29 November 2011

One Shot

This is my favorite photo from Caracas. I don't know that it's visually the best photo of the trip, but I love it because of the moment it captured.

We spent a morning walking around a poor barrio with a couple of women who are doing great work in the neighborhood where they live. Their two young sons ran along with us for much of the time. They were adorable and jabbered at me in rapid Spanish that I did my best to understand. At the end of our time we returned to one woman's home to record prayers for the video we were working on. The women prayed for their community and then we prayed for them and their ministries. As we packed up to leave, one of the boys tugged on his mother's arm. "He wants to pray too," she told us. We paused as he stood in the middle of the room, folded his hands and bowed his head. And then he prayed one of the most eloquent and sincere prayers I've ever heard a 7-year-old pray.  I wish I could quote it for you, but it was in Spanish, so I could only paraphrase. But how precious to hear the heart of a little boy growing up in a difficult place as he interceded for his friends, neighbors and the church. That just does your heart good! I pray this young man continues to grow in his relationship with Christ to become a strong Christian leader.

You, too, can pray for the people of Venezuela and for the work being done there. Pray that Venezuelans will catch a vision for sending missionaries into the rest of the world and will also have a passion for reaching their own countrymen with the Good News of Christ!

His Heart, His Hands, His Voice

Does it seem possible that December is just around the corner? The Christmas season is upon us! It's time for candy canes, heartwarming holiday movies, hot chocolate, lights, and some rockin' around the Christmas tree. It's also time for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering! If you don't go to a Southern Baptist church, you may not know what that is, but it is the annual offering to support international missions. Every penny given to Lottie Moon is used to support Southern Baptist missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. The offering represents 57% of the total budget for the mission board, and is critical to supporting the nearly 5,000 workers currently on the field. I just came across the following stats and the numbers even surprised me: 

What is the average cost to support an individual missionary?
• $46,700 a year 
• $3,890 a month
• $900 a week
• $128 a day
• $5.30 an hour
• $.09 a minute

(Reported April 2011. Includes housing, salary, 
children's education, medical expenses, retirement, and more.)

Yikes! Missionaries seem kind of expensive, but I guess when you consider what it costs to support an average person in America for salary, housing, insurance, fees, etc., that's not so much. And when you consider what the cost is of not sending anyone, that people might spend eternity separated from God...well that's a cost we can't afford to pay. So check of this video and prayerfully consider what you can do to be involved with international missions:

If you're a Southern Baptist, do what you can to be a part of the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and if you're not, take time this month to find out how you can support other missionaries and organizations that are working to take the love of Jesus to the ends of the earth. 

And while giving to the LMCO is always good, consider how else you can be His heart, His hands, and His voice to a lost and hurting world during the coming new year. What are you willing to do? 

(To read more stories of how your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering helps reach people with the Gospel, check out this site.) 

26 November 2011

Are we blessed?

Many of you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite of all holidays, and there are many reasons. It's one of the least commercial, it really puts the emphasis on family, the food is amazing, and it's about thanking God for the abundant blessings in our lives. Oh...and it gives me an excuse to dress up like a pilgrim every year. True story. But I think I love it most because in our family it was one of the only days of the year that we took a break from our busyness, sat down at the table, turned off the TV, and really focused on each other. Sitting there, eating, talking, and laughing with my parents was the highlight of every Thanksgiving. While I've always had countless material blessings for which to be thankful, I rarely thought about those when it came down to assessing that for which I was most grateful. No, usually I was most thankful for the two people sitting beside me, for their love, for our family, and for being together. 

I think most of us would agree that the things we hold dearest aren't really objects. We cherish family and friendship, freedom and faith, and innumerable other intangible things. And that is how it should be. We should never cease to give thanks for such blessings. However, we cannot lose sight that we, as Americans/Canadians/Europeans/etc. also live with extreme material wealth. In today's recession and weak economy it is common to hear people complaining about the hit their investments took, or even talking about their struggle to pay basic bills or find a job. It's true, relative to the prosperity most of us have enjoyed for so many years, things are tough. All of us have been affected by the difficult economic situation. But few of us, as "westerners" (especially those of us who are young) have a real grasp of what "tough" looks like.  Poverty in the rest of the world looks a lot different from most of the poverty in America. (I say "most" because homelessness and severe poverty does affect people in the U.S. too.)

