We Made It!!
We stepped off the airplane and it has been nonstop go for us. Today is our first actual “rest day” and even that consists of packing for the jungle proceeded by a 12-hour bus ride.
Before arriving to Lima, we had a 9-hour layover in Fort Lauderdale. The life of a missionary is not extravagant by any monetary means. We always book the least expensive way of travel, henceforth, longer travel for less cost. Nonetheless, we get to our destinations.
Our ministry in Peru is three-fold, but ultimately under one umbrella. The church we are at is Iglesia Macedonia and we help Pastor David and Martina with their church and other church plants. At the church in Lima, we help with the construction of the church, as well as the youth ministry. With their church plant in Canta, we join Jorge and Zenith for street ministry (such cool stories to tell about in another post), and in the jungle of Chuquibambilla we will partner with their daughter Suzanna and her husband Pablo to build the Antioquia Missionary Base and help teach the youth the Bible (this, too, will be covered more in another post).
I look forward to seeing how the Lord moves through us and the mighty works of His hand, which leads me to tell you more about my role on the race.
Yep, I have a role that I was asked to oversee.
Sounds self-explanatory…and it is. Ironically, I went into the race set in not taking or accepting any leadership roles. It’s not that I think I’m unqualified for them, but in my younger years they were always forced upon me and on one spectrum they led to a lot of insecurities and comparison, but on the other end they led to pride. I never seemed to have a “balance” of leadership, so I began declining leadership. I wanted to fade into the background. And, honestly, I love that spot. No pressure. So, when I was asked to take the position of Storyteller, I was the only one without an immediate “yes.” Actually, during one of our sessions they described this role and told us how they would choose someone for the position. My hand shot up asking, “What if you give the role to someone who doesn’t want it? Do they have to take it?” (Guys, this was my way of subtly trying to tell them DON’T GIVE ME THIS ROLE). She responded, “Yes, they can decline, but that has never happened.” Confidently, I accepted her answer knowing that she understood where I was coming from and choosing me for this position would not be wise.
Later that day, we were given our leadership roles. It was surprising to know that not everyone even got a position. Everyone on my team, Selah, happened to each receive a role which is quite unique. I guess you can already see that our team is the BOMB. But I digress…that day as they passed out tiny slips of torn white paper, written on the one I received said Storyteller. [eye roll] One of my leaders told me why they chose me and how they thought I would be good for the role. Inside my head I thought:
Do they not speak my language?
Hello, wasn’t my question very matter of fact? DO NOT CHOOSE ME!
So I went to the meeting, sat under my tree like Jonah, and waited to decline. However, to decline any position, you have to talk with them about why and I didn’t have a great why, I just didn’t want to. On one level, I didn’t want to be over others, and on another, I didn’t want to fantasize the World Race. I didn’t want to only highlight good things when I know there will be hard times and ugly moments. I don’t want to be a PR or marketing personnel for the race. I wanted to do the work of the Lord and this was not it.
Fast forward through some time and prayer, and I accepted the position. In this position, I’m essentially still an English teacher on the race. My job is to encourage others to tell their story. I give them ideas (writing prompts), check on their progress (grades), and help them overcome any obstacles to posting (tutorials). It’s funny how God does that.
He even allowed many people to confirm this for me. I can recall two times where storytelling about the missionary work I did stood out. When I went to Puerto Rico, a series of setbacks happened one after another that delayed me sharing what we did. One of my supporters asked where the update on my trip was and when she would receive it. It kind of pierced me because I didn’t know it was that important. I just thought it was the standard operation after every trip. Sort of like the Thanksgiving turkey in the pan, “my mom always cut the end of the turnkey, so I cut the end of the turkey.” Similarly, everyone who goes on a mission trip, writes a letter of what happened, so you go on a missionary trip, and you write about what happened regardless if those reading actually “care”. On another occasion, my brother explained how many times he saw people on “missions” using supporters money to just have a good time and never heard of the work they actually did ( I promise that’s not me), but without the stories, where’s the message? Were they really the beautiful feet that proclaimed the good news or were they just feet that had a good time?
Therefore, God has shifted my perspective. Through training, I learned more about how important our unique stories are. Furthermore, it’s been a challenge for me to use my own voice. For those who know my story, I told my family of the abuse I encountered when I was young and no one believed me, so my life has been a constant struggle of whether I should say this or not, does anyone want to hear it, or if what I even said was actually true. It was the enemy’s way of silencing my voice. Understanding this helped me see why God chose me for this position. My voice is important and He wants to redeem this mentality. My teammates voices are important. Not only mine and my teammates, but the unheard voices of those we serve.
You want to know what’s even cooler?
You’re part of their voices being heard.
Just reading this post. Sharing it. Supporting the work God has called me to. You give voice to the stories of the voiceless.
I didn’t know if I was going to use any form of social media or technology other than these posts (and I’m still not 100% on where I stand), but there’s actually a beauty in what technology allows us to do. I think Paul would have used technology. I reckon any means necessary and beneficial to reach all peoples would have been his goal.
I actually think Paul was a storyteller. He wrote half of the New Testament! Therefore, with the spirit of Paul and the Holy Spirit within me, I will tell the stories of my team and of my journey, because stories matter.
Your story matters.
I have roughly $3,000 left until fully funded. My goal is to have 30 people pledge to support $100. This can be one donation of $100, 2 donations of $50, or 4 donations of $25. Just 30 people. All you have to do is click here and it’ll set you up.
- Sickness: I had a bad stomachache the other night, currently have a cold sore, and my non-injured leg is really stiff and hurting.
- Travel: Safety during the journey
- Team: Ministry days are long, so please pray for margin to meet as a team, but also strength and energy.
- Ministry: We are going into the jungle, so pray for the people of Chuquibambilla to receive the teachings and gain understanding.