The past couple of weeks, we’ve had a group of visitors from Lancaster Bible College. They’ve been able to see and experience a lot of our various ministries and visit many of our church plants and outreaches. Last Thursday, our anniversary, was also two of the girls’ birthdays. One of the girls was turning 18 on the 18th, so it was kind of a big deal. Peruvians LOVE celebrations, so we actually had two surprise birthday parties for the girls. The first was held in my classroom with my little girls and their moms. The second was that evening, after chapel. The IBYM students threw a “Quincenera” – which is the big 15th birthday party that Latin girls have. The girls were treated almost like brides; they threw a bouquet, were escorted around the room by different men, given seats of honor, their own cake… It was quite the fiesta! One of the games they played with the IBYM students was like a giant version of “rock, paper, scissors”. You have two teams and your choices are lion, man, or rifle. Lion eats the man; rifle kills the lion; man controls the rifle. The picture below shows one team as lion and the other as man. It was quite funny. We got a video of another game they played – the equivalent of “musical chairs” with the girls being the “chairs.” The boys had to run around the girls and when the music stopped, they had to link arms with a girl. HILARIOUS! And they wonder why Bible Schools are usually called “bridal schools”…
The other celebration we attended a week ago was an anniversary celebration for a BCM church plan that’s been in existence for five years. It was not started by BCM, but a BCM pastor was asked to take it over a few years ago. Anniversaries like this are celebrated much, much differently down here! They went ALL OUT. The celebration began at 3pm (approximately) with a lot of singing. After the singing, they had a few special presentations from our evangelistic team called Apoyo.
They did a song and then a couple of mimes. Once they were done, we sang some more…Peruvian churches LOVE to sing…and then we had a special message from our good friend, Jonaton Odicio, who also just happens to be head of the Apoyo Ministry Team.
Being the silly Americans we are, we thought we’d be nearing the end of the celebration now. We were wrong. 🙂 After Jonaton spoke, they had each BCM church plant give a presentation. Each Bible club we have in the area was represented, either by some of the children or just their leaders. Those with kids, sang; those whose kids couldn’t make it, just said special words of Congratulations to the church.
This club actually consists of about 50 children, but they were from a different city and very few could make it. They sang BEAUTIUFULLY! The lady up there with them is hands-down the sweetest lady we’ve ever met. Her name is Karina; her husband, Gimbler, is the pastor of the church this Bible club is held at. Their precious baby girl is the product of a 7-year wait. 🙂 Sweet family.
After the songs and congratulations, a birthday cake came out! They turned off the lights and sang 3 of the 5 versions of Happy Birthday (including “Happy Birthday” the English version!) that we have here in Peru. Then, gifts were presented from area churches. What we love about “gifts” down here for special occasions like this – or even for events like Mother’s Day – they’re all very practical! You’ll notice the one gift is a mop and bucket. How much more practical can that be??
Then, we sang some more! And finally, cake and punch was handed out. We’ve noticed as well that at events like this, you never, ever serve yourself cake or refreshments. They are ALWAYS brought to you. Part of that is the space issue; we were well over 100 people packed in a room that could safely (and comfortably) hold about 60. So, there was no room to move around. But then as well, it’s just a way to show honor to your guests.
So, that was our fun week of celebrations! This week, we’ll have yet another celebration. The group from Lancaster is leaving Friday, so right after lunch, we’ll be throwing a goodbye party – complete with gifts and farewell prayers and well-wishes. Peruvians are NOT quiet about their celebrating or rejoicing. Any and every event is cause for a celebration and they sure do it up right! Even our anniversary was recognized last week after the big birthday bash. We were invited up front, prayed over, and we were asked to say a few words to each other. Brian’s “words” made me cry, so all I got out was, “I love you, too.” 🙂
On another note – be praying for us! Brian leaves Saturday morning at 4am for Iquitos. He’ll be gone for 2 weeks doing some pretty tough manual labor in even HOTTER weather than what we had in March. While he’s gone, I’ll be here, by myself, teaching. 😦 Not looking forward to it, but I’ll be okay. Pray for us! I’ll keep you updated with how Brian is doing whenever I hear from him.