Sick Day.

Well, today was my first official sick day. I didn’t want it to be, but I also wasn’t sure I could make it all day, especially since I work one-on-one for most of the day. So, I’m here. I finally had time to catch up on Beth Moore’s blog (linked – LPM Blog). Her daughter, Melissa, traveled with Compassion International to India a few weeks ago and I’d been dying to actually read her thoughts, but hadn’t had time. They were good thoughts. If you have an extra hour, you should take a look. 
 
About thirty minutes from us is a Compassion home. BCM Peru works extensively with Compassion International here in Peru. I haven’t been to the home, but Brian has. He said the facility is gorgeous. They’re either working on getting a new facility or they just moved, I can’t remember. But, Compassion brings their kids to our property for camp a few times a year. They were just here a couple weeks ago. Two different weekends – 60 children one weekened and 60 teenagers the next. One of the church plants that BCM has begun is mostly children sponsored by Compassion. Pretty cool. Brian and I sponsored a little boy with Compassion for two years before we became missionaries and had to have people sponsoring us. But, that’s something I still wish we could save for – sponsoring a child. Sometimes it’s hard to scratch out OUR living, though, so I’m not sure it would be fair to the child. We’ll see how God leads us, though. 
 
Anyway – Melissa’s thoughts on India were fascinating, though. We just recently watched the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire.” I have to admit, that was one of the best movies I’ve seen in awhile. It broke our hearts, though, because a lot of the footage looks remarkably like some of the cities we drive through nearly every day – Manchay and Via Salvador. Manchay is just up the street from us. We have to drive through it to get to Lima. It’s pushing a million or more people, but they all live in what we would consider slums. Just cardboard shacks propped up into the mountains. They buy water from the trucks that come through every day, but even that water is not necessarily potable. It’s just better than what they get from the sewer. Via Salvador is one of the biggest suburbs of Lima (yes, bigger than Manchay) and is even more poor than Manchay. BCM has quite a few church plants in Via Salvador and many of our IBYM students work there on weekends in Bible clubs. The poverty level is just out of this world, though. Breaks your heart. 
 
Every Saturday, BCM Peru has an outreach called Pennies for Peru. In Spanish, we call it “Compartiendo” (sharing). It was a vision of a lady in the States, quite a few years ago, who had a heart for the children of South America, specifically Peru. You see, over 50% of South America’s population are children. Peru is no exception; most of the inhabitants in this huge country are young children, many without homes. Shirley Cook came up with the idea of getting her Sunday School children to give their pennies to the children of Peru. Those pennies turned into a street outreach and Compartiendo was born. Now, we have one young married couple, Robert and Zareyla, who work alongside about 15 teenage volunteers each week. These teenagers come to IBYM and spend the night every Friday so they can leave early Saturday morning. They do two outreaches every Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. If the bus doesn’t break down (which it did this Saturday…) they’re normally home by six in the evening. They are long days. 
 
Compartiendo is a fun, exciting, amazing outreach. They partner with a local church (if there is one) because the goal is to strengthen the local church in whatever way possible. Compartiendos are good for bringing in more children to weekly Bible clubs, which in turn brings them to church, which brings parents to church, which grows the church, etc etc. Not to mention, it preaches the gospel not just to the children who participate, but to everybody who is sitting in their doorways listening to the presentation. So, they go to an area and find a big, open area – normally a soccer field. They set up balloons, a tent, and loud speakers. The kids dress up like clowns and mimes and wear big, fun hats, and then begin going through the neighborhoods, telling the people there’s going to be a show – they should come watch.
compartiendo1
Once the kids have begun to assemble, they give them a stamp on their hand (to make them official) and organize them into teams for game time.
compartiendo2
After games, they do different shows for the kids. They have song time, clowns, mimes, and a gospel presentation. All of the different “shows” tie together and the gospel presentation wraps it all up at the end.
compartiendo3
compartiendo4
compartiendo5
After the gospel is presented, the children are broken up into little groups and each of the teen volunteers takes charge of one group. They go over the Wordless Book and answer questions with the children. Then, the children are given an opportunity to pray. The ones that accept Christ as Savior are followed up with that day and encouraged to attend the local Bible club.
compartiendo6
Finally, at the very end of the time, they hand out fruit to the children. For some of these kids, depending on where the presentation is held, this fruit is their only meal of the day. For others, they would rather bring it home to share with their family than eat it immediately. And there are still others who eat the fruit as if it’s the only meal they’ve had in days. Which very well might be true.
compartiendo7
 
