So, today marks 2 months here! I can't believe it is ONLY 2 months. I say that not in a bad way but because I feel like I have lived SO MUCH life in these 2 months. Acclimating to a new country, culture, language, and everything else is a lot of work, so it just feels longer! So, here is the short version of what has been going on in the last few weeks. I finished Spanish Basic 1 classes and moved on to Spanish Basic 2!! The basic classes are 6 months long ( a month at a time) if you take them back to back and pass each one. Yep, you need to do projects, and take oral and written exams to pass. I love being a student so I am enjoying this a lot! It is finding the time to do the homework and study that is a bit more challenging!
About 2 weeks ago another single missionary from the US moved here. She will also work in the same area of ministry that I am working in with the church so we see each other often. Having her come has helped me tremendously for 2 reasons. One is because it helped to take my mind off myself and put it on her, to help her with the initial adjustment period. I was able to help her register for Spanish classes, help be her translator, and learn the bus route without the help of any natives! The second reason is because I am now building a friendship with her. This is answered prayer for me, so thank you for your prayers. It has been good to be able to have another person who is from the US who I can talk to and have deeper conversations until we are both able to talk in Spanish more with our Peruvian friends.
Last week the church received a team from the states with Free Wheelchair Mission. This is the organization who first led me to Peru. I spent the majority of their time here with them. I was able to go with them and participate in the mass building and distribution of 100 wheelchairs over 2 days (one for building and one for giving away). I had the opportunity to get to adapt a few of the wheelchairs for the kids that didn't fit exactly right in the chair due to their physical needs by using some supplies including duct tape and foam blocks that were left from a group of therapists that came from the states a few months ago! I was also able to go with the team to do some house to house wheelchair distributions and was so happy to help the group process through some things that many people have (including myself when I was here the first time) after doing the house to house visits. I LOVED doing this! It was so great to be able to use the skills God gave me in this past week. It was so energizing for me and I'm so excited for future groups to come to continue to help in this way along with doing therapy as well. The last day the group was here we got to go to the beach. It was so wonderful to end their time here in this way. The sun was out, the beach was beautiful, and the sound of the ocean was relaxing. I was so thankful for God to give me this gift.
The next day my new friend and I left with a group from the church to take a 9 hour bus ride over the mountains and into the jungle. It was my first time in the jungle and it was hot, humid, and gorgeous. We got to go hiking through the jungle to see some beautiful waterfalls before we went and served. It was really surreal when I realized that I was literally walking through the rain forest!! We were able to serve 5 different communities with 4 being focused on children and families and one focused on the elderly. We gave bibles, toys, reading glasses, clothes, cookies, and did a dental campaign where we did flouride treatments for the kids. With the elderly we gave reading glasses, gave the ladies manicures, and shared bibles and some food with the rest. The poverty there was immense compared to Lima, and it made me really thankful for the little things that Lima offered in comparison.
So, as I go into my 3rd month here in Peru, here are some prayer requests:
1. To continue to learn the language and culture. There continues to be a learning curve for this but thankfully most people are giving a lot of grace to me.
2. To have some Peruvian friendships start to build.
3. To continue to move forward in this vision for what my ministry will look like.
4. To continue to be encouraged and filled with joy each day. According to many missionaries and my MTI training, I have heard that it is natural and expected to go through cycles of depression during long term missions. It tends to cycle every 3 months or so. I know it is not science and it doesn't happen to everyone, so I am just asking for prayers for this area specifically in this upcoming month and in December. With the holidays approaching this tends to be a difficult time of year for anyone to be away from their family so please just pray for my heart and mental health.
Thank you all again for all you are doing to encourage and support me! Remember to please let me know how you are doing too! I really do want to know!