Peru 2016 Week 5:
Sunday: In the Sunday School hour, Pastor Jorge is teaching through the basic tenets of the church. Those who attend weekly have a workbook that they are going through (homework for 5 days) and then Pastor hits the high points. This week was on Baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. He emphasized that baptism does not save us, but it is our testimony of a changed life. I tried to follow along. I actually took a photo of what my table space looked like – the workbook, my English Bible, my Spanish Bible and my notebook. I’m sure I looked funny reading. haha Meredith (I really thought everyone was saying “Melody” until she wrote her name down for me!!) translated for me for the children’s church during the worship hour. We taught on the breastplate of righteousness and the shoes of the gospel of peace from the armor of God. The kids responded well. After church, Meredith and I sat for about an hour and talked. She gave some very good information about living expenses and what to expect. She used to work for the home office of her mission board and worked directly with helping missionaries prepare their budgets and their deputation. She said I need to look for a board that has a Ministry Partner Development, as that will help me transition. She also HIGHLY suggested that, although I have been immersed in language here for 2 summers and plan to have a tutor/teacher when I return to the US, I go to Language School in Arequippa for 4-6 months once I am in Peru. She said it’s not super cheap, but it will definitely help me. It is a Christian language school, which would prepare me better for writing lessons and teaching lessons in Spanish, as sometimes the phrases we use in English will not be correct here. She also explained that my monthly “budget” will be higher than most folks would expect or understand, because my US “self-employed” taxes and retirement have to be paid (thus, they have to be “raised”), healthcare coverage (for US and abroad), travel within Peru (she said as a single missionary I should NOT buy a car, that instead, to find the “cheap” taxis that travel back and forth to the cities to where I plan to teach), and travel to the US. She said that if it would make my family and me feel better, to budget in the cost of airline tickets every year (i.e., if the cost of tickets is $1200, budget an extra $100 per month to account for the cost). And, this is for Mom – if an emergency were to arise, there is a smaller airport 2 hours away that would fly me to Lima and then Lima to the US. 🙂 So, although I could “live” here for about $600/month, I will need much more than that per month to “be” here. Although it was a bit discouraging, it was also helpful. She also mentioned 2 mission boards that I had never heard of. I am reading up on them now. I have contacted Global Outreach International, but I have not completed the paperwork with them as of yet. I still want/need some guidance from Pastor Jon Daniels and Mark Sandifer (Country Woods missions) before I go further. In the afternoon, I studied a bit more for the coming week. Pastor Jorge preached the evening service on “Redeeming the Time – Making the Most of Your Life” from Ephesians 5. His points were really good – 1) Know the Bible, 2) Commit to the Lord, and 3) Change your conduct. He ended with “What is your testimony for the Lord? How are you going to redeem the time?” We had choir practice after church. I really want to be here in August for the church anniversary…
Monday: After breakfast, Pastor Jorge, Charo, and I were talking about some of the things that Meredith and I discussed. When I hold him what she said about language school, he said that it might be a good idea, but that he is confident in my progress so far. He said that he would like to see me teach in Spanish before I leave. I almost passed out! He said, “You can teach the children. They are easy.” At first, he wanted me to do it this coming Sunday, but I believe the sheer look of terror on my face changed his mind on that one. So, he finally gave in and said the last week I am here, I can teach the children in Spanish. Rocio will be in there, but he wants me to do the teaching. He said we will practice ahead of time, and they will help me with any pronunciations that I am having trouble with. BREATHE, STEPHANIE, BREATHE. We also talked about what will be necessary for me to do before I can be here full time – deputation and such. It is difficult to explain when someone doesn’t have the “background” for it. Basically, I will request time to speak at churches (friends and family, be ready to have me ask to speak at your church!!) to share my ministry. I