(Pictures will be uploaded later today)
Esther and Justin & Brian: *******Spoiler alert******* This will be the best blog you will probably ever read. Heh. Also, it was Justin Suh’s idea to use 7 asterisks because it's God’s number. Okay, I’m going to start now so prepare your minds, open your hearts, sit back and listen! It is also past 12 probably so we are at the peak of our mental capabilities so ready yourselves to be blown away by our profound and dizzying thoughts.
Justin: I usually have a lot of trouble waking up in the mornings, but thanks to Sammy, my roommate, I’ve been able to start the day full of energy and excitement! By a serendipitous turn of fate, I’ve had the pleasure of being in Pastor Philip’s small group. Every morning, he leads his small group through the Word of God, and today was no different. As always, it was a blessed time where we engaged in the Bible to learn more about who He is and grow ever closer to Him.
Esther: My turn! Justin was the intro so I’ll start from when we got on the bus to head to the flea market. So after breakfast, we got on the bus and sat with who we wanted, and I got the opportunity to sit with the one and only Ariel!! The thirty minutes went by extremely quickly because time flies when you have meaningful conversations. Throughout the car ride, there were many instances where I almost could’ve died. But thank God I am alive and writing this. You must be curious what possibly could’ve had happened that Esther could’ve died so I’ll tell you. After a long week of not being able to get a window seat, my dream came true! I finally had the chance to get the window seat, and in the first few minutes of sitting by the seat…a tree got stuck on the window, and a leaf fell on my head. My first reaction was to check what came out of the leaf, and to my surprise, I found dirt. But wait, there’s more! My love for the window seat continued, and as we were drawing near to the the flea market, another tree was stuck! But this time, it wasn’t a leaf. It was a branch. A long branch. Again thank God I am alive. I’m going to move on now to how the flea market experience was like. We were given a time limit of an hour and thirty minutes. The whole purpose of going to the flea market wasn’t to treat ourselves, but it was actually a time to buy our supporters gifts. We came, I guess, too early so the currency exchange guy wasn’t there so by the time he came, we had around half an hour to buy gifts. Bargaining was hard, but through perseverance, we managed to finish!
Justin and Esther & Brian: After the flea market, we went to Samonim’s house and ate her delicious, mouthwatering, indescribable, amazing, heavenly, outstanding, and incomparable food. After filling ourselves with her delicious, mouthwatering, indescribable, amazing, heavenly, outstanding, and incomparable food, we went to a Peruvian church and spent time with teenage fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The physical church made out of bricks was nothing to write home about, but the spiritual Church made of up children of God was full of love and passion. We were welcomed with a very artsy sign that they painstakingly made on our behalf. We worshipped with them and listened to their preacher deliver a message about Daniel and how to live a life that is pleasing to God. Then, we presented our hip hop dance and our contrast skit about The Father’s love vs a father’s love. Pastor Philip Chung spoke for an extended period of time. At the beginning, it seemed as if it was just another repetition of his message after the skit, but it was not long before we realized that the Holy Spirit was speaking through him to give the Peruvian believers what they needed to hear. As he preached God’s message, it was so evident that the Holy Spirit was moving in even the most hardened of hearts and revealing the perfect love of God the Heavenly Father. Our time there was full of joyous praise, worship, and meaningful prayer for the future and well being of both JG and the Peruvian church. We went with the intention of encouraging them, but we found that we were being just as encouraged by them. We were afraid of language barriers, and yeah there was, BUT there was a sense of unity and community that would only be possible with the unifying power of Jesus. Though we spoke in different languages, we were worshipping the same God, and it was so powerful and joyous to sing praises (it was hype!) with our brothers and sisters in Peru. During that time, we saw a glimpse of what heaven would look like with believers of all different nations uniting and worshiping God together for all eternity. Then, we went to dinner where we ate chicken and fries at a very nice looking restaurant.
Brian: Howdy everyone. Getting back from dinner, we were given a whole hour to prepare for bed. Personally, I used the time to journal, recapping this whole amazing day. There is always something so valuable in taking the time to immortalize these experiences in ink and on paper. I can see every single thought I’ve had on this trip, but actually, I regret being so honest. Anyways, when worship came around, I just kept on lifting up a prayer to God asking for me to just be able to devote this time fully to him and that the Holy Spirit will continue to transform in me. For me personally, I felt calloused-ness (<--- not an actual word) as a result of my tiredness and exhaustion. As we sang praise, I could feel the spiritual dryness that had been present in the first two days of our trip continue to dwindle. I found myself singing words of genuine praise. I also found myself being truly able to take in what the songs of praise were saying. David gave his message during worship, encouraging us to truly accept and ground ourselves in the gospel rather than use mere experiences and feelings to establish our faith. That really spoke to me because in the midst of my hard-hearted-ness, I was looking for a sign that God was with me and that I was to accept the promise of Jesus Christ through flimsy emotions. From this worship, however, I am now committed to grounding my faith in the gospel alone.
Afterwards, David brought us together to have a discussion on the problems on this mission trip and in JG. Many people had stuff to say, but a recurring theme was the problem of our lack of focus on what is true and what is important. Things such as neglecting to encourage gospel-centered conversations or utilizing our time meaningfully were recognized as our weaknesses. I think these type of meetings help us improve as a team.
It’s safe to say that today was yet another packed day, filled with God’s transforming love and grace.