Peru- pt. 2

Along with the VBS’s, we worked on the church of the missionaries we were staying with and that our church supports. We cleaned, painted, swept, mopped, captured a baby tarantula (that we named Andrew. We weren’t allowed to bring him home. Wonder why…), built shelves and desks, reorganized the rooms and helped sort things, tried Peruvian snacks (fresh passionfruit is tasty and nicknamed “snotfruit” down there), did some maintenance work, and built some new bathrooms and did housework for some of the church members.


We prayed in this church, with our team and with the locals. Listening to passionate prayer in a language I don’t speak was a pretty incredible experience. You can feel the gratitude and longing even without understanding the words being said.


We worshiped in this church, learning familiar songs in an unfamiliar language, or singing while we worked.

We played with children in this church, whether during VBS, during church services, to keep the littles entertained while others worked on construction.

We laughed and ate meals and prayed and wept with each other in this church, and I am grateful to have gotten to be a part of it.


It’s funny, as we’d make plans, and then they’d completely change, and everyone would roll with it. You don’t find that in many teams, such flexibility, but we all kept it to some level, and I’m proud of them for it.

Along with the Tambo VBS, we had one in a sport court a few minutes walk from the church. We’d arrive and play music, and slowly children would trickle in, exchanging “buenas dias” with us. We’d do all the regular VBS activities, and play “Chapas” (tag), and some people would play soccer, and some would head over to the swings. They called us Tia or Tio, auntie or uncle, I was Tia Gracia.Still one of my favorites out of everything I’ve ever been called.


One of the kids in particular stuck out to me, Renzo. He was one of the giggliest, most talkative little children I’d ever met. He was one of the reasons I was most sad to not know the language. He look up at me, all aglow, and throw out some long thought, wait for me to nod in acknowledgement of hearing him, smile, and then either keep talking or turn back to listening to the VBS teacher. He would be shy for about 5 seconds at the beginning of each day, and then after that he’d be all about hugs and songs and games and talking. I miss him.

Along with all of our work and ministry things, we did get some exploring time in. We went and walked around Cusco a few times, and that’s a lovely city. Lots of cathedrals, and they are beautiful and hopeless. It’s neat, because the town and country where we were is very brown or tan, but people wear colorful clothing and have colorful textiles and paint and patterns, its a beautiful balance. We drank Peruvian coffee (it’s great, not too sweet)


We also did get to see Machu Picchu on our last day or so of being there! We hiked all around there, up to the Sun Gate (which some of us ran back down) and the Inca Bridge, saw many llamas, beautiful stonework, the Andes are mystic and inspiring.

Takeaways by then?

-The main one recorded in my journal at this time was the thought sparked by our leader’s teaching, that we are not to be quiet or stagnant in our growth or walk as a Christian. We are to share our faith, to spread the light, to be a river and not a reservoir. We have to either pick to live for God, or the world. You can’t be living fully for both, and lukewarm/mixed is not acceptable. Go full out or go home, it is a choice. One to be intentional about.


It’s been something I’ve been pondering lately. I knew when I started this trip that it would either be a one-time-good-experience-thing, or it would lead to more. So far I’m feeling that it may be the latter. But not sure yet. Lots to pray about.

-also, where our focus is to be. We are to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. This verse helps me when I get too wrapped up in my limited perspective. Sure, I feel gross and dirty and my clothes do not match or look aesthetic and I’m worrying about that, but am I showing Christ’s love to others? Which one is going to last longer? Do the kids I’m playing with care? Do they see love through me? Am I really supposed to be worrying about what my peers think of me?  It’s kinda a trivial thing, and not saying that looks aren’t important, but as an example sometimes I get too wrapped up in the little things, verses having an eternal perspective.

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Peru- pt. 1

Yesterday I got home from Peru.

It feels super weird to write that….it actually happened. I was there and now am home. I’m so grateful to have been able to go on this trip, I learned a lot and saw a lot, prayed a lot and laughed and cried and talked and played and listened. I am thankful and my heart is full.

I’m trying to find words to put down so that I can share this with you, but there’s so much and proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated, so bear with me as I section it out.I don’t want to forget things, so some of these posts might be novels… consider yourself warned..

After over 14 hours of travel, we arrived in Cusco, Peru. The elevation there is over 11,000 feet, so when we got off the plane some of us felt like we had stepped off of a boat, the ground felt shaky. There were also lots of very chapped lips and headaches and nosebleeds over the first week or so as our bodies adjusted.


There was culture shock! Spanish was being spoken everywhere, the weather would change from thunderstorms to sunshine rapidly, there were very few trees (this PNWesterner was a bit taken aback by that), household habits were different… but it was all interesting and good.

We met our host and his family, the missionary and his family, learned about drinking coca tea for elevation sickness, and a while after went to the church for service. This was the church we would be working at for the time we were here, so it was fun to see, and I was surprised by the friendliness and joy of everyone there. In my journal it says that I had wished I studied Spanish more, and I had that thought quite often through the entire time.


Later we had the devotional and meeting for the night, talking about being purposeful and intentional. James 1 says to count it all joy WHEN we have various trials, not if. So when these trials come, let us be purposeful to rejoice. Let us have purposeful prayer. Let us examine these purposeful trials. Because honestly, God already knows what’s going to happen and has a plan. In every aspect.

The end.

