Our Two Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it? We have been here for two years! The Smiths will leave for their furlough next week, and we will leave on our furlough right before Thanksgiving. It is funny how anniversaries naturally cause a time of reflection. This month I have been able to reflect on many things, but what was really special was having the Henderson family come visit. 

We lived six months with each of our supporting churches. Three years ago I remember sitting on a bed in the Henderson home and crying my eyes out. We had just arrived to a city that I did not know very well, far from my family in TN. I also realized that this was the beginning of the unknown. Peru was a dream we talked about for a really long time, but when we made that first move to Tyler, we were actually doing it. Change is uncomfortable and scary at times, and this particular time fell into that category for sure. 

Greg, Ana, and I lived in one bedroom in the Henderson household for those six months. I will always cherish that time. The Hendersons have been a huge influence in Greg’s life, and I was given the opportunity to really see why he loves them so much and become part of that family. Ana learned to crawl in that home, and she fell in love with her adopted big brother Noah (the Hendersons’ youngest son). 

It has been so neat to have the Henderson family stay with us and see Ana, who used to crawl around chased by Noah, now laughing, squealing, and running from him on our patio. I guess in a huge way Ana is our gauge for time in this mission. She was only 5 months old when we began the journey three years ago. 

We had our two-year anniversary team meeting this morning. Tim and Denise were able to join us. They have been a part of this journey, in my opinion, since my teammates were in the youth group under their leadership. It was wonderful to be in their presence and to hear wisdom speak when they reflected on what they had observed this trip and how they had seen growth in us. 

One example that I would like to share is my language learning. I have struggled with mastering Spanish. I felt like I was the worst speaker on the team. My Shiloh family caught a whiff of this and sent word that they were lifting this specific request up to God. When Larissa’s parents came to visit in February, they brought a care suitcase from Shiloh for our family. In that suitcase was a bag filled with different decaf tea bags (something that I like). Every single tea bag had a Bible verse and a message of encouragement from a different Shiloh member. My directions were that I couldn’t drink a specific tea bag until I translated the verse on the card. That bag of tea and those prayers came at the perfect time.

A couple of days ago I was talking on the phone to a friend here explaining that I couldn’t do something with her. When I finished, Greg looked at the Hendersons and said, “Six months ago when she got the prayer tea, she couldn’t have had that conversation.” It is true. Tim mentioned in our team meeting that he could see how all of us have excelled in our language learning. That made me smile. 

I feel that God has truly been a part of these two years. He has made his presence known, and I pray that he continues to use us and our efforts for the next two years and longer. If you are wondering about our work, you can ask us in person very soon. We are so excited to see all of you during our trip back to the states. Talk to our mission support teams for specific information or exact dates that we will be at each of the churches. We cannot wait to see you and share with you in person what the Lord has done! 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
— Proverbs 16:3