Now that the birthday bash is over, it’s back to business as usual. Elena is watching out the window at the project Brian is currently supervising/heading up: the building of a new house on campus, right next door to ours. Some of our co-workers will finally be receiving their own home. Brian drew up the plans for the house and contracted the workers for the floor which is being laid as I write this. Over the next few weeks, Brian will be working almost exclusively on this house. Once the concrete is laid, he will work on purchasing the wood for the house and then getting the structure up. Over the last couple of weeks, he’s been drawing up the plans, figuring out the budget, and getting everything ready for the build. This is something he loves doing and if he could build all the time, he’d be one happy camper! 🙂
I am doing double time with school right now. We don’t start school until April and we end the first week of December, which in reality, is one month too short to finish all we need to finish in the school year. In order to not make the kids work until Christmas, I’m trying to do extra with the little ones – two weeks in one – for at least the month of October. The girls are up for the challenge and it’s going really well, so I’m not too concerned. I’m planning for next year, figuring out what to purchase and when to get it purchased. A team from PA is coming in December and will be bringing it all for me, so I need to get it purchased soon so they can get it all packed.
The last week of November we normally do a Thanksgiving program for the Bible school kids. Three years ago, we helped plan the program. Last year, I planned the program and this year, I was asked to do it again. I love planning this program and have a lot of ideas for it this year. I want to make it something the students look forward to every year – a nice way to wrap up the school year – a celebration of all God has done for us during the year. There is a scheduling conflict this year with another program, but hopefully it’ll get worked out and it’ll go as planned. But, until I hear otherwise, I’m going to move forward with my plans and get it ready for the end of November.
In closing, I thought I’d share a funny/interesting conversation Brian had this week up in town. Brian has built friendships with the concrete workers, mechanics, and hardware stores up in town. Some of them call him “Gringo” (slang for “white guy”) instead of his name; others call him by name, and a few call him a term that basically means “close friend.” This is what happened this week when Brian went to buy the concrete:
Concrete Guy: “Hola Gringo!” [Hey, white guy.]
Another worker, aside to Concrete Guy: “Is his name really ‘Gringo’?!”
Concrete Guy: “No! His name’s Brian; I just call him ‘Gringo.'”
Worker: “What’s your last name?”
Worker: “What’s your other last name?” [Peruvians all have two last names – their father’s and their mother’s, so technically, Brian’s name should be: Brian Biegert Clyde and my name should be Lisa Biegert Ribble since I’m a married woman.]
Brian: “I just have one.”
Worker: “What?! You don’t have a mom?”
Brian: “No, in America, we only have one last name – my dad’s.”
Worker: “What about your wife? What’s her last name?”
Worker: “No way! How is that possible? That’s so weird!” [This would mean that Brian married his sister since we both have the same last name, the name of Brian’s dad.]
Brian: “No – in America, the wife changes her last name to the name of her husband, so she changed it to my name. We’re not related. But, my daughter’s last name is Biegert Biegert.”
Worker: “What?! How?”
Brian: “Well, that’s your culture. Because my wife’s last name is my name, we were told we had to make Elena’s name Elena Biegert Biegert. And it took us trips to five different places to even make that happen.” [This is for real – all of Elena’s Peruvian papers, including her Peruvian birth certificate, say “Elena Ruth Biegert Biegert”. They wouldn’t let us put “Ribble”, my maiden name, on anything since I don’t have any documentation with Ribble on it. So when Elena gets older and has to use her Peruvian papers for stuff, everyone is going to think her dad married his sister. That’ll be fun to explain. Poor kid.]
Here, the worker just laughed at the “stupidity” [his word, not ours] of Peruvian bureaucracy.
Pray for Brian and these open doors he’s getting. Last week, he got to witness to a man who is always down near our house checking up on a property next door. The men he works with in town are constantly bombarding him with questions about why he’s here, what his job is, why he gave up his life in America, etc. He’s also built such strong relationships with these guys that he’s had them say, frequently, “You are the first gringo we’ve ever been able to relate to. You’re just like us – your car isn’t great, your house is small, and you know how we do business.” We go to town and everyone greets him; at times he comes home late because they asked him to sit and talk for awhile. He gets good deals on everything, especially if they find out it’s for his personal use.
I think many times Brian’s job isn’t viewed at as “ministry” by a lot of people, back in the States and here in country. But, I look at what my husband is doing and see how his job not only keeps the campus running so all the other ministries can go on, but he also has an “in” with “ordinary” people in town. Some of these people, like construction workers and the guy that fixes tires, are not people that ordinarily get witnessed to, even though we deal with them on a regular basis. Brian has taken the time to get to know these men, relate to them, and open doors to speak with them about why he’s here and hopefully in the future, share the Gospel with them. So, pray for these open doors!