Sunday: Pastor Jorge taught more on the importance of the Lord’s Supper and its significance. I taught the children on the Shield of Faith during the second service. The kids did really well today. There weren’t as many today, but they listened better. After the service ended, the church leaders had a meeting on the plans for the Anniversary service in August. By the time we were done with that, it was too late to fix lunch by Peru standards so we went out for Pollo ala Roaster. The evening service was full – every chair was filled. Pastor spoke from 2 Corinthians 4. After the service, the church celebrated Pastor Jorge and Jonathan’s birthdays with games and snacks. It was fun. Afterwards, several of us sat around talking. One of the men of the church asked if I had children. His wife answered. We talked about that some. He said that the San Ramón that we see during the day is much different from the San Ramón he sees at night. He drives a moto-taxi at night. He said that there are children who run the streets because their homes are broken, there’s prostitution, drugs, and alcohol. He said there’s much work to be done here. The Lord has given me a story to share here. I just gave to wait for His time to open the door. The hermano said he’s praying that the Lord opens the door quickly.
Monday: Pastor Jorge’s birthday. Two families from church took all of us out to eat for Pastor’s birthday, so that meant no market run. This was a problem, because Charo had planned to “sneak away” to La Merced during the market run to buy Pastor’s shoes. We used the excuse that I needed to buy something, which I did. I wanted to get Pastor something for his birthday. Charo and I had fun walking and shopping. When we got back, she gave him his new tennis shoes. He liked them. I’d gotten him a new pair of shorts (per Charo, this is what he needed most). He liked them. We went for Chifa (Chinese) for lunch. YUM. Afterwards, we bought the few things in the market that we would need for the celebration in the evening. The custom here is the birthday family invites the church over for celebration, which always includes some sort of meal. While we were at the market, the car broke down. (Pastor Jorge borrows the 2nd car that Jonathan and Rocio have. It’s older and doesn’t drive smoothly, but it is transportation for their family.) Pastor called Jonathan, who came in their SUV. He got the car running again but said he would drive us back, letting Pastor drive the SUV. Afterwards, Pastor said, “I pray the Lord provides a new vehicle for us.” Would you join me in praying that for them? With a family of 5, plus Nico, they need something dependable. That night, the church came over. I helped prepare papa huancaina for the group (peeling hot boiled potatoes) – I’m not sure that my fingertips will ever get accustomed to holding a hot potato! (I now truly understand the significance of the game “hot potato”!!!). We played games and had cake. It was a good time.
Tuesday: Woke up with my sinuses going haywire. I think I’ve waited as long as I possibly can to start antibiotics. I also am fairly certain I have the beginning of a staph infection in my nose, from my nose being raw from all the blowing. Oy! Of course, I forgot to pack the cream that I need for that! I have to share a praise/prayer request! Charo and I took our normal walk to the market this morning, and while we walked, we passed a young man who visited the church on Sunday morning. He had visited the night of the youth conference but left before anyone could welcome him. He told pastor Jorge after church on Sunday that he heard the Word spoken at the youth conference and decided to attend a Sunday evening service (he goes to university in the mornings) to see if the same Word would be taught. His family’s church has sent him away because he questioned one of their doctrinal beliefs. The pastor of the church preaches that if you sin, you lose your salvation. He has been studying the Bible on his own, with the help of commentaries, and questioned his pastor (one on one) about the “lie” he was preaching to the congregation. The pastor called him, in essence, a heretic and said he was no longer welcome in the church. He is now wanting to attend our church and is being discipled by Jonathan!! Pray that he will continue to grow in the Lord and for peace for him as his family is now upset with him. His name is Leve. Worked on PPT for Friday and lesson for Saturday. When Pastor Jorge realized that the lessons for Friday and Saturday were totally different from the others I’ve taught and from each other, he said, “WOW!” in total disbelief. It has been difficult, preparing such diverse lessons – the studying and writing the lessons, the PowerPoints, the fill-in-the-blanks – but the Lord has taught me much.
Wednesday: Today my grandmother (Big Mama) has been in heaven 17 years. It is “fitting” that I cooked meatloaf from scratch today! And, it actually turned out better, I think, that the packet I use in the US to make it! Charo cooked the mashed potatoes and made the salad, but the meatloaf was totally on me. I like cooking for them. And, it showed me that I can prepare from scratch. After lunch, I changed much of the lesson for Saturday. In my spirit, it wasn’t what the Lord wanted. I’d already done quite a bit of work on the PPT, too. Oh well. I’d rather teach what He wants and it take more work than throw something together and it not glorify Him. Picked up the cream I need for the staph infection. Hoping it clears it up quickly! It hurts – lol. Charo fixed soup for supper – mainly for me. My voice is nearly gone, and I’m flat out miserable with my sinuses. Praying it all clears up quickly – the last of my time here in San Ramon is crammed pack with things to do!! Worked in the evening more on the lesson for Saturday.
Thursday: Before we left for the market this morning, Charo and I got a message from Candy that a friend of hers is visiting friends San Ramon next week and would like to meet the Sipions. Amparo (the friend) is originally from Lima but lives in the US. She is bilingual! This is a huge answer to prayer, as I am teaching at the SPED school on Wednesday. I think Pastor Jorge could translate, but it would be a bit more difficult, since the topic is educational and has education terms. Amparo said she would be thrilled to help!! I could see the look of relief on Pastor Jorge’s face when I shared that Amparo would translate for me!! I helped prep the purple corn for Chica Morada. I sure wish I could find the purple corn in the US. I would drink this every single day! I looked online – 1 pound of it is $37!! Here, one pound is the equivalent of $3. *sigh* Pastor proofed the PPT for Friday so that I could work on the fill-in-the-blank sheets. Finished the lesson for Saturday. I’ll work on the PPT tomorrow. Feeling worse and worse. Had church (lesson on the book of Jude) and choir practice in the evening. I could almost sing in the “3rd part” tonight – the bass section. Those high soprano notes are just not happening tonight.
