Christine: Well God has answered a prayer in an unexpected way. We were looking for a gymnastics class for the girls but could not find one. We ended up finding a ballet school 20 minutes walk down the road. I never imagined taking the girls to ballet but they love it. And how is it an answer to prayer?
I have been unable to connect with local mums or find friends to practice Spanish with because of the time needed for language study and just managing the kids. Also they don’t seem to have playgroups or mothers groups like we have at home. But what I have found at the ballet school is a captive audience of mothers who wait the whole hour for their girls twice a week in a small room. We are not allowed to watch the class so we are forced to chat with each other. How nice! So today I wrote down a few of their names. I met a teacher, dentist, accountant and, of course, stay home mum’s like me (well, excluding language study ). Of course some topics are universal for mothers: breastfeeding, how you fared in your pregnancy and what cute thing your kid did yesterday. To my surprise I can understand a lot of what they are saying. Sometimes the lady closest to me kindly repeats the key information more slowly and simply for me, but none the less, it is all in Spanish. They have encouraged me and say I am doing well for such a short time in the country. This is great to hear as in the language school I am reminded constantly of my mistakes. I cannot use all the tenses we have learnt yet but slowly and with practice I am sure I will get there. The ladies said they are happy to help me and I am more relaxed in this situation of immersion.
I am going to look forward to Monday and Friday afternoons sitting around with other mothers of little ballerinas. Who knows where God will lead our conversations in the future. Please pray for opportunities and praise God for answered prayer. The ballerinas get a lollie at the end of each class – to which Annabelle asks ‘Why did I get a lollie?’ It’s definitely a win win for everyone (though maybe not their teeth).
Latin America is an exciting place to be with so many opportunities to serve.
Students at a youth conference in Arequipa
We look forward to serving in a University, discipling and empowering students to follow Jesus. Students are the future leaders of the nation and are an incredibly strategic group of people to work along side. Our vision is that many students will be inspired to serve God and will go proclaiming and living out the message of Jesus. Arequipa, the city we work in, has several major universities. Some students come to Arequipa to study from different parts of southern Peru. If we can reach these students, they are able to take the gospel back to their communities in their own language. We met two students who did exactly this. In their holidays they went back to their incredibly remote village high in the Andes and they taught the Bible in their native language Quechua. Read the amazing story of how this remote village turned to Jesus.
Our prayer is that Peru will not only send missionaries within the country but also beyond. This is already starting to happen. SIM has spent many years preparing the church in Peru for this. A couple of months ago SIM Peru sent its first missionary to Asia. Latin American missionaries are able to go into countries in Asia and the Middle East that may not be open to western missionaries. They are also able to blend in more easily in these countries with their darker complexion. There is a SIM team that is working hard to put together documentation and training that will help to mobilise the Latin American church for missions. A lot of work is still to be done and a lot of prayer is needed. We look forward to seeing what God will do.
Have you been tempted to buy a lucky charm or to make an offering to the “mother god”? The average person in Peru may face quite different temptations but we are all tempted at times to compromise our devotion to God. The Bible speaks to us where ever we are. Pastor Efrain, from our church, is currently preaching through the book of 2 Kings. This book has many practical applications for us today as we look at the people of Israel during the time of syncretism when Israel worshipped the Living God, as well as followed other gods. Even with my limited Spanish I've been enjoying these talks.
Pastor Efrain from Calvary Chapel Arequipa with us
We hope to record these talks and make them available on the Internet (thanks to a few tips from friends in Concord Baptist). We feel that this systematic Bible teaching will be a valuable resource for Latin America.
I meet with pastor Efrain once a week and we practice Spanish and talk about life in Peru. This church is very relevant to our future work in Arequipa because of the excellent work they are doing among University students. I've enjoyed learning about the challenges of sharing the gospel in Peru. It is also a great encouragement.
I don't feel so bad making blunders in Spanish after hearing a mistake that Efrain made in English. Efrain was born in Peru and had the opportunity to study at a Bible college in the UK. Here he said farewell to a fellow female student with the words “See you later. We will touch!”. She seemed surprised! He of course meant to “keep in touch!”
thank God for Calvary Chapel in Arequipa and their teaching of God's Word.
thank God for their growth – last week we almost ran out of room
pray for more leaders who will impact Arequipa and beyond
Dried alpacas that can be purchased in the markets and buried in the ground as a sacrifice to the Pachamama (Mother god)
Lucky charms that some believe will bring wealth. The teaching in 2 Kings is very relevant.
"Hasta Luego" (see you later).