Sunday: This morning I taught the 7 and older kids first. I taught about Jesus turning water into wine. I used pixie stix to illustrate the water changing (I hid the pixie stix powder in the bottom of a glass and then poured water into it). The kids thought it was really cool. We talked about this being Jesus’s first miracle and how the servants and the disciples saw the miracle and then told others. We talked about how it’s important for us to tell others what Jesus is doing in our lives. It challenged me a bit – do I always share what He’s done with others? Then Samuel and I taught the younger kids. They were fascinated by the water change. They listened well, especially with the prospect of getting candy if they listened (haha). After lunch, I studied some more. This is going to be one crazy week with teaching. I’m thankful, but much to do. Isaac preached in the evening service from Daniel 1. He challenged us to keep ourselves pure from worldly things. I have to admit, there are some things that I need to purge from my life. I notice while I’m here that I don’t “need” those things, yet they creep back in when I’m in the US. Not horrible things – just time wasters. Anyway. Isaac and Rubi left right after supper headed back to Lima. I have another sour stomach – we’re going to ask a pharmacist tomorrow for something “preventative” for me to take. They use a “weevil therapy” here for stomach issues. I’m all for being as much Peruvian as I can be while I serve here, but I’m not ready for that just yet. And, I don’t know that I ever will be….
Monday: Tummy is better – yay. Charo and Pastor Jorge went to the market this morning while I was in the shower. I have to admit, I miss the walks with Charo when she and I don’t go. I helped prepare lunch and then worked on lessons. I’ve also restarted “The Hem of His Garment” online Bible study. I began it 2 years ago, but I didn’t get very far. It wasn’t a priority for me then, (once I left Peru and go back to the busy-ness of the US), but I want to complete it. It deals with some difficult topics some times, but it is geared to heal from the depths. Because it’s been almost 2 years since I worked on it, I have to review the first 4 chapters. Some of it is tough to review, but I’m glad that I am. Also finished the “Transformed Lives” lesson – wow. I’m actually a little excited to teach this one. Not because I’ve written anything grand or glorious, but because the Lord gave this lesson to me piece by piece. Began working on the PowerPoint for the lesson, too. I actually have 4 PowerPoints and 4 handouts to finish this week. I have a feeling I’m going to dislike being on the computer by the time this week is done – lol. In the evening, we read 1 John together again as a family. I’m only using my Spanish Bible for the readings now (before I would consult my English Bible to know where we were). I’m reading the English during the day, so I think that’s helping. I was up later than usual studying.
Tuesday: Slept well. Got up and studied more. Charo and Pastor Jorge went to the market again on his motorcycle because Charo has several things to do today. Finished up the PowerPoint for “Transformed Lives” today. Pastor Jorge will check it later today or tomorrow, and then I’ll do the handout. This is the frustrating part for me – not being strong enough in Spanish to know if I have everything right and having to rely on someone else. Y’all know how “independent” I am in some ways. (haha) I walked with Charo to deliver lunch to Tamara. I enjoy going places with her. We chat as we walk. I’m going to miss that when it’s time to leave. And, I don’t even want to start thinking about that yet! She and I talked today that when I leave this year, it will be more than a year before I return, since I’m planning to move next August, if the Lord provides the financial support for me to do so. It almost seems surreal to actually say that….that I’ll be MOVING here soon. I am often overwhelmed when I think about how the Lord is allowing me to serve after all of the mistakes in my life. He truly is a wonderful Father. Samuel is getting nervous about all of the different teachings this week. I told him he’ll do just fine. Read 1 John again.
Wednesday: I didn’t make it to the market with Charo again today – They had some errands to run, so I worked on lessons. While they were gone, I received a message that my daughter Hayley had been in a car accident the day before. My friend (her step-mom) sent me photos of the car. I have to say that I was a basket case for quite a bit. I was actually thankful that Pastor Jorge and Charo weren’t here at the moment – I broke down and bawled and thanked the Lord for protecting her. For those of you who don’t know, Hayley and I are estranged. She wants nothing to do with me because of parts of my past. I made mistakes. I wasn’t saved at the time. Yes, I’ve asked her forgiveness and have changed, but she doesn’t see that. I’m still praying that one day she will. (Would y’all join me in praying for her? Thanks a bunch!) It was difficult to focus for a bit – with all that needs to be done and with the thought of Hayley’s accident, I had to ask the Lord for focus and peace. Charo told me after they returned that the ladies that we buy chicken and vegetables from were asking about me today, that they missed seeing me! That made me smile. Thank You, Lord, for that small blessing. Pastor Jorge reviewed the PowerPoint in the afternoon. Only a few minor changes. Then, Charo and I walked to town to buy a few props that I need for the lesson tomorrow. It’s been cooler the last few days, so that has helped. And, it was good to get out for a few and take in all of God’s beauty here in San Ramón. Read 1 John tonight.
