Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jesus is coming soon =)

"to bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair"

 The day before Christmas,  Katie Kat's sister Aimee was telling me about how she had a dream journal she would keep and pray about  until God answered her. Thus I decided I would like to start a journal with prayers, dreams, and promises or Bible verses. I didn't have an empty journal other than the one I was using for Peru, so what strange timing that on Christmas day my friend from church Christian gifted me with a special present. In it he gave me a small book that contained three separate beautiful journals. Thus God gave me the perfect book to start my prayer, dreams, and promises book Christmas day.

I was discouraged and weary, tired of my spiritual life, my selfishness, and mostly pondering why God would lead me to the orphanage to live for only three weeks. I was discouraged because the orphanage was alot rougher than I could have imagined complete with bucket showers, a non working toilet, and strange unclean meats often smashed together with bland rice. Thus my first prayer in my book was "God reveal to me why I'm here living at this dirty orphanage. What can I do in three weeks that will reveal your love to these kids? Why am I here for such a short time as this?"

To be completely honest, I did not enjoy my time at the orphanage much at all. In fact, Megan and I disliked it so much that we decided to come back to AMOR every weekend instead of sleeping at the orphanage and hanging out there like we originally planned. It's hard to explain why it was so hard but excruciatingly tough it was emotionally and physically exhausting. The children have a vast number of needs and problems- stories that no child deserves to have and problems not one of them should ever have to face. There are children with great disabilities that have special needs that are not adequately cared for. In other houses children simply cry because they want to be held (constantly).

I would like to blame the children and the uncleanliness of the orphanage as the main reason why Megan and I couldn't stand it, but honestly there was so much more. We were tired; we were weary, exhausted of our relationship with God and burnt out on service. We had no energy nor no motivation. We would simply do the minimum our job would require and paste plastic smiles on our faces so the children would think we were happy. Yet inside God was ripping us apart, questioning us about our faith, our love for Him, and our promises to serve in Peru.

The orphanage refused to give us their wifi password thus we had no form of entertainment while we were there. When we were done with working with the children we only had three options: study our Bibles, sleep, or study Spanish. We had no distractions. While Megan and I found this quite miserable and dissapointing that we could not talk to our family who we dearly loved and missed Christmas Eve, nor the day of Christmas, nor the day after.. God was working in our hearts. We began to study our Bibles and we wrote down scriptures that were meaningful to us. We talked about the meaning of life and searched God's Word for the answers of the deep questions. When we were tired, we would lay on our beds, hand fan in hand, and fan ourselves until we would fall asleep dead tired from emotional exhaustion and the heat of the day.

Needless to say as Friday came and Megan and I talked about going home- back to AMOR for the weekend we were delighted with the possibility. We checked in with the "tias" or house moms to make sure they didn't need extra help and took off. With the idea in the heads that we were going "home" to see our sm family who we dearly love and talk to our family for the first time, not to mention eat normal food and take a real shower, we were overjoyed.

Since we have been home, God has been restoring me and remaking me. I have been so encouraged by being with my sm family and especially Aimee, Katie's sister, this week. We have been studying the word of God and now I know without a doubt while I am serving at the orphanage for 3 weeks (and why God didn't let them give us the wifi passwords)!

Jesus is coming soon! I need to get ready and I need to get serious about Him. Going to the orphanage is preparing me and teaching me so much! God is challenging me and putting Megan and I in a place where we are forced to study His word. God has also brought me to the orphanage to bring hope and light to the orphan's lives. Though I can't stay forever, I can do something. I can make a difference. God has renewed my hopes. I now know again that my kisses and my hugs can change an orphan's day and can give them hope. God has given me the strength that I need to continue serving at the orphanage and I am so amazed at how He never ceases to love me. I am now ready to return Sunday night and love these children of His- these orphans who have many needs. Please pray for the orphan kids and please pray for Megan and I as it is not an easy time for us. Yet God will be faithful..

Isaiah 43:2 is one of my favorite scriptures I have been trying to meditate on alot lately.

