Monday, August 4, 2008

The past 3 days...

It's kind of funny how "normal" here is really kind-of abnormal, but I've gotten used to it and it seems completely normal to me... but then I try to tell someone in the USA about it and suddenly I realize that it isn't normal at all in my culture!  Did that make ANY sense???  Anyway, here are the past 3 or 4 days so you can get a feel for how I spend a typical day...
  •   Friday, other than the "normal" errand running, I had a meeting with Susan (a 25 year old Peruvian college girl).  Susan wants to start a bible study with a group of jovencitas (high school youth girls).  Evidently, several of the girls in this group did a study together a couple of years ago and they have been wanting to get back together, but they didn't have a place to meet or a leader or materials to study.  Enter me - the new missionary in town who happens to have spent a week with Susan trying to get my residency visa... can you say, "Divine Appointment"?  So we talked again and decided to do a study called God's Good Gifts.  The girls wanted to have a time of bible study, but also a time of fellowship and a time to learn how to make or do things, like bake or do crafts, etc.  This study is a 'scrapbook bible study'... each week, we have verses over the specific topic/gift to study and do devotions over (homework).  Then, when we come together, we will discuss our week's study and how it pertains to each other, and make 2 pages of a photo scrapbook for that week.  Cool, huh???  Susan was really excited about it when we first talked about it, and is equally excited now that it is actually going to happen!  So we are in the process of getting the materials together (cameras, scrapbook materials, study materials, etc.).  The crazy part is - THE STUDY ONLY COMES IN ENGLISH!!!  AAAAHHHH!!!!!  This means that my homework is double and one week ahead of everyone else - I have to translate this whole 12 week study AND do it in Spanish!  I think I've lost my mind...  but I'm excited!  Pray for me...
  • Each Friday night from 7-9 p.m., the ministry here has a praise and worship service downtown.  It generally consists of about 45 minutes of music, 45 minutes of sermon and prayer, and 30 minutes of more music.  Attendance varies, but this week, there was only one empty chair!  
  • Saturday, Sarah and I did our grocery shopping (which took 2+ hours) and then went to Kid's Club.  Kid's Club is generally the absolute best part of the week.  You just can't beat going to an empty field on the edge of town, turning on Christian music on the loudspeakers, and watching 80 kids flock to your side!  It's amazing!  And for two solid hours, children from 1-15 years old sing, watch puppet shows, listen to Bible stories, read, learn a Bible verse, and make a craft.  Incredible!  And it's all led by volunteer Peruvians who have decided to take this up as their way of serving God on every Saturday of the year.  It's pretty much 2 hours of VBS every single Saturday in a public field or park.  And I wonder every week... why can't this work in the USA?  Why is VBS only during one week in the summer?  Why don't we (USA folk) just set up in the park every Saturday and spread the Word to whomever shows up?  It really is an amazing time each week.  See this 1 minute video for a sample...
  • Saturday night, after a VERY QUICK bite of dinner at the house, Sarah and I went to the other side of town for a dance competition.  A local Quechua pastor sponsored a dance competition in the local park.  He invited several local churches to enter their youth groups in the competition.  Now, I don't mind telling you that I had my doubts about this. From my cultural background, I'm thinking that no one is going to show up, and if they do, it is probably going to be a little 'lame'... high school youth kids don't generally think that standing on a stage in a local public park and dancing to Christian music is a great idea.  WOW, WAS I WRONG!!!!!  I was amazed that 6 churches entered the competition!  And most of the dancers in each group were guys!  And not only did they dance, but they each got up and preached a little to the crowd first!!!  Incredible!  There were about 300+ people in the park by the time it was all said and done... maybe more than that!  Before and after the competition, our ministry's praise band played a mini-concert.  Very cool!  
  • In addition to the dance competition, Sarah and I had a great time just BEING there.  We were surrounded by about 30 kids from the minute we stepped foot in the park.  They all wanted to touch Sarah's hair and hear us talk English.  I was literally BEGGED to come and teach english in the school in that neighborhood.  It is very cool to have people be surprised that you speak English, as though Spanish is your only language.  And when I took some pictures with my digital camera - then I was surrounded by all of the mamas!  You would have thought that I just introduced fire to the community... obviously not a lot of digital cameras in the area!  These women were completely wide-eyed and amazed that they could see the picture on the back of the camera immediately.
  • Yesterday, we spent awhile in the Sunday market downtown.  We had some household things to buy, some clothes for Sarah, found a couple of gifts along the way, etc.  An old man, at least in his 70s or 80s, was going on and on about Sarah's hair - how beautiful, how soft, etc.  He was intrigued, which was kind of funny because Sarah was intrigued by HIS hair - "Mommy... he has white hair.  I've never seen a Peruvian with white hair."  By the time it was over, he had grabbed her by the hand and sufficiently kissed her all the way up her arm for being so beautiful.  Typical costs... a homemade Quechua-mama apron for Sarah - $1, a pair of pants for Sarah (handmade) - $2.50, a crocheted Barbie dress - $.60, a Peruvian woven tablecloth - $5, and 3 bunches of fresh flowers - $2.
  • This morning, I spent almost 3 hours in the kitchen listening and talking to a Peruvian friend about her weekend, her family, cultural issues, relationships, God... you name it!  The AWESOME cool thing about that is that I UNDERSTOOD AND TOTALLY PARTICIPATED IN A 3 HOUR CONVERSATION IN SPANISH!!!!  How cool is that???!!!  And there were some really deep, intimate details that I never dreamed that I could converse about in another language... incredible.  God is so good! 
So, that's a pretty typical weekend for us right now.  It's about to get pretty busy and hectic because when Billy gets home, we will begin working with a couple of schools, two disciple groups should begin meeting in the house, the high school girls should be meeting in the house, Sarah will have started school (next Monday)... LOTS going on and LOTS about to occur.  It's so great!  So glad to be here serving Christ.  Thank you for being here with us through your prayers and your support and your love!


Rhonda said...

That Kids Club thing sounds like a blast. Totally not surprised it's the best part of your week. I miss you guys tons, it was nice to see your faces and hear your voices on the video. We have two more La Carpio trips left, SO not looking forward to saying goodbye. I guess you know how it feels. Miss ya.

Mandy BAiley said...

I am so very glad to hear that all is going well - at least for the most part. We are sorry to hear about Billy's dad - he is in a better place w/no hurt & only happiness - our prayers are with you all. Erin sure does miss Sarah & we look at the pictures all the time & loves seeing the ones of Sarah enjoying herself. I would love to send a "care package" over, should you guys be interested ??!!!
Our thoughts & prayers are always with you all -
Friends in Christ,
Mandy, Rob & Erin Bailey
Navasota, Texas