Saturday, April 28, 2012

So...we were lucky enough to make it to Cusco and Machu Picchu before leaving Peru this coming Tuesday!!!  It was very surreal and cool to visit such a magnificent place.  I just kept asking myself "why can't we build things to last anymore??!"  I imagine our kids won't remember much of these things, but I know the experiences are building their characters to be adventurous and comfortable all over the world...who knows what greater things their lives will bring!

We visited Machu Picchu as well as Ollantaytambo and Chincheros which are other sites of Inca ruins.  If you have access to facebook you can see a couple hundred pictures from this trip. You will notice that there are more steps/stairs than one could count!  These places are built up into the mountains for security as well as spiritual reasons.  While we were walking up, down and all around these ruins I kept looking back to see where we had been...the perspective is always different.  It always seems like so much farther than you had realized... While we were moving our eyes stared down at our feet so that we were sure footed and didn't fall in the moment while looking ahead...and surely you cannot look behind while trying to move on.   I think the analogy in this is obvious.  Sometimes we need to just pay attention to right now, but also important to stop and see how far we have come every now and then. 

Of course it has been absolutely wonderful to visit Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Machu Picchu...these are places that are very touristy for good reason!  I have to say that our mentality was not entirely that of tourists.  We are here on a great leap of faith that God has called us to take part in his plan here in South America.  Through these visits in other parts of Peru we have learned so much about the people that is actually quite different than some of the assumptions we had made.  In general, we really thought they were very Catholic...and to some extent that is true, but a lot of Peruvians seem to live in a religious fusion of Incan earth worship and an ambiguous Catholic belief system that primarily takes over the icons and prayer to saints. 
All over the countryside are these altars set in mountain sides, city walls, they are center pieces to children's parks, they are in restaraunts, gas stations, homes...everywhere.  Pictures of the altars are even more everywhere including hanging in almost all taxis and combis (buses), in hotel rooms, probably most homes.  It is crazy how idolic these icons have become.   At first glance, the church seems to be everywhere, but these icons are so far from related to anything in the Bible.  There are crosses everywhere too...which initially I assumed was connected primarily to the crucifixion from a more Catholic perspective but several Peruvians have told me that the cross is really just a symbol of "religion" in general and that it represents whatever belief system one may have.  Folks here seem to be very aware and believing in supernatural and spiritual things but are missing a whole lot about what the Bible says about God.  I wonder if in some conversations with people I have been ignorant in assuming what they already believe or what their culture is.  I also wonder at times if the idea of us being missionaries is offensive...that there is an annoyance about a foreigner coming in to change the beliefs that are the heritage of ancient ancestors.  I honestly have no idea.  We have met many Peruvian Christians that feel deeply the same burden to share the hope that they have in Christ.  We have had several Christian taxi drivers that have been very encouraging...we met some Brasilian pastors that church plant all over their home country...and of course the people in the local congregations in the Nazarene churches and the leadership are entirely supportive and are working with Extreme Nazarene to spread the good news of the gospel.  Seeing Machu Picchu and the immensely sophisticated community they had got me really thinking about the cultural history of the people of Peru.  I can't say that I have unravelled anything here, but it has reminded me how important it is to understand a person, to be where they are, go where they can be reached and have respect for the journey they are on as we share Christ.  I would hate to be perceived as insensitive or disrespectful in my attitude, words or actions.  At the same time, we do take part in God's reaching the world with His precious gift.

As we are fininshing up our time here in Peru, we definitely feel a great burden to understand who the people of Paraguay are not only as individuals but also who they are collectively and culturally.  I pray that God does amazing and huge things there not to change who they are but to fulfill who He made them to be.  We all have a story and a heritage but truly we are all meant to be with Him.  When our lives are wrapped up in our Christian communities, friends, church, etc.  things can feel very comfortable and as they should be...we even feel proud at how above reproach we may be...and feel accomplished in our Christian walk...but the reality is that there are millions and millions of people all over the world that are living with only a small inkling of who our Saviour is.  I don't even know how to begin tackling that except to pray.  My heart didn't even really feel this or understand this until just recently.  I am sure that sounds silly coming from someone who just "gave it all" to go into missions...but really I feel very common when it comes to the Lord and the whole reason we came down here as a family is because we felt that He was asking it of us.  All of this is one step at a time, the Lord giving in time. 

Please continue as always to keep us in prayer.  We feel very eager and ready to be a part of what God is undoubtedly doing in Asuncion.  I know that things may work out entirely different that what we may aim for but even in that I am completely sure that whatever the Lord accomplishes through Extreme during this time is going to be just as He designs and will surely produce fruit that lasts.  Right now we feel that the future is wide open and we choose not to dampen it with the same time we have great but unknown expectations of the Lord...I am confident that He is capable and will be faithful to use each of you and us in this endeavor.  When we ask for things that please the Lord, we will surely receive them.


  1. Such a lovely post. Understanding people. Desiring Jesus to work in their lives for the purpose of salvation. May His name be praised. Hugs, m

  2. That is a lovely post. I am always praying for you and your family as well as the ministry you are doing. I believe it is extremely important to meet people where they are. It is such a blessing that you were able to get some insight to the Peruvians and I am sure you will in Paraguay as well. Love you!Terri Carlos