When you pass through the waters I will be with you
And when you pass through the rivers they shall not sweep over you
When you walk through the fire you will not be burned
The flames will not devour you




Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas in Peru

It's all about perspective right?
Well this Christmas Meggy and I are thankful...
 *that we're not eating cow liver: the orphanage's meal for Christmas Eve
*it's raining: we can pretend it's snow, plus it cools the place down
* We have an SM family that loves us very much. They brought us Christmas lunch!
*My secret sister is my best friend! She brought me Nutella- that sweet chocolate stuff- I got to eat by the spoonful at the orphanage.
* We have 89 Christmas presents for orphans plus a few extra and we get to be Santa's Elves and deliver all of them.
*We have families back home that love us unlike the orphans.
* We have nice mattresses to sleep o and huge mosquito nets unlike the ones we have at K38.
*We have baby whipes so that we don't have to take nasty bucket showers every day.
* We got dance practice Christmas Eve for 3 hours!! We quit early but the orphans continued until 1am!
* I don't live at the orphanage and work with AMOR Projects =)

7 am- Wake up to the breakfast bell and help serve breakfast (2 pieces of bread) to all the orphans
8 am- Help at house 1 and play with a few of the older girls
9 am- Go back to our house and prepare for delivering the Christmas gifts
9:30 am- See our SM family; Deliver presents house to house in the rain
11 am- Sing songs and show the "true meaning of Christmas youtube video" with all the kids. Pass out oranges and homeade sugar cookies.
1 am- Help serve lunch to the orphans, sneak away trashing our dinner
1:30 am- Eat Stephanie (our lovely sm's fresh cooked lunch for us: mashed potatos, green beans, stuffing, rolls, and cranberry sauce! She's amazing!)
2- Fall into our beds for our break fanning ourself as the sweat drips down our pieces
4- Go help children in different houses
6- Serve dinner to the orphanage children. Eat with the boys table
7- Tell the kids goodnight. Walk to our house exhausted. Read our Bibles, pray, and talk about how we wish we could tell our parents and friends in the states goodnight.
Feliz Navidad Todos!

Orphanage: Week 1

I just returned from spending the week at the Aldea Infantil Orphanage. I went there with my friend Megan and our journey started the day before Christmas. Honestly I'm struggling. The orphanage really shook me up. It was a week like no other.

Honestly I feel broken to pieces. I feel like someone grabbed my heart then ripped it up scattering the pieces in different places around the earth. I feel like I have no love left. I hate my selfishness and I hate what has happened to so many kids- and the fact that I can do nothing to change it.

I wish I could say that the entire time I was at the orphanage, I was happy and filled with joy and energy. I ran and danced around hugging the children and constantly kissing their faces- because that's what they deserved! But honestly while I was there, I had to force myself to smile and pretend I was having fun when I played with the kids, while silently counting down the minutes til my break. During any break we had Megan and I would just lay down on our beds- fan ourselves trying to prevent the sweat from dripping down our foreheads- and question God "Why?"

Why am I here? Why am I in Peru? Why did I come to this orphanage for 3 weeks just to begin establishing relationships with kids that I won't be able to continue? Why do some kids have to suffer so bad?

I don't want to love anymore and honestly I feel like I have no love left. I know that I must gain strength from the Lord to continue and the cliche saying that "God must break us in order to remake us" but it's just challenging. In some ways I feel like Jacob fighting with God. I know God is stronger. I know God loves me. I know He has a plan. But in some ways, it just makes me sick. I'm tired of being cliche about my relationship with God. I want deep real relationships and I'm homesick for love.

Megan and I were emotionally and physically drained at the orphanage so we decided to return to our Peru family for the weekend. I praise God for them because they are an amazing support group and God often uses each other to care for each other. I can't imagine being a missionary without them.

Now that I've told you how I feel about the orphanage, let me tell you about a few beautiful children that live there.

To start with there is Patty. She's 16 years old and has parents that sent her to the orphanage for her misbehavior and for sneaking out. She cuts herself and is supposedly "goth" but she is a total sweetheart and so helpful. She loves learning English with me, painting her nails, and helping us cook in the kitchen. To me she seems beautiful, sweet, and loving.

Then there's Josue Carlos, a 13 year old boy, who loves attention, playing games, and holding hands. He's eager to hug you, give you high fives, or play a good game of basketball. He's quick to help out and runs to show you love in many different types of ways.

There is Gabriella, who is my "sister" and who is very sweet but shy. She is a Lesbian and is very quiet and reserved. When she opened my Christmas present to her, her eyes were so bright and beautiful. She gave me a hug and thanked me genuinely. She was so excited for her sandals, colored pens, and beanie baby bear.

Meet Daniel, a special ed 19 year old who sits outside most of the day grateful to be talked too or for his hand to be held. He's always thirsty and calls out "Aqua aqua" probably because he has to be spoon fed water and most people don't take the time to talk to him. He smiles often and giggles opening his big mouth and making strange but joyful gawking noises.

