Saturday, we went to a Bible study in Huancapampa, a little village about a 15-minutes´ walk from Recuay´s plaza. It was really the first time since I´d been here since I felt community and unity among Peruvians - it was our first real ¨church¨ experience and it was beautiful! The pastor was teaching about how Christ brings joy and peace and perseverance into our lives to a group of 10 or so men and women and probably around 25 children in a small building (with a squatty potty, by the way). Afterwards, we got to share the story of Jonah with the kids - true Bible storytelling style. My teammate Mary told the story twice (with help from Noemi) and then we acted out the story with the kids. Then I asked a few questions about what the story means, what we can learn about God and ourselves from the story, and how we can share the story with others. Then we asked a few kids to share the story in front of everyone else, and finally each of the kids got a chance to share the story with a partner. It. Was. Amazing. Truly putting into practice what we´ve been taught and teaching these kids to know the Word, believe the Word, obey the Word, and share the Word.
Sunday was another absolutely gorgeous day of community. We went with Humberta to a church where her friend goes. This friend is one of the very first believers in Recuay. How beautiful is that?! We sang songs in Spanish (learning the tune as we go), Jordan shared her testimony that was so encouraging and beautiful, the pastor read Psalm 33 - Let all the earth fear the Lord and all the inhabitants of the earth stand in awe of Him!!! - and Humberta´s friend basically prophesied over us. She read Psalm 133 about brothers living together in unity and encouraged us that we will share the Word - that it will go out on different types of soil but that it will yield a harvest of 30, 60, and 100 times as much - it will not return void but will complete everything that God intends for it to do. BEAUTIFUL. And we sang How Great Thou Art in Spanish. One of my favorites. :)
Then Monday, we started the craziest of the crazy weeks so far. We sent a group to Otcoyaco to set up our teaching English classes in the schools there twice a week, and the rest of us washed clothes - by hand. :) We went to the school in Recuay to teach English - first graders (which is the American equivalent of kindergarteners) - and boy what a challenge that was! Ha! Even for the elementary education major, it was tough. Then we had a kids´club on our street for kids who wanted to learn English and Bible stories, and five kids came, so we shared the story of Jonah again, and it was so great to see even more kids learning the story!
Today, we taught second graders who had not had a teacher all day at school. Can you imagine six and seven year olds who have been on their own all day sitting down to learn words and phrases in English? Mmhmm. Neither can I. But by the grace of God, it happened. They listened. They learned. It was incredible!!! We were so thankful!
And BEST PART - later today we went to another village across the river - by crossing a swinging cable bridge - TERRIFYING - and Olivia shared a Bible study in the middle of a bean field about the Beattitudes - how Jesus turns our worldview upsidedown - so beautiful. There was a 14-year-old girl there named Miriam. Olivia asked if she knew the story of Jesus - she answered no. So Olivia shared the Gospel with her, how she could have a relaitonship with God through Jesus Christ, and she asked if Miriam wanted to pray to accept Christ. Miriam did. So Miriam prayed. Mmhmm. Today is the day of salvation - in the middle of a field on a mountainside in Peru. I asked Miriam what she thought about the story of Christ and about the decision she had made. She said that she thought it was beautiful - how true, sister. So I shared with her the things that I find most beautiful about relationship with God - how the God who created the stars in the sky loves US so much that He wants to be in communion with us all the time. How He wants us to know Him through His Word. How He wants to know our every thought, everything in our hearts, and how we can trust in Him and pour out our hearts to Him because He is our refuge. We encouraged her to start reading the book of John to learn more about Christ, and she said she would. So pray! Pray that we would continue this relationship with Miriam, showing her what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Pray that she would continue to work out her salvation, seeking to know the Lord and love Him with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. And pray for her family - that they would support and encourage her decision to follow Jesus.
The rest of this week, we have much more to do - more classes to teach, more Bible studies to lead, and finally a weekend off with Mindy at Llanganuco - some beautiful lakes about two hours from here. So pray for rest for the team - that we would take advantage of time to spend in the Word while still being intentional about reaching out and building relationships around where we live. We saw Elida and Nelly (the girls we met on our first day here) today, but didn´t get a chance to hang out for long.... so pray that we would treasure these precious relationships with these kids, knowing Jesus Himself desired for the children to come to Him. And pray that we would be faithful in spreading His Word and obeying His Word, becoming disciples more and more ourselves. Most of all, pray that our focus would stay on Him, that we would stand in awe of who He is and how much He loves us...