We had been looking forward with great anticipation to our time with God and his people in Peru. We knew it would be difficult to be gone from our family at home for 27 days but we also knew that they understood that God was calling us to be His hands and feet in a small village called Chilca. This is my sixth visit to this place that we have come to love dearly. TKay, Jim, and the staff are like family.
The kids—well, if you know me, they have my heart. After spending a month with them I have grown to love each one even more. I didn’t imagine that could be possible. I love bonding with them, even though I don’t understand what they are saying. We have done so much together this month. We have eaten together, played together, done crafts together, and I have listened to them read to me. Each one is special. I know that now more than ever.
We have also had community together as adults. As ladies, we enjoyed morning beach walks several times. We experienced some unique shopping sprees together. On the weekends, we spent time together as couples on a beach called Punta Rocas. We relaxed, got beat up by the giant waves, and enjoyed lunch. On Sundays, we went to church in Lima. Weekends were a great time for us all to be together and recharge for the coming week.
What did Monday through Friday look like? Each day started with making breakfast and eating together. That time was followed by worship in community. Each day of the week we pray for specific needs by theme.
After worship, we found out what we were doing for the day.
The focus of this visit was installing a new water reclamation system (septic). Our men worked alongside Peruvian men. My husband shared that all the men found great joy in building relationships with the Peruvian construction team, many of whom are brothers in Christ. It seemed as if through the labor special bonds were created. At one point the second week they were huddled in prayer together over the septic project. EA has always said that it isn’t about the projects, but about relationships built along the way.
EA added a new classroom this year and the main storage room was redistributed. The women organized spaces: the library, new storage room, and the kitchen. We also wrapped hundreds of school notebooks; first in colored paper, then in a plastic wrap called Vinifan. The Vinifan preserves the notebooks and textbooks for the year’s use. The colored paper identifies the school subject.
We did several craft projects with the kids.
A dear friend of mine, Janet Butler, is in a rock painting club in Raytown called “Raytown Rocks”. She gave me some great tips and examples on the process. We collected rocks from the Mala riverbed. The kids and the national staff painted them. We also made paper spinners, penny spinners, salt water paintings and journals.
Monica and I loved watching the kids think about how they would design their projects. They were all very creative and enjoyed it. It brought great joy to our hearts watching them delight in their finished work.
Monica and I have noticed so much growth in the kids. We were here in October for a week and even since then they are more confident and self-assured. This place is a true blessing for these children and their families.
It makes me think of God watching us. We “work” on our lives doing our best to put Him first—giving Him the honor and glory for what our “art-work” looks like. It’s always a work in progress. If we put Him first and ask Him to help us, it will turn out just how He plans. And oh how His heart delights when He sees our obedience.
After craft time was time to clean up and then dinner. Some nights we played card games with the kids. After dinner it was time to relax and go to bed.
Most Tuesday nights we went to church in Chilca. I love seeing people there that I’ve met in years past. I love hearing how they sing with their whole hearts. They are few, yet when I close my eyes the Holy Spirit fills my soul as if thousands were singing.
It is Monday morning now, a couple of days before we leave. Am I ready to go? No. Am I ready to go home and see my family and friends? Yes.
It’s something that is hard to understand, I guess, unless you have been here and spent time with these incredible people. I am so happy and blessed that we spent this month here. We’ve had some great experiences I’d never dreamed of, seen some gorgeous sunsets (my favorite thing), but most of all fallen more deeply in love with the people here in this place, Esperanza de Ana.