Meet Sebastian, a little two year old, who always wants to be held. You can find him chasing the gringos with his arms in the air ready to be lifted high. Once you hold him, you can't put him down or he will probably start crying, lying on the ground making a big scene. He knows to stand up though before his house "tia" comes over and gives him a big smack for making a scene.

So that's just a few of the kids we work with at the orphanage. While we are there, we help with cleaning, cooking, and playing with the kids. I'm learning alot from being at the orphanage and definitely learning that life goes on...


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Remind me who I am

"When I lose my way and I forget my name, Remind me who I am. In the mirror all I see, is who I don't wanna be. Remind me who I am. In the loneliest places, where I can't remember what grace is...
Tell me once again who I am in you..
When my heart is like a stone and I'm running far from home. When I can't receive your love, afraid I'll never be enough. Remind me who I am
I'm your beloved"

Wow today has been one of those days where I needed God.
Today I have been broken and homesick, feeling a loss of purpose and a bit distraught.
Yet God has totally taken my hand and pointed me towards His love that is as self-proclaiming as the bright stars

Being a missionary is hard sometimes.
It's physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually exhausting.
Sometimes you feel like you have nothing left- nothing left inside you- and you become sick of yourself.

But then God lifts you up.
He carries you.
Like at the perfect moment- God will put the strangest things or people in your life who provide exactly what you need for you to continue.

Sometimes it's the small things- like a card from my family far away, a long Facebook message from my best friends, a blog entry that I read from another sm, or a kiss on the cheek from a little kid- but none the less God has never failed to provide for me and remind me who I am in Him.

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you, with my righteous right hand.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Orphanage Update


Today my friend Megan and I took a long motocart ride to Yarinacocha to visit the San Juan Infantil Aldea (the orphanage we’ve been working with). Today was a day for Megan and I to get familiar with the place and the current missionaries that are there so that we will know how to help when they leave. We were surprised and touched by some of the things the girls (only 18 and 19 years old) told us about the orphanage and the kids there. We learned so much about the way the orphanage actually runs today and we’re both looking forward to our experience that will begin on Tuesday and will consist of “hard core roughing it” with the orphans for Christmas.

 

I have deep admiration for the two young volunteers who have been living there since August and volunteering . They are sweet, hard working, and very loving to the kids. They live in a small dirty room, take showers by bucket of cold water, hand wash their clothes, eat rice every meal and twice a week only bread for dinner…  When Megan and I were hearing about all their stories we realized that our mission experience and how hard we sometimes think we have it- is nothing compared to theirs. It really just gives us more perspective and helps us to be thankful for everything we have.

 

The main job of the girls is to LOVE the kids, to plan activities for them to do during the day, and to help with cleaning and cooking.  The kids just don’t get love like they should. They don’t get attention like they deserve or need. Saddest of all there is a problem with one of the house mom’s hitting her kids whenever she gets angry or frustrated. Many of the kids are learning to do the same and repeating her behavior by hitting each other in the house. Supposedly the orphanage is working to get rid of this mother but it’s taking them quite along time to do so.

 

The Orphanage kids have a few other donors coming in to give them gifts and paneton (it’s like American fruit cake) for Christmas time. I’m so excited that because of much support and God’s blessings we will be able to go give them very nice Christmas presents on Christmas day itself. We are planning a Christmas program for all of the kids that includes Christmas carols, the “true story of Christmas” movie, a little juggling show, and fresh cookies! We would like to give the kids their beautiful gifts house by house so that we can experience the fun of unwrapping their presents with them and we will probably face paint their faces cute and Christmassy for the kids that would like it.

 

Megan and I’s first day living at the orphanage will be Tuesday the day before Christmas and we will live their until January 12th. We are  working to find some crafts, games, and activities we can bring to do with the kids there. Feliz Navidad Todos!
 
(P.S. if you still have money to give to the orphanage it is never too late. Please donate at amorprojects.org/donate and specify "orphanage". Thank you to all the donors and your generosity!!)

A new church- 10 for $10


Here is the church

Here is the steeple

Open the doors

And see all the people

 

But what is a church

If not just the building

What if there’s no walls

But just people chilling

 

What if there weren’t doors

Or windows with glass

No pews or pretty pictures

Just cement that lasts

 

What if while you listened

Dirt covered your face

You had to kill flies

Try to keep sweat away

 

What if instead

of many denominations

God’s people prayed

And escaped condemnation

 

What if God’s people cared

They looked out for each other

They listened and tried

They knew they were brothers

 

What if church were real

Not just a bunch of lies

Covered with smiles

Instead of genuine cries

 

God’s coming soon

His people should know

That God wants us ready

To heaven to go

 

In heaven there’ll be

Not a church like a place

But a church like a family

People of God’s grace

 

 

My name is Brooke and I participate in church at a place called K13 in the Amazon Jungle of Pucallpa, Peru. Every Sabbath morning I meet there with Peruvian believers. It’s one empty lot and we pull up a few wooden benches and a table to which the speaker can use to lay his Bible on. We wait as many children come and join in, giddy and full of energy. Our church normally has about 18 adults and 15 children on a normal Sabbath.

