Christmas in Peru

In Peru Christmas starts at midnight on Christmas Eve. Last night we celebrated our Christmas all together... our Pucallpa and Iquitos family. It started at church with a Christmas Eve service. We sang lots of songs, and had a short sermon. The 11 North Americans were asked to sing a Christmas song in English. We sang "The First Noel". I'm not sure what it is about being a missionary where people ask you to sing ALL the time. It's fairly funny to me. Then a little after 10pm we headed over to the Simpson's, our cluster support family, for some games and gift exchanges. We did sort of a white elephant gift exchange with little presents the Simpson's had bought. At midnight we ate hot chocolate and Paneton. Then we went outside and lit some fireworks. It was crazy noisy. Everyone in Iquitos was also setting off fireworks! Then we had a Secret Santa gift exchange. After that most of us left and went to the Plaza de Armas where it seemed all of the rest of the people in Iquitos had come as well! We watched a lit up fountain and more fireworks and just laughed and chatted together. It was an amazing night!
Today I got to chat with my family on Skype and "be there" as they opened presents. That was awesome and bitter sweet at the same time. For lunch today we have a HUGE mixture of Peruvian and American Christmas food. I'm looking forward to that!
Feliz Navidad!

Isaiah 9: 1-9
"1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Wow. What an amazing God we serve. God bless you all on this Christmas. Amen.

Me and my partner Juliana.

Nativity set in the Plaza


A big thing here in Peru is to have what is called a "Chocolatada" for kids. It consists of hot chocolate and "Paneton" (like a fruit cake but much tastier) and games and music or whatever else. The hot chocolate is not your typical instant stuff from the states. It is condensed milk, water, and chocolate all cooked together in a HUGE pot over an outside fire.
My friend and fellow missionary Gary had the idea to do one for youth, since these are typically always for kids. Gary, myself, and our partners work at the same church here in Iquitos. (Each pair works at a different Nazarene church in the city to do "practicals" while we are studying). So we put together a program for the youth. We had a band with lots of upbeat music, some games, and some skits. It was a pretty great night, and at the same time definitely a learning experience for all of us. The Peruvian and American ways of doing things are VERY different... and it was our first event we put on as a group. But that is what we are here for... to learn! At the end a short sermon was given and we had about 10 or 12 youth out of the over 50 that came accept Christ. It was pretty awesome!
Today we had ANOTHER Chocolatada for the kids. We had over 70 children from the community come (our normal for Sundays is probably about 15-20). So that was amazing as well. It was a little crazy and hectic having so many kids stuffed into a small room, but it ended up going pretty ok.
And after all that... I need a NAP!

Tourist Days

My fellow missionary and friend Brittany has a friend visiting from her church. He is not actually visiting, he is more here on work. He came to teach us how to make glasses for people, a skill that we can use in our ministry. It was pretty interesting and I’m excited to get to use this skill when we’re out on the field.
The past couple of days were his last 2 days in Peru and he invited Brittany and 2 of her friends to go out touring. Yesterday we went with a guide about 45 minutes up the Amazon river to a native tribe called the Bora. It’s a native tribe who has found a great way to make money for themselves. About an hour away from their village they put on a show with dancing and they sell jewelry and other things that they make there. At the end of the show they had us dance with them. Quite an experience! We then went to a butterfly farm that also had a few animals and monkeys running around not in cages. Brittany and I made a friend of one of the monkeys on accident and he started following us. He stood up and put his hands on my leg and I was like “AH!”. So he went to Brittany instead and climbed up her leg and chilled on her shoulders for awhile. Crazy!
Today we went out to the zoo in Iquitos. It has all animals from the jungle here in Peru. A pink dolphin, anacondas, tons of different monkeys, birds, anteaters, and more. I got to hold an Anaconda that stretched longer than my arms. I was pretty freaked out the whole time. But he was nice and calm.
It was nice to get out and explore Iquitos a little and be a tourist. Have I mentioned how much I love the jungle?

Some of the Bora tribe.

