Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cada Mañana Despertar...

Wow! I have a bit of catching up to do (and a lousy computer to do it with).

In addition to today being my one year anniversary of living in Peru, we have had an incredible week.

February 16th, three people made the decision to publicly declare their faith and be baptised!! Our day started out normal, we were supposed to leave the church at 8:00 a.m. and the Cumbi (basically a glorified 15 passanger van...) arrived right on time at 10:15 a.m. Pastor Freddy and his family are on vacation, so he asked us to fill in. Elisa (a darling Peruvian about 4ft 10in tall, and Wendy Sheet´s partner) also has her District Minister´s as the only two people with the credentials, we had the amazing privilege and honor to preform the baptism! 29 of us arrived at mile marker 14, a local swimming spot on the river and got right down to business.

Tyson played guitar as our precious group sang a hymn. It was really sweet and primitive, but so very heartfelt.

I then shared the story of Phillip in Acts 8, stressing the importance of believeing and accepting Jesus Christ as our personal savior, and expressed how incredible it is to be baptized. Elisa then shared the symbolism and importance of baptism. At that point, Elisa and I walked into the muddy river as the ´witnesses´gathered on the foot bridge and on the nearyby banks. One by one, three brave and blessed souls came to us in the water.

The first was a precious young teen named Carla. She lives close to the main church and has been a faithful attender since we arrived in November.The second was Senora Gladyis, who Callie and Carmen have been discipling for the past few months. The third was a darling boy, Manual, who Ana and I have had the pleasure to get to know him and his family very well over the past 2 months. As he has helped us to grow our ministry in Circunvilacion by sweeping out our ´sanctuary´and constantly inviting friends to come to the church, he has grown to know and love Christ. One afternoon he approached us and asked if he could be baptised. After several lessons and meetings concerning the significance of baptism, we were overjoyed to have him be a part of our first baptism ceremony upon arriving in Peru. Coming up out of the water you could see a new glow that covered each one completely; you could physically see and feel the change in them. I am completely thrilled to have had the chance to already baptise one of our disciples!

This past week, Ana and I did Vacation Bible School in 2 o our 3 communities. Can you imagine 2 women teaching 50 children between the ages of 2 and 12 in the same room? Did I mention these kids have never heard these Bible stories before? Did I mention that you need to provide the chairs and tables, all the craft supplies, the teaching material, the snacks, for all of them on a budget of less than $60. And you need to write your own lessons. Well, that´s what we did. It was an intensly rewarding experience. Praise the Lord, every day went really really well. Our lessons were based out of Genesis, featuring the obedience of Abraham, and the disobedience of Sodom and Gomorra. It was quite interesting, but went so good. We´re having our closing program tomorrow at the church where they will sing their news songs, and recite their memory verses. I have a whole new appreciation for the ease provided in the States. Pastor Sherry, thank you for always providing all the supplies, chairs, tables, lights that those 4 and 5 year olds could ever need. Not to mention toys. And thank Nazarene Headquarters for writing such fabulous material for us to use. Now if only we would get the Puerto Maldonado version.... :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

so Christmas passed, and now the New Year has begun. wow. am i ready?
new years eve was passed in the church. from 8 till 12:30 we were singing songs, listening to pastor plan the following year, reading the Bible, and listening to pastor talk some more. one of our peruvian partners described it this way ¨christians go pray while the world is happy (aka has fun).¨ i would be lying to say it was not the way i would have chosen to bring in the new year:) but, it was a good thing.
pastor did say something that really hit a nerve that night. lately, i`ve been so... proud (?) of myself for coming to peru. i mean, look, i gave up my life as i knew it, all for GOD. i broke up with a man i would have been honored to spend the rest of my life with because i found that my focus was split. i don`t get to spend important days with my family. i miss out on so much. i learned spanish and attempt to share Christ with others in the way i learned. wow. this year was full. good job!
but now it`s a new year. blank slate. what i did last year, doesn`t count in this one. what am i doing now? how am i going to serve God in this capacity? because this is where i am.

