The Apprentice: Building Relationships

I can hardly believe that I have been in Arequipa for over two months, the time has simply flown by. This past month I have been praying for guidance, for the people of Arequipa and specific individuals the team has a relationship with, and I have come to know and love. I am excited about Alfredo’s decision, and I remember the excitement in his eyes when he told me about his decision one day in language class. I am exited to see what God has in store for Alfredo, and pray that his wife, Judith will be influenced by the changes she sees in him. 

As my knowledge of the language grows, I have begun to look for opportunities to create meaningful relationships with those around me. Over the last several weeks I have become more aware of how long two years can be, and am finding that one of the unique challenges of being single on the mis- sion field is building and sustaining deep and meaningful relationships with the people around me. I am so thankful for Megan and Larissa, who have welcomed me with open hearts and arms. I love that I can accompany Megan to the libraries for children’s events, and join the Smith family every Thursday night to spend time with Evelin and Katerin, but I long to build relationships of my own. 

One young woman in particular has been on my heart for the last couple weeks, and her name is Maria. She works with Alfredo, and we have spoken on a number of occasions before and after I have class. She is currently studying English, and at this point in my language study, I hope that we can begin at least by practicing both languages with each other. 

A second avenue I am pursuing in an attempt to build relation- ships with those around me, is eating in the local restaurants in my neighborhood. I am finding the benefits of this approach to be many. Not only am I able to get out in the community, meet my neighbors, and practice my Spanish, I am also able to eat a huge meal for only 3 soles, which roughly translates to just over a dollar! Between the local restaurants and free meals at the Smith’s house I may never cook again. 

Finally, there are three beautiful children who live below me that I have every intention of knowing better.The oldest is a girl in her early adolescence and there are two younger boys who are around the same age.After having been in my apart- ment for about a month, I feel like I have the language I need to begin speaking with them and getting to know a little bit more about their lives.As I build and strengthen the relation- ships around me, my prayer is that I will be bold in seeking out new opportunities and that God will bring people into my life who are eager to hear the good news.