Monday, September 30, 2013

5 dreads down

For the past 2 days I haven't been feeling the greatest. I had a really bad sore throat 3 days ago and while that has improved alot, I still can't breathe through my nose and I don't have alot of energy. I'm trying to take Claritin and lots of vitamins in order to get by, but it's very difficult being sick here. It's extremely hot and so any attempt at napping during the day results in a sweat bath. There's definitely a ton of germs and illnesses that us sm's are constantly exposed to. Please pray that I feel better soon and don't get extremely sick. An update on my amiga Katie Kat is that she is doing alot better and is up and participating in all the normal activities =)

For this week, my job in clinic is the injections room. I don't like giving injections very much at all. I'm not super comfortable with the needles, but when I give a shot on my own I definitely rely on God's power and not my talents. Today was a rough clinical day because the doctor's wife here was sick and so we had to wait a couple hours after registering 30 patients until he was ready to help us. Over all, we finally did finish. 2 of the nurses here ended up helping me give more shots because after one lady started crying and not handling my shot very well, I was quite discouraged. This morning, I really have to thank God for keeping me safe because I pricked myself with a needle but it wasn't bad and the needle was clean. If the needle would have been dirty, I would have had to gone to town to take different tests. I'm very glad God had my back and kept me safe.

It's uncomprehendably hot here. The sun pours down and some of my favorite moments in the day are spent in our nice cold showers. There's also an abundance of huge beetles around our house recently. Many of the guys try to torture us girls by putting them on our backs or even in our hair- disgusting. I'm hoping that gets old quickly as well as the pranks that the boys keep trying to play. There is alot of construction going on at AMOR right now as we expand and create more bedrooms so that we won't be so squished. There is now a new shaded area outside for eating and the kitchen.

Ok super exciting news- my dreads are now in progress. As of today, I have 5! I will work on putting a picture up soon. I'm pretty happy with them although I'm not going to lie, what I will do after I'm tired of dreads kinda scares me. Hey but YOLO that means "You Only Live Once." Dreads are something that I feel really reflects my personality and uniqueness- I've always wanted to do them- so why not?

So guess what it's almost the end of September?? Wow that's so crazy! It amazes me how the year flies by and how God works. At first life seemed to pass by so slowly here but now time is really starting to fly. Sure, I miss my family all the time and I miss all my friends back home and love you guys alot- but I'm so grateful to be here serving at AMOR and I feel that at this time and place I am exactly where God wants me.

P.S. Tonight will be our second night doing evangelism meetings here! Yesterday night went really well- my job is leading songs with this other girl here named Caitlin. Anyways yesterday we only had about 20 people but today we invited alot so we're hoping more will turn out tonight. We are also starting our kids evening program at the same time as the adults' tonight. This Sunday we will be doing baptisms.





Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Sunday


It’s Sunday- town day- and that makes me really happy. Today we had Pathfinders (Conquistadores) for the first time. I’m pretty excited about it starting even though it will be a lot of work. Pathfinders here is really official and the Peruvians take it very seriously. Marching and order is very important.
For today's pathfinders my friend Katie Kat and I spent about two hours squeezing lemons for fresh lemonade for all the Pathfinders. It was fun making the lemondade even though it took a long time. When it was done, it tasted so delicious.
 
In 5 weeks, we are having a Pathfinder camp out! Today we had a ton of games similar to a field day (tug of war, egg tosses, a water balloon fight, and an obstacle course). It was really amazing how well the kids listened and how excited they were to participate in all of the activities. To me, it reminded me of summer camp.

Tonight we start evangelism meetings that will last an entire week and next Saturday we will do baptisms. My job will be leading music for the program as well as helping with decorations.
 
Yesterday, the Sabbath program went well. We didn’t have to preach the sermon because a pastor came to our church and we were all quite thankful. It was our groups turn to run the Sabbath youth program from 4-6pm for kids and to end the Sabbath and it went pretty successfully. We had a lot of games planned as well as music. For Sabbath School, we did a craft where the kids drew a picture of something that reminded them of Jesus’s love on hearts with the verse John 3:16 on the front. We also wrote out some of the English songs we are trying to teach the kids on poster board. Next week, we are going to work on making up a little play in Spanish for the kids.

 
Today I am going to start my first dread! I can’t wait. You may be wondering what’s wrong with me, but really dreading my hair is something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now. I think it’s really cool and I just think it’s totally my style. Besides, my hair is turning a strong fluorescent green and green dreads are just too unique. So soon in a couple weeks, I will put up some pictures of my new hairstyle.

 
So I went to the pharmacy to get medication earlier this week and realized how much money it takes to keep the clinic running here. Medicine is so expensive! I was thinking about what I could do to help them and I have two ideas for next year when I get back to the states. My first idea is to host a Peruvian dinner with the sm missions department at Southern and all of my friends from here would cook Peruvian food and sell plates. My second idea is to sell some of the Peruvian jewelry they make here back home. Peruvian jewelry is really cheap like possibly about a dollar or less a piece. So I was thinking in the states that jewelry could sell for at least $5. It’s just an idea and I know I will be very busy when I get back into the states. Yet I am passionate about helping AMOR projects and continuing to be involved even when I leave here.

 

 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A great day

Today was a really great day! For my swimming class, we had alot of kids! Teaching swimming lessons here is similar to the US but a little more exciting and difficult. For one, we cannot speak their language at all. For two, we are the only lifeguards they have. For three, we often have kids of different levels here with us. I really enjoy it though. The kids here are so sweet and eager to learn. Today I saved two kids from drowning though because kids here are more bold and prone to try things they can't really do.

In the morning, I teach five rowdy boys who are about 12-14 years old and always goofing off and teasing each other. Sometimes it's hard to keep them working, but they are good swimmers and eager to improve their strokes. In the afternoon, I teach kids that cannot swim at all. I love teaching three little girls- my 2:30 class- the chicas are very young only 7 and 8 years old. They're very cute and always kiss me to thank me at the end of every class. When swimming, they also cling to me sometimes like they're in a fire and I am their hero. It's cute.

