(copied from Pam’s blog…..what an amazing young woman)
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La Perla 2011. He makes everything glorious!
It almost seems impossible to recap my time in Pucallpa because of the amount of emotion and joy that was involved; I don’t know how to convey the feeling in my heart for what I just experienced, but I will try my best! I can honestly say that God’s hand was upon this trip; his fingerprints were all over everything we did. Something I loved about our time in Pucallpa this year was the variety of areas we worked in… kids, youth, parents, medical clinics, construction, home visits, etc. We were greeted at the airport by our friends of La Perla with signs, shouts, hugs and kisses.
Our time started out strong with a medical clinic. We were able to see over 300 patients; serving them through medical attention, prayer, filling their prescriptions for free, and spending quality time with the people/kids as they were waiting their turn to be seen. I’ve now experienced a few different medical clinics, and each time I am completely in awe of the different ways we can serve God. With barely any previous experience, I helped in the pharmacy; filling some prescriptions, and helping where needed. It’s amazing to watch people who specifically have a call for medical missions, or just a passion for the medical field to serve God in this way and give everything they have. Medical missions is a way to fill practical needs for the people; and through filling their practical needs, we are able to reach their hear ts. It was truly amazing.
We also were able to help out in filling another practical need…working with machetes! I must say, the men and women and even kids made this work look so simple; little did I know, it wasn’t one bit easy! I have much respect for anyone who can successfully use a machete to cut a field of grass, its hard work! The people are hard workers. I don’t know how much help I personally was for this project, but I had a blast trying and working alongside the community! Our hard work was rewarded with coconuts off the tree; followed by a spontaneous game time with the kids!
So I am realizing that if I go day by day on what we did, you will be reading (or give up reading) for a long time…so instead, I am going to just talk about a few things that really had an impact on my heart.
Parents Night. As I wrote in a previous blog entry, I was given the privilege of preparing a teaching/activity for parent’s night. As I was waiting my turn to speak, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me elsewhere… I had a whole teaching planned out, and right before it was my turn, I felt led to basically toss the paper and speak more from my heart. I had a teaching prepared of the different roles of the husband, wife, and children according to the Bible; but I felt that it was not my place to share that. So I shared about the perspective I had as a child of my parents; and how important it is for a child to have the support and encouragement of their parents. I asked a few different questions; challenging the parents to think about their kids in a positive way; thinking about funny memories of their childr en, their qualities and strengths, and the little details that have a big impact. We heard a few very funny stories from the parents. The night ended with the parents making cards of encouragement for their kids. As I walked around the room looking at the cards that were being made, my heart was filled with joy…but one card in particular caught my eye. The front of the card, in big letters written in a heart said, “To My princesses”. There was just such a deep level of love I saw in that, and it filled my heart with joy! It was precious!
Home Visit with the Lewis’. I went with Steve and Jenn to visit the kids they sponsor. We were at the house of Juan, the boy Steve sponsors, and his mom (who I got to spend some quality time with last year) gave us a delicious jello/flan dessert. When we arrived at the house, the first thing that caught my eye was a piece of artwork; it was beautiful! Juan’s brother Luis had made it and they offered it to me. Luis was not home, but Juan said that his brother would be honored if we were to take his artwork home with us. Generosity. These people give without expectation of receiving. It is so humbling to see their generosity and the desire they have to give everything they have; which is not much to begin with. I was very blessed that morning!
The Team. Laughs…more laughs…more laughs…and more laughs. I’ve never experienced a team without any drama…so all those who are wondering, YES, it’s possible to go on a mission trip with a group of people and not experience any drama!!! I personally didn’t know this was possible, but turns out it is! I just can’t say enough about this group of people. We all compliment each other great; such different strengths and talents that all came together perfectly to fill the holes. I had so much fun with the team, serving the community of La Perla for my 3rd year in a row. It was so nice to be reunited with this group of people after a year. Each person brought a different aspect to the team, and I learned a lot from each team member. Saying goodbye to them was not easy, they are really a special gro up of people!
My Birthday. Wow, it was incredible! My birthday started with Jenn, Steve, and Alfred coming to my room at midnight to sing happy birthday. I was fast asleep when they came in so my reactions were as follows. 1. scared out of my mind. 2. extremely confused as to what was happening. 3. EXCITED AND HAPPY! I went back to sleep, woke up, went to breakfast, and was surprised with the table being completely decorated, signs saying happy birthday, and homemade birthday hats made by Jenn! It was an awesome surprise! After breakfast we headed out to Mision Tec for a relaxing morning. I was surprised once again…with a birthday package from my mom! Then came the surprise cake! It was a very special day for me, and I wouldn’t have rather celebrated my birthday anywhere else! That night at our farewell ceremony wit h the community, I was extremely humbled once again by the generosity of the community. Members of the community were coming up to me giving me big birthday hugs and kisses and giving me gifts. What an awesome birthday I had!