For example, for 2011 in the U.S. the poverty line for a single person was an annual income of $10,890. For a family of four it was $22,350. A few figures about what living in "poverty" can qualify as in America: 
  • 80% of poor households have air conditioning
  • 99% have a refrigerator
  • Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31% have two or more cars or trucks
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television
  • Two-thirds have at least one DVD player and 70 percent have a VCR
  • Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system.
  • 43% have Internet access
  • One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD television

What does it look like in the rest of the world?

  • Approximately 20% of people live on less than $1 a day.
  • About half of the world, more than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
  • 2 billion people, a quarter of humanity, live without electricity.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year.
  • 20% of children between 5 and 14 years of age are involved in child labor.
  • One-sixth of the global population lacks access to safe drinking water. 
  • Women in poor areas of Asia and Africa walk an average of 4 miles a day to collect water.

You'll excuse me if I have a hard time sympathizing with the Occupy Wallstreet folks. It's always easy to accuse the extremely wealthy, the CEOs, the politicians of being out of touch with "the rest" of us, and I'm not saying they aren't. But I am saying that chances are we are just as out of touch with "the rest" of the world, and I think that's an even more serious problem. I really appreciated this response video to the Occupy movement:

"Reality can be ugly, bloody, and horrible." Most of us have lives with luxuries unimaginable to the rest of world. We may not be in the top 1% of wage earners worldwide, but we certainly aren't in the bottom 80% either. I like this guy's plan of making people live in the woods for three days to give them a taste of what corporations do for them, but I'd take it farther. I'd like all the disillusioned young adults of the West to go spend a week or two in a developing nation. It doesn't even have to be a war-torn or famine-stricken one. Just pick any ol' place where people toil long hours to feed their families, and then take pride in sweeping their dirt floors. Watch precious children covered in filth playing with ingenious toys they've constructed out of garbage. Experience them trying to feed you their best, out of hospitality, even though they have so little. And then see that despite the abysmal circumstances they live in, many of them are still happy and joyful. Yes, go visit "the rest" and then come back to your home, your food, and your bills and complain. I dare you. And then I dare you to look at all you have and not give thanks to the Lord who has blessed you so abundantly, and who allows you to live in a nation with the luxury of "protesting" whatever it is you are upset about.

But I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised at the lack of perspective in so many. As we learned in Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflects leadership, Captain." And the leadership of our nation does not acknowledge God's hand in the blessings of our nation, nor the importance of thanking the Lord even one day a year. Below is the text from President Obama's  Thanksgiving Day address. Take a minute to read it and note the conspicuous absence of God in his remarks. 

Obama's Thanksgiving Speech 2011

"From my family to yours, I'd like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Like millions of Americans, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will spend the day eating great food, watching a little football, and reflecting on how truly lucky we are.

 As Americans, each of us has our own list of things and people to be thankful for. But there are some blessings we all share. We're especially grateful for the men and women who defend our country overseas. To all the service members eating Thanksgiving dinner far from your families, the American people are thinking of you today. And when you come home, we intend to make sure we serve you as well as you are serving America. 

We're also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve at soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. This sense of mutual responsibility, the idea that I'm my brother's keeper, that I'm my sister's keeper, has always been part of what makes our country special, and it's one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured. 

The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of community during a time of great hardship; we've followed that example ever since. Even when the fate of our Union was far from certain, during a Civil War, two World Wars, a Great Depression, Americans drew strength from each other. They had faith that tomorrow would be better than today. We're grateful that they did. As we gather around the table we pause to remember the pilgrims, pioneers, and patriots who helped make this country what it is. They faced impossible odds, and yet somehow, they persevered. 

