Sorry this is a little late…
This month has been a month of change and new adventures. On the 5th June Peru went to the polls for a second time and elected a new president, Ollenta. He officially becomes president on the 28th July and I am sure it is going to be an interesting next 5 years for Peru. For more information see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13680272 (BBC website). I have finished language school, taken my language exam and have said goodbye to friends in Arequipa and am now settling into life in Ica.
I am going to miss language school. I’m particularly going to miss my teachers who have been so patient and encouraging. They have got me to a stage where I can understand and speak Spanish, things I thought impossible at times. I think I may even miss the 2 to 3 hours of homework each day!! I did my leaving speech at school, a chance to show off the Spanish I have learnt; apparently I know 9 different verb tenses! I pray that I would continue to learn Spanish and grow more confident in my spoken Spanish each day.
On Saturday 11th June I went with 29 other people from my church to a hamlet outside a town called Pedregal, 2 hours away from Arequipa. We went to help the local church there by running events for children, youth and adults. It was great fun. We did puppet shows, sketches, games, crafts and talks. With the aim of telling people of the love Jesus has for them. It was also a good test of my Spanish. I enjoyed myself and loved talking to the children. It was also a chance to deepen relationships with people in my church.
I had my last service with my church on Father’s Day. The different children’s groups performed songs and dramas for their fathers. Father’s Day is just as big as Mother’s Day here. My church in Arequipa has been so welcoming and friendly to me and I am going to miss them. I have enjoyed getting to know the young adults through the Saturday evening group and the Senoritas (girls) group on Wednesday evenings.
The Carhuachin’s have become like my family over the last few months. I am so grateful to God that he provided them for me to live with. They have been so loving, patient and helpful. God knows me better than myself, what I need and He does provide-Praise God! I am going to miss them dearly. PRASIE GOD that through Pastor Pablo (the father) I have some where to live in Ica. I am living with Pastor Jose, his mother, aunt and two cousins. They have been unbelievably welcoming to me since arriving on Friday.
Before I left Arequipa I had a weeks’ holiday in Cusco and visited Machu Picchu. I got to visit a Latin Link family working with the elderly and with a fellow strider, Jonny, his sister and his two friends I went to Machu Picchu. I had great fun, even my first stomach upset didn’t stop me from walking on the Inca trail and getting to Machu Picchu. It was just the holiday I needed before I started my work here in Ica.
I was sad to leave Arequipa, but am excited and looking forward to all that is going to happen in Ica. I arrived on Friday morning after travelling on the overnight bus. I was met by Ramon, my A Rocha boss and taken to meet the family I am living with. They are truly wonderful, they live simply but are so welcoming and kind. I feel part of the family instantly. On Saturday morning at 6.30am I started my work here! I am helping A Rocha with their Huarango Project. On Saturday I helped collect the young seedlings of the Huarango trees, this was also a chance to start getting to know some of the student volunteers. I am thrilled about starting work in Ica, with A Rocha and pray that over the coming weeks and months God would really use me for His purpose and glory. For more information on the work of A Rocha in Peru see http://www.arocha.org/pe-en/192-DSY.html
Over this past month God has been really challenging me and teaching me to trust in him with my plans and future. I need to surrender my plans, my life, and my all to him. He knows me inside out and has the best life possible for me. I need to trust in Him in everything. I pray that I would daily give my life to Him. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future. I am learning to give my life, daily, to my Lord and Saviour. I don’t know what is going to happen during my time in Ica or in the future, but I know Ica is where God wants and has called me to be right now. I am amazed at how God has been working and how things in Ica have come together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle; God truly has His hands in all that is going on. God is with me always as Joshua 1 v 9 says ‘’Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Please note I have a new postal address in Ica- Apartado 28, Ica, Peru. Thank you so much for all your parcels, letters and emails. It has been so encouraging to hear from you with your news as well as receiving chocolate, earl grey tea and other goodies! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT it means so much to me!
For those that pray.
-That I have had such a blessed time in Arequipa, for all God has taught me, all the people I have met and all the experiences I have had in my first 4 months in Peru.
-That I have such a welcoming family to live with in Ica,
– That I have a basic understanding of Spanish and can now communicate with people!
– That I had a fun and refreshing time on holiday
-That I will quickly settle into life in Ica and start building friendships with people
-That I would continue to improve my knowledge of Spanish
-That I would know what to become involved with in my new church
-That I would continue to grow in my faith and I would put all my trust in God.
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.