will, essentially, be asking for churches and individuals to commit to give money each month so that I can serve the Lord in Peru. Charo and I talked on our market run. She commented again that I am talking more as we walk. In the afternoon, I finished the changes to the Hem of His Garment lesson for the church here and made the final changes to the PowerPoint. Charo looked at it but said it needed to be worded differently. Pastor Jorge said the same. I was quite confused because this is the PowerPoint and lesson that Candy and Wilma helped me begin last year (I taught a portion of it last year), and the one that Rocio had already looked at (I taught part of it in Tarma). The more that Pastor Jorge and I talked and tried to communicate with each other my lesson, the more changes were being made. But, in my heart, I really didn’t feel like the lesson the Lord gave me was coming through. I was in tears. The more he tried to “help” me understand what he was saying, the more lost I was feeling. It was honestly the first time that I didn’t think I could be here. All I could think was, “How do you want me to teach the kids in Spanish if I can’t even get my point across?” After I made the changes he wanted, it was time to get ready for Jonathan’s birthday party. So, I showered. And I cried. I was so very discouraged. (Yes, discouraged. I agreed when I began journaling my time in Peru that it would be as honest as it could be. I don’t want it to be all “rosey” if it’s not.) Before leaving for the birthday party, Charo asked me if I was ok. I said, “Yes. I’m just discouraged and frustrated with my language.” We went to the birthday party – about 18 of us. We played games – no, I sat there. I had lost ALL confidence in my ability to think or speak in Spanish. I could actually feel myself withdraw into my corner, where I wanted to stay, silent. One of the games was called “Mafia,” where folks are “voted” to be killed by the “town.” In the first round, I was chosen to be killed by someone and the town had to decide “who” killed me. I was run over by a truck, and the “reason” was that I didn’t understand the language. (Yes, looking back, it was Satan attacking me where I was low, but in the moment, with no one knowing how I was hurting over the language issue, I had to fight tears.) In the second round, I was “nominated” as one who killed another because he had made fun of my lack of Spanish (remember last week when the man in the church asked if I plan to learn the language? He was poisoned, and they suspected me.) I had to “defend” myself. They wanted me to do it in Spanish. I just shrugged, fighting tears. Finally, Jonathan laughed and said, “Say it in English, and I’ll translate.” My voice broke as I spoke, “I couldn’t have killed him, because his questioning me if I would learn the language has challenged me to learn it more.” Everyone laughed and someone said, “I don’t believe it.” (Again, I know it was all in fun in the game, but in THAT moment, I wanted to crawl in a hole and not come out.) After the party, we went home. I went to bed almost immediately (it was almost 11pm). I woke at 3 and cried some more.
Tuesday: At breakfast, I spoke as little as possible. In my heart, I know it’s my pride that is tripping me up right now. I am hurt, and I need to give it to the Lord. On our way to the market, Charo asked me if I was ok. I said, “Yes. Why?” She said, “Your face is still discouraged. You’ve stopped talking.” I had to fight tears again. The last thing I want is to hurt this family! I tried to smile, but she can tell it is fake. She told me that Pastor Jorge had also noticed a difference in my eyes. I hate that. I used to be able to cover up when I was hurt or discouraged. I can’t “fake it” as much anymore. When we got back to the house, I worked on finishing the changes needed for tomorrow’s lesson (the PPT and fill-in-the-blank sheet). Liz came over to draw the picture being used for decorations. She is talented! Pastor Jorge and Charo both asked me if I would like Meredith to look at my lesson for tomorrow. I agreed. Charo walked me there (about 3:30). Meredith and I talked for a little bit. I shared why they were having her look at the lesson and how discouraged I felt. She said, “Stephanie, you need to understand something. Most folks that come on short term trips DO NOT stay with nationals. Most stay with Americans. You’re in the middle of culture shock. It’s perfectly normal. Give yourself a break.” At that point, I teared up some, let it out, and moved on. We looked at the lesson together. It was actually right the way that I had it before, minus ONE WORD in the question I was asking. “What do you need healing