Peru 2016, Week 4

20th Church Anniversary

Peru 2016 Week 4:

Sunday: The power was out when we got up. The city was doing maintenance on the lines. Thankfully, they’d told the city the night before so that we could all iron and shower the night before. (If the water tank runs out, there’s no way to get water “up” to it – it’s on the highest floor of every house – without power). I taught the children during the first service (equivalent to Sunday School or Life Group) on the Armor of God. We had 31 children PACKED into the room! There were children as young as 3, all the way to 12. Many listened well. I told them I’d be asking questions next week to see who listened best.  In the 2nd service, Pastor Jorge asked me the questions that we’d discussed. I was supposed to answer as much as I could in Spanish, but I froze when I got in there. There were about 30 or so people in attendance. So, I just spoke in English, and Pastor Jorge translated. I’d written out most of my answers in Spanish, so if he couldn’t hear me, he read what I wrote. At the end, he asked the church if they had any questions for me. One man said his question might upset me. I thought, “Oh, boy!” But, he just wanted to know if I plan to learn Spanish, or if I plan to rely on others to speak for me. OUCH! I tried to explain that I just get nervous in a group, but that I am learning and plan to take classes or find a private tutor when I return to MS. Otherwise, I think the interview and introduction went well. And, Pastor Jorge did introduce me as part of their church family. My heart swelled with emotion! After the interview, the children came in and “purchased” items for sale. They’ve been earning church soles (So-lays) for attendance, Bible memorization, bringing their Bibles, and bringing visitors. There were four tables FULL of items at the beginning. By the time all of the children came through, all four tables were EMPTY! We went out for lunch after church – it’s a treat for the Sipions to go out. Afterwards, since there was no power, most everyone napped. I read (I know, big surprise). I’d charged my iPad the night before, so I was able to pull up a book I’d saved on the Kindle ap – Warren Wiersby’s book on commitment, based on Ruth and Esther. I only got 3 or 4 chapters in, but I got my toes stepped on! It was good. In the evening, Pastor Jorge spoke from Ephesians 4:13 and Proverbs 24:1-12, “What am I teaching my family about God?” Then, we had choir practice. I almost have the first verse and chorus memorized so that I do not have to look at the words!! YAY!!

Monday: In my devotions this morning, our RPO was 1 Corinthians 10:1-33. Several different verses jumped off the page at me. First, verse 13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Yes, I will face temptations in life, but with His help, I can overcome those temptations. I’m teaching on that with the teen girls this week! Then, verse 23, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” OUCH. The Lord talked to me about some of the “things” I’m letting in my life – TV, music, Facebook, etc. All of those things are ok, but not all of them point me toward Him. Yep, putting that in the lesson, too. I haven’t been able to get the gentleman’s words out of my head – I need to learn Spanish beyond just vocabulary. I need to be able to converse. I researched a bit (Hinds Community College offers a conversational Spanish class, but I don’t know that I’m ready for that). It rained off and on all day. It’s definitely cooler when it rains, almost nippy. I changed much of the lesson for the teen girls for the end of this week and began changing the PowerPoint. The church has needed to put in concrete around the foundation of the church to help when it’s rainy season here (January – March, I think) because the rain floods into the church. Because of the extra “service” money that was given (and because I’d budgeted in a little for the church), they’re able to have that done now! It’s quite amazing to watch the process. I’m taking pictures along the way. The men that Pastor Jorge hired to do it first have to clear the ground. This is done by hand/hoe only, and it’s a pretty big area. I was tired just watching them!

Tuesday: It rained overnight. The clouds are absolutely stunning “sitting” over the mountains. I take photos, but those just don’t do this justice!! It rained again much of the day. Charo had written me before I came this year that she had found the perfect place for me to live, so today, I asked her where that is. She showed me. It’s on the same street, about ¼ of a block down, right beside Nico! She said the rent would be about 400-500 soles a month (which is about $153 US a month). I need to ask if that includes water and power. But, that’s still MUCH cheaper than what Candy is having to budget for in Lima!! The men working on the “sidewalk” of the church working in between rain. They got it all cleared and dug up. I started to work on lessons again today, but my subscription to Microsoft had expired! Every time I tried to work, a pop-up came that said I needed to renew. I was NOT a happy person. The thought of spending that extra money right now did not make me happy. But, I learned that since I’m a teacher, I could get the 4 year subscription for $80! I was THRILLED with that, and it can go on two computers (so I can share with M if she needs it). Not much else to report. My mind has not been as focused as it should be. Spent more time in prayer and the Word. Tomorrow, if it’s not raining, we’re hiking up the mountain that I see every morning when I get up! Charo has prepared Chinese rice for tomorrow’s hike. It is SO good! I know, I know – we can get that in the US, but it really does taste different here. And, it’s almost named wrong. Chinese rice didn’t start in China. It started in Peru, when the poor farmers needed to eat, they put together whatever they had (rice, eggs, carrots and peas), and ate.

