I have some great news for you. Both families are in comfortable, spacious, well-located 2 bedroom apartments! As most of you know, our plan had been to live with Peruvian families while in language school so that we could learn how Peruvians function here in Arequipa. Where do they go to the market? What things do families buy? What do you avoid? How do you cook a meal? What are the cultural nuances gringos need to learn? Though we had been planning on this for years, we have always tried to remain open to change. Needless to say, we had to start changing plans a little sooner than anticipated.
Texas and Tennessee to Atlanta to Lima to Arequipa, Peru. After five years of planning, our two families packed our bags, said our goodbyes, and headed to Peru. We are so thankful that we are here. God has blessed our journey and we are eager to see his kingdom spread in this part of the world.
That’s all we wanted, really. And we wanted it to include more than one room besides the bathroom, so after three weeks of hotel living, we are ready to head out into the real world of Arequipa! We have hunted for apartments for the last week or so, and it’s been quite a ride. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so thank you for your prayers!
It’s Friday night after our second long week of language school. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. When we investigated language schools over a year ago, Casa de Avila was hands-down the best option in town. That, however, was far from a guarantee of excellence. One of the things I have anticipated most during the last years is language and culture training. There is something so rewarding about the look on a Peruvian’s face when you can make a word play in Spanish, order a traditional plate at a local dive, or haggle in the market without missing a beat.
I’m not sure how many of you have ever had to run through an airport with a slim chance of making your international connection. Up until August 25th none of us had. There we were though; four first-time missionaries running our tails off through the Atlanta airport hoping that the gate folks would take pity on us and allow us on the plane which we were certainly going to miss. God is good, as you all know, and we made our flight by 8 minutes.
We’ve been forming our strategy in fits and starts for years. In some ways, aspects of it were decided before we did anythings else. Those who first banded together in the final months of 2001 already knew that, within the context of South America, we would undertake an urban mission.In order to narrow our options, we participated in a research project that had two important criteria: prospects would be cities of 500,000 or more and have no “significant” Church of Christ presence. Thus, whatever we did, it would be a “frontier” church planting mission in a South American urban environment.
It is hard to believe that we have been through our second and final send-off Sunday. I remember thinking how the six months had flown Tyler. I can say the same exact thing for Tullahoma. We have enjoyed our time with Cedar Lane immensely. They welcomed and encouraged our dream from the day we arrived and the past six months has been a wonderful time of preparation for the work we are about to begin.
Hello from Tullahoma, Tennessee. My name is Greg Muse, and I have been asked by the elders at Cedar Lane to be the point of contact for teamAREQUIPA. When asked if I would fulfill this position for Cedar Lane, I took on this task without much hesitation after some discussion with my wife, Andrea. However, there was something fundamentally flawed in my thinking, because I looked at it from the viewpoint of a independent job versus joining a team. Simply put, my knowledge of missions was limited. However it has been expanded by a wonderful summer series of classes, Wednesday night/Sunday morning discussions, and several books that have allowed God to do a “Stretch Armstrong” on me regarding missions and kingdom living.
We came to Tullahoma with intentions of recruiting a Peru Mission support team, as we did in Tyler. We consulted with our primary contact at Cedar Lane and invited those he suggested to participate in this team. Our recruiting meeting with them went well and we now have several young couples actively working to keep our relationship with Cedar Lane strong and to provide support to us as we prepare for and experience the field work itself. We didn't expect that it would turn out to be a team of our peers.
When we pulled up to the Arlington Convention center, there was already a buzz of activity. In the exhibit hall, mission teams, mission agencies of various kinds, and other ministries and organizations were busy setting up their display booths. The hustle and bustle of registration and old friends crossing paths in the foyer added to the excitement. Flat screens featuring the colorful conference logo and theme, “Blaze Spirit Blaze,” adorned the hallway leading to the rooms that would host the fifteen class tracks.