As we move through this difficult time of adjustment and transition, we seem to be on a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes excited about new places and new opportunities and new challenges, sometimes so devastated at the thought of leaving the people we love and work with every day, sometimes paralyzed by the idea of picking up and moving again and starting over.
Building new relationships, saying goodbye to old ones. New ministry plans and vision and focus, yet thinking about the ministry here in Peru and praying that the seeds that we planted and fostered will continue to grow and spread. It is just a strange time of ‘in-between’worlds.
This time also causes me to do a lot of reminiscing and thinking back to what my original ideas were when we were transitioning to Peru. I never dreamed that I would be living in a primitive adobe house with no toilet! I never dreamed that my big challenges each day would be whether or not we have water, or whether or not the road would be open, or whether or not there would be grass to feed our goats. There are good things that I never dreamed about, too. I never dreamed that we would start two school programs, that we would have a community greenhouse or that we would have 30 abandoned elderly that we would feed and take care of. I never dreamed that we would teach Bible classes in the public school or that we would build 4 playgrounds in rural Peru.
Another ‘I never dreamed’ moment… One day, when I was well into a full-blown case of pneumonia (for the third time in four years), I was trying to take a shower. It was a miracle that we even had water that day! Our shower is located in an outhouse away from the main adobe structure, so I was pretty isolated and alone. During my shower, I began coughing. My coughing spells had gotten progressively worse over the past few days and left me gasping for air and panicked as to whether or not I would be able to take that next breath. This time, my coughing left me doubled over on the floor of the shower, naked and wet and wondering if this was the end. The thought crossed my mind, “When they find me dead on the floor, I hope Billy comes up with a good cover-up story! This is NOT the way I expected to die on the mission field. I always knew that I could die on the field, but I thought it would be doing something heroic or noble… carrying Bibles into the jungle, or trekking the highest Andes Mountains with locals, or at the hands of an angry
anti-Christian mob. I never thought that I would cough to death on the shower floor! This just won’t do!!! Oh, Billy - Please come up with a better story before my funeral!” I was totally serious. So serious that I laid there and cried.
I laugh about that story now, but it really wasn’t funny then. I spent the
next 5 days in the hospital.
There are so many good memories here. Days when we have spent all day sitting in someone’s field talking while they harvested a crop or sifted wheat or watched their sheep graze. Memories of sitting and embroidering for hours with community ladies, fingers literally bloody because I am so inept at this art form that even 4 year old Peruvians can do. Remembering how my name sounds when twenty preschoolers squeal it at the top of their lungs and run to hug my knees. Remembering watching a tiny‘disabled’ student, Kenyi, as he ran the 50 yard dash for a hundred amazed on-lookers... a miracle in action.
Memories…how will we ever live through the next couple of months? This transition gets harder by the day.
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!