My first visit to Torre Fuerte was with a team from the church, made up mostly of young people. We had a great time, worked hard, and received a warm welcome. We were the latest in a long line of visitors.
When I came back the next time, six months later, I was pleased to see that I was remembered, and began to sense that the girls as well as the adults were beginning to understand and believe in our call there.
This time, my third trip and together with Leslie, we are beginning to join the team. That means being given a set of keys, an expectation of joining in the oversight of the girls, being asked to lead a Bible study, and being given a couple of long term projects to work on.
The set of keys to both offices was a real statement of the pastor’s confidence in me, especially since he would be gone for part of our visit. The oversight of the girls includes making sure they are doing their homework instead of surfing the internet or playing games. With over 40 girls to watch, it’s quite the challenge.
Leading the Bible study was maybe my biggest challenge to face, since it was, of course, in Spanish. I asked one of the girls to pray, and after a long pause,
someone did. I asked one of the girls next to me to read the Scripture. Then it was up to me to talk a little and try to help the girls see the challenge of the Scripure we’d read. I guess I communicated okay, since they seemed to get the gist of it.
There are two long term projects to work on. One is a reading program. Leslie and I spent much of the day today, alongwith Katherine – a girl who apparently loves books – sorting through and organizing the TF library. They really do have a good collection of classic literature and solid reference books. The problem isn’t just that the books were disorganized, though. The problem, like in the U.S., is that the girls would rather do just about anything but read.
Our challenge is to motivate them, organize a reading program, and develop a checkin/checkout system for the library. I suggested that they need a librarian for the task, and Katherine seems to be up to the task.
The other project is something that everyone in Peru seems to agree would be a huge asset for the girls – teaching them English. The desire is there among many of the girls, and we’re finding that several of them know quite a few phrases. Having a couple of people who are native English speakers could be quite an advantage for the girls. I hope so.
Of course the highlight of any trip is getting to know the girls themselves.It’s been fun to get to know the two new girls, Milagros and Katherine, as well as to finally break the ice with Marisol, Delia, and Mayra. Leslie has developed a good relationship with most of the girls at an amazing pace. The girls really seem to like her a lot, and Leslie seems to be having a lot of fun getting to know them.