Today I got a present from one of the Southern missionaries. I got a book called Love Does. I've been really touched by the encouragement it's given me. This author is crazy! He's something else. One of the guys who makes his dreams and others' dreams come true every day. He's a guy that gets what he wants- he does crazy things- most of all he loves in crazy ways. I really recommend reading it. One story that can just let you know what this author is like is how he got into law school- he literally and seriously sat in front of the admissions director for 2 weeks until he let him in- saying “all you have to do is tell me to buy my books”- how crazy!! The book is really inspiring me to change the way I think and give my love so much more freely and passionately. Please check it out; it's written by Bob Goff.
“Don't count down the days, once you leave you'll miss it like nothing else”- is advice from almost every missionary. Sometimes though it's tough. It's hard not to imagine yourself on that airplane back home and wanting to plan your future back in 'Merica. I caught myself counting down the days this last month. I was looking forward to going back, and while yes I can't wait to go home to America. I also know that I will miss this place like nothing else. It's such a two way feeling of love hate, annoyment and bliss, freedom . As much as I can't wait to leave, Peru and my life here captivates my heart. My passions were found here. My baby orphanage projects, my swimming children, my swimming program, my children- my babies, my clinic where I am strong, brave, and can give shots (none of my friends back home ever thought I could do it), the zoo where I held the hugest snake practically ever. This is my home and these student missionaries are my family. We have our Peruvian raps, dances, inside jokes, adventures, and crazy memories.
Having the Southern missionaries come here and hang out with us for 2 weeks has really encouraged me and given me the strength I need to press on. Tonight after they left, us missionaries had to clean the truck and in our typical Peruvian jam style we blasted music and had mud music water fights and dancing. I LOVE my sm family, laughing together, dancing together, getting dirty and smelling together, holding little kids, having kids all over me, smooshing on top of people to travel in our gringo van, and doing crazy random activities like hiking through the jungle or vaccinating wild dogs (Pathfinders don't ask ;) every week. I'm so grateful to the new friendships I've made lately with Kristen one of the new sm's, the new student coordinators who seem totally amazing, and the Southern crew who were sooooo nice, helpful, and inspiring. Kristen and I even made a list of crazy awesome “just Peru” things we were gonna do before I go home which may or may not include going running in the pouring, muddy rain, sleeping in the stars, sending letters to 5 student missionaries around the world, and cooking some crazy foods.
This past week with Southern here, we have had so much fun and accomplished so much medically and evangelically wise. We have been doing medical campaigns every day and one day we saw 210 patients and gave them treatment and medication!! Then each night we had evangelism campaigns at K13 and K8 and both ended up with many decisions to accept Christ and get baptized- praise God! On Friday, we had a fun day and traveled to the Ucayali River and Arena Cocha for riding the river boats, going to the zoo, and eating out all together as a group with the Southern students. It was extremely fun and I have thinking all year about that snake at the jungle zoo and whether or not I should hold it. (I am (nope not anymore) WAS extremely scared of snakes but I have been working on overcoming all my fears. So I got to the jungle zoo and literally I've been thinking about whether or not I should hold this snake all year and been building up my courage. I decided I would do it! When I first saw the snake, I quickly changed my mind, but because I had told my friends I had wanted to do it, they encouraged me. They got me to touch the snake and finally I was convinced. I asked the guy to carefully put the snake on me and praying out to God out loud for Him to save me for the next two minutes (no joke) I proceeded to smile and take pictures with the giant anaconda =) God took care of me and now I am a lot less scared of snakes than I was, not that I'm a snake lover (don't try to scare me!)
It was such a busy and fun week. We are exhausted to say the least and we have tons of cleaning, meetings, organization, and work that needs to be done at AMOR. There are many prayers needed for the safety of the returning missionaries as well as for AMOR, administration decisions, and new programming decisions. Dr. Galilee, Megan, and I were able to meet with the orphanage and talk to them about a new sisterhood program which will be starting in 2 weeks (very exciting)! Swimming classes are also starting again this Monday which I am stoked for! God has been good. He is ever faithful. I don't want to close my eyes to His work or what He is doing. I've just been reminded lately what an opportunity we have to LIVE every day. To smile, to laugh, to scream, to travel, to do the dreams that God has placed in our heart, and to change the lives of the people around us-- I'm in Peru!! I don't want to forget to live, it might be a while til I come back to this awesome place.