"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose". Romans 8:28

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Amor Extremo

What an exciting time to be involved in the kingdom-expansion that is taking place in the southern part of Peru! I arrived on June 17th to my Peruvian home in Arequipa after several hours of travel and no sleep. The excitement and anticipation for Saturday's mega event was felt throughout the entire city. The Extreme staff and volunteers had been working on promotion and getting the last minute details ready in order to shake Arequipa for Christ, but what happened on Saturday was more than any of us could have imagined!

The event was held in a spacious fairground/event center that was perfect for all of the activities that we had planned. I helped both in the prayer room and with the woman's conference. Our special guests included Tammy Trent, an amazing Christian artist with a beautiful testimony, and Lonna Vopat, who shared her powerful and inspiring story that many of the Peruvian's were able to relate with. There were at least 1,000 women who attended the conference and more than 100 of them decided to accept the joy and hope that only Christ can offer them! I had the privileged to help with the consolidation process of with both the conference and after Nick's speech later that same evening. To be able to welcome new sisters into the family of God and get their information was such a huge honor.
The other activities of the day included a men's conference, childrens festival, medical clinic, and a guinea pig feast. The main attraction of the day was Nick Vujicic, an evangelist who was born without any arms or legs. He had the most powerful testimony I have heard before and shared of how he overcame major obstacles in his life to be exactly what God created him to be. Overall there were over 10,000 people who attended the event and over 1,000 decisions were made for Christ! It was definitely a victorious day for the church in Peru!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Times of refreshing

These past few weeks have been filled with many tears, prayers, healing, and loved ones. My first week home was one of the hardest times I have experienced in my life. I was filled with grief and confusion, not sure what the future held. However, through the chaos, I learned to lean even heavier upon the hands that hold my future and was determined that his plans for my life were far better than anything I could come up with.

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart", is one of my favorite Psalms which I have read several times before and have often quoted in reference to something that my heart desired. What was I desiring? God's will? Just to be in Peru with my group? To see the kingdom expanded? God revealed to me that what I need to delight myself in is him, allowing him to satisfy all the longings of my heart and in doing this I will desire him, his plans.

So that is what I did during this time and what I experienced was more than just physical healing, but a spiritual refreshing of his presence. God was faithful and good and restored my health and I am now feeling the best I have felt in three months! I have also been encouraged and refreshed by the many lovely visitors I have had during my short time home.

I am planning on returning to Peru on Wednesday and serving as a short-term volunteer for Love Extreme in Arequipa and Cusco. I am homesick for Peru and it took returning to the states for me to realize that I truly love Peru and have made that my home. I can't wait to be reunited with my family down there and serve alongside them with this new strength that I have received. Although I am uncertain of whether I will be with my cohort or placed in the next group, I am confident that everything will workout exactly as it was suppose to. I will keep you all posted on the work that is taking place during Love Extreme. If you are interested in getting more info, you can visit: http://www.extremenazarene.org/ShortTermDetail.aspx?ID=10

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Inspiration in song

I know that there is a reason for all of this pain and he will reveal it in his time. I know it wasn't a mistake for me to go to Peru and that my work isn't finished yet. Through this trial I have found counsel and encouragement from many songs and my devotional, "Streams in the desert". Today's reading was about Abraham who had faith that God would fulfill his promises against all hope.

Great faith must first endure great trials.
God's greatest gifts come through great pain.

Though I am more confused and uncertain of what the future holds, I have found complete comfort in the hands of my father. A few of my dear friends sent me songs that explain EXACTLY what I am feeling and I wanted to share them here. Also wanted to share this verse from Isaiah 41:10:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed , for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"

Home again

What a whirlwind of emotions and events I have experienced since my last post! However, in the midst of all this, there is a calming peace and sense that everything is going to be the way it is suppose to be.

After a week of resting to see if there was any improvements, I decided that it would be best for me to go home and figure out the source of the pain. It was a difficult decision because I just want to serve in Peru and I have formed a beautiful family in Peru and couldn't imagine leaving, but I needed to think of what was the best for my health and what condition I needed to be in to do the most good in Peru. I spent all last week with my brothers and sisters and prepared for my journey back home.

Thursday night we went to the roof underneath the stars and sang worship songs and ended in prayer. This is my favorite activity to do with the group and was so blessed to have one last opportunity to share this with them. I was also serenaded by several of my teammates and received a flower and many encouraging letters. On Friday, we had an ice cream farewell and then I was accompanied with 27 people to the airport! I was overwhelmed with the display of love that I received from my family in Peru. Many tears were shed and it was probably one of the most difficult good-byes I have experienced. I arrived in Lima, spent the night in the district off, and went early in the morning to receive my residency card. I am now an official resident of Peru and can call it home. I left late on Saturday and after 14 hours of travel, I arrived in sunny, humid Ohio. The flight wasn't as excruciating as expected which I know is an answer to prayer!
It was so surreal to be back in the states and I have definitely experienced reverse culture shock, but I enjoyed seeing loved ones again. I was even able to surprise my entire family who had no idea that I was coming home. Their reactions were priceless!

Rachel Kuhn, who is amazing and I love very much, was able to find me a doctor from our church in Westerville who was willing to see me for free. I went yesterday to Dr. Stock who was so wonderful and thorough and finally gave me a diagnosis after three months of searching. She told me that I have soft muscle and tissue damage from a combination of my accidents. This is something that just takes time to heal, but with medicine and rest, I can hopefully heal a little sooner. We aren't really sure what the time frame is or if I will be well enough to come back in a few weeks.

Prayer requests for this time:
Speedy healing
That Extreme finds a Peruvian partner for me
My team back in Peru
That God would reveal what he wants me to learn during this time

Thank you all so much for your encouragement and prayers! I will be heading to Westerville church this weekend and to my home church in London the following weekend and am looking forward to seeing many of you! I also have the same phone number if you would like to call me while I am stateside.