Volleyball class is very fun as well. I'm teaching level 3 which is our best students here. It's very fun because they are actually really talented and I coach them like how my volleyball coach used to coach me: tough. I make them run alot and dive in the mud. It's so cool watching them improve and even being able to spike at them.

Tonight after volleyball, I got to come into town to get more pharmacy medication and some crafts for my sabbath school class. It's wonderful being able to be here in Pucallpa again and eat out at Dulce Mania. It's my favorite place- similar to an American starbucks- and we get this delicious chicken croissant thing and a strawberry drink- so homie! Best of all, is finally being able to call my mom again. I miss her and love her tons! Calling my family makes me so happy. I also found out it was my little cousin Ava's second birthday today- happy birthday Ava =)  Today was a great day! I'm really loving it in Peru.

P.S. today I didn't help in clinic a ton since I had swimming, but I helped in the eye clinic for the first time (it's when we give patients glasses). I really enjoyed it. Some patients are really picky and want the pretty glasses but overall it's really rewarding seeing the joy on people's faces after they find the "perfect fit".






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

clinic, rain, and swimming


So the last couple days here have been really chill due to the frequent storms and strong rains that have been coming in. This week my job is cleaning not cooking, so that means I have a lot more time to help other places. In the clinic this week, I’m working pharmacy. I don’t mind pharmacy and I think seeing the different drugs and learning about them is interesting. On Monday night, our entire pharmacy group went to town to buy more medicine and drugs for AMOR. It took us two hours and about $1200! It’s crazy to think that that’s only just a small percentage of the medicine in our clinic. AMOR does cost a lot to run and it is only by God’s grace and the donations of others that the ministry can continue. If you have a heart for sharing God’s love and missions work, I suggest you take the time to check out AMOR’s website and consider supporting their ministry. 100% of the donated money comes directly to us and is used here in Peru!
We’ve been treating 30 people every morning and about 15 every day for vision. It’s crazy because every morning at about 6 am people start lining up to get in our clinic. It just amazes me. People here really do need us. There are tons of diseases, alot of skin diseases, parasites, headaches, fevers, urinary infections, and really terrible burns from car and motorcycle accidents.
Swimming is finally beginning to pick up and kids are starting to come and that makes me so happy. Yesterday we went on an expidition through the swamps of Peru to recruit more kids. It was really fun and it's so rewarding seeing their faces as they learn to swim. They are so appreciative and excited about swimming even when they are terrified. With my swimming kids, it is our job to get involved in their lives and learn all about them. This Thursday and Friday, we will start visiting some of their homes and meeting their families.
Well that's all that's happening here except for the occasional singing and dancing in the rain, rolling around in the mud, and swim parties. I hope you'll have a great week =)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I wanna go to Africa..

I do love Peru but I'm not totally satisfied with my missionary experience so far. I mean it's great being here at AMOR- definitely where God wants me right now.. but it just makes me want to serve so much more. I never want to go back to college or America. I mean America's great- trust me I miss it alot sometimes- but I love seeing the world and just living for God, having crazy adventures day by day.

I feel like AMOR is the perfect introductory year to missions.. it's creating a longing in my heart for more missionary work. I REALLY want to go to Africa and rough it completely for 6 months to a year. I would love to go with my family! It's just one of my crazy dreams and I really hope it happens sometime. I also think I would enjoy being a misisonary as a career. I know that sounds crazy and you're probably thinking that being a missionary is not a career. Ya, ya but still... working for a nonprofit would be crazy cool. I just love mission work!

I'm really geting comfortable here at AMOR. It definitely feels like home to me. I love the people I'm with and I'm becoming more used to the Taekwondo and swimming classes as well as beans and rice and helping in the clinic. As I get comfortable, sometimes it's easier for me to forget why I am here. Sometimes I just want to do things unpurposefully or in routine. Sometimes I want to just close my eyes and forget that I am in Peru... NOT for MYSELF but to SERVE!

Oh I want to share with you and update about Kaitie Kat= she still needs prayers! Last night, she passed out walking back from the bathrooms because she was so weak and dehydrated. I let her sleep in my bed last night and tried to take care of her getting her to drink water. This morning, she was put on an iv and hard core drugged up. I don't know how she is right now but I'm guessing the medicine will kick in and she will be getting much better soon. Sickness is definitely one of the most challenging things we have to deal with here. The doctor said what's been going around is bacterial- thus we should be able to prevent it with better hygiene, handwashing, food cleaning.. ect. It's a constant struggle though and many missionaries are frequently getting sick here. Please keep us in your prayers!

Good news! I discovered that Amazon will deliver to me here in Pucallpa for around the same price as American shipping. This is very exciting because I would love to order some chlorine shampoo and some books. If you ever want to send me anything like a Melody Carlson book (my favorite) or some peanut butter, granola bars, or gatorade mix ;) you can always send it via Amazon and save yourself some money!

Well it's a town day so that's exciting! It's also my 1 month anniversary here which is pretty cool. I'm done cooking for a while.. I made over 50 pancakes all by myself for breakfast today! Cooking was a blast and I learned so much. Now it's my turn to help clean, help in clinic more, and teach sports classes. I hope you have a blessed week

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My 5th Peruvian Sabbath

Happy Sabbath from Pucallpa Peru! Jeremy Monasco is letting me use his computer today so that I can blog and I'm very grateful.

This morning started out very rough at about 1:30 am. I was having really bad nightmares and I felt really nauseous. I went outside and read some Bible verses in the van. After about 15 minutes I fell asleep and then came inside only to realize I had been locked out of my own room. Fortunately, Becca one of my roomies came out quickly and I got to go back in and sleep until about 6:15 am when I woke up to help prepare breakfast. It's my week to cook and this morning we had oatmeal and fruit. It was delicious.

