28 November 2012

Where am I?

I'll be honest, when I was originally offered the position in Latin America, I didn't have the most thrilling of opinions about the region. I loved the job, but the location was...well, at least there are llamas! Part of it stemmed from wishing I could learn a new language other than Spanish, part was because the culture seemed largely homogenous to an outsider, and part was because there are so many other intriguing cultures around the world that I wanted to explore! 

My opinions have changed since moving to Lima and seeing lots of Latin America. While there are some similarities, there really is so much variety from country to country and city to city! There are a myriad of languages, cultures, and landscapes, and it's all pretty cool. And the region is home to eight cities that we classify as mega cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Bogota, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Caracas, and, of course, Lima! Around the continent and within these cities you can find pockets of immigrant cultures that are anything but Latin, and there are workers focused specifically on reaching these groups with the Good News. 

When I moved to Lima, Peru, I never expected that I'd have to work in Chinese, but that's what I found myself doing a few weeks ago as I edited prayer cards and videos for individuals here ministering to the Chinese community (which is the largest in Latin America). It was a delightful change of pace- although I'm glad I don't have to work with Chinese script often! I've never been so happy that I only had to learn Spanish to do my job!

While I'm still an outsider in Lima, I speak Spanish and get along quite nicely, but in one cab ride from my apartment I was quickly immersed in a sub-culture where I didn't understand the language or the customs, and everyone was trying to feed me despite my protests! I had a giant plate full of shrimp dumplings at 11am served by an elderly buddhist woman who insisted on bagging up what I didn't eat to send with me. I had fried wontons in a chifa (Chinese restaurant) while my friend discipled a young believer after the lunch rush. And then I had soup, egg rolls, and sticky bean pudding at two in the morning at a closed chifa during a Chinese Bible study on the outskirts of town. It was a whole new experience, a bit like traveling to a new country without ever leaving my city. There were definitely moments where I found myself asking, "Where am I?!"  

Anyway, I highly enjoyed getting an insider's view of the Chinese immigrant community here, and I am always impressed with the diligent work and long hours that our staff puts in to build relationships and share the Gospel. They are faithful laborers! Below is a short video promo of the work with the Chinese community in Lima. Check it out if you have time, and then don't forget to do what you can to support the work, not only with the Chinese of Lima, but with people everywhere! Pray, Give, Go! 

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