Peggy Cunningham is a missionary in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. Trek with her through the mountains and valleys of life and climb new heights of faith to reach a purposeful life. Join the quest of an ordinary woman who desires to accomplish extraordinary things for God. "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Exodus 9:16
Let us run the race
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
My blog interview by fellow author Betty Thomason Owens
Author of Dancing Like Bees, 31 Steps to De-stress, Delight, and Dance Like Bees
It is my privilege to introduce today’s guest, Peggy Cunningham, fellow Write Integrity Press author. Peggy and I became virtual friends while I was preparing to make the trip to Ecuador. Peggy and her husband are missionaries stationed in Bolivia, so she very kindly shared some excellent advice on traveling to South America. Her children’s book, Really Rare Rabbits made the trip with me. I shared the Spanish version of the book with viewers during my first live television interview in Cuenca.
Today on the blog, Peggy is talking about her latest release through Pix-N-Pens Publishing–a devotional book called Dancing Like Bees. Very cute cover, don’t you think? Intriguing title, too. I’ll let her tell you more about herself, her writing, and the inspiration for the book.
Where do you work?
Peggy: I work at the ends of the earth––in Bolivia, South America, where my husband and I have been missionaries since 1981. At times, it seems like the end of the earth when we’re without pepperoni and McDonald’s. I say that with a smile. But seriously, those things grow dim when we compare them to the joys of doing God’s work. We minister to the Quechua people of the Andes Mountains––both in the valleys and remote mountain areas. We have a children’s ministry teaching underprivileged children practical skills while reaching them with the gospel. We also have two churches––one in the rural area where we live and work, and one in the city closest to us.
Betty: I know at times it’s a sacrifice, and at other times, a blessing, so let me ask you,
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Peggy: Honestly, when I wrote my first book, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. What I did know was that I wanted to stay in touch with my grandchildren from 6,000 miles away. They visited Bolivia for the first time when they were only toddlers. My daughter and son-in-law wanted them to bond with us, and they decided to stay for three weeks so our grandchildren could get to know us. It certainly helped us connect with them as grandparents. When they left to return home, the silence in our house rang out loud and clear. For at least a week, we found any excuse to leave the house to escape our loneliness and sadness. I began to ponder how to communicate with them from afar. At the time, phone service was expensive and not always reliable. And, phone calls usually resulted in yes and no answers––hardly relationship building. I prayed for a unique way to connect with them, and God gave me the answer––writing.
So, how did you begin writing?
Peggy: My answer to staying in touch with my grandkids came from God. And, it resulted in the beginning of my writing journey, now going on 12 years. I decided to write stories for Ben and Kayla about the animals they had come to love while visiting us. At the time we had nine animals––resulting in nine stories. Ben and Kayla looked forward to my next story with excitement, so I kept writing. Those stories became my first venture at self-publishing. Their overwhelming success with our supporters, friends, family, and churches caused me to begin thinking about a publisher. But first, I started submitting stories and devotions to magazines, and that resulted in being asked to write a children’s column for a Christian newspaper. In 2013, Pix-N-Pens Publishing released my first traditionally published three-book children’s series, Really Rare Rabbits. Now, I’m writing non-fiction also. My first devotional, Dancing Like Bees, was just released this month by Pix-N-Pens Publishing.
How many books have you published?
Peggy: Dancing Like Bees is my fourth traditionally published book. And, I’ve self-published 14 children’s books.
Tell us a little bit about your new book, Dancing Like Bees.
Peggy: My book explores our struggle with stress and how to energize our walk with God: hence the sub-title, 31 Steps to De-stress, Delight, and Dance Like Bees. Through the 31 devotionals, I investigate the “bes” of finding peace through life’s difficult circumstances in our daily journey with God while using the honeybee as an example of God’s organized and peaceful creation. Chapters include: Be Pollinating, Be Yourself, and Be Renewed.
I find it interesting that when talking with people about missionary work they sometimes think we live a perfect, fairy-tale type life where everyone gets along, and there are no problems or stress. I almost chuckle because that is not my life. But, it’s a myth believed by many. The number one reason missionaries leave the field is because of stress–-with relationships, finances, and their children just to mention a few. The same stress factors we all encounter no matter our geography. I examine some of those common stresses in my book.