There’s no need to fret about it, just listen to Him and see what He’s trying to teach you.

Afterwards we explored Cusco a bit, there are soooo many stairs, legs for days. We saw a beautiful cathedral, so much intricate artwork, but it’s so empty and hopeless at the same time.

The next morning was spent working at the church, cleaning and organizing, and we got quite a bit done, which felt great.


Afterwards we got into a bus and drove to where our first VBS location is in a village called Tambomachay (TAM-boe-ma-chai), just to see the work being done there and to meet any kids who were around. We prayed over the area, awkwardly hung around for a few minutes, made friends with a tethered lamb and dogs (that we apparently aren’t supposed to pet because of germs and such) then the kids started coming. We exchanged names in stumbling Spanish and they played hand clapping games, which some of us joined in on, which then led to us showing them Quack-Dilly-O-So, which then led to us all playing Duck Duck Goose, which here was called Pato Pato Oveja (Duck Duck Sheep). Not sure how we got sheep, but whatever works… When they got tired of that some of the girls were trying to talk to me, saying  what sounded like “chapas”, and eventually we figured out that meant tunnel tag, so we played that for a good long time. Funny how much you can communicate even with a language barrier. I showed them how to make birdcalls with your hands, tried to talk a little with my meager spanish vocab, and they giggled at it quite a bit.


We were with this group of kids for 4 days, and they were the ones that were hardest for me to leave. They were so hungry for hugs, touch, love, to be listened to. We had tickle parties and snuggle piles and big hugs and they’d all pile into my lap or hold onto my back or arms so I could swing them around, they’d tap on my face and make funny noises and braid my hair and sit on my feet and hold my hand and show me things they found. So much laughter and love for and with them. Later in the week we’d do crafts and sing and dance with them, I learned quite a few more words through asking them (“que es…?”) and they’d laugh when I mispronounced it, and tell me the right pronunciation. I showed them how to blow kisses and they showed me hand clapping games.


It hit me how big God’s love is with them.

He loves me at home in Washington, and everyone there. Then I travel down thousands of miles to Peru, and still He loves me and everyone else there as well. And all the people that are in the surrounding countries, continents, the entire world.


He loves each one of us infinitely and perfectly, and there are so many people… That is so much love. It blew my mind. And with that thought, we are to love people as well. And how are we to love them? The goal is to love through His love, in agape. And what does that look like? That’s going to be a future post here…

The largest thing that frustrated me was that I didn’t know Spanish (which was my fault) , so I couldn’t directly talk with them. We had translators, and they were a HUGE blessing and I was so grateful for them, but when you talk with a kid it’s best if you can talk directly to them, having a middle man changes things. There were tears at the final goodbye, and maybe someday I’ll come back and have learned the language and will be able to talk with them.


The takeaways that I had by day two of the trip were:

-God’s love is huge, I had felt a part of it, and I wanted to share it.

-prayer is so so powerful and so underutilized.

-I take so much for granted. Pretty much everything. It makes one grateful.

-I am not to show partiality in anything I do or to anyone I interact with. This came from a devotional led by a teammate, and sparked a lot of thought. Anything I do I should be doing as to the Lord, whether the job is large or small, gets noticed and recognition or not, whether the person is rich or poor, friendly or intimidating. I am not the one who is supposed to judge. That’s God’s job. I’m just a hand.

Thus ends part 1 of the Peru adventure, more to come later.

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upcoming adventures

I have exactly one week until I’m taking one of the largest adventures I’ve ever had.

In one week, at this time, I will be on a plane, on my first international trip, on my first missions trip,  heading to Cusco, Peru!

It all feels pretty surreal…I signed up for this in  February, not sure if I’d make the team or not, and then a few weeks later I got the call that I made the team if I was still interested! That was an exciting day, I walked around the house making disbelieving squeaking happy noises for a good hour or so until it sank in more. 🙂 Eight months later, lots of fundraising and prayers and times seeing God working…It’s almost here. I know this trip is going to be a huge learning experience and I’m super excited for that, it has been already in a lot of ways. We had to raise about $2,200 over the eight months of prep, and the church sending us didn’t want us to pay anything out of pocket if at all possible. So I prayed a lot, and nervously sent out support letters… And was amazed. So many many people started sending in support and sweet letters and prayers, all of the love that I received from people completely blew me away. There were a few times were the numbers weren’t quite as high as they should’ve been at that point, and I’d get nervous, and talk to God about it, and every. single. time. more support would come in a day or so later. So grateful and blessed and just amazed. Also prayers, it’s funny, but you can very definitely feel when people are praying for you and I’m so grateful for people taking their time to talk to God about this trip and myself.

This whole process has been very humbling so far.

About the trip! Myself and 11 other people are flying down to Cusco, Peru, and we’ll be there for 12 days. We’re helping out one of the missionary family the church supports, in whatever way they need help. So far we’re probably looking at a VBS, construction, working with kids… and who knows what else they have for us. It’ll be good.

I love seeing new things. I love Spanish, which is the prevalent language down there. I love working with people to get to know them. I love watching God work . I love working with people and seeing God work together. I’ve never been in a different culture like this and I’m excited. I’m not nervous at all so far, that normally doesn’t happen to me until I’m on the way to places, but I’m not expecting to be nervous as much as just excited.

I’ll let you guys all know how it goes once I get back, 🙂

blessings,

me