Sunday, June 23, 2013

Te Extraño, Perú

As I’m sitting on the couch back in LA, I can't help but miss Peru so much and wish I was back there. 

I was originally going to do two separate posts: one on just the Machu Picchu experience, and another one on all the ministry work I did with my team while I was there. I’ve decided to put them both into one post as part of a reflection on my time in Peru and how it has affected me.

The children of Colegio de Sagrado Corazon<3
I’ll start with all the children we worked with. For about four days last week, we went to this city called Hijos de Grau to work with children and families near this school called Colegio de Sagrado Corazon. For the first two days we went house to house and talked to families, told our personal stories to encourage them, and on the second day, we gave away clothing to them. The last two days were working with the kids, teaching them songs, telling them stories, and spending time with them in general. There was one little girl in particular who caught my attention.

On the first day that we arrived at the school, we got to say hi and see the children that we would work with later on in the week. There was one little girl who wore glasses and looked a little cross-eyed. I didn’t really know why, but I thought she was the cutest thing ever. I thought she was just adorable.

The next day, on the third house that we visited, when I walked into that tiny home, there was that little girl. My team and I had visited her family. After talking with the mother and asking her about accepting Christ into her heart and asking for prayer requests, she brought up the little girl.

Her name is Harumi. She is three years old and she was born blind. Since she’s been born, she’s gone through a series of surgeries to fix her vision. So far, she can see with glasses, but her left eye is a little more messed up than the other. Harumi’s mother asked for us to pray for her upcoming surgery that is supposed to fix that eye.

As I heard that story, my heart was hurting for her. The poor little girl has gone through so much in the three years she’s been living and I’m sure that she was scared. What three year old wouldn’t be scared of surgery?

As we prayed for Harumi and her family, I felt this weird feeling in me. I felt that I needed to talk to the little girl.

The ever adorable, Harumi. 
After we were done praying, I took my group leader aside and asked him if I could talk to Harumi, and he said okay. As I was about to talk to her, I could just feel her pain and I started to cry before anything could even come out of my mouth.  I felt the Holy Spirit asking me to give the family a word of encouragement. I needed them to know that she’d be okay someday, if they would just believe that she would. She would one day be completely healed of her vision problems.

Harumi and her mother started crying as well. They knew that it was a hard situation already but they needed to hold on to hope. I later told Harumi that I think she was so beautiful, and she started to cry. At such a young age, I can’t help but think that she feels self conscious of her situation. I can’t even imagine how she must feel everyday as a little toddler, dealing with something like that. She stole my heart and was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen.


Another big aspect of what we did that impacted me: soccer,  or as the rest of the world calls it, futból. Our group leader, Fernando wasn't kidding when he said soccer was like a religion in Peru. It was through this sport that we met and bonded with some of the sweetest, kindest, funniest guys that we had ever met. Even more so, we fell in love with even more of them at the church that they all go to: Centro Evangelistico. 

The youth of Centro Evangelistico after our last soccer
 match of the trip
This is the church of the pastor that drove us to most places during the trip: Marvin Contreras. It was such a blessing to have him spend time with us for most of the trip. He has such a humble heart and he, his family, and his church welcomed us with open arms. Even though we were supposed to go there to bless them, I think that they blessed us even more. Just watching all of them worship God the way they do, interact between each other the way they do, and even just watching them get to know us and even try speaking the little English that they know so that we can all better understand each other made me so blessed to have them as friends. Because of how much we had all bonded together, it was a little depressing when we found out we couldn't play soccer or say goodbye one last time on Thursday night. I think they were all just as sad as we were. If you wanna know another reason why Centro Evangelistico or its people will always have a special place in my heart: I got baptized there. 

My water baptism
I'd waited so long to be able to be baptized (as in fully submerged) in water. It may or may not seem very important, but I think at the point where I was in my life, the timing was just right. It felt refreshing to physically take away my past life. No, I'm not saying that from now on I'll be perfect (because no one could ever be), but it was a little bit like a new start. And I'm so thankful to have had my Peru team family, as well as the Centro Evangelistico family there with me to celebrate that time. 

I don't think I could ever thank them enough for what they did for us, but I hope that they know that we all appreciate them so much for their friendships. It was also the move of the Holy Spirit in that church (as well as all the others we visited) that showed us all how much more we could be doing for God, how much more we could be showing our adoration to him, how much more we could just love him with our lives.


Finally, there's Machu Picchu. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, I got to see it and hike up the mountain next to it, Mount Waynapicchu.

Me near the top of Mt. Waynapicchu
I must say, it is such a beautiful place to see. You are above the clouds, and you can see for miles and miles. Machu Picchu looks so amazing from the top of the mountain as well. It was pouring rain when we got to the top so it almost felt like a victory of making it past all that sweat (and loss of breath) with the satisfaction of the rain and cold air welcoming you to the top of the mountain. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever physically done. Hiking up almost 8,000 ft is not the best activity for someone with asthma, but every step of it was so worth it. God's creativity is glorified in that place, that's for sure. The mountains, the weather, all the green surrounding the area, even the intact stone structures that the Quechua (not Inca, that's what they called their kings) people built--you can see God in everything.
The famous Machu Picchu!

I know that this is probably the longest post I've written yet, but if you made it to this paragraph, I want to thank you for reading it. This experience was one of the best I've ever had in my entire life, and I think that it's fitting to have it all in one post. I'm so grateful to have done everything I have done, and am looking forward to my next great adventure. However, I will say about Peru that I definitely do plan to come back, that is for sure. I don't know when, but it is going to happen. Until next time, chau, my lovely readers & friends. Thank you for your time and support throughout these past few weeks.


2 comments:

  1. Sounds like an amazing learning trip!!!! I would love to see Machu Picchu one day!

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    Replies
    1. It was great! I think seeing Machu Picchu is a must for everyone, as well! It's very breathtaking (literally and figuratively) in person haha.

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