Last newsletter we left off with the question, how do our contextual ways of being together as family manifest? Or, how do we move from our theological claim about what the church is (the family of God) to a lived experience? In order to pose the question in one more way, I’ll share a story.
Once again it is December and Christmas is almost here. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always my favorite time of year. It isn’t Christmas day that I love, so much as the time of preparation before Christmas day. It is the baking and decorating. The shopping and Christmas carols that play over the radio and in the malls. There is a feeling of anticipation and expectation that is felt in the month or so before Christmas that is unlike any other time of year.
If you read my article in last month’s newsletter you know about the big changes taking place here in Arequipa. Some of those big changes have already started to take place. We have now signed a contract on a three story building that we will put to use in a variety of ways. We have also worked out the details of Alfredo’s employment and he will begin working for CUDA full-time in January. Here on the field these changes seem monumental and extraordinary. We are moving from an informal NGO run by two families to having Peruvian leadership and planning two businesses that will begin to generate an income for our organization. Big changes.
You know how almost every home in the states has a Christmas tree this month? Well, here in Peru, almost every home has a nativity scene displayed. It is hard not to think about the story of Jesus’s birth when I see the nativity scene everywhere that I go. Peruvians can relate to the story of baby Jesus and theVirgin Mary. I would like to share a personal story with you relating to the Christmas Story.
Living in a foreign culture for years is an odd thing. At first, everything was either extremely interesting or extremely annoying, because we were evaluating all experiences against our own and determining whether new things should be accepted or merely endured. I’ve been writing this column for two years, which means I’ve spent lots of time paying attention to the things I experience, trying to put my finger on their value to a Peruvian’s life and extrapolate the value I should integrate into my own.