Saturday, July 31, 2010

Coming home

Well friends. I'm coming home. as skeptical as some of you were about that, it's really happening. and I'm pretty excited about it! So. Pray for safe flights and patience with crazy flght plans. Pray that what we've learned this summer we will continue to put into practice on the plane and for the rest of our lives. See you all soon! So long, Peru... Que Dios le bendiga...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

porque Èl vive

Porque él vive (Because He lives)
Triunfarè mañana (I will triumph tomorrow)
Porque él vive (Because He lives)
Ya no hay temor (There´s no more fear)
Porque yo sé (Because I know)
Que el futuro es suyo (That the future is His)
La vida vale más y más solo por Él (Life is worth more and more, only because of Him)

I can´t sing this song here or in the United States without crying, but especially this summer ´´Because He Lives´´ has taken on new meaning for me. Because HE lives, I will TRIUMPH tomorrow - not just make it through. I have the VICTORY because of Christ Jesus. Because He lives, there is no more fear - for God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of POWER and of LOVE and of SELF-DISCIPLINE. Because I know that my future is not mine - it is HIS and His alone - that´s what makes life worth more and more, day by day.

Today we went to visit a mother who lost her 17-year-old son Elmer this April to a bone disease. Two of her other children are in our English classes here in Yungay, and the church from Jesup, GA, that has adopted Yungay became really close with her family before Elmer passed away. This morning, she took us to Campo Santo to visit her son´s grave. In the shadow of this huge mountain and an enormous statue of Jesus with open arms, we sat and prayed with her, asking God to comfort her and her family. Elmer became a Christian pretty soon before he died, and we have confidence that He is in the presence of the Lord, and all I could think of as we prayed was this song - Porque Él vive...

God has been so faithful this summer. He has provided everything we needed - and so many extra blessings on top of it all. While at times it hasn´t been easy - with sickness and discouragement and difficulty with language - this summer has been an experience I will never forget. (I write like this will be my last post - which I highly doubt. I guess I´m just in a comtemplative mood.) I have learned that there is a HUGE difference in our romanticized view of missions and the real deal. There is a HUGE difference between going and making CONVERTS and going and making DISCIPLES. There is a HUGE difference between self-pity/self-centeredness and the self-sacrifice and mercy Christ calls us to. Living life with people here, sharing stories, sharing faith - that´s what missions is all about. Sharing that because HE lives, life is worth more and more - only because of Him.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

oh, how í´m going to miss this place...

So. Today after a PACKED class with THIRTY-FIVE KIDS in Yungay, the girls were telling us goodbye, and I´m pretty sure I´ve never gotten so many kisses on the cheek in my life! Shayle, Karen, Estephanie, Madeleine, and several others kept hanging on for dear life, begging us not to go. AAARRRRGGGGHHH. As if I haven´t been crying enough the past few days anyway!

Every time I even think about the fact that we leave Yungay a week from today, I break down in tears. These kids have stolen my heart. And not just the kids - I don´t know how in the world I´m going to be able to leave Joel and Hilda and Maria and Alice and Manuel and all the other brothers and sisters in the church here. I love Peruvian culture. I love taking all morning to cook lunch (to be served at 2 p.m.). I LOVE buying chicken from the meat market where you know that chicken was alive moments before they bag it for you. I love spending 30 American cents for 2.2 pounds of bananas. I love kids reprimanding me for not knowing how to play volleyball. I love learning how to play jax in the middle of the street in front of the church with a group of girls. I love fasting and praying with a group of believers in the church - urgently petitioning the Father for the lives of His children in Peru. I love seeing people come to know the Lord personally - be it through a medical campaign or through English classes or through visiting a restaurant every single day for ice cream and juice.

And yet I know there is still so much more back at home. I know the same things I´m doing here can be put into action in Louisville, Mississippi. This discipleship thing doesn´t end when I set off the plane in the US of A.

So, again, my friends, I ask you to pray. Pray for the 300+ people who came to the medical clinic yesterday and heard the Gospel - some for the first time. Pray for the kids in our classes here in Yungay and Mancos - for the faithful ones and for the newbies who are hearing the stories of Jesus and His love. And pray for us, that God will continue the work He´s started here (including the work in our own lives) and that the joy of the Lord will be our strength as we struggle to say goodbye - or at least hasta luego.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


July 14. Only 13 days left in Yungay. 17 in Peru. Learning to count my days and make my days count.

