November 24, 2014

God Moving...

I could probably say that I knew God had something in store for me in Peru before I even got here.  What that would look like I had no idea but was anxious to find out.  Since being here though, God has taught me things about Himself and myself and challenged me in several ways.

One of the first things that has continued to have a large impact on me physically and spiritually is the environment here.  No one can fully prepare you and or explain just what it's like to live at 11,500 feet in the air (that over two miles high just for a different perspective).  God has created these people with an incredible physical strength to withstand their surroundings.  For as long as I can remember, I have had some respiratory issues, being active keeps my lungs stronger for sure but we are so spoiled in the US, having plenty of oxygen all the time that you don't have to think about breathing or how much your breath affects your body.  It is definitely easier to breath now than it was my first couple of days here but as soon as I felt myself acclimating to the thin air, I woke with asthma in the night and the next couple of days developed a bit of a head cold/sore throat.  This is not to complain but rather make my point in what God has been drawing out of me and developing in me.

Some of you know that I have a bit of an independent spirit... my pastor recently described it as a fierce independence.  Independence is not something God calls us to as His followers.  He calls us to follow Him, to put our faith and trust in Him, to allow Him to be our Provider and Savior, and to be Lord of our lives.  This is not possible with a "fierce independence."  We are to be a part of the larger Christian community, codependent on each other and on our God.  Part of this dependence requires an intimacy with God that I think is not so frequently found in people's walks with God as it should be.  I was challenged and convicted of all this before I left Peru and God has only used this time to more fully develop this dependence and intimacy with Him.  I have prayed His breath and His strength and life to fill me.  I realized very quickly that adjusting to the physical strain of the altitude would require me to depend on Him to be provide the air I need but also that because there is a significant language barrier between me and the people I come in contact with (at least for now) that my breath and my life must exude Christ without words. 

The other day, I was walking around Centro (downtown/historic Cusco) with Emily (a volunteer at the school).  We started talking about missions and she was asking how I came to live in PA and then to end up in Peru right now.  I was reflecting a bit on what God has done in my heart in regards to what it means to give your life to Him and how often we try to take back control of our own lives.  I have said "never" in regards to many things that I decided I didn't want to do.  Learning Spanish was one of those things I said I would never do primarily because it was the language everyone else was learning and I was not going to conform to that trend especially in the EMU community so I learned a bit of any other language I could get my hands on, German, French, Arabic, and Hebrew.  And here I am in Peru, surrounded by Spanish and the only English I find is when I'm with other missionaries or reading my English Bible.  If I come to serve here, learning Spanish fluently will be essential.  I didn't outwardly refuse to spend time in Central or South America but inwardly I for some reason was never attracted to these regions and somewhat avoided them.  This year alone, I have been both to Haiti and here.  So much for staying out of these parts of the world.  Each time I have discussed an assignment with EMM, my only stipulation was that I needed to be some place warm and sunny because of how emotionally the climate affects me and the fact that I'm always freezing...  Cusco isn't warm unless the sun is shining and then it's almost blinding because we're so much closer to it than in PA.  The clouds roll in over the mountains at least once a day sometimes raining and sometimes not.  It feels like Vermont in mid to late spring most of the time.  All of this to say, God has taken some of my idols out of my life and replaced it with an open heart.  There are still some things that I'm wrestling with as it relates to an assignment here but we'll see what happens in the next week.

November 22, 2014

Pictures of Recent Peruvian Adventures

"Booger Fruit"-Granadilla,  looks and feels gross but it's so delicious!!

Sunset from the Raber's house.  You can just see the top of the mountain below the clouds.

The Raber's house where I've been staying.

The picture isn't real clear but this is my "backyard!!"

The beginning of my afternoon excersion with Brook on Friday after school.

Mountains!!!!!  You can see rain moving in from the right.  The weather here changes in meer minutes.  It keeps you on your toes and the sky is always moving and changing!



at a

panorama (try to picture these next to each other and making up the skyline).

our destination was the Cristo Blanc.  We walked up very steep stairs most of the way, through some pretty typical Peruvian neighborhoods.

We stopped on our back to visit some Peruvian friends of Brook's, Sandra and Abby.  We played Dutch Blitz!! Peruvians love it!

I don't know what flower this is but there were some trees covered with them! 

Brook, we're making our way back down.

It is so common for women to wear mantas on their backs carrying their groceries or babies/toddlers or anything else they need to carry.  Sometimes they have HUGE loads!

The colors are spectacular and the people beautiful!  

November 16, 2014

Be Still and Know That I Am God...

Did you ever think about how the sky is like God's love?  It's so big.  In some places on earth, you can tell just a bit how big it really is, but there is no way to know exactly how bit it is because as humans, we can never see the whole sky at one time.  We can never fully fathom the depth and width of God's love for us.  We an see the sky everyday but how often do we really notice it unless it looks more unusual or something drastic or epic is happening up there.  Subconsciously we know it's always there and we always have a vague idea of what it probably looks like on any given day.  Sometimes the sky is so pure blue and clear, all I want to do is stare at it for hours.  It's so pure blue, it almost seems to glow.  And sometimes there are clouds that darken the sky and hide parts of it from our view, or sometimes there are so many clouds the sky is entirely hidden and the day is darker than normal.  But we know that on the other side of the clouds, the sky is always there; it doesn't just pick up and leave because we can't see it anyway.  Eventually the clouds will thin and break up and the sky will once again come through them so we can see it.  Did you ever consider how different the social atmosphere, the emotional atmosphere, and environmental atmosphere changes with the clouds?  Some appreciate it when the clouds come and water the earth to make it grow and give it life.  It's always so much brighter and more beautiful when the clouds roll away after the earth has just been watered by a storm. But some do not.  Clouds and rainy days make some glum and have low energy, they tend to complain about the wetness or the cloud or the dark.  But most remain hopeful and know that the clouds are not here to stay.  They change all the time.  Every day there are new and different clouds.  There are periods of time when there are few or many but at least some clouds and sometimes there are none.  But the sky itself never changes.  It's contents and the way it appears to us changes but it's always there.  It blankets everything.  There is nothing in this world the sky does not touch, doesn't cover.  There is not one person who has never been in contact with the sky. We breath it in all day long, every minute of every day we breath it in.  The sky fills everything to give it life.  The same sky is big enough for us all to have more than enough.  We aren't deprived of the sky in anything we do or anywhere we go.  Did you ever watch the sunset?  There is nothing in the world as brilliant, as colorful, as breathtaking as the sunset.  No painting or photograph can fully capture its likeness.  Did you ever notice how much more beautiful the sunset is when there are clouds in the sky?  The light reflects off those clouds and the whole sky lights up into a sight the eye never sees twice and cannot by replicated by human means.  The sunset is still extraordinary when the sky is clear but it becomes breathtaking, AWEsome when the clouds and sky together create such perfect beauty!  At the end of the day, we get to see the celebration in the sky!!!  And how glorious it is...  

If there's any confusion to my metaphor, shoot me a line!  God has been teaching me so much about what His love looks like and when I was being still with Him this is the picture that came to my mind.