Tag Archives: Peru 2012

Faithfulness in a Motocar

Today I went downtown with Mami Rosy and Papa Jacinto to go grocery shopping. Now, unlike at home when Mom and I hop in the car, drive to WalMart, throw our stuff in a cart, and drive home… grocery shopping here is a bit of an excursion. We had to hail a motocar, drive 20 minutes to downtown Pucallpa, then go to each store separately – the baking goods store, the meat store, the sugar store (which differs somehow from the baking goods store), etc.

It was on this 20 minute motocar drive that I, sandwiched between Mami and Papa, spent some time talking to Jesus. Those closest to me already know that this first week in Pucallpa has been a difficult one. I’ve been battling fatigue, culture shock, homesickness, and the language barrier – all while sweating profusely. My mind and heart have been in a bizarre battle of nostalgia and sheer happiness, and it has all been very taxing.

As we’re riding, I’m thinking about Hiawatha. Today is the day that the staff heads north to begin training and meetings, and I find myself missing the place where I spent every summer until last year. As my mind drifts, I remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago about Christ being my only constant.

And then He bops me gently upside the head and says, “Helloooo? Has that suddenly changed just because you’re on a different continent? Do you think I don’t see you? Do you think I’m someone different here than in the US?”

As I gaze at the wooden buildings with their hand-painted signs, a peace begins to wash over me. Of course nothing has changed. Of COURSE Christ is still faithful and constant and unchanging and true and all of those things. Of course He knows where I am, what I’m going through, and what I will become. He sees my weaknesses, rejoices with me in my joys, and chuckles when I make humorous grammar mistakes. He is the same God in Pucallpa that He is in Chicago that He is in Millington that He is in Eckerman that He is everywhere.  His promises have not changed just because they’re in Spanish here.

As I mull this over with growing peace in my heart, we pass the sign that says, “Jesucristo is el Senor de Pucallpa” (Jesus Christ is Lord of Pucallpa). In a throwback to my years at Lutheran school, my heart cries out, “This is most certainly true.”

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Home to Pucallpa

At this time tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll be in Pucallpa. In fact, by this time, I’ll probably be in Mama Rosy and Papa Jacinto’s house, having eaten my first Peruvian meal of 2012. The air around me will smell like dust, smoke, and chicken, and – if I have my way – I’ll be laying in the hammock.

As I got ready to fall asleep in Aunt Lora’s squishy pink bed (the same place I’ve slept the night before every Peru trip) last night, I commented to Mom that this year’s trip felt different. Of course there are the few major differences – going alone, length of trip, purpose of the trip, etc – but there has just been a different feeling hovering over the whole idea of the trip itself.

Between the flight from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale and the 8-hour layover in Ft. Boringdale that Spirit Air has blessed me with, I’ve had a lot of time to think about that feeling. I think I’ve figured it out.

You see, up until this year, Pucallpa was the only place where I had ever gone maskless. Something about the combination of serving, pure love despite the language barrier, and the sweltering heat, caused my mask to fall off when I first stepped out of the plane in 2008.  It was one of the things I loved most about Peru – how free I was always able to be when I was there. How I was able to laugh and cry from the deepest place inside of me, to sing and dance without feeling embarrassed, and to love from the deepest place in my soul.

Towards the beginning of my time at Moody, however, something changed. I was assigned to read the book “True Faced,” and it convicted me in the deepest way. God gently reached down, tipped my chin upward, pulled off my mask, and threw it on the ground. It shattered into a million tiny pieces, never able to be worn again.

As a result, I lived out this past year with the vulnerable confidence that I had previously only felt in Pucallpa. I learned to laugh, cry, dance (this is a relative term. I still can’t dance.), and be a friend. I learned the true, radical, life-altering meanings of church words like “grace,” “trust,” and “faith.” And I was content on a much deeper level.

That’s why this year feels different. Rather than longing to go to a place where I can truly be myself, I’m returning to the place that first taught me who “myself” was. I’m going home, but I’ve really been home all year long.

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Things Airports Need

I’m currently in the third of eight hours I’ll be spending at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. As I type this blog post, I’m sitting in a very uncomfortable chair, uncomfortably close to a total stranger, and there is a pile of either sugar or cocaine with ants crawling in and out of it on the floor next to me. The hours on end that I’ll have here in Ft. Lauderdale have given me a good minute to think of several things that would make airports better.

  • Small “nap time” rooms with a bed and a loud alarm clock/wake-up call, that can be rented on an hourly basis.
  • Friendly employees who don’t look like they want to kill me.
  • Rooms filled with puppies.
  • Vending machines that sell deodorant, ibuprofen, and magazines, so that I wouldn’t have to go into the same store and face the same employee every time I think of something else I forgot. (Yes, I’ve been in there three times so far.)
  • SWINGS
  • More electrical outlets. This one should be a no-brainer. Everyone and their great-grandmother travels with, at the very least, a cell phone. Most also have iPods, iPads, laptops, etc. Yet, each gate seems to have half an outlet. If we’re lucky.
  • A place to store your luggage if you’re traveling alone, so that you can avoid the awkward trying-to-fit-in-a-tiny-bathroom-stall-with-a-rolling-suitcase-and-backpack thing.
  • Larger bathroom stalls. With doors that open outward. For Pete’s sake, this should not be difficult.
  • Free coffee.
  • Chairs with two armrests between them. Last time I checked, the vast majority of travelers had two arms… yet we’re each offered only one armrest.
  • Sugar (maybe? still not sure) free floors.
  • Quieter loudspeaker announcements.

Any more ideas?

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10 Days

Oh my word, y’all. I clicked onto my blog to check my stats, and the Pucallpa Countdown on the left side of the page caught my eye.

10 Days.

I’m going “home” to Peru in just 10 short days. There’s a lot to do between now and then, so I wanted to share some specific prayer requests and praises for you to keep in mind as I prepare.

Praises:

  • I received above and beyond the amount of financial support I needed. HUGE yahoo!
  • I’ve been in contact with my host family and everything is in place for me to join their family for five weeks.
  • I get to go back to Pucallpa! Truly, this is the biggest praise. God has granted me the deepest desire of my heart and is allowing me to return to my friends and family in Peru.

Prayer:

  • Please pray that I will be motivated and diligent as I work on lesson plans for the English classes I’ll be teaching.
  • Pray that I have time to connect with those at home who I want to see before leaving.
  • Pray that the last-minute details, such as where I’m staying overnight in Lima and whether I’ll be traveling to villages, will fall into place.
  • Pray for peace, calm, and trust while I prepare and plan.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and love. I’ll keep updating throughout my trip!

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