Brittany with her new friend.

Why yes, yes I AM holding an ANACONDA!

Guacamayos... love the name for these guys in Spanish. Makes me crave some guacamole!

Padre Cocha

(December 3, 2009)

Today we went to do some evangelism at a village just outside of Iquitos. To get there we had to travel by boat down the Amazon River about 30 minutes. I felt so much excitement to be on a boat traveling on the Amazon. However I didn’t yet get to see any pink dolphins or piranhas… hopefully some day! We arrived at the small village of about 3,000 people and went to the local Nazarene Church to see what the plans were for the day. We walked around in our pairs for a little over an hour knocking on doors and inviting as many people as possible for a skit and games and sermon at 4pm. I was fairly happy that I was able to trade off doing the inviting with my Spanish. I felt much more like I was in the selva (jungle) today than I have yet. As we were walking on the outskirt at one point to our left was extremely dense green jungle. So awesome, minus the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my LIFE. For lunch 2 ladies from the church cooked for us. Each of us had a broth soup with a whole fish in it. Head, eyes, tail, bones, everything. We all put on our missionary faces and ate it all. I felt pretty proud of myself for finishing even though my stomach was churning the whole time I ate!

We had a little over 100 kids and probably 20 or so adults show up in the afternoon in the Plaza. It was an awesome turn out. We played games with the kids and then put on a skit. My friend Gary gave a short sermon with part of his testimony and the story of Jesus.
I went to sit next to a teenager during the sermon and had this overwhelming feeling that God was saying "focus on this one". So I prayed for her during the whole sermon, not yet knowing her name or anything about her life. I prayed that God would open up her mind to what she was hearing. And that He would just make his presence so real to her that she couldn’t deny it. I talked to her after and learned her name is Leslie and she is 17 years old. She just finished school and wants to study to be a nurse, but has 3 little siblings at home who she helps to take care of and therefore can’t leave right now. I invited her back to the church where we were doing more stuff for kids. She came with and on the way invited 3 more friends. We were able to talk for a long time. We talked about all kind of random things, a lot about our lives in general. It was awesome getting to know her, I was feeling like I really needed to just keep talking to this girl, and she didn’t seem to mind. I would say we became friends quickly. After the presentation for the kids I introduced the girls to the pastor and one of our Peruvian girl missionaries talked to them and told them the story of Christ. She invited any of them who wanted to accept Christ into their lives so that they could know the love of Christ and live a life following God. She said that she wanted that and prayed a prayer for it with Empatriz. I had goose bumps the entire time. I am continually amazed by how faithful and powerful and loving our God is.

There is a lot more that happened today. More lives that were saved and cool stories along with that. But for me this is the story that sticks out. The 17 year old girl Leslie who has up to this point never been to church. Who today accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Pray for Leslie… that God would continue to make His presence known to her. That He would change her life. Pray that she follows through and starts to go to church like she said she wanted to. And that she can be a light to her 3 younger siblings and parents.

Getting on the boat to ride on the Amazon.

The view from Padre Cocha of the Amazon

Walking around, me and the jungle and the river

Some of the kids waiting for the skit.

Learning to go with the flow

It´s a good thing that I am a pretty flexible and laid back person. At least when it comes to most things. Which is good because after a very long story short I am now on my third partner for this missions trip. Her name is Juliana and she is awesome as well, but I am sad to lose my old partner Miluska.
The first week here in the jungle has been very interesting. I am very much learning to trust God and let Him be my strength. And I know I still have SO much to learn. This is the verse I´ve been really understanding more and more these past few days: Joshua 1:9 ¨Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
The communication has been a little rough. I know it will get better, but having the vocabulary of a 5 year old has been a little frustrating to me lately. Classes only in Spanish are exhausting. And having homework that would probably take me less than half an hour in English but takes me 2 hours in Spanish is a little frustrating as well. But I know that this is all necessary to improve my vocabulary. I am being humbled. I am learning to give up some of my independent spirit and rely more on my Father.
At the same time I am LOVING the jungle. I never realized quite how much I LOVE the rain. So far every day we´ve been here it has rained with thunder and lightning storms... and I just can´t get enough! And because of this it is so GREEN everywhere. I LOVE riding in mototaxi´s. I´m not sure that I´ll ever want to ride in a real car again. I LOVE having an hour of devotions every morning before the day has even started.
Our days are pretty busy... but I like busy. This is turning into a hodge podge blog but I´ll put it out there anyway:
Mon - Fri:
6-7am devotions
7-8am breakfast
8-1pm class
1-2 lunch
2-6 homework, studying, 2 days a week going to our church for ¨practicals¨ which means working in the church
6-6:30pm dinner
Then 3 nights a week we have church 7:30-9:30.
Any more free time for studying or mud fights in the rain.
10pm lights out

