Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 stars

It was a sunny Sabbath in Pucallpa and we had about 20 people getting baptized. We decided that since we Americans were staying at such a ritzy hotel called the Manish which had a beautiful pool, the Peruvians could come to our hotel and we could have the baptismal ceremony there.

Now mind you the ERC mission trip I just got back from to Pucallpa was the most elaborate and fancy mission trip I have ever been on. This mission trip was not a survive in the jungle, live like the locals, or even eat or act modestly. Instead the trip was built like a vacation at a comfortable and glamorous ecological hotel so that we the participants would have the opportunity for quietness and safety to study the scriptures and prepare for our evening sermons.

So here we were having the baptismal ceremony at this elaborate hotel and pastor asks me if the woman who were getting baptized could use my room to change into before and after. And of course I said yes.

When the Peruvian woman who were getting baptized saw the room I was staying in with my roommate there mind was blown. Most of these people lived in the slums and had never seen such white fancy comforters with window curtains and a huge mirror. They all lavished in the opportunity to come in and sit on my bed and use my large clean bathroom.

After they were baptized they came back into the room soaking wet and cold. They tracked in dirt and mud. But they were just so excited to be changing in such a clean place. One younger girl instinctively picked up my fancy brush and started brushing her head with it. Even though I cringed inwardly I decided not to say anything and watched as she brushed her hair with joy. These people were not used to such cleanliness and luxury.

After they left, I had a choice to make. I could either be delighted in the fact that I had the opportunity to share my large and clean room with these people and celebrate with them the best day of their new lives with Christ, or I could whine about how my clean room was now trashed, smelly, mud filled, and my brush probably filled with lice.

And I think as we go through life encountering different situations we always have a a choice of how we will respond to what blessings we are given as well as what tribulations or inconveniences. And we must choose what we will do with the gifts and privilege God has given us.

You know, I don't mind my fancy hotel room becoming dirty and gross because 10 people just gave their life to Jesus. I don't care if they cover the room with mud; these people live so poorly every day I am happy for them to get to use my bedroom. And pity if the American girl gets lice for two weeks. I unlike them have blow dryers, washing machines, and lice treatment. My problem is easily fixed.

It's easy to stay in a clean place, living the "American dream", and send a little money to help the orphans. It's easy to think that you care about other's needs and to convince yourself that short term trips or kind thoughts are really changing lives.

But do you honestly care enough about others that you are willing to sacrifice your personal dreams, goals, or possessions? Is missions a hobby and a travel opportunity or is it a way you live?

It bothers me that my favorite starbucks drink can provide six Peruvian meals to children who are hungry. It troubles me that I have more clothes that fit in my closet and I am constantly throwing things away.

I didn't sacrifice anything to let the Peruvians use my hotel room for one day- afterall it is the hotel staff that cleans my room. And I didn't sacrifice anything to go to Peru for three weeks with the ERC trip- I had a great vacation, learned more about God, and ate great food.

But living a missionary life- like a real life like Jesus- I think it requires more than the occasional 5 star mission trip. I think God is asking for more than a little donation, a couple weeks of our time- I think He is calling us to more.

I don't want to limit my service to Jesus to when there is only 5 star commodities. I don't want to serve only where there is good healthy food, hot water, and air conditioning. But my prayer is that I would be able to humble myself- that we would learn to serve wherever we are. That we wouldn't be afraid to be dirty- disgusting- gross- smelly- poor- hungry people. That we would be more afraid of not following God's call than afraid of following Him to scary places or to lives of sacrifice.

I'm tired of living a rich American life and going on feel good mission trips. I want to do something more to fulfill God's calling for me to a life of missions.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I'm going back to an orphanage

I decided to change this post and make it more heart real. It's easy to write what you think people want to read. It's harder but necessary to write from the heart.

I had  the opportunity to return to the San Juan Aldea Infantil and it really stirred up my emotions, life plans, goals, pretty much general life at whole. I knew going back to Peru would be hard for this reason. When I came back from my sm year 3 and a half years ago I was so stoked and ready to go to Africa, go to India, save the orphans- cliche, idealistic, naive, but sweet thoughts.