Wednesday: Set an alarm to make sure I was up and ready for our hike! The SUN is beautiful!! Had my devotions and ate breakfast. There were 13 of us that went. On the way, one of the dogs that lives outside the church walls was following us. He ran ahead just a bit and four very large dogs swarmed and attacked him. I couldn’t help but think that’s how, sometimes, we as Christians act toward other Christians when they’re struggling (this dog is maybe as tall as 1/3 of my leg). What I’d read yesterday from 1 Corinthians 13 was still resounding in my head – if I don’t show love, it really doesn’t matter what words I use. I also thought about how Satan attacks – he grabs us at our weakest point. These large dogs grabbed the little dog by the scruff and literally FLUNG him. We threw rocks at the bigger dogs to get them to leave the little one alone. Then, he followed us the whole way, no matter how we tried to shoo him away. We actually hiked up and over the mountain to get to the river. Near the peak, the view of San Ramón is absolutely STUNNING! I have a postcard from last year with the view, but seeing it in person was SO much better! David (Pastor Jorge and Charo’s son) asked me why I had tears in my eyes. All I could say was “Dios.” I know God has called me here. And, seeing that view – the whole city where God wants me – is nearly overwhelming! The hike was hard at times. My knee did not necessarily appreciate it – lol. Parts of the road were very narrow. When cars, motorcycles, or moto-taxis passed, if I was standing by the cliff side, I was honestly scared. If I was beside the mountain side, it wasn’t too bad. The hike took about an hour and a half to get there. The river was better than I anticipated. The water was FRIGID! lol. I didn’t swim, well, because I’m not that strong of a swimmer in open water, but I did get in up to my knees. I couldn’t go further – lol. We ate and then played a little bit of volleyball. I mainly watched, although I did play a little. The different insects found me sweet, apparently – only 3 new bites and one sting. I just have to laugh. The same thing happens in MS. I can be with 10 people, and I am the one the mosquitoes like. Haha The hike back was much more difficult. We were all tired. The uphill part gets me. I don’t mind the downhill so much. Charo’s knee was bothering her, so when a moto-taxi came by, she said we were taking it (we only had about another 1/3 of a mile or so to go). It’s probably a good thing, because by the time we made it back to the house, my sugar was quite low. I ate a PB sandwich and all was good. The house was quite quiet tonight – we’re ALL tired – lol.

Thursday: My feet got a little sunburned yesterday at the river. They don’t hurt, but they look funny. They are red, white stripe where my sandals were, and then another red stripe. Pastor Jorge said that even my feet know that they belong in Peru! (haha) Peru’s colors, for those that don’t know, are red and white (red stripe, white stripe, red stripe). After breakfast, Pastor Jorge and Charo took me to the Special Needs school (Centro Educación Especial Basica San Manuelito) to view it and to be introduced so that we can plan on conferences for next year. It’s just on the edge of town. The director (Catherine Paola Krammer Davila) was gracious and showed us different classrooms. I counted about 15 students with Down’s Syndrome. I wanted to hug them all. They teach children from 3 years old to high school. Several of the students have both physical and cognitive disabilities. The director said at least 3 have autism. There are 7 teachers and 8 assistants (physical therapy, etc), I think she said. Many students live with single mothers (fathers often abandon their children with disabilities) and lack clean water to drink. As we were leaving, she asked if I could teach them next week! I almost fainted! Next week is busy with conferences. I asked Pastor Jorge to ask her if we could do it the following week. She said that would be perfect! She would like 2 one hour lessons – one on “How to Teach Different Disabilities in the Same Classroom” and one on “Organizing the Classroom.” I’m trying not to panic. All of my “stuff” for SPED is on my old computer or on the flashdrives that I didn’t bring with me. Haha I’ll do what I can from memory, and if I need more, my friend will upload for me what I need. Technology is amazing!! Just before lunch, I contacted Merlyna’s high school Spanish teacher. She’s from Peru. I was asking her if she knew of a teacher or tutor who could help me learn. She wrote back that she would be honored to help me!! So, I now have a Spanish tutor!! Try telling me that God’s not working things for me to be in Peru?! Worked on Sunday’s children’s lesson (Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness and Shoes with the Preparation of the Gospel). Then, worked on the lesson for the young, unmarried ladies (20 and up) on “Whom Will I Marry?” Charo has asked me if I want to marry again. My answer is always the same, “If the Lord wants me to marry again, He will bring a man that is serving the Lord and who wants to serve in San Ramon.” I am not opposed to it, but I am not searching, either. We had choir practice again in the evening. I’m enjoying the songs, and I’m actually humming them throughout the day. I do find myself singing parts of them (the parts I can remember) as I do other things – walk to the market, shower, etc.

Friday: After breakfast, Charo and I went to the market. On Fridays, it’s similar to a large flea market. Charo’s parents set up in one of the booths. We stopped and chatted with them for a few minutes. We’re having a “new to me” vegetable today for lunch. When Charo’s dad heard that we didn’t have them in the US, he said, “Los Estados Unidos es un pais pobre!” (The United States is a poor country!) We all laughed. Obviously he was referring to the lack of some of the veggies! I finished adding animation to the PowerPoint and writing the fill-in-the-blank sheet for the teen girls. Afterwards, we set the church up for the meeting, decorating and such. I needed to get copies, but Charo and Nico were busy, but Charo asked David to go with me to the copy place (about 3 blocks or so). He and I talked a little, although I think he is a little fearful of me. I guess I give him the “teacher look” when he acts up and no one else is around to correct him (haha). When we walked in, I greeted the lady at the counter and told her what I needed. ALL BY MYSELF!! She and I conversed about what I needed (I even used my numbers in Spanish!!), she told me what I owed, I counted out the money, and received my change – all like a Peruvian!! I felt so “proud” – the good kind. The meeting was supposed to start at 5:30, and we were ready. But, we waited an hour and only 2 girls had shown (one was Tamara), so Charo, Rocio, and Pastor Jorge decided the meeting should be moved to tomorrow night. The schools here have 2 shifts – a morning shift (7-1) and an afternoon shift (1-7). A few of the girls go to school during the afternoon shift, and no one remembered that, and there was some sort of festival going on downtown today that offered raffles and such. Everyone was disappointed and concerned that I would be upset. I just figure that maybe the Lord thought I needed more time to get focused. It’s His meeting, not mine. If we need to wait, we need to wait. After we put the table decorations away, (we’re having a work day in the church tomorrow morning), we walked down to the market. We decided last night, mainly because of the colors of solid shirts I have with me, on our outfits for the choir for Pichanaki. Charo, Tamara, Liz, and Jade (pronounced Ha-day) need to find shirts. We found one that Charo really liked, but she said she thought it was too much. It was 28 soles (about $7). I pray it’s there next week. If so, and if she hasn’t found anything yet, I want to get it for her. We stopped for Inca Cola and Leche Asada (a type of flan custard cake mix) on the way back home. YUM! The concrete has begun to be poured outside today. I mention that at 10pm as I write this because they’re still working on it! Charo keeps saying we need to put my name in the wet concrete! She wants to write “Stephanie, 2016” in it! I keep saying “no.” If it shows up, I didn’t do it!! lol

Saturday: The fellas pouring the concrete working until 3am, so I didn’t sleep much (up at 6:15). The Lord’s strength will be what gets me through today. After breakfast and the market, I helped chop vegetables – Food Network is not in my future, but I got the job done. Then, I helped with the church clean up. All of the heavy lifting had already been finished by the time I’d helped in the kitchen. I helped Nico organize all of the Bibles and tracts and then helped “sweep” the floor. Because of all of the dust in the air (normally there’s lots, but with the mechanic school building a larger building across the street from the church, there’s even more than usual), they use a mixture of wood pulp and petrol to clean the floor. It makes the floor shiny and keeps the dust off, at least for a few days. The process takes about an hour or so. They dump the mixture on the floor and then sweep from one end to the other. Pastor Jorge and a few others painted the outside front of the church. This process was kerosene/petrol mixed with wax or varnish and hand painted on each brick. Afterwards, it looked much better. After a late lunch, I showered and got ready to teach. At first, Melody (the other Gringo that is here part time and in Lima part time who is translating for me the next few times I teach) wasn’t there. I started to panic, because Rocio wasn’t there either. Only her husband Jonathan was there. He is more than capable to translate for me, but I’ve never taught with him, and well, he’s a preacher. That makes me nervous (lol). I had a mini panic attack, so I reached out to Lisa for prayer. She reminded me that I’m not here for “man.” I’m here for God and His message to the youth and to focus on them. #OUCHoutofkindness Melody showed up, though, so all was good. Haha. There were 14 youth there tonight. Charo told me that 4 of them were new! They did great participating and taking notes. Some of the girls still have their Purity Pledges in their Bibles from last year!! Seeds were planted. After teaching, Charo and I walked to the bank and to get refreshments for the Marriage Seminar. Tonight was the last night. She and I have been talking more and more on our walks. She commented tonight that my Spanish is better with Pastor Jorge and with her, but that I need to speak with confidence. In my head, before I speak, it sounds so “confident,” but not when the words actually come out – lol. Took photos for the Marriage Seminar. Long day. Really tired. Fell asleep on the couch. Charo told me to go to bed. So, as soon as I finish typing this, I am. 🙂