The last two weeks have been more of the same in some ways and MORE of the same as well. Bear with us as we describe seemingly separate things that are interconnected. It started with what was supposed to be taking a day off and a night away to rest and relax in an air-conditioned hotel room with a nice buffet breakfast the next morning. We booked a night at the Marriott Hotel downtown on the shore of the Pacific Ocean for Monday 2 January, expecting it to be a holiday (the Monday after New Years Day but, alas - it's a Peruvian thing - if Christmas Day or New Years Day falls on a weekend then too bad, no public holiday in lieu). Nevertheless we left the office at lunchtime and went with our good friends Nelson and Amy Burton (one of the other senior missionary doctors) down to the Marriott. We went for a leisurely walk along the ocean front and enjoyed the cooler temperature than where we live. We had a wonderful dinner watching the sun set into the ocean, probably just about where Townsville is on the other side.
We were woken after midnight by a call from Townsville, from our son in law Brian. Our eldest daughter Ashley was just about ready to deliver her first baby. The call was to tell us that she was going into hospital to arrange for an induction of labour. Now that doesn't help you to sleep well for the rest of the night!
We did manage a nice sleep-in and woke around 8 am. During the night on the phone we enjoyed spectacular 270 degree views from our 17th floor executive suite. Unfortunately at 8 am the views were nothing to speak of, literally nothing, nada! Outside was just white, we were in the middle of typical Lima thick cloud. We couldn't even see the ground, let alone the ocean. But, the nice buffet breakfast made up for it. We went for a walk along a nearby beach, which helped us realize how spoilt we Australians are with our pristine white sands, blue water, and Great White sharks. The beaches here are more brown dirt than sand. Yet hundreds of people were crammed in on their rented deck chairs and umbrellas to stare out over the water at the mist and cloud.
Nada! Now that's a Spanish word that means how much Spanish we knew before we came to Perú, nothing. It is interesting how learning a new language and its particular expressions gives new meaning and understanding to your own language. One good example is "dar a luz", which means childbirth, or literally "to give light". That's what happened Wednesday morning our time when we got a call that Wednesday night in Townsville, following little progression with labour, Ashley had a cesarean section and little Charlotte Joy Denham was given the light as she entered the world. It is kind of weird finding out Wednesday morning that she was born Wednesday night, but we won't go there.
We were thrilled to have a video call soon after with Ashley and Brian and Charlotte who was wide awake looking at us on the screen as if to say "hi grandma and grandpa", or maybe she was just hungry. Mother and baby are doing fine and Dad is more than a little bit over the moon! Another great blessing, with grandchild number nine and number ten due as we write.
Work in the office has been a bit quieter in the after Christmas /summer break. However, Craig made the fatal mistake of prayerfully expressing gratitude for this on Thursday morning. Immediately the emails and phone calls began and he was as busy as he has ever been during Thursday and Friday. So much so that he headed off to the airport again Friday night to accompany a sick missionary home to Seattle, via Atlanta, due to arrive back home Monday morning via Dallas.. At least Seattle is a bit cooler than Lima i.e. FREEZING. He said he wished Lesley was coming with him, but she was glad she wasn't. The heavens do have a sense of humour. As we have commented before it is now 18 months since we have seen any rain. In Seattle (the rainiest place in the world) Craig reports clear skies (and freezing mist), with no rain forecast until after he leaves. Meanwhile in Lima IT RAINED on Friday night, between 2 am and 4 pm, so Lesley didn’t get to see it, although she noticed wet roads in the morning.
Craig is actually getting immune to traveling and just takes a deep breath and practises all the mindfulness techniques he teaches the missionaries..."I've got through this before, I can get through the next day, the next hour, the next ten minutes, etc...." He has also come to a deep spiritual realisation from all his travels.
When our time on earth finally comes to an ends and we move to the other side we will head to the judgement bar. All the people who have been good will line up only to find that there are plenty of people waiting at open cubicles ready to process the transfer through without them having to wait in line. The staff are all smiling cheerfully as they quickly hurry them through and wish them well. And the air-conditioning will be working just fine. As for the not so good people....think of airport check-ins and immigration and security....Millions of people in line waiting to be processed and only one tired, cranky, caffeine deprived person at a single open counter, already doing an overtime shift. And the air-conditioner doesn't work, but they promise it will be sometime. So the moral is to BE GOOD!!
So an eventful couple of weeks with more to come.