After breakfast, my stomach was feeling much better and I needed to prepare for my sermon. Today's talk was about grace and I talked about the story of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible paralleling it to Jesus' love. I think that Hosea is my new favorite book of the Bible thanks to the book Redeeming Love. I never thought I would find Jesus' love so clearly from the story

At 8:37, a few minutes lates- the Peruvian way, we all piled on top of each other in the van. It was so hot and sweaty, I felt like my purple dress was becoming saturated in sweat. Finally after dropping off another group at a different church we arrived at K13. Church went alright- pretty average/ good for church here so far. We sang a million Spanish hymns, our voices sometimes cracking but still strong. Kids Sabbath School was good and we tried to take as much time as possible having the kids make popsicle stick crosses. We need to get more craft stuff and posters for songs in town. Our sermon went alright- all 3 of us shared parts of the talk for about 10 minutes. When it finally became 11:40 and our sermon was over- all of our team was exhausted, totally drained, and relieved.

We had burgers for lunch made up of lentils, eggs, and flour that we prepared this morning. I was pretty excited about how well our bean burgers turned out.My friend Kaity Kat is really sick and I feel very bad for her- please pray that she gets better! She had a 102 fever earlier along with the other signs of amoebas or parasites including throw up and diahreaa.

I'm really tired right now and it's wonderful to just relax a little bit with my Peruvian familia. We are happy to be able to talk to our friends or share memories about them together and just really spend some time in fellowship. At 3:30 today I have to go back to the church to see if baby Christian is there for physical therapy.

I pray you have a safe and happy Sabbath. If you are one of my close friends or family- know that I think about you alot and that I love you more than I could ever express!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Parasites and Green Hair

There's alot of disgusting things that happen to me and the other student missionaries here in Peru. Some of them may include constant sweat, never feeling totally clean, parasites, lice, bloatedness, diahreaa, and green hair. Just 2 days ago, I learned that I have parasites. Every missionary that comes and lives here will develop them after 10 days. It's disgusting but there is nothing we can really do about it. After 3 months, we will begin taking malaria medication similar to the medicine we give out daily in the clinic.This morning, I woke up and went outside shocked to see my blonde highlights a gross highlighted lime green. It's from swimming! I teach swimming lessons three times a week and already after only one day of swimming my hair is turning green. The chlorine is frying my hair and I don't know that much that I can do about it.

It's easy for me to think to myself "Wahhh I'm in Peru; it's so hard here. I have so many problems." Yet in contrast, I'm learning I have nothing to complain about and the utmost to be thankful for. Paul is a Biblical inspiration and role model to me.

Matthew 5:48 calls us to "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

The Bible says multiple times not to complain and not to whine, but to be grateful for challenges that we can learn from or strengthen our walk with God from. Paul writes that We should do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit and in humility we should consider others better than ourselves. He says "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13) "Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life- in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even as I am being poured out like a drink offereing on the sacrifice and service coming from faith. I am glad and rejoice with all of you..."

Paul continues to write "Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things." (Philippians 3:7)

I have the utmost to be thankful for. Christ is with me and I have nothing to fear. I have friends who love me back here and back in America. I have family who is always loving me and praying for me back home. I have the opportunity to travel the world and the opportunity to experience a different way of living. I'm learning about the medical field and I'm learning Spanish.

I just want to encourage you, to find strength in God. No matter what you are going through, God wants to be your ever present help in trouble. He wants to be your Savior and He wants to rejoice over you with gladness. If you look to God, He will strengthen you and fill your heart with an everlasting abundance of joy.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blue surfer fuzzy Roxy jacket

Whenever I feel sad, insecure, homesick, or lonely I wear my blue surfer fuzzy Roxy jacket. It's uber warm and it makes me feel confident and hopeful. It may seem silly but it's just something I love that I'm really comfortable in. It's almost 5 here and tonight I'm wearing my Roxy jacket. I just got done with swimming lessons and it's been a crazy and chaotic day.

Thank you to Jesus because I do have amazing friends here like Molly and Kaity Kat that always encourage me when I start to feel down. Right now I'm freezing cold because I just got done with a shower. Today and yesterday has been quite rainy and downcast. It's a little chilly outside and muddy everywhere. Yesterday night it rained so hard that we could barely here each other. The thunder and lightning poured and drenched all around our little house and even under a few of our bunk beds.

We've been cooking a lot this week and overall it's been a ton of fun! I've learned so much about cooking and I really think that our food has been quite good. We've made fried rice with eggs and broccoli, rice and beans, (por supuesto) crepes, lentil soup, tortillas that turned out more like nan bread, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti. I've spent so much time cooking this week- it really does take a long time! I wake up at 6 and cook for about an hour. Then we start lunch at 10 am or 10:30 until 12-12:30 and then we prepare dinner at about 4:30 pm.

Ok here's something that's quite disturbing: I have parasites! I'm not even kidding!  Before I came here, I thought parasites were a rare thing. Nope, almost every kid here is popping with worms or other parasites. I didn't realize we could get them too, but just yesterday the SM coordinator told me that after 10 days everyone who lives here will have parasites and after 3 months of being here, we will need parasite medication. It's just kinda shocking and I'm not going to lie, I have to wonder: Why didn't they tell us this beforehand? But really it's ok. It's just Peru. That's what I'm learning to say when things get weird, crazy, or even difficult. Parasites are just life here. You can't save the world and you can't change everything - some things you just have to deal with. Many SM's are sick here because of bad water yesterday. Some of them had to get iv's and shots because they had so much diarrhea and throw up. Praise God, because I think our group is over being sick for now and the SM's are beginning to feel better.

"Many people would be scared if in the mirror they saw their faces instead of their character."

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else guard your heart because everything you do flows from it.

Here's a funny story for today. (I tend to have a lot of ridiculously funny moments here especially with my friend Kaity Kat. ) We had to walk thru two really big mud puddles on the way to swimming lessons. On the way back, our friend Jeremy decided to give us a ride back, but he wasn't very good at motorcycle driving and kept stalling and slipping in the mud. So we had to jump out right in a puddle and our sandals turned into huge mud globs. Finally we ended up walking a little ways barefoot paranoid that we would get worms in our feet. It was pretty funny because after all the mud, Jeremy cleaned our sandals for us with his hands and took all the mud off and then we rode back to the clinic.