for today?” should have been “From what do you need healed today?” Basically, once we put “de” in front of the question, the rest was understandable. So, she helped me change everything back, and we read through it a couple of times. She encouraged me to explain the verses instead of just having them read (not all, just some of the “deeper” ones). We take so much for granted in the US – that folks can read and understand concepts. Here, the less educated folks may not understand the basics. They are slapped or hit in school if they ask questions when they don’t understand, so as adults, they won’t ask when they don’t understand either. I didn’t know that. She was going to walk me back to Charo’s, and I would have let her before we talked. After we talked, I have a little more of my confidence back (the good kind, not the cocky kind). I stopped at the bodega on the way home for tissue (I’ve gone through a roll already with my sinuses), told the owner what I needed and paid. I was afraid to do that earlier in the day, even though I desperately needed it. I walked the rest of the way back. (Before you worry, Mom, this whole walk is about 5 blocks.) I found Charo in the church decorating. I greeted her and asked if I could help. She looked at me and said, “You are better.” I really do NOT like my emotions being that readable – lol. We finished up. She and Pastor Jorge asked if Meredith helped. I showed them the changes. They both said, “Oh! Now we understand.” Again, ONE WORD – grrr. Charo and I went to deliver invitations to some ladies for tomorrow’s meeting. It rained while we were out, not hard, but enough that my hair was plastered to my head and face – haha. I was singing our choir song, so I guess the phrase, “Singing in the Rain” was quite fitting. In the evening, I worked more on the lesson for the SPED teachers. I feel a bit more confident in that now, too. Pastor Jorge designed a banner for me to use when I begin deputation. It’s beautiful! It will be about 3’x1’ and will only cost about $15 here! We will pick it up in Lima when we go.
Wednesday: Woke up with more “confidence” this morning, yet still on the shy side when it comes to talking. It’s national teacher’s day here. Some schools have today off, and some choose to have Friday off to give a 3 day weekend. They make a BIG deal about Teacher’s Day here. Helped with lunch then Charo and I headed out to hand out a few more invitations. I saw another part of San Ramón that I haven’t seen before. There is so much work to be done here. I went on my own to get copies made for the ladies tonight. It started raining as I was out. When it’s a light rain, it’s not a huge deal, but when it rains hard (like it was this afternoon), the ladies won’t come out for the meeting. Prayed and called on others to pray. Within about 30 minutes, the rain had stopped and the sun was back out!! At the meeting, we had 2 visitors (1 that Charo, Nico, and Rocio have been trying to get to come for 2 years!!) and 11 women that normally attend. Meredith translated beautifully! I was more transparent in my teaching than I’ve been the other times I’ve taught this lesson here in San Ramón. The Lord helped me explain the verses better and use personal illustrations when needed (off script, so to speak). I moved around as I taught, and I finally figured out that’s when I’m most comfortable, when I’m not just standing in one spot. The lady that they’ve been inviting for years to come was under conviction during the “response” time, at least it appeared that way. Another woman who has come a few times (the bodega owner) thanked me for teaching and said, “I need Jesus in my life.” Charo asked her if she was ready to make a decision, but she declined. Please keep praying for K. The Lord knows what she needs. I’m praying that He will draw her to Himself. I’m not sure why teaching tires me so, but it does. After helping to clean up, I ate a little and then was out.
Thursday: It rained much overnight. When we were at breakfast, it started raining harder than I’ve ever seen it rain. I ran up the stairs to close my windows. Charo and I went to the market in the rain. Not fun – lol. I wore one of Pastor Jorge’s jackets. That’s how hard the rain was coming down. Praying it dries up soon. The rain seems to make everyone sad or something. Helped make Causa for lunch! I think I may try to make this for my Life Group. It’s actually not as hard as I thought it would be. Worked some more on Sunday’s children’s lesson and on next week’s lessons. Pastor and Charo had a counseling call in the afternoon. They got back late, so we didn’t have choir practice. An overall “down” day, which was very much needed.
