Sunday, July 26, 2015

Driven by the Spirit

Mid week I was feeling very tired and frustrated. To make matters worse while I was on my way to lead a Bible study in the high school in a nearby town when I was pulled over by the police at one of their check points. Normally this is not a problem once the police realize that I am a missionary working with the diocese they let me go. On this day the officer was not impressed with my paperwork or my story. He informed me that he could put me in jail, but after awhile he let me leave. Once I arrived at the school I found no one there... No school today! Now all I could think was "Great the only good road back has that police check point." I decided to take the bad road that looks more like a farm lane which winds through the jungle. 

Segundo and his family

As I turned onto the path no one in our group has ever taken including the priests, I'm not going to lie I was a little nervous, but I kept going. As I continued to drive all of a sudden there was a group of houses. I instantly felt the Holy Spirit telling me to stop and to share the Bible study I had prepared with the people. Yet I thought of the rule we were given "Do not go alone because the people do not know that you are missionaries and are working with us." But how could I deny the Lord? 

The Bamboo Bridge

So I prayed and went cautiously to these people. First I asked them permission to come and share the Word of God with them. They said pass and giggled. Why? Because to pass meant that I had to cross the bamboo bridge. Let's just say I did not make it across dry. 

Once I made it across I asked if they were Christians. They replied that they did not know. I then shared my Bible study on Jesus and explained how we receive our salvation through Him. I then gave them my Bible since they did not have one. We prayed together and they invited me back to teach them more about Jesus. 

This time when I crossed the shaky little bridge I was able to stay dry. I continued on my way Praising the Lord. God is so Good!!! ~Taylor

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Giggle Girls

The sound of giggles can be heard outside our window starting at about 3:30 every afternoon. Why giggles? Did someone just play "Ding, Dong, Ditch?" Nope. The giggles are in anticipation at what happens at 4:00. That is when I open the doors to our ministry room and my Bible study with the kids starts.

Each of the kids that come to our class have been given their very own copy of the Evangelios, "the Gospels". We always look forward to presenting each new child with their own copy. It brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face when I see the smile on their face. On many occasions the child immediately hugs the Evangelios. While presenting the child with their Evangelio I ask them to make a promise to me. "You need to promise that you will read this every day. Promise that you will read at least five minutes every day."

I can honestly say that I never would have associated the Bible with giggles before our time here. These kids are so excited to study the Bible and to learn more about their faith that all they can do is giggle. Their love of Jesus is heard outside our windows everyday. Their love for Christ is on their faces in the shape to a smile whenever I see them. My Bible study with these children started only with Ariza and Fiorela. My "Giggle Girls."

A few of the kids before class begins.
The two girls in front are Ariza and Fiorela.
They are my "Giggle Girls!"
These beautiful girls came to our house looking only for a rosary which we had and they left with an Evangelio as well. At that time I hadn't thought about having a Bible Study with the kids since we already had a Bible Study that the whole community came to, but God had other plans. The next day there was a knock on my door. Ariza and Fiorela wanted to learn. Not a problem I was just getting ready to start the English class I was teaching so I invited them to join not realizing that they had brought their Evangelios along. After my English class the two girls asked about the Evangelios. I opened them up and explained that reading them is really quite simple and the numbering system is exactly the same as a complete Bible which we had learned the night before during Bible Study with the whole community. The girls understood but they wanted more. And all I could think was "OK Lord, now what?" I asked the girls to read John 1:1-18 for tomorrow. They left smiling as our marriage prep got under way.
"OK Lord, now what?" I asked the girls to read John 1:1-18. That is the
only thing that popped in my head. After marriage prep all I could think was
now what. I have no idea what to say. The Lord came up with this.

God is so good. Where I am lacking He will fill me up. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him." James 1:5. Praise you Lord Jesus for your generosity. Upon going to the Lord in prayer He did fill me up and He did grant me the wisdom to put together this study in Castellano for my "giggle girls." At 4:00 the next day we started our first full Bible study. They we full of giggles and super excited to read out of their Evangelios. The three of us took turns reading the verses and when I struggled with the words they helped me. The study that God prepared actually went along perfectly with mass that night. The point that I highlighted in my study turned out to be the same point that Padre Paco made during his homily. God is so amazing!

Our studies are no longer just the three of us. The "giggle girls" have started bringing and inviting their friends to join us. Today we ran out of furniture in our ministry room. Some of the kids had to join me on the floor. Many times throughout the study today I was able to see people standing in the street outside our door just listening. One man was so excited to see all of the kids studying the Bible that he came in and gave each of the kids fifty centimos which is roughly $0.15. He praised them for wanting to know Jesus and begged them to continue to come and learn. 

Even though our Bible studies have grown one thing has remained the same- giggles can still be heard. I look forward to 3:30 tomorrow when the faint sound of giggles will be beneath my window! ~Katie

Practicing English while I learn all of the kids names and the names of their parents.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost"

 Luke 15: 4-7  What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Alex was baptized on Father's Day in Nuevo Egipto.
Taylor leads a Bible study there every Wednesday evening for the whole town.
The church is always packed. Alex has been a faithful attendee and participant!

I was reminded of this verse recently when we came upon a pueblo that had been lost. 

Often times when Padre Paco is visiting one of the nine pueblos we cover he invites us to go along with him. On Father's Day Padre Paco asked us to join him for mass in Nuevo Egipto and then we were going to visit a new pueblo- Nuevo Chimbote.  

We are always excited to join Padre for mass but we were even more excited with the thought of finding a finding a new community not on the map. 

Mass was beautiful in Nuevo Egipto. We welcomed Alex into the church community. This young man was so excited to be baptized. 

Malachi fractured his arm last week at school.
Who would have thought we could get a spiderman sling here?
Following mass we all loaded up into Padre's pickup truck. Faustina, Adele, Anthony, and I rode inside with Padre and the sisters while Taylor, Malachi, Ruth, and Leo rode in the back. The ride to Nuevo Chimbote was exciting. The road was a dirt road barely large enough for the truck to fit. In Peru the roads have speed bumps placed periodically to stop people from speeding. Sometimes the speed bumps are hard to see on these dirt roads mostly because it always seems like there is a cloud of dust swirling at the moment you come across one. This usually means everyone is caught off guard and when you hit the speed bump you jump out of your seat a little bit. The drive from Nuevo Egipto to Nuevo Chimbote takes you past rice fields and up a mountain. The views were breath taking- Sorry I couldn't take pictures but when traveling with the girls my arms are full:) 

I enjoyed watching the water flow through one rice field into the next through the canals. We were blessed with seeing the water rush from the mountain into the irrigation canal. Anthony was so excited to see
Malachi was super excited to see his break.
He is even more excited that he was able to keep the x-ray.
Look who had to fix the church bell.
Yep they sent up the man who is afraid of heights.
But don't worry we will send up someone to help you.
Turns out he was afraid of heights as well. Too funny! :)
this waterfall. The views looking over the valley from the mountain above was amazing. Everything was so lush and green. The river snaked through the valley. No picture could best show the beauty we witnessed that day.

As we entered Nuevo Chimbote Padre Paco playfully honked the horn announcing the arrival of the church and hopefully drawing the people from the cool of their homes in the heat of the day. We were directed to a small government building that at one time was the site for mass. After talking with the people for awhile we found out that it had been over three years since a priest had visited the town. As I had stated in one of my previous blogs the priest cover a large area with over 120 pueblos. These amazing missionary priests try to get to each of these communities many times throughout the year; however, due to the location of some they are only able to visit these yearly. 

Somehow once Nuevo Chimbote was located it was not included on the map of the area. During a transition year it seems that no one was told about Nuevo Chimbote so no one knew that there were people in need of a shepherd. A sheep was lost that day, but praise Jesus that now it has been found!

The people in Nuevo Chimbote are eager to receive the sacraments. They are excited to once again have the church and in turn Jesus brought back into their lives. Padre Paco was saddened about the whole situation but he is excited to bring Jesus to them once again! He told the people that we will have a fiesta for all those that desire to receive their sacraments. A fiesta is one day where everyone in the church receives their sacraments. Throughout the year the people are preparing to receive their sacraments on that day. This means that Taylor will be traveling to Nuevo Chimbote to catechize the people until Nuevo Chimbote has their own catechist. Please pray for the people of Nuevo Chimbote that we will be able to minister to all of their needs and that we will be able to raise up a catechist from one of their own. Praise you Jesus! Let us rejoice with Heaven as the lost sheep has been found!!!!

That is me trying to teach the kids English. We are starting easy.
Vowel sounds and the sign of the cross. 
They look so sweet and innocent.
 It was an "awe" moment when we saw this last night.
Touching heads and holding hands.

One of our Bible studies and saint studies. Saint Maria Goretti pray for us!

Some of the neighbor kids joining us for Willy Wonka
 and the Chocolate Factory.
Afterward we explained the 7 deadly sins.
The kids loved the fact that they could see some of
them in the characters.

This week we lost an amazing mission partner.
He heard the Holy Spirit calling and he had to follow!
Jeremy we have been blessed to journey with you and are so
blessed to call you our friend.
We are going to miss you in Peru! 
A little break from our class to teach the kids a little about Football Americano.
How fitting that we have a white board to draw on. Right coach?
Some of the neighborhood kids came to help us work up the soil for our garden. 
The hard workers took some time to pose for this picture but then it was right back to 
before the day started getting super hot at 9:30am.

Spending our prep time duringwriting Bible studies for the week. This one was on Baptism. 
Verbum makes writing studies easier when everything is at your finger tips.

This note came home with Leo this past week. It roughly translates out to "Please bring 10 regular rocks and a machete to school. We will be working on a project of life lessons." They are teaching the children how to nurture and protect a piece of land at 5 years old. This is so foreign to me but so beautiful. Already they are learning skills which they need to survive. By the way Leo only went to school with 10 rocks.