Sunday, August 19, 2007

Praying for Peru

(WARNING: this post has the potential to turn into a sermon and there probably aren't that many laughs inside. I visited Peru twice on mission trips and saw God at work there. That's what's prompting this. Back to Darcy stories tomorrow!)Peru has been on my mind since the devastation of the earthquake. I'm not a news-watcher and I usually have a hard time making a connection to people around the world. But I've actually been to Peru twice,know people who live in Lima. And Peru actually stays on my mind. I don't know if everyone has these moments where they know their lives have changed forever. I have. I remember very vividly sitting on a bench in a town in the Andes. We had driven over to use the phone. It was the day my mother was having surgery to remove a large tumor in her lung. And there was no one I could get in touch with at home. Every one had calls to make...a parent, a spouse, a child. So as I'm having a breakdown on that bench, Angie, the preacher's daughter, comes to tell me that she'd spoken with her dad. Someone had visited my family in the waiting room, my mom was out of surgery and in recovery. It was one of those moments where I learned something...God heard my prayers and the one thing in this world that I can count on is His care. I could tell a million different stories about Peru and the things I learned there (I could probably build tons of sermons to deliver if I really think on it). I fought the hardest battle of my life to actually get on the plane and go...against all my fears and the worst timing in the world. And God met me there. And I'll never be the same.

Traveling outside the U.S. is bound to teach a lesson. Ireland was different, but not so different than what I'm used to. Lima, Cochas,driving in the Andes mountains...very different. I learned to really appreciate the little things...a toilet that flushes every time I push the handle, a shower that always has water and it's almost always warm, being able to moan about the long walk in the Wal-Mart parking lot as opposed to the miles-long journey down into the orchards along the river at the bottom of the valley and the haul of apples all the way back to the top(which, believe me, I NEVER did. They'd have had to bury me beside that river). The 10-block walk in Lima to the Starbucks was tough, but totally do-able after near collapse in the mountains. Things are different in the mountains of Peru. But some things are exactly the same. The ladies sit together and gossip. The men sit together and gossip. The kids are thrilled with a balloon and some attention, even if your Spanish is as limited as mine. When things like this happen, it's hard to know what to pray. My prayer for the people affected by the earthquake is for comfort, mercy, compassion, safety, and the blessing that God wants to send to the suffering. Why do these things happen? There's no satisfying answer. We were never promised easy lives. God did promise to take everything that happens to His people, the ones who know His son, and use it for their good. I went to Peru to try to show people that God loves them and that His people love them. I really learned how much He loves me.
I'll never forget the feeling of sitting on that bench. It's hard to understand that I'm not in control. For some reason, I felt like because I wasn't in the hospital waiting room, something terrible would happen that I could maybe just fix. And with the wisdom of hindsight, I understand better today that no matter where I am, God is in control. I've now been at a bedside twice where something terrible happened and I was completely useless. But I have no doubt that God was in control. The best part about that is that it's true no matter where I am...Little Rock or Lima. God is in control and He is at work in lives, saving them and changing them. He will take the devastation and turn it into blessing and that will impact the world. That's my prayer for Peru.

1 comment:

Sarah in Houston said...

Cheryl, On of my teaching partner's is from Peru and thank good all of her family made it through the earthquake just fine. What a relief.