Early on I decided to become a regular at a neighborhood restaurant to meet new people. It worked! That's where I met one of my best Peruvian friends - Milagros.
It's hard to believe that August is a year old already! This year has been full of love and learning.First birthdays are a big production here – food, gifts, party favors, clowns, decorations, cake, and games. We had August's party at a big park near our house. Planning and preparation was a cultural adventure in itself! It took several days to get everything ready. Many friends and neighbors came together to help us make it all happen. It was truly a beautiful picture of community.
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.
While on furlough, I was asked to speak on three consecutive Wednesday nights at our supporting church in Bonne Terre, Missouri. I took them through some of the things we have been learning as a church in Arequipa about sharing our faith this past year. We did the “my gospel” exercise and the Bonne Terre church agreed to set the same goal as their brothers and sisters here in Arequipa – to have shared their gospel with at least one person at the end of one year.It’s almost been one year already since we set this goal here in Arequipa.
ne thing we try to do here is find things already present in the culture that we can use as a way to make relationships, deepen relationships, and share about Jesus. Believe it or not, Christmas here is pretty focused on Jesus. Even people who the rest of the year may have nothing to do with him will have a nativity set up in their house or business. Jesus is everywhere this time of year, so we decided to take advantage of that.
Katie, Adileen, and I just got back to Arequipa after a whirlwind two and a half months in the US. We had an incredible time with family as well as with Cedar Lane and Central churches, and some friends here, there, and everywhere. Adileen got used to a car seat for the first time, learned what a church nursery was like, and got to meet all of her aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sorry everyone (especially grandparents), but I think her favorite part of the US was the dogs. Adileen. Loves. Dogs.
As I mentioned in my April article, we set out as a church to be more evangelistic this year. At that time, we were in the beginning stages of that process. We wanted to be people who shared the Gospel with our friends and neighbors, so one of the first steps was for each person to sit down with pen and paper and write what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to each one of us. As we shared these short gospels with one another as a church, it was awesome to see what facets of the Gospel each person emphasized.