Since Friday, so much has happened I can barely remember it all! Saturday´s class was great with more kids than we expected and a hilarious rendition of Jonah, thanks to one of our students, Kevin. Cool kid. After class we all had time to ourselves (thank goodness) and I took the most amazing nap I think I´ve ever had. Praise the Lord for times of refreshing in the middle of a crazy summer.

Sunday, there was a group of workers from EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND at church - they were working with the orfanato in Ongo - and one of the girls offered us ´´sweeties´´ - toffee covered chocolate from MARKS AND SPENCERS. oh my goodness. I´ve never missed the UK more. haha! The service Sunday was great and so encouraging - Ángel spoke about bearing fruit as believers and really challenged me to allow the Lord to prune from me things that are preventing me from bearing fruit - things like my own selfishness and my own ideas of the ways things should work, my control-freak habits. In the evening service Sunday, JUAN LUIS and his mom came. (Reminder, Juan Luis was hit by a car several weeks ago and has a cast on his leg and a plate in his head after two brain a five-year-old.) We gave him two balloons from the going-away party to take home for himself and his sister, and the kid BURST into the most beautiful laughter I´ve ever heard. He began hitting us all with the balloons and practically ROLLING with giggles. Best. Sound. Ever.

Monday we went to Huaraz to buy some supplies and do some touristy shopping - just to have a break for a while - and I got to eat some very amazing, very Panera-esque tomato soup. YUM. We came back to Mancos for class and had a great time acting out the story of Joseph with the kids, and we all went to bed uncharacteristically early because TUESDAY, we had a new arrival of teammates!

Kelsey, Karly, and Blake arrived in Anta (40 minutes away) by plane at 6:30 a.m. and their translator Marina came to Yungay at 6 - and after much craziness with lack of keys for the gate and lack of money for the comvi ride, we FINALLY got everyone back in Yungay together. And this is going to be a GREAT couple of weeks. Karly and Blake are from the church in Georgia that has adopted Yungay for the next several years, and so it is INCREDIBLY encouraging to know that they will be around to continue the work that God has allowed us to have a part in this summer. Kelsey is from Mississippi (and we know so many of the same people, it´s crazy) and she has felt a call to come to Peru for YEARS and is finally here, after a change of plans or two, of course.

Class yesterday went so very very well (scarily well, if you ask me!) and we taught food words in English and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - great times. After class was probably my favorite part, though. I stayed around to hang out with some of the girls and got to teach them the BOOM SNAP CLAP. wiki wiki word. Absolutely hilarious. (and yet i´m pretty sure i cried. but that´s not important.) I also got to talk with Geral, Jennifer, and Lupe about their classes in preparation for their first Communion in the Catholic church here. Lupe said she´s not a part of that church and she asked me what is required to come to the Baptist church - absolutely nothing, friend! Come on! So, please pray for Lupe and her family - pray that she will have a greater desire to know more about the Lord and come Sunday. Pray also for the girls going through catechism. Pray that these classes will draw them closer to the Lord, that they will see His greatness outside of the tradition of the church here. Pray that they will seek Him for who He is and not out of empty tradition.

And despite all of the amazing things going on here, this is still a struggle. There are times when it would be so much easier to ignore what God is doing and just want to go HOME. Another prayer request - my dad´s dad (PawPaw Cockrell) is in the hospital with some complications from prostate cancer and my parents have gone to Slidell to hang out with him. As lighthearted as they have been about this, it kind of freaks me out a little bit, honestly. I never thought I would be so torn about wanting to be HERE AND THERE at the same time. So, following the example of my beautiful friends who have been so open about their struggles, I ask for your prayers for myself. It´s around this time in the summer when the exhaustion sets in. This is not easy. I know that like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I´m not alone in the flames. But please pray that my prayers for more dependence on God would be answered in obedience on my part, and NOT in rebellion. I am here to serve the Lord, not to be served myself. Pray that I would be humble, that relationships with teammates would continually be peaceful and harmonious (SO TOUGH with 10 girls living together in such close quarters) and that we would ALL seek to serve God wholeheartedly. Pray especially for our new teammates, that they would find places to jump in and serve.

