OK, I’m posting for two days and excited about two different aspects of our trip to Peru — so, two for one. But before getting to those two things, a few quick answers are in order.
Yes, the days are long. We go about 18 hours when you include the blogging, videos, preparation, and travel. So we are getting by on 5-6 hours of sleep each night … and, no, that’s not enough, but we steal cat naps on the drive to and from The Community and the lack of sleep is “so worth it”!
Yes, we are a long way from home and miss people precious to us. But, we are with God’s people and we are serving precious children from the ages of 2 weeks to 21.
Yes, we hope to return next year, God willing and the funds are there, because we can’t imagine letting our little girls know they are loved and prayed for every day and I would never want the older ones to ever doubt that someone cares what happens to them.
Now for blessing number one of this week!
Donna and I work with a great team from our home church in Abilene — Ron and Dena Heaton, Diane and James Minatra, and Craig and Jodee Rideout. Each one is precious in his or her unique way. We were all together last year as a team and it has been incredibly cool to still be together this year. In addition, we have two great young Peruvian partners, Claudia and Diego, who translate for us and work alongside us.They both rode the bus 15 hours to get to The Community and they take precious time away from work and school to be a part of what is happening. They have been great.
We work with Casa Susanna, the three to six year olds. Many of “our little girls” (as I like to call them) have moved up to an older casa and so our number is smaller (33 plus 7 older girls who work in one way or another as the “house girls”), but I can assure you, they are plenty to handle. Each of “our little girls” has a unique and distinct personality and we adore them — even the stinkers! They crave love, one-to-one attention, and the reassurance that they matter to someone outside The Community.
Our day consists of about an hour of singing, story-telling, and fun worship all together in the chapel with the other kids at Sagrada and our partners who translate and our team of nearly 100 people. Ricky Pruitt is at his best leading us in worship! Wow, what fun for the kids and adults alike.
Blessing number two has been our reading the Bible with the teenagers at The Community. We call this Sharing Jesus’ Story. We tried this last year, but it was chaotic and a bit frustrating, though a wonderful blessing for a first year run at something new. This year, however, has been a greater blessing that I think any of us anticipated. You cannot help but love these young adults as much as you love the young children. They are hungry for love and attention. They are trying to better themselves. Plus, nearly all of them are interested in learning more about Jesus. It can’t get much better than this. And our team of those reading with these students has been precious, patient, and loving.
So, after four days of being at The Community this week, we are tired and filled with thanksgiving as we have seen Jesus show us and use us to be a blessing to these kids so dear to use. We’ve also seen Jesus shown up in the face of these kids as well as empowering the work of our hands and heart.
What a sweet, exhausting grace we’ve experienced!
Keep praying and there should be video 0osted with this, soon.