All posts by sweetireneskitchen

Peru Medical Mission 2016

Dear Friends and Family:

As many of you may know, I have been blessed with another incredible opportunity to travel to Peru. I will be gone from May June 18-26, 2016 and work with a team from Roswell United Methodist Church in a town called Sungaro.

I would like to invite you to partner with Chris and I in prayer as I embark again on this adventure. It will be very challenging for me physically and emotionally, but we know that this is a great opportunity to serve Christ!  In order for my trip to become a reality, I need to raise $3,000 to cover the expenses of airfare, food, lodging, and supplies.

This year is especially close and dear to my heart. My youngest sister, Kayela Wintjen, will be joining me this year. This will be her first mission trip and I am delighted that she felt the desire to go and that we get to experience this together.  For something that once seemed liked a once in a lifetime opportunity for me has shown to be a passion and desire to use my calling (Nursing) to help those with both physical and spiritual needs.

The purpose of our mission is to show the face of Jesus and to grow God’s church there. The church’s missionary partners in Peru are Arthur & Mary Alice Ivey. RUMC’s partnership has resulted in dramatic growth of his ministry organization. The Ivey’s have 4500 Peruvians on their leadership team and over 1300 children in their weekly KIDS CLUBS. Also working with the Ivey’s are Billy & Laurie Drum who have established three schools in rural villages, and Ash & Audra McEuen who have established a library and teaching ministry.  Also, Three years ago they developed a farm to teach the village agriculture. Working with us (a team of 20 from the States) and the Iveys on our trip will be 30-35 Peruvian missionaries.

Sungaro is a town of about 4,000 people in the Middle-Eastern area of Peru, two hours from Pucallpa, a city of almost 500,000 people. Arthur and Mary Alice Ivey were in Zungaro in September, and report a great medical and spiritual need there. They had observed open homosexual activity and prostitution in the short amount of time while they were there. And they saw evidence of drug abuse along with other delinquency. They met with the head nurse at the medical post and he indicated that there was a lot of need. Medical problems related to sexually transmitted disease are high, along with parasitic infections such as leishmaniasis (tropical skin disease from sand flies), malaria, gastrointestinal and female issues are also present. The medical post there will welcome the team in their facility. The Ivey’s have several good contacts there to help us to get started.

Our daily itinerary is planned to the fullest to be able to reach the most people (spiritually and physically out of our short amount of time there.


~SATURDAY JUNE 18TH: Fly to Lima

~SUNDAY JUNE 19TH:   Fly to Pucallpa early in the morning.  Iveys will meet us there with bus      taking us to Zungaro.  Check into rustic hotels there.

~MONDAY JUNE 20—THURSDAY JUNE 23:   Operate clinic

FRIDAY JUNE 24th:   Tourist time in Pucallpa—good things to see there.  This evening we will fly to Lima, spend night there in Mira Flores

~SATURDAY JUNE 25th:   Free time in Lima to explore and/or rest.

~SUNDAY MORNING JUNE 26:  1:10 AM:  Leave for Atlanta

I will be participating in a medical mission composed of doctors & nurses, dentists, optical, and children’s ministry. My main focus will be women’s health. As some of you may know, I have worked for Dr. Brian Glass OB/GYN now for almost 11 years. I have seen so many things working here, but in the town of Surago I will face many challenges as a women’s health nurse. I will be working mainly with the women and young girls for general women’s health and pregnancy related problems. The last two years when I went I saw approximately 100+ patients a day. We would work from sun up to sun down.  I treated patients from young and old. Men, women, boys and girls. There I wasn’t just a Women’s Health Nurse, I was a humble servant.

Please pray regularly for us as we prepare and as we go:

⦁ for safety for our travel

⦁ for good health

⦁ for the families of those of us going while we are away

⦁ that the Holy Spirit will work powerfully through the Iveys and our team to reach the town of Sungaro

⦁ for us to learn from them and to bond with them

⦁ for help with the language translation from Ashaninka to Spanish to English and back again

⦁ for them to see how we treat women and children

⦁ that they will start a village church teaching and preaching Jesus Christ

⦁ that we help teach them to sustain themselves through farming and other work

⦁ for cooperation and teamwork among our team

⦁ that the Holy Spirit would protect us from evil forces that will try to use spiritual warfare against us


Thank you for your prayers and financial support. I truly feel blessed to be a part of this ministry and to share it with you.

If you feel God is leading you to contribute financially to this ministry, we invite you to share this service opportunity with us. Please make your check payable to RUMC and mail it to me no later than 5/22/2015 or you can mail it directly to R.U.M.C. no later than 5/25/2015. We thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support. We truly feel blessed to be a part of this ministry and to share it with you.

