In November, the church here held its third annual cookout for the children at the orphanage. We started by gathering together for singing and a time of worship. Then the kids were set free to play on the playground or the soccer field. While the kids played, several of us prepared lunch. At one point I stepped back just to watch as they laughed and served together. It was a special moment to witness and made me reflect on the Christian call to service. I could see four reasons why we serve coalesce in that one moment.
Ten years is a long time. It is hard for me to believe that we moved to Arequipa ten years ago. We were two young families with two baby girls, and not a clue what journey was ahead of us. I wear a necklace every day. I am asked often what it is. It is a sterling silver Peru charm with a heart cutout. Peru has a huge piece of our family’s heart, and we think of our Peruvian family and the memories that we created there often. Just like I had no idea about what would happen in Peru, I also had no idea how God would use Peru to prepare us for now.
Today I walked with Adileen to school. Slowly. Her preschool is just about 14 blocks from our home, a distance I can walk briskly in 12 minutes or so, but a distance that at Adileen’s pace usually takes between 25 and 30 minutes. Special thanks to Katie, who discovered that Adileen could walk the whole way to school holding her hand while I was on a trip recently. There’s part of the walk where 5-foot sections of the wall are painted, each in a different color. I was filled with joy watching Adileen run to one, shout “Azul!”, and move on to the next, shouting “amarillo”, and “verde”, and “rojo.” So. Fun.
Just over a year ago, our relationship with Renso and Paola, Camila and Nicholas grew from a casual greeting on the street to the beginning of friendship when we were invited to Renso’s birthday. Several months later, after more times spent in each others’ homes (think pizza nights, among other things), times of conversations regarding faith, vocation, and family, they approached us about getting together to read the Bible with their family. We took our time reading through the story of Jesus recorded in Mark, being confronted and challenged by Jesus’s teachings, love, and authority. You’ve gotten glimpses of this growing relationship.
I like practical advice and so when I read this article on the Verge Network last year I loved how practical it was. We are missionaries. Because we live outside of the US? No. We are missionaries because we are trying to live in a way that glorifies God and brings more people to him. And that can be done anywhere, we just happen to be doing it in Arequipa while y'all are doing it in the US or Europe or Australia or wherever it is that you live. That was another reason I liked this article, because it can be applied no matter where you live.
ast year the small house-church network we share life, faith, and service with set three goals for the year. Among those was the goal of being more dedicated to reading scripture in small groups. We formed two groups, one to read through the New Testament and another through the whole Bible in a year starting last March (the beginning of the school year here in the southern Hemisphere). Here's how it went, and how it's helping us grow the second time around.
ast year the church proposed three simple goals: read the Bible, serve the community, and meet together more often. This year, we added a goal: be more evangelistic. This fits with our overall mission to be servants, students, and messengers. The church expressed wishes to first of all be equipped to share the gospel, as it can be a daunting task. We’re in the process of equipping ourselves and will eventually launch out into the unknown to share the good news with family, friends, and even strangers. We ask for your continued prayers. And we would ask that all of the readership join us in this process of learning, praying, and sharing faith.