Walking Through a Typical Day

The mystery of ministry is that the Lord is to be found where we minister. 

–Henri Nouwen referring to Matt. 25:40 “Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

I remember when I committed my life to Christ as a college student and immediately feared that God would call me to be a missionary to Africa–one of those skinny, haggard women in long skirts who always looked so sad, but earnest. Alas, God has instead blessed me with a wonderful husband who has felt called to use these retirement years to minister as an Anglican missionary, and for better or for worse, here I am, a missionary in Peru.

I love the Matthew 11:28 passage from The Message:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

To be honest, though, keeping myself in that state of balance requires a great deal of prayer—mine and other’s—along with frequent exercise and a few treats along the way: good coffee with friends, walks to the ocean with my husband, and humorous moments with our cat Cleo.

Quiet time with Kindle, cat and tea

My day begins with my Kindle open to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling and a mug of tea in my hand. I read, listen, sip and read again. Sometimes I delve deeper into the scriptures to listen more. Praying for my family and those God has put on my heart, I write in my journal and include what I am learning or struggling with that day. My prayers end with dressing the family in the whole armor of God. (Eph. 6) I wonder if they ever hear the clink of armor as they walk through their days?

After breakfast with Ian, I set out for the day beginning at the local gym where I exercise and practice my Spanish with the people sweating around me.  One of my big thank yous is for this daily opportunity to exercise in a bright, modern facility. I find it helps me mentally, spiritually and physically.

Keeping fit!

Whenever I leave the apartment, I pass by the guards who greet me with buenas dias, and I respond  with a smile and my own buenas dias. Each store and business has its own guard to protect the property and help with parking. Our apartment building has its own “watchey men” to keep an eye on the comings and goings; yes, I feel safe.  These men are friendly and helpful, especially when we travel and return with suitcases and packages to load onto the elevator.

As I walk the ¼ mile to the large, modern grocery store, I greet the smiling and paraplegic Lourdes and sometimes buy a piece of her candy. People are not allowed to beg here, but they can sell things for a donation. Ian and I love helping Lourdes because she exudes gratitude. She also seems to be a prayerful presence in the marketplace. Another big thank you is for the young men who bring the groceries back to the apartment in a grocery cart and chat with us along the way. As I pass over a small tip, I thank them for the Spanish practice. Many of them are working their way through tech school or university.

Making connections is important to me here in Peru. I am intentional in building relationships with other women involved with the Anglican diocese or the missionary community. We share over coffee or lunch and pray together. My favorite meetings are those impromptu ones that just “happen.”  Today I met for coffee with a young English mum who will be helping me teach Godly Play classes on Sundays. She is a trained Godly Play teacher, and her two daughters attend our Sunday class.  I have just found out that she has met another of my young friends, and they now connect as young mothers with much in common—kids, God and England!

Places for coffee and conversation

Other days I have bi-lingual friends come for lunch at our apartment and perhaps a walk to the sea. I love to cook, and we enjoy working in my sunny old fashioned kitchen. We talk and chop the avocados, mangoes and other fresh produce from the countryside and enjoy soups and salads, a change from the usual menu of rice and potatoes.  I do miss a dishwasher, but find the work goes quickly when one washes, one dries and both talk! Prayer seems natural with these women, so we close our times of sharing with prayer.

Several times a year the Anglican women of the diocese get together for an afternoon of teaching and worship. One recent Saturday I helped Judith, Bishop Godfrey’s wife, lead the women in a flower arranging workshop. Later in the year the women will create arrangements based on parables or the “I am” statements of Jesus. This is something they can use in any of the mission churches because flowers are readily available, and this project helps them bring beauty into their rather dusty lives. Scripture, nature and creativity make a great workshop!

Women’s Workshop on Flowers and Faith

I am thankful for Judith, too, because she is my prayer partner here in Lima—another gift from God. Having been in South America and a bishop’s wife for over 20 years, her wisdom and understanding help her to minister to many of the women, and I like to think that my enthusiasm and fresh perspective encourage her in her ministry and role as bishop’s wife. We meet once a week to have coffee, catch up and pray together.

In January, I will begin the next stage of Spanish classes. I long to be able to comprehend what the  Peruvian women share with me and to respond with words which they can understand. I love to teach, and having interpreters has helped so far, but I would like to be more independent. As a communicator, my language handicap has been humbling.