For this reason I struggled adapting back to college life where my parents encouraged me to get a degree even though my head was in the clouds, around the world, back in the mission field. And going back to Peru and this orphanage just re-awakened my call and love to missions.

 During my student missions year at AMOR my favorite work was at the orphanage. Every week we would visit the orphans who were there and try to mentor them. These little girls and boys literally took my heart and tore it into pieces. The orphanage is where God spoke to me to help me change my major to nursing and it's also the place I've dreamed about working even since I was younger.

Need I remind you I just completed my nursing degree at Southern and I am beyond joyful! After visiting the orphanage in Peru I am so head strong and fascinated by the idea of going back to an orphanage probably in South America to work. I honestly can't wait. I want to go somewhere where I can be a mom to the kids and also be a nurse for them. I want to go for a minimum of two years because I think it's important for kids to have stability and I want to go somewhere where I can speak their language. I think it's important to be able to counsel the kids. And hopefully, I know you may call me crazy for saying this, but God willing I would love to get to adopt one or two of these kids.

I don't know when I'll be going, I don't know how. But I know God willing I'll get the chance soon. My goal is to get some nursing experience in the states, save up a little money, and wait on God's call. But I'll keep you posted.. because my heart is excited to return to an orphanage to stay and live quite soon.






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

back in Peru 2

Sometimes I like to think about my life as a book or movie- full of emotion, drama, adventure that's so real and alive. I am a girl that's totally down for adrenaline. I love change, love passion, and love roller coasters. And sometimes mission trips are like that- they go so fast- and you see so many new cool things- you can hardly process it all. But this trip has been quite different.. it has been slower. It has been full of deep thinking, reliving memories, and quiet prayers. It has been a good break from the rigor of nursing school and American life but honestly even this trip has felt a bit mundane and I have to question God "Why did you bring me here?" What do you want me to learn about your character?

I'm not an evangelist. This trip is not using most of my God given gifts to humanity. I've never felt competent in Biblical prophecy. I am weak in my Spanish. I am not eloquent in speech. The cool thing though is in spite of my weaknesses God can use me to share a message to people around the world! This trip has been interesting. But honestly I don't feel like there is alot of exciting mission stories to share. I don't feel like I have really impacted the Peruvians who I am with.

I have preached 12 sermons and saw some friends from when I was here as a missionary. I have donated blood. I have eaten delicious Peruvian food. I have made some new friends with my mission team. I have not studied for my NCLEX which I just recieved the official ATT permission to test. I have not heard any great conversion stories from my church or met anyone who wanted to be baptized. Today I will get to go back to the Aldea Infantil in San Juan where I was able to work with kids and spend a couple weeks living with them. I am so excited about that.

I have six days left though on the trip and I have yet to answer the question "Why have I come back here God". I have enjoyed the trip of course, made friends, of course but I know God has something bigger in store. We have 5 nights of preaching left and I know God is not done working in my life or in the lives of the people at my church. Friends and family members I am grateful for your prayers and thoughts. It is a blessing to be back in Peru and to have the opportunity to share about Jesus.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Back to Peru

Three and a half years later, I am finally back to my student missionary home. The place where so many memories were built, lessons learned, and dreams and hearts changed was Pucallpa Peru a little jungle town in the amazon. The city is seasoned with tainted memories and stories and testimonies of how God worked and I can now tell you how I am different because of it.

 But here I am now staying at an ecological hotel with a 5 star pool and diner. My job is to preach an evangelistic series with 16 sermons. And Peru feels so similar and yet the old Peru and my memories still so far away.

I remember when I thought Pucallpa would always feel like home, when the stories and adventures that changed my life forever seemed like milestones that could never fade or be forgotten. But now it seems I have to focus a little harder to remember.. that promise I made to God that day "I will never live the same way again. I never want to take the American life for granted. I never want to live so selfishly and without your perfect love."