Sat: Our day of ¨rest¨ = free day. But we still have breakfast at 7am so no sleeping in.
Sun: Church in the morning and at night.

Phew! Busy life I seem to have now! Pray that I can bond with my new partner as I started to do with Miluska... and that I can learn to let God be my strength.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot... I got to give the devotional in the morning yesterday. All in Spanish. I was a little nervous about it but I think it went pretty well.

Dios le bendiga...


Two days ago we visited a part of Iquitos called Belen. This is a city where houses are literally built on the water. At first this sounded to me like a cool concept. Until I learned a little bit more. The poorest people of Iquitos live here. They use the water of the amazon where their houses are built to use for toilets, drink from, and bathe in. The houses are built right up against each other. Disease runs high. Things you don't catch in the picture are the filth around this area. The horrible smells that literally made me gag. My heart sinks for the people that have to live here. I could feel the oppression all around me. At the same time I had an overwhelming feeling of this is why I'm here. These are some of the people that I am supposed to help better their lives. I don't know what that looks like yet. But I'm grateful that this is where God has called me.
I would safely call it a life changing day.

Iquitos First Pics...

My awesome "companera" or partner... Miluska and I.

Houses built on the water.

Riding in a moto taxi... only way to really get around. Coolest thing ever!

Unpacking and setting up mosquito nets.

My Arequipa Family right before going to the airport.

Like a Kid at Disneyland

I can´t think of any other way to describe the feeling that I had yesterday as I was driving from the airport to my new living area in Iquitos! I was just filled with this incredible excitement. Yes I, Laura Benson, am currently living in the Amazon Jungle in Peru. Who would have ever thought huh? Yesterday we spent the day settling in a little bit. I set up my bed and my new pink mosquito net. Like my friend Melissa said... "I´ve always wanted to be a princess, and now I can be!" It has been super hot, but that of course was what I expected! I got my first glimpse of the Amazon river today. Had my first ride in a Moto Taxi. A moto taxi is like a motorcycle that has had the back chopped off and a seat added to the back. Pretty interesting! There aren´t too many cars here, just moto taxi´s and motorcycles. I got to see one motorcycle with a kid and 2 adults on it. Wow!
It´s currently pouring down rain. Although not really any cooler.
Oh! I almost forgot! I got to meet my new partner. Her name is Miluska (same as my mom in Arequipa), and she is actually from Iquitos. What luck for a person who is so horrible with directions! She´s super sweet, I can´t wait to get to know her better. All of the girls are super sweet, and very patient with our Spanish. It´s not quite as difficult to communicate as I thought it would be... but I definitely still have a TON to learn! Excited to start classes tomorrow. It sounds like we are going to be amazingly busy from here on out!