We also have a church group from Georgia coming July 16-20 AND a medical campaign July 19, so please pray for organization, for the Lord to draw people to Himself.

Whew. Long post. Only two weeks left. Pray that we would make the most of every opportunity, that we would finish the race with perseverance.

Friday, July 9, 2010

sad day.

well. today was our last day with Los Magnificos. saddest day ever. but it is SO good to know that God´s plans are so much higher than our own.

Tuesday - class. amazing! taught about the life of Moses from birth to the Red Sea with student involvement (SO FUN) and mucho más.
Wednesday - class in Mancos and great Bible study time back in Yungay - Juan Luis´s dad came! Reaching out to kids most DEFINITELY draws their families, too! Before now, he hasn´t been open to the Gospel at all... and now he´s attending church on his own - seeking to know the Lord... incredible. Juan Luis also went to the doctor Thursday to get his cast off his leg. Hooray!
Thursday - class in Yungay - taught David and Goliath - HILARIOUS. audience participation is the way to go. Kids are learning. They are sharing with others. And they are seeking to know more!! Afterwards, we girls decorated the church for a going-away party for the guys and Hilda and Maria set up the food - chocolate-manjarblanco-chocolate-fudge cake, lemon pie, arroz con leche (which is like rice pudding) and mazamorra morada (YUM) with chicha morada to drink. DELICIOUS. and we girls dressed up like Los Magnificos and presented our favorite catchphrases in skit form. Boy, are we going to miss those guys.
Today - last lunch with the guys - LOMO SALTADO, of course - and sent them off to Huaraz, then Lima, then the JUNGLE. PRAY for them - not only that eating monkey and bathing in the river doesn´t kill them, but that they will reach people who have never heard with the Gospel. Went to Mancos after and taught class and had Bible study with Alice and her family. And now. Mac and cheese for dinner.

But WAIT! There´s MORE!

Kelsey Kern from Mississippi is joining our team in Yungay next week! WOOT WOOT! As are two(?) girls from Georgia! Hurrah! God still has plans for Ancash. I can´t wait to see what the next two weeks have in store.

And that brings up another problem. We only have two weeks left. Seven classes in Yungay. Six in Mancos. And I cried today when the GUYS had to say goodbye to the kids. This is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do... leaving in God´s hands the things I don´t know, the things I can´t control... praying for Maria (Hilda´s sister) and her continual work with kids in this area... praying for the kids and their continued discipleship... praying that the plans GOD has for us will be the plans we follow - not the plans we make for ourselves.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July... personality tests... amazing pictures... and sheep´s stomach

Happy belated Indepedence Day, friends and family. By the way - I apologize for the lack of exclamation points and parentheses in this blog since the keyboard I am currently using is malfunctioning. Lame.

Yesterday was a phenomenal Sunday. After a great worship service, we loaded a comvi to Huaraz, about an hour and a half ish away, and had a cook-out with several missionaries serving around Ancash Province this summer. There were several missionary couples working with Wycliffe, translating the Bible and other material into Quechua, and a group of students from a Mennonite college in Indiana serving this summer as a part of their requirements to graduate - what a requirement. AAAAANNNNNNDDDD there were REAL American hot dogs and hamburgers and SALAD - oh how I´ve missed salad - and congealed salad which Rachel from Ohio made fun of me for calling it that but hey - that´s the Mississippi word - AAAAAAANNNNNNDDDDD the most beastly intense desserts in the world - chocolate cake, mud cake, chocolate ice cream, and homemade hand-cranked vanilla. Oh. My. Goodness. I understand that annoying commercial about ´´I´d give my right arm for some homemade ice cream´´ now. So stinkin good.

But besides the food, getting to hang out and be encouraged and encourage others was definitely worth the dusty, cram-packed comvi ride. The missionaries there challenged us to rely on God´s daily grace. They encouraged us that when service becomes difficult, trust in the Lord, pray like nothing else, and put on the FULL armour of God. What a blessing they were for us.

And on the way back, our team had a GREAT time of unifying personality tests. The whole cube-ladder-horse-flowers-desert test was the hugest hit. I loved it. And really gained some insight about my teammates. MC friends, there is another sugar cube in this world. Absolutely hilarious. For those of you who have never tried the test, look it up online. It´s completely worth your time.