In 2 days we'll have been here for an entire month! This sunday we are going to party it up for our 1 month anniversary and go ride the ferris wheel =) Here is a pic of one of my latest moto cart rides with my friends and then a gringo bus ride!




Monday, September 16, 2013

Swimming lessons, volleyball, and cooking

Today was an exciting and slightly crazy day- but overall I enjoyed it a lot! I woke up at 6am today to help cook egg sandwiches for breakfast and since we didn't think we had bread, we had to take a motocart ride to the panaderia. After breakfast, we set up the volleyball net and got ready for our afternoon classes. At 1:30 we walked to the pool where we were having lessons and took about ten kids with us. The first class was great! We had about 15 kids from 1:30-2:30 and they all learned a lot. I was teaching level 1 and I was very impressed with how willing the kids were to learn and overcome their fears. I could definitely tell they were scared yet they were willing to stick their heads underwater, practice blowing bubbles, and even swim with me in the deep in a little. Then at 2:30 the craziness started when kids came out of everywhere into our pool. We had like 70 kids plus some parents wanting swimming lessons and we were like oh my this is not going to work. After trying to test a few, we had to send them all home and tell them to come back and register tomorrow.'

So at 4pm we had a volleyball class today and it was so great to be playing volleyball again. The kids here have amazing skills and they are so talented! Volleyball is a huge sport along with soccer here in Peru. At the end of the volleyball class, which was mostly practice for the try outs next week, all of the precious little girls kissed me goodbye and it just made me feel so happy inside.

Cooking lunch and dinner was definitely an adventure today! We mostly had bean and rice variations, plus some spaghetti, and fruit for the meals. We had some interesting things like rice balls and even a Mexican sweet milk drink to go along with it. Tomorrow, breakfast is simple: oatmeal and I'm pretty excited to eat some more American foods like oatmeal with bananas. My cooking group gets along really well and some of the people are pretty good chefs- so I will definitely be learning a lot this year and I'm quite excited for that!

I have made some amazing friends here so far here at AMOR and one of them is Kaity aka Kaity Kat or Kaitlyn. She is an amazing dancer and we're sharing our talents with each other this year. She's teaching me how to dance: ballet, tap, jazz, swing, ect. and I'm teaching her how to juggle and play sports. Kaity Kat is amazing and I'm really enjoying all the great friends I have here. I don't know what I'd do without all their support and encouragement.


*This is my friend Kaity Kat and I with these sweet kids from our church!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The struggle is real sometimes


The struggle is definitely real here in Peru! Sometimes I really feel that the Devil is working to destroy and discourage us student missionaries from helping the people here. Yesterday was an especially discouraging day. My friend Katie and I prepared two sermons on our computers along with Spanish songs for our church service. Then early that morning Katie’s computer somehow got water spilled on it and she lost her entire sermon. On our way to church- when we crammed into our gringo bus (22 a new record) my laptop got kicked or stepped on and somehow broke. When we got to church we had no songs or sermons prepared- it was all improv. It was really discouraging and hard. That afternoon, I got really homesick and 8 months just seemed like such a long time. It already seems like I have been here forever when I have really only been gone for 3 weeks. In the afternoon, for our baby pt session we learned the father had came back and taken the baby and his mom. We don’t know if we will ever see little baby Christian again- but we have to be prepared to practice physical therapy once more again- if he shows up next Saturday afternoon. Overall, yesterday was really hard. I was really upset and kept asking Why? Why is all this stuff happening? Why am I so down?
Before I went to bed last night I prayed to God and I gave it to Him. I asked Him if He would help me overcome these struggles and discouragement and help me to have a better day and a positive outlook tomorrow. Praise God because today has been so much better. Our group is cooking this week and I am very excited. We went to the market and it was actually pretty fun shopping: all us gringo girls running around trying to bargain with our little Spanish knowledge. We bought beans and rice, lentils, fruit, eggs, and pancake mix. We are trying to be creative with what we have, but let’s be real here- we’re still gonna be eating lots of arroz y frijoles. I’m excited to learn how to cook better. I’m going to be a great Peruvian chef (aka plantains, lentils, beans, rice, and yucca). For lunch we got pizza, we were all so excited for an American treat. This afternoon, we get a little bit of wifi time and I think we get to go shopping. Katie and I would like to do a single dread on our hair and put beads on the bottom. Ok to be honest I would love to dread all my hair haha I just don’t want to ruin it forever. We are also going to try and do a few braids with dreads. Afterall, you only live in Peru once. Oh yes random- but awesome fact- there are jugglers here who juggle machetes in the streets in the middle of traffic. It just makes me so happy! I’m just waiting for the moment when I can meet one of them, and take pictures, and exchange tricks 😊 So that’s Peru, yesterday was bad, but today is better. God has answered my prayer and restored my hope!
Oh yes tomorrow is our first day of swimming lessons and volleyball lessons. I will be teaching level 1 which will be interesting since I will be dealing with scared little kids who have probably never been swimming before. I’m quite excited though to try it out and help them overcome their fears. Tonight for dinner I’m cooking spaghetti with my team 😊
So now that I don’t have a computer my blogging may be less frequent- no guarantees- just please continue to pray for us and the ministry here at AMOR. The devil is at work but God is more at work. No matter what He does to discourage us- I have faith that with Christ we shall overcome.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Being a missionary

Here in Peru here are some things that are different: we have holes in our ceiling, outhouses with cold showers, mosquito nets so we won't get slaughtered at night, a hard bunk bed to call our own (if we are lucky not to live in a hammock), beans and rice at least twice a day, hard floors that get covered in dirt and dust- and 7 of us missionaries share a room smaller than dorm size in the US. We don't have mirrors, make up, or hair accessories. We often sweat from the heat of the day and are covered in dirt from the pollution and mud outside.