It's All in God's Hands

I am sitting in Lima dreading a little the fact that I have to get up at 4am so that I can catch my 7:30 flight to Iquitos tomorrow. Maybe what I should be doing is sleeping? Oh well.
We have been in Lima since Thursday evening where everyone met their Peruvian partners... everyone but me that is. The plan was to have a few days to get to know each other, with some training and team building workshops. However when we arrived on Thursday all of the Peruvians except my partner were here. After being told she is coming at this time and then that time... I was finally told that they couldn't get a hold of her. So now I am told that she isn't coming and they are working on a new partner for me. It's about 90% sure that I will have a partner who is actually from Iquitos and will hopefully be there when I get there. Something to be praying for! At least I am kind of a "go with the flow" person. I trust that God has it in His hands... and hopefully SOON I will have a partner!
Besides that things are going GREAT! I love all of the Peruvian girls... I haven't had too much of a chance to get to know the guys but they seem great as well. Using my Spanish is not quite as difficult as I thought it would be. However ask me again how I feel in a week after a week of classes in Spanish!
Surrendering and Trusting in Him...

Beginning the Next Leg of the Journey

In a little less than 4 hours I will get on a plane and fly to Lima, Peru where I will meet my Peruvian partner for the next 2 years. We have 2 or 3 days of training in Lima, and then we get on another plane and fly to the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru. This is where we will be training for the next 6 months. Taking classes on theology, anthropology, church planting, peruvian culture and more... all in Spanish.
From here on out everything once again changes. We will add 12 more Peruvians to our group of 12 Americans. I will only be speaking Spanish (yikes!)... living in a room with 14 girls in bunk beds pushed one up against another... no more hot showers... no more nice weather... no more high speed internet... no more time for relaxing.
But I can't WAIT. I'm so excited for this next part of my time here. Really starting to do what I am here to do. God is so GOOD! Pray for safe travels and that we are all able to mesh well with our partners.
1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has in store for those who love Him."

The North American half of my Pucallpa family... and Iquitos.

Saying Goodbye's

This is my last week in Arequipa. Actually I only have 3 more full days here before I leave for the jungle on Thursday. Last night our Peruvian family threw a going away party for us. It was for me and my 2 roommates. There were a ton of people there, mostly friends or family of our family. Tons of food, lots of music and dancing, and all in all a great night! It lasted from about 6:00pm until 2:00am. I was talking to our mom Miluska after the party and we were talking just about God and life and my mission here. How I got my call to come here and if I still thought I was where I was supposed to be (which of course I answered yes!). She also asked me to share my testimony... it was the first time I've said it in Spanish. I think it was pretty rough around the edges, but I was able to say most of what I wanted to say.

Bailamos en mi casa para mi fiesta!

I am going to miss our family so much! I think that we've both learned a lot from each other. Even though this family is Catholic it has never been a problem (In Peru being Catholic and being Christian are thought to be completely different things). Whenever we talk about our beliefs and share what we think about things, which has tended to be often, Miluska always says... "see it's the same thing, we are talking about the same theme, we serve the same God". And she is excited for us and supports our mission. I have been truly blessed to be a part of this family for 3 months.

Today at church we were asked to come to the front so that the church could say goodbye to us. They prayed for us and we (my roommates and I and the Foster family) were asked to say a few words. Talk about being put on the spot! And in Spanish! But it wasn't too bad. I'm going to miss my little church Alto Libertad. When I get to come back to Arequipa in June for a short term mission trip the construction will be underway and the church should finally have the starts of an actual building. Pretty exciting!

Learning a New Language...

In order to learn a new language I have found that you can't be embarrassed at all to make mistakes! In fact they can actually lead to a lot of good laughter and jokes for later. I thought I'd share some of the mistakes I've made and have heard made... hope it can make you laugh as well!

- One time I said my pants were "sueno" (sleepy) instead of "sucio" (dirty).

- My friend Melissa was trying to say to our professor that she explained "conceptos" (concepts) well. Instead she said she explained "concepcion" (conception) well.

- Melissa also said that she "rezo" (pray) for her legs instead of "Afeito" (shave) her legs.

- I said "yo tengo hombre" (I have a man) instead of "yo tengo hambre" (I have hunger)

- My friend Kristy instead of saying "sano" for healthy said "seno" which means breast.

There's many more but I can't remember them now. I'll have to add to this list later! Anyone else have any funny stories?

