You won’t want to miss this latest episode in my video blog!!!!!!!!!!
Also, here’s a story (from my newsletter) on my work in Lima:
The pale, gray sky above fit well with the dusty, run-down factory buildings that I passed by as I navigated past crowds of people, street vendors, stray dogs, and a homeless beggar. After scurrying across a busier street, I turned a few corners, and found myself passing through the neighborhood park. Many parks in the nicer neighborhoods of Lima, Peru are clean, shiny, and pristine, with well-watered grass that is always green and nicely cut. However, being in La Victoria, one of the barrios (poorer neighborhoods) of Lima, such care of the parks was not expected. The grass was a lot more yellow, trash was scattered around the park, and the playground equipment definitely wasn’t as shiny as similar equipment in parks in other parts of the city.
Getting past the park, I traveled just one more block before running into Miss Magaly, one of the teachers in our Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Mercy House program. The Castillo Fuerte program in La Victoria is the main way that we reach out to the people of La Victoria, especially focusing on helping the kids in the community through acts of mercy. Through all of that, we find ways to share the Gospel with the kids, their families, and the larger community.
Miss Magaly was heading to the park to find our regular kids and play with them for an hour. After dashing into our Castillo Fuerte site (a few rooms that we are renting out of a factory), greeting the other staff, and then dropping off my heavy backpack, I hurried back to the park to join Miss Magaly and Miss Janette (one of the other teachers). I soon found myself in the midst of a growing cluster of kids, all of whom were already occupied in their play.
After an hour of bouncing around a ball a few dozen times, tumbling down the large, yellow slide, and trying to keep kids from getting too out of hand, the kids got in a somewhat haphazard line (it only takes one kid to throw the whole line off) and followed Miss Janette back toward our Castillo Fuerte site, while Miss Magaly and I followed along. Arriving outside, the kids waited in their line, as one-by-one they talked with Jeancarlos, the director of the Castillo Fuerte site in La Victoria (and also one of my best friends here), and paid him 1 Peruvian sol (about 33 cents—very affordable!) for lunch. Meanwhile, I bounced back and forth between conversations with the different kids, continually building my relationship and rapport with them.
I was soon sitting with the kids, gulping down the delicious food whenever I wasn’t chiming into the random conversations of the kids. Every day they seem to be serving a different Peruvian dish for lunch, so I long ago forgot to ask the exact name for what I am eating, though I am pretty sure that the soup that the kids started out with included different sea food elements (one kid found a fish eye in her soup!) and some noodles. The main dish included rice (a staple food item here in Peru), some kind of beans, and fried fish.
The clang of forks and spoons mixed with the care-free, joyous noise of excited children chattering away in Spanish, while the teachers moved around, picking up empty plates and bringing in the next dish. Most of the kids went off to their classes, I stayed behind with the slower kids, waiting for them to finish their food.
Not long after that, I got to help teach the daily Bible class to the younger kids. Being the musical missionary, I decided to teach the kids El Señor Resucitó, Aleluya (“Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, Alleluia”), playing along on my guitar. I’ve found working here that music has the power to draw in kids’ attention better than almost anything else, so I try to use music as a teaching tool whenever I can.
A few minutes later all of the kids headed downstairs for La Capilla (chapel service) and got a chance to pray together, confess their faith together in the Apostle’s Creed, hear a Scripture reading, as well as a few other things. After Jeancarlos, who is also one of our pre-seminary students, pulled me up front to quickly explain the Scripture reading, I grabbed my guitar and lead all of the kids in singing El Señor Resucitó, Aleluya. After saying goodbye for the day to many of the kids, who were headed off to their homes or back to the park, I wrapped up just a few more things before heading home myself.
I could say that what I just described above is an example of what a “normal” work day looks for me…but every day is so different, and I work at several different mission sites, and not all of them are even in Lima. However, two of the constants in my work are that we are always wanting to share God’s Word, and we are always seeking to create relationships with people so that we can lead them to Christ and the good news of new life that we have in him.