A Few Observations

First off, I would like to make a clarification about this blog. The things you read are NOT a  blanket statement about all of Peru. Peru is far too diverse of a country to be simplified into one-sentence statements. If you do want to see some amazing statistics about the whole country, take a peek at this link:

http://www.perumission.org/peru-at-a-glance

What I write about here is from my perspective as a young missionary’s wife living life in Trujillo. We have lived here for one year so far and learned so many new and exciting things. I look forward to both my growth and the growth of this “City of Eternal Spring” as the years continue on.

Living and serving our Lord in this part of the world has opened my eyes to many things.  Many of them are merely differences compared to my home country, the USA. Not worse or better, just…different. But one thing to keep in mind as you read is that when you and the generations before you have grown up in one country and place, there is a definite shock on all your systems to up and move to not only a different state or different side of one country, not only to another country, but another country with a different language, a country where ones’ skin and hair color make you stand out much more than you  wish, and a country whose perspectives are coming from a totally different angle than that of what you grew up with. There are not only obvious huge differences that you have to adjust to, but also details: the little things of life that pile up hour after hour, that make you get to the end of the day and feel weary. Tired. Strained. As time rolls on, these things will not be as stressful or mind-wearing as they started out to be. But it takes time.

So what is this about? Well, I hope that as you read these things you do NOT read them as complaints or bitterness, but more as an invitation to you to be a part of something different. Allow yourself to live for a moment a different life and step into someone else’s shoes, learn to appreciate the things that you have and to appreciate the things that another culture has. It all comes down to thankfulness. No matter where you are in the world or what situation you live in, thankfulness and gratefulness need to be part of our daily life.

That, my dear friends, is my disclaimer.

Without further ado, here are some random things that I continue to notice:

– Walking to the park with my stroller and wrapped baby and having to walk a mere 2 feet away from dump trucks, buses, and semis roaring past me. The wind and occasional small rubble always make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

– Watching a worker strip to his underwear in the middle of a busy intersection to fix a water problem. Seeing workers lean ladders on telephone wires and climb up to fix that same wire.

– Riding in taxis where the smell of leaking gas makes you feel a little woozy.

– Being on the receiving end of catcalls even when you are 8 months pregnant or have 2 small children at your side.

– Not having the option of “not being home” even when you are. The culture takes the verse”knock and it shall be opened to you” quite seriously and people will stand for however long it takes and ring your doorbell if they have the slightest suspicion that you are home. And yell your name.

– Being given free fruit as a gift when you go to your local “bodega” (small shop) just because you are a neighbor.

– Having your next-door neighbor help you carry all your groceries inside the house for you.

– Wondering ever so slightly every time you eat at a restaurant or someone’s house if you might end up being sick that night.

– Having people ask if you have help in the house and then just volunteer to come help you if you ever need it.

– Never being able to tell the money situation of anyone by the way they look. A person dressed to the nines with expensive looking jewelry and makeup could have been literally starving a few years before and still struggling to have enough food to eat each week. They take a HUGE initiative to not look impoverished, even if they are. How different from our culture at times.

– Knowing that no matter what age they are, whether they are a cashier or male security guard, or have any children at all, they know exactly what is wrong with your child, what you should be doing differently, and will give you detailed instructions on the consequences of continuing parenting in the way that you are.

– People on the street saying, “Good day/afternoon/evening” as you walk by. It is rude to be a silent, sulky person in this place!

– Getting preferential treatment in public places (even special lines and going to the front of the line) if you are pregnant, have small children with you, elderly, or disabled. It’s an actual law!! (we do to implement this in the USA!).

-Having people cut in line in front of you or stand literally touching you from the back even if you are the above and trying not to get realllllly frustrated. (personal space is a lot less personal here).

– Being at the park and having children follow you VERY closely to see if you will speak in English so they can hear that neat language. And then stand by as they race by on their bikes and yell English words to see if it catches your attention.

– Watching your little daughter actually understand (and start to speak) a foreign language and marvel at how such a little brain can compute so many different things at once.

– Learning to feel extremely guilty if you don’t scrape the bowl clean, put the last few pieces of rice into the container, or throw the chicken bones away.

– Watching people sort through all your/or others’ trash on a regular basis and thank you profusely when you give them a shattered piece of pottery, a random wire, some pieces of wood, a broken coffee maker, or some sort of plastic thing.

– Being a part of a strong Christian community and seeing first-hand how mightily the Lord is working in this beautiful city.

– Worshiping the Lord on Sunday with dozens of other people from different backgrounds and situations, and reveling in the fact that you have this glance into heaven on earth.

– Remembering that no matter how far you feel away from your family or your comfort zone (where did that disappear to??), that your Savior and Lord has never moved and is continuing to lead you on with perpetual faithfulness, endless comfort, and bottomless love. And will do so every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year.

Psalm 65:  O God of Our Salvation

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

 Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
 O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
  When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
  Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

  By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
  the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
  who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
  so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

 You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
  You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
  The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
  the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

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Thankful

There are so many reasons to be thankful. On the forefront, I am very, very thankful for my Lord and Savior, Who has called me as His own, kept me under the protection of His wings all these days, has blessed me with a faithful husband and two sweet, sweet daughters, and Who continues to wash me of my sins and renew me each day. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Some other reasons are outlined in our latest family update here: Thank you to each of you who has loved us and stayed with us during our work here in Peru. Your prayers and thoughts and notes and words lift us up in more ways than we could even say!

We hope you each had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!