So, a couple of weeks ago, these teen volunteers went about an hour south of here to a village they’ve never been to before. We were told they drove up the hillside for “what seemed like forever” until they came to the very top. The village was way up there. And it was by far, the poorest area they had ever been to. Lucho, the man ultimately in charge of Compartiendo, was telling us that he, who grew up in a poor slum-like area of Lima, had never seen anything like it. Some of the homes were merely cardboard and he wasn’t sure how they were held together. Some only had a couple of walls; most had no roofs. The rooms were only big enough for maybe a chair, but almost everybody also had a giant television set. You’ll find that at least around Lima, electricity has made it almost everywhere, which means so has cable. People will not have jobs, but they will own televisions. It’s a staple sometimes held in higher regard than food. Lucho said they had about 90 children turn out, which is a small group. But, the main problem is their poverty. These people are SO poor, they blame God and want nothing to do with Him. The church on top of the hill is struggling because the people are angry with God. This is a Catholic country; God is supposed to give you everything you need and take care of you if you give Him obeisance. These people feel abandoned. Compartiendo brought hope to an area that has seen little in the last however many years.
 
What struck me most, though, when Lucho was talking was the reaction of these teenagers – our BCM volunteers, most under the age of 16. Now, you must understand. This is not just a missions trip for them. You see, Americans will send their children on a two-week long missions trip, or even a summer missions trip, but very few are willing to let their children be involved in ministry for life. And rare is the American family that is involved in ministry on such a regular basis that it is just a fact of life. But, for these teens? This is their life. They’re not the ones that are busy with sports on weekends. They’re not the ones that are worried about Saturday night dates or weekend trips to the mall. These teens give up half their weekend – every weekend – to do ministry. It’s who they are. But, this trip, for whatever reason, impacted them more than anything they’d ever seen.
 
You must also understand that these teens do not come from incredibly wealthy families themselves. They live in bedrooms smaller than most bathrooms in the States. They do not wear designer clothes or own cars by the time they’re 16. But, Lucho told us that they came to him, some in tears, that day saying how they won’t take their living circumstances for granted any longer. Lucho told them that’s great – just don’t forget.
 
Melissa’s trip to India impacted her probably more than she’ll realize in the days to come. But, one thing she kept reiterating was how much she doesn’t want to forget. The unfortunate thing is that she probably WILL forget – eventually. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you write down or how hard you try to remember. There will come a day when you won’t want to talk about what you’ve seen because people are sick of hearing about it. You won’t want to write about it because you’re beginning to forget details and you want what you write to be perfect, so you don’t write at all. You get back into life and ministry and jobs and you forget because it’s not staring you in the face every single day. You can walk to your car without being asked for money. You can drive home without seeing any children selling things off the streets to make a meager living. You can go to the mall without driving through the slums every single time. You do forget. The teens here will forget because even for them, extreme poverty like that is not something you see every day. Poverty? Yes. Extreme poverty? That’s something you have to look for. Of course, sometimes I wonder whose definition of “extreme poverty” we’re using.
 
What’s my point? I’m not really sure. One of the frustrations of being a full-time ministry IS all the people who come to visit, say how much it impacted them, and never return. People who invest a month or even a year or two, but then leave and forget about what they’ve seen. Or people that say I’ll go for two weeks, but don’t want to ever commit to anything longer than that.
 
Somehow, someway we have to get people to be willing to witness these things and to let it impact their lives forever. I don’t ever want to forget. Do you? Thanks for going to India, Melissa. May it truly impact your life, and those you talk to about it, forever.
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

-Isaiah 58:6-10

Weekend.