Hurray for technology here on the mission field! Facebook has been a doorway to communication with the Peruvian women I have met through the diocese. Some have computers, or they use the internet cafes where they rent a computer for less than a dollar an hour. I post photos frequently on Facebook, and I find that the women use Instant Messaging more comfortably than I do.  It is easier for me than speaking Spanish or texting over the phone.

One of my favorite young mums and her lovely girl

I love Sundays at the Cathedral. The mornings are filled with adult forum, a worship service and Sunday school. My Godly Play class is filled with 10 bright and articulate boys and girls 6-11 years old. I enjoy watching them continue to build friendships as they play and talk together during coffee hour.  This year God has brought in three new families who are working with some of the top private schools as primary or secondary teachers. The moms are enjoying teaching Godly Play with me, and I see training possibilities ahead. I am hoping to share Godly Play with the Spanish congregation, but I am struggling to find the willing person(s) to take on the teaching responsibility.  Prayer needed here!

Sundays with great kids!

Evenings tend to be quiet for us.  If we walk to the ocean to view the sunset, we try to return by 7 when it gets dark and cool.  Dinner follows, sometimes with guests, and other evenings there might be a church meeting. Reading, TV, the internet and occasional movie dates fill the hours before we turn in. The dawn light and a purring cat wake us around 6, and our day begins again with a tray of tea and time with God.

Just this month I have begun reading Henri Nouwen’s book Gracias!, and I keep having  “aha” moments as I read words such as these where he speaks of cultural adjustment:

One of the most rewarding aspects of living in a strange land is the experience of being loved not for what we can do, but for who we are. When we become aware that our stuttering, failing, vulnerable selves are loved even when we hardly progress, we can let go of our compulsion to prove ourselves and be free to live with others in a fellowship of the weak. This is true healing.  (pg. 17)

And so I learn to wait, listen and give thanks as I grow in living freely–attempting to love God and my neighbor, thankful for grace.

One of my new Facebook friends with her young son

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Return to New Zealand

It’s lovely to be back in New Zealand

Coming back to New Zealand after a year and a half, I felt right at home and ready to revisit sites and experiences. Last time it was autumn and this year it is spring–from shearing time to lambing season. I love seeing the twins and triplets coming alongside their moms with their high pitched baaaaa’s. Hoping to pat their little heads, I was surprised that they shied away from me and trotted away. I wonder how long it would take for them to know my voice?

Ewes and lambs under poplar trees

The mountains were covered with snow this time of year and the weather changed each day varying from snow or rain to blue skies and wind. We still found enough pockets of sun to garden, hike and hang out the laundry.

Spring time is planting time. We turned over the raised beds and with the help of neighbors, augmented the soil with manure and compost. Jenny and I set out bean plants, onions, and some beets. Spring flowers are in bloom, too: lilacs, columbine, rhododendrons and azaleas.

As we walked a trail yesterday I spotted lupines not yet in bloom, but prolific along the stream bed. The flowering cherry trees are loaded and grace the road up to the house. The night time frost caught the wisteria and the rhododendrons last night!

Raised beds partly planted–springtime in New Zealand

Farmers’ markets are a favorite of mine from Vermont, to Peru to New Zealand.

Neighbors helping out Jenny and Al with garden chores

Selling lavender products at the Frankton Farmers Market

Cheeses, vegetables and handcrafts capture my interest and my spending money. This time I bought a handmade tea cozy, chutney and a new red spice made from Sumac shrubs. (We tried it out on steak last night– bit spicy, like a paprika with a faint hint of lemon.) Sampling the wares and gathering information from the vendors is part of the experience.

Great looking dog biscuits, muffins and treats–even samples!

One blustery day, Jenny and I enjoyed the Million Dollar Cruise on Lake Wakatipu. The British came and settled in the 1860’s, so Queenstown is a recent development in the whole scheme of civilization.  Homes built along the shore are modern–lots of glass, stone and concrete.  We enjoyed the boat ride, but decided none of the houses were worth our investment. On Sunday we cycled along one of the new bike trails built during the past year. It took us along mountain sides with views of rivers, lakes and distant ski slopes. Well designed with views, benches, and a good surface to ride on, these trails are a  wonderful investment in recreation and a celebration of the beauty of this area.

