Well, we’re now on the countdown to Christmas day! The festive feeling is well underway here in Peru, our Christmas tree is up and shops full of Christmas goodies and Frosty the Snowman blaring out. I’m so used to Christmas being cold and dark, it feels rather odd to be preparing from for Christmas in such boiling heat! Being in such a different context helps me remember that Christmas isn’t about wrapping up warm and eating mince pies, but it’s a celebration of God the Son becoming man so that we might be reconciled to God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As ever, November was a busy month. The biggest change this month has been moving apartments! I am now living with the Shelley Family, Robin, Tracy and their three children, Kilaine, Liam and Nala. The Shelley’s are American Missionaries working here in Ica and they have already made me feel like part of the family.
In terms of work highlights include attending a Ministry of Agricultural meeting about further reforestation projects, visited Huanagal to see a huarango forest, painted a wall and many tyres for a garden. Planted lots, played many games and read Bible stories to children and youth.
I also visited the cinema for the first time in Ica with Ruth my mentor and her husband Paul when they came to visit, towards the end of the month I celebrated Thanksgiving and my birthday. I felt very loved by all my friends in Ica, celebrations included lots of cake, learning some traditional dance, karaoke and a meal of traditional food from Ica.
Work continues in Fonavi San Martin on the outskirts of Ica on our community garden. We head out there 3 times a week to run a children’s club. I still feel nervous about running the group and I occasionally wonder ‘why am I doing this again?’ especially when it comes to speaking the language. But when I get there and start working with the children, those worries disappear, the group goes well and I have so much fun with the children. They really make it all worth it.
On 17th December we will celebrate the opening of our garden by putting on a Christmas party for all the children who have helped create and tend the garden. Other children from the area will also be invited. There is still a lot to be done on the garden for it to be ready, please ask God that gives us productivity in our remaining time. I am gradually getting into the laid back Peruvian approach but I’ve still got a way to go!
One of the best parts of church is working with the youth group in 12 de Marzo. The biggest excitement is that some of the youth have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and are getting baptised! Praise God! It has also been a privilege getting to know the youth, some of the mums and younger siblings. At times I really feel lost with the language and that can cause me to doubt why I am there. When this happens I remind myself of how God led me to this work and that I can trust in his strength and sovereignty. I don’t know how it works but somehow God’s grace is sufficient for me and his power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12: 9) I really want to know more and more of that amazing grace!
The Shelley’s and I are planning a Christmas party for the A Rocha volunteers with a blend of Peruvian, U.S and UK traditions. Many of the volunteers are not yet Christians so we will also be talking about why we celebrate Christmas. Please pray that we would have fun and as we share the gospel our friends would hear of God’s great love, that he would come to earth, live and then die to save us.
In December, Jacqui, a good friend from Devon is going to be in Ica for a few days helping out with the work of A Rocha, as well as meeting my friends and family here. I am excited to spend time with her, catching up on news as well as showing her what I have been up to in Ica.
I cannot do any of this without your support through prayer, emails, letters and financial giving –THANK YOU so much for partnering with me and enabling all of this to happen.
For those who pray-
-that we have a God who loves so much that he sent His son down to earth to save us.
-that some of the youth in 12 de Marzo have decided to give their lives to Jesus.
-for all wonderful blessings that God has given us all, and for this opportunity I have to live and serve in this wonderful place.
– for all the friends that I have made in Ica
-for Jacqui’s time here, that we would be a blessing to each other and that we can encourage one another as we spend time together.
-for the 17th December, for the garden opening and Christmas party. Pray that the work that needs to happen to the garden gets done and that the Christmas party is a time of celebration and a time where people can hear of God’s great love for them.
-for the Christmas party for the A Rocha volunteers, that we would have lots of fun together. Pray that hearts would be opened to hear God’s word.
-through the month of December I am travelling back and forth to Lima several times for various reasons, please pray for safety during these trips.
-that I would trust God in everything, knowing that he will provide for all my needs.
After some language training to improve my Spanish I will be taking up the role of Short Term Coordiantor (STC) for Peru. The STC coordinates the Latin Link Step (teams) and Stride (people) programmes, placing them in projects lasting from a few weeks to two years. Based in Arequipa, I will be getting involved in a local church and my local community.