Sunday, March 21, 2010

Of Rats and Other Jungle Experiences

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us". Romans 8:18

Things here the first few months have been somewhat slow and difficult, but I can see that things are going to begin happening fast from this point on. Learning a language is just something that I have not been very good at so far and I pick things up a little slower than everyone else. I am getting better though. About a month ago I was at the church with my partner, Britaldo, and the pastor asked me to talk for ten to fifteen minutes. I did it and I think I got my point and my heart across, but only because I felt like God was right there speaking through me.

We had a short term mission team here for 12 days last month and we translated for them. It was a medical mission so we helped give the patients information, which was a challenge, but it was fun. We also helped entertain the kids while parents were waiting and I dressed up in the big mascot hamster costume, Rico the Cuy. It was really hot, yet I enjoyed that also. One of the last days of the project there was a fire at one of the houses that was nearby. A lady came running toward us yelling, “FUEGO!? (fire) so we all took off running and helped put it out before it spread. The houses are made of wood with thatched roofs and they are all side by side so if the fire had gotten bigger, the whole area would have gone up. It was a frantic moment but we were glad to participate. As for other interesting experiences, there have been many. Having a very large rat investigate my mouth while I was sleeping and bolting upright to have it run in my sleeping bag... not high on my list.

My partner and I will be starting our ministry very soon. We have gotten our assignments for the three communities that we will be responsible for and are excited about preparing for that. We have a challenging area, as it is 2- 3 days down the Amazon on boat from Iquitos. We will be working in the communities for weeks at a time, staying in that area, and will only come back "home" to Iquitos for a few days in between. The trip on the Amazon "ferries" will be interesting... sleeping on hanging hammocks on the boat at night, crammed in with many other people... but I should at least get in a lot of Bible study... Although we have a challenge ahead, we are excited to meet it. This is finally why I came to Peru after all. It is great to know these months of study and planning will be put to use. Although I am anticipating this, I am really in need of prayer. I have just gone through the most frustrating and hard week of my time here in Peru and I have been tried and tested in my spirit. I would ask that you would pray for God's purposes for my team to be fulfilled and that we would all see clearly that His ways are better than anything we could ever come up with on our own. I am struggling with seeing God's hand in some things that happen from time to time and I just need a good dose of His wisdom and peace

"Just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody".

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Starting to BLOG

To my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Well, this is my first blog and really the first time that I have had really anything to report back to the States in the past 2 months. The last two months here in Arequipa have consisted solely of Spanish school on the weekdays, a free day on Saturday, and then Sunday which tends to be the most stressfuol and draining day of the week. I got here the 4th of September and got right into the swing of things, being that I got here a week later than the rest of the 40/40s in my group. I moved directly into a household with 3 Peruvians: Paco, Ursula, and Alejandra, who all speak English well. Our maid, Gogi, only speaks Spanish, which has actually been really good for me. In the house, fellow American 40/40, Gary Crites and I try to only speak Spanish with the family and it has helped us tremendously over the time that we have been here. Gary and I go to school every weekday from 1:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon and then take Fridays for meetings at the Extreme Office. Sundays have tended to be the day where we attempt to put our knowledge to use by trying to speak to other church goers and then trying to understand the sermons as best as possible. All in all it is a difficult experience, from the trip out there to the trip back. Saturdays have been awesome however. For example, two things that I figured that I would have to give up coming to Peru were playing basketball and watching college football. Yet, almost every Saturday, Drew (another fellow 40/40) and I call people and get a basketball game set up in the morning and then after that we then travel to either the Foster's house or the Drinkwater's house for the Oregon Ducks game.

Really that has been my weekly schedule since I arrived in Peru, but now we are a week from moving from here to Lima where we will meet our Peruvian counterparts and then move to Iquitos for Bible training and where I will be working for the next 2 years. The last week and a half have been a little crazy with little problems, but we have also gotten to meet another 40/40, Wendy Sheets, who is 6 months farther down the road then anyone in our group. She told us what we should be expecting over the next 5 months and how to prepare accordingly. It was all extremely helpful. In the last two months we have had our fill of little odd and crazy things that have happe3ned to us. We have all drank Frog Juice, which is exactly what you think it is, and to our surprise it was not as bad as we had expected. Gary, Brian Tibbs (our director), and I have gone to a couple of brothels and talked to three prostitutes about Jesus Christ and their current situation and tried to hook them up with information about our wonderful, brilliant, scary, and yet loving Creator. No takers so far, but we know God uses everything.... All in all this is what I live for and why I am here to be used as a tool by God and it is awesome to be able to do that even while learning the language. There is no feeling for me like being completely out of my comfort zone and relying on God to be "'my everything".

If you could continue to pray for me whenever you can, I could certainly use it. There are times when I wonder what in the world I am doing here and why I left my family, friends, and my two younger brother to be "alone" in Peru. I also need help staying focused on the ultimate goal and forcing myself to study. Also, I need prayer for the sturggle to learn something that doesn't come easily to me and that I don't naturally enjoy as is the case with Spanish. I also lost my wallet the other day in a taxi and actually this whole past week has not been great so any prayer would be appreciated.

In Christ's Love,