Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Rundown

So... long time no post. I'll give a quick run down of my life lately...

- Been a bit busy since I got back from Peru. Been working 12+ hrs/day. I think there's an end in sight for it though. Definitely looking forward to being done. Guess it could be worse though - at least I have weekends off.

- Started a bible study with some of the guys. We've been doing it for 3 weeks or so meeting at O'Henry's Coffee shop. Right now, we're keeping it small until we know for sure who's leading (we're taking turns right now) and what format for sure and all that fun mess. But it'll be good. I really think God will use it, and us, for his glory.

- Friends coming back from mission trips all over. Karina, Stephen, Clara, Wesley - it'll be good to see everyone back and get to hang out with everyone again.

- Karate test coming up soon. Will be going for Orange Senior belt, which is the last of the beginner belts. After that, it'll be Green, which means I'll be a intermediate level, and 2 years away from black belt, assuming I passed everything between then. Kinda scary, cool, excited, and nervous at the same time typing that. And just as an FYI, it goes White, Orange, Green, Brown, Red, Blue, and then Black. There are two degrees (hence the Orange Senior that I'll be testing for) of every belt before Black.

Anyways, hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was good, just too short. Went to Oak Mountain with Brook Hills and met a lot of new people and played a lot of games and had a lot of fun. Me and Justin went to go see Captain America after that - I enjoyed that movie a lot! Have a good week everyone. And as always, please let me know if I can pray for anything for you.

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peru Trip

So I guess I should go ahead and write about my trip to Peru. Been
putting it off, as I wasn’t really even sure where to start, but we’ll
see how it goes…

… But before I begin, I want to say the following, just in case I
forget to below while I ramble. The women on this trip, be they
Peruvian or American, were all amazing. The pastor’s wives cooked
lunch for us every day, and it was always great food and we looked
forward to seeing what they would cook for us next. They also gave us
fruit as snacks and chicken sandwiches at night once we were done with
the kids and the lessons. They had wonderful hearts, and we were truly
thankful for them. As for the women who went with us – they were all
great. From Lilah, who had her passport stolen and never let it get to
her, despite missing two days because of it, to Ashley and Kate, who
were always playing with the kids and seemed to never NOT have one
hanging onto them, all of them had such great hearts for the Peruvian
people. They were all a blessing to be around and I miss spending time
with them.

So on to the trip! This was my second time flying – and my second
mission trip to Peru. Funny how that works out, huh? Gotta say, Delta
had the nicer airline over American Airlines, but American definitely
had the better pilots, lol. We had a long wait between flights, but it
was good to get to know everyone a little better during the layover.
We made it to Peru late Sat night. We saw Jackie and Lucho in the
airport. They were there picking up another group for a separate
mission trip. It was great to see them, even if it was only for a few
minutes. We made it to the hotel late that night and grabbed as much
sleep as we could. Ryan, Basilio, and I were all in the same room, but
thankfully we all had our own beds. Hot water and consistent water
pressure were another matter…

Sunday morning we got up, not having had much sleep, and went to
church (church #1). The girls went upstairs with the kids, and I
preached while Jim, the local missionary from the IMB, translated for
me. I think it went well. Afterwards, we went out to eat at a
surprisingly nice restaurant. We came back to the hotel and crashed,
trying to catch up on sleep, and Jim gave us a short presentation
later that night about the history of Peru and some of the local
customs and such.

Monday morning we started working with the church (church #2) that had
just been started in one of the shanty towns. They were using their
living room and had moved everything else into their bedroom so that
the living room could be used for the church. They also had the
backing of some of the local churches, which is a rare thing in their
area as they almost never cooperate amongst themselves. It was great
to know that they were coming together to spread the Gospel in this
area, and have plans to keep doing so in other areas as well. So we
met at church #2 and did prayer walks through the neighborhood. We
stopped and passed out fliers and talked with people (through
interpreters) and invited them to come to the church. We went back to
church #1 after we finished with this, ate lunch, and prepared for
that afternoon. We made it back to church #2 and waited. We had a few
kids at first, but more and more kept trickling in. It was a lot of
fun playing with them and seeing the smiles on their faces, even if we
couldn’t understand what they were saying. Ryan preached the first
night on the Gospel and biblical manhood – it was his first time
preaching and he did a good job, esp. considering the circumstances.
It was dark, and to read his notes, someone stood behind him with a
flashlight. The kids were causing total chaos. But the adults there
paid attention the entire time and definitely heard the Gospel.

Tuesday morning we were greeting by Basilio cooking eggs for us. I
need to learn from him – he cooks some mighty fine eggs. We went out
and to church #2 and did more prayer walking that morning. We focused
more on actually praying for the people of that village that day and
let the Pastors talk to anyone we met. It let me focus on the point of
the trip and to really pray for these people and let my heart break
for them instead of just going through the motions. We came back to
church #1 for lunch afterwards. We got back to church #2 in the
afternoon, played with the kids – the # kept growing throughout the
week it seemed – and Josh preached that night on the Gospel and
biblical womanhood.

Wed was a little different, for me at least. Apparently we had gone a
little long the two previous nights, so the pastors asked us to cut
our sermon time down to about 10 minutes - 20 with translation.
Usually, people ask you to go into more detail, and expound upon
certain points. And here I felt like he was asking me to gut my sermon.
I spent a good part of the morning and the afternoon going back over
and over my sermon, seeing what I could cut out and what I needed to
keep, asking God to show me what the core of the message was that he
wanted me to speak. Definitely had to rely on him for that. Plus it
was a good reminder that people don't need the most eloquent of
sermons. God's word has been promised to not return void. I didn't
have to worry about cutting stuff out - God will use what is spoken
for his glory.

Thursday was our last day with the churches. Everyone was sad we had
to leave them. We gave them some parting gifts, which admittedly was
not much, but they were thankful of at least the thought behind it.
Everyone took pictures with the kids. One child's grandmother came and
gave us bracelets with our initials on it - she usually sold these to
pay for her child's education, but wanted us to have one. It was very
sweet, and as much as we wanted to refuse, it would have been rude.
The people of Peru, at least the ones we dealt with, all seem to have
a servant's heart, and give cheerfully. Something we seem to lack in
America. OH! I almost forgot. Earlier in the week, one girl's camera
got stolen, and one of our interpreters found it. She was so happy she
said she could marry him. Well, it grew from there, as running jokes
tend to do, and the local pastors heard about it. So they got a kick
out of it by gathering everyone in the room that day and performing a
fake ceremony for the two of them. It was pretty funny, and they were
both good sports about it.

Friday was out cultural/sightseeing day. We went to Lima and walked
around the capital building like last year. But we also went to a few
of the big Cathedrals that were located in Lima as well as going into
some of the catacombs underneath them. We also went to the Indian
market later, and several people bought gifts for friends and loved
ones. We got on the flight at Midnight, and made our way back to the
states. I wasn't able to sleep but an hour or so on the plane, so by
the time I got home, I was pretty tired.

Anyways, thanks everyone for the prayers for our trip. They were
needed more than you could ever know. I'm sure there are plenty of
stories I left off of this. Just know that it was a good trip, and
that God's name was proclaimed. I'm looking forward to seeing what God
has in store for next year.

Love in Christ,