Monday, July 11, 2011

Peru-Day 2

Today is Tuesday! However, I am still playing catch up on my blogging and updating of information. So what I’m saying is, today is actually “Sunday.” It was a very exciting day for us, “hermanos”, as they call us. We were asked to lead the church service at Monte Sion that morning.  Leading the service meant we were going to lead them in worship, in the sermon, as well as a few other surprises.  The worship went absolutely wonderful, we sang “Better is One day”, “Amazing Grace-My chains are gone”, & “Heart of Worship”. Their faces just lit up as we all went to the front and began singing altogether, even though we sang them all in English. After the first two songs Claire gave her testimony, and did splendidly. Following Claire I got the privilege and the opportunity to paint my picture from pageant along to the song “Beautiful Things” by the Gungor Band. Not everything was going my way that morning, including waking up late and FORGETTING the glitter to my painting. However after the response of the church congregation, and the fill in glitter from Carrie, I realized they didn’t care that it wasn’t exactly perfect, and that God had everything under control; including the Pastor-Helmer Chavez coming up to me to say that he understood what the painting symbolized.  Bobby talked about how BIG God is in our lives, and the beauty of his magnitude. We were ever so lucky to have Ramon translate in Spanish for us, he truly has been a massive blessing for us all; including the people we come into contact with daily, on the streets or at Monte Sion. My only hope is that we will not take him for granted.  A language barrier has to be one of the most frustrating feelings on the face of the planet. I know some Spanish, enough to get me by, but not being able to carry on an in depth conversation is very discouraging; so Ramon is a big help for all of us with that barrier. After we left the church, we came back and had a delicious lunch at Villa Milagro; which was waiting for us when we arrived. Lunch was chicken salad sandwich, chips, cheese crackers, and chocolate covered almonds, and this was delicious, but nothing in comparison to all of the meals we have been eating and will continue to eat. Then following we gathered up any and every ball or sports game to play with that we could take to the church that afternoon. We made plans that afternoon to meet up with the youth and play games and hangout, just one youth group with another.  We had quite a few there to play with, most of the youth we had met and gotten to know through the Quincineria and the church service that morning. We played with the Frisbee, some played volleyball, but the biggest hit was soccer. Now let me tell you, soccer here is not a joke whatsoever. They play on concrete, on grass, on dirt, on gravel; it doesn’t matter as long as you have a ball and a goal. Rules don’t really apply, other than if you seriously injure someone, or the ball goes out of bounds. No one was seriously injured, or as far as I can tell. Others who didn’t play, sat and talked on the sidelines or played another game, but no one person was alone in that entire courtyard. It was a lot of fun and a good way to end the evening. Whenever leaving the church or any other place we go to, it never fails that they ask, “When will we see you next?” or “Do you want to come back tonight or tomorrow or whenever?” It’s a good feeling to know that they want more of you, or more time to hang out with you. When we returned back to Villa Milagro, we had a moment to breathe and then had yet another fantastic meal prepared by the kitchen staff. To keep this from rolling on and on, we closed the night out with debriefing the day, and giving out “gold” stars, as well as planning the first day of VBS. Yet another successful day!
Please continue to keep everyone in your prayers, maybe not necessarily for safety or for supernatural energy, but that God would continue to open our eyes to the needs of those around us, and for humble hearts to serve no matter the circumstance. However safety and energy are always positive, but that’s understood already.
God continues to remind me that he is in control, that he has a plan and that we are all a part of it; all we have to do is just listen.

Dios de Bendiga, Love,

Peru- Day 1

Well its real people. We are in Cajarmarca Peru at Villa Milagro (Miracle Village- in case you aren’t currently caught up on your Spanish). It’s completely unreal, and the feeling of home is ever present in my mind. I mean really, this besides San Angelo, and Belton,  has that feeling of home; not sure what it is…could be the beautiful people and staff and Larry, or the fact of just getting completely away from the distractions of the U.S mentality or something else?! Whatever it may be, I can only hope that if it hasn’t already settled in with the rest of the crew, that it does throughout this week. It is exactly that feeling that will spur you to continue living the life Christ calls us to live, back in the states after our trip is done.

It has been a long day my friends, I mean lonnnnnnnnng day. We arrived in Miami in good time, and made our flight and headed out to Lima; a lovely 5 hour, overnight flight. Upon arrival in Lima, we prepared ourselves for a new experience, besides lack of sleep, but a nice 6 hour layover; which in all honesty we conquered with ease and a little cat nap here and there. Also, for those of us who chose to avoid the nagging tiredness, we played with beanie babies…yes the beanie babies we brought to hand out at the orphanage; they were tossed and juggled and thrown across the terminal in an attempt to entertain ourselves; mostly successful, and gained some Peruvian onlookers as well.