 

Church is not a building but a group of united believers in Christ. We meet together, pray, and study the Bible. The people that attend this church are very serious about their church and community. They come every Sabbath and every Sabbath afternoon from 4-6pm. They are willing to host evangelism meetings to help get more people. They are eager to share the good news of Jesus.

 

Yet my friends in church- my Peruvian church family- have a big prayer request. They want their church to become an official part of the Seventh Day Adventist Conference in Peru called MOP. They want a steady pastor and steady church jobs as well as a building they can call their own for bigger and better programming. Many people in my church have been praying for a long time. A few of them believe the time has come and God is answering their prayers.

 

This month is the last month my church can rent the lot they are currently using as a meeting place for believers. Rather than be discouraged, my church family believes God is using this as a challenge and call for them to take a jump in faith and purchase their own land. They have been searching for many months and found a 3 lot area available to purchase for 15000 soles which is a little over $5000.

 

They do not have money and many of the families here are lacking any sense of financial stability- struggling to simply get by and feed their own families. Yet the Peruvian community is fighting to raise $2500, which is 50% of what the lot will cost. To get the other 50% we need help from people from the States. Dr. Galilee, the amazing founder of AMOR Projects is willing to cover 25% of the need thus reducing the amount of money needed down to $12,500. We have 13 missionaries here at AMOR and I’m sure each of us have ten friends. If each missionary could find 10 friends who would give ten dollars to help build a church in Peru- we could do it!

We could buy the lot to get the people in Pucallpa, K8, their own church.

 
Thus starts the project $10 for 10 friends! Yes it’s money. Yes it’s fund raising again, and yes we’re asking the Americans. (me, my family, my friends- it gets tedious begging for money). Sometimes it frustrates me here because I feel like “my money” is always being needed. People never stop asking. Needs never stop coming. Money, money, money—but then God speaks to me. What is money for? Whose money do we have? God is the gracious giver of everything we have. Everything we can claim is not really ours but Christ’s. Thus how dare we hoard something not our own? If we give, will not God bless us more abundantly? Just like He promised to pour out the flood gates of heaven down on those with giving hearts- He even says you can test Him on this. Not only is this money God’s not our own, but every time we are asked to give we are being given an opportunity to bless.

Right now you have the opportunity to help build a new church in Pucallpa, Peru. There is a need and you have the opportunity to fulfill it. All we need is $10 the price of a dinner at On the Border or the cost of a bottle of shampoo. $10 can help build a church. I thank you for your prayers and generosity and I praise God because I know He is blessing abundantly!

 

If you would like to give $10 please message a missionary here at AMOR that you would like to support. Your $10 can be tax deductible. All you have to do is say your willing to be a friend: a friend with $10. Thanks for your consideration. God bless!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A week til Christmas


“8 days til Christmas and all through the house not a creature is stirring not even a mouse.” It’s funny because our house is strangely quiet and wonderfully clean. (cleanliness is relative =) More than half of our missionaries left for their vacation and travel time. Katie Kat flew to Lima to meet her sister. Thus we just have 7 girls, a clinic to run, and lots and lots of toys!

This morning we went to the orphanage. We go every Monday for our secret sister projects. We’ve probably been going about a month and a half now and the girls really enjoy it. Well today we decided to bring the girls Christmas sugar cookies and let them frost them. It was quite fun and messy!

Last night Becca and I baked the sugar cookies from scratch and made different colors of frosting.  Today when we came in, Tatyana who helps us with our sisterhood program wanted us to invite any available girls to come join us. So we did and worked with a few different girls today than we normally work with. The girls were so excited to frost the cookies. At first they didn’t know what to do. I started showing them and made a colored smiley face with my cookie. Then all of the girls started copying me with smiley faces on theirs. Some of the other sm’s quickly started decorating them with different designs so the girls learned they could make whatever design they wanted.

They iced beautiful hearts, trees, and of course crazy colored scribbles with loads of sprinkles on all of the cookies! When everyone was done we did a count down from ten and then all devoured them quickly. We got to work with 2 younger girls today who were around 10 years old and they were just so excited and sweet. We sang “We wish you a Merry Christmas” with them about 4 times since it was the only Christmas song they knew. It was a good time.