Heading out onto Lake Wakatipu

Enjoying the boat trip on Lake Wakatipu

Ian joins me next week and Jenny, her husband Al and I will enjoy showing him around. Our big treat will be a flight to Milford Sound and a boat trip around the fjords.

This is a stunning country, a jewel tucked away down under.
How fortunate we are to spend time here with friends.

Al and Jenny Coleman, my wonderful hosts in Queenstown.

Cycling along Lake Hayes with the Remarkables in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a look :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Re-Settling in Lima

Writing Buddy back in the office

Nearly three weeks have passed since our return to our apartment here in Lima, Peru. We have re-connected with our church community and the locals in our Miraflores neighborhood.

Ian and Cleo back in the favorite chair

In weekly routines, I am back at the gym and Ian is back at Rotary. Ian is preaching on occasional Sundays, and I am teaching the children Bible stories with Godly Play.  Ian has been very involved with celebrating Bishop Godfrey’s 25th anniversary, the visit of a team from MedSend and the spring family church festival of the diocese.  Both of us are involved with the British acting group which this week is putting on its Comedy Night; Ian has a comedy role and I am doing lighting.  We are getting ready for Ian’s accompanying Bishop Godfrey at the Anglican Consultative Council’s meeting in New Zealand, and I will go along to visit my AFS sister Jenny in the South Island. Our big celebration will be on November 18th when our son Joe marries Virginia in Cozumel. Obviously, a very special fall/spring!

Sunday School materials brought back from the U.S.–plus Cleo

Meanwhile, the damp spring days are still gray and cool with nights down in the 50’s. I am thankful for wool sweaters and our electric blanket and the sunny days around the corner!

Cleo staying warm under the covers

Cleo has adjusted to apartment life, skidding across the parquet floors after felt mice rather than pouncing on little grey moles in the Vermont countryside. Ian and I are enjoying walks to the malecon(ocean cliffside) and watching the parapenters (hang gliders) float above the coastline. We have returned to our local grocery store to buy the food we missed during the Vermont summer: ripe avocados, mangoes and tasty chicken. Unfortunately our gas grill had rusted out due to the ocean air, but the local iron monger created replacement grills and we switched to charcoal.

Working with our new grill set-up and charcoal chimney

Needing a chimney for lighting the charcoal, we created one from a tin left over from Christmas paneton bread and waited patiently for the charcoal to settle down to red-hot coals to cook the chicken. We then enjoyed our first dinner al fresco.

First springtime dinner on the balcony–grilled chicken

We are stepping back into our roles and some of the routines we had before, but we also know that new challenges and opportunities will present themselves each day as we come back into the Peruvian culture. After 3+ years here, there are fewer surprises and more opportunities to communicate. Our Spanish is better, but still humbling in its imperfection.  We look forward to the spring and summer ahead!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Autumn Transitions

Doorways are for Hellos and Goodbyes

As we prepared to leave Vermont after Labor Day, I walked the property and bid the critters, the paths and favorite sites good-bye. We feasted with friends and hugged and prayed together. I find the transition  difficult both emotionally and physically as we prepare for what is to come and bid farewell to what is behind; however, the leave-taking makes the reunions that much more precious. It is a cycle, three months or so in Vermont and the bulk of the year in Peru at this point. I wonder how the snow birds do this for so many years of their lives? Perhaps when the cultures and conditions are similar, it is not so bittersweet. For Ian and me, the loving and prayerful support of family and friends creates a feeling of quiet joy and peace as we drive down the hill and across the gorge onto the highway.  We are blessed as we head south to Peru to begin another time of ministry. What lies ahead?  — All sorts of adventures!! Friends and family will take care of our home in the woods in our absence, and I also like to think of angels standing guard over the pathways and entrances.

The St. Michael statue from Coventry Cathedral in England

When living in the city of Lima, I often look back at the scenes in Vermont and remember the peace and quiet that restores my soul.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mary Oliver’s poems speak so well of the joy of natural world.  From the woods and fields, I move south to the parks and coast where I can still “walk slowly and bow often.” It is still the land of the Creator, and it is good, very good.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~

from Thirst

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Relatives Came

“It was different, going to sleep with all that new breathing in the house.”  I love this line from Cynthia Rylant’s book, The Relatives Came.

