I’m BACK! As most of you know, I spent November 7-16 in Lima, Peru, doing mission work with my church. It was a long, hard trip – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually exhausting – but I’m so glad I went.
You always go into these trips thinking you’re going to be helping people out. And you do – but you also get a lot out of it as well. These trips always teach me perspective – you often get bogged down by your “troubles” (I say that in quotes because they’re always blown out of proportion, never as bad as they seem), but then when your eyes are opened to the world around you, you realize things aren’t so bad. In fact, you have it pretty good.
That’s definitely what I walked away from this trip with. A sense of perspective, a thankful heart, joy and some accomplishment. Yes, I was able to help out a lot of people – but they also helped me. You really can’t put trips like these into words, but the photos speak volumes.
Here are a few of the highlights from the trip:
1. The plane rides. You think a 6 hour, 18 minute flight sounds sucky? Not if you have your own TV screen and a choice of AWESOME movies. That really made time fly!
2. The American people. Yes, the people I went to Peru with were great! They were really funny and full of great stories – but my favorite American person was my roommate, Clara. She’s my new adopted mom!
3. The Peruvian people. These are some of the warmest, most friendly and loving people I’ve ever met. We were always greeted with love and affection, and told goodbye with lots of squeezy hugs. A SPECIAL love goes out to the translators we had every day – Jhonatan, Linda, Adrianna, Oscar and Miguel. These guys are SO SO SO fantastic, and really love Jesus. I wish I could have brought them home with me!
So what did we do every day, you ask? Each morning, we drove an hour and a half to Pachacutec, a really, REALLY poor area about an hour and a half north of Lima. We hiked sand mountains (LITERALLY) to tell people about Jesus and invite them to church. In the afternoons, we held Bible studies at the church and in church members’ homes. Then, we held healthy lifestyle and healthy parenting classes before hopping back on the bus, traveling non-paved and insanely busy streets until we arrived back at the hotel. One day, we did an evening service in the middle of the gang-infested heart of Lima – that was scary, yet awesome. I gave my testimony that night, which I’d never done before in front of a group of people. And on the Sunday we were there, we attended a Spanish church service in Pachacutec – and I was asked (told) to lead worship. You guys know I can’t sing a lick, but I got up there and did my best! Plus, these people may never see me again (until we get to heaven, when I will totally be a great singer because our faults will be erased), so it’s all good!
You’ve probably also heard that 5 our of the 8 people in my group came down with SEVERE food poisoning. It was NOT pretty. Thankfully, neither I nor my roommate were among the sick – thank you JESUS! By the last day of the trip, they’d recovered enough to go sightseeing and make the long flight home. HOORAY!
During our trip, lots of people gave their lives to Jesus. We talked with hundreds of others. We heard from a missionary about his plans for the further reach to Lima. We heard a choir of Peruvian women sing in a private girls’ German Catholic school – they sang a song written by a Frenchman, in Latin. How’s that for culture?! And we all came back a lot more thankful than we left. How appropriate for this time of year!