And yet three and a half years later I find myself here. I am older and a bit wiser I suppose. I am not quite so gung-ho and exuberant about life. I am a bit more tired. I am not afraid of the medical field as I used to be when I came. I am not unsure of God's plans for my life. Yet just like three and a half years ago I still have struggles, still have wounds, still have insecurities that somehow Peru likes to bring out and push in my face. I am the still girl who loves to swim and tan. And I am still in love with Jesus. In many ways I am still the same but in many ways I'm a totally different person.

Journey with me for the next 18 days as I share with you my Peru round 2 journeys and adventures. Preaching is not something in my comfort zone and I look forward to growing my faith and prophetic knowledge as I branch out with God and hopefully make new friends with the Peruvians and team members around me.

My nursing pledge

While nursing school has took time, perseverance, and dedication to complete, graduation weekend went by full of parties,friends, and ceremonies without time to blink. Here is my tribute to becoming an nurse- something that was never my plan- but is Gods. Here are my goals as a nurse and my promises that I want to frame my thinking.

Because I am a nurse I am privileged to have a better understanding of health, thus I promise to do my best to live according to healthier ways which I have learned in order to maintain personal physical, social, and spiritual health. I will do this because I know unless God fills me up until I am overflowing, I will be a nurse with a broken cistern.

There are too many bitter, know it all, non caring nurses in the world thus I promise with Gods help to care over and over again for people even when it hurts. My biggest fear is being burnt out not on being a nurse but on caring about people. Only Christ can give me the love and healing to be there for people on their worst days and strengthen my own heart so that it won't break.

There are many nurses that stop learning and become caught up in their own ways thinking they don't need to study and learn. I promise to continuously be a student of medicine- to explore areas of health to my utmost ability so that I can grow as an excellent nurse and possibly further my education to a nurse practitioner.

I promise to use my degree and profession to serve. I want to be the girl who always has medical supplies in her car so I can help whoever is in need. I want to use my skills on a global relief level but also for my family and the people next door. I want to learn to put others before myself and always have a humble heart of service.

I promise to not let the word "nurse" define me. Yes I am a nurse but I will help others because I am a Christian, because I have a heart, because I love them with the love of Jesus. I will not let the word limit me to things I can and can't do but will take the name with honor and continue to grow into my own person.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Oncology

Cancer- It's the thing nightmares are made up of and sob stories are told. It's the thing so many of us fear the most- hearing those dreadful words. It's truly terrifying and if you've dealt with personally, I sincerely apologize but I also commend you for overcoming or fighting because hey your reading this right.

I didn't want to watch people die. I didn't want to see bald mothers fighting for their lives. "I didn't sign up for this God just like I didn't sign up for nursing" I told him the moment I found out I was assigned to seminar at an oncology floor.

Do you ever have those moments when you question what God's plans are for you? When you waver and say really God you want me to do this? I was like hey God this really isn't me, this lovey dovey, showing compassion to people who are about to die.. how can I do this?

I didn't want to do it. I felt as if I were walking down hallways of death. Lonely rooms where  misery accompanied desperate prayers and where tears and vomit were common.

And I quickly learned I couldn't do it. Not on my own- no, never. Never can we take the weight of the pain of death and suffering and try to help others without letting God help us.

It wasn't what I wanted but God used the seminar on the oncology floor as one of my biggest learning experiences. My nurse was a true angel and she taught me confidence in basic nursing skills believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.

I am finally finished with nursing. My last test is over and I passed and I can only praise God and whisper to you over and over again "It was Him." It was God who gave me the strength and God who made it possible for me to pass.

My friend made a testimony video for seniors and when interviewing me what I learned in college and what I wished I knew as a freshman my answer was this "Don't be afraid to be weak because God is strong."

I feel like my college experience has been so far out of the ordinary. I started feeling strong, smart, spiritual and year by year God broke me down and re-made me and gave me a totally different calling I never would have imagined and showed me how much I really do need Him.

This world is not our home. With diseases like cancer, pancreatitis, heart failures, with problems with murder, divorce, and people who are depressed or filled with anxiety we are lost creatures. We don't have to walk through this world feeling like we need to have it all together because God truly is strong enough for each one of us. I don't have my life together, or have a perfect plan, but I know that although this world may have challenges my God has proven faithful for any obstacle I may face and because of that I look forward to the future with hope and joy.