Some Videos

Here's a list of some different Extreme Nazarene videos... Just click on the title it's a link to the video.

My video for Faith Promise.

Puerto Maldonado short term project 1.

Puerto Maldonado short term project 2.

40/40 work in Iquitos. (This is where I'll be in 2 weeks)

All of these videos just make me so excited for the next phase of my mission here in Peru! I can't wait to start participating in some of these things!

My Pucallpa Family is Complete!

I have officially been matched up with my 40/40 partner, the person I will be working with constantly for 2 years. Together we will work to plant 3 churches in Pucallpa, Peru in 18 months. Her name is Esmith Julissa Davila Tanta (if you click on her name it's a link).

Our complete family (if you click on "complete family there's a link with pics and info) has also been put together. One cluster support family, 6 North Americans and 6 Peruvians.

I'm so excited to know who I'm going to be working with over the next 2 years. Can't wait to meet everyone in less than 2 weeks! Be praying for my Pucallpa group and especially for my partner Esmith Julissa. Thanks!

p.s. I updated my blog a little. On the far right you can find a list of a bunch of other Extreme Blogs. Feel free to check them out!


For the next 2 weeks I and the other 40/40 missionaries here have been given the job of calling people who at one point filled out a card that they were interested in information about Extreme Nazarene. Not really my favorite thing... cold calling that is. However I found in my list of CA numbers about 12 people from my church that I know and a few others not from my church that I know as well. The phones were a little messed up tonight (3rd world country and all) so I wasn't able to make too many calls. However I DID get the chance to talk to the Stockwell family. What a great excuse to make a free phone call! It was awesome to hear their voices! I'm looking forward to hopefully chatting with a few more people from Mission Naz over the next few days.
After being away now for a little over 2 months it was nice to have that contact with home!

Baptisms (Bautismos)

A couple of weeks ago 2 of the Nazarene Churches here in Arequipa went out to a water hole in a desert area to perform baptisms. There were about 11 or 12 people baptized that day, ranging in age from 10-80. It was so awesome to get to see and be a part of these baptisms. There was a service with singing and a message in the beginning and then the baptisms were held. After each person got out of the water the crowd watching would sing "I have decided to follow Jesus... I have decided to follow Jesus... I have decided to follow Jesus... no turning back, no turning back" (in Spanish of course). It gave me chills.

Afterwards people made lunches and played games and messed around in the water until about 5pm. It was a great chance to fellowship and an awesome experience to be a part of!

My Pastor (Elvin) is on the left. The District Superintendent Pastor Solano is on the right. Just one of the baptisms.

He decidido seguir a Cristo(3x)
No vuelvo atras(2x)
El Rey de gloria me ha transformado(3x)
No vuelvo atras(2x)
La vida vieja ya he dejado(3x)
No vuelvo atras(2x)

"Festival of Life"

Today at our church we had a "Festival of Life" instead of doing something for Halloween. The Christian church does NOT dress up in costumes here. It's considered very wrong because Halloween is of the devil. So instead our church put on a little party for kids. We sang some songs, played a few games, had a skit, ate a ton of food and candy. It went pretty well. Yesterday we went around the neighborhoods passing out flyers inviting people to come and we ended up having a little over 40 kids. AWESOME!
Yesterday the children's pastor asked me and a couple others if we could teach a song to the kids. So today I taught "Who is the King of the Jungle" or "Quien es el Rey de la Selva". A very simple song but it was good practice! I'm comfortable being in front of and teaching kids... but in Spanish was a little different story! It went very well though.

Nearing the End of the Beginning

First of all... I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've posted anything! It seems like I have been very caught up in life lately. But from now on I'll try to be better! That being said...

We're nearing the end of our language school training in the lovely city of Arequipa, Peru. I feel like I'm pretty much a little past a survivor level with my Spanish. Able to get by and get around. I can understand quite a bit, but sometimes get frustrated when I attempt to express myself in a different and new language. I'm a little nervous for when we move to Iquitos in 3 weeks and start taking college level classes IN Spanish. Yikes! We'll also be meeting our Peruvian partners and will only be able to speak in Spanish since it would be rude to speak in English in front of them. Hopefully my Spanish will start to progress much faster at that point!

