Sitting in chapel half asleep one morning in January '07, the speaker for the day introduced a program called Let's Start Talking, a mission-based organization that sends people all over the world to teach English through the book of Luke in the Bible. God laid something on my heart and I was instantly hooked. My friend Elissa and I went to a meeting in the library that night after golf practice and the next five months were a whirlwind of training, excitement, and anticipation. Our team of three didn't know where we would be sent until a few weeks before our departure. We hoped to sing "The Hills are Alive" in the Swiss Alps, or shop the amazing streets of Tokyo, or something equally as awesome anywhere else in the world. But, much to our dismay, we were to go to Lima, Peru for six weeks. We disliked this idea very much. It just didn't seem, well, "cool". Despite our nervousness of the culture, my secret inner fear was that I wouldn't make a strong enough connection with the people to truly change their lives. I kept wondering how God would give me the ability to move these people. It just didn't seem possible. For one, I'm terrible at Spanish. How could I break the language barrier in order to help them know Christ? How could our team of three make a difference? As these questions kept flooding my head, I turned to God in prayer and hoped He would provide us with all the tools we needed to spread His word to the Peruvians.
Sitting in the tiny church, reading from our workbooks, it was Erin, Mark and I that were doing the learning. The men, women, and children that came to read with us daily were AMAZING. They would melt your heart. Some would come without shoes (June/July in Peru=winter=very, very cold) after having walked for miles to come study about Jesus. Their desire to learn was so inspiring and profound that at times I felt ashamed of my own lack of drive. All my worries were alleviated as it became apparent that the Bible speaks for itself. It truly is universal. We were not the instructors, God's word did all the talking. One chilly afternoon, a woman sat down to read with me looking troubled. As we began to talk, she told me that her four year old daughter was very ill and her family could not afford to get her treatment. Her little girl hadn't gotten out of bed in three weeks. She began to cry and I asked her if she wanted to speak with the preacher, but she shook her head no and said she wanted to follow through with our lesson. She somehow found encouragment as she read, her voice strong and persistent with every verse. When she left that day, I felt heavyhearted knowing she would likely not be back and I would never know what became of her child. I have faith that her little girl is somewhere smiling, though, because I can still hear her mother's beautiful voice reading "For with God nothing shall be impossible". Luke 1:37
A few pictures of our adventures....
appetizing pig heads in the market in Oxapampa
lunch....I'll let you guess what all this platter consisted of
our great church group
Pachacamac, built c. 800-1450 CE