After the orphanage, we piled in to visit Juan Luis, the paralyzed young man who was in an accident. His wounds, which originated as bed sores, are doing significantly better, thanks to our daily visits to clean and repad his sores. It’s still just so sad to see him lying on the bed so helpless and not be able to do more. We wish it would be possible to find him a wheelchair so he could move around- hopefully when the bed sores heal.

We went to town today to try and finish off our huge orphanage Christmas shopping list! We did pretty well! We’ve bought so many presents for these sweet kids: journals, colored pens, big cars, volleyballs, soccer balls, action figures, and some sweet candies. Two nights ago all of the missionaries had a little card making/ decorating party and wrote out 22 thank you note cards for many of the donors to the project. Tonight we are going to do a big inventory of everything we have and start assigning different presents to different kids and bagging them that way we know if we have any last minute needs.

It’s just so strange in our house with only us girls. Yesterday when John John, Seth, Arri, Allie, Lisa, and Jeremy left it was sad because John John and Jeremy will never come back here. They’re returning to the States after they travel and going back to Southern.

We’re gonna miss those boys even though they drive us crazy. For example, this past week we’ve gotten boxers, a huge bottle of eaten pistachio nuts, and a cat thrown over the top of our roof into our room. Then the night before the left, the boys captured Katie Kat and I in their room traumatizing us trying to “invicorate” our belly buttons. It was very weird but Katie and I just ran away and kept screaming until Caitlin came in there and saved us from those mean boys =p We sang the traditional “Na na na na hey hey hey goodbye” song when they left chasing them out and we also made the boys cake pops and woke them up with singing “He’s a jolly good fellow” that morning. Ya we’re gonna miss those boys. It’s hard because it’s our SM family literally being torn apart- and we know it will never be the same.

It’s so quiet but we’re in good Christmas spirits here! I’ve gotten two packages this week from Aunt Julie and my Grandma Price as well as one from my mom last week! So now I have Christmas goodies and feel so loved. =) Our room has Christmas lights and we have our Christmas music. Even though we all miss our families back home we’re all doing pretty well partying it up.  This Thursday Bernice and I have a party with our school. (We’re doing a duet “Mary Did you know” for the party so say a prayer ;)We have a Christmas party with our “ice cream family” at La Muyana no joke- the ice cream parlor ladies love us- this Saturday night. Then on Sunday we’re having a party for the community Christmas kids. Lots and lots of parties, but hey tis the season to be jolly! Merry Christmas from Peru!



Sunday, December 15, 2013

This world

1 Corinthians 9:13.. "You are still worldly.."

Why do we care about the latest movies are the famous celebrity gossip? We are not of this world nor it's deceiving media.
Why do we spend hours a day painting our faces, straightening our hair, or primping as if we have nothing worth while to do? We need not desire the things this world deems "hott" because we have been granted the indescribable beauty of being created in Christ's image.
Why do we waste our money on clothes, shoes, or the latest gadgets? Do we not know that our money is not our own but Christ's who believes in sacrificing and giving to others above self? He will provide for us our needs and daily bread.
Why do we rush around stressing out, neglecting our family and friends who mean the most to us? Do we not know that everything not of God is meaningless and success will soon fade. God created us to invest time and love into relationships every day.
Why do we gossip behind each other's backs, complaining or grumbling in secrecy? Do we not remember that every person we encounter is our brother or sister that we are to edify. Our job is to help them discover more of Christ through us.
Why do we hate? Why do we judge? Why can't we love?
Do we understand that without God this is impossible- but with the Spirit of Christ living in us- our lives can be transformed.

So may our prayer be every day "More of you and less of me God" because living both for the things of this world and the things of God is simply not possible.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Homesick for Heaven

I want to start by asking you when the last time you were homesick was? If you are young, maybe a college student who has experienced traveling the world alone, or a fellow student missionary- it might have been a recent experience. If you haven't encountered homesickness recently think of one thing you really miss or anticipate happening. I want you to grasp all the emotions of looking forward to something with all your heart. Waiting, hoping, and dreaming...

Now I want to ask you when was the last time you were homesick for heaven?

Kenny Chesney recorded a song titled "Everybody wants to go to heaven." The lyrics of the song say that everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to go now. Honestly that song really bothers me because as much as I'm ashamed to admit it I find alot of truth in that song in my life and probably many people identify with not dreaming about going to heaven tomorrow but instead making plans for our life in the future and hoping we have time to live on this Earth.