When my family came to Vermont in August, I lay in bed listening to all that new breathing, overhead footsteps and muffled conversation.

They had come from the south, ready for a summer break from the heat and city life. Our home provided cool air and quiet alongside the darkened woods, nearby hiking trails and the Williams River with its roaring gorge and rocky swimming holes.

View up the hill

Up the hill from the house, out our bedroom window

We shared the cooking and clean-up and had wonderful gourmet meals each night, from lobster and pasta to Italian and seafood salads.

We can do this!

Emily and Dan prepared a wonderful Italian lobster and pasta dish.

The garden was producing tomatoes by the basket, a few green beans and wonderful herbs.

The local farmers’ markets filled in with cheeses and more vegetables.

Cheeses and breads from the markets

Trips to the New Hampshire liquor store and Shaw’s grocery kept the refrigerator full of wine and beer. One night our son Joe mixed martinis; his grandfather Joe would have been proud!

Joe leads Emily’s birthday celebration with sparklering Ginger Cake.

The weather was perfect for outdoor play and nighttime bonfires. Nearby Bromley Mountain provided a fun family day with great slides and adventures.  The indoor game of choice was Settlers of Catan, a new family favorite. Competition was keen, but all seemed to still be speaking the next morning!

Settlers of Catan carried on until after 1 am. Congrats to Virginia, the champion!

I love the preparation for company—cleaning the house, making up the beds, and best of all, adding those special touches of flowers, jugs of water and good reading material alongside the bedsides. If I am feeling it, I pray for their travel and their stay. After several days, I feel the need to pray even more keenly because I get tired and a bit less patient! An early night and a morning lie-in usually set that to right, or even better, a hug and a thank you.

After the last car pulled out of the driveway and the Amtrack train left the Bellows Falls station, I headed inside, feeling a little bit empty. I tossed the sheets into the wash, made a cup of coffee and sighed as the adrenalin low swept in. Later, as I hung the sheets on the line in the sunshine,  I relaxed with the sun on my back and gave thanks for this place in Vermont to share with family and friends. Later that evening, Ian and I enjoyed the leftovers and sat by the bonfire  admiring the stars and listening to the symphony of  insects.

Dinners and celebrations on the porch

Monday morning breakfast of Fried Green Tomatoes! Thank you Emily and Virginia!

Tomatoes and Green Beans from the garden

 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

May in Vermont

Our waterfall with Katherine’s metal sculpture hanging overhead

Returning to Vermont each May is like coming home for Christmas. Instead of carols on the stereo, the sparkly tree, scented candles on the mantle and Grandma Cooper rolls, it’s the morning and evening song of the Woodthrush, chartreuse trees against blue sky, lily of the valley scenting the yard and a cold Smutty Nose beer on the porch. The haven of home and the excitement of celebration. As with the seasonal decorations and treats of Christmas, May’s springtime treats are put away to make way for summer. Instead of lilacs and lilies of the valley, we look forward to peonies and the perennial garden. The brightly colored Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and the melodic Wood Thrushes go off to nest, leaving the birdseed to the ever present Goldfinches and Chickadees.

Eft newt saying hello

Like a slow moving picture, the scenery and sounds evolve around our house and woods. Right now we are waiting for grass to grow on the scarred landscape, and the vegetable bed to produce leafy lettuce and fragrant herbs.

Lettuces in the raised bed with local marble slab

With luck, we will survive without a fence around the raised bed this year, since the deer and rabbits have not discovered the tender lettuce; however, one critter has already been digging around, and I suspect it is the furry woodchuck I saw saunter along the stone wall yesterday.

Sweet Woodruff in the shady bed

After studying my landscape books and consulting with my daughter, a future landscape architect, I planted a variety of foliage plants across the front of the house to hide the new cement foundation and basement window wells. I chose the blue-green and brightening yellow-green of hostas, Lady Ferns and Japanese Forest Grass along with several weeping and dwarf blue spruce shrubs.  Thinking the bed was shady all day long, I discovered the hot sun on my back as I planted each new purchase, praying I had not made a costly mistake. I noted the bed basked in hot sun for two hours.  Having done some on-line research, I am hoping regular watering and a layer of mulch will protect them. If not, I have another location I can move them to if I see yellowing, scorched leaves. Gardening is a process full of problem solving opportunities; nature provides variables that keep me involved, observing and adapting.  Even with all the garden-help books and on-line advice, risk is involved.  Perhaps we should place bets on the probability of sunburned hostas and hungry predators.