Friday: After breakfast, Charo , Nico, and I headed to La Merced (about the distance from Richland to CWBC) to visit with Yssenia (the pastor’s wife there). She’s 4 ½ months pregnant, so we planned a big lunch to make for them and then time to visit. We went to the market in La Merced. Things are more expensive in La Merced. Charo said several times that she missed her market! I helped wash veggies while Charo and Nico cut up the chicken. After lunch was good to go, just waiting on it to finish cooking, Charo and I headed out to look for Pastor Jorge some new shoes for his birthday. She found some she likes, but she didn’t want to buy them today because he would see them. When we got back, Eliecer was back. We visited for a few until lunch was ready. We went ahead and started before Pastor Jorge and the kids got there, because we weren’t sure how long they would be. After they got there and we all ate, Pastor Jorge, Charo, the kids, and I went to Cerro San Cristóbal, a cross at the top of the mountain. The road to it is mainly cobblestone. I’m glad we took a moto-taxi, because I don’t think I could have physically walked up the road. We took several pictures. From the area of the cross, you can see all of La Merced. It’s pretty, no beautiful. But, I still prefer San Ramón. La Merced does have its benefits – there are more stores and restaurants than San Ramón, but it also has more traffic. We walked down the cobble stone road until we reached where the stairs are. We took the (equivalent of 9 flights of stairs) down. My legs were mush by the time we made it down. Lol. Went back to Yssenni and Eliecer’s house – Nico and I stayed for a few minutes after Pastor, Charo and the kids headed back. We went to the fierria (flea market) afterwards to buy Charo the shirt she wanted. Yay! Got back to the house just in time for Prayer Meeting. Pastor spoke on Nehemiah 1 tonight – how Nehemiah prayed for the Israelites and related it to how we should be praying for the church and its needs. They’ve set a goal to have 30 new people in the church by the end of the year and 70 kids in the kid’s services. I thought of Country Woods.
Saturday: It rained again overnight, enough that I woke around 4 to the sound of rain. I checked the window sills to make sure they weren’t wet and then went back to sleep for a couple of more hours. There was another work day at the church, but Charo had me helping in the kitchen today. I think I learned to make another dish. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it has fried potatoes, peas, carrots and chicken (served, of course, with rice). It has an aji sauce, too. I ate seconds! *giggle* Worked some in the afternoon on next week’s lessons and then rested a bit. Taught at 6 on “The Hem” to the ladies of the church from Mantus. From what I’ve understood, Mantus is in the mountains, the poorer people. They came to us in San Ramón. We met in one of the ladies’ houses that helps with the church. I think there were 10. I noticed that some could not fill in the fill-in-the-blank sheets – the older ones cannot read. There were many distractions during the conference tonight. The children kept coming in and out during the teaching. One, in particular, had a whistle that she kept blowing. Her mother and two other ladies tried to get her to stop, but she wouldn’t. When she wasn’t blowing the whistle, she was yelling at her mom. She was about 3, I would guess. They listened intently, though. When we gave the “decision” time, a couple of the ladies were focused on what we were saying. More seeds were planted. I asked Charo if it’s normal to not have “decisions” made. She said the people here are “strong.” She said it’s difficult to get outward decisions, but that they make inward ones. I know it’s not about numbers – not the reason I’m here. I was just curious. We also discussed future trips here. She asked if I could bring a group up here to serve. I asked her what we would “do” with a group, as in activities. She said it would all depend on who came. If there were medical folks, we would “advertise” that medical help was coming and people would come from all over. If we had hairdressers, people would come. If we had festivals for kids, they would come. She said, “You bring the help, we’ll have the people.” We talked about the logistics of it all. She said that groups have come before with only 7-10 days (Arrive in Lima, travel the next day here, spend 3-5 days, travel back to Lima, fly out). At first, I’d thought we could only have teams in San Carlos, which is my “second home in Peru.” But, knowing that we could bring teams HERE, to San Ramón, for only a week is awesome!! So, I’m putting it out there now, that next year, we’re bringing a team to San Ramón. Start praying now about coming with me. Their future plans include constructing housing for their Bible Institute. I’d love it if we could help with that. I think they already have the land, they just need the money to build and the help to build it.