Friday, November 28, 2014

Less than 4 weeks till Christmas!!.. and I'm having trouble getting excited this year.  Instead, I feel my heart sink a little as it gets closer each day.

This will be our third Christmas in Peru, and as much fun as it has been celebrating Christmas peruvian style with the Casa de Paz kids, (if you want to know what Christmas in Peru has been like for us, read our post titled Feliz Navidad) I do miss my Canadian family a little extra much around this time of year, and I had a different picture in mind for this Christmas...

This was supposed to be the Christmas we spend with family and friends in Canada, (possibly the last Christmas we spend with them).. this was supposed to be the Christmas where I finally get to meet my two new nieces, and new nephew.. this was supposed to be Tahlias's first time experiencing snow. This was supposed to be a white Christmas. cold and snowy outside, but warm and toasty inside with the whole family gathered together at mom & dad's, eating familiar food, sipping on Tim Hortons coffee, watching the cousins play, catching up with the sisters, looking at pictures of my brother's wedding that I missed, exchanging gifts..etc etc

Ever since last Christmas this is how I pictured this Christmas being.  I have been looking forward to it all year. But it wasn't until sometime in October that I realized (or accepted) that my dream of Christmas 2014 was not going to happen.
God had a different plan, and had been speaking to me and Jake a few months earlier than October already, but I didn't like what He was saying, so I kept pushing it aside.
We looked at buying tickets at least few different times, but every time we either got interrupted somehow, had a poor internet connection, or it just didn't feel quite right. God had something to do with that, I'm sure.

As Christmas got closer, family kept messaging asking when are you coming? Do you have your tickets yet? And we kept them hoping for a long time, saying that we were still praying about it. Well we were praying about it... We prayed for Tahlia's Canadian citizen to be here on time, we prayed for the right people to be lined up to take care of the orphanage while we're away, we prayed for good deals on tickets, we prayed for dates and times and about how long we should stay...We did pray about it, but didn't pray much about whether it was even God's plan for us to go at all. I guess I had just assumed that my desire to go was God's way of saying that's what He wanted for us too. Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart, right?  Yes that's what the scripture says, but I realized I am still learning what it truly means to delight in the Lord. I'm learning that to delight in the Lord means to live and seek His will (not mine) and that it means to seek first His kingdom.. it means going after God's own heart and our spirits being so in tune with His Spirit that our desires line up perfectly with His. It is more about heavenly things than earthly things, it's finding joy in Him alone.
That being said, doesn't mean that I am perfect at delighting in the Lord, and it doesn't mean that it's always easy and that I will never fall. We still live in flawed bodies of flesh in a broken world where living a Godly life is like constantly swimming against the current. We live in a world where because we know Jesus, we are richly blessed, but where knowing Him also means pain and heartache, and sacrifice.

I came across a quote awhile ago that said "You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place."

Oh how true that is! And although when I first read this I was thinking of being torn between our two families in Canada and Peru, I know that my heart is also longing for another place - my ultimate home - Heaven. Thank God that this earth is only temporary! So my hope is in this. Whether I never see my family again, or if we were to go back to Canada and never see our peruvian family again, or even if somehow we were to find a way to all be together in the same place on this earth, my heart will never stop longing for another place until we are all together in our eternal home. And what a glorious day that will be!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Do you understand what I've done for you......

Jesus, eating supper with his disciples for the last time, would not have wasted  his timing doing anything that did not have profound meaning. And He chose this opportunity to perform an act of absolute humility. He did this because He wanted us to imitate Him. Not just in this one act but in everything we do, everything we do should be for the benefit of someone, someone other than yourself. Christ called us to be humble, because He Himself is humble. Humble doesn't mean thinking of yourself as unimportant, but rather being confident in yourself and in your identity in Christ so you don't feel the need to make yourself feel better, so that you can focus on serving others. With a willing heart, not expecting anything in return.
I had the great honor and privilege of speaking at a small church in a tiny town just a few minutes from Pacasmayo, if you read my post "where the breeze of the ocean turns to water" then you know where I mean. They had women sitting on one side, men on the other, they sang out of a hymn book, and said glory to God a lot. There's nothing wrong with this at all, but it was a strange feeling to be there, it actually kind of reminded me of where I grew up. But they had a piano and the preacher got out his cowhide drum. Some people as they came in went to the front to kneel and pray. So as I sat there waiting for the preacher to call me up for my message, I thought to myself, well I should be nervous about this shouldn't I? But I found myself feeling quite comfortable. We were received very well, and at the end of my message about being the children of God I ended it with imitating what Jesus taught us, to show them that I was a servant I poured a basin of warm water, and me and Maggie washed the Pastor and his wife's feet. We had smiling faces and eager eyes, are these crazy gringos really gonna get down on there's knees in our dirt floor church to wash the pastors feet! After me and Maggie carefully put their shoes back on, it's hard to explain what I felt in my heart in that moment, full, content and happy. God bless you as you humbly search your Fathers will. Amen. 

