When you live in the Jungle...

The North American´s went to Lima to pick up our residency cards a few days ago. It was an amazing little 2 day vacation. After living here for 8 weeks it seemed like the most modern city ever! We are now officially Peruvian (sort of)... pretty exciting!
We came back feeling a little refreshed after having hot showers and not having to sleep under a mosquito net... riding in cars... things like that. On the way back from the airport our mototaxi broke down (this happens often but they usually can fix it right away). Then we were rear ended. All is fine just not the funnest experience. The electricity was going in and out in the city. Another thing that happens often. However the last time it went out it fried the electricity in our room. So the first night back in what felt like 98 degree heat we had no fans. We find out the next day that all of the fans and everything that was plugged in is now also fried. Luckily we have some guys who know some things about electrician... and many hours and lots of changing wires later we´re back in action.
There is only one place in Iquitos with wireless internet. That place has been shut down for a few days and we don´t know when it will be back up. So for now no more picture updates, or calling my family on Skype. I'm hoping we´ll be back in action there fairly soon.
It's hard when we just have a few small comforts and those are taken away. The day after we didn´t have fans everyone had slept horribly and was cranky the next day.
So for now really trying to work on my patience! I used to think I was a pretty patient person... but I think I am learning otherwise... or at least learning that I have a lot TO learn.

Miming and Belen

So things have been changed around a little bit here with our mission. We are now in charge of planting one church during our training. 2 of the missionaries (my friend Melissa and her partner Dalila) will be in charge of planting this church in the district of Belen, the poorest area in Iquitos. This week we had intense 7 hour a day classes on different ways to evangelize, part of which involved learning how to Mime. Random but fun!
Yesterday we went out to Belen to do some evangelism work in the hopes of jump starting their church planting process. We went to the Plaza in Belen and performed a couple of skits, had a short message, and then went around and talked with different people there. The main goal was to collect names and addresses for houses where Melissa and Dalila could go and visit. We had evangelism bracelets to give out. I sat down with about 5 kids and started to explain the meanings of the different colors on the beads. At one point I looked up and realized I was surrounded by at least 30 kids, all completely quiet and listening. I absolutely LOVED it. God knew I needed a little boost in spirit... and what an amazing way to do it! For the rest of the time I had a couple of little friends following me around and hanging on me and playing with me. In that moment I had this feeling that my life would never be quite the same. Talking with the people in Belen, seeing all of the need there, my heart swelled with a want to try and help them. About half of the kids didn't have shoes, all were in dirty clothes and most looked like it had been a long time since they had had a bath. I'm so blessed to be part of an organization that wants to evangelize by meeting these social needs.
I'm excited to see what God has in store for Belen! Be praying for this community as we try to start to plant a church there.

Drew getting his face painted.

Part of our crowd.

Performing one of the skits.

Bringing in the New Year

I celebrated New Year's Eve was celebrated this year differently than I've ever done before. I guess that makes sense seeing as how I'm currently living in Peru. So what does New Year's in Peru look like?
Well last night we had church. It was supposed to last from 7-midnight, but the missionaries left early to fellowship together. We played some games and 15 min before midnight we shared things we were grateful for from this past year. We then "prayed in" the new year together. A great bonding time for our "family". Afterwards we hugged all around and went outside to set off fireworks. I learned about 2 traditions on this day in Peru.
1. Families take old clothes and make a lifesized "doll" out of the clothes. It's stuffed with sawdust or hay. Then at midnight everyone takes their dolls out into the streets and burns them. Something to do with burning away the past year and starting fresh. The streets were FILLED with TONS of smoke. And today there were black piles everywhere from the dolls. Our group made a doll to burn as well.
2. After this people take off running in traveling clothes with backpacks or suitcases. I hadn't heard about this until I actually saw it happening. It was hilarious! My Peruvian friends told me that the people believe if they do this that the whole next year will be spent traveling and exploring new places. Oh and most of these people are dressed up and are wearing masks or have painted faces for the new year.
Today our church went out to an area that had a pool and lagoon and some courts to play sports. I had an awesome time fellowshipping, playing volleyball, swimming, and getting some sun!
This year was definitely something completely different for me, but it was awesome to get to be a part of this New Year's celebration in Peru!