Two Weeks Down

I’ve got the house to myself right now and I’m working on my lesson plan for tonight. I had one written, but like so many things here in Pucallpa, it’s changing at the last minute.

I can hardly believe I’ve been here for over two weeks. Doug, Marilyn, and Pastor Rob are flying in tomorrow morning and my main focus will shift as I join their evangelistic team. Much like summer vacation, on the first day it felt like I would be here forever and had all the time in the world… but these first weeks have absolutely flown by.

Tonight I’ll teach my English class again. I have a wonderful group of around 10 students. The group is mostly comprised of adults, but I also have three very enthusiastic kids (6-8 years old). Everyone is excited to learn, diligent, and good-natured. We’re focusing on basic conversational vocabulary (“Hello, how are you?” “Fine, thanks, and you?”) as well as learning the song “Give me Jesus,” which I’m hoping to have my class sing in church the Sunday before I leave. We’ll see how that goes.

Yesterday was church, and I was able to attend a service with communion – a first for me in Peru! It’s hard to explain how powerful it was to share the body and blood of Christ with His church on another continent. It was a poignant reminder that He died for “every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.”

On Saturday night I went to the young adults’ meeting at CEMY (my church here) as usual. However, rather than having a normal meeting, we ended up going to a quinceañara for a girl from a nearby town! It was definitely a full cultural immersion, which is what I’m here for. There was lots of singing, dancing, and speaking. I sat with friends from the grupo de jovenes (youth group) from CEMY, who explained the purpose behind each part of the party. (except for the part where clowns on stilts came in and threw balloons at everyone. Or the part where an elderly pastor attempted to lead the crowd in praise songs while the birthday girl was dancing with each of the boys at the part. NO ONE was able to explain those things.)

Other highlights of this past week:

  • making lunch (tacos and guacamole) for my host family. This normally wouldn’t be that great of an accomplishment, but here in Peru, it involved going to 4 different stores, walking through a very frightening meat market, seasoning the meat without pre-packaged spices, lighting the gas stove with a match (and doing it again when I accidentally turned it off… three times…), and figuring out measurements in the metric system.
  • going to Nathaniel’s (Monica’s son) third birthday party last night… complete with a snake cake, hugs from one of my favorite Peruvian kids, and lots of catching up in English with Monica. (Monica is from the US, but lives here as a permanent missionary. I’ve been so blessed by being able to hang out with her family while I’ve been here)
  • teaching Pedro how to make grilled cheese one night around 10 pm… then getting up in the morning and finding out that he had insisted on making them for everyone in his family for breakfast.
  • correctly answering a question (in Spanish!) in the New Testament class my host family attends at CEMY, and realizing that I really did learn a LOT of new things in NT class at Moody last year.
  • sitting at the table with Papa Jacinto, Pedro, and Pedro’s friend Maicol; listening to Papa explain the basics of the Gospel as Maicol listened with a growing smile.
  • lessons in Pucallpeño slang from my host siblings.
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