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.