Thursday, July 07, 2005

Peru Paragraph

Mr. Wilbur wanted me to write a piece on my Peru trip for the King's Meadow newsletter he's doing. I was shooting for a paragraph, but once again it ended up being a bit longer:

If education is a transfer of a way of life, there is definitely something to be said for how Joanna has gone about this missionary endeavor. I am amazed at the courage she has shown in picking up her life in the states and moving to Cusco, Peru, to dedicate at least a year of her life to a group of people whose language, until quite recently, she could not understand. That fascinates me.

If the gospel is true, I suppose it best manifests itself as a genuine transfer of a way of life just as Christ demonstrated in His short time on earth. It takes hold when you share your life with some one by living with them rather than living around them. When you eat their food—no matter how many talons are found in the chicken foot soup. When you hold their hands—no matter how many warts you may get. When you listen to their stories—no matter how long, even if you can only understand half or less. To be submerged in the lives of the people she is trying to get to know, I am sure, is among the chief and most lasting impressions Joanna will leave in the lives of these people. It was so fun to be a fly on the wall for a brief time. I did take notes, because this is stuff you definitely can not learn in missions 101!

My goal in going to Peru—aside from learning and taking in as much as I possibly could—was to encourage the encouragers. The small band of missionaries working with MTW (Mission to the World) are in the midst of their busiest time of year. Summer is always a consistent stream of short term church or youth groups eager to assist in VBS, clinic work, construction projects; eager to experience for a time the inspiring cultural and spiritual flowering that the long term missionaries are immersed in day in and day out. Those long-term missionaries in Cusco see extraordinary growth at times when the Gospel comes to fruition in tangible ways, but they are also capable of being weary in well doing. So I decided to come and bring a taste of home with me.

According to the list the missionaries in Cusco had given me, I had my two seventy pound bags all but packed practically before the transaction had gone through to purchase my tickets! The list consisted of some ministry items, but mostly treats for the missionaries themselves that can only be obtained in the states: From corn tortillas to coloring books. From Dr. Pepper to double-fudge brownies, shampoo and Starbucks, nail polish and Nutri-Grain bars…I even managed to bring Joanna some specially packaged Krispy Kreme doughnuts on my way out of the country that were hot off the line when I picked them up.

Travel is most assuredly an educational experience, and both education and good friends are a part of the gospel graces that were the source of this adventure. To take part in the ordinary affairs of life in a different culture, to see a friend who has chosen to take a year of her life living out the gospel in tangible ways along side those who have dedicated their lives to such an endeavor—that is indeed the most beautiful picture of the Kingdom of I have witnessed in quite some time.

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