Friday: While at the market this morning, I went to the pharmacy for stronger antibiotics for my sinuses. I’m actually getting worse instead of better. I also got some “numbing” drops for my throat that will help with my cough. My voice is almost totally gone. I need to be able to speak in order to teach. Haha. Pastor and I worked on the PPT (adjusting words that I had wrong). He told Charo that this is the best lesson he’s proofed for me. Now, before you think I say that because I have a big head, remember, I’ve changed this lesson because the Lord said to. I’ve actually written this lesson four different times now. I’ve gotten my toes stepped on so many times during this lesson that I actually think I need steel-toed boots! I really think Satan is waging all out war on me regarding this lesson…. My voice was back in time to teach, although I had to drink water several times to keep my cough away. I taught the Señoritas on “Are you searching for your prince charming?” In other words, if you’re wanting to marry, for whom are you looking? If I’m honest, there’s a part of me that longs to be loved again. Yes, I’m satisfied in Him 99% of the time. But, at times, I *wish* I had someone to serve Him with. So, this lesson was written as much to me (and to Merlyna) as it was to anyone else. I told them something my friend has said to me over and over and over until it finally stuck with me, “Fall in love with Jesus first. You won’t be satisfied until you do that.” And, that’s true. There’s one young lady in the church who is dating a young man who has pulled her away from serving the Lord. She wasn’t thrilled with me during much of the lesson – her face showed it. But, I was only speaking Truth. Please pray for Jade, that she would see the change in herself. After the lesson, I was “done” for the night. I could barely talk, and my breathing was a bit labored. I didn’t have fever, but I was truly sick. I broke down and posted on facebook that I was sick. I don’t like it to sound like I’m complaining, but I needed prayer for strength and health. Charo was afraid for me to go to sleep by myself. I assured her if I needed her, I would wake her. And, I assured her if I wasn’t better by morning that I would go to the clinic. Vick’s vapor rub, inhaler, antibiotics, and prayer. I need sleep – good uninterrupted sleep.
Saturday: I woke up refreshed (slept almost 8 hours!!) and feeling a TON better! My eyes show that I feel better!! My voice, while not back to normal yet, is stronger than it’s been in several days. The staph infection looks better, too! Charo and I did our market run, and I helped prepare Arroz con Pollo (rice, carrots, peas, cilantro, and chicken). Again, I say that I won’t win any contests on the Food Network, but my chopping skills have improved – and I’m faster than at the beginning of the summer! We ate and then quickly showered/changed for Pichanaki. I tried to post an update 4 different times about how I was feeling (better) and how I still coveted the prayers of those praying for us, but Facebook wouldn’t take the post. I was getting a bit frustrated, but decided that God knew. Charo and I, along with Rocio, Jonathan and their kids, drove to Pichanaki. It still amazes me to watch the road signs (you know, S-curve followed by 90 degree right angle) and the traffic in those curves. A few times, I just closed my eyes – lol. We made it just in time to get changed and set up for the meeting. There were several women in attendance. The Lord gave me peace and confidence to teach. The pastor’s wife had asked that I teach on “Being Committed.” I told the ladies that I was speaking to myself as much as I was speaking to them. I shared a few of the areas where the Lord was dealing with me. I looked up about half way through the 1st half of the lesson (we break the lesson into two parts when the church asks us to), to see Pastor Javier Trejos (the pastor from Los Sureños) in the back! He started taking pictures and waved. I lost my place in what I was teaching/saying – lol. We took a small break and he spoke to us. He is the guest pastor for the anniversary service tomorrow! I taught the rest of the lesson (with Pastor Trejos videoing part of it – ugh!!). During the last part “Do you know Jesus?” (which I give at the end of every lesson) the pastor’s computer died. I didn’t have the slides for the ladies to see. At first I was frustrated, but I knew it was ok. I have them memorized, and I have a Spanish Bible for Rocio if she needs them. It was an odd feeling, though. It was the quietest it has ever been when I’ve taught. (Usually, there are kids running around or construction noise outside.) One lady never took her eyes off of me. No decisions were made, but seeds were planted. Normally, I would wait to share what happened on Sunday on Sunday, but part of this needs to be shared here. The “reason” Satan was waging all out war on me – the woman who never took her eyes off me during the plan of salvation during the lesson was back in church Sunday morning to hear Pastor Javier. She had been invited to the women’s meeting by a friend. She came back because I challenged all of the ladies to be back in church on Sunday to show their commitment. She told Pastor Javier that she heard the clear Gospel from the Word of God for the first time in her life on Saturday night. This woman is in her mid to late 50’s! She said that she again heard the Word of God from Pastor Javier. She sat beside me this morning and had trouble finding one of the passages in her Bible. I helped her, not knowing that she was a visitor. She told him that she is not a Christian but she wants to learn more about what Christianity is all about, that my teaching had pierced her heart. Now, I know that it wasn’t my teaching, it was the Holy Spirit, but praise the Lord for her being invited by someone to attend!! She asked him to relay to me that it was the first time she’d heard the Gospel. Will you pray with me for Carmen? Pray that she gives her life to Jesus.