Big Island Vacation

I’ve recently been trying to learn a few things about landscape photography. I figure it’s a requirement being a photographer living in Hawaii, it would be sad to leave here without a couple fairly impressive images. I haven’t learned a lot; I have so much more to learn. This is exposing how new I am in this field. To be honest, it wasn’t something that interested me for a long time.. partly because a lot of people do it, and partly because it’s very much unappreciated as everyone has a camera with an auto button. But the more I am here and realizing that what I see is not what I capture, I’ve been driven to learn more so we can take a little Hawaii with us when we go.

Recently we took a vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii and I made a mission of trying to hone in this craft a bit. Again, I have a ton still to learn as you will see (I made it through maybe 3 chapters of the book I bought to learn more about this). But these are a few of the images in the end. Hopefully I’ll finish the book before we move in June.



_MG_7956This is from Mauna Kea, a beautiful view of the Milky Way. This was shot with a 30 second exposure and was not something we could see otherwise.




_MG_7689Volcanic rock beginning to grow vegetation, with a little patch of imported trees from a concerned local many years ago.

_MG_7578I think this one may be my favorite. I happen to love sun spots and spewing water.


Thanks, God, for some pretty awesome things to photograph!


Just Another Lunch by the Ocean

We decided to grab lunch to-go on Sunday and enjoy some of the beauty God has put around us. It is so nice to be able to head to the beach without feeling like you have to make the most of it because you don’t come that often. No bathing suits or beach towels, just a picnic lunch and camera on a beautiful day!

Malachi and Mommy by the water

Of course everywhere is a photoshoot, right?

"When I grow up, I wanna be just like Daddy..."


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Week Three & Four: Puerto Maldonado

I can’t believe we’re leaving Puerto tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful 2 1/2 weeks here. We’ve done everything from medical clinics to kids clubs to traveling to more tribes up river. We’ve experience real heat and what the Peruvians call cold (about 65 degrees means everyone’s in winter coats). We’ve seen monkeys and snakes and geckos and vultures and butterflies galore (a gecko jumped out of my shower bag the other day… a pleasant surprise!). Did I mention us girls killed two jumbo rats on our own? (Just imagine a lot of screaming and banging the floor with sticks). :) We’ve been getting acclimated to dust, less convenience, much longer cooking (cooking from scratch basically everything),occasionally for no reason losing power/internet/water for hours at a time, and lots of parades and campaigns for the elections yesterday. Medically speaking, we’ve seen plenty of malnurished kids, people with parasites or worms, lots of headaches/stomach problems, skin and fungal infections (Nate says leischmaniasis, whatever that is!), giardia, etc. And we’ve seen God’s goodness over and over again.Went to a wonderful Thai restaurant and the monkeys decided they liked Nate’s head.

Little malnourished boy. His older sister came to a kite-flying thing one evening and hadn’t eaten all day. I gave her a granola bar, which she saved most of for her siblings. Her younger sister died less than a year old of “anemia” (i.e. they didn’t know how to feed her correctly).

Kid’s Club

Sunday School

For instance, one of the most striking ways we saw God’s hand was in the rain. Rainy season should have begun in August, or at the latest by September. We worked some here with an American medical team that also came down for one week. They were about 10: doctors, a surgeon, pharmacists, two nurses, eye doctor. They were also mostly over 60 years old. They were able to travel up river several times to visit the tribes and provide medical attention. Amazingly, we had no rain until we returned home from the last trip into the jungle. Rain would’ve prohibited all of their travel in, since they would not have been able to climb the steep hills from the river into the tribes to get to the people in the mud. Another time, Buddy and Nate were headed up river on their own to another tribe, but the motor wasn’t making it the shallow water (a 3-4 hour trip turned into 7 or so). They were praying, and a man from the tribe appears coming from the other direction who was able to turn back with them, take them on his boat, and carry them the rest of the way up river with his peque motor. Another time God answered prayers by bringing the guys back early just in time to help us with the container: the tractor trailer-sized container that was sent from the States 8 months ago was finally arriving, and there was only us 3 girls here to figure out how to handle it (and Loren had strep and little Joseph had laryngitis). But the boys surprised us by coming back early (we couldn’t communicate with them for the week they were gone except twice very quickly), and it was just in time to help. God has continually answered our prayers.

The truck didn’t do very well trying to come through the dirt roads, but it eventually came through!

Saturday, the guys were out working at Buddy and Loren’s new property, and some of the kids in the neighborhood came to Loren to tell her that one of the other little girls in the neighborhood who has come sometimes to church with the bus group was hit by a motorcycle. We heard she had a broken leg and her mom said she was sleeping. We were worried but couldn’t do anything until Nate got back so we called him right away and they came as quickly as they could. As soon as he saw her he picked her up and told them we were taking her to a hospital immediately. She had been hit in the head and was mostly unconscious. She had been sleeping for a couple hours at that point (she had no concept of not letting her sleep with a head injury), and her mother had only given her what she could afford at the pharmacist. (The hospital won’t see you if you don’t pay up front, and she had no money). Praise the Lord the doctors were able to see her with Loren’s signature (we ran out without money too, but since Loren had worked in the hospital before, the doctors knew her enough to let the little girl through). They let Nate in to do the x-rays and stay with her. And she will be fine, just needs to stay at the hospital a couple days. Loren was able to talk with her mother to let her know that they are here to help them and that God loves them and she began to cry. We are praying this opens doors to share the gospel more with them.

There is more to say, but never enough time. Thank you all for praying. We will be back home this Sunday! Hard to believe we have less than a week left. We’ll see some of you next Sunday hopefully! :)

And a couple pics for Grandma. :)

(PS. These are all point and shoot camera pics that I haven’t touched… so they’re not great but the others are too big to load from here. Check Facebook in a couple weeks for more!)

Week Two

Much has happened the last week… We finished the ten days at Cusco on Friday. It was a wonderful time. We loved meeting everyone there, and we will miss them! (Emily and Becca and Malinda, we’re waiting for your walk from Pennsyvania to Chicago!) ;). We enjoyed getting to see how the ministry is run from many different angles. We also enjoyed the city of Cusco itself. I didn’t handle the dust very well,but otherwise we loved the atmosphere. We were able to go with one of the clinic nurses on a home visit to see a sweet elderly woman. We walked through the mercado (market)–not sure if I like our grocery stores or the market better… fewer flies and smells at the grocery store! But it is fun to browse through. (Here in Puerto Maldonado, we’ve been twice already and I’m learning to stay out of the meat section if at all possible… cow head, anyone?) :)

Anyway, back to the sweet anciana… we went to her house, which was basically one small room with a bed and a table and one light, and she basically wanted us to come just to see her and spend a little time with her. She has four grown children, three of whom moved away and never come to see her (but occasionally have food sent to her), and the other who is an alcoholic…. she said she almost prefers that he is an alcoholic because at least he didn’t leave her like the others. She is anxiously waiting for someone to come back who can do surgeries at minimal cost so she can have cataract surgery and can actually see out of her eye (the other eye had cataract surgery a few months ago by a group that came down to help). If it weren’t for Nate’s ability to do medical care, we would not have been able to go into someone’s home so easily like that. It was very special and eye-opening. We were so grateful to be able to go and sit with her for a little bit just to spend some time with her.

There is much more to say about Cusco, but I don’t know how much internet I have so I will move on to Puerto Maldonado for now. Friday morning we flew the 40 minutes to Puerto, flying over ice-capped mountains going from about 60 degrees to 95. We were greeted by purple trees and a tiny (really tiny) airport. Friday the guys left basically right away after getting all their belongings together to go up river to the tribes. There’s just Nate, Buddy, and another missionary friend from here. Nate is the only “doctor” but they plan to provide as much medical attention as he feels comfortable with in hopes that they can reach out to the tribes with the gospel. We got to talk to them today for about 2 minutes. Nate was exhausted but excited… saw 27 patients yesterday in just a couple hours! (we saw more like 6-7 on a busy day in Cusco… it was different because we had to check everything with the doctor and get medicines ready and enter info in the computer, so it was a busy day for Nate, so 27 in a couple hours is a little crazy). Pray for them. Pray for safety, for the gospel to be shared, and for them to have a good time. We expect them to be home Saturday, and hopefully will hear from them again on Thursday when they can reach another phone.

I’ve been helping Loren as much as possible, working on some progress for the kids programs, and trying to help with the kiddos. I’ve also gotten to meet Magnita, who lives here with them and is a great friend and help to Loren. She’s been showing me around town and it’s been fun getting to know her too! Pray for Loren and little Joseph who are sick (strep and laryngitis) and for our kids’ club we’re planning to do Wednesday through Friday. Then once the guys come back Saturday, we plan to visit a couple closer tribes with them as well. Also pray that their storage container that they’re trying to have shipped would get here without too much more stress and money.

That’s all for now. Will post pictures if I can later. Thanks for praying!

Week One

It’s been a crazy week. I can’t believe our first week is over. We arrived in Lima last Monday evening, around 10:30pm. Praise the Lord we made it through customs, even though we were bringing in medications and used clothing (which we know now aren’t allowed). Even after receiving 2 red lights and having them examine everything, they were gracious enough to allow things to go through, especially since we had letters from the doctors/missionaries we are working with to let them know what the goods would be used for. Now being here, there are a lot of things I wish we would have thought to bring in addition, but now we know for later.

Heidi and Haddon (Nate’s sister and her fiance) picked us up from the airport, along with the school administrator and a friend of Haddon’s. By the time we got back to the school where we were staying, and Haddon had brought food for us (rotisserie chicken and other meats, french fries and salad–they were really taking care of us!), it was about 1:30am, and we were off to our room by about 2am. In the morning, after seeing Heidi hard at work and the kiddos everywhere (poor Heidi didn’t get much sleep), Haddon took us around town to help get the bags for the Fitzgeralds shipped to them, get altitude medicine for Cusco, and to even show us around the mall area where we had something hot to drink since it was brisk. (I was yet to find out how cold we would get here in Cusco)!

Tuesday we flew to Cusco and met the doctor and his family. Drs. Derrick and Jennifer Brubaker are letting us help in their clinic and are teaching us (both) a lot. We have worked with them (mostly Derrick) every day, and they have even taken the time to give us the tourists’ treatment as well. They have 3 beautiful girls, and we have been having fun with them. We have spent most of the work days in the clinic trying to help out. They have allowed us to go in and talk with the patients and do the exams alone, then Nate consults with them about what to do since he can’t make the final decision. There has been very much to learn, and I think it’s been stretching to both of us in our separate “specialties”. :) Today I have been able to take pictures for the clinic that hopefully they can use on their website they are hoping to put together.

I have a ton of shots of the general area, but for the most part I’ve been told not to get my camera out walking around, but thankfully I have my little point and shoot I can pull out in the taxi or as we’re walking to the clinic. This is actually a shot of the yard in front of the house we’re staying in from the upstairs where we are staying. We are staying with the family of the pastor of the church that the Brubakers attend, and they are teaching us a lot about the culture. The parents do not speak any English, and their children (20 and 15) are learning/speak pretty well… even though they tried to hide it for the first few days. :) We are having a great time with them. Maya (20) is also pregnant, so we always make jokes about eating a meal for us and eating another for the baby… and then the joke turned into Nate having a baby to feed too. :)

On Thursday we spent the day in “el campo” where we were able to assist a traveling medical team to see some people in the communities nearby who don’t get much medical care, and many who spoke Quetchua. Here are some photos of that day. It was a blessing to be a part of that day. It is incredible to see the way people live and to think of how differently we live.

The Lord has been so good to us. We will update you more soon. I have much more to say (as always, Nate would say!).

A Quick Update

I only have a minute, but things here are going well. We are currently in Cusco working at a clinic. The doctor has let us basically do consults alone, which has been great.

I don’t have time to upload pictures now (sadly!) and I have been thinking of so much to say, but our host family is waiting for us for lunch (who is incredible, by the way! we are eating well!).

Thank you for praying. It is extremely obvious that people are praying… my Spanish is better than ever, amazingly, and everything went fine through customs (after getting two red lights), even though technically we weren’t supposed to bring in a lot of what we did.

Went yesterday to “el campo” to visit with the more poorer community… oops, ride is leaving. We’ll get back soon!

On Our Way!

Peru, here we come…

For those who haven’t heard, my husband and I are spending 5 weeks in the beautiful country of Peru for multiple purposes: to learn about living and practicing medicine in other cultures (as best we can from a short trip), to assist the missionaries we will be staying with however we can, and to learn what God has for us by stepping out in a new way.

We are currently in Houston, Texas, waiting in the USO for our next flight. (Being in the military does have it’s advantages! Internet, comfortable couches, and snacks are a few). Our next flight will be directly to Lima and will take about 6 1/2 hours, and we should arrive around 10:30 this evening,  spend the night in Lima after seeing Nate’s sister, Heidi, and her fiance Haddon for a short ride from the airport to the pastor’s house where we will be staying. It will be my first practice at using my Spanish in a while, so I’m ready to jump right in! Mrs. Wolsieffer, I brought my Spanish Seminar “Communicating in Spanish” book with me and have been enjoying reviewing my obscure vocabulary on the flight so far. :)

Tomorrow we will get up early, and with the help of Haddon, will purchase a prepaid phone, send 3 of our bags to Buddy and Loren Fitzgerald in Puerto Maldonado via the bus, and then head back to the airport to immediately go to Cusco. We will spend the next 2 weeks there, where Nate will assist the missionary doctor and his wife (family doc and pediatrician). The goal is for me to be able to translate for Nate so he can do some medicine on his own, but I am expecting that to take a few days to get in the swing of things if at all. Pray that our Spanish speaking abilities will be helpful and not hurtful to us! :) Since this is my photography blog, I should mention that my camera will be with me at all times! Hopefully I can even use it to help the missionaries if they need any photographs for their marketing or anything else.

After these two weeks we will head to Puerto Maldonado to see Buddy and Loren where Buddy and Nate will take a trip up the river into the jungle to visit the tribes and help medically and spiritually wherever possible. I’m not sure what Loren and I (and their babies) will do while they’re gone, but I’m looking forward to learning a little more about how to live as a missionary. We are excited that we have been able to bring them several things from the States that they are not normally able to get, thanks again to the military and Continental Airline’s policy to allow 3 70-lb bags each for military members and those traveling with them. We hope the supplies are a blessing! Thanks so much to all those who donated.

And finally we will spend 4 days at the end back in Lima visiting Heidi and Haddon. We are very excited to be able to spend time with them, especially since we have not been able to meet Haddon yet!

We are looking forward to what God will teach us. Hopefully I will be able to update this blog from time to time (hopefully later with pictures), so check back! We will be back in Chicago October 10th, ready to pick up our sweet Beagle, and just in time for Nate’s birthday. :) See you again soon!!

Nate and Amy