Today, we took a trip to Campo Santo, the site of Old Yungay before it was completely destroyed in 1970 by an avalanche. It definitely made me second-guess my prayers for earthquakes, considering that´s what caused the avalanche. Thankfully, New Yungay where we´re serving is sheltered from Huascarán by a ´´protective knoll.´´ Yungay was once bigger than Huaraz, the capital of the province, but was LEVELED during the afternoon of May 31. Only a few children survived who had gone to a circus just a little down the road, and some of the townspeople managed to climb up to the cemetery that is built on a hill. They survived for two weeks without food because they couldn´t climb down from the cemetery because of the devastation. There was nowhere to go. Tragic, tragic story. And we actually met one of the survivors who still lives there and tells his story to tourists who come. Being at Campo Santo made me think of Nehemiah and his mourning over the broken walls of Jerusalem. Yungay has been rebuilt. And now the Lord is rebuilding its people, restoring to them the JOY of His salvation, and reminding them that His JOY will be their strength. Traditions are empty. Life is empty without the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Word that was in the beginning. Seeing kids like Jorge and Shayle and Lourdes and Lenny and Estephanie and Julio UNDERSTANDING and FOLLOWING... What a reminder that the JOY of the Lord is our strength.

And just for fun, after the tour, I bought a pair of Miss Frizzle earrings for future classes about Peru and the Incas and however else I can incorporate them - it´s going to be good - AND we went to a restaurant for lunch and tried SHEEP STOMACH. It´s not too bad... if you can get past the color... and the smell... and the texture.

Keep us in your prayers - and not just for the sheep stomach thing. Pray that God will continue to draw kids and teenagers to our classes. Pray that they will have a huge desire to learn His Word. And pray for unity and encouragement for our team. The guys head out Friday back to Lima to catch a plane to Iquitos to research the jungle - much different than sweet precious small-town Yungay.

And for those of you serving other places this summer, know that I am praying for you all. Never forget that the JOY of the Lord is your strength. Don´t be anxious about anything - but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And His PEACE that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I love you all. One more month til we reunite. Make the most of every moment.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Yes, my friends and family. God answers prayers (even the ones that no one but me prays). Two nights ago, there was a 4.7 earthquake in Northern Peru (thanks to the subduction zone located off the coast of Peru) and I TOTALLY FELT IT! Awkwardly enough, I was in the bathroom getting ready to take a shower (terrifying idea to be taking a shower during an earthquake, I must admit) and as soon as I felt it, I RAN out of the bathroom and asked Noemi (our wonderful translator) if she felt that! Sure enough, she said it was an earthquake! And as excited as I was about it, she humbled me a bit by reminding me that the town in which we are currently serving was completely destroyed by an earthquake 40 years ago... that there are probably people somewhere in Peru or elsewhere dealing with the aftereffects of this ´´cool experience´´ for me... :( ouch. But. From the looks of the National Earthquake Information Center, no damage done. A 4.7 isn´t that terrible of an earthquake - actually a ´´tremor´´ and not really even a real earthquake here - and the girls in Iquitos who were actually closer to the epicenter than I am didn´t even feel it. Sigh. But really. Such a cool experience. Plus, there are SO MANY VERSES in the Bible that talk about the ends of the earth (including the MOUNTAINS) TREMBLING because of the Lord´s holiness. Pretty cool to FEEL that firsthand.

The past few days have been pretty great. God has been blessing the class in Mancos like nobody´s business - FORTY-SIX KIDS THERE FRIDAY! Our class today was pretty great, too! Told the story of Joseph through pictures and the kids GOT IT - even before we told them the point, they figured out that the reason God blessed Joseph was because Joseph was following the Lord. Reading Romans 8:28 fits so well with that story, too... And it has been so nice to have more missionaries here - the kids LOVE playing futbol after class - and that probably draws more of them than learning English ever could. Who wouldn´t want to play soccer with over 6-foot-tall American guys?? Teaching David and Goliath is going to be AMAZING with Kyle here - he towers over these poor kids (and painted the ceiling of the church without a ladder. beast.) and they LOVE all the guys! Pretty unfair to us girls, but what can we say.

