Hi. My name is Eddy, I am 20, and I am going to Peru for Jesus.
Yes. I have 2 weeks left in Peru, and no I have not come to full terms with that. I am ready to be home because I miss my dear family and my friends so much but at the same time I am not ready to face the responsibilities that are required out of me back at home. Honestly, thinking about school makes me want to throw up.
Anyway, I am going to push that thought aside and give a little bit of an update.
I stayed in Lima for a week and worked with various churches. I shared my testimony various times, taught english, played with kids, and explored Lima. Lima is such a difficult city to define. It is such a paradox of the most rich and the incredibly poor. I have stopped thinking about it as a city, because it does not seem like a city to me. It is more of a district or a province. I know in my heart that the majority of my work will be away from Lima when I return to Peru as a full time missionary. I am not sure how I feel about that because at the same time my closest friends in Peru live in Lima. We will see. My experience in Lima during that week was rich.
Currently, for the past 2 weeks, I have been living in a city called Cañete. And in Cañete, I am in a small village called San Luis. It is a tiny town with maybe a little more than 1000 residents. There is no church here, so the believers meet in a Celula every Thursday and Saturday to pray and to learn and have a service. As of right now, the main leader figures are one girl who is living here, and a handful of believers who come from Lima on Saturday to lead the service. Yes, the problem is that this city remains pastor-less.
So, in my 2 weeks, I have been meeting with all the believers from church to study the bible with them and to teach them the basics of our faith. I was honestly thrown off by how little most of them know. It is a different world. Most nonbelievers in the States, growing up in churches, could tell more about the Bible and the stories than the people I am meeting could. But, they want to learn and they want to grow so I am not too worried. I just really want to see a pastor come here soon.
I have been playing with the for the most part consistent group of kids three times a week. I lead them through a bible story usually or some kind of gospel presentation or a teaching of Jesus, we sing praises together, and we play afterwards. I love these kids to death.
Once a week, I also visit from house to house doing evangelism. That has been the most important part, because a lot of people tell me they want to accept Jesus, and so I lead them through the prayer. But usually after that, they dont want to come to church or commit to anything. The attitude that I have encountered in the states is both animosity and distrust towards the church. Here, it is mostly just indifference. But, God is faithful and he is good, for I found out that the kids that I play with go back home to share the Gospel with their family, and I have had the chances of coming across their parents during the street evangelism. That makes me almost want to cry with joy.
In a couple of days, I am going down to Pisco to work with a team from America for about a week. I am excited to be in Pisco and to see all my friends who live their again. After that, I have a little less than a week before I come back to the states, and back to my life.
I need to remember that I am a still a student.
My kids in Pisco :)
This is the team that I went to Iquitos with
So, my adventure in Pisco, Peru is over, and what a month it has been.
After having no hot water, no one to have an english conversation with, no free internet, and no one I knew when I first began.
Yet, God has shown me once again, that He is good and He knows how to take care of me. He has given me a group of friends, a community that I can joke around with and be authentic with. They know how to love me well.
My work has been fun too. I have preached ALOT. I have preached three or four times a week, in Spanish. I learned a lot through that experience. And I am not just talking about Spanish. A lot of my work also on visiting the homes of new believers and also the church family. You know, encouraging and praying for them :). I also work with the children’s ministry at the church here. That is really fun for me. Teaching and hanging out with kids. What could be better?
I have done some street evangelism, which was challenging because I had to speak in Spanish. But, God has made fruit through that so that has been a blessed experience. I also got to do some prison ministry. They have a church in prison!! It was unbelievable. The worship and the authenticity was one of the best I have seen my whole life.
The main blessing though was how much I learned from the people I worked with and the people that I lived with. These pastors have not gone to seminary, and to be blatantly honest, I have more theological knowledge than they do. But they have shown me that means absolutely nothing with the wisdom and the strength that they show in their lives. They were definitely a blessing and I cannot wait to see them again.
Anyway, I am also happy to be back in Lima with my Peruvian family. I have a bit of time of rest (I had no rest days in Pisco) before I begin my work again.
God is good to me :)
Yes, I am currently chilling in Pisco, Peru. You may better remember this as the earthquake city. Pisco was hit by an earthquake August 15, 2007, which killed around a 1000 people and completely devestated the city.
Right now, you can see the remains of the earthquake. The house that I am staying in with a pastor and his wife has a big old crack going through the wall, and you can see rubbles of concrete and collapsed buildings outside. The locals tell me that reconstruction has been slow and frustrating.
Also, Pisco is also one of the more poorer cities in Peru. It is a lot smaller then Lima, and also more quiet, and also a lot more safer. It is called La Ciudad de Polvo, which means the City of Dust. I have built a pretty strong immunity against my dust allergy, but my nose still gets congested at night. Also, there is no running hot water here. So, I boil water in the morning, mix it with cold water, and do a thing that I am calling Bucket Shower. I have gotten quite good at it.