Today it's our turn. I know that for many of you, this Thanksgiving is more difficult than most. Yet no matter how tough things are right now, we still give thanks for that most American of blessings: the chance to determine our own destiny. The problems we face didn't develop overnight, and we won't solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part. 

With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it's easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what's happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country. If we keep that spirit alive, if we support each other, and look out for each other, and remember that we're all in this together, then I know that we too will overcome the challenges of our time. 

So today I am thankful to serve as your president and Commander and Chief. I'm thankful that my daughters get to grow up in this great country of ours, and I'm thankful for the chance to do my part, as together we make tomorrow better than today. Thanks, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving." 
- Barack Obama

Yes, there are still nice sentiments there, like being grateful for the servicemen in the military and people who are serving others on Thanksgiving. But if we are thankful for community, for country and family, to whom are we thankful? To "luck" as Obama indicates? No, that is not what Thanksgiving is about. It is about giving thanks to the Lord for His provision. That's not some Christian rewriting of American history or trying to force a set of beliefs on an otherwise neutral holiday. In 1863, when Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same day across the nation, Abraham Lincoln delivered the following proclamation:

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
by the President of the United States of America

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.                                                                                                                                                                                  In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.                                                                                                                                                            

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
-Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln seemed to have a firm understanding that what we have are "the gracious gifts of the Most High God," and understood that the Lord deserves our praise and thanks. (I also like that he specifically includes Americans "at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands" as part of the Thanksgiving observance!) So let us be ever aware of the extent of our blessing and remember the Source from which they come. May we live with an attitude of gratefulness, even if it is simply for the gift of life, as we are not promised tomorrow.

"Rejoice always, 
pray continuously, 
give thanks in ALL circumstances; 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
 -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

(I'm not sure how accurate or up to date it is, but it's kind of interesting to calculate how rich you are here.)

I'm Still Yours

I enjoy the band Kutless but I've never owned their album, so I somehow managed to miss this song until recently, but I sure am loving it! It is always a good reminder to stop and examine whether we are serving and praising the Lord only because of His blessings, or because of who He is. Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, we are especially mindful of thanking God and praising Him for the many blessings in our lives. However, He is worthy of our praise whether we ever receive one single blessing from Him or not. I often wonder if I would be able to praise the Lord if everything else was completely stripped away from my life. Job 1:21 has long been a favorite verse of mine,

 "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; 
may the name of the Lord be blessed."

It is an easy thing to say when things are good or even just kind of bad, but it is another thing to live out that conviction when you are faced with a complete desert. 

 Hope you enjoy this song (you can turn off the site music at the bottom of the page so that you can hear the video) and are encouraged to praise the Lord in every circumstance. 

I'm Still Yours- Kutless

If You washed away my vanity
If You took away my words
If all my world was swept away
Would You be enough for me?
Would my beating heart still sing?

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives and takes away

If You take it all
This life You've given
Still my heart will sing to You

When my life is not what I expected
The plans I made have failed
When there's nothing left to steal me away
Will You be enough for me?
Will my broken heart still sing?

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives
And takes away

If You take it all
This life You've given
Still my heart
Will sing to You

Even if You take it all away
You’ll never let me go
Take it all away
But I still know

That I'm Yours
I'm still Yours

Oh, I'm Yours
I'm still Yours
I'm still Yours

25 November 2011

From Peru to You: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias!

I hope that for you today has been a day full of food, fun, family, and friends. We had a lovely Thanksgiving here in Peru. I started the day watching snippets of the Macy's Parade on the earthcam shot of New York, and via skype with Carolyn and her family. 

Carolyn also sent me a hand turkey that arrived right on time. ;-)

It still doesn't really feel like Thanksgiving without spending hours in the kitchen making our favorite family dishes, but little tastes of home make a big difference. I had prepared my contribution to the potluck dinner yesterday (in case they didn't turn out- you never can be sure in Peru!) so I didn't have to stress today. 

