart to pray for. Thank you so much.

Praises:

  • For a wonderful tie saying farewell to friends and family all across the West Coast.
  • For safe travels all throughout
  • For an incredibly moving commissioning service at Mountain Creek
  • For good health
  • For a great start to my relationships in Lima

Prayer:

  • Safe travel to Huánuco. It will be an all-night winding trip that reaches nigh 16,000 ft elevation!
  • For a great start to my relationships in Huánuco and surrounding areas.
  • Visa process and remainder of Lima orientation
  • My apartment arrangements for Huánuco

I also ask for prayer for two translations that are close to completion. Spiritual warfare always increases at this stage.

  1. The Ambo Pasco Quechua people neighbor the Panao Quechua, and are preparing for their Scripture Dedication celebration on July 7th. Please pray that the event planners would be able to leverage this unique opportunity for maximum kingdom impact, and that God would be stirring in the hearts of all the Ambo Pasco people, even now, giving them a great hunger for his Word.
  2. One of my CanIL professors, Ben Kuwitzky, is a translation consultant that works with many languages in Africa. He recently received word that the Tangale West translation team was ordered by their own community to stop work on the translation. This comes as a blow, as they have been making great progress, and the translation is nearing completion. Also, Ben and his family are making an emergency visit to the U.S., as they found out that their newly-adopted son likely needs cranial surgery ASAP.

Please pray for unity and God’s healing in these matters.

Thank you for praying with me, and for your partnership with me in the Gospel.

God bless you all,

Alex

It’s Happening!!!

  • Greetings from SeaTac Airport!

Praise! All my bags are packed and I am in the plane, ready to go. Praise also for an amazing Alaska rep who got me through security when a delay made it look like I might miss my flight.

Praise! For wonderful time with family yesterday.

Please pray:

  • For my health, as it appears I already have a stomach bug!
  • For clear passage through customs and immigration. I’m carrying more than the usual traveler!

After today (Thursday), please pray for continued recovery and a great start to the relationships with all of my colleagues in Lima. I will be there until about June 4th, Lord willing, and then going to Huánuco.

I anticipate having time to finally get a newsletter out next week! Thanks for your patience in that regard.

After over ten years of preparation, it’s incredible to think that it’s finally happening! I couldn’t do this without you all. Thank you.

How can I be praying for you?

God bless you,

Alex

One Week Left!

Dear prayer team,

As I write this, I have one week and 20 minutes before my flight departs! By the time you see this, I will have less than a week left.

God has been good! I’ve made a lot of progress on my departure task list and have been able to have good farewells with many friends.

My visit to Mexico was good and also bittersweet. Thank you so much for your prayers for my safety, and for the morale and direction of the orphanage leadership.

Praise! For an incredibly moving and affirming commissioning service on Sunday. For all the people that came, and for all the words of encouragement and admonishment given.  (I have a friend putting together a video of the service- be on the lookout!)

Praise! I have several people interested in buying my truck. Please pray for safety during the negotiations. My first meeting is 2:00 PM tomorrow Friday.

Praise! I was able to get into the dentist yesterday, and I also have my last appointment scheduled for just 18 hours before my flight leaves! God is good!

Please pray for me as I prioritize and work with a tight timeline today and tomorrow. Today, I need to move out of my apartment in the few hours between my conditioning hike and meeting a friend for dinner!

Please continue to pray for:

  • Writing a newsletter- especially in finding the time
  • Purchasing a little bit more equipment
  • Digitizing a few boxes of paper documents, books, slides, prints, and negatives
  • Figuring out what I’m taking to Peru and what to do with the items that I can’t take

At this point, my entire task list is starting to look quite daunting!

Thank you so much! As always, please let me know how I can be praying for you.

God bless,

Alex