When we left Peru last year, I cried harder than I had any other year. I’ve never been a quiet crier, and I vividly remember leaning against the window of the airplane, sobbing far more loudly than was appropriate, watching as the orangey-yellow lights of Pucallpa faded from view. Mama Rosy had pressed one of baby Fabiano’s (clean) burp rags into my hand as I crossed from the waiting area to the airport gate, and it was absolutely soaked. Eventually my heaving sobs subsided, but tears ran down my cheeks for most of the hour-long flight to Lima as I sat hunched toward the window, pretending to sleep. While I hoped to return to Pucallpa the next year, I knew a lot was going to be changing in the next nine or so months, and I truly didn’t believe I would be able to. After all, I was moving away from home, starting college, and hoping to get a job, and the following summer seemed an eternity away. Besides, no one from Sister Lakes had plans to continue construction or seminars at CEMY. Though I wouldn’t have said it aloud, deep down I believed that this was truly goodbye.
Throughout much of this year, I was filled with stress about the upcoming summer. Should I go back to Hiawatha? Should I consider interning at Crossroads again? Should I work? Did I dare even dream of returning to Peru? I prayed, I asked others to pray, and I begged God to make His will unmistakably clear. A couple of options for Peru budded, then shriveled and died before they could bloom into full-fledged plans. I grew increasingly sad as I feared that the door to Pucallpa was closing entirely.
One night, I was fairly frustrated as I prayed. It seemed there was no clear answer for summer. I know that sometimes God doesn’t always give us “neon signs” telling us where He wants us, but I was at least hoping for SOMETHING in one direction or another… some sort of clear “NO” on one option, anything. I wrote the following in my journal:
“God, I have NO IDEA what you want me to do this summer. Whenever I think about it, I get a panicky feeling in my chest. When people ask what I’m doing, I just want to run away. I want to be where You want me, even if it’s not where I want to go. Please, God, PLEASE, just make it clear. I’m asking a lot, I know. I’m asking You to leave no doubt in my mind as to where You want me. I’m sitting here admitting that I’m not understanding what You’re saying to me right now… I’m asking You to yell, not whisper. Please.”
I fell asleep that night still praying for God to make His will clear. The next morning, I woke up a few minutes early and had time to check my email and Facebook. My grogginess soon gave way to sheer joy when I saw not one, not two, but three separate messages from three separate people in Pucallpa, talking about how much they hoped I could come this summer. I immediately emailed an American friend in Pucallpa (what up, Monica), asking her thoughts on the possibility of me teaching English there this summer.
The moment I began truly dreaming, truly allowing myself to take steps toward the burning desire God had placed in my heart, things began falling into place. I exchanged emails with a few more people, started searching travel sites, and continued praying.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I am thrilled beyond WORDS to announce that I will be spending June 14- July 20 in Pucallpa, Peru, once again. I’ll be living with the same family, teaching English at the church, and immersing myself in the language and culture for five whole weeks.
Your prayers are coveted as I continue to plan this trip. It will be different than other years, but I am eagerly approaching the plans and opportunities.