I want so badly to post lots and lots of pictures of my classroom and my students, but that will have to wait until I have permission from their parents! For now, you’ll just have to imagine them. 🙂 I am loving my job. I absolutely love my students. I’m getting awfully protective, though. They’re MY students! I don’t want anybody messing with them. Awful, I know.

This week was a good week. I thought it was going to start off rocky with the kids, but it actually went really well. Aside from a spider fiasco and random other crawly insects showing their nasty faces during class house, the week was pretty event-free. Eventless? Event-free? I don’t know. It was easy. And progressive! My little girl who speaks NO English to me finally began talking to me! So now, I’m not stuck having four and a half hour conversations with myself. Finally! Three weeks of that was getting a little old. Her first full English sentence to me was, “How do you spell ‘orange’?” I was SO proud of her. Then, my seventh grader who’s been having trouble learning how to study finally saw the necessity of it since he got 100% on his spelling quiz on Friday!!! I LOVED seeing him BEAM with joy. Such a rewarding job.

Our house is also coming along quite nicely. If you’d like to see pictures and read a full update, visit our ministry blog (linked to the left – Brian and I’s Ministry Blog. How do I make links click-able in the post??? Anybody know??). Brian has been gone since 11:30 this morning shopping for the roof and wood for the stairs. I thought for sure he’d be home by now (it’s almost 5pm), but he’s not. We were supposed to go out to buy the toilets, sinks, bathroom tiles, and kitchen counter tiles tonight as well, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ve been looking at lots of pictures of tiles and lots of brochures and I’m thinking the kitchen counter will be a darker stone-looking tile and the downstairs bathroom will be grayish tile with little orange dots throughout it. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. One more bathroom to think about and then to find the actual tiles I like! On a brighter note, we’re not putting anything up on the inside of the walls (like sheetrock-type stuff) because it was more for looks and we LOVE how it looks right now (check out the picture I put on our blog of Brian standing in the living room). It’s all, as Brian says, “Cabinesk.” We love it. It’s ours.

And God is providing our much-needed furniture that we couldn’t afford. Friends are giving us their bedroom set (yup, the set) and someone else is supplying a beautiful couch. Even in a color I would’ve chosen myself: green. The same friends are also letting us use their extra dishes until we can get our own. Somebody else is loaning us an oven they’re not using right now as well. I just knew God would provide. And it’s always better than I can ever anticipate.

On a more girly note…I learned how to make passionfruit juice this week! It’s SO good and SO easy. Passionfruit is BY FAR the world’s most wonderful fruit. We also found strawberries last night that are GORGEOUS. The same amount of strawberries last summer in the States was a good $5. This cost me about $1. Sweet. Just gotta figure out how to wash them now. I have my boiled water cooling on the counter. I hope that’s good enough. Guess we’ll find out. That’s what God made Immodium for anyway, right? 😉 TMI, I know.

So, all in all, life is good. Every now and then I catch myself and realize that I’m dreaming about life here, not daydreaming about life back in the States. I actually sat today and thought seriously about life in PA, what I would be doing today if I was there, who I’d talk to, what would be available, just to see if I missed it. And I don’t. Not at all. I gave it a good shot, too, to see if there was an ounce of “miss” in me and there really isn’t. That may change in a few months, but for now, wow, I’m so glad I’m here. Somebody asked me this week if I felt accomplished. I had to say that yes, NOW, I do. A year ago, NO, absolutely not. But, now? Without a shadow of a doubt, I feel accomplished. Solely on the fact that I am FINALLY where God called me to be when I was seven years old. Yup. It’s a good feeling.

Here’s me in my house (my mom loves this picture cuz I look happy finally):

lisainhouse

However, this is what I look like up close. Incredibly tired and slightly frazzled! But, still happy. And there’s my incredibly handsome, talented, wonderful, amazing husband of mine. He has done so much work on our house. I’m so proud of him.

usinhouse

Oh, he did manage to bang his ring finger with a hammer. Pray we can get his wedding band off tonight before it helps the swelling finish cutting off the circulation to his finger! We’re pretty sure he probably fractured it at least a little, but hey, not much you can do about that, so he’ll just keep going. Yup. Proud of my boy.

