**This is something Lisa wrote commemorating today. Enjoy!**
We made it. We have been in South America ONE YEAR AND ONE DAY. I’m just so, so, so thankful right now I feel like my heart is going to burst.
A week ago one year ago, if that makes sense, we were saying goodbye to my parents and our good friends at Grace Bible Church. We had an awesome commissioning service and many tearful goodbyes. My sister drove down the day before we left and my only regret is that I didn’t get more time with her.
We pulled away from my parents’ house on a freezing cold Tuesday morning. And by freezing, I do mean, FREEZING. We drove down to Florida where it was finally sunny and somewhat warm to be with my brother and Britany. We spent a few days there, then drove further south to Clearwater, Florida, where it was actually colder than Pensacola. We did some sight-seeing and hung out together – had a really nice time staying at my uncle’s condo. They left us Monday afternoon. That goodbye just plain sucked. There’s no other way to describe it.
Tuesday morning, one year ago yesterday, my uncle drove us bright and early to the Tampa airport where we caught an early flight to Ft. Lauderdale. We sat in that airport all day, watching movies on the computer, using the internet, and killing time. Got on our late-night flight to Lima… and landed in a whole new world.
Since then, we’ve…
- been to the jungle – twice for me, three times for Brian.
- been to the Amazon River.
- been to the Pacific Ocean and lived in the desert.
- been to the foothills of the Andes, which reminded us strangely of South Dakota.
- lived in a small guest house.
- built a house.
- bought some handmade, custom-built furniture.
- (me) taught school for the first time ever.
- (Brian) become head of maintenance of BCM Peru.
- been infested with spiders… and by infested, I literally mean, INFESTED. Not an exaggeration.
- killed somewhere around 20 mice. In our house.
- discovered that crickets CAN grow to abnormal sizes.
- held random jungle animals, like sloths.
- been so sick we thought for sure we’d die, but obviously did not.
- ate things we didn’t think we would, like cow heart and the lining of a cow’s stomach. The heart is good. The stomach lining, not so much.
- learned a good chunk of Spanish! Not fluent, but we can sure manage just fine.
- fell in love with things like Peruvian Chinese food and Inca Kola.
- made some of the best friends we’ve ever had.
- seen the Lord save hundreds of kids and teenagers.
- been witnesses to miracles, in our own lives and in the lives of others.
- been an active part of a thriving ministry for one solid year.
- finally have a baby on the way.
God is so good to us. So, so good to us.
“When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth…May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:14-15, 19-21
Personally, I think those verses need way more exclamation points, but whatever.
Maybe this wasn’t the easiest year we’ve ever lived. Or the healthiest. Maybe it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do to say goodbye to our family, friends, churches, and the life we’ve known. Maybe living on support has its downfalls. Maybe the bugs get to us (me). BUT…
I wouldn’t trade this for the world. Not one second. Not one experience. Not one single moment.
I wish I could describe to you what living in the center of God’s will for your life is like. I wish I could help you realize how awesome and fulfilling and life-changing it is to just step out and say, “I am USELESS as I am. USE ME.” Then step out of the way and let God do what He wants with you, even if that means leaving everything you know behind and going somewhere new.
God’s plan for our lives is so much bigger than us. We’ve only been here a year and I have to wonder –
what in the world comes next?