Friday, December 18, 2009

prayer request

hello all!
it´s christmas time! i love this time of year so much! the christmas songs on the radio, the lights reflecting off the puddles (let´s face it, the willamette valley doesn´t typically have snow this time of year), and one of my favorite parts is the advent candles in church on sunday. all of this helps prepare me for the day. for the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus. He loved, and he lived, and he lives on amongst us through the Holy Spirit manifested in us.
all this to say...i don´t feel very christmas-y yet. we have not sang a single Christmas hymn in church, nor even mentioned that Christmas is approaching. and i have been getting sick lately (which i am not accostumed to). i´ve spent the past day and a half laifd up in bed, and should still be there i imagine, but...the point is this: please pray for our whole team. we´re all struggling being away from family at this time of year. traditions don´t make Christmas, for that matter, neither does family, but we miss them more accutely right now. also, pray for our health. we seem to be taking turns getting sick...and that makes us a bit grumpy:)
Merry Christmas everyone! i hope to write again soon! thanks for your prayers!

Friday, December 4, 2009


¨Thanksgiving is more important to you guys than Christmas.¨Peruvian ¨No it isn´t.¨American

Although accustomed to celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, we waited and celebrated on Monday. Two reasons 1) we worked on Thursday (thus not having time to prepare the feast) 2) we couldn´t possibly do it without Andrew, and since he´s only home on Mondays...we waited.

Thursday night Tracy, Tyson, Kai, Wendy, Callie and I went to a grill (that i´d gone to with Daddy) and ate a bit of meat to satisfy our need to be full and then went home to watch last season of The Office to satisfy our need to feel like Americans.

Sunday night we were up till midnight baking the pumpkin pie, boiling the eggs (deviled eggs!!) and preparing the rolls and the bread for stuffing the next day. It was so much fun!

Monday, Callie and Tracy went to the Market early in the morning and bought all the vegetables, and then we made our house hot by baking sweet potatoes, rolls, stuffing, green beans, and the mashed potatoes...and Tyson did a steller job making chicken taste just like Thanksgiving Turkey. and the gravy rocked too! It was a feast that I would have been proud to eat in the USA, and I was thrilled to share it with the Peruvians. We invited Pastor Freddy and his family to join us, and they made the day extra fun (having to bring up an extra table, more food passing, extra was perfect!) We ate till we were sick and then laid around for a while.

That night the Smiths surprised us with a beautiful (artificial) Christmas tree!!!!! Those who have ever decorated a tree with me (ok, only my immediate family) know that I am very particular about how the decorations go on and can tend to sound a little bit.....bossy. But God has worked a miracle in my life and I didn´t say a word as people hastily and messily threw the ornaments on the tree. Tracy saved my life by suggesting we put the lights on first, so I grabbed the light strand and did half the tree. Then I passed it on to Andrew to finished the job. The lights look really good. The tree does look adorable...personally I would love to go in and rearrange the ornaments...but it´s not a big deal and it is fabulous to have the tree in the house. It may be 90 some odd degrees and feel like 103 with the humidity, but inside the looks a little like Christmas season.

It truly was a day to be thankful for. God has brought us through so much and will continue to guide us as we go along. God has kept us safe, and relatively healthy. God has provided a means of communication (we now have a phone in our house! and if we buy phone cards we can call the states!) and there is an internet place in the center that isn´t tortois slow. And every day we grow closer together as a family. It was a good time to reflect and hope for the future.

Puerto Maldonado

I am supposed to be writing for my 3 church sites, but I already wrote for them and thought I´d saved them on the USB, but I guess I didn´ I´m going to take the time to write a wee bit here instead...

Just over 1 month ago, Andrew and I (the first 4040´s) arrived early to Puerto Maldonado. Daddy and Andrew´s mom had come down to complete the construction process of our home and do some on the field witnessing (impact). The Smith family came a couple days later, and the rest of the group followed week after.

The time spent with Daddy here was incredible. It passed as if it were a dream and before I could really enjoy it or believe it, it was already time for him to leave. We had a wonderful time though-he found a wonderful icecream place that we frequented daily, and explored the market thoroughly. We became pro´s at hailing motorcycles for taxis and just hopping on the back. It was beautiful to have Daddy here, but it passed so fast. Then I woke up from my dream and began the marathon that we are running as if it were a sprint.

