Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Peru Lesson 2 (and also 3 & 4)--Be Careful What You Pray For

People ask, “How was your trip?” to which I reply, “Good…(long pause)…intense.” This is the point where most folks smile politely and change the subject to something safer, more comfortable. I can’t necessarily say that I blame them. I’ve been on many mission trips, even been to Peru before. This time I asked God to show me something different. I wanted to gain more than just an appreciation for how blessed I am to live in the USA; more than just the understanding that even though these people are poor, they love God with their whole heart; and most of all, more than just the inner satisfaction of knowing I stepped out of my comfort zone to share the gospel. All of these are indeed valuable lessons, but I specifically asked God to allow me to be part of something that only He could take credit for. And so, this trip became an exercise in faith…a test of whether I really believe what I say I believe.

We worked in two relatively new areas. In Alto Trujillo, a man who’d lived much of his life battling drugs and alcohol before his conversion to Christ, opened his home for us to hold our meetings. His house consisted of two rooms with dirt floors and a patchwork roof. There were 30+ women who attended Bible study in the back room while over 120 children joined us in the front room for VBS. Services were also held there each evening. God asked me, “Do you really believe, like Julio, that everything you have is a gift from Me? Will you allow Me unlimited, unconditional control of all that you have?”


The second place we worked was New Jerusalem. This area was much poorer, not only their living conditions, but also their spiritual conditions. The people were not as receptive to the Gospel as previous groups I’ve worked with. They were more difficult because they were neither as gracious nor grateful for our presence. We saw little return on our investment. In fact, we did not go back to that location for our final evening service due to concern for our safety. It was at this point, I heard God’s voice saying, “I love these people, too. They desperately need Me, too. Don’t dismiss them because their hearts are hardened.” I realized that He was asking me to examine my motives, “Are you spiritually mature enough to do the right thing even when you don’t receive the instant gratification of seeing dozens saved or feel the gratitude of the people you are serving?”

The final, and possibly, most difficult test came our last day in Peru. As we were preparing to go home, Ms. Mola, a precious lady still serving Jesus at age 85, suffered a fatal heart attack. It goes without saying that one does not really think something like this will happen while on a mission trip (especially not a trip on which you’ve brought your twelve year old daughter). For a split second that morning in the hotel room, I was afraid. I had assumed that God’s protection included safe passage for all of us. It frightened me to suddenly come face to face with the reality that His ways are not our ways. It was as if He said, “Do you really trust Me? Do you understand that I do things for My glory that may seem tragic? Can you accept that you will not understand many of those things this side of eternity?”

The verse I claimed for this trip was Isaiah 26:8, “Yes, Lord, walking in the ways of your laws we wait for you. Your name and your renown are the desires of our hearts.” I asked Him to teach me something new and allow me to be a part of something much bigger than myself. I learned that claiming His name and His renown as the desire of my heart is not always convenient, comfortable or even safe; yet there is no place I’d rather be than waiting for Him while walking in the ways of His laws.

98 comments:

cat said...

Oh wow, what a story! Peru has always held a fascination for me. And thinking of it in a different way, it is great that God came to fetch her when she was busy working hard for him.

Columbia Lily said...

mission trips were always the most memorable and also the most soul searching points in my life. Very cool story.

Karen Hoover said...

Wow, this really touched me. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

{Katie Lane} said...

What a great lesson to learn. God's ways are not always our ways for sure. It's hard to acept this sometimes but so rewarding when we do. Thanks for being a great example for us all.

Tranquility said...

Hmm... yes, "intense" seems like the right description!

Louisa said...

WOW. Thanks so much for sharing this story, I really mean it. It was really encouraging to see how God challenged you. How do you feel those lessons have impacted you now that you are home? (if you don't mind me asking). It's great that you shared this, thank you!

Elaine said...

Your story was very touching. I know from my own experience that being on a mission trip teaches oh so many lessons. I think that when I'm away, and not so focused on my everyday "self" I am so much more open and willing to hear what the Lord is trying to say to me. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.
Elaine

Eve said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. :)

Astrid said...

WOW! Truly an amazing story! One that I'm sure you'll remember for many, many years to come.

Happy SITS day!

blognut said...

Wow - that is a very moving story. Thanks.

sandy said...

Thnk you for sharing such an amazing experience with us. We may not always know why God does what He does. But He knows....

K said...

It is intense, but's it's beautiful.

I think it's wonderful you makes these trips.

Monica said...

Wow! That does seem like an intense experience!

HeatherY said...

Wow, what an incredible story. Intense might even be putting it lightly.

Safire said...

