My hands burn; they hurt all the time, sometimes inbearably. They are red and covered in dots and raised sores. Last night, I had trouble sleeping because my hands itched and hurt so bad. I'm taking medication and praying that my hands get better fast, because I seriously can't handle the pain and inconvenience much longer. I truly sympathize with the leapers in the Bible crying out for God, desperate for His healing touch.
For the first 6 weeks being here in Peru, I thought being here was amazing, similar to summer camp, and in some ways a vacation. In our sm classes they teach you about different phases an SM may encounter. They say first you will probably live thru the honey moon stage where everything is wonderful and an adventure but then after that you will probably hit the hole where everything bad hits you all at once and you hate being a missionary. Well guys I've hit the hole rock bottom ;)
It's ok that I'm having challenges. In fact Paul tells us to rejoice in our struggles that they may develop character and bring us closer to Christ. I knew coming to Peru and serving here would be hard. It's just, I didn't realize how hard it would be at times until now.
I still have cold like flu symptoms. My hands hurt all the time. Us student missionaries are past the "care bear" stage of coddling and are truly seeing each other's characters (both good and bad). This brings some SM conflict but overall we are handling it well. I also can't go swimming this week because the doctor thinks the chlorine may make my hands worse (this is very frustrating). I'm struggling with learning Spanish.. it's so slow. I feel like I've hardly made any progress. I'm exhausted, my body is covered in mosquito bites, my health is a constant struggle, we can't eat the food we want, my hair is in messy dreads and not even done, I miss my family and friends... When everything hits you it feels so overwhelming. I'm struggling right now with being here and maintaining a positive attitude and Christ's- servant personality.
In spite of my current struggles, a few exciting things have happened the last couple days. Monday was a fun field day for all of us student missionaries in Peru and we got to go to a "resort" where they had a volleyball net and a pool. We then were divided into teams and we played relay games and had a scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun- despite the intense sun- and sunburns many of us sm's got. A neat thing happened when it was time for us to go swimming at the resort. We met some other missionaries from America at the pool there who have been serving in Pucallpa for about 8 years! It was great talking to other American Christians- they were evangelical- and we are planning on visiting them in a couple weeks and developing a friendship with them. The other interesting thing happening for me this week is cooking. This morning I fried 80 tortillas for my group. We made fried rice, stir fry vegetables, and lentils for lunch and tonight we are having burritos. Today is a holiday in Pucallpa and I am hoping that tonight we will get to go to town around 8pm and watch some of the festivities.
A few of us sm's are also talking about travel options for Christmas when we need to renew our visas, and we will probably be heading to Argentina.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God through my challenges make me trust you more. Make me see you and the world different because of these hard times. Make me weak if you need so I can be stronger in your love and grace. Break me and remake me to make me more like your character. I trust that you will never leave me nor forsake me.