Today we visited a new village, named Leonce Prado. Our visit was the first time the church had given any kind of Biblical message there at all, and for many of the kids, was the first time they had heard the story of Jesus. It was also the first time I have gotten chills while standing in the middle of a 90 degree jungle. Here are some snapshots of what made goosebumps raise up on my arms.
Standing in the village square, surrounded by schoolchildren in small wooden chairs. We’re singing “My God is So Big, So Strong, and So Mighty” in Spanish as the sun beats down on our backs.
Prayer time. Pastor Daniel prays in Spanish and I catch a word here and there. Suddenly I hear Craig whisper “Holy cow,” and I peek through my closed eyelids. At least 30 kids have their hands in the air. My brain works quickly, realizing that these kids are accepting Christ for the first time. Tears fill my eyes as goosebumps cover my sweaty arms.
We’re in the peque-peque on our way home. Craig pulls out his guitar and we begin singing praise songs. Those who speak Spanish sing in Spanish, and those who don’t-sing in English. Our praises mingle into beautiful song, rising up over Lago Yarinacocha. Some people are clapping, some are crying, and everyone is smiling the most genuine smiles you’ll ever see.
As I lived through each of those moments, one of the thoughts on my mind was how truly blessed I am. There I stood, in the jungles of Ucayali, Peru, surrounded by old friends and new friends. I sang from that deepest place in my heart, that place that is only accessible here in Pucallpa. I smiled until my cheeks hurt, danced the Hokey Pokey until I was dripping with sweat, and I was truly happy. I was home.