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.