Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comas, Lima

After returning from Chincha, the GO group had a day in Lima to do some sightseeing/shopping. Well, the night we got back, we went out to eat and someone stole Randall's wife's purse. She had her own passport as well as her son's and all of her credit cards and cash. Randall, then, spent the day of shopping and sightseeing in the police station filing an official report and applying for new passports and travel papers so that they could leave with the rest of the group. The problem is that he and his wife were the spanish speakers. Guess who became tour guide... :) me. It was alot of fun, but i was dead tired after the day. It's easy enough to watch out for yourself, but try watching every person on the street and make sure that no one is following one of the 12 people in your group. Trying to watch our for everyone as well as bargain for their shopping was quite the job.

Luckily, they were able to fly our of Lima and arrived safely in the states. After that group left, i joined up with another GO group ministering in Lima. This time i did some translating for a medical team serving in the outskirts of Lima. Unfortunately, i was only with the group for two days before my flight left on Tuesday night. It was incredible working with them though! I mostly helped by translating in the pharmacy.
One of the things i did in between the two Go groups absolutely blew my mind. I have to share. I went with a lady named Wilma to feed some of the street children in the outskirts of Lima. Not necessarily without homes, but definitely malnourished. I was advised not to carry a camera, but i really wish i would have had some pictures. Each child had to bring a bowl to eat from (although they weren't turned away without one) but i'm not talking a small cereal bowl. These children showed up with mixing bowls and wooden spoons to eat with. That in itself was shocking, but after they dished out the food... I can't even describe it. I saw children two and three years old putting down more spaghetti than i could eat in two meals. I mean, they don't weight more than what? 30lbs. and they were eating a mixing bowl full of spaghetti and potatoes. I don't even know how to describe it other than heartwrenching.

Chincha, Peru

Chincha is located roughly four hours to the south of Lima in an area where they recieve between 0 and 0.7 inches of rain during January, February and March and nothing for the rest of the year. Literally, nothing is green. Regardless of the not-so-attractive landscape, the people are very welcoming and generous.

I spent the week there under the care of Randall Morton, who was leading the GO group. We all stayed with the Guzman family, an incredible family that serves the Lord with everything they've got and more. They have a million outreaches including 5 churches (most pastored by Pastor Gerardo and his children/their spouses. While we were there, we were actually able to help them build the 5th church. Like most buildings in Chincha, it was nothing more than four walls made from bamboo mats and a tarp to keep out the cold. The people were so excited that we even had the elecricity installed! Consisting of two lightbulbs. :)

I spent the morning of my time in Chincha working in one of the two schools (also founded and run by the Guzman family). Pastor Gerardo Guzman has 5 children of his own and three are married. Of those eight, a whole bunch are pastors and the rest work at the school i think. Seriously, they are all involved! I told you that they give their all. So, i helping in some English classes. From preschool (which was so my age group! After teaching 16 of them in Guate last summer, 8 was a breeze!) to 6th grade. Since we were only in each class two times throughout the week, we couldn't really start a new concept and expect the teacher to continue that, so we chose a few things and played alot of games with them... basically forcing them to use English and have fun at the same time. :) They didn't realize how much they were learning, which is the best way.

Break: Have to acknowledge that Espana won the World Cup! We had a great time watchign the game, althoguh Pastor David was not so excited as some people. jajaja.

In the evenings, we jumped into the numerous outreaches. Twice a week, the Guzman family and members of the church go out into surrounding villages where there is no running water, no school, no church, no transportation, and only about 10 houses. In these areas, houses are nothing more than four walls. One of the incredible things was to watch the response. It's easiest to gain access to a village through the children. They are more open to learning songs and listening to stories. Little by little, the adults get curious and oh the coloring sheets! I have to tell you about the coloring sheets. When we went out into the villages to share teh Word, we would often have coloring sheets, balloons, and sometimes a snack for the kids. When we started passing out those coloring sheets, all of the adults approached us and wanted coloring pages too! For them, it's the only way to decorate the insides of their homes, so those coloring sheets are very precious and you see everyone painstakingly coloring their paper so that it can adorn their simple home. Honestly, the sight made me want to cry. I've been culturally shocked before, but never have i seen so closely a community of people, content where they are and quite happy, yet living in such poverty. The wastefullness of the states puts us to shame.

We also had a one-night vacation bible school at each of the churches. I loved learning the songs with the children. And i can't even begin to describe the frienships i made in those little towns. Friends i will never forget, but friends that i might never see again. Although a few have access to internet and i can email, many of the children do not.

I made fast friends with a girl named Leslie. Teh start of our frienship resulted in discovering that we share a birthday. She turned 14 this year on the 14th of July. :) It was absolutely wonderful sharing the day with her. Made it bareable. I didn't tell anyone for the first few days of the trip that my birthday happened to be during our time in Chincha. I almost couldn't stand the thought of those people who have so little giving anythign to me. Accidently let it slip, 1. to Leslie and 2. to Leo, one of Pastor Gerardo's sons and a really good friend. Anyway, during the goodbye service on Wednesday night, they called Leslie and i up to the front and sang to us. There was a cake involved of course and we were each told to chose the piece of cake we wanted. well, that escapade resulted in our faces being shoved into the cake. Sticky icing everywhere and no water to be found in order to wash off. Good times. :)