October was the Month of Miracles in Peru... God of Miracles (el Mes de Milagros... or Senor de los Milagros). Peru is a widely Catholic country and the month is set aside to celebrate the miracles that God has done and will continue to do. I was able to walk in a couple of different processions. It was awesome to see so many people singing and praying and worshipping God. He truly is a God of miracles... and it was cool to have this month to try to focus on that one small aspect of our amazing Father.

I'm continuing to build relationships and friendships with my fellow 40/40 missionaries here in Arequipa. I still absolutely love my Peruvian family and try to talk to them as much as possible, partly to help with Spanish! I absolutely can't WAIT until the next step... moving to the jungle city Iquitos for cultural, biblical, and church planting training. It sounds like we are going to be very busy with studying and helping the local churches in Iquitos. But I'm so excited for it! The only thing I'm NOT super stoked about is the 90 degree heat and 100% humidity (meaning it feels more like 110). Other than that I'm so excited to move.

Ok I don't want to write an overwhelming long... I don't want to read this anymore... blog. So that's all for now... more to come later! I love you all and miss you!

3 Weeks Down

Some of the other 40/40 missionary girls...


New Mission


Today my church started a new mission to feed kids. We went around the neighborhood (a very poor area) near the church and knocked on doors, telling kids we had hot chocolate and bread, as well as a story and songs for them. We ended up having about 20-25 kids. It was pretty awesome! We stood in a circle in the street and shared the story of Adam and Eve and Jesus, then sang some songs. Then we gave the kids the hot chocolate and bread... they loved the hot chocolate!
Afterwards we talked to some of the moms that were there and asked them what they needed help with, what some of their physical needs were. They said things like no one ever helps them. They struggle with things like alcoholism. Both parents have to work in the fields to make enough money for their families. When the moms have babies they keep them on their backs while they work until the babies are 2. Once they reach 2 years old they are left at home alone. If they have an older sibling to help take care of them they are lucky. Many of the kids work in the fields as well. It was just crazy to see and hear some of the things these families struggle with.
So what's next?
Now it's the churches job (including my job) to start to figure out how to hopefully help aleviate or even solve some of these problems. I'm excited to get to work with this community. We will go back to do the same thing every Saturday, and hopefully we'll start to reach out and do more things to really help! It is the churches job to go out into the world and help those in need. To show the love of Jesus to those around us.
Be praying for the neighborhood of Alto Libertad!




Getting into the Groove

I feel like I'm starting to get into the groove of things a little bit here in Arequipa. Lots of lots of Spanish school and studying. I know I'm learning a lot buy my mind feels like it's reaching capacity on how much I can take in! I'm getting used to things like irregular bowel movements, cold showers, warm juices, and getting whistled or honked at constantly for being a "gringa". I'm starting to learn which taxis are safe to take, and which "Combi's" or buses to take to get to where I need to go. And my bartering skills in Spanish are improving!
I LOVE the people here. For the most part everyone I've encountered has been nice. People seem to be really nice about slowing down when speaking if I don't understand something right away.
I don't feel like I'm going to die every time I get into a car or bus (the driving here is crazy but exciting at the same time, never a dull moment!).
I'm sure I'll get to the stage of culture shock soon where all of these things drive me nuts, and then it will get better. For now I love it here!


Finally uploading some pictures... Enjoy!

Arriving at the airport in Arequipa!

Volcano next to the city!

Street near our church

Houses near our church

Gorgeous mountains right near by!

An alpaca wandered on the field during a futbol game!

Me and Maciel.... the 9 year old daughter of the house I'm living at

Sweet view of the city

Packing 8 people into a car meant for 5 max. Kamila... 2 year old of the house I'm staying at.

Cuy... or guinea pig. A delicacy in Peru.. fried whole!