Great story and lesson! Happy SITS day.

Ryan Ashley Scott@Optimistic Cynicism said...

Intense is about the same description my mom gave when she returned from her missions trip to Peru this past summer. It was her first, probably of many to come.

Thanks for sharing this story of faith.

Mandy said...

Wow. That is great.

Congrats on your Featured Blogger day!!

Creative Junkie said...

A very thought provoking post - thank you.

Its Me(SARA) Behind the Camera said...

Wow what an inspirational story! It is awesome to see how God works! :)

Jamie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm visiting from SITS.

Karol said...

That's amazing. My sister does ministry work, she actually works at Teen Mania Ministries.

I find it wonderful that you travel to spread the Word.

ScrappinAway said...

Thanks for sharing. I have always been interested in mission work, but have only gone on in country mission trips. Maybe when my little one is older we can do what you did and take one with our daughter. Even though you had a sad event happen I think overall it was a great opportunity for her!

Erika said...

Thanks for sharing this! And congrats on your SITS feature!

Heather said...

What an amazing post.

Thank you for sharing it, and what better way to share your beliefs than on your SITS day? When hundreds of women are reading your blog. If you even touch one reader with this story, that is a blessing.

Coffee with Cathy said...

I'm always in awe of people who interrupt their everyday lives and go on mission trips like this. Thank you for sharing the difficult lessons you learned with the rest of us.

Maggie Sue Designs said...

Faith is important. Thanks for sharing :)
~~Meredith from SITS
http://www.maggiesuedesigns.com

Stesha said...

Wonderful story and thanks for allowing us to get a glimpse of your mission trip.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

Tiffany said...

What great lessons in faith. You have a true teachable heart and you go to the Right One for lessons. Thanks for sharing.

Janna said...

Thanks for sharing your story.

mommytoalot said...

What a fantastic story.
congrats on being the FB

Ryan and Katie said...

What a blessing to get to go on a trip like this!

Bethany said...

WOW, what a cool post! I went on a mission trip to Belize this past summer and it was definitely "good...intense!" Awesome experience! :)

Joy said...

Denyse, the treasures in heaven that await you will undoubtably be breathtaking.

Congratulations on your SITS feature. :o)

Brandy said...

Thanks for sharing your story and the lessons that He taught you.

Lyssa Ireland Thomas said...

Just beautiful. It reminds me how I seek to do what is comfortable and easy. Maybe it's time to share a little outside the comfort zone. Thanks for the insight.

Tabitha Blue said...

So great to see your missions trip to Peru!!!! We have taken many as well, and been on a few mission trips to Peru. It really can be a tough place, but also has a special place in my heart. Looks like you've really trusted God and pulled through when the times got tough, that's what it's all about. It's so great to see!!!

:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

Shalee- Be Speechless said...

Wow, what a beautiful and awe inspiring post. It never ceases to amaze me how people in other countries can believe the same things that I believe. That only confirms my faith in a higher power.


Happy SITS day.

mommy4life said...

I think we all need a wake-up call sometimes. It's easy to say we trust God. It's another thing to actually do it. Thanks for being willing to share.

Jennifer said...

Wow!! That looked liek an amazing mission trip. I want to go on one one day for sure!!

My husband went on a 2-year mission trip to the Caribbean, he loved it!

Thanks for sharing!

Aubrey said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It was very moving!

Monica said...

I love what God shows us about himself and us when we are on a mission trip. But it is also hard to come back home and not be moved like that everyday. I hate how we (I) become so wrapped back in everyday life in the US. I want everyday to be a mission trip like experience. God is just seems SO omnipresent in that experience, so comforting. Great story. I know there are many more like it.

Barb said...

Happy SITS day...
I love your story...isn't God just so amazing? Wow.... thanks for sharing such an amazing trip

Susan said...

What a great story. Hope you are having a great SITS day!

Michelle said...

Isnt that amazing.

We've recently begun a journey, which for some may seem trivial, but for others just plain strange. But God is saying the same to us: Do you trust me? Can you just rest in me?

While stepping out in faith can be a little scary, isnt it nice knowing we ARE in God's will and we choose to be there.

Jacie said...

God is truly amazing.

Xazmin said...

What a neat, life-changing experience. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa M said...

Happy SITS Day !

What a great story. Sometimes God's answers to our prayers aren't exactly the way we want them, but they are always the ones that touch our souls the most and make us grow.

Amanda said...

Wow what an amazing trip to get to be apart of!

Marrdy said...

That is a great story. Someday I would like to take on something like this too.

Willo said...

Wow! What a tale to tell for a very long time to come!

Karen (KayKay) said...