Is it "hurry up and wait" or "wait and hurry up"

"Put on your party hat! quick hang the piñata!! They'll be here any minute!!" So much for what ever I had planned, lol. Off I go with my two Peruvian style piñatas, one for the girls and one for the boys. It happens to be lunch time and all the kids are sitting at the table looking confused as I walk into the hall and start hanging the piñatas. "Are we having a party!?" "Who's birthday is it!?"
Sometimes I can get a little frustrated when I don't get a heads up about things, or it seems like our director keeps things from me, it is the Peruvian way to be very unorganized and sporadic. But I forget that our director also works with Peruvian who are probably more "Peruvian" than she is. So while I get upset about why she didn't let me know sooner, I have to remind myself that she may not have known a moment sooner herself. Dealing with the randomness is hard enough, she doesn't need me to pester her about it as if it's her fault somehow. 
On this day it was a long awaited judge approval for two very special people to take their brand new little baby home with them. Although the process for little baby Angelita's adoption went quick, the four months seemed like a lifetime for the new parents. There were two other families that desplayed an interest in Angelita, but I knew from the moment I saw them that this couple is the right one. The proud adoptive father would hold her with tense arms, clear that this was his first time holding such a tiny little life. Today there was no hiding there excitement. And even though we only found out minutes before they arrived we were ready to celebrate this special day with them. The story that brought this little girl to us was a sad one, but she will now grow up never remembering any life other than with her loving parents. Life is good!! Yes there's always problems and down times. But when the good times come you grab on and don't let go until the next one. I pray God shows you the fullness of his Goodness, bless you in the name of our Lord. 

Have you ever seen a happier little family?

The new parents put together goodie bags for the kids, and cake. Camila is a second name they gave Angelita

Pinata fun! One for the boys...
and one for the girls

The whole gang. So happy for Angelita!

May God bless this beautiful family as they start on this new journey together!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Where the Breeze of the Ocean turns to Water.

God never ceases to amaze me, you would think by now that this little gringo in Peru would have figured out that with God it's never a dull moment. I can't even express how blessed we are to be here and experience the wonders of God.
So I have a prayer group that gathers in the church on Thursday nights. And when God lets you feel His presence in a tangible way, you feel his peace and love fill the core of who you are, you just can't contain that and keep it for yourself. Every Thursday the urge to do more became greater and greater. So we made up a day, where we would go out to "pray in the streets". Segundo, one of the group members already had an idea of where God was leading us, so I told him pray some more and on Saturday you will lead us to where we should go.
Well Saturday came and I went to pick them all up to go pray. Well it turned out that Segundo was the only one who was going, everyone else was busy. Never the less we started out to where he thought God was leading. We headed south east, and God had gave him the words "where the ocean breeze turns to water" At this point I was still thinking we would end up on the outskirts of Pacasmayo, that made sense because that's where the poorer people normally are. But when we got close he asked if he may drive, so being polite that I am I said "ya of course".  He kept driving, past the out skirts, into a new subdivision, and still past that until we reached a hill. At that point we got out and it made sense to us both that we should climb the hill. From the top we could see all of Pacasmayo and more. We bowed our knees and lifted our hands to God, it felt right but we were still unsure - buy now I had forgotten about my idea of walking the "streets" and praying. On our way down we looked and we saw, where the ocean breeze turns to water, Of course! When you look across the desert sand, you can see the ocean breeze blowing across the hot sand and it ripples, it looks just like water. So out into the desert we drove, and drove, it actually wasn't very far but in the suspension it seemed like forever.
All of a sudden we came into a small town, it almost felt like driving through the heat waves we had arrived in the 1800's. It was quiet as a mouse, in my head I imagined tumbleweeds blowing. Finally we spotted two little old ladies on their little donkey drawn cart. We went over and asked if there was a church in town, and they pointed to a direction as the donkey trotted off.
At the church of course there was no one there. So we went to the nearest house and found someone to talk to. The guy seemed unsure about us but we found out they hold a service every day, and because the pastor wasn't around we told him we would come back the next Tuesday before their service to chat with the pastor.
We left feeling all sorts of things, were we out of our minds, but mostly we were just excited.

Tuesday night at about 7:20pm I picked up Segundo, this time Felix and his mom came as well. We drove out into the desert hoping we would find the little town in the pitch dark. We arrived at the church but it was pitch dark, the house we had asked at the Saturday before was also pitch dark, in desperation we knocked anyway,mane sure enough a girl answered and we found out that on this night they were gathering at a brothers house, in Peru everyone is a sister or a brother. When we reached the house we found out they were gathering at this mans house because this day marked half a year since he lost his wife. When we explained our crazy sounding story of why we were there, they envited us in to join them. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, they sang hymns and worshiped God, they gave me an opportunity to speak and all I could do is encourage them to do just as they where doing, to worship God and to act like the body in Christ that we are, one member was hurting and they all joined in to make it better, they were living the first and second greatest commandment, to love God and to love one another. Afterward we had some awesome food. What a night! I pray that God gives us more opportunities like this to share in the community, to bond together in love and unity, to learn from each other and to be inspired into action.
If you feel God is leading you to do something, but it just seems to weird or strange, don't let that hold you back! To keep up with God you need to learn how to think out of the ordinary. God bless you, in Jesus name amen.