I know you’ve visited the mission field, Betty, and I’m sure you can attest that missionary life is stressful. Missionaries are not exempt from real life, although we do live an exotic life in some ways and do experience some stress factors only related to missionary work. But, I haven’t eaten an elephant––nor would I ever––but swinging from trees like Tarzan might be therapeutic at times.
Betty: Ha ha! It absolutely would. And yes, I saw stressful situations among the mission workers in Ecuador. I met so many who have given everything to follow the call. I have to admit, I was in awe of their dedication.
Where did your inspiration come from? And, where did you meet your main characters for your book?
Peggy: I felt frustrated and near exhaustion when I slipped away temporarily from my caregiver duties to meet with the Savior one morning. My husband suffered with a bout of shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief—not even with morphine. Months turned into years. Countless doctors tried their best but with no success.
“Where are you, God, I asked? Don’t you see us in the middle of a foreign country with no help?” Of course, I knew He did, but I couldn’t feel His presence because of my circumstances that seemed to engulf me. I sat near a flowerbed filled with daisies and that’s when I met my main characters for my book––the Honeybees. Their busy buzzing drew my attention. They flew peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely I could find a way. And, so I began researching the honeybee to learn more of their everyday lives.
Betty: That is truly an amazing story. Honeybees are a fascinating subject. We can learn a lot just from watching them.
What message do you want to convey with this book?
Peggy: Even in days of uncertainty and turmoil, and the “stings of life”, I hope my readers will find new depths of joy from the parallels of the work of the bees to the Christian life that I’ve discovered through my research of God’s creation, the honeybee. Bees communicate through their dances to reap their harvest, and they work till death. In and through the midst of challenging faith-stings, I hope Dancing Like Bees will refresh and revitalize stressed souls and God’s honey will ooze like a salve to heal their life-stings. Last but not least, I hope all who read my book will find God sufficient in all circumstances to live a joy-filled busy, balanced, and blessed life so they can dance as David did––with all their might. “And David danced before the Lord with all his might” (Samuel 6:14 KJV).
Thank you, Betty, for inviting me to share about my book on your blog. I’m blessed to be your fellow author with Write Integrity Press and your friend.
Betty: Any time, Peggy. It’s always nice to talk with you. I hope to meet you in person one day. In the meantime, I’m glad to give my readers a chance to know you better. Readers, I hope you’ll take a look at Peggy’s website. Keep up with her journey and the fascinating stories she writes.
More about Peggy Cunningham:
Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck, have been missionaries in Bolivia, S.A., since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Chuck and Peggy work with the Quechua people in a rural area of Bolivia where they have a children’s ministry––teaching practical skills to underprivileged children. They also work with national churches. Peggy teaches teen girls’ cooking and baking classes along with Bible studies. She is also a writer. Her children’s book series, Really Rare Rabbits, volumes one, two, and three, released by Pix-N-Pens Publishing in 2013 is available on Amazon.com in print and on Kindle. They are also available in Spanish. Her new book, Dancing Like Bees, is her first non-fiction book, a devotional, published by Write Integrity Press/Pix-N-Pens Publishing in 2016 also available on Amazon.com. All books can be ordered at local bookstores also.
Frustrated and exhausted, Peggy walked the mission property early mornings to slip away temporarily from her caregiver duties and meet with the Savior. Her husband suffered from a bout with shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief—not even with morphine. Months turned into years. Countless doctors tried their best but with no success.
Where was God? Didn’t He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help? Hadn’t they given their lives to serve as missionaries and trusted Him for their health? She wept as she sat near a flowerbed filled with daisies. Just then, the buzz of bees drew her attention. They flew peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. She noticed a pattern. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely she could find a way.
Through the thirty-one devotions, this book examines what Peggy learned about God’s intricate creation of the honeybee and how it speaks direction into our need for living peaceful, productive lives while overcoming stress and achieving joy. God is faithful always, and His creation magnifies His majesty if we take time to seek Him in everyday situations—even through the honeybee. Buy the book:Dancing Like Bees