What a great story and I love your attitude and comments about it. Really makes you think. Our church has a mission in Peru and I am hoping to go this year.

Reeni♥ said...

What a moving story. It really makes you think...

Ronnica said...

On my trips overseas I've been incredibly broken for the spiritual needs of the people.

Misadventurous Mommy said...

Visiting from SITS!

What a truly inspirational story that we can all learn something from!

Tiffany said...

Beautiful post.

Your questions are so poignant and honest.

Michele said...

What a story. That must have been an amazing trip.

Vickie said...

Thank you for sharing this trips experiences. Happy SITS day!

kikibibi said...

Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

CC said...

Oh, what an exercise in faith, that's for sure! What a story, I hope this post helped with your healing and strengthened your faith.

Have a great SITS day and congrats again for being featured!

Angela said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I always say that God has a purpose for us and when it's our time we can't escape it. It was her time and she passed doing what she loved doing.

April said...

Happy SITS DAY...great, inspiring story!

Just say Julie said...

That is an awesome story. I remember the mission trips I took as a teen and those from young adulthood. Very intense, and very hard to describe to those that didn't go.

Man and Kat said...

Wow...thanks for sharing your story!

kjamama said...

Congrats on being Featured Blogger!! What a moving post :)

Laura said...

My dad served a mission in Peru for two years. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and helping others.

Brittany said...

WOW! God is so COOL!

Jamie said...

Powerful post! Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

That is so beautiful! It is amazing what happens when we rely upon the Lord for all things, isn't it? I have to admit, I am a little jealous that you got to go to Peru. What an amazing experience and blessing. Good luck with all.

Tori C. (The Sweet Jelly Bean) said...

Thanks for such an inspirational post!

Bethany said...

As a missionary kid from Ukraine, this post was especially interesting to me!

Mommy said...

Visiting from SITS....traveling always reminds me how blessed I am. Thanks for sharing your story.

Sara said...

Thank you for sharing this post with us.

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing--I love the pictures you included

Donnetta said...

What a wonderful story. My perspective is that if she had a choice, she would have picked to meet her Father exactly the way she did - quickly, without pain and serving Him.

Girly Do's said...

Wow- what a wonderful experiance! And you are right--- intense.

Sherrie said...

Thank you for sharing what you learned. I think we can ALL learn from that. Happy SITS day to you!

momma said...

my SIL is going to Peru in Jan of 2010 as a missionary for 2 years.

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Thanks for sharing your story and teaching us all a lesson on faith.

Alicia @ Oh2122 said...

What an experience.

Happy SITS Day.

Blue Castle said...

What a beautiful story. Mission trips are so much more than just another trip. It's hard to share that with people, sometimes.

Leslie said...

Wow! What an amazing experience. You were ready to grow, you knew it, you asked God to stretch you, He did, and you realized that too. Amazing things happen when we listen to God.

- Leslie, a SITSta

Jeanne said...

Thank you for sharing this!

hormonalhomemaker said...

Oh, you've brought tears to my eyes and given me chill bumps! In a good way! God is awesome!

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

Happy Blogger Day! The Lord is Good!

What a life you have lived! There is a crown in heaven with your name on it.

Tara said...

Ohhhh...wow....thank you for sharing...my goodness! ♥

Michelle said...

There are always questions -- and way more questions than answers. I'm sorry for the loss of Ms. Mola.

angie said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Beth said...

Beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing.

Sarah@VintageChic said...

What an experience! It does sound like the Lord worked through you and opened your eyes. My uncle & aunt were missionaries in Lima, Peru and still go back every year for mission trips.

Jacky said...

Wow, thanks so much for sharing!

♥Trina♥ said...

My mom takes two trips a year to Baja California for mission trips. When she returns, she has such wonderful stories. Your story reminds me of hers in many ways.

{april kennedy} said...

I enjoyed your story and long for the day that my husband and I can travel to a far away place and serve the people there.

rightonmom said...

Came here from SitS.
Thank you for sharing a wonderful lesson and allowing God to speak through you, it was a great service to us all.

jubilee said...

Touching. Makes me examine my own motives.

Quiskaeya said...

What a beautiful testimony of God's hand at work! Its amazing that when we allow ourselves to be used by God to help others, we learn and grow as well. :)

Visiting from SITS

Rachael said...

Happy SITS day! What an amazing and wonderful story.

Heth said...

What an amazing story. I really enjoyed reading your blog this morning after finding it on SITS. Look foward to reading more!

Sugar Mommy said...

Thanks for the beautiful reminder!

Popping in from SITS. Can't wait to read more.