Yours in Christ,

April Stewart


The group from the States and most of the Peruvian Missionaries from last year in Yoyato. ( I am in the middle wearing purple scrubs)yoyatoteam2016.jpg



Checks should be made payable to Roswell United Methodist Church. The IRS does not recognize checks to individuals as Tax Deductible Contributions.


Also note: IRS regulations require that in order for a donation to be considered tax deductible, nothing should appear on the memo line of the check. Instead, the check should be accompanied by a response card (detach below) or a note of some sort indicating that it is for April Stewart’s Peru mission account.


Yes, I’m excited about being on Peru Medical Mission team of supporters for the RUMC mission trip to Peru.  Please return this form to me at my address. All contributions are tax deductible.

_____ I Commit to pray for you regularly

_____ I want to contribute $______toward the cost of the trip. My check is enclosed (Please make payable to Roswell United Methodist Church) and send directly to me or to -Staci Graham

April Stewart



I am treating a 2 week old infant. She was covered with herpes lesions obtained through the birth canal during delivery. The lesions became infected and she then developed a secondary infection- MRSA.


Donations can be sent directly to Director of RUMC Missions, as follows:

Roswell United Methodist Church

Attention: Staci Graham

814 Mimosa Blvd.

Roswell, Georgia 30075



Letting a young mother hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time.






The Beginning

On October 19 of 2013, My life changed. I meet a man at the Hike Inn who told me about the Peru Trip that I will be going on in 3 weeks. He asked everyone to share a bio about theirselves. I thought I would share mine with you…..  Each person was given the same task. It helps you get to know the people you will be working and serving with. I am excited and can’t wait to share my experience with you!


…”My name is April Stewart. I am 33 years old and I live in North Georgia. I have been married for 10 years to my high school sweetheart, Chris Stewart, that I have known since the 2nd grade. We have 2 cats and 2 dog and no children.

I have been a nurse since 2003 and I am currently a private surgical assistant and nurse for a private OB/GYN since 10/13/2005. I have worked in geriatric, pediatrics, family practice and women’s health . Women’s health hold a special place in my heart since I found out 4/2006 that I would never be able to have a child of my own. Then 10/2012 I found out I have Sjogren’s Syndrome which contributes to other challenges in my life. It was a hard time during my life while working in women’s health and seeing people get to experience a world-changing event of having a child. I was bitter for a long time. I didn’t understand what I now know what God was telling me. I have been selected to do something bigger in my life and use my skills and my testimony to help others and to witness to them God’s love and mercy.

I meet John (The team organizer and leader of the Peru Mission Trip) on a trip to the Hike Inn.  I saw on the Hike Inn Facebook page that they had several rooms available at the last-minute and I wanted to take my husband on a long weekend getaway. John spoke during a hiking program he held about a medical trip he goes on. I have been telling my husband for a long time I feel like a trip is out there for me and it will find me. When John spoke of the trip I felt a peace and a knowing that I instantly knew the mission he spoke of was for me.

I have never been on a mission trip of any kind before and it is has always been on my bucket list. My father went on one to Nicaragua and I wanted to go and experience an emotion, physical and spiritual challenge that he has told me that has changed his life. I am looking forward to this journey of a lifetime and a rewarding experience. I am in awe of this opportunity to come together with God’s people to make a difference in each person’s life that we meet including my own…”

Each person was given the same task. It helps you get to know the people you will be working and serving with. I am excited and can’t wait to share my experience with you!


Peru Itenarity

I thought I would share with you where I would be at each day on my mission trip. This is the second time that the RUMC (Roswell United Methodist Church) has been there (this with be my first time there and my first mission trip ever to anywhere). This will only be the second time the Ashaninca people have seen foreigners. They know nothing of our culture, they have never seen a car, they don’t have a hospital or clinic and they don’t know who President Obama is. These people are “new” as babies. They have no clue what goes on outside of their village.

Follow me each day……peru map


JUNE 12th: Leave for Lima, Peru from Atlanta, Georgia airport at 5:35pm and get to Lima, Peru at 11:35pm. Meet at the Lima Peru airport NO LATER than 12 midnight. Board our bus for overnight to San Martin de Pangoa in the Amazon.

JUNE 13th: 2-4pm arrive in San Martin de Pangoa, check into the hotel Casa Blanca. Maria (a local missionary )will prepare a GREAT dinner for our team.

JUNE 14th: 6:00 am load trucks and cars for 2 hour ride to Puerto Ocopa, and board boat for 8 hour ride down the Rio Ene (River Ene). Arrive in Boca Anapate, village of he Ashaninca, settle in our sleeping area, then set-up clinic. The Ashaninca have expressed their willingness to fix up several buildings for our use.

JUNE 15, 16, 17 Operate clinic from 8am—5pm daily.

JUNE 18th: Close clinic and pack-up at 1pm. Dinner celebration with entire team and Ashaninca!

