After being here in Peru for just over a year, It’s amazing how much the Bible has come to life for me (Christian). In America the stories of poverty, donkeys, farming, neighbors and markets all seemed theoretical. It is hard for the average middleclass person to relate to a lot of the situations in which Jesus ministered. Here, and in most of the world, people live lives a lot like what we read about in the Bible. Today we went and visited a leper at his home. It was something that I never expected to do. A few weeks ago Julio got to translate to this man in the hospital that his leprosy had advanced to the point that there is no hope of a cure. As you can imagine he was devastated. Julio shared that even though there is no hope physically; Jesus came and died so that we could have hope for salvation and a life with him forever. This man prayed a prayer of tears for Jesus to forgive him and save him. It is a awful and beautiful story isn’t it? On the way to his house in a friend’s mototaxi we stopped at the market and bought him some basic cheap groceries. We got to his house, a 15’ x 15’ room with a corrugated roof. He was much less gruesome than you would think. While there, it hit me that lepers are real people with real lives and personalities, not just caricatures in the Bible or a movie. I found myself feeling a mixture of respectful pity and envy. I in no way envy his position now but I truly am envious that he will be able to meet our creator sooner than me. We plan on continuing to keep in touch with him. But it was an amazing privilege to be used by God in a small way which allowed me to experience the Bible being lived out. I hope that God will continue to show me and you that the American experience is a blessing that can keep us from really being able to relate to His word.
Some of you know that lettuce is to be avoided in this country . . .I got VERY sick from it in Arequipa, but when you have had 3 salads in the past year you might do something foolish like buy lettuce and try again. I made the best, let me rephrase that, the closest thing to taco salad I could yesterday. It was so good and definitely satisfied a craving many of us had. Unfortunately today Beth is throwing up, others have stomach aches and several have diarrhea. I am not positive it was the lettuce (I washed it twice and I am feeling fine) but you can be sure we won’t do that again anytime soon. Maybe again next year right before our annual dose of amoeba medicine. (Post Script: Just found out several friends have had a virus lately involving fever, headaches and nausea . . . . it was probably that . . . . maybe I will try lettuce again sooner than later. That salad was good.)
We spent last weekend in Lima with our friends the Dillons. It was a lot of fun. They came down from Huaraz and we spent 4 days together in the pseudo-normalcy of Lima. Christian and I planned this mini-vacation during our first 3 weeks in Pucallpa. That was a very rough time. As Christian explained to someone the other day – “The tickets to Lima are what kept us from buying tickets to Miami and beyond.” We were desperate for a break and cheap tickets to Lima seemed like a good solution. The greatest part about our long week-end (besides the Dillions, por supuesto) was the fact that now, 2 months after purchasing the tickets, leaving Pucallpa was hard. We had things to here and it got in the way of our “normal life”. For now we belong in Pucallpa. God is faithful to remind us that He brought us here – never would we have chosen this place. So glad God knows best.
Sorry it has been so long since I’ve let you in on life down here. I need to be sure to update more often because the longer I wait the harder it is to describe all that has been going on. Some days are so terrible and I want to leave – I don’t want to write on those days because I know I would be very negative. Some days are amazing and I love it here – I don’t write on those days either because I would be overly optimistic. Today is a good day to write because it had good, bad, frustration and peace . . . all in the same day. We are keeping very busy with meetings, getting to know the core group of leaders at the church, understanding Peruvian culture as it is in Pucallpa (very different from the mountains), and keeping our house clean and food on the table. Christian still feels hindered in ministry due to his Spanish but really it is coming along. Today a 17 year-old college girl came over to practice her English. Her name is Naysha. Her dad owns a small dirt track and restaurant just outside of town (at km 13) and also a garage pretty close to our house. She is very sweet and she spent close to 4 hours at the house with our family. She is very open about who she is, her family, and religion – hoping next time we can talk more pointedly about Christ. Half of her time with us was speaking English and the other half was Spanish with Christian. I am excited to see how this friendship will grow. In the last month Christian and the kids purchased the first of what I am sure will be many motorcycles. Christian, unfortunately, had to take his bike apart to fix some things and he found a hole in the engine case . . . . not good, but not the end of the world. The kid’s bike is just right for Gabe and Emma. Emma just learned how to use the clutch and loves to ride (especially now that her good friend/neighbor, Mimi, just got the same kind of bike this week and they can ride together.) Gabe hopped right on and picked up where he left off. He can’t wait to race. He and his friend Oli have already built a track right near the house, out behind the school. He loves to ride. It is so good to be in a place where they can get their bike out and go. The younger three are still looking for a bike – I am sure one will come along soon. We still have days we want to pack up and leave but we now are at a place where we would miss many things about Pucallpa . . . .that is good we have a connection. Still I wonder at times, “Why does God want us here?’ - but He is faithful to reveal just a little at a time the answer to that question. We are no one special or extraordinary – just Christ followers that make mistakes and love God. Our prayer is that HE would be glorified through our family and that others would see HIM through us . . . (not just our red VW or cute gringo kids).