Thursday, December 22, 2011


Tuesday night prayer services continue to amaze me, bring me joy and remind me of God’s faithfulness.  This week, on a cold and rainy Tuesday night we had five adults, one teen and six kids in the church!  Wow, I am often overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness!

Bur really, I want to tell you about the prayer service we had last Tuesday.  Again, Franci and I waited for the clock to read 6pm before starting our service.  And there we were, the two of us, the clock reading past 6, and nobody else had arrived yet.  We started the service, just the two of us like we’ve done many times.  But this week was different.  We sang, we read the Bible, we prayed, just the two of us.  And still, nobody arrived.  We prayed again, asking God to bring people, so they could hear the Word and pray with their neighbors, their brothers and sisters of the faith we have in Christ.  Finally, two little girls arrived.  We are not even discipling their mother but these two girls, Juliana and Nicol are faithful to come every time we are in the church, Sunday’s, Tuesday’s and Saturday’s.  We read the Bible again, this time with the girls.  As we were reading, Petronila and Felipe arrived.  We started over reading the Bible passage so they could hear the entire passage.  And, in the middle of reading the passage this time, Florentina and her grandson Brando came in.  We again stopped reading the passage, got everyone settled on the wooden benches, and started reading from the top again. 

So there we were, Franci and myself, Petronila, Felipe, Juliana, Nicol, Florentina and Brando.  Franci gave a short reflection on the passage we had read and then we asked for prayer requests.  Florentina spoke up, she asked for prayer for her husband, Fortunato, who we have never met.  She said he is regularly drunk and she wants him to change.  Then, her grandson, Brando, about 10 years old spoke up as well.  He asked for prayer for his dad who is also frequently drunk.  He went on and described how difficult it is for him, his mother and his older sister when his father comes home drunk.  He talked about how he yells at them and explained that his older sister, Aremi, tries to go to bed before their dad gets home so that she doesn’t have to deal with his drunkenness.  But, her going to bed early, only frustrates the drunk ‘father’ even more and he yells at her telling her she doesn’t want to be part of the family and she should just go away.  My heart broke for Brando and Aremi.

This isn’t the first time my heart has broken for this family.  I’ve known since we met this family in June that his father was a drunk and we’ve been praying for him.  That day in June when Franci and I went to their house with Carmen, the entire family was crying, hearts broken, tired and weary from the drama and emotional damage of a drunk father.  In the weeks following, Brando would tell us about how he would kneel at his bed and pray when his dad came home drunk. 

So, my heart went out to Brando again in this moment, this poor child.  But not only did my heart go out to him, Petronila was crying.  Petronila knows what its like to have an alcoholic husband and son.  She knows what her grandson Elvis has gone through having an alcoholic father pass away.  She also relates to Florentina, understanding what it’s like to have an alcoholic husband, Guillermo is no longer drinking but is now three months drink-free.  We got up from the benches and formed a circle to pray for these prayer requests Florentina and Brando had so transparently shared with the group.  As we circled up, Petronila grabbed a hold of Brando with tears in her eyes and she held onto him tight, pressing him into her bosom, caressing him like a mother, shedding tears of sadness and understanding.  We prayed, Petronila holding onto Brando, and Florentina next to me tears falling from her eyes.  As we prayed, I thought about how the night started, about how Franci and I feared no one would show up.  And I thanked God for His faithfulness.  All I could say, I was so overwhelmed, was, “God you are faithful, thank you for your faithfulness.”  I repeated this prayer over and over.  I couldn’t get any other words to come out of my mouth.

God had a plan for that night.  He had a plan to unite these families in Yanamayo, He had a plan to bring them together in their pain, a plan to connect them, show them how important this church family is.  God is so incredibly faithful!


Deuteronomy 32:3-4

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.

Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,

and all his ways are just.

A faithful God who does no wrong,

upright and just is he.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Titicaca, Turkey and Tombs

I haven’t posted any pictures for a while so here’s a photo update from the past few weeks…..

Titicaca – In November we went to the shores of Lake Titicaca for a baptism ceremony.  Our bus did blow out a tire along the way, but we made it to the beach and 6 people were baptized in the frigid water, showing their decision to follow Christ.  Baptisms in Lake Titicaca, how amazing, these baptisms will always be some of my fondest memories.

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DSC_0154 DSC_0162 DSC_0208 DSC_0231 DSC_0258 DSC_0285 DSC_0333Turkey – Although Thanksgiving was not the day I had expected, I ended up being frustrated and crying at the cultural differences and the fact I was missing my family, my home, all things familiar.  But, overall, it was a good day with good time shared with my family here, good food, shopping for ugly Christmas sweaters, making pumpkin cheesecake and watching fuzzy internet quality good ol’ American football with the guys.  A special thanks to Amanda for all the time she spent (literally 3 days) making our Thanksgiving favorites and for taking all the pictures!

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Tombs – Last week the Extreme Director, Brian, came up here to Puno for a review of the past 11 months of work.  We shared stories of what God is doing in our communities, in us and through us.  It was a great time to review the work we are doing and review the goals with just over seven months left in Puno.  The next day, Brian took us out to celebrate, we went to Sillustani, ancient pre-Inca tombs north of Puno.  It was a fun day to hang out as a Puno family and see more of our beautiful surroundings.

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Monday, December 5, 2011


What to write?  What to say?  Sometimes I don’t blog because I don’t even know where to start.  Do I tell you about Thanksgiving?  About the good food but the realization of how much I miss home, my family, my culture.  Or should I explain why we lost two team members in a week?  Or I could talk about what God is teaching me about prayer through His Word.  If I don’t blog in a while, it’s not because nothing is going on here.  There’s always plenty happening and there’s always stuff I want to share with you all, but sometimes, I just don’t know how to put it all into words.  Sometimes my mind can’t process all that’s going on let alone try to describe it here. 