Me and Mateo with our new friend Pastor Luis


Monday, November 10, 2014

Blessings of New Opportunities

Beautiful day in Trujillo yesterday, a trip filled with beautiful events. We are very blessed indeed. A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at Maggie Guerrero's church on Sunday, so we made a trip of it. I invited my small group to come with us and they jumped at the chance to see something other than Pacasmayo. We packed the van full and we were off for the long sweaty ride, our van does not have air conditioning and with the Peruvian sun beating down not even opening the windows makes that big of a difference. Maggie and her husband just moved their church to a new location that is bigger and better suited to fit their growing church, Maggie speaks fluent English and has been a translator for our church from Canada on their yearly mission trips. So she has been a good friend for a long time.

After the service I had the great honor of dedicating a beautiful little baby girl to the Lord. A couple from my prayer group had asked me for a while already and we thought this was a great opportunity. 



After church we headed over to the mall, you just can't go to Trujillo and not go to the mall, especially if you have people with you that have never seen it before. We took the group out for pizza, one of the ladies just kept marveling and saying "wow this is so good, I have never had this before". It was hard to believe that in all her 60 something years she had never had pizza before. 
Afterwards of course we had to take them to the escalators, it's always fun to watch them giggle nervously as they hold on for dear life when they step on. After walking around marveling at all the things, and testing out a portable sound system, it would often be nice to have small events, but we could only look since we didn't have the money to buy it. Before we left Trujillo we stopped in at Auden and Wendy's place, they just got back from a long trip to Mexico, US and Canada, so it was awesome to see them again. I can't express how grateful and blessed I am for the people in my life. God is so good all the time, and it's so much fun serving him, even in the hard times when it seems like everything is against you, it's still fun, because you know the the outcome will be to His glory. God bless you, in the name of his son. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Celebrating a Special Woman & a New Book

Today we celebrate a very special lady. It is Avis' 70th birthday! All the kids and staff at Casa de Paz wanted to wish Avis a happy birthday, so a few of the older girls put their artsy skills to work and created this huge birthday card with everyone's signature on it. Isn't is beautiful? They did an awesome job! We took photos of the kids, staff, and our bible study group with the birthday card, and sent the pictures and card to Avis as a birthday gift from all of her Peruvian family.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AVIS! We miss you and love you!

Happy Birthday from the Casa kids & house mama's, and the Hiebert's!

Happy Birthday from the Casa de Paz staff!

Happy Birthday from Tammy, me & the Bible Study Women!

Happy Birthday from the bible study kids club!
Avis has been busy speaking in churches all over the United States over the past few months to promote her new book, Out of the Dust. She has also been on a few radio interviews, and will be appearing on the Canadian TV show 100 Huntley Street sometime in January.
 Out of the Dust tells Avis' life story and how she came to be a missionary in many places, including Pacasmayo, Peru where she built the church, orphanage, and school that are here today. Her story is truly inspiring, and I would encourage everyone to read it! The book can be found on Amazon, and all proceeds from the book go to Go Ye Ministries to help the kids at Casa de Paz. 

God has used this amazing woman to help the lives of many, and now He continues to touch many more lives through her story in Out of the Dust. 

All by God's Grace and all for His Glory

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

the Babies of Casa de Paz

It has been such a joy having babies around for the past few months. Genesis and Angelita both came to Casa de Paz as tiny newborns, and are both doing well, growing and gaining weight and stealing the hearts of all those who meet them!

 I remember mama Martha sharing how frustrating it was trying to find clothes small enough to fit Genesis, and how she burst out laughing when I suggested lending my daughter's doll's clothes for Genesis to wear. Well as funny as the idea was, the doll clothes turned out to be a perfect fit! and she looked as cute as a doll :)


                         Well she quickly outgrew those doll clothes; look at her now!

Genesis' time here seemed to go all to quickly, and last week we said good bye as she got to go home with her new mom & dad, Amy and Marco. Genesis not only has a new family and a new home, but also a new name! She is now known as Angela Rose, a name that has special meaning to the new parents.

Amy & Marco on the day they took Angela Rose home

To celebrate the occasion, Amy and Marco invited the whole Casa de Paz crew to their house for a BBQ cookout.  We all had our fill of burgers and hotdogs, potato salad, watermelon...and for dessert - ice cream cones and chocolate cupcakes. Yummy! The kids got to enjoy horseback rides, futball, Wi, and a pinata for the little ones.

The kids loved playing the Wi


If all goes well, little Angelita will also be going home to her new adoptive family very soon!

Angelita with her soon to be mommy and daddy

And today we welcome yet another precious baby to Casa de Paz. Naomi is a beautiful, one month old baby girl.



Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3