Blessings.

Friday night in Peru. We’ve been here over two months now. We’re in the process of building our house. In fact, the floor is done and the supplies are here for the rest of the construction. We’re settling into quite the routine. We’re making friends. We’re (slowly) learning Spanish. Brian’s out playing soccer. I’m enjoying having a night off from planning school assignments. It’s relatively quiet here on campus. It may smell like manure, but even that is starting to smell like home.

Things are going quite well. But, we’ve hit a few bumps. Brian is my rock. I am forever thankful for him. He’s so wonderful at reminding me of how God has always provided, therefore, He will continue to provide. But, sometimes, I think I need to remember for myself. I appreciate so much of the history of the Israelites because they always reminded their children, year after year, of God’s provisions. The Jews retell stories every year of how God saved them, provided for them, and cared for them. As a Christian, I don’t think I do that often enough.

So, how has God provided for us? For me? This is my reminder list because the waves are starting to rise and I need something (Somebody) to focus on…

  • When we were told the market had slowed down and nobody would buy our house, it sold.
  • When we were told there was no way we could make a profit on a house we’d owned for less than a year (as first time home buyers), we did.
  • When we had no idea where the funds were for candidate orientation, they were provided one week before we had to leave.
  • When we weren’t sure what to do about housing once we left South Dakota, my parents offered us to let us live with them.
  • When we were told there was no way we could raise the funds for cultural training in four months, it came in… with a surplus.
  • Everybody we knew heading to the mission field was under-supported when they left. We were told we could NOT leave under-supported, but we needed to be there a little over a year after we began raising support. Again, it all came in… with a surplus.
  • We didn’t understand why we couldn’t leave for Peru in September, but then we made friends and realized how badly we needed that support system back in the States. If we’d left in September, we wouldn’t have the friendships we have today that are helping us hang on.
  • The funds for our shots came in two weeks before we had to pay for them.
  • We were told to expect to wait six-eight weeks for our visas and we got them in four.
  • We weren’t sure how we were going to afford plane tickets and then Brian found the airline out of Florida that was selling them for $1000 cheaper – per person.
  • We didn’t understand why our Blazer would not sell while we were in Pennsylvania, but it sold immediately once we were in South Dakota last summer. And then, it all made sense when we were able to purchase a car for thousands of dollars cheaper out there than in PA and have Brian and his dad fix it up for us.
  • We weren’t sure what to do with our car once we left the country, but then found out that my brother, who lives in Florida, needed a car desperately, so we were able to drive to Florida and leave the car with him, saving us hundreds of dollars on additional plane tickets.
  • Found out we needed malaria medicine four days before flying to Peru. Thankfully, I had gotten horribly sick two weeks before we moved and had to see a doctor. This doctor just happened to be a Christian and he prayed with me before I left and offered his services, in whatever way possible, once we had moved. He called a prescription of malaria medicine into a random pharmacy in Florida two days before we left the country.
  • We didn’t know what to do about getting extra bags down to Peru since our airline only allowed us one each, but then the only two American students here flew back to the States the same day we flew to Peru and were able to bring those bags with them when they returned.
  • We were issued lifetime residency in Peru with no hassle whatsoever.
  • People have been praying we’d make true friends down here and we already have two couples who have made us feel so at home and are just wonderful friends here.
  • I prayed that God would provide a language helper and make it work out smoothly. The girl who’s teaching me needs help with her basic French class at the university. So, we’re swapping – Spanish for French. Which means I’ll be able to keep up my French, too – in South America!
  • We thought it was a problem that the company that makes our home school curriculum I’m using down here doesn’t ship overseas. But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise since my friend was able to come for 10 days, clear her mind from issues at home, and help me with my special needs student. She “just so happens” to be nannying for a child with autism, whose actions mirror my child with Down syndrome in my class.
  • Somebody found my only Spanish/English Bible that I thought I’d lost forever two weeks ago and cried and cried because it was a gift and I thought I’d never see it again. Inside, I also keep my favorite devo book, “Looking Unto Jesus”, and I was just devastated to have lost it. It was returned two days ago.
  • The first week of Bible school was candidate orientation for the fourth year students. Each evening was a chapel time and every single evening was exactly what we needed to hear. God has called us; God will provide; God is in control; God is on our side. We are where God wants us to be. Rest.

