Friday, October 2, 2015

January 2015 - In a Nutshell


In a nutshell:

- Recuperate after December, Matthew's and Tiana's birthdays





- Close the finances from 2014!!!!!!


- Summer time with the family
Matthew lovin' himself some soccer

A few days off in Moquegua and Tarata



- A week of depression after the Packers lost to Seattle in the Conference final
This one was taken before total meltdown with 4 minutes left


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Dirty Jobs. Steve Jobs. Moms Jobs.

I admire you Mums!

You have got to be one heck of a woman to pull it off as a mom. 

Sometimes it is easy and the best place in the world.  All the hugs and kisses.  Great conversations with teenagers and even deeper ones with 3 and 5 year-olds.  Game time.  Play time.  Laughing together.

There is a special bond with moms and their children.  You see it in every professional athlete.  You hear it from every child you ask.  Moms are moms and I envy them.

Then there are ALLLLLL the rest of the days.

And moms I do not envy you.  The non-stop yelling and running and spilling and fighting and crying and caring for them.  "Get down", "Slow down", "Put that down"..."Hurry up", "Get up", "Shut Up!!!!" (I know none of you would ever say that!)

It is an exhausting, consuming, stressful, eternal job...and I do not envy you.

BUT...

there are the good days.  And those days are what make everything worth it.

Now it is time to put. a. period. after. each. word. to. make. it. more. impactful.

With a life so complicated the solution must also be complicated.  AND WE LOVE YOU MOMS!

May your day be spent full of running, yelling, fighting, pulling, screaming...and hugging, kissing, laughing, playing, smiling, and joy!

Happy mothers day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Operation Christmas Child

***This is not an early fundraiser***

We have the blessing of joining the Samaritan's Purse project Operation Christmas Child.  It is the last piece to be put in place in a worldwide ministry.

From Where to Where

It all starts in churches coast to coast across the USA.  Churchgoers all over decide to fill a shoe box with clothes, toys, and other fun things for boys and girls from 2-14 years old all over the world.

Some of those shoeboxes ended up in Tacna, Peru...and we were blessed to share these boxes with nearly 240 children throughout the three churches and a local school.






Some of those shoeboxes ended up in Tacna, Peru...and we were blessed to share these boxes with nearly 240 children throughout the three churches and a local school.

After this surprise fiesta for the kids, we follow up with a 12-week discipleship class for all the children.  We finish it up with another "graduation" party and give each child a diploma and fun New Testament.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2-inch Crap Pipe

We discovered a big ol' sewage problem.

These last few weeks we have been doing some work on the church in order to add another classroom for Nuestras Semillas After-school program.  The new and bigger classroom is going to be a huge blessing for the program and also for the children's ministry on the weekends.

But we found a little surprise.



For some reason when the church was being built someone left a 2" sewage pipe a open and then poured the cement floor on top.  So each time there was a lot of water being drained (baptisms, showers, etc) the water would empty itself under our church floor, ruining our electricity, the walls, one of our stages, and more.

Who hasn't had to deal with this one?

We all have a sewage drain our lives.  Some deal with family, some the lack of family.  Some are battling materialism while others barely have enough to get by, if they can.  Some of us are still dealing with mommy and daddy issues.  Instead of fixing the problem most decide to pour cement smiles, new cars, and other false sense of happiness on the surface...all the meanwhile we got all the thoughts, insecurities, anger issues, pride and the list is eternal.

What happens is that we don't deal with our problems and sins and we internalize them?  Little by little, like in our church, the overflow just eats away at the foundation until we can't stand our own weight and we break down.

It usually takes a lot of time, dedication, and eventually some rebuilding.  God hopes to restore us and renew us.  He breaks when he sees all the problems that have happened to us and all the problems we cause in the lives of others.  But in the end he breaks us down to our foundation and puts us back together without all the crap building up inside us.  He tells us to confess our sins, seek forgiveness and forgive, restore ourselves, our family, our relationships.  It seems easier just to pour some dirt and concrete over our relational problems, but the toxins continue to drain inside and we only see small consequences until we totally break.

So He continues to rebuild, restore, and renew.

He loves it, but even more He love us!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fr$$ $ducation???

We hope that Matthew(5) and Tiana(3) will have the opportunity to study at a university in the United States i(f they decide to go there).  Being US citizens it can be a difficult and tricky situation since they are living and studying abroad.




Each month it costs us over $250 to send our two kids to school.

School supplies for our kids over $500.

But you know what is more difficult and tricky?

Minimum wage full-time job pays $250 a month.

That is a months salary per child.

This is why each donation to the Children's Scholarship Program has been such a blessing to these families.  We have been blessed to see many finish high school and go on to study in trade schools or the university.  Thank you!

Some photos from this year click here

With that being said, we have been notified by Alliance Exchange that they will be dissolving as a NGO.  We will be campaigning to raise over $3,000 each year to continue to give these children the opportunity to receive the education they deserve.






