Sunday: I called Life Group this morning after breakfast and getting ready. It was good to hear their voices. I do miss my Life Group, but I’m not ready to leave here yet. I taught in Spanish to both classes this morning. I started with the younger kids. I figured if I “practiced” with them, it would be easier with the older kids. I wasn’t really even nervous with Rosalinda in there, which surprised me. I had practiced reading the lesson over and over in Spanish, so that really helped me be ready to teach. I even acted out part of it with them. I taught the miracle of Jesus bringing Jairus’s daughter back from being dead. The kids listened really well. I had trouble with a couple of words, but Tamara and Rosalinda helped me with that. They both said that I did much better today than the last time I tried to teach in Spanish. It was another short day as we are going to Pichanaki tonight for their anniversary service, and those of us singing in the choir need to practice some, eat, change, and go. Then I moved on to the older kiddos. I taught the same lesson there, too. The kids listened and were able to answer questions. Again, I acted out part of the lesson with them and only read parts when I had trouble remember specific words that were necessary for the story. Nico was there to help this week, so I was thankful for that. After we ate, we all changed and loaded a van for Pichanaki. I rode backwards on the little seat. My hamstrings were tight/sore by the time we got there, but it was better than seeing the craziness of the road (lol). We sang first – 3 songs. There were some technical difficulties with their sound system, so we did not sound as good as last year. I basically mouthed the first song only because I couldn’t hear the music at all! Pastor Javier preached from Romans 12, leaving sin behind. Then, the church served us food. We got back on the van and rode back home. I rode in the same position, but in the dark it was more difficult, as I couldn’t judge when I needed to hold on. I slipped off the seat a couple of times – lol. Pastor Jorge said next year, we’ll rent a bigger vehicle to go to Pichanaki, as this one wasn’t big enough for all of us. We had 28 people in a van for 21. To say we were squished is an understatement. It was a good day. OH! Samuel took his entrance exam this morning for interpreting school. He did amazing! During the “interview” portion, he was the only one interviewed in English! He and Pastor Jorge said it was partially because of all of the practice he’s gotten interpreting for me. I say it’s the Lord who gave him the gift of languages.
Monday: Today after the market and helping prep for lunch, I worked on the lessons for the Special Needs school. While I am thankful for the opportunity, it is not my heart. I enjoy teaching the Bible more. It was an all day project – the lessons, the PowerPoints. I noticed I’m starting to get very weepy over everything. I don’t like that. I know tears are ok. And, I know it’s because I will miss it here. I also think it’s because I know it will probably be more than a year before I am back, if the Lord allows me to come next year full time. Charo and I talked about that some today. She is ready for me to be here to help. Isaac, Pastor Jorge’s brother, and his wife are moving here in February or so to help with the ministry, too. I’m thankful for that! Because we finished 1 John last week, we started reading 2 John and 3 John tonight. I did ok reading. Samuel is traveling back from Lima tonight.
Tuesday: After breakfast, Charo and I went to the market. Then I helped with prep for lunch. Pastor Jorge reviewed the PowerPoints for this afternoon, to make sure that they’re right. Once they were right, after lunch, I did the handouts, went to the copy shop for copies (I’m rather good at going there by myself and asking for what I need), and then got ready for the meeting. Pastor Jorge went with us to take pictures for me. When we got there, the director and teachers were not there. At first, I thought maybe they’d forgotten, but the man who lives on site said they were on a short break but would be back. We were supposed to begin at 4, but we didn’t get started until almost 5. I taught on “Methods and Strategies for the Care and Teaching of Students with Severe Disabilities or Multi-Disabilities” and “Behavior Modification.” I used examples from my classroom and my co-teacher’s classroom. I had a few items that I’d brought from the US for them to use – play doh and a story book. They were very thankful. They had some great questions, too. As always, Samuel did a great job translating and being my “guinea pig” when I showed them “how to.” I was able to share that I’m moving here as a missionary and was able to invite them to the church. I told them this was my last Sunday, so maybe they’ll come. When we got back to the house, Eliecer (pastor from La Merced) and his wife Ysenia were there. It was great to see them, if only for a little bit. They have a 8 month old little boy. At first, he wanted nothing to do with me – lol. He finally did come to me for a brief few minutes. Eliecer and Ysenia both said they look forward to me being here full time and said they’d be praying that the Lord provides quickly for that to happen.
Wednesday: After breakfast, market, and lunch prep, I began studying for the lesson in San Carlos for next week on “Spiritual Gifts.” I was hoping to find a spiritual gifts quiz in Spanish, but there isn’t one. I chatted with LifeWay about that online. They’re going to suggest that it be done. So, I went to work on “translating” the one from LifeWay into Spanish to use next week. Samuel or Pastor Jorge will check it for me to make sure it’s correct. Charo isn’t feeling well today. She took a short nap after lunch. Then, she and I went to buy our bus tickets for my return to Lima. We’re taking a different bus this time because the price of the original bus we take is almost double because next week begins the holidays here. Isaac took this bus, though, and said it’s just as good. It’s overnight, so as long as it’s safe, I’m good with it. On our way back, Charo and I stopped to look at a few furniture items to get an idea of the prices in San Ramón. The prices really aren’t much different than they’d be in Lima, so I’ll probably buy things here instead. If I buy all from one place, I’ll get a discount. When we got back to the house, one of Tamara’s friends, Yely was there. When she found out I was moving to San Ramón, she asked if she could live with me. I said, “Yes, with conditions.” She was so happy, she hugged me. But, she didn’t think I was serious. You see, Yely is 16 or 17 and lives alone. Her mom is on husband #4 or 5 and leaves Yely in San Ramón alone, and without enough money to survive, while she lives with her husband in the fields (they’re farmers). The husband doesn’t like having Yely around, so her mom only lets her visit for a few days at a time. Yely so desperately wants her Mom to love her. As far as we know, Yely is not saved, although she spends much time at the Sipion’s house. She also usually does not eat breakfast and only eats lunch because Charo fixes lunch for her daily when she fixes Tamara’s. In order to have money for the necessities that she needs, Yely has been selling photos of herself scantily dressed. So, if she wants to live with me, with my conditions, I will gladly take her in. Charo told me that after I went upstairs, Yely asked her if I was truly serious. Charo said, “Yes, but she’s also serious about having conditions. You will attend church with Stephanie to all services, and you will need to change the way you dress. And, no boys allowed in the house.” Yely said, “If she wants me to wear a skirt to my ankles every day, I’ll do it!” and cried. When Charo told me that, I started bawling. Please pray with me about the need of Yely to know the Savior.
Thursday: After breakfast, we went to the market. We’re making something with cauliflower today. That will be a first for me. It’s fried with potatoes and mixed with chicken. I’m not so sure about this one – lol. I helped with prep while we talked about my future ministry here. There is such a need for help with single mothers and teen girls. I haven’t been able to get Yely off my heart today. Finished the lesson for San Carlos and began on the PowerPoint. In the afternoon, Charo and I went to La Merced to the bank and then to Highland Coffee for me to pick up a few gifts. While at the bank, we asked if I could open an account for the future, but I can’t do that until I’m living here. But, there is one that apparently can take deposits from other nations, so that’s good to know. There’s another bank that Candy told me about, a credit union for missionaries, that I’m hoping to check out once I’m back in the US. The church members going on the mission trip met for “music practice” – they’re going to sing 3 songs for the kids with actions. When we finished, Yely was back at the house. Her mom called her and said she can visit for a few days week after next. She’s really excited. When Charo asked her how long she’ll be staying, she said, “Until her husband tells me to go, about 5 days or so.” She read with us when we read 2 John and 3 John. When everyone else went to bed, I worked a bit more. Oh, the cauliflower meal was good. It didn’t taste like cauliflower at all! lol
Friday: Got up and cleaned my room a bit before breakfast. With packing coming up quickly, I’m beginning to see what I need to take back to the US with me and what is staying here. Many of the clothes I brought will stay here, I’m sure. After breakfast, we went to the market. Fridays are the days that there’s a large outdoor “flea market” of sorts. I want to get pictures later today of it. Helped prep for lunch and then packed some for Villa Ricca. After lunch, I finished packing for Villa Ricca. We’re staying overnight because the conference begins at 8am tomorrow. Afterwards, David and I went to the Feria (outdoor flea market) for me to get photos. We ran into Meredith (American married to Peruvian who interpreted for me some last year). We talked for a few minutes. After the Feria, I got ready and we left. Our taxi ride was much calmer than the ones to Tarma and Pichanaki, but the roads are much curvier and steep. (I’m actually typing this week’s journal in the car as I get slung from side to side – lol). When we got to Villa Ricca, it was cold. And, I mean COLD. OK, so maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to the heat of San Ramón, but it was only in the 50’s, and I was in a short sleeved shirt and capris, with sandals. Riding in an open air mototaxi, Samuel, Charo, and I all huddled together to try to keep warm. I’m sure we’ll laugh about this one day! We spent the night in a hotel associated with the university in Villa Ricca. It was nice, although it was cold. Samuel had his own room; Charo and I shared a room. It had 3 beds. Charo and I talked some after supper, but we were both tired from the trip.
Saturday: I woke around 3am with absolutely NO idea where I was! I could hear someone breathing near me, and at first, I was a bit creeped out. Then, I realized it was just Charo and that we were in a hotel. I slept on and off until 6, when I finally got up and read. We’re supposed to start at 8 this morning. We got to the church at 8:05, and it was locked up. Two ladies were trying to unlock the door, but they were having a difficult time. Samuel unlocked the door, and we went in. The church didn’t have a multi-media projector, although they told us they’d have one. I can teach without one, but it makes it difficult for the notes. They told us they’d have one shortly. We finally started about 9:30. There were a total of 3 churches there today, but most of the ladies drove from Santa Ana, which is about 3 or 4 hours away. We were scheduled to teach 3 lessons, but then it changed to 2. I ended up only teaching 1 because the ladies had so many questions, which was a good thing. The pastor scheduled a wedding for the evening, so we had to be out by 1:30, and yes, the one lesson took almost the full 4 hours. Two of the ladies from the Villa Ricca church invited us to lunch. It was scrumptious! We hadn’t eaten breakfast (had a pineapple juice to keep my sugar up), so we devoured the food! One of the pastor’s from one of the visiting churches gave me a large bag of bananas and gave Charo a big bag of pineapples. The pastor’s wife from the Villa Ricca church gave us a large bag of tangerines. After we ate, we took a taxi back to La Merced. I watched more of the traffic signs – I’m convinced that we passed part of our car on a few of the turns – a sharp u-turn followed by a sharp right angle right turn followed quickly by an S-curve and then another sharp u-turn. A few times, I was regretting having eaten – lol. I fell asleep about half way back. Charo woke me when we got to La Merced. Took another taxi from La Merced to San Ramón. Unpacked, rested for a few minutes, and then finished the lesson for San Carlos (the PPT). Later, Charo and I went into town for bread and water. Tomorrow is a fast day for the church, but she wants to make sure I have sufficient nutrition for my sugars. The youth group had a going away party for Samuel. The cake was yummy! After supper, Pastor Jorge checked the PowerPoint for San Carlos – only a few minor word changes. Then, we looked at the 3 year plan I typed up for my future ministry here and what financial needs that plan entails. Once I can get the questions answered that I have about my taxes, I can actually put together a financial plan for deputation!
Until All Shall Hear,
2 Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”