Thursday: Breakfast and then market! (yay!) Helped prepare lunch and then studied until lunch was ready. As soon as lunch was over, I quickly showered, ironed, and got my stuff together for our trip. Pichanaki is about 2 hours away. We’ll be taking a taxi to La Merced and then another one on to Pichanaki. Round trip, it will cost about $34. So, that gives me an idea of some travel costs for me when I’m living here. Yes, that’s for all 3 of us (Charo, Samuel, and me), but until I’m comfortable traveling alone, I’ll need to plan for at least 1 other person’s fare as well. I’ve traveled to Pichanaki twice before – the first year to see waterfalls via a mini-van, and last year via Jonathan and Rocio’s car. Each time, I’ve thought, “I’m thankful for safe drivers with all the curves, twists, and whatnot.” Tonight, I’ve never wanted a seatbelt in the backseat more! (I couldn’t find one!!) The taxi driver on the way to Pichanaki added to my anxiety level – lol. Samuel gave up trying to read the lesson ahead of time and slept. Charo had her eyes closed. We were all very thankful to get out of the car! We changed and had light refreshments before the lesson. Maybe it was everyone’s prayers, maybe it was the topic, or (more likely) it was the Lord – but this lesson went better than any of the others I’ve taught – as in, I had clarity of thought, my voice stayed strong, and Samuel did an amazing job translating! A couple of times, I switched from English to Spanish, which got a chuckle out of everyone, because then Samuel translated what I’d said into English – lol. Some of the ladies had some hard questions about the lesson. As in, “How do I get rid of my anger?” I had to be honest with them and tell them that I still struggle with it, and that it is a daily sin for me. I shared examples from my life and a few verses that have helped me. The ladies were excited to know that, Lord willing, I will be living here next year. And, the pastor and his wife said they would be praying for the Lord to provide so that I can. The trip back was a little less “all over the road,” but it still had its adventures. I tried to sleep, but the Inca Cola I had earlier kept me hyper. (lol) By the time we made it back to San Ramón it was after 10, almost 11, I think. It’s been a long but good day. Too tired to eat. Going to sleep.
Friday: Breakfast and then the market with Charo. Charo wants me to teach last night’s lesson to the ladies here in San Ramón next week and in Villaricca, too. I’m good with that. Helped prepare lunch (peeled potatoes, cut carrots, and shelled peas). Finished up the PowerPoints for tomorrow (this took most of the day). Pastor Jorge checked one of the PPTs before his counseling session. I did the handout while he counseled. Then he looked at the other two PPTs. It’s going to be a long (LONG) night doing handouts and adding the animations to the PPTs. I wait to do all of that once they’ve been checked. Otherwise, it’s double the work. We had our 1 John Bible study in the church. I had actually done the questions this week, so I could participate. I actually got a few of the answers right! I was excited for that. I did freeze up answering, though. I really need y’all to pray that I will get over the anxiety of speaking in front of folks in the church. I’m not sure why it’s so bad. After Bible study, we ate, and then I worked until Charo and Pastor Jorge went to bed. Then, I went upstairs. I ironed and packed my things, and then I worked on the PPTs until they were done. I think I eventually fell asleep at 3 or 3:30.
Saturday: Up at 5:30 to shower and finish packing. I knew I needed to get in the shower before everyone else, since I have to dry my hair. (lol) We left a little before 8. We weren’t able to get the copies before we left, so hopefully we can find some place quickly once we get to Tarma. We took a taxi there and back, about $30 roundtrip for the 3 of us. It took us about 1 ½ hours to get there and then about 30 minutes to find a place to print and make copies. The ladies were waiting on us when we got there. Because we’d left without breakfast, and with walking roughly 2 miles once we were there, my sugar plummeted, so we couldn’t start right away. I ate a little, changed clothes, and we got started. We’d made 20 copies and quickly ran out. I welcomed the ladies and explained that although my Spanish was better than last year, I still needed a translator – all in Spanish!! I taught first on “Women Persevering in the Faith” using the Shunammite woman as a springboard. From there, I used Hebrews 12:1-2. We took about a 15 minute snack break (crackers and juice), and then I taught on “Loving Your Neighbor” using the Good Samaritan and 1 Corinthians 13. Halfway through, we broke for lunch – it was yummy! Baked chicken, potatoes, and a beet/carrot/peas/something else salad. After the “Loving Your Neighbor” lesson, we took another 10 minute break and then finished with “I’m a Christian, but I still Sin.” As the ladies had questions, we stopped and answered. Some were hard, but I answered as honestly as I could. Before I left, the pastor and his wife thanked me for coming and teaching their ladies. I explained that it was I who was thankful for the opportunity to speak/teach. The pastor said, “Stephanie, you are always welcome here. You are the first missionary to ever take an interest in us. Most bypass our city and go to the jungle areas because it sounds glamorous. Yes, you love San Ramón, but you love us, too. Please plan to partner with us when you are living here – for more ladies conferences and even some youth conferences.” I don’t say that to brag on myself. I say that to let you know that your support has made a difference here! The field is white and ready to harvest – we just have to be willing. Afterward, our taxi ride back was a bit “all over the place.” We passed several beautiful waterfalls and farming areas. There are homes in the side of the mountains – I’m not sure how they get up there or get back down! When we got home, the youth service was already going. When Pastor Jorge came in, he shared that two young men had accepted Christ as Savior tonight! I nearly cried! One of these boys has been heavy on my heart for 2 years (Alec). His dad is the one who challenged me last year to learn Spanish so that I could speak to the people here. Alec has been coming to church for several years but it’s always been more of a social thing for him. But, praise the Lord, he saw tonight that he needed Christ as his Savior! We talked about how the day went. I tried to study for the kids’ lessons for tomorrow, but I kept falling asleep. Guess that will be tomorrow morning.
Until All Shall Hear,
2 Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”