You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realized that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Friday, June 28, 2013
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Querido Puno, orilla del lago Titicaca
Mi estadía ha sido tan chévere acá
¿En esta vida volveré a verte?
A esa pregunta la repuesta no sé
Tienes una parte muy especial de mi corazón
Aunque te debo dejar algunos consejos, cuales son:
A los menús que hacen su arroz sin sabor
A mi retorno les pido que lo cambien por favor
Me salen escalofríos solo al contemplar tu frio
Para poder superarlo, hay que dormir con el tío
A tu comida súper rica la llaman “pollo a la brasa”
Pero no compara a la comida hecha en casa
Sin embargo, desde ese día que vine de mi universidad
Tengo lindos recuerdos de esta ciudad:
Casi nunca aguanté comer un solo chuño
Por eso siempre me lo tomé un puño
Tu estilo preferido es ese gorro llamado el chullo
El mio tiene como setenta y cuatro colores, ¿y el tuyo?
Al ver por primera vez una alpaca en la maletera
Se sentó normal mientras manejaban en la carretera
Querido Puno, orilla del lago Titicaca
Mi estadía se termina acá
Sabes que te quiero muchísimo
Aunque estaré en mi país alegrísimo
Todos los días pensaré en ti
Monday, June 25, 2012
I’ve had a door opened wide recently during a chain of events. Let me share those events with you in the order they happened.
1. Geremías, my Peruvian counterpart, has decided to continue to nurse our infant church in Salcedo. It’s full of baby Christians and it needs more than just a person to come and preach once a week. These people need someone to disciple them and nurture them until the church can survive on it’s own spiritually and economically. This presents a problem for Geremías because he has decided to stay in Puno on a leap of faith without any type of income. I had some ideas on how to get him some money, I’d tithe to the church there among one of them.
2. There was an online broadcast hosted by Extreme on Friday, June 8th, that basically had to do with the future plans of the overall mission of Extreme. They explained future plans and needs. I emailed our director while watching it, asking out of curiosity what position would best fit me were I to continue with the next project. I didn’t want to close any doors with anybody. Other than curiosity and not wanting to close any doors, I had no other motive in emailing the director and I didn’t know why I really did.
3. Tuesday, the 12th of June, Brian, our director, called me to follow up on my email. He was trying to fit my skills with a position for Extreme. I told him the honest truth that I had to finish my studies in the States and that I just did not want to close any doors. I told him what my real skill set was, that I was willing to help, and that I get stuff done whatever it may be. He said he’d email me with more details and a possible part time job offer.
4. I received a forwarded email a few days later through the director, originating from the finance department of Extreme that detailed two listings for positions at which they think I’d perform well for about 7-10 hours a week. This was a perfect amount to balance between school and it had me elated, except for one little detail that had me questioning and even a bit resentful. For these positions, it would be necessary to raise $250 a month. I thought that if I was going to donate my time and do work for Extreme, to what did I need to pay?
5. Tuesday, the 19th of June, we left Puno to go to Cusco for our debriefing, as I would be going home in a few short days. As it turns out there was a short-term trip there and Sydney from the finance department of Extreme was on the trip along with her husband Mike. I decided to ask Sydney about this position, but really I wanted to know what was the purpose of raising $250 per month. Her husband Mike explained that every volunteer for Extreme has a minimum amount to raise, which is $250 per month. It’s purpose is to keep a commitment priority so that people are held responsible by donors. In the past, people in the States have decided that they didn’t like their job, or that they thought it was too much work, so they would just quit. It makes sense.
That answered the first part of my question, but not the second part: What is it’s purpose? Where does that money go to? Mike told me I can do with it whatever I would like after putting 9% in the administration fund. He said that I can donate it to a good cause, in order to make it easier to raise that money instead of using it for “videogames” as he said.
At that point all 5 of these events came together in one thought and I had an overwhelming sense of divine purpose: I had found the way to sustain Geremías in Puno to continue caring for the church. Instead of donating directly to him, I can donate money to him by helping Extreme and gaining experience in the finance world. It’s a win-win situation.
That’s where you come into this. I feel 100% led and confirmed by God to continue in this chapter of my life (hence the title) but yes I need to raise $250 a month. I’m asking you, dear reader, to please consider donating on a monthly or one time basis. You will be holding myself and Geremías accountable and helping sustain a church plant. I’ve already laid out the requirements on what Geremías needs to do as his part: photos, budget reports, purchase receipts, blogs, letters, updates, etc.
If feel led to donate, you can visit my page by clicking here and clicking donate or if you want more details you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text me starting in July at 440 897 2372. I will get back to you immediately and will explain to you with further details about your donation and this next chapter of my life. No fear, I want you to see where your donation is going and you will be able to receive updates on a monthly basis of how these new Christians are doing in southern Peru.
Thank you so much and God bless you all.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
A little “work” update of recently occurring events. It’s all coming to a close and this weekend was a major part of the closing. The national leader of the Church of the Nazarene of Peru came to visit each of our church plants.