Cream-cheese-filled pumpkin muffins with strudel topping and glaze.

We headed over to the office for the afternoon and enjoyed huge quantities of delicious food and fellowship with 50+ of our closest friends in Peru. 

As you can see, we had all the fixin's, including...(drumroll please).....

I consider that a vital part of a successful Thanksgiving meal since it acts as the sorbet, a "palate cleanser" if you will, for the rest of the heavy flavors. We also had pumpkin and pecan pies and desserts galore! 

As you might guess, many products that are staples of an American Thanksgiving meal are not found in other countries. Down here we don't have canned pumpkin or canned sweet potatoes, Crisco, or chocolate chips. Your choice of canned vegetables is extremely limited and expensive, as is a turkey. Stuffing mix and cream-of-whateveryouwant soups, and pre-made pie crusts don't exist, to my knowledge. And, of course, no cranberry sauce. Granted, many of those things you can work around or make from scratch, but some things have no substitute. Still, we are blessed here in Lima with the variety of things that are available and the ease of preparation relative to the places many of our friends serve. We are also blessed that we have enough personnel who travel back to the states frequently that they were able to bring in some of those things we miss. (Cat brought me an awesome can of pumpkin for my birthday that was vital to the success of the pumpkin muffins! This week was also her birthday so she needs a birthday shout-out for her general awesomeness, and also staying alive for a quarter of a century. Believe me, it's an accomplishment.) 

After dinner, like many a family gathering, we watched football on the big screen, chatted, chased kids, and played games. Although nothing is ever as sweet as spending the time with your family, it was a blessing to sit back and look around the crowded office and see so many friends. Five months ago when we arrived in Peru we knew only a few people, and those not very well. Today I gave thanks for dozens of people who have become our very dear "field family," and praised God that I was blessed to have such a special group with whom to celebrate.

I also gave thanks for modern technology that allowed me to talk to my parents, friends, and extended family across the U.S. today! Today was not my first Thanksgiving separated from loved ones, and odds are, it won't be the last. But I also know I'm not alone in that; there's a much greater number of people far from home tonight than would like to be. Today I am extra thankful for the men and women who spent the day away from home as they defend our country in the military, or strive to take the Gospel to a dark world. I hope wherever you spent the holiday you were able to stop and reflect on the blessings in your life, and thank God from whom all blessings flow. Most of us tend to forget that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17), and that we have been blessed beyond measure. Thank goodness God never forgets us!

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

24 November 2011

Laundry Haitian Style

Last week the washing machine flooded the laundry room and kitchen… 
So again I found myself standing in the kitchen using old towels to sop up the excess water and ring it out in the sink. I wasn't really upset, just a little annoyed and slightly bemused at the ridiculousness of life at the moment. 

I stood there struggling to ring out the heavy soaked towels. It was taking a long time and I was getting impatient. And then I had a thought: 

I couldn't help but smile.  
Struggling to ring out the towel snapped me back to a blistering hot day in Haiti, bent over a plastic bin, "helping" Ruth with her laundry. 

Ruth is another story of her own. I met her in a tent community a couple of months after the earthquake. A young Haitian woman, 22 back then, who knew the Truth but had been so hardened by life in the "nation of NGOs" that it hadn't penetrated her heart. She was one of the few in that community who spoke very good French, and so we could talk without needing a translator. She was selfish and shockingly bitter and cared only about what I could do for her financially. Ruth had shelter, clothes, and food. It was a meager life, to be sure, but basic needs were met. What she wanted was money. Money to go "follow her dreams" as she put it. "Everyone here is either a child and still young, or an adult and already set in their life. I should be the one who gets to leave. I shouldn't be stuck here. I have to look out for me." I told her I had no money to give her, that we were only here to share the love of Jesus and hopefully meet some basic needs for the community as a whole. She glared at me through squinted eyes, pursed her lips and snapped, 

"Alors, tu ne m'aimes pas!" 