This is a photo of Talia.  She was receiving a scholarship for years, and this year she was accepted into the university to study Psychology.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Invoking our inner Macho Man Randy Savage



Seriously, what would you do?

So we were waiting for the drunk guy to stumble past the car, when all of the sudden he starts yelling racist comments and stumbling toward the car.

Before I continue you have to imagine the scene.  We just came from a wedding, all dressed up, and we are taking some friends back to their house.  Our friends, an older grandma, a 30-ish mom, and her adolescent son are all sitting in the back of the mini-minivan.  My beautiful wife all dressed up and looking hot in shotgun.  We are parked on a very steep hill right in front of their house. And there we are laughing and talking a little in the car while our soon-to-be uninvited guest makes his way towards our mini-minivan party.  It is a Chevy N200 mini...mini...minivan.

And we are back.  So this dude (or any other D-word you prefer to plug in) actually opens the door and reaches his hand in toward my wife, all the while yelling and screaming angrily.

Why?  Because I am white.  Seriously.  That was the only thing that made him angry (we will leave it at that for now).

Back to the question.  What would you do?

My reaction definitely won't end up on my highlight reel.  I immediately invoked my inner dad/husband/Macho Man Randy Savage instinct and in one step had the door open, I was around the front of the car, and had my fist clinched in on its way towards the soon to be victim.

DON'T YOU EVER!
EVER!
GO AT MY WIFE!

All of this happens within a few seconds.  Then God intervenes, but it was the drunk lady "helping out" that yells "tu carro!  tu carro!"

And there is my car rolling backwards down the steep hill with my wife now sitting in the middle counsel (and the emergency brake causing the emergency).

An hour later.  Security.  Police.  Rocks thrown.  More drunks yelling.  Family home.  It's over.


So I got to thinking later in the early morning.  This guy wasn't angry because I am white nor because he was drunk.  This is just his outward expression of so much retained anger, hurt, and pain caused by years of suffering and impotence.  These moments of anger allowed him to be in "control" and actually have an effect on something.  Though it is negative and only makes things worse, these are the moments that allow him to feel alive and free.

It was a clear and vivid image of the work that still awaits.  God has great and mighty plans to change, restore, and transform us.  This man was face to face with one of God's ambassadors and unfortunately instead of restoration and transformation, there was only more pain and anger piling up on top of the dung pile called life.

Or maybe not.

So seriously, what would you have done?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Constellations



This is the biggest photo ever taken.  It is many stars, planets, universes, solar systems.  It is simply beautiful.

I have been reflecting on families lately.  In many ways families are like constellations. We are all a part of some constellation and we identify ourselves as such.  A constellation is a group of related things, or what we know as a group of stars.

I am a child of God.  I am a husband and a father. I am a Ridenour.   I am a coffee lover (and roaster). I am a Packer fan.  I am a Kings fan.

These are the ways that people can identify me.  Most people do not know nor understand what all that means, but it is who I am and the way I relate to everything to do.  It is where I am.  It is who I am.  It is the group that I am a part of.

When it all comes to an end we will be known by who we are identified as, what group we form.  We are one star but we are a part of something bigger.

Who are you?

Mom! Stop freakin' out!

When summer comes most people are excited.

Going to the beach.
Heading to the river.
A cookie dough ice cream dripping down your hand...or even an ice cream mustache!

Unfortunately, that is not usually the case for most families here in Tacna.  Summer means financial troubles are on the way.  School starts the first week of March and that means some families will be spending up to a couple months salary in order to pay for their children's school supplies.

It is a sad reminder.  Not so much of how good we have it, because we might not all have it that good, but rather how tough many other people do have it.

We have been blessed as a church and organization to provide help to over 30 families (over 60 children) with school supplies and an after-school program.  Alliance Exchange, a non-profit in the Boston area has been giving $3,000 a year to help this cause, but next year will be the last as they are closing down.  It has been great to be able to help out so many over the years, but now we are at a crossroads where we need to seek out more supporters and organizations that can partner with us.

We seek to eradicate poverty by educating children, thus providing the ability to move ahead.  Each sponsorship is a year closer to a child being enabled. Each child is a future family.   Each smile and A+ is blessed reminder that God is good and he is moving!

If you or anyone you know can help in any way (being a sponsor, knowing an organization, doing a fundraising activity, etc), please contact us for more information.  Thank you for reading this far down!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

View 1 of the new classroom
View 2 of the classroom
We received another great team from Christ's Church of the Valley.  Like last year, they focused on improving the facilities and training the teachers and directors of Nuestras Semillas After-school Program.

They were also able to bless and be blessed by visiting some families in need and give them a gift basket with food and cleaning products.  These blessings and the family night, where key members were able to share about parenting and hygiene, were two of our favorite times.

Click here to see more Team Christ's Church of the Valley photos
Teacher training meeting
Parenting Meeting
Some beef, chicken, and cow heart shish kabobs. 
This is our church abuelita Alejandrina.