Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lover of this world

I'm reading and memorizing 1st John with my friend Bernice Bouzy. We are being blessed and learning so much about God and His word. I sincerely encourage you to join us in memorization. It's funny because God works in so many crazy ways. For the last 4 days He has given me the Biblical notification of "read 1 John 2" exactly where I need to work on memorizing right to my phone when I open it. It's crazy because my phone has no idea I was memorizing 1st John and normally switches to a different chapter every day. Coincidence? I think not! God wants us to memorize and learn His word. I was reflecting on 1 John earlier and this is a short devotional I found on it.

'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." —1 John 2:13-17.
No man can love two opposites any more than he can walk in contrary directions at the same time. No man can at once be mean and magnanimous, chivalrous and selfish. We cannot at the same moment dress appropriately for the arctic regions and the tropics. And we cannot wear the habits of the world and the garments of salvation. When we try to do it the result is a wretched and miserable compromise. I have seen a shopkeeper on the Sabbath day put up one shutter, out of presumed respect for the Holy Lord, and behind the shutter continue all the business of the world! That one shutter is typical of all the religion that is left when a man "loves the world" and delights in its prizes and crowns. His religion is a bit of idle ritual which is an offence unto God! So I must make my choice. Shall I travel north or south? Which of the two opposites shall I love—God or the world? Whichever love I choose will drive out and quench the other. And thus if I choose the love of God it will destroy every worldly passion, and the river of my affections and desires will be like "the river of water of life, clear as crystal."-- John Henry Joet

Thus I must ask you as I ask myself the question: What do you love of the world?

Music,  movies,  food, the competition, boys, gossip, popularity, immodest clothing, earthly success? As we grow closer to Christ, the desire for these things should fade away. And if they are not, maybe we need to re- evaluate our walk with Him. Yes, it might mean we are a little weird, strange, "Christian", "goody good" deemed sometimes- but at least it's different- and it's of Christ.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff- Never a typical sabbath in Peru

Today I woke up at 8 and cooked some breakfast, threw on my long- saintly "only gonna wear in Peru" skirt- and headed out in a mini maintenance truck, on top of 4 benches and a generator, trying to balance on the small railings with two special friends: Bernice and Bryson.. and we drove to church.

Actually Maro drove us to church, over many bumps and puddles, through the poor areas that were littered with trash, while men stared at our dresses and whistled, and children continued to play in their mud..

It was quite uncomfortable- but then got extremely more uncomfortable when we hit a huge bump that sent me sailing right into our little truck (cart size) right onto a bench breaking it with my leg. Ouch!

It's ok though. We made it. We arrived at our brand new "church" which was really just a meeting place outside of someone's house. There we met with all of the families and individuals whom we had been studying the Bible with all week long. It was amazing to see all the people that came. Many people were learning about God for the very first time!

There were lots of kids when we arrived and I realized that they didn't have a children's program at all. Fortunately, I had brought coloring pages, craft supplies, and a story! So I gathered the kids (almost 20) and we had this awesome improv Sabbath school that included lots of crafts, me singing Spanish solos (since the kids didn't know Biblical songs), and changing Ring Around the Rosy into a Jesus loves me dance. It was chaos- but fun chaos that makes you smile and laugh! After the program, during church many kids snuggled up close to me (remember summer heat and sweat not snow here) and climbed all over me- showing me that they were my friends. One girl even gave me her necklace to keep as a symbol of her gratitude.

After church it was lunch time. We went to help out passing out the plates of food but instead of letting us help the people gave us even bigger plates of food than all the other people and told us to go eat them now. We didn't know what to do because they hadn't finished distributing the food yet and there were a lot of kids that had nothing. We didn't want bigger plates or more food than anyone else-- but we did what we were told and awkwardly crowded the corner where we gulped down big bites of beans, rice, and lettuce.

For the afternoon program, which started at three, we went to the MOP (it's the Adventist conference center in Pucallpa). Apparently today was the South American day for prayer and fasting. Funny because all these kids were trying to give us raisins and balloons when we entered the program. A few of our AMOR musicians did five solos for the performance which the people really enjoyed. After that we just listened, and listened, and listened.. until it was like six o clock. Finally around seven we got to go home and since we had to take a ton of church people back once we got to the pista ( road before our house) Bernice, Kristen, and I just started walking.

