In our Pueblo, there is a group of middle aged/older women who are always blessing us with gifts and taking care of us—Miguel and I call them our “moms.” As they were coming in to the room, I quickly covered myself with a sheet (I had close to nothing on as I was burning up with fever). They took their turns reprimanding me for…
As I proceeded to describe why we have a prayer station at our clinic I said, “Jesús le importa sobre nuestras vidas y quiere ayudar.” Which means, “Jesus cares about our lives and he wants to help.” I could tell something flashed in her eyes, like a small little flicker of hope rose up for a moment.
We came out of the airport to be greeted by the whole missionary community already present in Perú. As we loaded into the back of Taylor Schmidt’s truck, we began our laundry list of questions regarding what to expect in missions. I’ll never forget what Karen Carmody said: “Get ready to discover what your relationship with parasites is going to look like.”
As of a few years ago the folks in our town could only receive Jesus when a missionary priest was visiting. Historically, some pueblos in our region have been blessed to see a priest several times a year, while others have had to wait years between visits. In addition to the shortage of priests, there were neither missionaries nor qualified laity able to distribute communion.
Jose and Fernando stole from us every chance they got. They constantly climbed all over our van, played inside and left the lights on, which drained our battery. They would tell us that they were hungry and then throw the food we gave them on the ground. Although we felt sorry for these kids, our desire to help them was skewed by the irritation that welled within us when they came around.
Despite the assortment of hardships, there is one thing that remains consistent: WE NEVER GIVE ANYONE MONEY. When someone needs a new steel roof panel, we go to the hardware store and buy it with them. When a kid needs crayons and pencils for school, we head to another shop in town. So far, this probably all sounds pretty straight forward, and it is… until the Holy Spirit asks us to break the rules.
Olivia and the other missionaries serving with her visited this pueblo and faced such great resistance and indifference from the people. She would often describe it as a “heavy” place. We later discovered that a very famous witchdoctor lived and worked there. People came from all over to be cured by her or to receive a spell. No wonder the place feels like such a heavy stronghold of the Enemy.
I know by accepting His call to become a missionary, I gave the Lord permission to push and pull and stretch me beyond my deepest imaginings, and there’s no way I could escape from that unscathed. I had to allow myself to recognize my faults, to see where I lacked knowledge and wisdom in things I had never dealt with.
It has been three weeks since the awful disaster of mudslides and flooding that struck Tres Unidos and Shamboyacu. These have been weeks of hard work and more rain has fallen on already beaten down communities.
The first few days following November 2nd were long and exhausting. Taylor left early every morning and returned home after dark each evening. His goal each day was to bring hope to the people who had lost everything. He did this by bringing the love of Christ with him. He took the time to listen teach person’s story and prayed with them. He also brought in things that were desperately needed: water, food, clothes, and even a tent for a family who lost their home.
I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and could do nothing more than remain kneeling with my head buried in my hands. “What is wrong?” I kept asking myself. As I left the church my mind raced as I sobbed and sobbed.
I realized that sometimes I just can’t handle it: the frequency of death, the abusive relationships, the prostitution and drug abuse, the neglected and abandoned kids.
In the book of Romans, St. Paul says, “Afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” was last modified: September 28th, 2017
The lost sheep in our area are the drug addicts, occult members, and floozies. We’ve read the parable of the lost sheep over and over, but have we considered the story from the perspective of the sheep? Have we thought about how it feels to be the one who is lost and alone, scared and filled with doubt? was last…
[Annmarie Abeyesekera recently went on a medical mission trip with FMC in Peru. These vignettes and reflections are published here with her permission.] The highlight of my mission trip would have to be the second day of the trip. We traveled to a pueblo called Tres Unidos. It was not easy arriving at the Pueblo, but it sure was a little…