Since our family’s arrival to Arequipa just over a month ago we have been overwhelmed by the ways in which the missionaries who have preceded us, as well as the Peruvians, have gone out of their way to serve us and make our transition here smooth. One of the ways the church here has served us is by aiding us in our involvement in God’s kingdom here in Arequipa.
Each month we get our church groups together for a “Celebration” Sunday. We focus on time spent together, on the kids, on communion. In March we decided to shake things up a little after Abraham, who used to meet with one of our groups, came to propose a joint meeting with the church he is currently leading. After running the idea by the church, everyone was in agreement and looking forward to meeting new brothers and sisters.
Together our two groups rented out the cafe on a Sunday morning and gathered around the patio. All told we had over 50 people in attendance (children included) and enjoyed a good morning of singing, study and fellowship. Both groups were encouraged by this shared time, as we were reminded again that God's family extends beyond whatever smaller group we call our own.
Earlier this month Megan, Larissa, Bethany, and I went to a renewal retreat with missionaries serving across South and Central America. The theme of the weekend was Exodus, and everyone was encouraged to find their place in the story.
I've been in Arequipa for two months. For nearly a year it has felt like the desert, a place with constant longing and constant transitions. It was easy to place myself with Moses at the burning bush as he wrestles with his calling.
Yet Moses's questions resonated with my heart. God had patience in answering his every fear, knowing the great things he had in store. And God used the week to remind me of all the provisions we have been given in the past few weeks. Important questions have been answered and fears have been relieved.
Evan loves school...we have a permanent place to call home...our container has arrived. There are still more uncertainties and insecurities, but I am reminded that our God is the God of provision. Even in the desert.
I had the gift of leading a devotional among the team in the past week as part of our team meeting.
We read Philippians 4:4-8. If you haven't read it lately, read it. Through the stresses of the day, the difficulties we face, our challenges, our distractions and our emotions. The words ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus' are truly wonderful words. If I genuinely reflect on the times I have prayed for God's work in my life I can see a peace that I would not ever have otherwise. If you reflect on it too, I believe that you will find the same thing.
I also have a default position, which is using God as a Lucky charm (only praying when I ‘need’ or strongly desire something). I’m sure God knows that is my normal heart, so every time I read it I feel like God had me in mind. God knows what we need, of that I am certain. But not only that, he gives us the assurance that only He is able to; that the master of the universe has our concerns in mind and through Him we will have a peace that we can’t understand, but can be ever-so grateful for.