Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Called to Peru {Guest Post}

Hello from Peru! My name is Amanda from La Blondie Peruana...I'm so happy to be a guest blogger today! {Thanks Samantha!}

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A little about me: I'm 27, I've been married to the most incredible man, Shaun, for the past 7 years and in October we are expecting our first {long awaited} little blessing, Judah. We are from Texas but are currently living full time in Lima, Peru but more about that to come!

Samantha and I haven't been blog friends for long, but she has been an incredible encouragement to me so far and I am excited about our new friendship. The first day I visited her blog, she had written a post about Missions and Prayer, where she explained her desire to teach overseas one day, and how she had challenged herself to start lifting up missionaries who are currently overseas. One of the pictures in the photo she took featured Peru, so we started a conversation mostly because I was curious if she knew anyone in Peru.

The answer is...NOW SHE DOES! Funny how God connects people :)

So, it is my pleasure to not only share with her, but also with you, more about my daily life and our ministry in Peru! I could really be all over the place with this...but fortunately, Samantha has provided me with a Q&A to help keep me on track! I'll try to be as thorough and as brief as possible! So without further ado...

1) What led you and your husband to become missionaries in Peru?

In August 2008 Shaun was approached by a friend and invited to go to Peru. His friend had lived in Peru several years ago, and it was always his dream to return  for a Basketball tour/missions trip. He had several connections that would allow his team from the states to play professional teams in Peru. Shaun had played basketball in high school, but not really since then, but as we prayed about it, we felt like it was right for him to go. 

While he was away, I really felt God was prompting me to pray and prepare my heart for something big that would come out of his trip. I had no idea what it was, but I prayed anyway. When Shaun returned one of the first things he said to me was, "How would you feel about moving to Peru?" I was...shocked to say the least, but at the same time I wasn't. I only laughed and thought, "OK God, thanks for preparing me!" 

So in March 2009, we boarded a plane and came back to Peru together. During that time God made it 100% clear that this is where He wanted us. When we returned to the states we sold everything we had, quit our jobs and moved in with my parents. By December 2009 we were both settled in Peru.

clip_image002[6]{Our excited faces, the day we got our missionary visas}

2) Tell me about your specific ministry in Peru.

I will break this one down into two parts: As a team and personally...

As a team:

The community we live in currently is not where we started out. We lived in another area for the first 2 years we were here, and God really used that season to prepare us for what He had next. It allowed us to get accustomed to the culture, and the language (neither of us spoke any Spanish before we moved here!). Then God moved us on to a community in Chorrillos, where we are now, last September.

We are now part of a team called OIKOS, which is Greek for "Extended Family". Our team is made up of members from America, England, Canada, and of course, Peru. We know God has called us together to be an "extended family" so that as a team, we can reach out to individuals, families and and communities around us.  Currently as a team we focus on three areas: Pacifico (a Shanty town about 5 min away), The Jungle, and Los Cedros (the community where we live).

clip_image002[8]{Pacifico}

clip_image002[10]{Calleria: One of our Jungle Communities}

Each community is very different, and like looks different each day. But we are dedicated daily to the following foundations: Personally abiding in Christ, Sharing the Gospel, Life on Life daily discipleship, Disciples making disciples, Worship, Prayer and Living as a community. This is what we live by and what we hope to communicate to the people we live and work with. It's been incredible to see lives transformed as we build relationships!

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Personally:

I am currently the worship leader of our communities. It will forever be a mystery to me why God chose ME, but I am growing daily in this process and learning more about the Character of God through worship. I have no previous experience in leading OR worship, but God has given me a talent that I would be silly not to use for his glory. There is only one place I am truly comfortable being, and that is in HIS presence. At the time there are 3 other members on my team and they are amazing. God is growing us each individually and as a team. We have recently started a new discipleship program, in which we are all learning more about becoming leaders and worship. I feel God is leading us to teach the people what we are learning about DAILY worship..that it's not just about singing songs during the specified "worship time" on a Sunday morning..but about truly LIVING a life of worship to God for the things he has done for us. It's been an exciting process and I look forward to seeing how God will use this team here in Peru!

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3) Tell me about your church and worship in Peru.