Yet it amazes me how content I am with the things I have here. This place feels like home to me and  I feel like I am living in more than ideal conditions. I don't find myself missing things like my big bed, lots of clothes, my own bedroom, or even hot showers. What I do miss is my friends and my family and being able to communicate closer to the people whom I love from the US.

Missionary work is so amazing and I definitely wish I could just travel the world as a missionary forever. I would definitely like to do more mission work after Peru, even in college. I would like to spend a year as a student missionary in Africa- living on hardly anything and eating mush every day. The thought of living on hardly anything does not scare me- it fascinates me.
I'm nervous to go back to the US after being here. I don't want to switch back into selfishness or the college life quite so quickly. Even here in Peru, my selfishness often shocks me. Because compared to the people around me, I have it so good and am so blessed by God.

I know I will return to the US next year and I know I need to get an education, but my heart really does love traveling and mission work. It's a simpler and slower life. Here it's easier for me to remember to touch the flowers, to chase the huge blue butterflies, to kiss the babies cheeks, read books in a hammock, and sing and laugh.

Yes sometimes it's hard to be a missionary. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am by God, and just want normal food. Sometimes I want to be able to call my mom whenever I want or to work out in an air conditioned gym. Yet this experience is so amazing- I'm so grateful that I get this opportunity to serve at AMOR projects this year because I am learning so much.

3 weeks down- 7 months and a week to go


Redeemed by Love

 Have you ever read Redeeming Love by Francine Riveras or the book of Hosea in the Bible? Does it make sense to you or does it astonish you, frustrate you, sadden you, anger you? If you've never read these books I do highly recommend them for perspective.

Hosea is asked by God to marry a harlot- someone he knew would become unfaithful. Imagine God asking you to marry someone when you know they won't love you as much as you will love them. In fact, they will hate you, they will leave you, they will betray you and you will be left alone, only to shamefully run after them even though you were right in the beginning.

Hosea married Gomer and loved her and bore children with her. 
Yet Gomer left and was deceitful breaking the covenant marriage despite the love they had shared and the sacrifices Hosea had made for her. 
Gomer became a poor, shamed woman. 
Yet Hosea instead of harvesting bitterness, searched day and night for Gomer, his beloved lost, and would secretly help provide food and clothing for her protecting her in any way he could. 
Hosea never stopped loving her even though Gomer never came back and ultimately was sold into slavery.

Gomer did not deserve Hosea's love and mercy. Neither do we deserve Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Mercy and grace are gifts that we never deserve. Though they are free to the receiver they are expensive to the giver. Love is never free. It is a risk and a sacrifice of the utmost value: the most precious parts of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says we must guard our hearts for everything else we do will flow from it.

God is the only giver of a perfect love. God asks us to be His brides and to share a deep love together. We are all prostitues, whores, sinful selfish wretches yet God continues to love us day by day. He asks us to accept His love so that His love may transform our lives.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

By grace we have been saved. And may this grace fill our hearts with peace and may we learn to extend mercy to our brothers and sisters who have hurt us the most.. as a response to God's uncomprehending sacrifice for us. Father, create in me a clean heart and help me accept the love you want to lavish upon me that your love may transform my life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adventures and Action

The last 3 days have been pretty easy, orientation days, and we've been having clinic for only a few hours each day. Here are some fun things that have happened/ experiences I have had lately.

*I gave 2 more vaccinations yesterday in the clinic and practiced learning pharmaceutical medications- like what each medication is for.

* We did real Taekwondo fighting yesterday. Seth was dressed up in a mattress/ fighting suit and we took turns kicking him and practicing our moves. It was extremely fun.

* We went bull/ cow hearding and I got to ride on a motorcycle. It was really exciting and afterwards a bunch of us ended up being pushed into a pool and night swimming for a little bit.

*We're starting our "read thru the New Testament" over the year plan. We're getting accountability partners and going to be reading about 3 chapters a day every day.

*Today is our last day with Dr. Happy and our nice cooks. After this, we're on our own and will be starting cooking and cleaning, as well as our children's activities.

*After Taekwondo, a bunch of us SM's and a few kids from around the neighborhood stick around and play hot potato or cemetery dodge ball where you avoid being hit/ dying in the middle by running around aimlessly in a circle and dodging "bombs" aka volleyballs.

A great verse that really speaks to me is: The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. Ephesians 4:2 It just reminds me that my will and plans really don't matter. We need to keep trusting God and keep asking Him what He wants for us every single day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Country livin at K38

Last night I had a sleepover at K38- the country, more jungle-like house and it was a great adventure! I'm going to sleep there again tonight because I really enjoy it out there. It's a totally different atmosphere- so peaceful and free- abounding with fruit of all different kinds like enormous lemons and fresh oranges.

We went to bed pretty late because the sm's who slept over there tried to watch a movie. In the morning, Dr. Happy took me orange tree picking and we had to go tramping through these totally ravenous vines and high jungle grass. I wished I had my snake boots with me and was praying to Jesus during the hike that I wouldn't get bit. But God did keep us safe, and we were rewarded with about 7 delicious oranges to eat.

There's some pretty cool animals over at K38 as well. There's roosters, cows, horses, and guard dogs. One of the horses just had a baby mare so that's pretty cool. I'm definitely excited to spend some more time at K38 during the year. It's just so beautiful out there and I can really see God outside in the nature out there.

Something exciting that happened today at our travel clinic was I learned to test someone's blood sugar levels. It's really quite easy; all you do is push a needle down onto the ring finger, collect the blood, and put it onto the small machine. I'm just excited about all the medical things I'm learning.

Today we figured out our AMOR schedule. We will be rotating between Triage, Doctor shadowing, Pharmacy, Injections, and traveling to K38 for 5 days at a time. We have cooking groups that cook for an entire week and then have two weeks off. We are also starting volleyball and swimming classes that run three days a week in addition to soccer, taekwondo, and music classes. It's going to be a pretty busy and fun year!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Storm


This morning I read the story of when Jesus calmed the storm in Luke 8. Jesus asked his disipcles to travel with him to the other side of the lake and they agreed. While they were on the boat, Jesus fell asleep. While Jesus was asleep, a big storm came upon the lake and the boat started rocking and filling with water. The disciples were terrified and woke up Jesus crying “Master Master, we’re going to drown.” He woke up and commanded the storm to stop then asked them Where is your faith?