In Peru you learn not to sweat the small stuff. Not to worry about the rain. Or if there's not enough seats, just build up, or sit on the floor. You walk if you need too, or take a bumpy motorcar. Days never go as planned here but often involve a lot of waiting. You learn to take a book and water wherever you go as well as sunglasses to block out the dirt. Things work out ok in the end.. just never as you planned.

As I was walking home with Bernice and Kristen we talked about Peru and the year so far. We talked about feeling as if we'd been here forever and how American life seemed only a dream. We talked about how we will miss the small things (the kids that climb all over you, hugging and kissing your face), the cold showers with leeches, mystery bugs, and mold, the animals: monkeys, ducks, little chicks, goats, and the occasional alligator. We talked about what it would be like to be on a plane knowing that we would be home - where we could speak to anyone we wanted a language that was our own.

I will miss Peru and I pray I never forget what God has taught me here and is still teaching me day by day. Today was a good Sabbath- it was rough at times, dirty, and somewhat annoying, with lots and lots of waiting- but it was distinctly Peruvian and God created this day- so I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bible Studies with friends

I've never given Bible studies before.

I've counseled campers, given Biblical encouragement to my friends, led vacation Bible school, been in Bible classes before I could tie my shoes, and studied in Sabbath School since cradleroll..

Yet I've never ever given a person a Bible study.

It just baffles me- similar to the way people who have never ever heard the story about Jesus and have no idea that He's coming soon baffle me. Or going into houses and seeing people that appear to live like I do but realizing they have a house, and a bed, and a few clothes- and that's it- it makes you think.

How could I declare myself a follower of Christ and never share the Word with someone else?

 The Word is the most essential thing- our light when we are walking in a dark and scary jungle, our map when we are lost in a foreign country, our hope when we feel we are drowning in the sea.The Word is alive and active sharper than any two edged sword.

How can we fight the battle between Christ and Satan without it?
It's impossible- we will lose. End of story. If we do not open our Bible's to God's word and equip ourselves everyday- we will lose the war- and Satan will win the key to our souls.

Today I gave Bible studies from 8:30- 2. To be honest, I didn't even really give them. I was there (one of two white missionary gringos to support the Peruvian pastor; maybe we vamp up the Peruvian's curiosity who knows). Nevertheless, I walked house to house where we would meet with the family, pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal himself, and study the Word. It was powerful and eye opening.
I know this will not be the last time I will be giving Bible studies.

I learned some powerful things while I was giving Bible studies. I was also impressed that Bible studies needs to be something that I'm constantly giving- in the states or in Peru. There are so many people that have never heard the Word of God, and if we know Him and His love, we have a responsibility to share! It's an exciting thing- it's a privilege. Ok three things I learned from day 1 of giving Bible studies:

1. For one, how beautiful, holy, and special it is when we gave Bible studies to an entire family. With every child present, eyes wide open, it was amazing and God was at work. Why are families falling apart? It's because they're not putting Christ at the center of their everything- as a family you have to cling to Christ and God spending time in study together. Because where two or three meet, there is power.

2. God is alive, real, and exciting. Have you ever watched the face of someone who was never told that Jesus was coming back soon? Have you ever seen someone's eyes and hearts be opened to the Sabbath, because no one before had ever taken the time to explain it to them. Today we studied a Sabbath lesson with one lady and her family and she burst into tears because she knew she had been doing wrong. How's that for spiritual conviction? Where is our passion and our excitement when we study God's word. Something is wrong if we're not constantly jumping up and down, falling on our knees, singing out "hallelujahs", or constantly tackling our Christian friends to tell them what we discovered. Maybe we're dead or something- numb- or sleeping when God is trying to reveal His truth to us.

