In Peru, most everyone knits or crochets. We have sheep and llamas and alpacas in abundance, so knitting is a skill that most people learn in childhood. In daily functions, it ranks right up there with walking, breathing, and eating. I have tried really hard
to fit into the culture and learn to knit. I’ve really worked on being culturally appropriate and becoming one with the yarn and the people… but honestly, I can only knit one particular stitch (and it isn’t very pretty). I can crochet an incredible “rope” for a Barbie, but that’s where my talents end. I even had one Peruvian lady say to me, “If you can’t knit, what good are you?
Everyone can knit!” Sad day.
I knew I had found my Peruvian best friend when I finally met a woman who admitted that she couldn’t knit or crochet. In fact, she said that she hates it! I can’t tell you how much better this made me feel! Elva might not be able to knit, but she is the queen of embroidery. All of the women in our community admit that Elva is the best. She embroiders the most elaborate
Peruvian traditional skirts you have ever seen. Embroidery is also something that most women on the mountain do, so I saw my chance to “fit in”… I would become an apprentice to Elva and learn to embroider from the master.
Well, I must say, the technique that Peruvians use is amazing and difficult and fascinating. These ladies know more about color and art than anyone I have ever met. And they are FAST! They can embroider entire flowers, birds, and butterflies before I can finish the petal of a daisy! And they embroider with both hands actively.
I learned very quickly that, although I am much better at embroidery than I am at knitting or crocheting, I am still no
expert. My right hand seems to understand the big picture and it works diligently. However, my left hand seems to have a mind of it’s own. It’s like it isn’t attached to me. My brain tells it to go up and it goes down. My brain says “go a little left”and my hand inches further and further to the right. It has even gone so far as to attack my right hand with the needle and cause bodily injury! What is wrong with this crazy left hand? Why can’t it obey what my brain is saying? My brain knows what my
hand should do, what it needs to do, but my hand just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate!
Little by little, my left hand is beginning to learn. It is, by no means, a “skilled worker” yet, but we are getting there. Occasionally, it still goes rouge and does something crazy. And occasionally, it still has a radical moment when it stabs my poor right hand. For the rest of my body, it is a practice in patience as we slowly learn and train the left hand.
This reminds me of Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rms. 7:14-20). In short, he says, “I do not understand what I do.” And, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot seem to carry it out. What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” Paul is talking about sin in his life and the constant struggle that it is to try to train himself to do what is right, but his flesh continues to go it’s own way and do what is wrong. Much like my alien left hand who continues to do the opposite of what my brain is telling it to do! However, also like my left hand, with continual practice and patience and
attention to the problem, slowly we learn and grow and begin to obey and do what we know is right.
I’m working on my struggles with my left hand.
I’m also working on my personal struggles with my flesh.
I know that sin will be a constant struggle in this life and I won’t be made perfect until the end, but I also know that with attention and patience, perseverance, prayer and connection to my Savior, I can do all things through Christ!
(Maybe even learn to knit…)
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!