 The one benefit of using translatosr was that beyond translating, they also served as mediators and diplomats. I understood enough Creole to know when they were "rephrasing" something that had been said. It's not that they lied, but they would convey the general sentiment of the statement instead of the exact words. For example: "He is upset." Instead of repeating the string of slurs and hurtful comments. And then they would rebuke their own people for their attitudes and language without ever telling the Americans what had really been said. 
The problem was I didn't need a translator. I understood Ruth fine. I just wished someone could have softened the blow when she said: 

"So, you don't love me!"

Her words wounded me profoundly. I DID love her. But how do you show real love to someone whose idea of "love" has been so warped? That afternoon I felt defeated. And I cried. Cried for the devastation of Haiti, for the loss of life, for the bitterness and entitlement that had gripped so many people, but mostly for Ruth: a sad girl who claimed to know Jesus but was missing out on His love. 

I was burdened that evening and next morning. How could I do it? I didn't have the strength, or the wisdom to know how to reach Ruth. And then God reminded me:

 "MY strength, Lyndsey. MY wisdom, Lyndsey. 
MY love, Lyndsey." 

For someone who really likes to be competent and able to handle anything, it's always humbling when God reminds me that that's not true. There was nothing I could do to change Ruth's heart. It wasn't my responsibility. I was just supposed to love on her and share Jesus. And it was a freeing realization. 
So we went back to the tent community, determined to find a way to show that we were serious about loving them without feeding the serious issue of dependency. It wasn't long before Ruth disappeared for a while. She came back carrying a bucket of clothes. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Can I help you with your laundry?"
Ruth: "The laundry?"
Me: "Yes."
Ruth: "You want to help with the laundry?"
Me: "Yes, if you don't mind."
Ruth (very confused look on her face): "...Why?"

It was a fair question. I told her I loved her and I wanted to help. She agreed. And so she began the process of doing laundry Haitian style and giving me instructions. We got water from the well, she got her soap, and crouched down around two bins, one for washing one for rinsing. She handed me a shirt, took one herself, and we set to work washing. I dabbed some soap and started scrubbing...for about 10 seconds. Suddenly she stopped, raised one eyebrow and asked me what in the world I was doing. 
"I'm washing this shirt," I said. 
"No, no, no," she said, shaking her head. "That's not right... Like THIS!" She unfolded the shirt she was washing and regripped it so I could see just how she was holding it. I mimicked her motions and started scrubbing again. She watched for a brief moment before shaking her head and grabbing the shirt from my hands. 
"No, no. Not like that, Lyndsey. You're not doing it right." She took my hands and guided them to hold the shirt like she did and told me to try again. Again, my scrubbing was deemed unsatisfactory. But as she corrected me with an  exasperated headshake, I could see her starting to smile.

 We were sitting in a public area by the well, and by this point a small group of women had gathered around to watch the American wash clothes like a Haitian. And apparently, it was quite the show. Every time I set to work, doing what looked to me to be identical to what Ruth did, they would all start giggling. Ruth would stop and show me for the umpteenth time the "right" way to wash the shirt, I would try again, fail, and the group would burst into laughter. I listened to the group of women talking about me amongst themselves. 

"What's going on?"
"The American is washing clothes!"
"Really? Why?"
"I don't know. But she doesn't know what she's doing!"
"What?! She doesn't know how to wash clothes?!"
"NO! She's doing it all wrong. HAHAHA!"
"How can she not know how to wash clothes!?"
"In America they don't wash clothes. They have MACHINES that do it."

The group was steadily growing and my friend Tiffany had joined in for laundry lesson. Bored bystanders were excited to see the white girls fail at a simple task, and all of my actions elicited raucous laughter. The thing was, I was really trying! I did everything just as Ruth demonstrated but I never could perfectly replicate the powerful consistent motions she used to quickly scrub her clothes. One man leaned down and said, "You've never washed clothes by hand before, have you." Somewhat indignant that he thought Americans never got their hands dirty I assured him I had washed clothes by hand many a time. "Well did you actually get them clean?!" I confirmed that I had. "No you didn't! Not if you washed them like that!" he said, chuckling as he wandered off. 

