I have now been in Peru for over a month. I am almost settled into my apartment (I still lack some furniture) and language classes are going well. I have taken over teaching the children’s Bible class, and have begun planning the curriculum for the children’s events with Megan. As I look back over the last several weeks I have discovered several things. First, being on the mission field for an extended period of time is vastly different from a short campaign or even a summer internship. In my past experiences with short term mission trips there were always activities planned and things to do. While this structure limited my freedom, it heightened the experience and I always fell asleep at night knowing I had accomplished something worthwhile.
My life in Peru is not an extended campaign. There are some days that are so full I can barely take a breath, but most days I find I have very little structure. The primary goal at this point in my time here is to learn the language as quickly as possible, because without a working knowledge of the language I am useless in forming relationships much less communicating the gospel to the people around me. And so while I am finally here in Peru, I still feel as if I am waiting for the real ministry to begin. I am waiting for the time when I will be able to have a whole conversation with my neighbors and understand what it is they are saying. I am waiting for the time when I can feel confident going to the gate when someone rings my doorbell. I am waiting for the time when I can get to know the two little boys who live down stairs and the teenager girl across the way.
Simply put I am waiting.
The use of my time has become paramount in the short week I have been in my own apartment. It is so easy to become absorbed in my own little world of books and email. As the sin-gle member of the team I find I lack the distractions which a family would otherwise place on my time and have come to the realization that my time must be redeemed in a way that honors God, his work in Arequipa, and the rest of this team.
I have learned that prayer can be a powerful ministry and so during this time of waiting I will pray. I will pray for language acquisition, my neighbors, the libraries, Arequipa in general, and everyone at home who had faith enough in God and in me to send me here to work.