I’m sure there’s more. In fact, I know there’s more, but some are more personal. As hard as things are right now, waiting for God to provide, I know He will. I know the circumstances are what they are right now just so God can prove it’s all about Him and not about us. When I am weakest, then He is strong. I had my students watch a video of Louis Giglio this week. If you don’t know who he is, google him. He’s amazing. But, one thing he kept saying over and over is that we shouldn’t feel small. We are small. It’s not about us. It’s all about God. I think sometimes the only way God makes that clear to us is when we come to the edge and say, “You’ve got to part the waves because I can’t go through that.” That’s where we’re at. We’re standing at the edge of our own Red Sea and waiting for God to part the waters that are way over our heads. I don’t know how He’ll do it and I certainly don’t know when, but I can’t wait to see it when it happens.

God, don’t let me miss it.

Published.

There are two things I dreamed about becoming when I was a child: a writer and a missionary. Always thought I had to choose. Then I met Jeanette Windle and realized I didn’t have to choose; I can be both. Maybe not EASILY, but I can be both. Jeanette gave me an offer of writing for our mission’s magazine and I said yes…even though I was terrified of having Jeanette edit it for me (and yes, I know she’s probably reading this!!). This month, my first article I ever wrote was published. And distributed internationally. Even if I never get to do this again, I at least got to do it once. And I am so thankful to Jeanette for giving me this opportunity. It may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but to me…. it’s like seeing a dream come true. So, check it out. 🙂 http://www.bcmintl.org/e-zine/0509/

And if you prayed for my friends in Vermont this week – thank you! The funeral was yesterday and over 1000 people were in attendance with at least 20 that raised their hands to say they had accepted Christ as Savior. Which means (hopefully) that more did NOT raise their hands and still made professions of faith. God is so faithful. He really does turn ashes into beauty.

Tragedy.

An excerpt from our ministry blog:

We were told in cultural training to be prepared for things happening back in the States that we would be too far away from to do anything about. The first tragedy happened this week. Thankfully, it’s someone only Lisa knows and Lisa has been away from Vermont long enough that it’s easier than it would be otherwise.

A family Lisa knows well in Vermont has three children. This Friday, the father and the middle son, a 17 year old named Jake, went turkey hunting (first day of turkey hunting in Vermont). The father mistook his son for a turkey and shot him. Jake was killed. Even as I (Lisa) write this, I still have a hard time fathoming that this could happen. Just knowing the family so well, I have no idea how they’re handling this. I had the hard task of breaking the news to one of the American girls here. Her best friend is engaged to Jake’s older brother, Zack. So, she’s even closer to the family. I hope I don’t have to break news like that to anybody again any time soon. Brian and I are doing okay. I can’t stop and think about it for very long because it’s just too overwhelming. It’s one of those gut-wrenching, nauseating stories that are just too incredibly for real life.

Please be in prayer for them. Pray for the father, Kevin, and his wife, Dianna. Pray for Zack and his baby sister, Rebekah, who is in sixth grade. Pray for my sister, Tanya. She is one of Rebekah’s teachers and Tanya had the incredibly difficult task of breaking the news to Rebekah’s school on Friday. Pray for my church in Vermont as they come around the Kadamus family. Pray for my sister’s father-in-law, Paul, who is the pastor of my church in Vermont and who will be doing the funeral within the next couple of days. Pray for Jake’s friends. Thank you.

http://caledonianrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=145&ArticleID=45213 — Local newspaper articles about the death.

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