can’t LIMA life without You

It’s been like what, only a week and a half since I got back?   For some reason it feels like I’ve been back here forever, as if the whole missions trip were but a short dream. (what was the kick that got me out of it?  wheres my totem? jk)   I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe/explain my experience in Lima, but it’s been quite difficult.  Because the more and more I dwell on my thoughts, the more I realize how difficult it is to explain in words the amount of grace/love He poured out to me throughout the trip. But I’ll try my best.

1. People have kept asking me about my trip, but honestly I haven’t been able to say much because I have so much to say.  And I’m not just trying to make up stuff to sound wise and eloquent, it’s really the truth.   Other than the few people that I’ve sat down with/shared my experience with, a typical conversation with someone whom I haven’t seen in a while would look like this:

Me: yo
someone: yo man how’ve you been? it’s been a while, I heard you were in Peru?
Me: yea it was pretty awesome…
someone: yea cool cool, have you seen inception yet?

Truth is that not everybody wants to take time to really hear my story, which hurts sometimes. It’s like people know so many people that go on missions, and just don’t care as much anymore.  Especially because people hear about all these things that happen in foreign countries, but how does that help them here in our world?  (I’ll explain this a little more at the end at #5)

2. All of the things that I’ve read while debriefing are starting to come true. Slowly and surely I’m finding myself comfortable again in this bubble I call NOVA.  I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be hungry, to commute in a crowded bus, to take cold showers, to breathe dust, to be dependent on God at all times, and etc…

3. I’ve witnessed so much.

disregard me, see Glory sheltering Humanity

The drama, the depths of poverty and the thrill and the highs of the rich separated only by a few blocks, all in one city.
The joy in the hearts of little ones, playing ever so joyfully, even in the dirt as they tumble and fall, as if to stare at and LAUGH in the face of utter poverty.
Both figuratively and literally, I saw the beauty and the grace of God, enveloping and shadowing the fragile homes of broken communities (see picture).
I saw the birth of a new church.
I saw the Kingdom of God, and it’s BIG-ness
I was placed in an entirely foreign country.

I didn’t know anyone. I felt so lost in the culture at times.  But it made me think about how God knows everyone in this world.  Everywhere on Earth is His land.  He owns this world.  The Earth is filled with His glory.  He is HUGE.  Talk about universal.
Get this: Totally different culture; Same Jesus, Same God.

It was a mere 10 short-lived days, but it was definitely filled with the Spirit who led our team, guiding us in every way.

4. Being a leader, as expected, was both a challenge and a blessing. It was definitely tough at times.  Trying to get my agenda across versus laying down my will to let the Spirit jump in and do His thing.  There were times when I got annoyed. Impatient.  Frustrated.  But even in those times God was testing me and He taught me patience.  There were also times when the team needed to encouraging words. God’s Word.  And to my amazement, God used me in those times to speak truth in to our team.

Throughout our trip, we grew as a team, a community, and a church.   Before the trip we all had our own agendas, but when the time came we were all looking towards the same direction.  Jesus. And as we continued to walk towards Jesus, He mysteriously brought us all together. We went from talking about dumb movies to speaking truth into each other’s lives.  I believe Jesus was very pleased.

5. I found a lot of peace, regarding my future. It’s been a struggle for me for the past couple years or so, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.  It’s so easy to think about what I’m going to be doing in the future, or what God is calling me to do.  But it’s even easier to get lost in planning our future and feel helpless.  Because nobody knows where we’ll be 10 years from now.

the truth is that God is going to put His will for you in your heart, somewhere along the way.

But there is one calling that exists apart from age, location or abilities.
Whether you’re a student, an athlete, a parent,  a teacher, or whatever, there is one calling that is always the same.
To be Christ’s love, wherever you are.

and that gave me a lot of peace because although I don’t necessarily know where I’ll be 5-10 years from now, it gives me something to work with, day by day.

There’s so many people in our lives that are dying for LOVE.
Our friends, class mates, coworkers, even our own family.

“every soul, every beating heart,
every nation, every tongue,
come find hope in the love of the Father.”

We have ONE calling.
Real missions begins NOW.

p.s. ask me for more stories!  ask me about soccer! ask me about the chicken!

p.p.s. THANK YOU again for all the support/prayers that went infinitely further than a few dollars or a few muffled words. I hope this post/letter was encouraging to you in any way.