There's a few big problems I can see with that. One of them is that we are too consumed with worldly things. God calls us to be unconcerned about this world. He says this world is not our home but only a temporary dwelling place. 

1 Corinthians 3:2-3 says What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away!

Another problem is that if we are so consumed with the world right now, when will we get ready for Christ's coming? Will we be ready in time? Especially because Christ is coming soon!


"In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus describes a parable that relates to the kingdom of heaven. The parable essentially describes 10 virgins that were going out at night to meet the bridegroom. They all took lamps, but five didn’t bring extra oil, while the other five were prudent enough to bring extra oil. As the night progressed, the lamps of the five who didn’t bring extra oil burnt out and they had to go buy more. However, at that time, the bridegroom showed up and the five prudent virgins went into the wedding feast and the door was shut. The point of the parable is then told in Matthew 25:11-13:

“And later the other virgins also came , saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered and said, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

(http://alivewithchrist.com/everybodywantstogotoheaven/) 
The problem with the five foolish virgins was the fact that they did not prepare themselves. Whether it was carelessness or ignorance, when it was time for them to enter the wedding feast, they were not ready. Christ’s intention with this parable was to describe two attitudes people can have toward heaven. Some can wisely strive to always be right in God’s eyes, and some can foolishly put God on the back burner and live life on their terms for the time being. The major issue with the latter scenario is that we don’t know when our time is up on this earth. Sure there are average life spans, and the availability of great health care, but it’s still a tremendous risk to depend on those “odds” and leave your life in eternal jeopardy. Being honest with yourself, if your life ended today suddenly, would you be as ready as you need to be? How would you change your life if you knew your life was ticking down, and if you knew it was going to be shorter than normal? Are you ready?" 
So often I forget how close Christ's coming really is! This past week at the English school I teach at in Pucallpa, I got a nice reminder that He really is coming soon. The kids had their morning chapel and the pastor was saying that the students' didn't have time to keep living as they wanted. They needed to get their lives together. They needed to give them to Christ today to transform them. Then the pastor called for baptism and 8 kids chose to be baptized into the family of God! Later that day, I helped Miss Carmen our English teacher, pass out our English finals and on the bottom of every test she had wrote "Dear students, I enjoyed the year with you and love you very much. Jesus is coming soon! Please never forget that! Get ready."
And it hit me, am I ready? Are you ready? Because we are in the last days. We are the church of Laodicea: the lukewarm church that is not prepared for the coming of Christ. We have wars, terrible wars, terrible earthquakes, tragedies, and shootings-- and yet now is the time when the message that "Christ is coming soon" is not commonly preached like it was 100 years ago. People are sleeping. People have given up on God. And I'm ready to go home! This world has so many needs. Kids are dying over here in Peru because they are malnourished or have fevers. I'm ready for them to be fed and taken home. I'm tired of going to visit the dying paralyzed guy who lays in pain on His bed. I'm ready for Jesus to take Him home and give Him feet to run again! 
My prayer is that God transform my heart and yours as well and give us a genuine longing and homesickness for heaven- that our eyes might rise above on eternal things- and we can share the good news with others that "Jesus Christ is coming soon!" because I truly believe He is.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Farm Days

When entering K38 you think you are coming into a beautiful tropical paradise: lush mango trees, huge lemon trees, cows, baby horses, and tons of room to explore, run around, and breathe in sweet Peruvian jungle air. But then you wake up and realize you are at K38 to work.. not just to help clean around but to do MANUAL LABOR in the sun from 8-12 and 2-5pm again and your perspective changes just a little bit.

Welcome to the hard core jungle where the sun beats down on you making you shimmer and bugs enjoy nesting on your skin. There's huge wasps in the trees and many snakes waiting in their holes in the ground. In the first 3 hours I worked out there I got stung by 3 huge wasps! One of them left a two sore on my neck that is there right now. We also saw 2 snakes at the farm this week. That means I've seen 3 in Peru so far. Not as bad as it could be- but it definitely doesn't make me happy either.

When we finished the work, K38 was like a dream. I had my own bedroom and my own fan. I walked outside one morning and picked mangos off the ground. After searching through the mostly rotted or broken mangos, I found 4 descent looking ones. 2 of them were quite tasty. I finally learned why mangos cost so much money! Mangos are found in trees that are 50-100 feet up in the air. You have to wait for them to fall to the ground when they are ripe. Some of them break and some of them are devoured by the animals around or fleas. Therefore it is quite a job to find good, perfect mangos. Nevertheless Peruvian mangos are in abundance at every little store and outdoor supermarket and will outdo American mangos 10X any day.