Tabby... room mate and fellow 40/40

Have we really been here a week already?

Fun Day!
Today I went to church in the morning. I could understand some of the service which was nice. But definitely not all of it. Then we accidentally signed up for Bible Quizzing for the youth. The age of "youth" in Latin America is anyone from 12-40 if you're single. Kinda funny, but we won't be able to do it anyway because it is on a night where we have a group Bible study with all the 40/40's.
We came home for lunch and then went to watch Jesus, the father of the house I'm staying at, play and win a championship Futbol game. During the game an alpaca wandered on the field. Pretty awesome!
Afterwards we stuffed 6 adults and 2 kids into a small car and drove to Jesus's parents house for dinner. We got to see a "Cuy" farm. Cuy are quinea pigs and are a delicacy to eat in Peru. They simply take the whole guinea pig and fry it up and serve it... head, claws, and all! I have yet to try one. For dinner I'm pretty sure the chicken we were eating came from their house also!
We came home and had a dance party to some Peruvian music. Loved it! Now studying espanol and about to study God's word as well.
Working on uploading pics... hopefully I can get those up soon!

Muchas Palabras

I think in one week I have about 250 new words to memorize! Ayayay! It's definitely necessary I know... pero mi cabeza es muy cansada! Necesito estudiar ahora. Ciao!

The Other 40/40 Missionaries

I wanted to take a second to say how much I LOVE the other missionaries that I'm working with. There are 12 of us here in Arequipa right now. After 9 months of training together 6 of us will go to Pucallpa and 6 will go to Iquitos to plant a total of 36 churches. Everyone gets along really well and it's awesome to be surrounded by so many other people my age who are on fire for God and just excited to serve Him! I have an awesome room mate Tabby who I can be completely real with. We can share our struggles and we are praying for each other constantly and for what we are here to do. God is good! Pray for all of us as we go through the varying stages of culture shock and get to know each other even better. God Bless!

Language School and "Hablando"

Today we started language school! I really enjoyed it a lot. I feel like I'm learning so much already just being "immersed" and now going to school for 4 hours every day. There are 3 of us in my class and we are at the highest level which is "Intermediate". I was kind of scared of that at first but it's going really well. I'm at the point right now where I really WANT to learn as much as possible so I can communicate with my family better.
The family I'm staying with is Catholic and we were talking about why we are here in Peru. They seemed really interested and asked us our testimony. I tried to explain but I just don't know enough words at this point. We asked if it was ok if we told them in a week after we could figure out how to say it in Spanish. But it was cool to be able to share what we are doing and for it to be ok. Peru is mostly a Catholic country and not always receptive to Evangelical Churches. They were asking what the differences were between our church and the Catholic church and we were able to explain some. And Miluska was saying the most important thing is that you believe in God and Jesus and have Him in your heart and as a part of your life (she probably said more but this is what I understood). That was cool though. So I'm excited to learn more and be able to communicate better. Miluska is extremely patient though, which helps a lot! Today her mother and father in law were over for lunch and we could barely understand what the father was saying because he spoke so fast! We had to keep saying "Habla mas despacio por favor!" and everyone would laugh.
Ok now I'm rambling, time for some homework! Yes homework on the first day. No bueno.