He, Segundo Rimarachín, was to visit and preach in our church in Salcedo on Saturday the 16th of June. It was very difficult for us because it was a Saturday, when we usually don’t have service and when people are mostly busy with the market and their chores.
We had a decent turnout though with 13 adults and 6 adults who “asked for permission” to not be there. I’d that’s pretty good, if that’s how you want to sum up my year and a half of work here in Puno.
We had a meeting as well the night before Rimarachín left, and he offered to get us all rotisserie chicken. Basically, he thanked us for our work that we’ve done. He said we’re not just missionaries, but that we’re heroes because we are here in Puno. He said that not just anyone comes to Puno to plant churches and stays there for a year and half. He said that it takes a special type of person. These were all very encouraging words for us as a group. I could tell that he really meant it when he thanked us, and he backed it up by giving us a plaque that says:
Church of the Nazarene
To the Missionary
Recognizing his labor as a missionary in the city of Puno.
Lima, June 2012
I appreciated this kind gesture, it’s often easy to forget that my work is not in vain, and he made it clear that it has not gone without notice in all of Peru. Obviously that is not the point of why I do this work, but it helps keep spirits up. It’s pretty ridiculous to think that I’m 21 and God has used to me plant a church here in the south of Peru.
This upcoming week consists of a debrief in Cusco, I’ll preach Sunday, then I’ll get in all my goodbyes until the 27th. It’s almost done, the bittersweet end is all too near.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I’ve only 3 weeks exactly left here in my beloved Puno. I sense that and people around me sense that. Especially those Puneños with whom I visit and teach everyday. I can sense they’re really trying to get the most amount of memories in each diminishing day that I am with them. They’ve given me experiences and memories that I will take home with me. The difference between a short term missionary and a long term missionary is this: They are both needed by people, but the dividing factor is when the people need you, and not just someone. STV’s come to fill a certain need. LTV’s are the only ones who can fill a certain need. I’m feeling this in these last couple of weeks. People are asking us to do activities with them, not the other way around.
Paulina invited us a week in advance to have trout-head-soup. I could barely hold in my excitement for a week straight! Actually, I was praying to God that I would be able to eat the soup, for obvious reasons (look below). This is after I had eaten 2 of the 3 fish that were already in the soup. I must admit, the broth was quite savory but I did manage to pawn 2 of the 3 heads off to other partakers of this lunch. This woman has nothing but her daughter and grandson, but she has represented to me the widow who gave two coins. She lives off almost nothing everyday, but we are always welcome inside her house and almost always she has “food from the country” to share with us.
Elsa, Reina, and Theodore can’t stop talking about how I’m leaving. They tell me to stay another year or two. They invited us to a “watia” (the underground oven thing) which is like my favorite thing here ever. We spent almost 4 hours with them just making the watia, eating, conversing, reading the Bible, and praying. They always say they want to come back to the States with me. I tell them that their will always be a room or two in my house, they can work in nurseries, but they’re also in charge of getting their visa. Elsa started crying in the middle of church on Sunday and she said because Geremías and I are like her sons, or at least she’s become accustomed to that thought. She said Wednesdays (the day we visit her) will never be the same.
Miguel always asks me, “How many days are left?” And I always say, “Meh, a month” or, “A little less than a month” or whatever. And he always says that I’ve got the number of hours left in my head. We joke around often, but I’ll miss him as well because, as his wife says, we’re the only ones who understand each other.
I don’t even think Leandra is even aware that I wont be around for much longer. But I look up to her and her generosity. She gives so much (economically) to the church and makes so little. We go and sit with her every Friday, and it often seemed in vain. But little by little she has warmed up to us. I do tell her of how much time I have left here, but then she just comments something irrepliable like, “Oh so you’re going.” Not even in the question form.
Juan just commented to me last week how we have to find a wife for Geremías, since I’ve been the wife for so long. I quickly said that I was the husband and he was the wife which got a good laugh. I had never even mentioned to Juan that I was leaving so soon, but he knew somehow and I know that he was thinking about it.
We just met Cinthya about 2 months ago and I’ve laughed so hard with her multiple times that my stomach hurt. The first day we discipled her, she said she was going to name her next child “Garren” and she told me to write my name down! She say’s I’m not allowed to go because her birthday is the 29th and that I am to stay until that date. After that I can find my way home. I tell her that I’ll give her a birthday present beforehand, but her request is not fulfillable.
I guess I just feel loved when these people tell me not to go home. I haven’t felt much love from this city in general during my time here, but now I’m starting to feel it. I will miss this city, but I’ve still got much more time here for many more memories. (Also I’m feeling the love from you guys as I’ve had more skypes this week than ever before!) Please continue to pray for a strong finish, and until next time, take a listen to this.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Today is the 22nd of May which means that today is the anniversary of the Salcedo Church of the Nazarene. It has been one year on those 4 benches preaching, teaching, and praying. I remember the 22nd of May last year which was our inauguration service. We invited all who we knew or thought were interested which was a total of 20 people. 19 of them said that they were going to come. Out of those 19 that said they come, nobody showed up. We sang, preached, prayed, and ate cake amongst ourselves. 4 months continually it looked like that; Geremías and I singing, preaching, and praying amongst ourselves. I didn’t know how hard the next year would be for me, us, and the church.