Hostas and ferns out front

During all the work on the house, we enjoy escaping to see friends and host family coming up for visits. Seeing our missionary friends from Madagascar, Todd and Patsy, was a delight this month. The rainy drive up to Burlington was worth the time together to catch up and share stories of family and missionary challenges.

Meeting up with missionary friends Todd and Patsy

Some weekends Joe and Virginia come up to recover from the fast pace of NYC and help out with projects around the house. Trips to farmers’ markets, hikes and museum visits provide vacation time for us all. Mass MoCA was an incredible museum experience for us in western Mass., our old stomping ground thirty years ago.  Who would have thought North Adams could transform itself in such a creative way?

Polly enjoying one of many Sol LeWitt paintings at Mass MoCA

Moving into June, we continue to supervise work on the house. Electrics, plumbing, windows and doors and insulation all continue as we prepare new space for living. We are learning patience, problem solving and how to use what we have in resources.

Lunch out with Ian, Virginia and Joe in North Adams

The transition from our urban life in Peru to our rural life in Vermont takes some time and emotional energy. Disengaging and reconnecting with people and place is intentional, and we want to ease out and back in as gracefully as possible, each time. To be honest, for me this requires God’s grace and times of quiet and prayer. Vermont provides that during these summer months, and in Peru, our apartment is a place of respite, too, especially in the early morning quiet.

This year we jumped right into the building project on our house and have had no time to ease into transition, but the excitement of the “new” has kept us energized. I think perhaps July will be a quieter time when we can muse and relax. Alongside building and digging in the dirt, we visit churches on Sundays to encourage congregations and clergy and to share about God’s work in Peru. Yes, it is possible to live in two worlds, but not simultaneously. I find myself praying for my Peruvian friends when they surface in my mind. Between those promptings and the internet, we keep in contact. When we return to Peru in September, we will pick up the threads of that life and re-connect, plug back in, and walk alongside. These seasonal times of transition require energy, cost money and take time, but for a few more years, it is worth it. Our Encore Years are precious, and we attempt to use what we know to share and work alongside people in both cultures, Peru and New England. Meanwhile, though missionaries in Peru, we also have a “retired” status and can make time for friends, family and celebrations. God is good and I give thanks every day for these incredible blessings of place, people, plants and critters!

Ian using original bricks to line the flower bed

Ian and Joe planting the boundary markers to mark the path

Designer moths that live on our property

Sipping tea and planting Columbine and Phlox

Heavy rain and marble-sized hail one evening alerted us to the need for more drainage and a gutter. Always adapting!

Cleo exploring the rafters of the woodshed

For the past 3 Memorial Day weekends, we have had Luna Moth visitors to our south porch. They come in the night, attracted by the porch light.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Gap Year Kids in Lima

Sarah with Children at the Santisimo Trinidad Pre-school

The Diocese of Peru has been blessed this year with five teens from England spending their Gap Year with the Anglican church in Peru.  Four women and one man, all around 18 years of age and heading to university in the fall of 2012 or 2013, they are an impressive group. Ian and I have enjoyed spending time with them over lunches, simple suppers and out in the field at the various locations where they are volunteering–schools, Compassion International sites, and mobile medical clinics.

Stefi with one of the helpers at Shalom, Bishop Godfrey and Ian

They live with Peruvian families so they can learn the language and local culture during their 6-9 month stay here in Lima. They came with a background of Spanish,  and were soon off and running in conversation with the youth of the diocese. During their stay, they have taken a few days off to travel and explore, but generally they are working 6-7 days a week within the churches and projects of the Anglican Diocese. Their smiles and laughter are contagious!

Gap Girls meeting with other youth leaders in the diocese

Whenever we sit down together over a cup of tea, I hear of another Gap Kid adventure.

Celebrating an afternoon together with Heidi and Stefi

The other night I heard of a painful visit to a local hospital. The reality of hospital beds lining the corridors and relatives propped in doorways to keep vigil hit one young woman hard. Witnessing the lack of comfort and the hardship of having to buy your own medicines and surgical supplies was shocking.  Despite the heart-wrenching glimpse of a Peruvian’s reality, my young friend knew her visit and prayer with the suffering woman was the right choice for that afternoon. She could have gone off to a music concert with friends, but instead she chose to heed the voice of God and do the hard thing. As she tearfully shared her experience, those of us listening were blessed by her description of the patient’s grateful response to her presence and prayers. Presence and prayers are a huge part of missionary life.