We harvested cacao plants for our work, hoeing around at the jungle vines and rotten yucca trees. Cacao plants somehow make chocolate... I can't even imagine all the work that goes into that. Just harvesting the cacao is a nightmare= literal nightmare! I can't describe how miserable and hard it is to harvest and hoe everything down except for those little cacao in the heat of the day. It also gives you a real heart for the Peruvian manual labor workers. They are often working as hard as they can in the hot sun for less than one sole an hour (less than thirty-three cents)! It's just crazy to imagine living your entire life like that- working as hard as you can in the sun- just to get by and supply your families needs.

The farm was beautiful but I'm exhausted and so glad my time there is over for now. My hands have reacted again, swelling, turning red, and itching- this time I know the cause! I'm allergic to the huge lemons they have at K38. When the skin and lemon juice touches my skin it sets off a severe allergic reaction. I think I will be ok this time since I discovered it way faster than last time! The doctor gave me medicine like Cetirizina and Pretnizone. Please pray that my hands get better and don't fully react to the point where I can't move like last time.

I was excited to return back to K8 and see my other friends again. It's amazing how much I could miss them in only a few days. Katie Kat and I made these delicious homemade pancakes tonight and served it with nutella and peanut butter we got in a package from a friend. Here's the recipe in case you want to try:


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup


DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

      IN THIS STEP:

       
  2. STEP 2

    In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix; a few small lumps are fine).
  3. STEP 3

    Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.
  4. STEP 4

    For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).
  5. STEP 5

    Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.
  6. http://www.marthastewart.com/338185/basic-pancakes

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blown Away By God (And YOU)!! =)

I am so surprised, so joyful, and so in awe at God's work and at His people's willingness to give! I just found out that we raised $2700 for the Orphanage Kids' Christmas Project! The goal was $1700 but we beat that by $1000 thus we will be able to provide a wonderful Christmas for the kids at the orphanage as well as save a little money for orphanage- related causes we deem worthy of our help.

I want to thank each and every one of you that has helped in some way or another. Many of my fellow Sm's helped a ton by telling their family and friends. I know many churches helped raise funds and many families sacrificed so orphans could have Christmas. One of my good friends Malia made a video for the project. Becca's kind mom, Nina Dahlberg, donated 200 beanie babies! Without your help this would have never been possible! I'm really so amazed!

What started as a small dream, a hope that maybe we could do something to touch the lives of these orphan kids, has really became a reality. We raised enough money and now the Christmas shopping has begun. So far we have cars, journals, pens, markers, dolls, sunglasses, and soccer balls. We still have so much shopping to do- and we missionaries are really having fun playing Santa's elves! Next Friday we will have a big packing party where we will make all the bags and fill them with goodies. We will pray over each of the orphans, write them small notes with Bible verses, and bake them homemade cookies to slip in each bag. Then on Christmas day we will bring all the beautiful Christmas bags to the orphan kids and personally deliver them! I'm so excited to see their faces when they get beautiful things of their very own.

I've learned through all of this, that if you have a dream- you should pursue it. If there's a will- there's a way, and one person really can make a difference. It takes a little initiative to get going and you have to make the choice to put in a little effort to make a difference for someone else. That- and if you have God on your team- He can use you, no matter how small, to make a big difference in someone else's life.

I'm so grateful for all of you'll helping in this project! I'm just so happy and I can't wait to give the presents when all of the orphanage kids will be very happy too. We will be taking tons of pictures on Christmas day and maybe we can even make a video at some point filming some of the action. $2700 = only because of God's grace and power =)

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today I got snowflakes in the mail from my mom as well as a book I'm really excited to read. This morning I sported my blue snowman scrubs all around clinic. I just know everyone with their plaid scrubs that weren't $1 garage sale deal were totally jealous. Tomorrow we're going to the orphanage to bring the girls ice cream and were going to paint snowflakes for their rooms. Today we went Christmas shopping for our 89 orphan kids! We have so many presents people might mistake us for Santa's elves! We're blasting Christmas music every time we ride in our van and Arrie our energetic cheer leader is constantly opening up the window and yelling "Felice Navidad". The lights and trees are going up around town and just yesterday the nuns were marching by.. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas =)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Paralyzed man

Today we returned back to the house of the paralyzed man to clean his wounds. His wounds were so deep and we learned today that they were simply bed sores that hadn't been treated right. They are on his butt and treacherously painful to look at. He doesn't feel them apparently because he is paralyzed from the legs down because of a motorcar accident. He is only about 33 but he literally has no hope because he is stuck in a poor house, on a dirty hard bed for a long time.

