Goodness Gracious! I love being busy because time passes so quickly, and at the same time, I don’t like it because with passing time, more things happen.
I am officially a Peruvian Resident. I have a card that says so. The picture is hideous, but I suppose that’s a given. I mean, no one gets a good driver’s license picture either. July 3 (how ironic that it was the day before our Independence) we officially received our cards.
We began our newest course today (July 13), Biblical Basis of Discipleship. Our professor is the Superintendent of Chiclayo. Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s a very good speaker; easy to follow and quite entertaining. Classes will be everyday this week, but next week we’ll end on Wednesday and begin our week and a half long vacation!! Obviously we’re getting this vacation because July 28 is the Independence Day of Peru.
I’m 6 days short of 5 months in Peru. Weird. Exciting. Sad. Fabulous.
The past two days we have had fresh coconut straight off the tree. Superintendent/Pastor Abietar (pronounced A-BEE-A-TAR) and his family live on the compound with us. LLerson (Abietar’s oldest son- GER-SON) has a friend with coconut trees, and because 2 soles (66 cents) is too much to spend on a coconut, he got them from his friend. There isn’t much meat, it’s very delicate and soft, and there’s a ton of water (the milk is clear and tastes more like flat mineral water—hence water). It’s very good. I tried to break one open today (using the machete) and I ended up just wacking it (the machete) hard on the cement while the coconut would go flying off the blade. My coconut ended up going to the compost pile, and Llerson took over the coconut cutting. He’s had more practice. When my 2 years are up, I’ll be a pro too.
Last night during church there was a huge storm. The lightning was constant and gorgeous. It was something unexpected and incredible. The rain was so hard, and the drops so big. The volume was turned way up on the microphone so we could all hear. The church roof has some leaks and the water was making rivers on the floor. Ghim (JIM) the 3 year old son of Pastor Antonio (local pastor who also lives on the compound) was jumping over the rivers throughout the sermon. It was adorable. By the time the service was over, so was the rain.
We were all invited over to Pastor Abietar’s house for coffee and fried bananas with the family afterwards. Hermana Magna (esposa de Abietar-MO(n)G-NA)) is one of the most darling women I have ever met. About the height of my shoulder and absolutely beautiful, she’s always good for a hug and a squeeze whenever you’re near enough to touch. She loaned me her flannel graph to use with the kids on Sunday mornings. We put our gum and chocolate in her freezer for safe keeping. She invited us in to watch the funeral ceremony of Michael Jackson. She’s always telling us stories of being a newly wed nurse in the jungle without any neighbors or close friends; stories of suffering and triumph. Of snakes, spiders, demons, and the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit. Her mothering and love, her encouragement, her gumption has been such an encouragement to all of us.
Saturday, 13 Extreme Missionaries, and 15 members of Iglesia Central (the church we live at…and attend Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights) went to Gabriella Nunez—the mission sight that Ana (my partner) and I work at. The church as purchased property and wants to build. First we had to go in and cultivate the ground. Meaning we all brought our machetes, hammers, and nails, and when we arrived we chopped down jungle vines and varieties of trees and grasses. With machetes. All the while we were very careful of any type of poisonous frogs, snakes, and bushes that may get us. Then, in a very counter North American manner, we went about building a fence around 2 sides of the property (we ran out of wood). In the end, it looked really good. They’re planning on planting corn in there for now, and then after the rainy season they’ll build the church (the homes are built in the air more or less because half the year there is no land around them—they live in the middle of the river).
My precious little mission, Gabriella Nunez, has 283 people, 28 families. They do not have clean water and have not grasped the concept of boiling it before consumption. They have a huge problem with infection and disease that could be easily prevented if they used clean water for bathing and drinking. Instead, the same bathroom water, is the same water they drink, is the same water they wash their clothes in, etc. Our little mission is the only church of any kind in the community. We have an average of 6 adults and 30 kids come to our services. Among them, there is 1 Bible.
Saturday night, in a different world, we went to a semi pro soccer game. It was so exciting! We won! Iquitos vs Arequipa.