My work here is amazing. I am working with Pastor Beningno (sp?) and his family. He has a new church which has dirt floors and half of the roof has yet to be put in mostly due to budget problems. Yet, I see more authenticity in worship there then I have at any well airconditioned pretty church. I am shadowing him with his daily work, I am working with the children´s ministy, getting to spend time with ¨los jovenes,¨ preaching and teaching at his church, and working with different teams that are coming to Pisco.
I will be staying here for a month, and I am so far being stretched in ways that I have yet to be stretched. There are absolutely no english speakers here, so I have to learn to become proficient in Spanish. I also don´t have a community here yet, so that has been difficult. Everyone is loving and welcoming and accepting, its just with the language barrier it´s hard for me to feel like we have a legit friendship.
But, God has continued to show me that he is good. One of the highlights of Pisco so far has been naming of a baby girl. I met and prayed for a 10 hour old and her mother, and she asked me what they should name the baby. I said ¨Sarah¨, and now in Pisco is a beautiful baby girl named Sarah Elizabeth Martinez. God has shown me that He is good, and that He can take care of me.
I am learning a lot. Thank you for your prayers.
Whoa!! I just realized I have not updated in forever!!
Man, I don’t know where to start, but here we go.
Since the last time I updated, my heart has turned around quite a bit. I was able to get over the initial sense of uncomfortableness and doubt, by the grace of God and prayer of my close friends.
The turning point came the Wednesday after I got here, when we went to Villa el Salvador. There, with two friends, I visited the school and went from class to class, sharing my testimony, sharing bible stories, and sharing the Gospel. I also got to play soccer with some older kids afterward! There was also a team there from Virginia, who was doing medical missions, and I got to talk and spend time with them too.
Villa was amazing and I felt such a powerful presence of the Spirit as I was entering that city. Praise be to the Lord, it was perfect.
The following Thursday was a chill day/figure out logistics day/greet a team of musicians from Florida day.
Following Friday, I went back to Villa, met the Virginia team again, and got to play with kids for about 3 hours. I taught them how to play Football, which turned into a rather violent game of Rugby. It was amazing.
The team from Florida, the musician group with the name Coram Deo, came out and played for the people.
So then, the following Saturday, I left for Iquitos with Pastor Samuel, Omar, and Coram Deo. Iquitos is a northeast city in the base of the Amazon River that is only reachable by plane.
And it was amazing.
Our week composed of visiting churches, schools, and we even went to radio station and a tv station. We got to share the gospel, share testimonies, preach, do skits, and play with kids.
We also got to sail on the Amazon river, meet indigenous tribal people, and play with a slot, a turtle, and a snake.
So now, I am back in Lima, and in 2 days I will be leaving for Pisco, which is a city that is about 6 hours south of Lima by car.
My heart is full, because my God is good.
I’ve been here for 3 days now but it also feels like forever I’ve been home. It is a strange feeling to be here.
The biggest challenge is the language. My make-shift Spanish and the good graces of the people that I’ve been talking with have allowed me to converse about all the essentials, which is good. But, if you know me, you also know that I am talker. I don’t feel like I know anyone until I actually really talk with them, so right now, I feel like I don’t know anyone here.
Most likely, that’s not going to change in 3 months. My Spanish, as better as it may be, is still not going to allow me to have real conversations with people, and that really kind of upsets me. I mean we laugh and have fun and I try to keep up, but in the end, the language barrier has been challenging.
Also, I did not realize how much free time I would have. The long-term missionary life is a wee bit different from those short group trips I have been on. I have a lot more time to myself, and it is times like that I don’t really know what to do with myself. I’ve napped two days in a row now, and I never nap! Not unless I had like an all-nighter or something.
So basic summary of my life so far:
1. Sunday was church day, so I went to 3 services and also went out to lunch with my new family. It was a good day. Worshiping in Spanish is so fun because everyone here prefers to yell when they are singing. I yelled along in Spanish, and it was a sweet time.
2. Monday was pretty chill. I spent most of the morning cleaning, and my luggage finally came so I was able to get that out of my mind. Yesterday was when I realized how much free time I had so I took a nap, and just hung out with my Peruvian family. Pastor Samuel told me that this is my free week, so hopefully I’ll be a bit more occupied in the weeks to come.
3. Today was fun. In the morning we went to this soccer game amongst the pastors. If you know crazy traffic, believe me, you have not seen Peru traffic. A good way to summarize it is 3 lane roads can become 5 lane roads at will. So after that game and meeting all the baptist pastors, I came back and once again helped with cleaning. I took another nap (CRAZY!!) and then I wrote up my testimony in Spanish to share it with the seminary class. That was fun and challenging.
So like I said, though it has been 3 days, for some reason it feels like forever. It is not that the time is slow, it’s just, I don’t know, I can’t really explain it.
I am being stretched and humbled, and that’s good. I am trying to learn what it means to walk in complete community with the Holy Spirit, and a lot of times I have no one to talk to but the Spirit. So those conversations have been fun as my heart has been nudged in different directions.
Anyway, I am doing well and am trusting God that I am here for a reason and whatever it is will be glorifying to Him.
I am currently thrilled to have found out that DFW has free wi-fi. So, I am currently jamming to the Bon Iver station on Pandora, and waiting to start boarding that plane that will take me to Houston.
