Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting on God

In two weeks I will have completed six months in Peru. In two months I will have completed one year away from home. Looking back it is amazing how the time has passed, while enduring each day has been both a blessing and a challenge. Now, almost half way into my commitment I'm waiting on God for some direction. When I left home almost a year ago I was excited and ready to go and do what I had worked so hard to get to do: international missions. God had been preparing me for this for several years with short-term teams, with language study, with campus ministry and discipleship opportunities. I have loved the Lord since I was a little girl, and my heart so desperately wanted to serve him and make him proud of me.
Nothing about this job has been what I expected. I suppose that should be an understatement - there is really no way to understand what it means to leave your life to go and make disciples of all nations. Still, I was excited to go and make those disciples, I was ready to go and love the people of Peru. It's practically my personality to love people. But one thing I didn't expect was to not love people. I don't mean that I hate them, nor do I dislike them, but not naturally loving people was unexpected. I've been struck with a frustrating complacency toward the people here, and my job seems to have become nothing more than a job. I log my work hours, I complete my goals for the week and my scheduled responsibilities - but I do these things because they are my job, not because I am passionately broken for the people I'm around.
So I'm waiting on God, and praying incredibly hard. This has been the most unexpected thing of all I have experienced. I never anticipated the apathy. I know that God has a plan and a calling for me – it’s just that I’m no longer sure of what that plan or calling is. I’m praying that God would reveal his plan to me, that He would show himself to me. I would appreciate the prayers of anyone willing to pray with me. And in the meantime, I continue to wait on God . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Initial Group

As many of you know the long-term goal of our ministry here in Tarma is to come along side of national believers to develop, empower and release them back into their own community. Last Saturday we made great progress in this goal by hosting our first meeting with a small group of Christians that have shown interest in being part of this ministry and vision for Tarma. The first of four planned meetings with this "Initial Group" went wonderfully, and we as a team were encouraged by the enthusiastic response of the TarmeƱos. Over the next three weeks we will meet with this group of believers to instruct them in the vision of our ministry, to explain the differences between the traditional church and the cellular church, to emphasize the importance of the Holy Spirit in our work, to explain the spiritual gifts and assist the group in discovering what theirs are etc. We want to equip them for some leadership, while not leaving them on their own altogether. The plan is to start small group Bible studies in homes and businesses, starting the first week of November. The role of this Initial Group is to host the Bible studies, and invite friends, family and neighbors to attend. We as the Tarma team will be responsible for the actual teaching of the studies, at least for now, as we begin this process of developing and empowering more intentionally. Our second meeting with the Initial Group will be this coming Saturday, and we are in the midst of putting together a 6-week Bible study on the meaning of Christmas, maybe even incorporating the celebration of Advent into the study. This will lead us up to Christmas, at which we will break from the studies until after the New Year. In January we will re-group and start something new. I am encouraged by the progress we have made, by the grace and power of God. We are continually praying that His Spirit will go forth and prepare hearts for the gospel. We continue to build and make new relationships with people daily, as well as plan for the coming weeks and months of strategy. We are growing as a team and are finding a rhythm within the ministry. I continue to take each day as it comes, and am clinging to the Lord as we enter into the Christmas season. My major hope and prayer is that He would be glorified through this first-attempt at teaching the Word in Tarma. I love your prayers for this as well. Thanks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Meat. Have you ever felt like a piece of it?

Everyone has their good days and bad days. I’m discovering that certain things that can really get me frustrated/annoyed here in Peru can cause a good day to turn bad. Specifically, the cat-calls. It is very common here for men to be very vocal and forward with beautiful women. In fact it’s pretty opposite to what I experienced in the States. There, boys are often too worried about rejection to risk showing interest in a pretty girl. Not here. Whistles, cat-calls, kissing noises, and expressions of love are the norm. You do get used to it after a while, but it still makes me uncomfortable. Especially when walking around alone. Most of the men are harmless and don’t do more than call.
Today I was especially frustrated because it felt like I was the only woman on the street as I walked to my Spanish lessons. Because I’m a foreigner with light hair and green eyes, I attract more attention than I would like, therefore attracting more calls. I do the only thing that I can which is to not make eye-contact and to ignore the people calling at me. But today, I felt like running all the way to my lessons just so that people would leave me alone. It’s interesting to me the differences in cultural norms that exist between my culture and the Latin American culture. While I love the history and culture of Peru, there are a few things that I’m not going to miss when I come home, the cat-calls being one of them. Goodbye, I don’t want them.