¨Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall RUN to you, BECAUSE OF THE LORD YOUR GOD, and of the Holy One of Israel, for HE has glorified you.¨ - Isaiah 55:5
Isaiah 55 was practically my theme passage when I came home from Peru last summer in my attempts to describe my time here last year. And this verse has kept coming back to my mind. It amazes me every time kids come running up to us and beg us to ¨sing that song about God¨ or ¨tell us another story from the Bible¨ - absolutely, we´d love to!
I´m constantly reminded of how God is drawing people to Himself just by our presence in Recuay. This work is NOT our own. It is not about us or our English classes or our goofy personalities. We want Him to be seen in everything we do.
And how beautiful is it, that when we go into schools, teachers ASK us to teach their students how to pray, to teach them virtues from the Bible, to teach them how to love God with all their hearts?! Our God is opening doors in amazing ways in Recuay.
And more than in Recuay - the Holy Spirit is moving all over the place - most notably in Utcuyacu. We go to teach English in the school there on Monday and Thursday, and we go for Bible study on Wednesday afternoons. The women and children in this village are absolutely HUNGRY for the Word. You can SEE it in their eyes. Three precious little girls meet me at the entrance to the village every time we go - Sarai (8), Lisett (7), and Elisabeth (4) - and they stick to me like GLUE, and this week as we taught the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and talked about the importance of worshipping the One True God and what it means to love Him with all our hearts, they asked me to teach them how to pray. So in my broken Spanish, I pray and they pray, too. And we talk about the Lord´s Prayer since they have it memorized and what it really means that God is our Father - hallowed is His name...
Even on the combi ride into Huaraz this weekend, some girls sparked a conversation with three of the 22 people on the bus and talked about what they do for enjoyment - what makes them happy. The two women responded that they loved going to parties where they could get drunk, dance, and worship images. The man responded that he was a believer, and he knew that those things were not glorifying to God. The women seemed to think that was a big joke. They laughed and said of course they worshipped God, too! But they also worshipped the trees and the rocks and the sun... We explained how we worship the Creator, and not the things He created.... how they should seek Him because He can satisfy them more than any party or drink ever could... but what lostness is here... Our eyes were opened really for the first time...
But please know - we summer missionaries are NOT in the least bit perfect. Our focus gets skewed by the things of this world even here in Recuay, Peru. REAP North focuses on planting churches in these areas in Peru, and while we have been teaching English classes for kids and using that as an opportunity to share the Gospel in stories, we haven´t necessarily been thinking about what that means in the future - how will these people continue to grow? So this weekend in Huaraz, we were encouraged to reach out to adults and young people. Some of the people from the church in Huaraz are coming this weekend on Saturday evening to lead a Bible study with us in hopes of starting a community of faith in this town that needs it so desperately. At the same time, we were reminded that this work is not our own. The Lord is moving. He will fight for us. We need only to be faithful, seeking His Spirit, obeying His Spirit, loving the people around us. And realizing that the more we are working for Him, the more we will NEED Him.
So pray for us. That we would be sober-minded and single-minded. Focused and alert. Seeking the Lord in every moment - making disciples AS WE GO - even on combi rides and market runs. Pray that the Holy Spirit would lead us to people who are ready to hear His Word and that He would draw them to Himself. That it would be obvious that this work is nothing of ourselves but all to bring glory to the God of the universe. May they never remember us if only they remember Him... He is the truly attractive One.