This is the name I hear about half the time when I´m working in Belen. It literally means "little white one", in an endearing sort of way.

Yesterday before our church service we went around inviting our contacts in Belen to the service. The friend of one our contacts sells food in front of her house. She said to me "gringita! Ven!" Literally "Gringita come!". She had me sit down and placed in front of me a fish with part of the head that she pulled with her hands out of a grayish water, and a banana (a different kind that tastes more like a vegetable). She told me to eat it all. And didn´t offer my partners any. So with my smiling missionary face I ate all of it, picking out the fish bones and attempting not to gag too much as I felt the scales on my tongue.

I´m pretty sure she just wanted to see if the "Gringa" would actually eat what they eat all the time. It was pretty funny. Afterwards she gave me a very full glass of grayish water... I´m assuming river water.

The miracle? My stomach is totally fine! Not sick at all. Praise God! My partners were just trying not to laugh at me the whole time. Julianna said "well it´s just another story you have to add to your adventures in Peru". She´s right.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

So much has happened since I made it back to Peru. I started my time in Arequipa to prepare for our “Mega-Event” called Love Extreme. We had 3 weeks of short-term missions going on in different cities throughout Peru. All together there were over 300 short term volunteers in addition to our large long term staff. On Saturday June 19th we had all volunteers and staff together in Arequipa for the Mega-Event. Extreme had rented out a huge complex where we held men’s and women’s conferences, had festivals for kids, rock concerts at night, medical and dental clinics, and sold tons of food including “cuy” (guinea pig, a delicacy here in Peru). Our main attraction was our featured speaker. His name is Nick Vujicic, a man from Australia born without any arms or legs. He came and shared his testimony and the hope he has in Jesus Christ. His speaking was amazing and dynamic and the audience of thousands was completely enraptured by his story and strength and courage.

Throughout the entire day the Holy Spirit was moving and working in Love Extreme. We had over 10,000 Peruvians come to this event, and over 1,000 decisions to accept Christ that day. WOW! It was so amazing to get to be a part of something so huge. There had been so many trials and attacks on Extreme Nazarene in the weeks and months leading up to this event. But it was obvious that Love Extreme and Arequipa had been covered in prayer by so many in the time leading up to the event. God moved and worked in mighty ways that can only be explained and accredited to Him.

After the event I was in Arequipa for 2 more weeks following up on and visiting the houses of those who had chosen to accept Christ. The 40/40’s who are working in Arequipa will continue to follow up with our new brothers and sisters in Christ.

Then finally after a 2 day all staff beach “retreat” it was finally time to head back “home” to Iquitos. Something I had been looking forward to for so long. After a 5 hour trip turned into a 20 hour trip (from what really can only be explained by the fact that I live in a 3rd world country) I at last made it back to Iquitos.

I’ve spent this past week working and getting to know all of the people that we are currently discipling in Belen, where I am planting my first church. My 2 partners, Dalila and Juliana, have been doing an amazing job. They currently have about 25 people that they are discipling, and there are so many areas of Belen we haven’t even reached yet!

Our little “congregation” is absolutely beautiful. We have Neli, who Dalila and her original North American partner Melissa, met when they first began working in Belen. 3 weeks before meeting her, Neli (a diabetic) had gone to the hospital for a pain she had had in her leg for 5 days. It turned out to be an infection and the doctors immediately removed her leg so that the infection wouldn’t spread. 3 weeks after this devastating change in her life, Neli accepted Christ. She praises and loves God with one of the purest loves I have ever seen. Neli opened her house to us to hold services, and that is where we hold our little church services on Friday nights.

Then we have Luis and his wife Roxana. They have 6 kids, and they currently are worried about and don’t know where the oldest one is. Luis also happens to be an ex-terrorist. While neither Luis or Roxana have chosen to make a decision to accept Christ yet, they are welcome and open and happy for our visits. Roxana even usually comes and brings some of the kids to church with her. So we continue to love on this beautiful family and pray for God’s peace and hope in their lives.

There are many more stories to tell… which in time I will work on doing. Our contacts consist of and range from a teenage pregnant girl who is already a mother of one other child, to a 72 year old man with a 29-year-old wife. The stories and people in between are just as wide and varied. I love getting to know and work with them, and I can’t wait to continue to get to know these beautiful Peruvians. I am so excited and blessed to get to be a part of the work we are doing in Belen.

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers that allowed me to make it back to Peru and continue my work here. Continue to pray for Belen and those we are working with now and those we are still going to encounter. My partners and I are planning to show the Jesus Film soon in hopes of reaching even more people. We are also going to start a Sunday school for children beginning next week. God is moving and working and we are loving getting to be a part of this ride.

It is so good to be back.