This story literally applied to us AMOR missionaries last night. At about 3am a violent storm took place and our entire building was shaking. We heard loud thunder and lightning and the people hammocking were terrified there hammocks would fall. At one point in the night, I remember covering my face with a pillow because I thought the wood was going to fall on top of me. My feet got thoroughly soaked from the rain pouring in and a few of my friends got drenched. Many of the missionaries in my room were awake just praying that God would keep them safe.

We all have storms in our life- some are bigger than others-but we all have things that press us and challenges that face us. Yet our reaction to the storm is often more important than the storm itself. We can respond with fear, worry, or stress or we can act in faith. 

The story about Jesus calming the sea is a parable- a story that was written to teach us something and that can be compared to our own life. What do we do when we have storms in our own life? Even more, what can we do when we feel like Jesus is asleep in the storms of our life? Maybe we don’t feel God’s presence during the struggles we are going through? Maybe God seems to not be answering our prayers?

Circumstances can often cause us to forget God’s promises. We cannot let logic or worry get in the way of our faith with God. What is the secret to sleeping through the storms of our life? We must have faith instead of fear even when everything seems to be breaking for us.

God says that His ways are not ours. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
It's easy to blame God or run from God when things start to get messy or stressful in your life. Yet even when everything seems to be going wrong, God has a plan. Life is not about us and sometimes we don't understand God's plans and His ideas. Yet God promises to be faithful to us and never leave us no matter what we are going through. He wants to be a stronghold for us in faith and in times of trouble. So next time you encounter a challenge or unexpected dilemma in your life- don't freak out, worry, or stress- pray to God and respond in faith. You will be amazed how much peace you can have through any struggle if you rest in Christ's promises and dwell in His presence.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Service

Luke 22:27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
 
Romans 12:10-11 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

This morning Megan, one of my fellow sm friends, had a great worship talk about service and the question was raised What does service mean to you?

The definition of service that ultimately came to my mind is simply loving others the way that Jesus Christ loves them. This kind of service involves unconditional love, self-sacrifice, and the utmost intentional putting-others-first kind of thinking.

The beautiful thing about service is it really changes both people: the server and the one being served. The person who serves is blessed with joy and love- knowing that they have made a positive difference in someone else's life. Yet service is not something we should do when we feel like it because we know it will benefit us. No, we are called and commanded to follow Jesus' example to live a life of service.

What is a life of service? What does it look like to have a "you first, me last" mentality? When you truly learn to live a life of service, you will always be full of gratitude because you will always be looking at the needs of other people instead of yourself. You will always be feeding your neighbors so much that you forget to cook for yourself. You will always be teaching others, helping others, and getting overused- just like Christ did. You will also find yourself experiencing and encountering love like you have never known before when you start to truly love and serve others.

Sure, I can say that I am devoting one year to the Lord of missionary service but really service should expound to all parts of our lives no matter where we are. When we truly learn to serve, our lives will be so transformed and we will begin to see ourselves and others in a different way. We will have so much more peace so much more joy- it's truly a miracle when God transforms our selfish hearts into hearts of service.

For me, I find the struggle with service to be shoved right into my face while I am here in Peru. It's not like you simply fly across the country and boom you are unselfish. I don't want to wake up and serve the people in the clinic every morning. Sometimes I get tired of talking and reaching out to the kids that hang out at our project. I simply don't feel like continuing to love them or show them Jesus, sometimes it seems so hard. It's definitely not something we can do on our own- we can't change our selfishness. But Christ can, and learning to serve like God requires a deliberate choice as well as prayer.

I love this song by Relient K. It's called Give Until There's Nothing Left
Here are the lyrics

No one told me the right way- the right way to go about this
So I'll figure it out for myself
Cause how much is too much to give you?
Well I may never know, so I'll just give until there's nothing left.

Yeah I'll give give give (until there's nothing else)
Give my all (until it all runs out)
Give give (and I'll have no regrets)
I'll give until there's nothing left
I'll give

No one told me
How bad I need you (need you)
But I somehow arrived
To that conclusion all by myself (all by myself)
And I want
All you have to offer (to offer)
So I offer myself and I'll just give until there's nothing else

And I'll give give give (until there's nothing else)
Give my all (until it all runs out)

Give give (and I'll have no regrets)
I'll give until there's nothing left to
Give give give (until there's nothing else)
Give my all (until it all runs out)
Give give (and I'll have no regrets)
I'll give until there's nothing left

Sometimes it seems
Like all I ever do
Is ask for things
Until I ask too much of you
But that's not the way (that's not the way)
I wanna live (I wanna live)
I need to change (I need to change)
But something's got to give
Yeah something's got to

Give give give (until there's nothing left)
Give my all (until it all runs out)
Give give (and I'll have no regrets)
I'll give until there's nothing left to give
Give give give (until there's nothing left)
Give my all (until it all runs out)
Give give
Give until there's nothing left
I'll give

Town

This morning we went to Pucallpa. In the morning we did MCAT study prep and then went to the pharmacy to get the medicine from the clinic. After pharmacy, we went to lunch at a typical Peruvian restaurant- we weren't too impressed with the cold spaghetti or beans and rice =p Then we went to the ice cream café. The ice cream tasted delicious- similar to gelato- but many of us are depressed because the wifi here is not working so well. Some of us cannot connect at all- so we cannot call our families =( I want to call home so bad- as Sunday is our only chance to talk.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

9/7/2013- happy sabbath from Peru

This morning after breakfast and worship, all 19 of us gringos piled up in our 12 passenger van and headed to our 3 different church locations. My group went to K13 and we had sack lunches and hymnals ready and packed. First, we sang a million songs with the people there and had a short worship talk then we split the groups up for adult and children's Sabbath school.

