Thursday, July 2, 2009

Change of Plans...

We all know what it is like to make a plan and then to discovery nothing we planned is going "according to plan." When you are overseas that is compounded and it never fails that in the weakness of my plans God shows himself to be faithful and strong. The first half of the summer was planned to consist of village visits to  Vilcas Huaman, Huancopi, Andamarca, and Bella Union. We actually visited Matucana, Cordova, and Bella Union. It went much different than planned E. Coli and strikes could not have been foreseen by our team-- but we all hold fast to the truth that they were ALL seen and known and planned ultimately by a loving God for our good and sanctification. I cling tightly to Psalm 31:15 that says "My times are in your hands." Whether in the aspects of my daily life and ultimately in my death my times and life are in the hand of an infinite God.

I ended the last written blog on June 10th stating we were headed back to the bus station and heading to Vilcas Huaman-- That was not where we ended up. As we climbed back in a taxi and headed across town at 7pm the night of the 10th our team prayed in the car for wisdom and direction.  We knew it was a possibility that the bus may not run at all and the strike may continue on, but we also knew that sometimes the buses don't know ahead of time that the strike won't end at it's "designated" end time and so they get on the road only to get stopped at road blocks and either have to turn around or wait it out there on the road. We wanted badly to be in Vilcas Huaman but didn't want to go if it wasn't where God wanted us. After praying and then arriving at the bus terminal we were informed that the buses were not leaving because the strike had not ended. We then contacted Mike Weaver to make a decision about trying to head somewhere different that night. We decided to go to Ica (5 hours south) so that we could be in a more strategic place to head out the next day. We arrived in Ica at about 2 am and the pastor and his wife graciously opened their door to us to rest our tired heads. 

In Lima at the bus station waiting to find out where we would go when we learned the strike had not ended

In Ica at the pastor's house about to leave for Cordova

The next day it was decided that we would head up the mountain to Cordova-- if you look at week 2 & 3 pictures you can see photos from our trip up the mountain as well as how gorgeous it was from the top. Although our time in Cordova was shorter than expected it was a great time to get to know the summer team that is there-- they are from Kentucky and so it was good to talk about places we all knew about in KY. We spent a lot of time praying in that village- praying for the summer team as they minister, praying for the few believers that are there -- that they would rise up as leaders among their people, and praying for the hearts of those so desperately searching to find hope and meaning for their lives. Cordova also provided an amazing opportunity for a LONG 3.5 hour hike.  Kristen and I set out and got to explore some but mostly stuck to the path-- we hiked to the next village.  We spent the first hour basically in silence- both just needing a little quiet, reflective time.  The next 2.5 hours we spent talking what God was teaching us, the use of financial resources in the lives of believers, and a fair amount of time discussing what transition will look like for Kristen as she heads back to the states in August after having served in Peru for 2 years. Upon leaving Cordova we returned to Ica and got to spend some time with the pastor and his wife. We also had the blessing of spending time with those in their local faith family.  We played volleyball in the street with the kids on Saturday evening and Sunday we had the opportunity to teach Sunday School. They asked us to teach on Matt 7:7-11 God used that passage about asking your Father in heaven for things and him giving you good gifts to teach me a lot during that time. It was a strong reminder that God is faithful and good.

One of the joys of Peru is getting to sit close... this station wagon had 8-- us 4 in the back seat 2 + driver in the front and an older gentle in the hatch back.

The view on our hike... it was breathe-taking

Kristen's dad and younger brother had the opportunity to come and travel with us for a week. They arrived on the 15th and were here until the 22nd. We spent the time they were here in Bella Union which is about a 9-10 hour trip south of Lima. Bella Union is literally one LONG street-- it seems to go on forever. I believe it is about 4-5 miles long. The summer team in Bella Union-- Kyle, Adam, and Amelia-- were such a HUGE encouragement to us and our team. Two of them are in college and one graduated this past May. They each have a strong desire and passion to minister to the people of this village and a faith and belief that God is mighty and they want to be spent on serving these people. We were able to do 2 formal training sessions with the believers there-- teaching on what it means to be the church looking at Acs 2:42-47 and then praying and thinking through what it would look like if a church planting movement began in their village. They were eager to learn and listen-- a few of the believers in that village are so passionate about sharing the gospel and what they are learning. I treasure the times of meeting with them as a house church-- singing songs with just our voices and clapping, seated around in a circle studying God's word, and then sharing with one another ways we can be obedient to what God is teaching us. We left Bella Union excited about the work there and encouraged by the summer team there.

Heading out to invite people to bible study and to minister to the people

Soccer or futbol is huge in Bella Union- Friday nights the guys in the village come out to play. We supported them even though we were freezing!

We returned to Lima to take Kristen's dad and brother to the airport-- we also had the opportunity to celebrate Kristen's birthday a few days early while her family was here.

Kristen's favorite gift as a child was still a hit at 24-- Glitter Girl finger nails.

It is hard to believe but Mid Summer has come and gone. The 130 of us convened in Naska for debriefing. We were there the 26-29.  It was an amazing time of hearing about the work God is doing among the people of Peru and also to hear how God is changing and molding the hearts of the college students who are here serving. It was also an opportunity for us to worship together (thanks to Hayes, Solomon, and Kyle) as well as share meals and some good long conversations.

Tonight, Micah (Kristen's fiancee), some of the youth from his youth group in texas, and April Ciervo (one of my best friends from college who now lives in San Marcos, CA) are coming to spend a week ministering to the people of Huangascar and 2 surrounding villages. We are excited for them to arrive and excited to be back out in a village.  There will be a total of 26 of us traveling and we will be split between the 3 villages. We ask for your prayers and pray that we would be used of God during this week.  

As of today it is 32 days till I return. There are lots of mixed emotions about this. I miss each of you terribly but am really content and grateful for this opportunity. God continues to amaze me with His grace and continues to sustain me. 

Love you all! Thank you so much for the prayers!


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