This past Sunday we celebrated the 1 year anniversary in Salcedo with much greater success and a higher turnout than the 0% at the inauguration. We decided to do it outside in the street. We got permission from the president of the street to close it down to have the event.
We scheduled it for 3:00PM and 3:00PM rolled around. Then 3:15, then 3:30 and there were very few people there. It doesn’t matter what event we do but 30 minutes after the “should-be” start time no one shows up and it is so demoralizing. But that usually all turns around and people start staggering in and it ends well. It’s never reassuring, though, at the next event when the same thing happens. Well, I was discouraged again 30 minutes after the original start time, but by the time we were really started there were over 50 people there. A ton of people from our church plants, a ton from Kristen’s church in Huascar, and a handful from the center church!
The program went really smoothly and wasn’t long or drawn out. The weather was perfect. I was smiling. The pastor preached. And at the end we had hot chocolate, sweet rolls, and cake for everyone.
This anniversary Sunday was really encouraging for me to end here strong and hand off Salcedo to the next person with the best possible church. It’s not often that I can have a good time at an event of which I’m in charge, but this was a legitimate change of pace for me.
We also have had 6 short termers from Mid-America Nazarene University to help us out which was more of a blessing than anything. They helped out at the anniversary setting up, serving food, and taking down. The biggest thing they did for us was paint Viviana and Paulina’s house on Tuesday. This is now the location of our newly formed cell group. It was an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (see what I did there?) for real. The transformation by just throwing 2 coats of paint on that house was incredible. It was amazing for me to see the house be beautified in such a simple way.
Random: I was given the opportunity to drive a car here in Peru. We were in a tiny pueblo called Chipana and I asked the taxi driver if I could drive back to the main town of Ilave about 15 minutes away. He kind of chuckled and dropped the subject. About 2 minutes down the road he picked the subject back up and asked if I was serious. I said yes and he stopped the car and let me drive all the way back to the main city! It was an awesome experience and I told him that I would never forget it! It’s just one of those things that would never happen unless you’re truly in the culture.
I cannot stress enough how much this year from inauguration to anniversary has changed me. How hard this past year has been, but how much it has been worth it. To see that yes God has been working through us to reach these three pueblos just outside Puno, Peru. It’s not often I get to see all this come together (and enjoy it!) but I thank the Lord for providing with a memory so great, and I’m still so sure it will not be the last because there still is a month to go. Until next time, check this out as always.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
I would be doing all these things at the age of 21, which is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life, but a tiny little 4 letter word changed all of that: Perú.
I think back to what I heard in 8th grade English class, and how I learned it my freshman year of college:
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”And considering the fact that my human plans above went awry, I find myself on this graduation day sitting in my bed sick with a sinus congestion and sore throat in Southern Peru writing this blog.
In reality, I can’t be more thankful that God brought me here even though it might seem to you like I regret it, I do not in the least bit. I think about how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve been stretched and I can’t help but be thankful for the blessings I’ve received in going through so much down here. I look at my plans above and I think of those piercing words that Jesus said:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”I was definitely on track to gain the whole world and forfeit my soul at the same time, the same state many of you are in today. I was in that American bubble and I had to come here and live here to realize it. Sometimes I look back and I think if I would have been one who said “Lord, Lord” but failed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And my fear is that many of you are in this category, whether you don’t realize it (like me) or whether you do have a conviction of it.
I’m studying 1 Samuel in the mornings now, and I found how much my testimony was like that of king Saul before coming down here (taken from 1 Samuel 14-15). Like Saul, I had the outward pretentions of being a man of God, a worshiper of the Lord, a builder of altars, and a man of prayer. But just like Saul, it was all surfacie. I was stubborn, I was self-righteous, and I did religious things because “that’s what you do.” I was all outside in my faith. But God still used Saul to defeat nations upon nations, and that’s what God has done with me.
Why do I share this with you? My prayer is that one of you will also take the leap that I took. My prayer is that you would leave your lukewarm state and do something radical. I told a short termer that came that he should be a missionary and I was dead serious. His all-too-quick answer was, “I have 3 kids and a wife.” And I said, “I think you, your wife, and your three kids should be missionaries.” Don’t be the one that has excuses, every single one of you can step it up today, and that’s the purpose of this blog. Don’t gain the world and forfeit your soul.
I do look back and I do think about where I’d be, but then I give myself a reality check and remember how much God has molded and matured me. I want to see that in you, dear reader, and believe me no excuse will do. This applies to everyone: be different and do something that changes the world.