Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"We are able to take risks, suffer pain, and even die without despair but with full hope!!"

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."  - Jeremiah 1:5

It is a great place to be when you know you are exactly where God wants you!  There is no greater place to be than in the middle of God's will for your life.  It is the safest place to be and the place where you can experience so much joy!!  As I am reading "Let the Nations Be Glad" - by John Piper I am learning a lot about what God's purpose of missions really are.  I like the quote "We cannot know what prayer is for until we know that life is war."  I think being out on the mission field or doing full-time ministry you really see how much the world is a spiritual battle.  Satan uses anything to try to mess up relationships that are based on God and keep people from doing what they are really here on earth to do... which is spread the gospel to the lost.  God disciplines his children through suffering; and his aim is to deepen our faith.  "He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness." -Hebrews 12:10

Just a little about what I'm learning right now....  I know this is not going to be an easy next 7 months, but a time of growing and seeking through hard times in order to deepen my faith!  

This past Sunday we tried something new for church.  We are breaking up in to different communities having different home group bible studies.  I am working with the 2 orphanages on Sunday.  It went great!  We all got together and sang songs together to begin and had a prayer time for those who are sick and have diseases.  We split up in to adults and children after; and took the 35 kids up to a room and watched the Jesus film in Spanish.  Afterwards we served lunch for everyone which was a real treat for them to have cookies and coke!  It was a lot of fun!  I have continued to help with the cello lessons out at the music school; last night there was a group class with some of the younger students and there was a girl who was 5 just starting!  I told her I started when I was 5 too!  :)  I went to an English church service Sunday night and was able to meet a few more people and went on a horseback ride through the mountains to some Inca ruins for a few hours yesterday morning.  It was a beautiful ride!  The picture is up in the mountains on the ride -- the view of Cusco down below.

Please pray for love and encouragement within our team here!!  I think it is so important to have that encouragement within a team in order to build one another up!  Part of love is to sacrifice and this is a great time to learn how to serve others and love others how they need to be loved; not how they want to be loved.  I want to learn what it really means to love others and put others above myself...   If I know my identity is found in Jesus Christ; this will give me what I need to sacrifice.

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!!

"As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you" -John 20:21
"If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."  -John 15:20

Monday, March 16, 2009

God always provides...

More and More the Lord continues to show me that he is faithful and provides for his children!  I know there will be times here and in life that are hard and we are called to suffer b/c Jesus suffered for us.  But even though we are going to encounter hard time and trials in life the Lord is faithful and provides for what we need.  When we are seeking him we are able to experience his Joy, Peace, and Love!  The poverty here is everywhere, but even though these people hardly have anything they still experience so much joy and love!  We have so many things in America that we don't need and take for granted.  These 2 boys I ran in to on a walk that I went on yesterday with my Peruvian roommate Cati.  Aren't they adorable?

Friday night I went to the first Cusco Symphony concert that they have ever had here in Cusco!  It was so neat to experience this concert in such a different culture.  This is a new thing to Cusco so they will be having a concert every Friday in different parts of Cusco to get their name out.  I spoke with the conductor afterwards and he is really excited about me playing with them!  It is such an answer to prayer b/c I told him that I was going to order a cello from Lima and have it shipped here since they don't have any cellos here in Cusco, but he said there is 1 cello the government bought for the Symphony to have and said I could borrow it for now.  God is so good!!  Last night was youth group so since I had a cello I was able to play with the praise band!  They played many songs that I was familiar with except in Spanish!  I am so thankful to be able to use this gift of music here in Cusco.  Many of the youth had never seen a cello before or knew what it was.  

This morning I went up in to the mountains to help teach Bible class to a school.  I helped with the younger kids about ages 5-8.  They were so fun!  We told the story about Adam and Eve, played some games, and colored.  I have many more pictures and will add them to the album on facebook!  What a joy it is to love these kids!!  The second picture is playing with the kids after class.  Thank you all for your encouragement!!!  

Friday, March 13, 2009

I have arrived in Cusco!!

I have arrived to Cusco, Peru safely and have been here a week exactly today!  It is absolutely beautiful here with the mountains surrounding the entire town!  I don't know where to begin...   Well, I stayed at the Powlison's home for the first 5 days here.  They are the team leaders of the MTW team here and they live out in the country down a long dirt road.  This is me standing out on the dirt road that leads to their house from the town.  It is a beautiful walk and a great place to go mountain biking!!

The first picture is a picture of the street that my apartment is on to the left.  I am living with a medical intern who is here for 2 more weeks and a Peruvian girl who is in school.  It will be great living with her and using my spanish!  We killed a rat last night using a trap in the kitchen.... guess that was my welcome to the apartment present! :)  It is a great location b/c it is right up the street from the clinic and the church and also the market where you can buy tons of fruits and vegetables.  

Since I have been here I have been trying to get adjusted to the new way of life here, the new people, culture, food, altitude.  It is quite an adjustment here, but I know I will be learning TONS about the very poor people and their way of living and myself.  I really want to serve these people while I am here in any way possible.

I have met the only known cello teacher here who is so excited to have another cellist on board and I will meet the symphony conductor tonight.  We are in process of ordering my cello from Lima so that I can help teach cello lessons and help with the chamber orchestra here.  It was so touching to sit in on a group cello lesson a few days ago and hear the cello being played by these poor Peruvian children.... even though we are so different than the people here, hearing them play the cello is the common bond we share through music.  It brought tears to my eyes...  I am really looking forward to teaching cello in Spanish here, although the names of the notes are all different here. I will have to re-learn all of them... They use do re mi for the notes instead of the actual notes!  Confusing!

I have been to the orphanage, La Casa Josefina where I will be working as well and played with the children and babies there.  They are so precious and I love them already!!  There are a few with mental disabilities who are so precious.  I am looking forward to spending more time with these precious babies and helping to take care of them.  The picture below is after playing soccer with a bunch of the boys from the other orphanage up the street, The Institute.  They get together on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons which I am  really looking forward to getting to know them better and playing soccer with them!

I am learning so much already.  I know I can not do this on my own here.  It is God's strength and not my own and I am trusting him to provide that for me each day.  Thank you all so much for your prayers!  I will try to update more frequently.  Miss you all!!