Ana and I are learning more about each other every day. Tuesdays through Sundays we go to people´s businesses and homes and share with them the love of God. It is truly amazing to me how they are so accepting of what we have to say. They already believe the Bible is Truth, and regardless of whether or not they have a relationship with Christ, they value the Bible and treat it with utmost respect. The people are open to listen and learn from us. We alternate amongst 7 Junio, Crosby, and Circunvilacion, and try to make sure that we visit each location a minimum of 2 times every week.

We leave at 8:45am and come home around 11:15, and go out again at 2:45 and return around 5:15. These hours are set because we don´t want to be coming around during meal times or while they are trying to get their kids off to school. When they would like to begin the disciplship process, we come at whatever time they ask of us. Some people have us come at 7 or 8 in the evening.

In a quick word, that´s what we´re up to. I´ll be managing 3 other sites with information about each specific location. Thank you for your prayers and support. Honestly we couldn´t do this without God´s strength each and every day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

smore night!!!! thank you so much Aunt Heidi and Uncle Tom for all the supplies!!

So, I’ve passed 7 months in Peru. Where has the time gone? In just over one month, I’m going to Puerto Maldonado and I will see my Daddy!
In the past month, we have had a stellar fabulous watermelon eating contest. I had this great idea that the Peruvians should be introduced to this great American tradition. They should be able to say that they have gorged themselves on one of God’s best fruits. So, I bought 5 of the most costly watermelons in Peru (a. because of their size, b. because fruit from the coast is RIDICULOUSLY expensive in Iquitos). It was well worth and a ton of fun. Callie and Pastor Abietar were the winners.
The barrio that Ana and I work in (Gabriela Nunez) is the daughter of Iglesia Central (basically, Iquitos 1st Church of the Nazarene). They are planning on constructing the actual church building in November, but before they can do that, there needs to be a level foundation. So, Saturday we hauled sand to the sight. Let me paint that picture for you: We woke up at 6 am on a Saturday morning, got in our work clothes and gathered 5 of the Extreme Team GIRLS to head out. We were supposed to be leaving at 7, so at 7:30 we were ready to go. We’d forgotten that we all needed to bring something to carry the sand in, so we asked Hermana Magna if she had anything…. So Llerson grabbed some…basically they’re gunny sacks. Those plastic-y, big, white-ish, sack/bag things (aka potato bags)...Anyway, that’s what we brought. Then about 10 people climbed in the back of the pick-up, 8 more inside the pick-up and we headed down to Puerta Masusa. There we met the leader of the church plant in Gabriela Nunez and he took us across the river. I forgot to mention that we brought our lunch supplies with us. Bowls, cups, spoons, knives, 4 water canisters (the ones that you put upside down on that plastic thing and you can squeeze the little handle thing and get water out…) and a GIANT pot.
Upon arrival, we precariously climbed the bank, and carried everything to the future church site. When I say that we precariously climbed up the bank, what I mean is, the river level has dropped significantly in the months that we’ve been here. Now the bank is a steep 8 foot mud slide with some stairs half-hazardly carved in. It wouldn’t be too bad if it was dry, but because this is the Amazon RAIN forest even in the dry season it rains, so…it’s a muddy slippery mess. And the boats can’t get very close so you slip around till you get to the steps….It’s an adventure every time! Pastor Antonio, Ramon, Llerson, Lider, and two other men, Elisa, Wendy, Callie, and I made up the sand carrying crew, and Ana, and the other women stayed at Gabriela Nunez to make lunch for us. There were also about 10 boys from Gabriela Nunez that joined in on the fun of carrying sand.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I thought that we were going to be carrying sand from the bank to the site…but what we were actually doing was getting back in the boat, and going to the other side of the river. There was beautiful sand the color of the Oregon Coast, and we scooped it into our sacks and various 5 gallon buckets, and returned to the bank of Gabriela. We had a lot of sacks to fill, and a lot of sand to bring, so some people thought that we should fill the sacks to brimming to make fewer trips. The downside is that sand is heavy. So when you have these giant sacks, filled with sand, it is back breaking, excruciatingly hard. Add to that the heat of this sun. We had a hay day let me tell you.
The second trip across the river, we decided to fill the boat instead of just the sacks. Good idea; still a ton of work. At 12, we stopped for lunch. The lovely ladies were so sweet, and made us some piping hot rice and chicken foot soup. There were enough chicken feet for everyone to have at least one. Mmmm, hot soup when you’re already stinking hot. Perfect combo.
It was, all in all, a great day though.