Heidi interprets for a visiting English mission team.

Another young woman shared about recent conversations with a member of her host family which have gone from criticism of her simple Christian lifestyle (are you an alien?) to discussions of values and vocation. After one honest discussion, the young man admitted that he didn’t really enjoy all those discos and drinks. A university student currently studying economics, he will need peers and mentors to reinforce what has begun, and that is where fellowship and the Christian community comes in; dare I call it Church?  We often talk about the challenges of working in a culture where the public education system is not teaching its young people to question and problem solve. It is teaching them to learn by rote and regurgitate for the exams. So we ask, what should be done? Who is going to present the challenges and encourage the questioning? Meanwhile, these Gap Kids are headed to the top universities in England and they are wondering too, what would God have me do with my life?

Heidi sitting with the older students at a Compassion Project at Christo Redentor

What has been the most difficult for the Gap Kids? As the surrogate auntie, I am always checking up on them to be sure they are resting, drinking plenty of water and eating enough fruits and vegetables. Despite the abundance of local produce here in Peru, the Peruvian diet is generally heavy on the starch: bread, rice and white potatoes, often served together with little green veg or fresh fruits. Fruit drinks are common, but contain loads of sugar. So when the Gap Kids come to my house for a meal, we whip together salads, steam some fresh vegies, cut up the tropical fruits and grill a healthy portion of chicken or beef. My traditional oatmeal-raisin cookies are a big hit for dessert. Being English, they always enjoy a good cuppa tea! With our own kids back in the U.S.,  Ian and I have enjoyed spending time with our surrogate offspring.

Ben is often out in the field with the Diocesan missionary doctor, measuring and recording children’s health statistics. Ben starts medical school this September.

Another area of struggle here has been the climate. The heat here in Lima is intense and augmented with high humidity. For some, this has been a problem. Drinking plenty of water is important and the wearing of sun screen, sun glasses and hats is imperative.

Stefi sharing with an English visiting team while at Shalom

This Sunday night the group is coming over for supper–probably meat on the grill and a big salad. I am considering brownies and ice cream for dessert. I want to quiz them about what has been their most rewarding event or experience here in Lima. Let’s see what they say!  Why would they leave their friends and family,  defer their studies for a year, struggle to raise the funds necessary to travel, and then work seven days a week in dusty,  poor locations? Has God called them? Are they fascinated with the Latino culture? What brings them here to Peru? These are questions I have been dying to ask.

After the brownies and ice cream, I asked, “So why Peru? Why a Gap Year?” The lively discussion began and wandered down several interesting paths. Several of the kids had contacts in Peru through friends or relatives, and they had always wanted to follow up on those interests. Others had heard about the projects here with the Anglican church that needed help–medical missions, schools, Compassion International, Shalom–a center for physically challenged children. One young woman wanted to immerse herself in a new culture to challenge herself. She even left her laptop with all the Facebook and Skype connections behind! Her Spanish is strong, so she was equipped for the test and she is passing with flying colors. Others echoed the desire for independence, striking out on their own. All had raised their own support and discovered that God does provide.

Sarah with a little one

The result has been more far-reaching than I would have thought possible in six months. One young woman stated, “Peru made me doubt everything about myself!” Having planned out an education path and career goals, she has now found them shaken. Ministry and youth work is drawing her attention, and with her people skills and creativity, I can see her doing well wherever she is involved with people. In this setting of Peruvian culture where every day is different and plans run awry, this group is finding each day requires fresh attention. Rarely does a day go as planned. They have found themselves dependent on God and on the people around them. The local Peruvians at their sites help them each day to know what to do, sometimes clearly and sometimes murkily; either way, the Gap Kids are learning to communicate, ask questions and relate to those around them. Fortunately, the church community is helpful and supportive. It has provided a home, part of the Kingdom of God. Though not always comfortable, it is safe and sufficient, and at times magnificent!

Micah 6:8 The Message: But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.

Ministry in Lima, step by step

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized