Monday, March 28, 2011

Puzzle Pieces.....

This is something I've been meaning to do for quite a while (in our house, we call it a Ben-gonna). I've shared with some of you my journey over the past few years and some details about how I got to this place. But, I want to share with you even deeper, how incredible is our God. He paved the way for me to be here in Puno Peru. There is no doubt in my mind that He called me here and placed me here with His own hands. As I go back through my journals I see how rooted His plan is. And as I'm an open book, I'm literally going to open my book, my journal, with all of you to share how God has brought me here. Every now and then, I'll post a piece of my journal for you to read. I hope you are in awe and amazement of how our God works just like I am! - Tonight I happened to go through my old journal, a red leather journal my friend Adrienne gave me, looking for some notes. I came across an entry I wrote on my 23rd birthday which is a funny coincidence since today is Brooke's 23rd brithday! I also looked further ahead and found some entries where I was surrendering my future plans. As a 20something girl, of course boys and marriage were on my mind. And it had been 7 months or so after ending a 4 year relationship, I thought maybe I was ready for a new one, the real one. So as a younger (I'm still young!) girl with singleness on the mind and (as I found out recently from strengthfinders), a futuristic type, here is my journal and my heart in words. These are the beginning of many prayers of surrender as I have trouble giving things to God only to take them back, especially my plans for the future. - On Septmber 21st, 2008 I wrote... Today in Dad's sermon he was talking about a guy wo did Bible studies with the teens when my dad was a teen. This guy was about 75 years old and he had waked with You for many years but still found new inspiration in Your Word, inspiration enough to bring him to tears. I want that to be me! Help me to take a closer walk with You! I have to remind myself that I'm giving You control of my future. I have all these plans of getting married, having kids, etc. But I only want those things in the timing of Your perfect plan for me. And along the way, please comfort me and remind me it will be worth the struggle and the wait. - Also, a few weeks later on October 1st I wrote... Help me to use this time of being single to become a better woman in You and to prepare myself to be a good wife someday. I want to be single with a purpose. Being single now is Your will for me and I know I need to not use this time for daydreaming about the future, but to use this time to grow and learn in myself and my relationship with You. I surrender my single life to You! Help me to ue this time in my life to fulfill Your will for me! - I love it! I love looking back to see my thoughts and prayers. I love seeing how God works. He knew I needed to be single for this opportunity. A requirement of being a 40/40 is to be single. Hmmmm! And, I think its funny that I asked for comfort and a reminder that it will be worth the wait. Haha. Little did I know I'd be waiting so long! But I cannot take credit for the phrase, "Single with a Purpose". Because that phrase is the title of my favorite chapter in, When God Writes Your Love Story, that I had read around this time. That's just the beginning of the puzzle. God put all the tiny little puzzle pieces together for me to be here, He paved the road from Arvada to Puno with His own hands. And some of the workings are revealed in my journals, but so many, many more I will never know about or understand until the glorious day I enter His presence. - For all the single ladies....... 1 Corinthians 7:34 An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.

Monday, March 21, 2011



Drinking Starbucks is a rare event here! I haven't had a latte since I was home for Christmas and these guys hadn't had Starbucks since the last time we were in Lima for our residency process.
A beautiful sunset from the plane on my way to Lima.


I'm now an official Peruvian resident!


Franci and I climbing rocks in Huascar with an awesome view!
Stuck in the 50's
Glass bottles are still used here. Yep, just like the 50's!
Twice this week I've fallen on my bum. Once I was walking down a wet hill, slipped and fell right into dirty water. Then, the same week on the same street, I slipped on some gravel and fell on my bum again. Nothing is hurt, just my pride!
Clothes drying. We use a plant stand to dry our socks and undies.
Claudia, a 20 year old German girl who was traveling on the same bus as me a few weeks ago. Her backpack with her laptop, two computers and more was stolen while she was sleeping on the bus. I spent hours with her at the police station and had her stay at our house with us for a few days until she headed to Bolivia.

Nope, its not snow. It's actually summer here! This was a little hail-man these guys made after a hail storm one afternoon. This is the first "snowman" Franci has ever seen. She's actually never seen snow.

Street Food
Beware. No further comments.
More Falling
I was on a bus on our way back from Arequipa to Puno and I had to use the bathroom. It's a double decker bus. I went downstairs and used the bathroom. As I was pulling my pants up, the bus went around a big curve and I fell into the door which I didn't lock and fell out the door with my pants around my ankles. Luckily no one saw me!
This is a view from my bedroom of the party going on behind our house. And the other is the party happening in front of our house. The house behind the tent on the left is ours.
These ladies loved playing dress up with us! The skirt (pollera), shawl, and hat (sombrero) all together come out to about S/. 450; a very expensive outfit here as you can purchase jeans, a sweater and a baseball hat for S/. 40.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Yesterday Franci and I had a busy day in Yanamayo, which is a good thing! I love Tuesday's and Thursday's in Yanamayo because we have visits and I feel God working in these people. We arrived to our visit with Guillermo and Petronila, who accepted Christ into their hearts last Tuesday. Immediatley, I noticed Guillermo's pants were wet in a strange place. I'm positive he had peed his pants. Normally we sit outside the house when we visit Pertronila and Guillermo. It’s there where we chat and watch the hens and sheep graze the yard. But yesterday, they invited us in which is a huge step here in Puno! We even went into Guillermo's room. In his room was a bed, a table and chairs; it was almost as if it doubled as the dining room. The walls were plastered with old news papers and he had his initials, G.P.M. on everything. Literally, every chair, his table and more. But the best part of the whole room......on top of a shelf, above his bed, was the Bible we gave the family last week. Petronila cannot read at all but Guillermo can read well enough to manage. I was glad to see the Bible in the room and taken care of.


As we were sitting there, talking about the Bible, I was sad and frustrated. This man made an honest, heartfelt decision to follow Christ only a week ago. And now this week he admits to us that he had been drinking until late the night before and I assume this accounts for the pee pants. Puno is difficult. We just got over the Festival de la Candelaria a few weeks ago and now it’s the Carnaval, another excuse to party and drink. Guillermo admitted to drinking at a Carnaval party but didn't offer any more information. It’s not about drinking, or being drunk, or partying, it’s about falling back exactly where he was before the decision to follow Christ. It was about disappointment, about frustration, and about feeling responsible. I asked God, 'Am I not praying enough for our contacts? Am I not doing enough? Are we doing something wrong?' I felt like it was my fault (culpa, in spanish). But as I kept thinking and praying, I thought, maybe Guillermo felt bad that night while he was drinking, or maybe he thought twice before grabbing the bottle. Even though he still took it, and drank it and another one after that, the thought of him even making that small change from no thought at all as to whether this would gratify God to thinking about God. That's a baby step, but a step. And of course we all know, Rome wasn't built in a day. Being a Christ follower is a daily process, we are continually developing and it starts from the very, very bottom with these little baby steps.


After Guillermo and Petronila, Franci and I found a spot to eat our lunch with a beautiful view. There was a chill in the air but the view made up for it. After lunch we had to go to the bathroom. We walked about a mile to the public bathroom, a normal routine when we are out for more than 3-4 hours. We pay S/. 0.50 for toilet paper and the use of the toilet. Keep in mind it’s a unisex bathroom and there's no running water but big cans of water with buckets to "flush" the toilet and there is no such thing as a toilet seat. So we used the bathroom and walked back to another part of Yanamayo where we had a visit in about an hour. Since this week is the Carnaval one tradition, other than drinking, is to splash people with water or spray them with foam. As Franci and I were walking water splashed near us from the other side of the street. A young boy asked me if I had gotten wet; I thought he was concerned, haha, so naive. I told him no. Then he told me that he was going to get me wet! He started running after me with a bucket of water. I heard him getting close and stopped to turn around and face him because my camera was in my backpack and I didn't want to get my camera wet. At first he just splashed some water on me and I screamed. Then he dumped the whole bucket on me. The water was gone so I started running away again but he came back with a water gun. Again, I had to face him so he didn't get my backpack wet with my camera. I was soaked. Dripping and cold. Franci and I hopped onto a combi so I could go home and change. Three combis and a mototaxi later, we were back in Yanamayo and I was in dry clothes ready for the rest of our visits. I'm sure he soaked me because it’s a great story to tell his buddies, ‘I soaked a gringa today’. It’s ironic because on our walk to get a combi that morning, an older man passed us and bowed down to me and said his eyes saw a beautiful flower. That's not the first man that ha bowed down to me on the street because I'm white. I was thinking on our walk about how weird it is that sometimes it’s great to be a white person here. Some people treat you like royalty because you are white. But other people mess with you or over charge you or even don't like you because you are white. I got to experience both extremes in one day.

Here's where we ate our lunch. What a wonderful view!

Here I am soaking wet.


On to today. Today started out with tears and frustration as I dealt with my student loan company. Thanks to God, my mommy called me right as I was hanging up with the loan company. Perfect timing. I needed her right then to cry to and vent. So, the day didn't exactly start out well. But a bit later Franci and I went out to Huascar. We tried to visit a friend but she wasn't home. Then we tried calling three different contacts from our kids festival. Two didn't answer and one answered but told us for a second time that she is about to go on a trip. I've worked in insurance, I've done sales, I'm human.....that's code for 'I'm not interested'. Then we went to see if Janet was at home because she wasn't home on Sunday at the time she told us she'd be there. And, of course, she wasn't home again. That's more than 3 strikes! Franci and I were obviously frustrated. And the thought of culpa (fault), crept into my mind again. I thought again, 'Am I praying enough? Are we doing enough? Are we doing something wrong?'


I don’t really know how to end this. I don’t have a perfect verse or some awesome revelation. All I can say is that prayer, as always would be appreciated. Pray for Francisca and I. That we would be in communion with God, that we would let Him guide our every step. If He is guiding us, we cannot fail. And pray for the people in Huascar and Yanamayo that they would be open to hearing more about our Savior and His love and compassion for us. Pray for these names……Guillermo, Petronila, Teofilo, Carmen, Ana, Janet, Valeria, Nelly, Lola, Lucia, Paulino, Enma, and Candelaria.

Just a normal day in Puno.....a lady walking her llamas, giant pigs and muddy shoes!