Alto Libertad

Yesterday we went to church for the first time. There are 4 different Nazarene Churches in Arequipa and the 12 of us 40/40 missionaries have been split up among the churches. The church we are at is where we will be attending 3 or 4 days a week and helping out wherever we can while doing language school. The one I am at is called Alto Libertad and it was an AMAZING experience!
The church is about 30 minutes away from where we are living and is near an agricultural part of the city. There was a dirt floor and the walls were just tarps that ended about a foot before reaching the ceiling, which was also a big tarp. There were maybe about 20 peruana adults (Peruvians) and about 7 or 8 ninos. Even though I couldn't understand most of the sermon I could tell the pastor had a gift for preaching. El Pastor has been a pastor since he was 20 and he's now 28. The church is much more modern than most very conservative Nazarene churches in Peru. They use the King James Version of the Bible but the music used was more modern than the hymns that most others still use.
Anway I'm really excited to get to know the people at this church and have the chance to work with them. It was SO AMAZING to see God's people worshiping in this church with a dirt floor and tarp walls and a random assortment of chairs to sit on, and know that all of that doesn't matter because God was in that place. At the end of service the Pastor was explaining to the congregation about how they want to start a mission to feed 50 kids. They collected an offering and had people sign up to bring things to feed children starting next week. The area that the church is a poorer part of Arequipa. Just to see people who don't have much giving the little they have to be God's people and feed those even less fortunate than themselves was so cool to see.
Oh I almost forgot one of my favorite parts. In the middle of the service a chicken walked through the aisles. Someone ran and grabbed it and threw it outside. Pretty great. I was picturing that happening at Mission Church and I cracked myself up :)

Yo Necessito Practicar Espanol! Sun. Aug. 30, 2009 2:00pm

We have arrived! Yesterday we arrived in Arequipa, Peru at about 6 in the morning. We were then taken straight to the school where we will be learning Spanish for 4 hours a day 5 days a week starting tomorrow. There we met the families that we will be living with. I LOVE the family that I’m living with! They are super nice and are helping us out so much. I’m living with 2 other 40/40 missionaries, one of whom knows about as much Spanish as I do (which is enough I think to be dangerous), and the other who doesn’t speak any. Yesterday we sat for hours on end while the mom (Miluska) spoke to us in Spanish. I could understand a decent amount but speaking was more difficult. At night they drove us around the city. 5 adults and 2 kids piled into one little car. Quite an experience! They city has many beautiful places. I’ll post pictures later, for now I don’t have internet and will be posting this later.
I’ve had many interesting foods so far… not sure what they are called. This morning was a drink that looked like gravy cooked on the stove. Then strawberries were added to it and it was all mixed in a blender. It almost tasted like a smoothie but warm. Yesterday was warm papaya juice. Lots of rice (arroz) and lots of bread (pan).
Ok gotta go for now. Es tiempo por almuerzo! (That’s probably totally wrong, haha)

Lima, Peru

I'm sitting in the airport in Lima, Peru waiting for my 4:30am flight to Arequipa! Flight went well and made it through customs ok. We get to Arequipa around 6am and then head off to meet our host families where we will be staying for 3 months as we do intensive language training.

This seems a little scattered so I'm going to stop now and attempt to sleep for about an hour. Probably the only sleep I'll get tonight!

The Time Has Come

I fly out of LAX to Peru tomorrow at 1:50 on a 16 hour flight. I can't even begin to describe all of the million emotions I seem to be going through. I'm incredibly excited and yet my stomach is a ball of nerves. After spending 4 days training with my partners and learning more about exactly what we are doing I am FIRED UP! I truly understand why they call this program "Extreme" Nazarene Ministries. We are going to be BUSY spreading the love and the hope of Jesus Christ, spreading His light into dark places. I can't wait to get started!

There's so much more to say but it is late and I need to get to bed to possibly sleep so I can wake up early to spend a last little bit of time with my family. Next post will officially be from Arequipa, Peru!

"Go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" - Matthew 28:19-20

Starting to Write

I want to start this blog to keep friends and family updated on my life for the next 27 months! In case you HAVEN'T heard yet I have been called to be a volunteer missionary in Peru for a little over 2 years and I leave in just 2 days!
I'm so incredibly excited to be able to serve God and share the love and hope of Jesus with those I get to meet! I will update more later about what exactly I will be doing. For now I just wanted to get the ball rolling in starting this blog. I hope to update as much as possible with information and pictures of my life in Peru.

I have already been blessed SO MUCH by everyone who is praying for me and who has donated to make it possible for me to take on this new adventure serving our Lord. My team and I could use prayer for safety and to calm our nerves as we get ready to leave from Los Angeles on Friday. I can't believe the time has come already!

If you'd like to look up more information you can check out the extreme website: