Monday, July 28, 2014

Arrival in Lima

Not sure what time we arrived in Villa el Salvador yesterday - 9 ish maybe. We got a cab from the bus station to the church, where Sabi had a breakfast ready of avocado, baloney, rolls, and tea. Being Sunday, it wasn't long before people started filing in for church service - some dear friends, and some whom I have yet to know better. I was given the opportunity to greet (greetings from MY church, Cidudad de Refugio) and share 'a word' - so being overtired, the word I shared was LOVE, that love that binds us together and makes us a family through the precious blood of Christ. A visiting pastor shared the message, and stayed for lunch after - spaghetti with a tasty sauce, and chicken.

 Sabi also gave me a plate of steamed broccoli and carrots, bless her heart! After lunch I napped a little, and got up to Nimia and other sisters preparing Picarones, a fried dough made with sweet potato, served with syrup. They whomped up a huge batch to sell to benefit the building fund.

 The church needs a good roof before continuing to construct more floors, for residence and hospitality, as well as to serve the needs of the congregation. I enjoyed a portion, and then a neighbor who is one of my spiritual sons, was enticed into the church to have a portion, and to surprise him with my company. So we enjoyed fellowship over picarones,

 and after Sabi cleaned up, I went with her to a local market to get makings for chicky-veggy soup to serve with PBJ's to a bunch of my 'kids'. They filed in, and enjoyed the sandwiches - for many it was the first time having our American staple of peanut butter. For others it was the first time having it with JELLY. All pronounced it RICO.

 
































 Then one of my 'daughters' arrived and we had a nice chance to chat. Finally I got to yawning so much, I was accompanied tomy digs at sister Carmen's house, where I slept soundly. Got up this morning when Sabi arrived, breakfasted on fried egg and maduros and coffee. Then we walked back via the market, where Sabi stocked up on some fruits, and some fish for lunch.








I'll be spending time with the extended family today. Tomorrow so far the plan is a paseo in the morning to Huascar park, and probably in the afternoon I'll be joining my goddaughter for her birthday. So for now it seems the ministry is that of visiting individuals and families, the fellowship of the saints! Thanks for prayers!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last Days in Chiclayo

My last day in Chiclayo. We leave around 6:30 for the station, and the bus leaves around 7:30 tonight. It's about 13 hurs to Lima.
The conference ended early last night - while there was still daylight! (near the equator, so sun sets around 6!) Segundo conducted us home, and I stripped and hopped in the bath house, Vicki washed the few dirty duds I had and hung them on the line so they'd dry in time to pack. Then, though I whined a little that I didn't want to go out again, Vicki and the girls convinced me to go with them to a fair in a neighboring town/suburb. Well, at least we went in her son Walter's new taxi (a KIA for anyone interested to know) - more comfortable than a motokar, especially for this stupid hip. We walked around  (good exercise) - I treated to candy apples (and chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick for Vicki's granddaughter). I also bought a few more little trinkets for the kiddies at home...and some CANDY, which I HOPE will make it to the US (though the peanuty chocolate fudge may take a beating).
This morning even my fuzzy pants were quite dry, and I'm borrowing a carry-on sized suitcase from Vicki to hold the things I've bought for kids and the things I've been given. I can transfer stuff to the large suitcase when we get to Lima. Vicki left early this morning for the bus station to get our seats. I gave her 300 soles, just in case, but it was only 80 each, much better than we expected, given the holidays.

I'm glad I was able to participate in the leadership training - I trust the Lord will use it to make me more effective in my home church! I didn't get a certificate, as the others did, but no matter. And I was glad to be able to help a little over some rough spots in the translating. It was also fun to meet my countrymen (and I told Ken I was BORN in Texas, where they're from.)

Two of the speakers, Nate and Tracy, had already had to leave...but here I am with those who remained.

 Psa. Paquita wants me to return to Chiclayo to speak to the women/pastoras. In fact, as other pastors in my classroom got to know me, some of them were interested in inviting me as well. But I explained time and again that this was my last long bus trip - I plan to work with Levi to establish something permanent in Pucallpa, in the Lord's timing.

I took a few pix of the adobe that Elmer made, just like in the times when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt! I wanted to do a video of him actually making some, to show the process, but he isn't here today. Still, here you go for a look at his handiwork. The mound in the background is where he gets the earth - you can see the chaff in front of it, to be mixed in. Then to the right is the first drying stage, flat; then they are inspected and trimmed and set upright to dry more, as in the middle.

To the left you see a stack of his work. In the background you see one of many homes being constructed of this material.

I am grateful for his brotherly affection and care for my skin by getting me sunblock!

I'm very grateful to Vicki and her daughters, for hospitality, for taking care of me, washing my clothes by hand. I appreciate Vicki's humble, submissive spirit and her ability to see GOd's hand working in her life; her discernment and wisdom, her mightiness in battle; her joyful, generous heart!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Leadership Conference

Last night I went with Vicki to the opening service of a Leadership Training conference, which will conclude Friday. Due to the extenuating circumstances I was allowed to acompany Vicki. So this morning we scurried to get there before the meetings started at precisely 8:30 in the morning. You have to understand that Vicki is a very busy person, and ran to market to get breakfasty things, COOKED UP some chicken bits with onion and tomato, all the while trying to get HERSELF ready...and the fact that we were going by motokar, which takes some time since where we are there are a lot of dirt roads to traverse before you hit pavement. BUT we made it on time, and were assigned to room 4, on the 3rd floor of the large Baptist church. One of the directors was going to change me to the main auditorium so I wouldn't have to deal with stairs, but they weren't any trouble (just a bit slick. Note to self: wear sneakers tomorrow.) 
 There were 2 courses with 15 minute break between, then lunch (the ubiquitous rice - seasoned - a piece of chicken, a container with cooked sliced potatoes and a creamy sauce, like a version of potato salad, with a piece of lettuce and an olive. Then 3 more sessions, with 15 minutes between, and then all together in the main auditorium. 
The speakers were all GRINGOS. They worked with translators, and in my own classroom I was useful over some rough places (one translator gave me a hug as she left, saying with a laugh, "my salvation!") It's been fun chatting a bit with my countrymen. I feel sorry for them staying at a hotel. Though I have occasional challenges with a chamberpot, I still prefer staying with "family." And I catch myself thinking in Spanish. During breaks I've enjoyed talking to local pastors and pastoras
No doubt the Lord will use this conference in my own life.
Thanks for prayers!




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Souvenirs and Surprises

Yesterday after breakfast Vicki and I went into the city. I needed to take out money for our busfare, and wanted to get gifties for the kids. We went to the station first to check schedules and also see if they took plastic...which they did not, so I HAD to get cash. Vicki assured me that what I had would be enough to get stuff for the kids, so we went to the Artesania. Sure enough, I was able to get tee shirts in the right colors, as well as some cute barretts for the girls and cute pens for the boys. The clerk gave me a discount for the multiple purchases.
Then we went to a "cajero" (ATM) - no money. Tried another - still. Vcki told me that the patoras' meeting we'd be going to later was in a center near a bunch of cajeros so we could try then. So, home again.

 I lay down a bit. When I got up, the sun was beaming warmly, and I was all by myself. So, I scrounged a small sheet to wrap myself in, grabbed the shampoo, and had myself a bath - especially after having had drips from my chamberpot experiences! As I was dressing, Vicki returned, explaining she had to go with her brother Hilario to Emergency. I wasn't surprised, as he had not been feeling well. Glad to say he is doing better.

Vicki whomped up a quick lunch of fried pork with a side of yucca and the ubiquitous rice. Then off to the meeting, already in progress. They were discussing the first interdenominational pastor/leader couples retreat in August. Love and Unity! Perfect! I thought of the Koinonia weekends in Rochester. Anyway, I told Psa. Paquita, who was heading things up, that I would like to donate something towards the retreat, so they could have nice little "detalles" - little mementos of the event. Well, Vicki got up with one of the pastoras and left, I assumed to help her with something or other. While she was away, Paquita invited me to share something, so I shared from Esther.4:14   "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” - that each of us have passed through a number of experiences, trials, to arrive where we are today. That each of us has a DIVINE PURPOSE. As pastoras, they have a great calling to minister to their spouses, and to their congregations. Anyway...I encouraged them, and then there was a little time in which I was able to share some of my own experiences.
Then along came Vicki and the other pastora with a huge box - and Vicki announced that I'd be having a birthday soon, and so they had cake, and would sing me happy birthday. The little sneak! But what a pleasant surprise! And Paquita even presented me with a little hand-made bunny jewelry box and a frammed scripture! Another pastora gave me a key ring with a scripture, and I told her I'd think of and pray for the Chiclayo pastoras whenever I looked at it.

Afterwards, the same pastora accompanied me and Vicki to a cajero where I was finally able to take out some cash. We went home. Now, earlier on our way downtown, a sister from Yenny's church greeted us and asked us to come to church again that night. But I've been having a lot of late nights, so we stayed home this time. I was playing Words of Wonder on Facebook when I was called to dinner - bits of fried pork, rice, and yucca. Afterwards, I was going to finish my game, when suddenly we lost power. So I went to lie down and pray till I fell asleep.
 The cake suffered a slight mishap, losing its "Feliz" - and people have such a hard time spelling my name!
 Pastora Paquita on the left
 some of the other pastoras - there were 11 there, from different churches
Vicki tries to get a group shot before my batteries died.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Day of Rest

Yesterday we only planned to visit Vicki's father, Papito Maximo. So, I spent some time on the computer. When I got up to walk around a bit in the garage I was surprised to see a little dog had wandered in and made himself comfortable under my chair. 
 After a bit Vicki called me in to lunch - OOO, crab, shrimp, fish, a version of Johnny Cakes, rice from Vicki's own farm... 

Usually I don't eat a lot of rice, but I did have some of Vicki's with the broth from the poached seafood. 
 Then the pastora called, and the pastor (who'd been out of town) wanted to meet me, so I was asked if I could go to the service that night. I asked Vicki if I'd be preaching, and she said "maybe." Well...I prayed to be prepared 
A little later we went to Papito's. Yenney and Meme were there with their THREE sons. The eldest, Christian, gave me a warm greeting, as did Papito. Papito wanted to discuss scriptures with Vicki because some Jehovah'sWitnesses had left one of their magazines with him. So, among Christian, Vicki, and myself, we pointed out errors in their doctrine. 
 Later Elmer also arrived, this time not all covered with mud from working at brickmaking.so he was able to give me a clean hug! 
 Rambo's sister Pantera lives with Yenny's family. It was fun to watch her playing with the youngest son. 
Papito brought home an order of pollo a la braza. As Elmer served me, I asked if it would be a bother to have ketchup. He gladly went out and bought a packet for me (stuff we usually see in jars or bottles usually comes in packets there), so I was able to enjoy ketchup with my fries. Meanwhile, not being much of a rice eater, I gave Vicki some of mine, and sneaked a bit on to Christian's plate as well while no one was around except Vicki. 
We all had plenty to eat. 

 Then Vicki and I returned home until it was time to return to the church. The pastor greeted us, asked me a few get-to-know-you questions, and asked if I would just greet the church and share a brief testimony. "Like, not 30 minutes long!" 
I pondered what to share, and it was when the pastora led in the song "Donde esta el Espiritu de Dios, Hay Libertad" (Where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom), I decided to share about how God set me free from the fear of rejection. "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them...There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:16, 18) 
God's love set me free!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Loving the Neighbors and Ministering to the Youth

I don't know how many people in the neighborhood Vicki invited, but yesterday afternoon 4 adults and one girl arrived. We served crackers with strawberry jam and some with what they CALL mermelada de leche - milk marmalade - which, if you ask me, is CARAMEL. Or maybe butterscotch. That, and a bit of coffee. We sat and chatted a bit first, munching.

They were all believers so instead of addressing the issue of salvation we discussed walking with Christ. I started with Col. 3, setting ones affections on things above, but we covered other scriptures as well. Then  Vicki invited them to go through the clothes we brought from Lima. The brother stayed to talk with me, asking opinion/advice on things he was facing, and I was able to speak encouragement as well as exhortation. All were blessed according to their need.
Later we got a motokar to the church Maranatha for the youth service. I think it was the largest group I've ministered to so far! After some praises, there were some games (really fun to watch)

and then I shared a bit about the question Is it boring to be a Christian.
I invited them to think about how it would be to be best friends with someone who was rich, famous, and influential. I gave some examples - athletes, actors...and then softly sang a little chorus, in which others joined : "Yo tengo un amigo que me ama" (I have a friend who loves me), and pointed out that Christ has been famous for a LONG time, and the benefits of having known Him, using personal testimonies. At the end, I read from Rev.3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." and offered the invitation to receive Christ.

 The youth pastor expanded on it, and 5 came forward - 3 to receive Christ, 2 who wanted prayer for the peace that only God can give through Christ. 


Then a little more singing, and a light repast of sandwiches (a roll with lettuce? I think I tasted a little chicken and mayo when they passed the platter around the second time) and coffee. I chatted with the youth next to me.

 Afterwards, the pastor invited them all to give me a hug,  then we all began to leave. While Vicki and I waited for Segundo to retrieve us, a couple of girls sat with me and one of them practiced her English. I gave them my facebook info. Pastora on the left, youth pastor on right, English student in white)

 And finally we headed home.
A fruitful day!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ministering

Yesterday's afternoon visits were cancelled, so I treated Vicki (offered Walter, who was with us, but he didn't want any) to ice cream.
 Last night Vicki's bro-in-law Meme picked me up and took me to the church service at a pentecostal church called Mas Que Vencedores. Vicki arrived a little later - delayed as she was picking up an order of pollo a la braz (with fries and salad) for our dinner after. After the pastor read a passage from 1 Sam. 13 about how only Saul and Jonathan had swords, I was invited first to introduce myself, and then to share from the word. I spoke about how as believers we are ALL supposed to be missionaries - doesn't mean we have to go far, nor that we have to stand on the corner shouting condemnation. Basically, What Would Jesus Do - What would Jesus SAY? He came showing the Father's LOVE, and if we want to be like Him, we have to do likewise.
  Afterwards, he expanded upon it, and invited Vicki up, and she put it succinctly - love and unity.
 Then home again, and Meme and Vicki's sis Yenny and their 2 younger sons came in and joined us. Vicki manage to tear that bird apart to serve NINE people (she opted for more of her soup from lunch; her ex, Segundo, had already eaten...)

 I went to bed afterwards, as it was already well past 10. She said the others left after midnight - and that it had been a good 3 years since she and her sister had shared a table, due to some relational problems. I hope I had a little to do with the reconciliation!
This afternoon: a meal and clothin g distribution to the neighbors, along with a message about salvation, and tonight, a youth service: "Is the Christian life boring?"
(I'll give you a hint -NO!)