Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pray for Esteban

From left to right: Jake, Aurelio, Mike, Esteban
Well cancer has found another victim - Esteban, our long time worker at Casa de Paz. He has had health problems in the past, but it never stopped him from working hard at whatever he did.  This man is the definition of what a servant heart looks like, it was one of the first things we noticed when we met him. He sees what needs to be done and does it.  Whether he's taking out the trash, sweeping the yard, cleaning, filling cracks in the cement, he always works quietly, efficiently, and with joy at whatever he does. It doesn't take us long to notice when he's not here and those jobs are not getting done.

We have been missing Esteban for the past few weeks.  A little while ago he started getting seizures and wasn't able to work anymore.  After a few doctors visits and tests it was confirmed that he had pre cancer in his colon.  He was losing a lot of blood and needed more blood in order for them to operate.  Unfortunately none of his family was able to donate, mostly because of health issues, so we decided that we would try. Jake, Tammy, and Peter took the trip to the hospital, and thankfully Peter had the right blood type and was able to donate.  Praise God for bringing Peter here and using him in such a great way! Tammy has the right blood type too but they would not accept her blood because it was a tad bit low on iron.

Now we heard that he has gone from pre cancer to cancer and it's spreading quickly.  Esteban needs surgery as soon as possible but they can't operate on him because he is still too low on blood.  So this morning Avis, Tammy, and 2 volunteers Scott and Victor went to Trujillo to donate.  Please pray that Tammy's blood will be accepted this time and that the others will be able to donate as well.  Esteban has a wife and four children who need him, lifting them up in prayer as well.

Thankful for our heavenly Father who is in control, who hears and answers prayer, who heals, comforts, provides and strengthens, and who works all things out for good to those who love Him.  He is faithful and Good, Always

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Selah Fire in Peru

Sometimes I look back over my life and just marvel at how God works.  It's hard to see how God is working in our lives in the moment, but when I look back and see how far I've come, I know that God has definitely been working.  Everything that has happened in my life up until now has led me to where I am right now. Two years ago I would have never thought I would be here today, serving in Pacasmayo, Peru with my family.
It was only 2 years ago in March of 2012 I came to Peru for the first time on a 10 day church mission trip. It was the biggest step of faith I had taken up until that point in my life. What led to me going to Peru was my husband going on the mission trip the previous year - March 2011. (The church makes yearly mission trips) And just one year before that - Jan 2010 was when God led us to our church in Drayton. Out of all the churches why did He lead us to this church? It was not a coincidence. It was all part of His plan to lead us here to Peru. I would've never thought. It makes me excited for what else He has in store for the rest of our lives! 

This year the Selah Fire mission team came in February instead of the usual March break trip. Vanessa, one of our translators got married in February and the whole team was invited to the wedding!

 The team did vbs with the Casa de Paz kids and kids in the communtiy every day at Iglesia Marcos 16:15. 
There were small group prayer walks as they ministered out in the community. I was a little sad that I missed out on all the prayer walks this year as I was too busy with the kids, but I loved hearing all the amazing testimonies! 

It was interesting being on the other side of the mission trip this year, more on the receiving end.  The Casa de Paz kids, along with our own three children, were so blessed in so many ways by the team. The team made valentines for all the kids and put together a little gift baggy that they surprised the kids with on Valentines Day.  The team also brought new swimsuits and sandals for the kids and took them plus the Casa de Paz staff out for a fun day at the waterpark.  Everyone had a blast. I'm pretty sure some of the adults were having more fun than the kids ;)

On the last morning before the team left they presented each child with new backpacks for back to school. The kids were so excited! The backpacks were filled with most of the school suplies they would need, but the best part was the prayer and prophesy letter in the front pocket of each backpack. I hope these letters will be kept safe and close to their hearts, and whenever they need encouragement and they read it, it will be a reminder of who they are in Christ. 

It was an amazing week spent in worship and fellowship with amazing people. It was so great to see our Canadian family again.

 I have to say the highlight of the trip for me was the staff and leaders meetings led by pastor Jeff. We sat around in a circle and shared testimonies and prayed for one another.

As each person shared their testimony, I learned something new about them. In fact there were some of them that I knew very little about before this moment. These were people I work with and see here everyday; house moms, cooks, the director and secretary, I have known them for over a year. But I have never really known them.  And I realized that they didn't really know me either. Maybe part of this has to do with the language barrier and not ever really being able to get into deep meaningful conversations, but I think it's more than that. There is something very humbling about sharing your testimony.  Because part of your testimony, no matter who you are, involves hurt and pain.  And these are the things, the part of our stories, that we don't talk about. No one likes to share their hurts and failures, but what I'm learning is that there is healing in sharing those things.  
There were very few people who shared around that circle without sheding tears. It was beautiful because it made me realize that we are all the same. Our stories may be different, but we all need healing, we all need prayer, we all need encouragement to keep going. We need each other - The Body.  I'm so grateful for our Selah Fire Family.  

These meetings were such a blessing to me (and Jake whenever he was able to be there when he wasn't busy with other things) and the Casa de Paz staff that we decided we want to continue meeting together on a regular basis. To pray for one another and share our hearts. 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)