3. Satan is doing everything in His power to keep us from opening God's word and one of his biggest deceptions and tools is the media. Today there was a ten year old boy who we are studying with. He cared a lot about the Bible.. until He realized there was this totally great tv show on at the same time. He would run back and forth from tv to Bible study, until all he wanted to do was watch television. That was the devil at work. It's so evident that the devil uses the media to distort beauty, sexuality; families; relationships; and destroy our peace so that we are always comparing ourselves to others and always wanting more.

I had a really great day today, trying something different, and giving Bible studies with my friends. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to go out and learn about how to study with someone else. It's really not that hard and there is Bible study guides that you can simply follow with them and read through the texts before. I really challenge you to pray about stepping out of your comfort zone and giving Bible studies to some friends or even strangers in your community. I think you will learn a lot and be blessed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let it go

It's been a long time since I've written about what's been going on here in Peru.  I've been back from vacation for one month and 19 days now, it's crazy how fast time is going by. I've definitely gotten adjusted to Peru time down here- meaning that everything is a bit slow, relaxing, smell the flowers, we try not to push or rush things. I'm sure I will miss Peru time like crazy when I go home. The little things like drinking green tea, just talking to some of the neighborhood kids, having ample time whenever you need to study God's word, having praise and worship sessions with all the sm's here...

Yes we do work, but we never have a tight schedule. We do our jobs in our time and try to help out and around as much as possible. What work have we been doing lately?

* Clinic- I'm really excited about how much I've been learning and participating in clinic lately. I learned how to take blood sugar and can help cleaning up cuts and wounds. I am really enjoying helping and knowing what I'm doing. I gave a shot to a little kid the other day- broke my heart- but really it wasn't too bad.

* Swimming- We had our first swimming class last Monday. It was a little chaotic- ok actually major chaos- because a few of our teachers were sick, but overall I loved just being able to be a mermaid again and get back into the water.

* Teaching English- I'm teaching an English class at 4:15 on Mondays and Fridays. There were a lot of excited kids that came to learn. It was kinda like a mini classroom session in our clinic with a marker board, and a ton of games, and caramels as motivation.

* Taekwondo- the kids have been going , but I haven't been for a while. I'm starting again, going once a week, every Wednesday to help with the class.

*Cooking- Lately I've been a little Pinterest crazy (I mean I have wifi now so what am I supposed to do ;) I've been trying a ton of different recipes which is really fun: lentil burgers, crepes, granola bars, (more like cookies), smoothies, creative spaghettis...

While it's been winter time and snowy in good ol' America- we've been sweating like crazy down here and just two days ago I got pretty lobster fried at the pool teaching day one of swimming lessons. It was funny because I came back all red and burnt, just to see all the facebook pictures my friends had posted of the snow. It's a different world out there.

It's been nice having the new missionaries down here to brighten things up (even though we terribly miss Allie, Arrie, and Seth). It's fun to get to know new people and each of the four new sm's bring different gifts and jokes to the table. One of them (Bryson)  has been asking us for his rotten food items so he can work on his homemade fly contraption (trap). He also chooses to sleep outside in his hammock most nights. Another one is starting a basketball program with the kids at the orphanage (Phil). Kirsten is super sweet and my new running motivational buddy! Kaleb plays guitar and sings super well and is amazing at leading worships and church services. I'm thankful that they're all here.

Southern is taking a mission trip down here in March so we're doing our best to prepare for them. While they are here, they will be leading evangelism meetings and doing daily clinics. For me, I've been given the job of coordinating the  children's evangelism program and working with Southern's volunteers once they get here. I am excited but it's a big job as there will be over 50 kids in one location. Right now I'm thinking of doing a "Fruits of the Spirit" theme and I'm trying to plan lesson plans in Spanish, crafts, games, and dramas for all of the kids. (If you have any creative ideas let me know). I would like to have a health and spiritual application about each fruit of the day and let all of the kids try a different fruit. Watermelon, bananas, oranges, grapes, and lemons. I've been quite careful lately not to touch those lemons lately ;)

I've been thinking a lot lately about majors, summer plans, and what I should do with the rest of my life. I keep going back and forth between GPS, physical therapy, Emergency Disaster and Relief... I think God's telling me to just let it go. He will direct my life and in the right time- I need only to trust Him. Slowly and steadily I believe that He is opening and closing the right doors for me. I do appreciate prayer as I am trying to have faith and follow God.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Intercessional Prayer

Intercession prayer is beautiful. It's the most loving thing one friend can do for another, one boyfriend to another, or one family member for another. It's lifechanging, purposeful, and powerful. If we only realized what intercession prayer could do and spent time investing in it, our lives would be totally transformed.

