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.
This past Sunday, November 21, was one of the best Sundays I have experienced in our time here in Arequipa. I have witnessed lots of beautiful Sundays here, but I think the timing of this past Sunday is the reason that it felt like such a blessing. Two things…
In the three years I have lived here I feel that I have seen a lot. Poverty has a way with staring one right in the face. Two of my best friends traveled to Arequipa to help me with the kids while Greg is gone to the states. I was explaining to them that I have grown here in a way that I might not have grown in the states in the area of complaining. Whenever I complain or sense the urge to complain, all I have to do is think of someone worse off than me and it immediately puts me back in my place. It isn't too hard to see "that person" that is worse off than me in this city of a million where many are without work, public education is one of the worst in the world, and justice does not play out in many situations.
I don’t know if it has occurred to any of you back home, but this month marks three years that we have been in Arequipa. ¡Feliz Aniversario! That is unbelievable to me. When I use the word “unbelievable” it’s not so much that I can’t believe we have been living in Peru for that period of time but what God has been able to do in that period. I step back from all of it, and I really am overwhelmed with thankfulness for you all back home.
A couple of reflections over this last month.
Our winter (your summer) is flying by! There is so much going on around Arequipa these days. Let's catch up...
This was the last thing I wanted to hear at that point, but God has a way with lifting us up when we are down, and he blesses us with family for a reason.
My plan this month was to write a short summary of several newsy things going on. If you were here (or I was there), I would suggest we go have coffee and catch up. Little did I know that I would end up writing this article from my hospital room! So I will begin with me...
If you have been following Greg’s Mark study, you know that this is the overarching theme of Mark’s story. When we study with most people here, we like to start by introducing them to a man they have heard of but many do not know. I have sat through numerous “Who Is Jesus” studies, but just recently, this “I have been a Christian for most of my life and of course I know who Jesus is” girl has been struck in a different light. God has a way with teaching us new things doesn’t he? Not just new things. He has a way of taking parts of the Bible we have read our entire lives and showing them to us in a new way or maybe an old way (we just were always too hard-headed or immature to read them as we should).
Where to begin? I have so much going through my mind right now. God is really working on me, and I have decided to share a little bit of that for my article this month. Coming back from furlough was just weird. Things were different when we got back (we were out of the picture for 7 weeks), my mind is occupied with having a third child, and I have really struggled with pinpointing my role here (where my main priorities should lie). In thinking through many of those things, God is transforming me little by little.