So, that being said, what should I share with you today?  Today, I want to talk about 32 weeks.  We have 32 weeks left in Puno.  This Thanksgiving also happened to be the year and a half marker for us North Americans.  Chad, Amanda, Trevor, Garren and I all arrived in Peru together on May 24th, 2010.  Can you believe it?  You probably can because you miss me like crazy and are counting the days until I’m home….right?!  :)  I was thinking on Thanksgiving and this past week about where I was at emotionally and spiritually last year.  Last year the day before Thanksgiving we had been in Peru for six months.  I remember thinking, “Wow, I’ve made it six months!  I’m a professional at Spanish, I’ve got this Peru thing down, I know it all, I’ve been here forever!”  And now, I’m a year and a half into this, with eight months to go, 32 weeks to be exact.  Last year, six months seemed like an eternity, it seemed like I had been in Peru for forever.  And now, I look at the future, I see those eight months on the calendar in Chad and Amanda’s apartment and I know this time is going to fly by.  Eight months is nothing in comparison to the work we have to do, or rather, the work God still has in this city, the work He wants to accomplish through us. 

So my vision for these 32 weeks…….work hard with heart and passion.  I feel like this past year and a half has been about me.  I’ve been learning and growing, becoming the girl/woman God had planned for me.  He’s been molding me and polishing me, stretching me and challenging me.  I’m not there yet, I’m still a work in progress and always will be.  But, I feel like now is the time.  God has been filling me up with His Spirit and His knowledge in the past year and a half.  He’s been preparing me for a strong finish to this race.  The truth is, I still don’t know how to do this job.  Franci and I are regularly changing strategies and ideas, we don’t know what we’re doing, there’s no pattern to follow.  I’d love to insert a spreadsheet right here and show you that my vision includes goals, deadlines, exact strategies.  I’d love to say that my vision is a mapped out plan, color coded with numbers and dates, detailed with ideas and a plan of attack.  That’s the business side of me.  I’m missing my insurance days where I had a goal and a vision to complete that goal, all mapped out on paper.  If I had to sell 20 life policies, I came up with deadlines and strategies.  I would figure out who I would call, when, what I would say.  Then, every time I sold a policy, I could add that policy to my excel spreadsheet for the month, showing me I had one more sold and x many more to go.  I loved looking at that list, seeing my accomplished work on paper.

But here, I feel chaotic and clumsy in this job.  I don’t have everything mapped out for the next 32 weeks.  I don’t have exact strategies in mind, I don’t have a spreadsheet color coded and detailed.  That’s not how this job works.  So what’s my vision?  To give more of myself and my time, to give more of what God has given me in this lifetime and especially over the past year and a half.  I need to be faithful to Him.  I need to be passionate about this job on a daily basis.  And He will bless my time, effort, passion and heart.

Paul speaks in Philippians chapter 3, he writes from jail, and he says in a nutshell that the most important thing in this life is Jesus and a personal relationship with Him, everything else is a ‘loss’, a waste in comparison.  Paul is humble, he disowns his own righteousness, he accepts his physical and spiritual suffering as gains for Christ, He so desperately wants to know Christ that he wants to know Him in everything, in His resurrection but also His death.  And then verses 12 to 14, Paul goes on to say that all he just said in verses 7-11 are goals, he’s not attained a perfect relationship with Christ yet, he’s not received Christ’s righteousness, he’s not identified completely with His death.  Paul admits to being in process still.  Seriously, Paul!  Paul was an incredible imitator of our Lord, he was an awesome evangelist, a great disciple and leader, a martyr and prisoner, and he didn’t have it all together.  Of course then, neither do I. 

God has done and incredible work in me over the past year and a half.  I am not the same girl you once knew, God has molded me, polished me, formed me, not out of the girl I was, but into the girl, into the woman He originally created me to be.  But He’s not done.  I’m not perfect.  I have not obtained all that I need to strive for on a daily basis (verses 7-11).  But, God has been working in me to be able to use me.  Oswald Chambers says on these verses, “God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His show-room; He is getting me to the place where He can use me.” 

Oswald also says, “I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives.”  My vision for these next 32 weeks, less than eight months, is to use let God use me, to let Him shine through me, that He would capture the hearts of these people through me.  I realize in order for this to happen, I need to give more heart, more soul.  I need to strive, to press on.  Paul says twice, “I press on”.  This race is hard.  This past year and a half has been incredible, but its been difficult, there’s been times when I’ve wanted to go home and give up.   And there will be more of those feelings in the rest of my time here.  But I’m not here for myself.  I’m not even here directly for these people.  I’m here for Him.  I run this race for Him.  And He deserves my every ounce of effort, heart and passion.  God is renewing me and exciting me about the time I have left here.  He’s giving me His heart and His passion for this city.  I’ve been listening to Chris Tomlin’s ‘God of this City’ often lately and this is such a powerful song, its my cry out to Him for this city of Puno.  Take a listen and pray for this city with me.  Pray that God would use me, that I would have determination to finish this race as Paul had, that God would use all He’s planted in me and taught me for His Kingdom and His glory.  Pray that His vision would be a reality in this city through us (Franci, Garren, Geremias, Trevor, Sammy, Chad, Amanda, Ella and Thomas) as a team.

Philippians 3:7-14

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that i may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.