Sunday, February 21, 2016

Into the Woods... well the Jungle (Part 2)

We arrived to Almirante Grau right on schedule for Liturgy of the Word. We were so blessed to share in the service. Taylor shared our testimony for the community. Ramón, one of the animadores, asked us to do a short teaching after the service. After the short teaching the community asked us to prepare to give another teaching at 7:00 that night. This was something we were not planning for but were excited to help the people since the priests only have the opportunity to visit the community twice a year.

Ramón and his family were so generous to have prepared lunch for our family. It was such a delicious meal of chicken, rice, and potatoes. As we ate lunch we asked about the communities past Almirante Grau. We were informed that some of the communities were without a church presence at all. We asked how far away all of the communities were. They responded by telling us that the communities are a half an hour and an hour and a half walk from where we are. All I could think was you have got to be kidding me. Taylor responded that we have six kids and it is not physically possible for all of them to walk that far in the heat of the day. They pointed us in the right direction and wished us luck.

The drive to the next pueblo was more beautiful than the drive to Almirante Grau. We have learned that photos just can't show the true beauty of the country. The road was bumpy and the ruts were large but we made it to Nuevo Esperanza. When we first arrived in town we were told that no one was Catholic in the community. Taylor felt the Holy Spirit leading us to one house. We pulled up to a couple sitting outside of their house. When we explained that we were catholic missionaries they were so excited that we came. We sat down and shared our testimony as our sister in Christ held Faustina. We felt the Spirit leading us to share on the Gospel reading for the day. We shared how to choose living for Christ and what it looks like in our daily lives. We encouraged them to strive to follow Christ and explained that it happens by choosing Him in all that we do. I also shared how that it doesn't happen overnight but that through choosing Christ and through perseverance it happens. We were so blessed to give them their first Bible. We encouraged them to read the Bible every day together. At this point my sister shared that she could not read. Her husband quickly said that he will read her the Bible every day. It was so beautiful to hear those words come from his mouth. The joy on her face was breath taking. As we were preparing to leave some more Catholics came to us and we were able to give Bibles to them as well. We asked them to join together in reading the Word daily. We promised that we would return in February as we drove away.

Our next stop was Santa Rosa. The road to Santa Rosa was much worse than anything we have seen here yet. At one point the kids started praying to our guardian angels to wrap their wings around our car. It was so beautiful to hear them invoke our guardian angels. Just to set everyone at ease the road had huge ruts and we had to cross a stream. Nothing dangerous just nothing the kids have ever seen before. The stream was twelve feet wide and only four inches deep. 

We arrived in Santa Rosa to a community without a church. Once we tracked down the animador we were informed that Padre says mass in the municipality building twice a year. We asked if there was something we could help them with. They desperately want a church built in their community. We listened to them explain that if they had a church the people would come. We then shared that it is the opposite. We first need to prepare a place in our hearts and then we can have a building because the church is not a building. They then asked if we could help prepare them for sacraments since most people do not have them. We were excited and quickly agreed to return on February 27 to meet with the whole community to get a tally on everyone that wants sacraments. We left Santa Rosa with the anticipation of making it to Primavera. This is a town that isn't on any maps. Our hopes were high and our excitement in the Lord was even higher!

The views again with even more beautiful than the last. The same thing goes for the road except that instead of it being beautiful it was much worse as we traveled. Then as we rounded a corner we came to the end of our journey. The road was no longer passable for Groot. 

At the edge of a stream our journey ended to Primavera and the pueblos further in. We were saddened by this but we were thankful for the opportunity to play in the stream. The cool water refreshed and rejuvenated us. It was a brief moment to be with God in all of His amazing glory.

After our brief stop to play we headed back to Almirante Grau for a quick nap in the church and to prepare for our evening sharing. It was so beautiful to lay before the Lord on the Cross. 

The evening was filled with good conversations, laughter, and love. We were blessed to have many opportunities to share our testimony but we were blessed with more opportunities to listen to the testimonies of those we had just met. It is beautiful to see God working in the hearts of the people even when they do not know it yet!

That evening when our sharing was complete we were completely and utterly exhausted! It is one of the most beautiful things I feel anyone can ever experience. Complete and utter exhaustion for the Lord! Our heads could no longer process any Spanish and it was so hard for us to keep our eyes open but yet the Lord was still working. Gentle knocks came on the door to the chapel and with those knocks came a few extra blankets to sleep on. God taking care of His weary soldiers. Just as we could no longer bear the heat anymore a gentle rain followed by a cool wind blew through the windows. Silence at the foot of the cross leading us to sleep in Him.

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