School. One day we visited the school in La Perla. We went from classroom to classroom talking about making good decisions, sexual purity, hand washing, the future, and wherever else the spirit led. This was one of my favorite days. In the afternoon we went to share at the high school. I was in a group with Shellie and Christie. We took turns sharing personal testimonies with the students, how every single decision we make either has a positive or negative effect on our future, draws us closer or further from our goals, etc. The last classroom we visited God gave me an idea. I showed the students a blank piece of paper and said; let’s pretend this is my heart. I passed the paper up a row of desks and told the students to rip of pieces, crumple the paper, and do what they wanted to it. By the time this pap er got back to me, it was wrinkled, ripped, and no longer a complete blank sheet of paper; it was destroyed. I asked the students, How am I supposed to give this to my future husband, a broken and destroyed heart…missing pieces that each one of you have. It was amazing how attentive the students were. I thought this example was pretty awesome, but I can’t take any credit for it, God gave me that idea and I think it really reached the students in a deep way. I love when the spirit leads, I continue to learn how important it is to obey and allow God to be in control. It is not about me in the slightest.
And last but not least, and probably the longest part….
Judith. Judith is the girl I sponsor. I saw God work in her heart this week in incredible ways. Judith is no longer living in La Perla due to family and security issues. She now lives about an hour away walking. Monday to Friday she walks an hour to school. She doesn’t get out of school until 6:00 which means she has to walk home in the dark. When I found out she was no longer living in La Perla, I was really bummed and figured I would not see her much this trip. She came to La Perla to see us on Saturday and I saw sadness behind her eyes. We sat and talked for a while and she shared with me that she now has a boyfriend. She just turned 15 and her boyfriend in 19, and not a Christian. My heart sunk when I heard this. She had given her life to Christ at the camp last year, and I could tell her heart was not in the right place. I encouraged her to really pray about her boyfriend and to make sure she is making good decisions in her life. After talking for about an hour, it was time for us to go. Monday afternoon I went to visit Judith at her school with a friend named Daniela who works with the organization. She got permission to leave class and we sat and talked for about 2 hours. Daniela and I shared personal stories from our lives, both good and bad decisions we’ve made and what consequences we had to face as a result. Judith shared about the loneliness and sadness she has in her heart; as well as her current living situation which is not very good. I sat and listened to her and my heart was aching for her. I left the school feeling both happy that I was able to have that time to really hear her heart and share mine with her, but really sad that this was the reality of her life and there was absolutely nothing I could do in that moment to rescue her from it. It’s weird…when I f irst saw Judith’s picture and decided to start sponsoring her, I don’t think I realized that she was an actual person, with feelings, and heartache, and family problems, and dreams that seem so far from possible for her. The majority of people who sponsor a child through an organization will never actually meet their child. It’s just a person in another country who is poor, and writes a letter a few times a year talking about the sports they like, and the chores they have at home. But the truth is, I know Judith. She is my friend. She is real. She does not have an easy life at all. She writes me letters that are personal. She is a special girl who needs guidance in her life; she is just like you and me; she experiences joy and sadness, trials and triumphs, fears and confidence.
The following day was the day we went to the classrooms. Her classroom happened to be the last one, with the paper demonstration. That night she came to the youth workshop we had and I had a few minutes to talk with her before it started. She told me that she was really touched by my testimony and that she needs to make better decisions in her life and make changes in the way she is acting. She shared with me that it was important for her class to hear what we shared. They recently had a classmate who got pregnant at 14 and had to drop out of school…she said probably 90% of her class is sexually active, and she felt it made a big impact on the class. That night in the workshop we had a time for the youth to accept Christ or rededicate their lives to Jesus. About 6 of the youth accepted Jesus in their heart for the first time, and about 6-7 decided to rededicate their life to Christ; Judith being one of them! Later on she shared with me that she made a big decision that nigh t, to make good decisions from now on; to make changes in her life that need to be made, to rededicate her life to Christ and get back on track in her relationship with God. She held her cross necklace in her hand and said this is what keeps me going. I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t believe how the Lord had worked in her heart in just those few days. In that moment, the sadness behind her eyes was gone. Saying goodbye to her this year was especially difficult. Yes, she made this decision to rededicate her life, but it breaks my heart that she is still in the same place as before, without someone to keep her accountable, someone to share her heart with, someone to encourage her and guide her through this decision. And all I can do is pray for her.
It’s amazing how God leads you to certain people and places in life. He orchestrates things perfectly.
Well this entry is way longer than I was intending, but I hope you were able to get an idea of our time in Pucallpa. I could write on so many more things that happened, including hearing from various members of the community the ways that this group has impacted their lives so profoundly, the way that we are providing them with a lighting system for their sports field which will bring light into the darkness of the community, how God has used each one of us in their lives to help them grow intellectually and spiritually. There’s an unexplainable feeling to arrive somewhere and have over 150 kids waiting for you to get out of the van, greeting with you with hugs and kisses. It’s a beautiful chaos walking into a sea of children who just want to love on you. It is so humbling to hear and experience these things because the truth is, every year I go to Pucallpa with a desire to serve and bless my friends there, but I leave feeling that they served and blessed me way more than I could ever do for them.
And with all this said, I am coming to a close of 9 months in South America. I cannot believe this season is ending…it went so fast. I return to the states October 23rd and the rest is still to be discovered.
followingavision | October 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pGTST-77
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