This is my new favourite phrase, ‘más o menos’. It literally translates as ‘more or less’, but it’s meaning here is quite different. It’s difficult to define but we use it a lot here, especially when it comes to planning or projects. This is because many of our projects have stopped, been cancelled or change at the last minute. It does sound funny but the change in projects and lack of “meaningful” tasks, has left us feeling envious of other teams. But we have very recently come to terms with the fact that everything we do here is part of our mission, not just the projects and services. So, in that spirit I thought I’d share with you some of the things we’ve done, may do and can’t do anymore.
After writing a deep and expressive blog on the drug den and how saddened and yet enthused to be going back, we were. The news came that George, (the man who is key to the project and is the reason it is safe enough to visit) had broken his leg, in two places. This has caused the project to come to an abrupt halt until he is well enough to go back again. However, we are just glad to have been able to experience it once and are praying for his swift recovery.
Dinner at Pastor Rousbelt’s House
Dinner at someone’s house sounds nice, and oh boy the barbecued chicken was more than nice. But, here in Iquitos going to someone’s for dinner (lunch, because it is the main meal of the day here), is a day long event. With sung worship, prayer and looking through family albums, it’s more of an event than a meal. We obviously enjoyed it very much, food and all. Just being invited is a privilege but actually getting a date down and then going is incredibly impressive. The Mahon’s have been here for over two years now and have been “planning” to have this meal for 18 months, so for us to actually go is very exciting and important. The prayer is that the Mahon’s continue to be invited back.
Club de Niňos
We’ve spoken about this before but the plan, (and I cannot stress enough ‘it may change’), is that we will run the event twice more before we leave. Prayer is always appreciated for the planning.
This is obviously important to our mission as leaving 2 and a half months early would prevent us from completing our work. We are still in the process and though we have had nowhere near the trouble that Team Mozambique have had, we do very much appreciate what they went through. The plan (again “plan”), is that we will get the extra stamp needed on Monday 16th December. Prayer that our applications are successful would be greatly appreciated.
Kairos (School Assemblies)
One of the more difficult of our projects, as the first attempt did not go well. Not long after we first arrived, we organised to go into the two Kairos schools to run a devotional session. The Christian school is run by a Peruvian, Willie Mago. When planning with him we discussed running three sessions back to back to make the group sizes smaller. This is then what we planned the devotion for. So, when we turned up to have 80 young people, we were a little put off. The devotion being written in Spanish, meant that we couldn’t really change it on the spot, so we got on with it, but it did not go well. However, this meant that we knew what to expect when it got around to the second assembly. We planned and successfully ran a session on the nativity story, involving drama, drawing and a reflection, (obviously all in Spanish).
Though, the schools will break up next week for a 3-month summer holiday, so we are unlikely to get a third attempt. On the plus side, this is the first time the Mahon’s have been involved with the schools and may be the start of more collaboration, so please pray that this line of communication will stay open for future opportunities.
Sunday Morning Services
Sunday morning services are predominantly for children. Of the 2 churches we have attended both had a morning service for children and an evening service for adults. We have been to 3 of these so far and increased our contribution each week. From leading a group, the first week to running the first half of the service, on the third. (Also decorating the church for Christmas). We will be continuing to go to and help lead these morning services but at different churches each month. Please pray for the changes in churches to be smooth and that our assistance continues to be appreciated.
Sunday Evening Services
The Sunday evening services are for the adults. The congregation is usually smaller and the part we play is also. We have only attended these at ‘El Olivar Church’ so far but we have had the chance to sing to the congregation in Spanish, and obviously introduce ourselves. Again, please pray for the changing of churches and that we might get to contribute a bit more in the coming weeks.
Saturday Youth Services
Every Saturday evening (at varying churches), we have attended a youth service. We’ve mostly just taken part in activities but also on our most recent service, we lead a section. In our part of the service we recycled (because it’s good for the environment), the assembly on the nativity and very much enjoyed watching the pastors and young people acting it out. Even though there were only 4 young people it was super successful. Our prayer request is that we might see an increase in numbers and have to opportunity to do more.
Laura, (our Nauta supervisor) teaches English to travel and tourism students in a college in Nauta. We have sat in on several lessons now, just observing to get an idea of how a lesson runs. This week we taught the lesson ourselves. This involved first finding out what ‘present perfect’ is before we could then explain it to students who speak very basic English. The lesson went surprisingly well (considering I did not plan what I was saying), even though there were only two students, making a 2:1 teacher to student ratio. However, this again may come to an end as the school breaks up for summer holidays. Please pray that we get the chance to continue this work as it is very fun and rewarding.
From English to Spanish, no we’re not teaching Spanish, but we are still in fact learning it. We still have weekly lessons for our Spanish, but we now do this individually to further our learning. Each lesson is very helpful, and we look forward to them. Please pray that we can continue to learn the important parts of the language and the necessary words to get across Gods message.
La Union Celebration
La Union is the community surrounding the BMS training centre in Nauta, and they recently celebrated their 12th anniversary. We obviously helped out at the occasion, prepping the stage and singing along with the community. The event ran smoothly, and everyone enjoyed it. This is the same community that the Club de Niňos is with, so many of the children recognised us and are becoming more and more comfortable with us being around. Please pray for the community as they are constantly working with BMS and the locals who are so happy to have the training centre in their area.
We are hoping to be travelling upstream soon, to visit some of the communities scattered along the riverbanks. We’ll be travelling there with Laura and an American family who also live in Nauta. The trip will be under the charity ‘Jungle Masters’, which Joel and Amy (the American family) work for. Their mission is to work with these communities along the river and minister to them. The work we will be doing is to help the churches serve their communities with Hot Chocolate and Panettone (though neither are how you imagine them). We are excited for the two- or three-day adventure but as you may have guessed, it’s all subject to change. Please pray that we are able to do this and that we are safe during our journey (deep water and I don’t really get on well).
The Little Things
Finally, there are lots of little things that we do here that seem like we’re just having fun or seem unimportant but that are really part of a mission still. For example, fixing a well, Decorating the house (Nauta and Iquitos), chocolate making, baking and playing with the Mahon children. All of these things help to encourage or help to take some pressure off our wonderful supervisors, thus giving them the energy and motivation to continue doing the amazing God filled work that they do here all the time. We are not here to change the world, but we are here to learn about and support the work of the people who are here long term to make a difference. Please pray that we can continue to bless the Mahon’s, Laura and the other missionaries we’ve met, that they might gain more than they lose from us being here.
As you’ve probably noticed I’ve cleverly written the prayers into each section, so please feel free to read back through the last sentence of each to remind yourself of the prayers. Thank you.
The Quest for Yeast part 2
(Sorry almost forgot to put this one in, because you were all waiting for it clearly).
When we last saw our beloved heroes, they had just returned from the land of Quispe to the magical realm of Restinga. The brave team ventured deep into Restinga, where they found a witch who agreed to part with her yeast if they first paid a visit to the dwarves. So, the kind witch handed Lady Sophie a receipt to go and pay the dwarves. To get to the dwarves our team had to wait in a long line of creatures paying off their debts, it was at this point that Sir Jacob became restless and decided to explore the rest of the land of Restinga. He ventured high up into the magical land a disappeared from Lady Erin and Lady Sophie’s Sights.
After waiting a while to see the dwarves the team (well the ones still there) paid the debt for the witch and returned to her to collect the yeast. It was at the time that the yeast had been acquired that Sir Jacob returned back from his random quest within a quest, within a quest, I think. So, the team were back together and had achieved what they had set out to do. They returned with a man upon a motokar to the kingdom of the Mahon’s and Lady Sophie successfully made the crumpets she longed for.
(I honestly have no idea why I started writing this in the blog post but don’t worry I won’t do it again. Thanks for indulging me).
God Bless and don’t forget, Embrace the chaos.