Living in Community

I’d like to try and paint a picture of where I live here in Iquitos. And in that hopefully show a bit of what it means to live in community here in Peru. Something that has definitely been a new experience for me!

We live on what we lovingly call a church “compound”. The 7 of us 40/40 missionary girls share one room. Our personal “space” includes our bed and our small wardrobe to hold our clothes and personal things. The boys share a room that is attached to ours. Immediately next to our room to the right there is a 2 story house. On the bottom story lives the District Superintendent and his wife and there 5 children who range in age from 2 month old twins to a 16 year old son. Above them lives our cluster support parents from the States as well and their 3 kids ranging in age from almost 2 to 6 years old. If you walk out of our room and walk straight across our “yard” (big enough to be a soccer field) there is another smaller house. In this house lives the pastor of the church here, along with his wife and their 4-year-old son.

None of these houses or our room has glass on our windows. So everything is essentially open all the time. Things like “peace” and “quiet” don’t really exist in my world anymore. It’s also nearly impossible to go to bed early or sleep in for that matter. To say there is a “lack of privacy” would be an understatement.

At the same time life is never boring. There is always something going on when we are home from work… Someone to talk to and hang out with. Everyone’s doors are always open for guests to enter and hang out and chat. People are constantly borrowing and lending things, cooking for each other’s kids, or just sitting around laughing or discussing life.

I personally wouldn’t mind having some privacy every once in awhile, but the majority of the time I really do love living in this community setting. I think us North Americans could learn a lot from how willing people are to help each other out in Peru. How often neighbors and family share what they really don’t have. It’s a beautiful Christ-like way to live.

Of course on the mornings like today, our only day off, when I’m woken up at 8:00am by blasting Spanish worship music coming from the Superintendent’s house, all of these positive thoughts aren’t usually the first to pop into my head. But as I’m sitting here reflecting on this now, I know I’m going to miss this when I finish here in 14 months and move back to the States.

Random Happenings

A lot has been going on lately... and since I've been so busy the posts have been slacking! Sorry about that. I'm working on setting up a blog specifically for the church we are planting in Belen as well. But until that happens, here's a quick update on what has been going on in my life and in my work here in Iquitos Peru!

I just got back from our first morning of Sunday School for kids. We started off relatively simple, just trying to get as many kids as possible to know what we're doing and hopefully come to our Sunday School classes. It was so amazing... we had over 70 kids with us this morning in the lower (poorer) part of Belen. What a huge blessing and answer to prayer! I got to teach the kids a couple of games and then teach a Bible story of David and Goliath. My partner Dalila taught the kids a song, and my other partner Juliana dressed up in a costume we have of a giant guinea pig names "Rico" to help attract kids. It was so much fun! I love working with kids and it's been a long time since I've had the chance to teach. My heart is definitely full! We're praying for just as many kids next week if not more. God is so good!

We have been struggling a little bit to actually get our contacts that we are visiting and discipling to come to our church service that we hold on Friday nights. So we have been doing the only thing we can think to do at this point, and that is to pray. Praying that God changes the lives of those we are discipling. That he reveals himself to them and answers their prayers. And that he puts a desire into their hearts to attend church so that they can begin to learn what it means to be part of God's family and grow even more in their relationship and faith in God. Juliana had the idea to start up a prayer service on Tuesday nights. We want to be a church based on prayer and trying as best we can to follow God's will and direction. And to recognize that really it doesn't come down to us at all, it is only God who can make our little church in Belen grow both in strength and numbers.

This past Friday we had 33 people attend our service which we hold in the front room of a little house. WOW!! God is so good and so faithful. Three weeks ago we had 4 adults and a handful of children. Friday we had 25 adults and the rest were kids. I feel like I want to burst with praise. We ran out of seats and were pretty crammed in this little house. We had new faces of people we have invited for awhile and finally came. Those who have been attending brought friends and relatives. We were able to make some new contacts of people who want us to visit them and share more about God. The Secretary of an area of Belen (a man who has quite a bit of power basically), came on his own and when we gave him a Bible to follow along he just sat the whole time reading intently. It was absolutely beautiful.

We have a few more visits to do this afternoon and tomorrow we get to rest. It has been a long and exhausting but absolutely amazing week. My heart is so full. God is so good. We continue to pray for Belen and our contacts and our church. Please join us in prayer. God is doing amazing things in this community!