Things are happening around here. It is very exciting to be a witness. You all pray for us back home, and I want you to know that God has answered many of those prayers. Months ago, Larissa wrote an article about our work feeling like a roller coaster. I really liked her analogy. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to climb the hill. We have definitely been there. But once you peak and start coming down, it goes really fast. Life seems fast right now. A roller coaster ride is full of multiple up’s and down’s, but for now I am feeling the adrenaline rush that comes with the ride down. Many of the things I mention in this article are a repeat of news in other articles. But I wanted to share with you, from this missionary mom’s perspective, what it feels like.
The first ever Peruvian Missionary Summit was a blast. I am not going to go into all of the details, but I was so encouraged and revived by this retreat. First of all, I had a great time with my teammates. With kids and events and Bible studies during so many evenings, it is hard for us to find a relaxing time to just hang out and do something fun as a team. The retreat was certainly a place for us to have fun together. Second, I loved spending time with the other missionary women. There were 9 of us all together and we had a beautiful time of sharing and getting to know each other. It is such a blessing to spend time with peers (from your own culture) dedicating their lives to God’s calling. Third, I loved seeing our children interact with all the other missionary kids. In total, there were 17 children under the age of 5 present. Isn’t that unbelievable! And these kids are going to grow up in Peru looking forward to a reunion with all of these missionary families. Family of God has certainly taken on a new meaning for me in this foreign mission field.
It is intern time again. I remember last year (when Aaron was here). We were still new to our communities, and there wasn’t a whole lot going on. It is a testimony to God at work to see the difference of what has begun to happen in a year’s time. We have revived our largest library location (the guys worked hard to get it physically prepared; Rachel, Bob, and I led the first kids’ event this past Saturday). I absolutely loved that his first Saturday here, Bob got to meet 14 kids from the Porvenir community. I am so excited to see this program grow. It is really wonderful to have our interns (extra man power) to help with the projects and events we have going.
It is hard to believe, but we have to say goodbye to Lee and Dori Williams this month. They have been an incredible support to us in our time here, and they are leaving their converts in our hands. They picked us up from the airport the day we arrived, and we will take them to the airport this coming Thursday. They are on their way to Argentina to spread God’s Kingdom. It is sad to see them go, but in so many ways it has been a blessing to witness their transition. They truly are following their call to be missional in South America. I can’t help but wonder what God has in store for my family after our time in Arequipa is complete. They are such a selfless example of what it means to serve God whole- heartedly wherever that takes you. Please remember the Williams Family (Lee, Dori, and Onnie) in your prayers.
Part of our strategy has been to break in to small groups of 2-3 and meet together once a week. Just recently, we have been able to add Peruvian women into the mix. I am blessed to meet with Patty and Coki (two beautiful Christian women) on Friday mornings. We decide as a small group what we would like to study, we agree to read over something for the week, and we come together to talk about our study and pray for each other. I have only met twice with these ladies, but it has really struck me that this is what our work is all about. Just this past Friday, we discussed the story of Ruth. In that story, Ruth abandons all that she has grown up with (her family and culture) to follow after Naomi, her mother-in- law, who is part of God’s family. Both of these Peruvian women have made a decision to follow God against the teachings of their blood family. Though my blood family is part of my spiritual family, they pointed out to me that I have left my family but can still find comfort and encouragement in my spiritual family in Arequipa. It was a beautiful meeting.
There are so many other aspects of our ministry here that I could write snippets about, but these are some of the highlights from my perspective for now. Thank you again for all of your prayers. Your encouragement and support mean the world to us. I am excited to see all that will unfold in the coming months. It is a wonderful feeling to experience the momentum of one dip down.