Job 16: 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.

It's easy to say "I'll pray for you". It's harder to get down on your knees and wail out to God for your brethren, your amiga, your parents- and plead to God on their behalf. It takes true love to do that- and I can't say anything else that I'd rather have a friend, family member , or even an acquaintance pray for me like that.

James 5:16 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.

1 Samuel 12:23-- Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
1 John 5:16         
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.

I've had a hard last couple of weeks and I've been talking to a few of my friends who are battling some pretty serious wars themselves. Following God and living a life of purity- in a messed up world- is a constant battle. I just want to write to my friends for one minute- that I am doing my best to intercede to the Lord on your behalf. Prayer has always been something difficult for me, but lately I'm realizing the importance, power, and just the awe of interceding. I want you to know that I love you so much- more than words to express- and I will be lifting up your names and stories up to the Lord Almighty this week. Peace be with you- and many prayers =) I love you sisters.

O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our own time revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One Day At A Time

When I first came to Peru, I was excited- full of energy, ideas, passion, and ready to love each and every person I met. I wanted to start new projects and was ambitious about a new swimming and orphanage program.  I was bursting with enthusiasm about AMOR and my work as a missionary.

Honestly, now I'm not pumped, nor dreamy, naive eyed. I understand that eight months is a long time. Often I wake up not wanting to do anything and simply go back to sleep. Sometimes I don't care about reading my Bible, or playing with kids, or even going to the orphanage for that matter- sometimes I just don't feel it- I lack motivation. But God is not lacking..

Day by day, Christ strengthens me. In the small things, with a friend, with a child that pursues me and initiates a hug, or with a message from someone who cares- day by day Christ renews His passion in me.

Today was one of those encouraging days. I was riding home from a youth evangelism seminar behind pastor and his motorcycle trying to stay on despite all the bumps- and just looking at the sky- and smoke around me realizing this is it- this is Peru. And that's how God blesses me- moment by moment- with a muffin, a new friend, a motorcycle ride, or a baby alligator- He gives as we need.

Often we may not feel it. We may not have the desire in our hearts to learn more about God nor to serve Him. But that's ok, because it's natural to not want to do any of those things. But if we pray and ask God to do the supernatural, to give us the will to serve, and to read our Bibles, and to spend time in prayer- and we invest time into it little by little- each and every day, He will prove sufficient.

One day at a time- prayer by prayer- positive thought by positive thought- God will bless and keep His promises.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Generosity... and my lack of faith

Matthew 4:22 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Matthew 10:42
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

One of the things that frustrates me the most- makes me so upset- is when I try to be generous to the children around our complex and the children are selfish, greedy, and won't stop yelling "dame dame dame" give me; give me!

A prime example of this was this Saturday at church when I had pipe cleaners, crayons, coloring pages, and stamps to pass out to the kids. I had plenty of supplies for each child to have an abundance of crayons and stamps to use and share. But as I began to pass them out with a smile on my face, I was quickly greeted by grabbing arms, loud impatient comments, and children asking me for more, more, more. I tried to tell them to share what they had- because if they would have shared their stamps- they could have had an abundance of animal stamps to use for their coloring pages. But instead they selfishly hoarded them for themselves so that I could only give each of them one. I was soon very frustrated and exhausted. I lost my spirit of giving and I angrily told my fellow missionaries "I just can't handle this anymore" while throwing them the rest of the supplies.

I have found that the children's selfish responses- or what I view as selfish- often hinder my willingness to give and be generous to them. Last night I started thinking about many of the children here and realized that the children probably do not mean to be selfish nor rude.. but are simply asking because they need and fear that if they don't push, there might not be enough to go around. For example, with a child that has not had enough food to live and survive on- often that child learns to fight for little amounts of food in order to survive- wherever they may find it. Thus children here are often used to begging, and pushing their way through in order to get what they need in order to survive. It's not an intentional thing but a reaction from a lack of faith. A lack of faith that I can provide them for their needs without them pushing to be first or fighting to get more.

