Monday, December 30, 2013

Adventures in Peru

Hola! Como estas? Now that the holidays are almost over, I figured I should sit down and go ahead and report on my trip to Peru and all that happened there. What a great time we had! Teresa, Hilary and I left on Wednesday evening of November 13th, arriving in Lima around 10:30am on Thursday morning. While still in the airport waiting for our ride, we ran into a group of women arriving from the church in Arequipa, a city in the south of Peru. Only one of these women spoke English – like, at all – so we got started right away practicing our Spanish! As Pastor Fabio drove us out of the airport parking lot he warned us to be ready for the infamous Lima traffic, and he was not exaggerating. It was quite fun. The city of Lima is very full with 9 million people in the main area of the city – and they all have places to go! We spent the remainder of Thursday walking around the district of Miraflores, and having dinner at La Lucheria, a “sangwich” shop. It was so interesting to Teresa and I the words that were ever so slightly different between Mexican Spanish and Peruvian Spanish, “sangwiches” being one of those words. The Peruvians did poke a little fun at Teresa and me for speaking “Espanol Mexicana”  On Friday, Pastor Fabio and his wife, Mariella, led us and some of the people visiting from other parts of Peru and Venezuela around on a little tour of historic Lima. What a beautiful city! The government buildings in the oldest area have a strong Spanish architectural influence, and are so ornate and lovely. We actually got to see the Peruvian Presidente as he stood on the steps of the main government building while someone made a speech. The locals seemed uninterested…but we thought it was pretty cool. And I did have kind of a fun time smiling at the expressionless, heavily armed guard until he smiled back at me. On Friday evening the Women’s Conference began, which was of course the main reason we were there. Both Hilary, my pastor, and Yerelyn, a pastora from Venezuela spoke at the conference, and both did wonderfully. Hilary had to speak through a translator, which made her job a little harder than usual, but her interpreter, Maria, was so wonderful, and really helped us all quite a bit throughout the trip. By Friday evening I was speaking Spanish fairly well, and over the course of the next 3 days I continued to get better. This was, as you may remember, one of my main prayer requests, and I do feel that the Lord really answered it. I took Spanish classes in high school, but…ya…haven’t used it since…and so I was worried that it would all be gone. But immersion really is the best way to learn it – and after the initial 24 hour period of the “deer-in-headlights” look, I started following what was being said, and verbs just kept coming back to me. There were even a couple times when I was around only Spanish speakers for a few minutes and didn’t feel totally lost. The openness and loving hearts of the Peruvian people that we met made a huge impression on me. They were so blessed by our coming, but also blessed us by really wanting to get to know us and hear about our lives. One of the times I was with all Spanish speaking women, I managed to construct some sort of Spanish paragraph about my little family back home, and I briefly mentioned that my husband had a chronic illness. Thank fully chronic is almost the exact same word in Spanish . One of the women, Angela, immediately stood up and said (I’m translating now) “No! Well, do you believe that Jesus heals?” I replied that I did, and that we have been asking for it constantly, and believing that He is at work. I shared with her one of our favorite verses (the verse that our blog title is based off of in Exodus), and they all started saying “amen” and “yes!” And then Angela started speaking very quickly to the other women, and they gathered around me and just started praying for me. It was very special. For a while I tried fully understand what they were saying, but after a minute or so, I just allowed myself to feel the love and care that they were expressing, and I was just praising the Lord that He and His love is not bound by language. A few days into the conference, both Teresa and I had an opportunity to share a little of our testimony with the women at the conference. After we shared, and Hilary finished speaking, we were all told to break off into pairs to pray for each other. I turned to a woman behind me who I had chatted with a little, but hadn’t really spent much time with yet. When I asked her if she would like to pray with me she blushed a little and said that she had really been touched by what I shared, and that she had wanted to pray with me but thought that maybe we didn’t know each other that well yet and I wouldn’t want to. I am so glad that I followed that inclination to pray for her. It was a great time of prayer for both of us. Over the weekend I was also able to connect with many of the young adult women who attended. Most of the younger generation knows at least a little English, and so we were able to communicate fairly easily. They were so eager to hear my life story, my thoughts, and even my advice for their lives. Many of them are now my friends on Facebook  One girl, who was from the church in Iquitos (which is in the northern Peru in the jungle) and did not know very much English, hugged me on one of the last nights and said in very broken English “I no entiendo ingles, but – we are friends”. I hugged her and said that was very true. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to make all these sweet friends. I know they will pray for me as they said they would, and I think of them and pray for them often too. I loved hearing about their lives and finding out what we have in common. I enjoyed tasting Peruvian food, and experiencing their culture. I became good friends with my host, Silvia and her new husband from Venezuela, Pedro. We were so tired when we got home, but so full of good memories and testimonies of the Lord providing and going before us. He kept us safe, He kept our families safe, and He was, as He has promised to be, faithful. Thank you all for praying for me and

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