Kaity Kat and I were in charge of Sabbath School and we had pipe cleaners and songs listo *ready for all the beautiful dirt covered kids. We taught them some fun camp songs in English like Father Abraham and Making Melodies and then we sang Jesus loves me in Spanish and some other songs in espanol. The kids loved it. Then we helped them make hearts with pipe cleaners to sing the "Yo tengo gozo gozo gozo gozo en mi Corazon" song (I have the love of Jesus in my heart). Sabbath school went well and church was after. Following church, my K13 team ate our sack lunches a variation from our typical beans and rice plus some fruit and waited for the gringo bus to come pick us up.

We hung out at the school lounging around in the heat- some people called it a Peruvian sweat party. Then at 4pm our team headed back over to K13. I gave little baby Christian his second PT session which was pretty exciting. The poor little boy definitely has a genetic disease such as muscular dystrophy and probably some special education problems, but he's not hopeless. After his pt session, we sang songs and played games with some of the local youth. Then we came back to AMOR for dinner and our evening Taekwondo class.

Taekwondo is so intense. I absolutely love it. Tonight everyone in Taekwondo got totally covered in dirt and mud- we stretched the entire time. Who would have thought Taekwondo involves as much, if not more, flexibility than gymnastics? It's crazy stuff. We also had ice cream tonight from the little ghetto store down the street- it was delicious.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The call of God

Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

"There comes the baffling call of God in our lives also. The call of God can never be stated explicitly; it is implicit. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His comradeship is with himself for His own purposes and the test is to believe that God knows what He is after. The things that happen do not happen by chance., they happen entirely in the decree of God. God is working out His purposes.." Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest

Tonight Eduardo and many other children around our neighborhood came to AMOR projects and hung out inside our fences and out of our house just because they needed a place to go. Today I saw children under the age of five years old playing in the trash for fun. Yesterday I saw a poor 10 year old boy with an infected burn all the way up his leg. The day before that I saw a 3 year old child who had no chance of learning to walk or talk because of fever.

It's easy to ask Why God?
Why is it so hard for the people here in Peru when we have it so easy in America?
Why are children dying simply because they don't have Tylenol or clean water?
Why, when we pray for the boy that can't walk, is he still sick?

What is the call of God?
What is His purpose for me?
What is His purpose for us and for all the pain of this world?

It's not fair to blame God for the suffering in this world- for that was never God's intention for us- it is a result of sin. Nonetheless we will never be able to comprehend God's plan and calling for all of humanity until it is time for heaven. With faith, we will learn to stop questioning God for all the things that don't make sense to us, and learn to simply follow step by step in his footsteps both the joys and the trials, parties and the pains.

"If we are in communion with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, we shall no longer try to find out what His purposes are. As we go on in the Christian life, it gets simpler, because we are less inclined to say "Why did God allow this and that?" Behind all that lies the compelling of God. "There's a divinity that shapes our ends." A Christian is one who trusts the wits and wisdom of God, and not His own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and leisureness which ought to characterize the children of God."- Chambers

Waterfalls and Swimming

Today was my favorite day here in Peru! We traveled 3 hours by van to Aguaytia where we got to see many waterfalls and go swimming. We saw the beautiful jungles of Peru and swam in freezing cold water. It took about 3 hours to get over there and we took two separate vans. When we got there we had a short hike to this huge roaring waterfall. We actually climbed up it, slipping all the way, til we could stand directly underneath the falls. The water beat against us, taking our breath away, and I definitely experienced God's power there.

The water was exactly what I needed today. The jungles were deep and lush. My friend Kaity and I had a really great talk about life, mission work, and everything in between shouting out in awe "We're in Peru."

Tonight when we arrived back to AMOR we had an amazing worship service harmonizing together with songs like Traveling Light and then a great worship talk by Bernice. Bernice spoke about living together and working together with other believers. She talked about how we should always look for the best in other people, talking about their strengths, and never about their weaknesses. It was a really inspirational and uplifting day- making me think how blessed I am to be here experiencing Peru with so many amazing people.

This is the waterfall we swam under- so much fun!
 
This is a group picture of our AMOR team. Raph and John John are in the front. Then from the left: Seth, Ian, Dr. Happy Michael, Esther, Bernice, Megan, Nelly, Me, Jeremy, Molly, Ron Hawkins. Up top is Becca, Caitlyn, Lisa, Arianna, Stephanie and Kaitlyn. I love these guys
 
 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Laugh

I laughed all afternoon: sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud with my great friend Kaitlyn.
It was one of my favorite days in the clinic- since I've been here- and it's all because of an attitude change.

 Dr. Quack- well that's what we call him here- gave my friend and I a pep talk about our Peruvian experience. Kaitlyn was expressing to him our feelings about being here: how we were starting to really miss our family and just some things about American life back home. He didn't empathize with us at all- instead he said Grow up, your a woman now. And as harsh as that sounds, it's really true and really smart advice.

Anywhere we go, anything we do, we always have two options. Option number 1 is to make the best out of each and every situation- using the opportunity to learn no matter is the situation is pleasant or unpleasant. Option 2 is to make excuses, complain, or feel sorry for yourself because of the situation.

Kaitlyn and I decided that from now on we would approach all Peruvian challenges with laughter. Because we are family together, we will never be here again in Peru, and we will never have an opportunity like this year to learn so much Spanish, so much medically, and really rely on God- we have to make the best of it.

We don't want to go home and be like "Ya I spent that whole year wishing I was back in America". I'm definitely not going to let that happen! Instead I'm going to serve and work with my eyes wide open, ready to learn and grow, trusting in God, and being thankful for everything I have and every opportunity I have been given.

Hahahaha- I had a great, very funny day and tomorrow Dr. Happy is taking our entire group to go see some waterfalls for a special adventure. It's 3 hours a way and we're renting another bus. We get to go swimming there as well =)

Psalm 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

I don't know how your day went. I don't know how your life is going right now. Maybe your having an amazing time at college, or a terrible time at work, maybe your lonely, or maybe you just got a new job. Whatever your going through, trust me- you have something to be thankful for and something you can laugh at. When you laugh at your hard times, smile and hug the people you have with you that love you, and realize how blessed you are just for being healthy- you will love your life and live your days with so much more joy.