Keep up the prayers for more discipleship and for continued encouragement for the team. We got an email update from MS BSU reminding us that these weeks in the middle of the summer can be the toughest for discouragement and homesickness... especially around our Independence Day. So pray for a renewed sense of Spirit and UNITY, and pray that God would get the glory in the work we do for Him here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


What a week.

Ok, first of all, for you MC people, imagine the boys team like this -
Sam = Dylan McLemore (amazingly great radio voice, history major, great storyteller)
Daniel = Jake Cole (no words)
Kyle = Kevin LaFoosh. Yes. PLUS hilariousness.
So obviously, that is fun.
The girls are also INCREDIBLE - no MC look-alikes, but they´re great!
Also, MC folks, new game - HUMANS vs. ZOMBIES - from what I can tell, it´s the equivalent of the most epic Nerf war ever with arm or head bands to distinguish humans from zombies. And this should definitely happen as soon as August comes around.

Now, for the rest of you who may or may not have any idea what I´ve been talking about, ministry here has been INCREDIBLE. Our God is so faithful.
Saturday the guys arrived - in Caraz - a twenty minute drive away. So they had to catch a taxi. But when they FINALLY got here, we stayed in the kitchen forever (reminiscent of London) talking about their adventures all over Peru.
Sunday, we wore sunglasses to church in celebration of Sunglasses Day of course and welcomed the TONS of kids who came to meet the gringos. Great day. Watched Argentina beat Mexico in the World Cup - which meant Joel had to do the dishes. Fun times. The girls arrived around 4 p.m. and then we went back to church for prayer service and an AMAZING message about Abraham sacrificing Isaac. God has been changing my plans all summer, and there´s so much more to tell...
Monday we all had devotion together over splendid panqueques and then loaded up and headed to Mancos to pass out advertisement-y things for the new class there - met SO MANY KIDS - and got to ride in a tinted windowed truck with a bunch of Peruvians... and me. the gringa. wonderful. especially because one of the Peruvians was Alice Alegre - the most wonderful Peruvian lady over 50 - I´m convinced. She is also sending me home with seeds to plant the amazing yellow pepper that is in EVERYTHING YUMMY here. So I love her a lot. a lot a lot.
Anyway, Monday night we all rode a taxi up to Mancos (yes, all of us in ONE taxi. that´s Hilda, Noemi, me, Krista, Alexis, Kyle, Sam, and one taxi.), had Bible study under the most breathtaking stars in the world, and walked back down the mountain, slipping only a few times. I´ve gotten quite good at catching myself before I fall. It´s pretty great.
Tuesday, we had class - good times! Fewer kids, but they were our faithful ones - and we taught about Abraham and God´s promises to Him (with ACTING from our new friends - completely hilarious) and the kids really got it! We sang Father Abraham complete with motions, which is much more difficult in Spanish when you have to fit MANO DERECHO where you usually say RIGHT HAND. Yeah. SEEEEEVVVVEEEERRRAAAALLL more syllables there.
Yesterday, first class in Mancos. THIRTY-FOUR KIDS. Not even kidding. It was CRAZY WONDERFUL. God drew them in. We acted out the seven days of creation and taught how to say MY NAME IS and such things... Good times. Church last night was great - prayer time! And Hilda´s sister Maria is here now as a missionary for two years, and she and I can be friends. She has a HUGE heart for India and is praying for God´s timing to send her there. She just has to become fluent in English first. So. We´re going to work on that. How GREAT is it that God has me HERE this summer - not in India as I had planned - and I MEET a kindred spirit who has the same passion and desire for the people there... our God is so good.
Anyway, today we have class again at 4 and then Friday class in Mancos. So keep praying, friends! We are witnessing the fruit of your prayers!
It is also so incredibly good to have a bigger team here! Kyle has been playing soccer with the kids outside our hotel and I got the chance to talk with a five-year-old little girl too while the boys were playing, and it´s just GOOD. Spanish fluency is coming bit by bit. And God´s Spirit is providing words. Keep up the prayers!
I love you all! Can´t wait to share more soon! (And I´m definitely cooking Peruvian food once I get home... but maybe after a few weeks. I´m pretty sure I´ll never need to eat more rice. Ever.)
Until the whole world hears...