What an incredible three days so far in Recuay.
After a seemingly short 8-hour bus ride to Huaraz (thanks to Dramamine and an INCREDIBLE original story by the amazing Andrew Harper), we got settled into our hostel and went out to dinner in a city that is SO different from last summer I can´t even begin to explain it. Last year, Huaraz was a place of darkness and oppression... The spiritual warfare there was so PHYSICALLY evident... And this year - joy. light. peace. I´m constantly amazed at the difference prayer makes.
On Tuesday we took a combi (think 15-passenger bus with at least 22 crammed in) to Recuay - only about 30 minutes away - and as we were moving into our home for the summer, three little girls and two boys came up and said HOLA! and we introduced ourselves and said we were here for the summer to teach English and tell stories about Jesus. I asked if they wanted to hear a story right then, and they enthusiastically said YES! So, we plopped down on the curb and started telling the story of how Jesus told His disciples to let the little children come to Him. It was beautiful. They were spellbound. and I KNOW it wasn´t me and my broken Spanish. Praise the Lord for His Holy Spirit who gives us the words to say when we need it! We sang songs and danced and played a game with their volleyball (which we accidentally lost in the stream a couple of times) - that´s what ministry in Peru is all about. Just meeting people where they are and sharing stories of God´s love.
Our team dynamics are incredible. These girls have become some of my best friends already. We compliment each other and build each other up constantly. Each night we meet together for prayer and singing praise songs and debriefing the day. We have a Post-It note calendar on one wall of our living room area (and by the way - when I say living room, I mean, blank room with a blanket on the floor as our ¨sitting¨ area. Couches are noticably absent here.) and each day we take down the Post-It note for the day and write words that describe the day as a reminder of the SHORT amount of time we are here - to make the most of every moment.
And speaking of making the most of every moment, please pray that physical sickness and homesickness would NOT distract us from the work God has us here for. Several on the team have already been struggling with stomach problems and with sinus infections - it´s HOT during the day and FREEZING at night - and that makes focusing on the mission at hand pretty difficult. So pray! God has been so faithful already! Today we are ALL feeling so much better than yesterday thanks to PRAYER. So keep it up!
Also pray for our willingness to be uncomfortable. Peru is very different from the United States - in some beautifully refreshing ways and in some potentially distracting ways. It´s great to have such a laid-back atmosphere to serve in, but that also poses a challenge in being intentional and feeling like we´re not doing anything of importance some days. The sun is gorgeous here and the skies are almost always blue - but that also brings with it some pretty annoying sunburn. The food is delicious... but I´m sure you can imagine that it is pretty different from American food and therefore sometimes wreaks havoc on our systems. So pray that as we are uncomfortable we will remember that we are NOT called to comfort. The life of a disciple of Christ is not meant to be easy or painless. So pray we will DAILY deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him - whatever that means.
And pray for FOCUS. For the countless opportunities to serve here not to overwhelm us. That we would have discernment to SEE where God is working and JOIN Him wholeheartedly in that work. That we would not waste our time on vain pursuits but would run passionately after the Lord, desiring Him alone.
And this is my prayer for the summer - for us in Peru as well as for all of you... That we would sing as David did,
Oh God, YOU are MY GOD. Earnestly I seek You.
My soul thirsts for You.
My flesh faints for You as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live. In Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,
When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night.
For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to You. Your right hand upholds me.