Now I want to change around this story and compare myself to the selfish, greedy children and God to the giving missionary. God has given me everything that I have and ever need. Yet often I never stop asking God more, more, more. And often I hate giving up what God has given me. God has provided me so much, yet often when people in need look at me, and are like your white- you have money- help me, the last thing I want to do is help them. And that is wrong.

Just because I'm a missionary doesn't mean I'm a generous person. Lately God has been convicting me more and more just how selfish my heart is and how far God still has to go with His teaching. Conveniently in this time of teach and practice God has provided me with many children and old ladies in poverty while I'm in town talking to my parents. At first, in the beginning of my sm year, I would simply brush them off and be slightly annoyed that they would ask me for money and beg. But for the last two weeks, I have begin giving something away when they ask whether it be a piece of fruit or a sole or two. Honestly, giving- even in small ways- really changes everything and is very eye opening. When I share just a sole- 33 cents- or enough money for 2 eggs and a piece of bread in Peru- with an older lady, she prays and calls down blessings from God for me. When I give the little kids a piece of fruit, they giggle and jump up and down in excitement.

I'm slowly learning just how blessed it is to give. My faith is being strengthened and tested as I begin to trust that as I am generous, God will continue to provide for my every need. Sometimes I have to remember that to many of the people here in Peru I am rich- only because of God's grace- and therefore it is my responsibility to give and help those in need.

Matthew 10:42
"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tribute to my missionaries

Here is for the girl who washed the dishes that weren't hers when she wasn't on dish duty.
Who held my hand when I was getting a shot.
Who wiped my tears when I was homesick.
And who smiled even when her tummy really hurt.

She taught me love day by day.
When she would let the kids jump on her
Even though they were wet and reiked
When she would laugh instead of whine
When things didn't work out
She was kind to everyone all the time and never lost her temper

She took care of us all
And we will always call her mommy
Beautiful mommy goose =)

Here is for the guy that would always help you out
When rats were in the room, or spiders, or beetles
When he wasn't throwing them at your face
He was saving the day and rescuing you

Here is for the man who kids searched for and called
Like he was some celebrity
But really simply because he took the time to play with them
Every single day even when he was tired

He was our leader
Our man who was there for us
He will always be our roaring manly lion

Here is for the chick
Who can rock and dance to any song
Befriend anyone
And make even the saddest kids smile

She was never sad or angry
But was always singing, always hugging, always laughing, always encouraging
She taught us dances
And she made memories with us
She turned problems into adventures and stories that will never be forgotten

She is our cheerleader, our star athlete, our counselor when we are sad
She is our happy giraffy

Never think that you didn't make a difference because the rest of us can think of a million ways in which you did. Sometimes the people you influence the most are not the people you come to serve- but the people you live and spend every moment with. You have influenced us. You are our family. And you guys will never be forgotten. (# Wedding table 2015) Love you guys forever!

While I'm Waiting

"I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord"

- John Walker

I think waiting on God is one of the hardest aspects of my faith. I mean going, listening, doing- yes that can be challenging, or annoying or scary- but at least it's exhilarating. For me though, waiting is just boring. I'm anxious, I'm impatient. I want to know what God wants for me and what He is doing and I want to know it now! I want Him to take me here and there and around the world, and to different countries, and to bless me, and to use me-- but often I don't want to kneel down and wait on Him. To wait until He is ready. To wait until He says go-- and not just jump ahead.

Lately I have been waiting. I'm waiting for swimming classes to start so that I can be busier. I'm waiting to start teaching English lessons at the school. I'm waiting til we can go to the orphanage. I'm waiting to work out my summer plans, and I'm waiting to see what major God wants me to do. Honestly every day of waiting is an emotional and psychological struggle to keep sane and positive. How can I demonstrate the character of Christ if I am impatient and anxious?