From Houston, I have a two and a half hour lay-over before I board the plane that will take me to Lima.
I am really really nervous right now. Actually, nervous is not the perfect word, so I guess I should say I feel like I have butterflies in my heart. It is a strange feeling. I have not felt this way since, well, actually I am not sure if I ever felt this way.
My whole family came with me to say goodbye, and to give me a hug; it was a special feeling. I am blessed to have such a loving family.
My mom shared with me this morning about the life of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was hated on by the people of Israel because some of the things he prophesied did not turn out to be true. So, as he was being shunned by the people. he turned to God to ask why God lied to him.
As a side note, my favorite parts in the Bible are where the writers are literally struggling before the Lord. They are asking these tough questions, doubting God, and creating such a powerful image of pain and suffering. It shows me I am in good company.
Anyway, God answers that if He were to keep everything peachy for Jeremiah, then Jeremiah will grow in pride and believe in his own abilities instead of God. God is allowing Jeremiah to suffer to show how much more he needs God and how much more Jeremiah needs to rely on God. With that, my mom told me that I will not have anyone to rely on there except God, and that is all I can do.
Also, couple of months ago at the Dominican Republic, the missionary there named Teresa White told me that I will suffer and if I cannot rely on the Lord in those times of suffering, I will miss out on the amazing things that God has planned for me.
So, here is the thing. This trip is going to be really really difficult. If it is not, I will be disappointed. God is going to stretch me and refine me and sculpt me into a man who is more after His heart.
I am genuinely fearful of the suffering and the hardships that I will face. But, God reminded me this morning with
Have I not commanded you. Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
So, I am still scared, but my God has already made a way for me and will be there with me.
I am about to embark on a big chapter of my life. Glory to God.
The reality of the situation is beginning to hit me a lot more and more. The initial feelings of nervousness and fear are being slowly chipped away and being replaced with excitement and anticipation.
If there is one thing I am nervous about, it is how nervous my parents are right now. Bless their hearts, my parents are playing out possible terrible scenarios in their heads that could take place, and reminded me about 6 times today to make sure I take a first aid kit.
One of my biggest prayer requests is that we pray for the calming of my parents’ hearts, knowing that I am in the hands of a sovereign God.
With that said, a really awesome thing happened. I was told about a month ago about a potential short term trip to Iquitos, which is a northeast city right by the amazon basin. My director, Hermano Samuel, was going there 4 days after I arrived and wanted me to go with him. The trip, I was told, would cost extra $300, and seeing as how I have raised exactly $300 more then I planned, I was certain that it was God’s desire for me to go.
Well, turns out it actually $630, and I really could not afford that. So, I told Hermano Samuel, and concluded God wasn’t calling me to this after all.
About a week ago, I receive and email from Pastor Samuel saying “Praise the Lord. You are going to Iquitos. We are going to the jungle.” I was very confused and also kind of preoccupied, so I shot him a questiong email before leaving for work.
He responded back, saying “God has paid for you.”
So, I am going to Iquitos, on a $600 trip for free. God is good. I guess he wants me to go.
I have 5 days left :)
Please be praying that I spend this time well, for the glory of the King
14 days from now, I will be on a plane flying to a country that I have never visited before, and will be there for 3 months. For the most part, I still have no idea what the trip will look like. I will be obeying a call I heard from God from 2 and a 1/2 years ago, and everything that I have planned now for a year will take its effect in 14 days.
The final check has been sent in, all the money has been raised, and all that is left is buying a pair of Chacos within the next 14 days.
Everything right now feels incredibly surreal.
I am going on this ridiculous, God given adventure in 14 days, and yet I can’t explain the thoughts that are going through my head. People have asked me continuously how excited I feel about Peru, and now I will try to give the most honest account by drawing on the jumble of emotions in my head.
The answer is I am excited, but that does not do justice at all about how I feel. In fact, if I were to compare it to my everyday feelings of excitement, it is equal to the same excitement I feel when I am waiting for a meal at my favorite restaurant. In truth, not as excited as I feel like I should be.
Actually, nervousness and fear are more prominent feelings going through my heart right now. I have never been away from home, by myself, without a community that I know of, for 3 months. I am sorry, but that is really overwhelming, and I am okay with this healthy dose of nervousness. Like my friend/boss Rylan told me, its good to have a healthy sense of respect to what God has called me to.
Another feeling that is in the mix is feelings of already present nostalgia. Joe told me yesterday “Eddy, what do I do without you for 3 months?” and I wasn’t able to answer that question. Not because I am a narcissistic jerk face but because I love the people around me right now, and I don’t like the idea of not seeing them for three months. This is becoming more and more apparent as I am trying to fit people to see into my schedule, as I still have 3 tests to deal with during final week.
But, I have to admit I am glad. I am glad that God is allowing me to go to Peru, and provided all the means necessary for me to go to Peru. I am glad and grateful that He already revealed to me what next year will look like, and I am glad that He has put me in a place where I am willing to accept any future He seems fit to give. I am glad. Honestly, I am overjoyed.
So, I am excited, nervous, fearful, nostalgic, and glad.
2 weeks. Dios es bueno :)