I just don't think it is fair that a man so young should have to live like that, on a hard bed in pain, unable to move. I wish that there was some way I could send him to America because in America there is hope. Here in Pucallpa there is no hope for paralyzed people, and in our town of Puerto Carrera often little hope for healthy people that don't have money.

I can't help but think about the missionaries that are coming down to Peru later this year for a week or two. What if I had there plane ticket money? Instead of coming down to Peru I could send him to them and they could take care of him for 2 weeks?  What if I could send him to the states for a or a month or a year? What if I could get him the treatment he needed to be healthy and to have hope again? What if I could.. do something.. that would change his life forever?

It just makes me so sick and breaks my heart to see the poor, young man suffering like he is. He has so much potential for life. He used to be handsome. He used to be muscular. He has a strong faith in God. Why? I can't help but question God "Why did this happen?" "What's going to happen to him?" "Where is his hope?" Most of all God, "What can I do to help him?"

What if I had the faith to heal him? What if he had the faith to get healed? Would God heal him?

Mark 2:3-11
3 They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. 4 When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher.5 Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, "Son, I forgive your sins." 6 Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, 7 "He can't talk that way! That's blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins." 8 Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, "Why are you so skeptical? 9 Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, 'I forgive your sins,' or say, 'Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking'? 10 Well, just so it's clear that I'm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . ." (he looked now at the paraplegic), 11 "Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home."

James 5:15
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

James 5:3-15
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Acts 19:11-12
And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them

Acts 19 really amazes me. How did Paul receive so much power? He had so much faith so must trust in God. Paul was a missionary just like me. I really do believe that God wants to do miracles and reveal His glory even today. 

Matthew 17:14-20
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. ...

This is more how I feel. I pray  for God to do something and when He doesn't do it, I say what did I do wrong? How do I receive the power to heal someone in Jesus' name? How do I receive the faith to believe that Jesus will heal someone? I believe that it is us that is lacking not Christ, no not Him the least. But we don't have any faith- we are so lukewarm-- God transform our hearts. God transform my hearts. And please don't fail to heal my friend because of my own lack of faith.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I'll follow you around the world


There's these times in my mission experience when I am so overwhelmed with God's presence and joy and I can't imagine being anywhere else in the world. Tonight we were singing the song by Leeland for worship and it really just touched me. Sometimes I question How could I not serve others?  How could I not make some sacrifices? After all Jesus has done for me, I want to follow Him. I want to serve Him wherever He leads me.

Today was a great, long day. This morning we hung out with our sisters at the orphanage and then we went Christmas shopping for the orphans. This afternoon we had a huge clinic with 50 patients and then Allie and I were whisked away to "bathe a paralyzed guy". It turns out when we finally got to his house, this poor 34 year old young man who was almost skin and bones, had deep (DEEP)  wounds in his but.  Thus we need to return with cleaning supplies, gauze, and gloves to clean and fill his wound tomorrow. Then we will continue to doctor his wound for the next week as well as possibly provide some inspiration to him by doing a church service for him and bringing him some baked goods.

It's terribly sad not just because of the fact that he has paralyzed- but mostly because being paralyzed in a poor, third-world country like Peru means you have no hope. His father was the one to come get us and his father is severely handicapped. He has no money, no comfortable house, no money for medical bills, or therapy- thus what is his destiny? What hope does he have? It makes me terribly terribly sad. What can we do for this poor man? The man was reading his Bible when he came in and that makes me happy because God is the only hope this man has.


You live among the least of these, the weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away
All my needs You have supplied
When I was dead You gave me life
How could I not give it away so freely?
And I'll, I'll follow You into the homes of the broken
I'll follow You into the world
I'll meet the needs for the poor and the needy God
I'll follow You into the world
Use my hands, use my feet to make Your kingdom come
To the corners of the earth until Your work is done
'Cause faith without works is dead
And on the cross Your blood was shed
So how could we not give it away so freely?
And I'll, I'll follow You into the homes of the broken
Follow You into the world
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God
I'll follow You into the world
Follow You into the homes of the broken
I'll follow You into the world
And meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God
I'll follow You into the world
I give all myself, I give all myself
And I give all myself to You
And I give all myself, yes, I give all myself
And I give all myself to You
And I'll follow You into the homes of the broken
I'll follow You into the world
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God
I'll follow You into the world
I'll follow You into the homes of the broken
Follow You into the world
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God
- Leeland