No I must choose to glorify God in my waiting day by day by patiently studying His word, studying Spanish so I can better witness to the people, and serving in the small, dirty jobs that nobody wants to assist with. God calls us where we are and for what His will not ours.

I'm trying everyday to be thankful for one thing or to learn one thing new while I'm struggling in this anxious period of waiting. Here are a few things I've been thankful for:

- a good friend Bernice Bouzy to inspire me to memorize the book of 1st John
- animal balloons to practice clowning around with and give to kids in the clinic and neighborhood
- a newly found Spanish book that clearly explains past tense

While I'm waiting I choose to serve God and worship Him- though it's not easy, and I'm anxious- I choose to trust Him.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Machu Picchu, crocodilios, and a jungle expedition

I'm back at AMOR- back to mosquito nets, freezing cold showers, dirt and grime- but I'm also back to best friends that I have missed terribly, helping in the clinic and being useful, and singing our hearts out to God at worship time.

Thursday and Friday were discouraging, not gonna lie. It's hard to go back to reality when you've been living luxurious and traveling without a care in the world. Everyone in our travel group was discouraged- complaining and whining about how much we wanted to go home- and talking about how the next flight we took would be just that. Many of us were also sick from the late nights and early flights during travel.. and sickness, homesickness, and dirty laundry that absolutely reeked- was not the best combination for happy spirits.

None the less, we knew this too would pass and I worked hard to read my Bible and pray to God to give me a better attitude. I was pretty sad and low when God lifted me up- sending me Caitlin to encourage me and sweet children to hug me and tell me I looked flakita (skinny) which is strange because they normally call me gordita. But God blessed me, and brought me encouragement in so many ways, as well as an exciting adventure today deep in the Amazon jungle.

So today we went on a deep 6k jungle trek with our Pathfinders which they hear call Conquistadores- fits very well, because these kids are tough fighters. Normally a 6k would be no big deal. I've definitely run 10ks a couple of times. But when your walking with 35 kids in the midst of jungle swamps, wasps, having to balance on planks, and getting absolutely COVERED in mosquitos and mud... it's a different story. It was tough- like a serious near death obstacle course. And I'm not gonna lie, I totally face planted.. right in the swamp! I just walked too fast and it was so slippery and before I knew it I was covered in good old jungly parasite filled and what other stuff it had in it I don't want to imagine water. Anyways after this hike we loaded up our van piling smelly, muddy bodies like potatos and went swimming. Thus this trekking Pucallpan adventure started at 8:30 am and ended at 5 pm- so exhausting!

Now I have to tell you just a little about Machu Picchu where I was last Thursday.To say Machu Picchu was beautiful is an understatement. Words can't describe the place. It's huge, enormous, natural, free, and wild-- you have to go there!! It's definitely the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The mountains are gorgeous, the hills divine, each rock artistically placed. Your journey starts with a train ride that has beautiful windows and was very nice. Then when you arrive at Machu  Picchu- you are up so high at almost 8,000 feet. For me, I was definitely altitude sick and miserable the first night with a headache and stomach ache. But I drank tons of water, coca tea, and coca candy, and after a good nights sleep covered in scarves, alpaca hats, and llama jackets I bought.. I felt so much better! It is freezing in Cuzco, but the mountains are just beautiful. Here are a few pictures of me and my friends experiencing the mountain below.

Oh by the way, on our first way back to AMOR we were welcomed with baby crocodiles which our neighborhood friend Richard (12 years) brought to our house for us to play with. Ya that's right- baby crocs- and my awesome friend Arianna was crazy enough to let one bite her- because Richard said it wouldn't hurt. Hahaha I mean the babies were only a couple of inches but still Arianna is a little crazy- I'm gonna miss her like crazy as she's leaving this Wednesday. Anyways welcome back to the jungle!

P.S. Tonight at La Muyana some little girls came by who were poor and trying to sell candy for money. Well it's 8:45 pm at night and so I feel bad for them, but I didn't really want to give them money so I decided upon a piece of fruit. I love fruit and can be kinda stingy with it- so I wondered if I should give the tiny beggars anything- but when I did, their faces just lit up with joy. They told me thank you many times and blew me kisses as they left the store: So cute! And totally worth it!