“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)
This has been the verse that God has brought to my attention as I have come to make Peru my new home. I have no idea what God has planned for me while I am here for the next eight months, but I have already been able to catch a glimpse of some of the blessings that God is pouring out over Peru.
On August 3, a 24-person medical team from Northwest Nazarene University arrived in Arequipa. I was really excited to work with this team, not only because it was the first short-term project team we’ve worked with while being on the “long-term volunteers” side, but also because I had some really good friends that were a part of the group. During this past school year, the team met weekly in preparation for this trip and I met with them. I actually signed up to be a part of this medical mission project prior to even knowing that my parents were offered a position to work with Extreme Nazarene.
I was excited to see everyone again, but this time in the context of Peru. After being in Peru for a month, it was fantastic to see some familiar faces and have people to talk to again from back home (in person is way better than Skype, but I am thankful for Skype, nonetheless).
I know they weren’t all here to visit my family and me, they did in fact have a job and a mission. For the duration of their stay, they set up 2 clinics every day. And at the end of the their time here, they were able to see 1,374 patients. My family and I had the opportunity to work with the team most afternoons after Spanish class (Spanish class is going great- learning lots, but I swear it’s like Spanish on steroids! So much learning so fast).
The first clinic was one of my favorites. We were in a district in Arequipa called Chachani. My favorite part was seeing all the kids. The instant we stepped out of the truck, two Peruvian girls ran over and latched on to Kelly, giving her the biggest hug as if they were already best friends. It was cute. Then as we made our way over to where the patients and their families were waiting to be seen, one of the girls from the team, Anna, was holding a little 4-year old Peruvian girl. They were reading Are You My Mother? together (it had both translations). I sat down next to Anna and there was a group of young boys that were reading the Curious George books that the team brought. They wanted me to read it to them and teach them some English words that were in the book. I had to put my translating skills to the test- luckily it was a children’s book with plenty of pictures :) As the afternoon progressed and more and more patients went through the nursing station, doctor station and pharmacy, I continued to play with the kids. I played volleyball with a group of girls and I got to know them and their names. I met Breanna, Mary, and Judith (my grandma’s name is Judith, and meeting that girl reminded me of my grandma in Nampa and how much I miss her!-her and my grandpa have recently become Local Extreme Coordinators and are bringing a group from Kuna Nazarene Church to Puno, Peru next March/April 2012! Keep them in your prayers as the team raises funds for their trip).
I also have to tell about the STORY OF THE DAY thanks to Jesse Keeler. Roy Kapicka does the best job at retelling this story with arm-movements and all, but I will give my rendition. So during one point of the afternoon, Jesse and Kurt were playing soccer with a group of boys that had congregated around the clinic. After a while of playing, Jesse was on the sideline standing with his hands on his knees to catch his breath-due to the altitude change. Then the ball came to him, he stood up and kicked it as hard as he could across the field as if he just got a burst of energy. The ball zoomed past a couple kids, but then hit a little boy right in the chest, knocking the wind out of him. I saw it happen from across the field and as soon as the ball hit the kid, you could hear the “thump.” All the boys rushed to his aid, and Jesse was very apologetic, he managed to find some cookies to give the boy. It was sad, but kind of funny. But hey, that’s one more patient we got to help ;)
In all seriousness, I loved seeing the joy in the eyes and actions of those kids. They were so thankful to have us there, to play with them and to just be among them. What if we had that much joy when we saw Jesus? What if we were that excited to learn the words of God as those kids were to learn a few English words? What if we were that welcoming and thankful for the presence of Jesus? The experience with these kids also raised the question- what does it mean to have child-like faith?
Just some questions to ponder.
There are so many more stories that came with the last two weeks, I wish I could share them all. If you happen to know anybody that came on this trip, ask them to share. We don’t want the last two weeks to be merely memories, but a reminder of the good work that God is doing around the world through those that love him.
The group left this last Tuesday. It was so sad to see them off at the airport, but I am so thankful for their time here; I cherished every moment. The efforts of the medical group have made a lasting impression in the lives of the Peruvians that they came into contact with. The 40/40’s now have a lot of work ahead of them as they contact the people that have been helped. Pray that those people may be open and receptive to the Word of God and be praying for the 40/40’s as they have hard work ahead of them.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
God is good!