Hey everybody! It’s that time of month again!!!! Check out my latest video blog episode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, check out the following excerpt from my the February edition of my missionary newsletter:
There’s a lot of stories that I don’t end up putting in my newsletters simply because the vast majority of my work is with people, and people deserve their privacy. And with that, a lot of the people that I am getting to know here in Peru also can read what I’m writing and posting on my blog (the biggest fans of my video blog probably are the kids in La Victoria, who discovered my channel on YouTube a few months ago, if that gives you any idea of how public what I publish is). So whenever I’m putting in vaguer stories in my newsletter, you can be assured that there’s a lot of other details that also need prayers for…and thankfully God knows the needs, even when I can’t tell you everything via my newsletter or even show you photos of some things.
One of those needs is the increasing outreach work that God is doing through me—outreach work based in our oldest church plant in Lima, in the neighborhood of San Borja. A part of this outreach work has been picking up some work that other missionaries left behind when they left this mission field in Peru for different mission fields. Using the metaphor of the Apostle Paul (from 1 Corinthians 3:5-9), other missionaries planted seeds, while I am now watering those seeds, connecting with different people that those other missionaries had built relationships with. Of course, as Paul himself pointed, God is ultimately the one who is making those seeds grow.
So, God has been using me at our church in San Borja to start spending more relational time with different people, seeking to start up more studies of God’s Word. Right now, as I try to deal with multiple people’s schedules, it’s all about being flexible. Sure, it would be fantastic if I could say “We’re going to meet on Monday night every week” and expect that to always work for people, but that’s simply not how the culture here works. While following the clock and sticking to a plan on one’s calendar is a way of life for many in the United States, people here in Peru simply aren’t as focused on their watch or their day-planner, and are a lot more focused on what is right in front of them. So I can already tell you lots of stories of how I’ve had to remind myself that being flexible is a big key when it comes to doing mission work. After all, this work is all about people coming to know and grow in Jesus, rather than simply about offering programs and classes, and we have to be flexible if we want to connect with people.
Of course, my work (or, I should say, God’s work through me) continues at our Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Mercy House in La Victoria (and the church plant that is alongside of it). Since late December to early March is the summer break from school, we’ve taken advantage of kids having their mornings free to offer an extra, hour-long Bible class. I’ve been teaching about two of those classes per week, in addition to helping out with the 15-minute Bible classes that we also offer Monday-Friday.
In addition to that, I’ve also continued to help lead our youth group that we have at our church in La Victoria. With the new school year just around the corner, Deaconess Caitlin Worden (one of my fellow missionaries, who has been leading the youth group with me) and I decided just a couple of weeks ago to start opening up the youth group to our kids who are about to be freshmen en la secundaria (“in high school”). We’ve been spending a lot of time just doing life together with these youth, growing our relationship with them, as well as studying God’s Word together. We’re focusing right now on walking through the Gospel of Mark with them, helping them learn more about their Savior and the grace and life that we can have in him.
In addition to all of that, I’ve also had a few chances to step back, reflect, and process my experiences here in Peru thus far. One such chance was when I took a brief trip back to my alma mater, Concordia University Texas (in Austin, Texas), at the end of January. Being a Director of Christian Education (DCE) intern, technically my time here in Peru is part of my DCE internship, and this past month at Concordia Texas there was an intern reflection event. I was able to meet up with my DCE professors, as well as my fellow interns who are serving right now in different churches back in the States. It was a great chance to share with each other what God has been doing through us, as well as to be refreshed and get some new ideas for what to do in the future. It was very encouraging to see how God is using his servants all over the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ, and to be reminded that this is his mission, and I’m just one of his many servants in that mission.