Obviously there are many things that are different in Peru. The obvious difference is that they speak Spanish. Another big difference is that you can't flush your toilet paper. That was a tricky one! Also, they drink a delicious beverage called Inca Kola! I don't even drink soda but I LOVE it! Their homes are different, oftentimes protected by a wall/gate at the street with some type of deterrent at the top of the wall (barbed wire, broken glass, etc). Even though it was "winter" there, the flowers and flowering trees are incredibly beautiful! Also, the avocados are ginormous! We were told that these were medium sized!!
|Walls protecting the homes or businesses within|
Park along El Malecón in Miraflores
|Medium sized avocados|
During one of our block parties in front of the house in La Victoria, a young girl on our trip began playing with a sweet little boy. She would gather up the hoola hoops and roll them to him. He would smile and squeal with delight, give them back to her and she would repeat. I am not exaggerating when I say they did this for probably an hour! And he never tired of it! Lauren made a friend named Kaory coloring with sidewalk chalk. The sweet girl didn't want to do anything else, only color with Lauren! There was a soccer game going on, face painting, Twister, and at one point even a game of Pato, Pato, Ganso (the Spanish version of Duck, Duck, Goose). We couldn't communicate with our words but we could play and laugh!
|Cait setting up the pins for these cuties to bowl|
|Lauren and Kaory|
|Sierra and the hoops|
|Hank was the Ganso!|
The super cool thing about this is that the parents were standing around beaming with joy as they watched their kids playing and laughing. And Sierra had the privilege of watching her friend's mother raise her hand to accept Jesus as her Savior! Sierra investing in this little boy opened the door for the mother to trust us and Camino de Vida.
Also, as the week progressed, the families in the neighborhood would gather outside and watch us work. We weren't asking them to participate in the clean up - no words were spoken. But as we began cleaning up the area in front of the house, neighbors began sweeping in front of their homes. We were leading by example!
And probably one of the highlights for me (okay, I know there were many) was the praise and worship! On that last morning, after pouring our hearts and souls and strength into getting the house ready, we walked into the main room where the guys were practicing for the service and we were overwhelmed with the worship. It was so beautiful! The wonder and awe associated with praising God for all that He is and all that He has done and for His love and grace is the same in any language! Many of us were completely overwhelmed with emotions - for all that had taken place over the week, for all of the potential in that place, for the opportunity to be part of something so much bigger than us, and with all of the love for these people and the La Victoria community! It didn't matter that we didn't know all of the words or that we couldn't pronounce them exactly right - the worship behind the words was what mattered...it is what should always matter the most.
I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to Lima and I am so thankful I did not let a language barrier keep me from going! A hug, a smile, love - they mean the same thing and have the same effect in Lima as they do at home!