JUNE 19th: Leave for Puerto Ocopa by boat up-river, then trucks and cars back to San Martin de Pangoa, arriving late afternoon. (if roads are open, if not we will go back by boat)

JUNE 20th: Tourist Day: Not sure about this yet as we may stay here in San Martin De Pangoa or go back to Lima. Still planning. We may go visit a local farm nearby (that was set up by past teams). This means we will leave for Lima in the morning or evening.

JUNE 21st: Either way we will be in Lima no later than 4pm to report to airport, take flights back anytime after 4pm. Most are all over-night flights.

JUNE 22nd: Arrive back home

Phew! I am so excited. I can’t wait to share with you about my trip.

Have you ever been on a mission trip ? Tell me what the most important thing I need to know or take with me….


My “ah ha moment” !

I haven’t blogged in a long time. I thought I had so much to talk about and to share. I haven’t had much I wanted to blog about and haven’t even thought about my blog until today. I will be going on a mission trip in June to Peru and I want to share my journey with you. I had a “ah ha moment” today. I guess it is because I am getting ready to go on this amazing journey and it has made me look at things in a different light.

I assisted with 2 C-sections today. I never FULLY realized until today what a great opportunity and honor to be part of a person’s life than to help bring a new life in this world. I felt humbled to be part of such an important moment. At times I have felt cheated because we don’t have any children…….AND then today it dawned on me… I was sent to work in this field for a reason and Sometimes it takes a while to realize what you have and why you have it. So, just because I don’t have what others have doesn’t mean I don’t have what I need.

It is hard not to second guess your decisions in your life. So, If what ever decision you made and you have peace about it… Move on… God has a plan and he will show you the way and give you more than you could imagine. Even if it was never in your “plans or comfort zone”.

As I am getting ready to go to Peru for a Medical Mission Trip in June… I can’t help to imagine what I will discover, learn and appreciate. I truly feel like this is my path… This is what I have been chosen to do, and I can’t fathom how a nurse from a small town… out of the entire world finds herself getting ready to on an adventure of a lifetime.. From the moment I get the car to go to the airport to the moment I walk back in my front door will be a challenge for me. If you really know me… you know 1) I get car sick, 2) I don’t fly well, 3) I hate to be cold, wet and dirty, 4) I am a little bit of a germ-a-phob and 5) I have never done anything like this without my hubby….. Chris and I have never been apart more than a few days and we have always had access to the internet and cell phones. GULP!

So why am I going to Peru Without my hubby, my family, my friends, no electricity or running water, All with limited supplies and very few things from home……fly 6 hours there, travel 16 hours by bus and 8 hours on a 110 foot canoe boat down the Amazon River and hike for a couple of miles through the Amazon Jungle to a village who has never seen people outside of their village??? Because God told me to go… Because that is the next step in my live. Because that was his plan for me…. I think God let me have that moment in surgery TODAY for a reason.

I couldn’t imagine how I could I make a difference in Peru……Then today, I made a difference in the operating room. I was there and present. I held my patient’s hand and she told me she would never forget today and how much she appreciated me during her pregnancy and especially helping with the delivery of her son. She made me realize that I make a difference everyday (in the operating room, at the office or in my every day life) and if I can make that difference in a small town… Then how could I not make a difference in a small village who has nothing, no medical care, no hospital, no resources, no church or “community”.. to a group of people who know NOTHING of the world what we live in.

This is such a great opportunity and I am in AWE that I was selected. If you knew the story of how this trip had found me then you would know too… That this is God’s plan for me. Everyone tells me I will be “different” when I get back… I haven’t went yet and I am already different. It is crazy how knowing that I will be going to PERU has changed my out look on my everyday life already…. Please pray for me as I start gathering the rest of my supplies and funds.. That I will a great example of God’s plan and that I will make a difference to those there and along the way.

I GO because HE said GO!


Welcome to the Family!

Daisy and “her” babies!
Daisy and Mini!
Each one of our animals hold a special place in our hearts. Let me introduce you to them….

Scooter (Black & White Tom Cat) was adopted for my hubby by his parents when we were in high school.

Daisy (Bassett Hound) was a gift from my hubby when I graduated from nursing school.

Kora (Blue Heeler) was adopted from an animal rescue. It was love at first sight!

Mini & Cooper (Tabby Kittens) were raised by me and bottle feed (along with 4 others) when they were 2 weeks old. We thought Cooper was a male but when we took her to the vet we learned differently. She just looks like a Cooper so the named stayed.

We are thinking of getting a fish… NOT!!!!

Scooter and Myself!
Kora, Daisy and Scooter at my bedroom door. They always follow me around.
Mini, Cooper and Daisy hanging out on Daisy’s 9th Birthday!
Bottle feeding Mini at 2 weeks old.
I couldn’t find the kittens and they were hiding in the laundry hamper.
Daisy looking cute under the Christmas tree last year.
Daisy looking so sweet!
Mini and Cooper snuggling and napping with their Daddy.
Kora, Scooter and Daisy hanging out on Daisy’s Birthday!

The day Daisy came home!
The day Kora came home!
Celebrating Daisy’s 8th Birthday!
Snuggling with Kora!

Daisy trying to open her Birthday present!
Kora wasn’t happen until she could be right on top of her Daddy.
Kora wouldn’t stop aggravating me until she was right on top of me while doing laundry. So she sat in the hamper the entire time.
My hubby and I at our Fourth of July Party.
My hubby goofing off for the camera!
Scooter and I looking cute for the camera!
Mini and Cooper !
Posing for the camera while in flight to our last cruise!
Formal night on the Freedom of the Seas!
Puss In Boot and myself on formal night!
Another Formal night on the Freedom!
My hubby and I at our Fourth of July Party!
At one of our favorite places to eat… Mellow Mushroom!
I (April) am a Women’s Health Nurse and Private Surgical Assistant for a OB/GYN and my hubby (Chris) is the Senior Systems Administrator at the local power company.

Enjoying our day together… At the Hike Inn.

I’m glad you stopped in to meet us…. I hope you will come back soon.

 “A family is a little word created by LOVE”!


A Few of My Favorite Things!

You will learn this sooner or later but I tend to over complicate things. I don’t mean to but it happens. I have been obsessing about what to write about next. How will my next post reflect the direction I want to take? Will it share my story? Will it be interesting enough? Should it be about a recipe? My weekend ? My job?….

…blah, blah, blah. See I was over thinking it. I had writer’s block already!!!! I woke up this morning and on my way to work I stopped obsessing and being complicated. I realized I need to go back to why I started this blog. This blog is about what I want to talk about. What I did over the weekend. A new recipe I tried or made up. This blog is about… Well, ME and what I want it to be.

So, After over thinking it for a week, I decided I wanted to share a few of my favorite things…

First I want to share my 4 fav foods.

  • #1 Most favorite thing is (STARBUCKS) coffee. I love coffee more than dark chocolate or dill pickle potato chips.
  • #2 Well, Dark chocolate of course.
  • #3 You guessed it… Dill Pickle Potato Chips.
  • #4 I love Pizza and pumpkin everything!
Starbucks coffee in my fav mug (well, until I broke it... Sniff, Sniff)
Starbucks coffee in my fav mug (well, until I broke it… Sniff, Sniff)

Second, I want to share my 4 fav kitchen items.

  • #1 my coffeemaker of course.
  • #2 my vitamix
  • #3 my kitchen aid mixer
  • #4 my pot filler

A surprise “I Love you present” from my hubby!
Third, I want to share 4 random things about me in general.

  • #1 I married my polar opposite.
  • #2 Georgia football… Go DAWGS! enough said!
  • #3 I eat weird.
  • #4 I am domesticated. (I asked santa for a vitamix and a steam mop for Christmas instead of jewelry)
Christmas Morning 2012! I was so happy. I got a vitamix! Yes, I also got a steam mop. :)
Christmas Morning 2012! I was so happy. I got a vitamix! Yes, I also got a steam mop. 🙂
My favorite and I!
My favorite and I!






This  morning my boss gave me a bag full of goodies. I felt so special. Then I noticed there was a one-a-day vitamin for women over 50! WHAT?!  He said his wife got him these things so he would be healthier.  He said it was a bag full of weird things and he instantly thought of me. How sweet! For the record I am 32.   🙂

"Weird Stuff" from my boss.
“Weird Stuff” from my boss.

What is your favorite “weird thing”?


Why Sweet Irene’s Kitchen ?

My first post!  How super excited I am.  I’m not really sure what direction this blog will take, but I’m looking forward to having an outlet for my thoughts and ideas. Maybe people will read them, and maybe they won’t. Either way, I’m happy to finally enter the blogging world.

So, some of you may be curious about the name of my blog. Several different titles competed against one another, but in the end, I chose sweetireneskitchen. It was difficult to find a short phrase that would convey all the topics I want to cover. I love cooking, crafting, reading, canning, organizing, cleaning and fitness too, but I also wanted a forum for my thoughts…and my past, present and future struggles with food, infertility and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Sweet Irene’s Kitchen was chosen for different reasons. I love to be in the kitchen and I am sweet… Well, I guess some would argue with that. I learned to cook from a dear lady in my life named Irene. She was my grandmother. She was sweeter than honey and was my person in life. Everyone has “their person”. I was named after my grandmother. I was always in the kitchen with her. So…. That is how Sweet Irene’s Kitchen was born.

Take a look around… I hope you decide to join me on this blogging journey!