I pray that you realize how much you have and how good you have it and I pray that you laugh with someone who loves you and smile like an everlasting rainbow.

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.

No matter what you are going through, you have a choice. Will you smile, frown, cry, or laugh?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

the 15th day in Peru

Today was my 15th day at AMOR. Wow- craziness! Tonight I'm a little homesick, not going to lie. I feel sick to my stomach (due to medicine and food the tummy ache feeling is becoming quite routine to me.) I forfeited my Taekwondo adventure tonight and have just been thinking, messaging old friends, and browsing the internet. I tried to read, but I found the "fantasy-like" love book to be quite annoying and irrelevelent to my life right now. I'm a little discouraged. 1 year is such a long time.

This morning was pretty cool because I got to do a physical therapy session with a one year old baby. I am pretty excited about getting some physical therapy experience since I think that is what I would like to do. The therapy session went well. Today we mostly learned about the babies history and did a few diagnostic tests. The baby "Josue" seems to be a little slow cognitively and has almost no muscular strength at all- possibly muscular dystrophy.

Today at the clinic we had a few extreme cases. We had one little boy swallow a ton of rat poison trying to commit suicide and we had to drive him to the hospital. We had a man that suffered from a gunshot injury, and we had a twelve year old who had a wicked burn all the way down his leg.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Just a typical clinical day

Today we had clinic from about 10 am to 4:15 pm. We saw about 100 patients. I took a few blood pressures and helped with registration most of the day. It was cool- a little stereotypical- but a good day overall.

After clinic, I went to town with 4 other sms. We got cheesecake and pizza. It was delicious and I'm just hoping I don't get sick. The motorcart ride was pretty fun- we bumped through crazy traffic. Then we rode back in a taxi and I layed on top of three smashed people in the back seat.

When we got back from town, we had pancakes for dessert/ dinner. Then I went to Taekwondo class, taught a boy how to juggle, played some volleyball, and then put a crying baby to sleep.
... And that's a typical day at AMOR and a day in the life as a missionary

Monday, September 2, 2013

clinical day

Today has been a crazy day- stressful, disorganized, dysfunctional, sad, and sickly. Many of the SM's here at AMOR are sick and if they are not physically sick, many of them are beginning to feel tired and quite homesick. It is hitting everyone that we will be staying here for a year- and it will not be easy. Prayer would be much appreciated.

Today we started our medical clinics at K15 where we have church. We saw about 80 patients. It was absolutely chaotic as we tried to move our medications over there as well as sampled our new computer system plan for the pharmacy. Dr. Galilee, an amazing doctor from the states, has been working hard creating a compute program where we can register patients, the doctor can prescribe medicine, and then the pharmacy can check that the prescription is filled- all without wifi. It's quite impressive and will definitely be a huge asset to our ministry when all the details are worked out.

In the morning, I helped register patients at the clinic which included taking a few of their blood pressures. After that, I followed the doctor around for a little bit learning about different illnesses and in the afternoon, after our traditional meal of beans and rice (at least 2x a day) I watched the dentist work.

Here were my 3 special moments at the clinic today:

* I became friends with a 16 year old girl who had to have a tooth pulled today. She showed me her baby that she had when she was only 14 years old. Then I held her hand as she had to get shots to numb her mouth.

* I met a precious baby named Christian who was 3 years old. Because of having an untreated fever right after birth, his brain was fried. This poor baby could not walk, talk, or move it's neck. It was limp. It did not show many signs of being there at all. It was one of the saddest things/ stories I have ever seen. I asked the doctor what we could do and he said nothing. Nothing- that's right! He said it was too late. He said this is why we do what we do- to prevent this from happening. This is how important Tylenol is for babies with high temperatures. We prayed with the young woman who had this poor little boy. She said she prays every day that God will do a miracle in him and help him walk. We got in a circle and put our arms on the woman and her son. Please pray for a miracle. This mother is desperate for her child

*I met a baby and his mother and grandmother. This baby's situation is similar to baby Christian's but this baby has a little more recovery hope. The boy cannot stand or sit, but can move it's head. Because the baby is only one year and one month, the doctor said PT may be able to help improve the boy's conditions. I held this baby and looked into his eyes. When I did, I knew in my heart that I can't leave this baby. I must help him. I want to help this baby and am starting physical therapy sessions twice a week with Him. I'm thankful to God that I have this opportunity to learn. I'm going to start researching physical therapy rehabilitation and movement ideas for this child. Please pray that God works in this beautiful boys' life.

Even though it's hard here at AMOR sometimes- especially today was a rough day- the little things we can do to help change a life forever make every moment worth it. When I saw that baby, I knew any sacrifice that I have to make to be here is worth it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Holiness

-"Holiness, holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need- what I need. Holiness, holiness is what you want from me. It's what you want from me. Take my heart and mold it. Take my mind, conform it. Take my will, transform it to yours, to yours Oh God."

Sometimes it's hard to be a missionary. I've only been here a week and a half yet already I struggle with many things.

When people ask how my SM journey is going so far, I say "great, or amazing" because it is. But at the same time I can't ignore many challenges, struggles, and heart aches that contrast the utmost joy I feel at some moments. It's definitely hard at times. I miss my family, friends, comforts of home, being able to be clean or look nice, healthy food, feeling healthy, having energy, and doing things I'm good at. Yet despite these challenges as real as they are, they don't matter compared to the calling by God that I have received. The call that we all have received: to be holy.

Today my devotional book hit me right on the top of the head with exactly what I needed to hear. It said "Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life (aka sm year) is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness." The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God who will make him holy.

God must reveal to me that I am unholy but also awaken an intense craving for a closer relationship with Christ and holiness. "Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the mouth, unsullied thinking with the mind- every detail of life under the scrutiny of God."
* quotes by Oswald Chambers