The flight from Lima to Cajarmarca was a quick one, only an hour…PTL (praise the lord). We were all ready and revved up to get off on our way. The best memory of the day for me is when I first saw Larry waiting at the terminal for us; there is nothing like seeing an old friend, and knowing what experiences come along with knowing and staying with him at Villa Milagro, as well as his staff; and today Celso received us as well! Second greatest moment in being a returner to Villa Milagro, is when those besides Larry who live and work with the site, remember who you are; Celso was the first of many. Now after we all got outside and loaded up in our vans, we headed to our home for the next oh week or so. Waiting for us was a fantastic breakfast and bright smiling faces! We also were lucky enough to meet the now permanent missionary family, helping Larry and his mission, Justin and Deidra and their two girls AnnaMarie and Madison. They are phenomenal people, gosh let me tell you; talk about radical and following God’s direction, they did it folks! But more about them later, after breakfast we got to nap!!! And when I say nap I mean until 1 o clock people! Woohoo!

Folllowing our nap, was lunch; yes food again, of course. Now they don’t mess around here when it comes to meal time, no sir-ee, they know how to feed us. We then got to tour the farm a bit, and those who havent’ seen it, went into the office (White House) building and looked at the ceramics, and trinkets, and woven bags and alpaca blankets, etc…that are made on site here at Villa Milagro, from locals who come in, wanting to learn a trade or just looking for a small job. Just one more way Larry helps out the community. Once we finished here, we headed back on the vans to the square in Cajarmarca. Once there, we all split and looked around a little, but then headed up to the hill top, or Silla de Inca, to take a look at the valley and its absolutely breathtaking scenery. The hike was no joke, a lot, a whooole lot of stairs, and not evenly sized either. Passed a beautiful church about halfway up, as well as many stores to shop in and experience the culture in. The church was filled with people singing, and what a neat experience that was, to hear them shouting and praising in the middle of the day. To the right of the church was a little hut, where a man charged you one soles (35 cents people!) to see the park/Silla de Inca, top of the hill. And believe me, if you are ever there, I don’t care how hard it may seem to climb and it’s well worth the time and effort, to see the view and scenery. Oh and by the way, don’t worry I’ll be sharing pictures of all this with you as well; not going to leave you hanging, or to your own imagination for that matter. J On our way down, we shopped a little in the stores, and talked with the locals inside. Gots myself a new bag, and one that is very indigenous to the people and this area. It was just so fun inside, and talking the owner and his wife- the owner spoke English very fluently and surprised me when I asked how much in Spanish. And when shopping here, it is incredibly crazy how stupid cheap everything is, when you convert it from soles to American dollars; so kind of a secretly special treat going on for us there. 

After spending time in the square, we returned back to Villa Milagro and prepared for the Quincineria, we were so graciously invited to. Su- Hei, was the girl, well young lady turning 15. Larry informed us that her family didn’t have much and that the church and youth as well as himself, were putting this birthday Quincineria on for her.  It was a very interesting experienece to be at a birthday party where you literally had no clue who the family was, but knew that being there would be making memories for them for a lifetime. Her dress was precious, the decorations were precious, and she was…yes precious, but also very beautiful. One of our very own boys from the youth was chosen through an event similar to the bouquet toss, to be her escort for the evening. It seemed to be a very interesting experience for him, or so it seemed from our perspective. Also as the evening continued to pan out, we were asked to sing 2 songs, and present a gift to her. Larry helped us out with the gift, and she seemed extremely thankful for it (it being a silver watch and earrings, as well as some hairbands. The songs were in English, but she didn’t care one bit, she was just ever so thankful. However, Larry being the pedrano( Godfather), he provided her with a motive for transportation, her brand spankin new bicycle! I wish you could have seen the look on her face, you’ve never seen a bigger smile and one more full of genuine gratitude. After the presentation of gifts from us, and her family; members of her family and friends continued on with the program, singing a few more songs , providing dinner (which we have no clue where it came from, but it was absolutely wonderful!!), etc…We then closed down the night, with hugs goodbye and smiles all around.

After we arrived back at Villa Milagro, we began planning for our church service the next morning, and discussing how our first day/2 days including flying, had been. It’s the end of the day, and moments where we can open up about how God is moving in our lives, that we grow stronger together as a group.

I’m positive that I have left out a few minor details, but in order for you to get all the info, you’d actually have to be here. Since you are not, you can just catch up on most of what is going on during our trip. Oh, and by the way, please excuse my poor use of punctuation. When trying to remember all the info and catch ya’ll up, grammar and punctuation are pretty much thrown out the window. So I apologize in advanced, but more than likely my habits won’t change as the day’s progress. Well now, I believe that’s enough for this blog, more to come later.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Love, Mare