Eventually we were done scrubbing, time to rinse and ring. Simple enough, right? Wrong. There is also a specific "correct" Haitian way to ring water out...and I can't do it. I picked a shirt up to begin ringing it out. I was laboring over it, twisting and squeezing, while Ruth picked up another piece of clothing and had it completely drained of water in two swift moves. She looked at me with pity, both of us laughing with the crowd, took the shirt out of my hands and...put it back in the water. 
"No, no. Here. Watch me. Try again." 
I did. I failed. 
Back into the water she dunked the shirt. 
"No. Like this. It's easy." 
It was not. Her practiced hands could get all the water out of a shirt in a matter of seconds. I rang the same shirt out over and over again as she rewetted it for me to practice. Finally, she took pity on me and told me I had done a good job. We could go hang the clothes in the sun now. 
And that's how I came to do laundry in Haiti. In all honesty, it wasn't what I had expected. I had wanted to be useful and actually help with a chore. Instead I discovered that I couldn't even do that simple task right. I had probably caused Ruth twice as much work with her laundry as she would have had alone. But we had a good time. All of us. I wish I could tell you that I saw a big change in her, that she stopped being bitter and selfish and became a joyful woman, but that wasn't the case. We only worked in that community for the span of one week, and Ruth continued to ask for material goods and special favors just for her. But after allowing myself to look very foolish in front of a whole lot of people just to wash some clothes, Ruth never again told me I didn't love her.

So that's what I was thinking of while I struggled to ring out those towels in the sink last week. I had no clue that a year and a half after that day I'd be living in Peru and requiring those skills. And apparently my Haitian laundry technique still needs a lot of practice. 

I still pray for Ruth whenever I think of her. I pray that she will grow to be a strong woman of God like her namesake in the Bible and let go of the bitterness she carries. And I try to remember that I don't have to do everything well. Sometimes it's the things we have no talent in at all that God uses the most for His glory. And it's okay to allow yourself to look stupid. :-)  
Washing clothes with our audience.

Ruth and me in her tent. 

22 November 2011

Catching the Vision

Check out the following article about some of what God is doing in Peru. It's impossible to talk to the Peruvians who are seeking to go, and the missionaries that are facilitating the process, and not get excited! They are all incredibly passionate about taking the Gospel to all peoples. It's awesome! 
Please be praying for the recent graduates of the mission training school as they seek God's direction, and for the Larners and many others who are working to mobilize Peruvians to the ends of the earth.

PERU: Catching the missionary vision

by Emily Pearson on November 21, 2011

LIMA, Peru – More and more, Peruvian believers are catching the missionary vision.
And as more Peruvian Christians answer God’s call to missions, Tommy and Beth Larner are helping prepare them for what they’ll face on the field.
The Larners, International Mission Board missionaries in Peru, work with a Peruvian organization called PerĂº a Las Naciones (Peru to the Nations), which prepares national believers to serve on the international mission field. Recently, the first graduates completed the organization’s seminary-style training program.
“We’re very much a part of it, but it’s clearly Peruvian,” said Tommy. “It’s not an IMB mission project. And that’s exciting, that it’s coming up out of the Peruvian believers, and we just have the joy of being a part of it.”
While completing the training program doesn’t automatically put Peruvian missionaries on the overseas field, it does bring them one big step closer. Some of the program’s graduates are still praying for God’s direction, but others already feel called to a specific country.
The Larners believe that getting the organization’s first trained missionaries on the field will inspire others to follow.
“Pray that Peruvian believers will see themselves in Christ as ones that God can effectively use to reach the nations,” said Tommy. “And [pray] also for them to see themselves as equal partners to reach out to the nations, that this is a global family working together.”

For more stories and information from the Americas check out: