Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Choose Joy

Here's an update on life so far in Lima, Peru. As most of you know, it took us about 3 days to get here by bus. Part of this was due to flooding that has been happening along the coast of Peru. During the long drive, I'd look out of the window, half asleep, and see several feet of standing water. The floods were a bit concerning but we eventually made it here and thought the floods were far behind us.
We were supposed to start working with a church on Wednesday but that morning we found out that the pastor of the church had been mugged. He was injured so badly that he had to be hospitalized. Since our plans to work with him were now postponed, we used the day to go on a prayer walk around the city, of course including the pastor in our prayers. Our walk lead us to the coast and we climbed a staircase of 200+ steps each way to get there. We got back home, tired and drenched in sweat, and realized our water was turned off. The heat has made it so difficult to sleep but we went to bed in hopes of a cold shower in the morning.
Thursday morning, still no running water, we were told we'd be heading to the outskirts of Lima to help with flood relief. Great! Maybe this was God's plan all along. We traveled for over 2 hours by bus and foot to get to the designated location. Once we got there we were told the supplies that we needed to help stabilize the buildings hadn't arrived yet. They asked if we could come back Friday. So 2 hours back home we went. Home and still no running water. Baby wipes were out and water bottles were used and we went to bed again with high hopes that the water would be back on in the morning.
Friday morning arrived. We were up bright and early hoping to catch showers. No water. That's when I saw this handwritten sign. I gave Sara a big hug and told her how much it meant to me. Without blinking an eye she looked at me and told me how great I looked. I stood there unshowered and hot in my pajamas and smiled. Our team got ready for the day as best we could and mostly in silence. We all weren't in the best mood but were trying to stay positive. We began our journey for the day, hopping on the bus each carrying a 2 liter bottle of water. We were prepared for a full day of manual labor in the fierce sun and still held hope that a shower was in near sight. 30 minutes into the bus ride our host got a call - he told us to get off the bus. We were going back home. The bridge we needed to cross to get to the flood relief spot had collapsed overnight due to mudslides. We were ready and eager to help but couldn't get to the people who need it. Feeling defeated, we headed to the grocery store for filtered water. The two nearby tiendas were out. We made the trek to a bigger store. The water aisle was full of people and water was being rationed out. We got the 10 liters that was allowed to us and we'll have to find more tomorrow and each day that passes. Concerned, we asked the people around us if they had any updates. Apparently the water has been turned off in most of the city and is expected to stay off for at least a week. The mudslides continue to wreck people's homes and lives. And to make matters worse, the temperature here is hotter than it's been in 50 years.
So, here we are. Friday afternoon. Dirty. Smelly. Sweaty. Exhausted. But we still have it a whole lot better than a lot of the city.
My good friend reminded me last night that "Sometimes I feel like it's ok to say 'this sucks'. Then look for God in it. He says that if you seek Him, you will find Him."
Please join my team and I in prayer for the city of Lima, the country of Peru, and a little bit of our sanity 
Today we are choosing joy.

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