Oops! I kind of jumped ahead on this one...but that's ok I will expand a little more on the "schedule". On Sunday mornings we go out to Pacifico. Our "service" (for lack of better words) is held in the house of Ines. It is a small and humble home, but she willingly opens her doors to us and to her neighbors every week. Twice a month we hold a "formal" service, with worship, a message and fellowship and the other 2 weeks of the month we have an "informal" service...basically we go with drinks and cookies and the people come and we just fellowship. Sometimes we break up into groups and go out into the community, sometimes we just stay in the house and the people come and we just have a great morning talking. It looks different every week.

Sunday evenings, we have a service in our teammates, Mark and Anna's house in Los Cedros, the community we live in, where there is worship, a message and fellowship.

The rest of the week, we just live life together...building relationships, meeting each others needs, visiting...etc.

clip_image002[16]{During an “informal” service in Pacifico}

4) What do you appreciate most about the culture?

Hmmm...LOTS to appreciate! Culturally, the Peruvians are a very loving people. It would be so easy for them to reject us as foreigners, but they have accepted us as part of the family and allowed us to make our lives here. They are very helpful and patient when it comes to the language...which I have heard from some missionary friends in other countries, can be extremely difficult. Like I said earlier, neither of us knew any Spanish when we came, and we are far from being fluent, but everyone around us is so willing to help!

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5) What is a typical day like for you and your family?

We often get this question...and the answer is, there really is no such thing as a "typical" day. Yes, there are things that we have scheduled and that are routine, but every single day and week looks completely different. Our team really moves in and out of seasons, which means the way we do things, as well as the people we work and live with.

However, some of the things we have scheduled would be: Leadership Meetings, accountability, visits, discipleship, etc...Really focusing on building relationships within our team as well as out in our community.

One of our EVERY day activities includes our team lunch! Every day (but Saturday), we come together and share a meal together, which is SO fun, encouraging AND a little crazy. There are anywhere from 8-20 people around the table every single day! To us it is normal now, but every time we have a visitor I remember just how overwhelming and different it was the first few weeks.

clip_image002[20]{A normal lunch setting}

6) What has been the most encouraging part of your ministry in Peru? The most challenging?

Another toughie...This has been such a humbling experience because most of the time we are learning SO MUCH from the people we work with daily. We are constantly blessed by the things that they teach us! We love to see lives changed because of what God is doing here...and it's such an honor to be used by Him, when he could have called ANYONE else.

On the flip side: It is such a challenge to pour constantly into someone, only to see them resist change, or turn back to their previous lifestyle. We have each experienced some sort of rejection or disappointment because of this. Of course, it has nothing to do with us personally, but when you give so much of your time and energy and see SO much positive change, it can be the most discouraging thing when that all changes for some reason or another. We have to start back a "square one" a lot. But there is a positive to that as well, because it teaches us daily that our identity MUST be in Christ, and NOT the work we are doing, or even the people we are investing in.

7) What are some specific prayer requests you have for your country and mission of service?

For Peru: Our constant prayer is that everyone would experience and truly know the Love of Christ. We want them to know the freedom of a relationship with Jesus, instead of the daily burdens they struggle with.

For our team: Constant protection physically, spiritually and emotionally. It can be a daily struggle to be in a foreign country, away from families and the "comforts" of our respective countries. Also, there will be lots of traveling within the team soon. Prayer for those traveling, as well as those staying!

For my family: Please pray for my husband and I as we prepare for our first baby! Everything is about to change and we are so excited, but there are a lot of unknowns!

Also, our roles on the team will be changing drastically here in the next few months as I become more pregnant, and into the first few months with a newborn. Please pray for us as well as our team as we all adjust to the changes!

Thank you so much for reading! I know it was a little wordy, but it's a challenge to express EVERYTHING in a short post! I could go on and on and one!!!

BUT, If you would like more information or have any questions you can find me at La Blondie Peruana, or feel free to email me: amandalaura626@gmail.com You can also find out even more about our ministry at www.calledtoperu.org

Blessings!

Amanda

Thank you so much for sharing, Amanda! It has been such a pleasure to correspond with you so far and I’m excited about our growing friendship. Your willingness to follow God’s call to Peru is a huge encouragement to me and I love hearing about the community that you’re apart of.

So, will you join me in not only praying for Amanda and her family, but for Peru as well?

8 comments:

Katie said...

Very cool guest post :) Just stopping by to say that I nominated you for the Liebster award on my blog, Samantha. I think you have an awesome blog!
Katie
abritandherynak.blogspot.com

Ameera said...

I'll definitely be praying for Amanda and her family! Thanks for allowing her to share Samantha :)

Sarah said...

Love it! So glad Amanda guest posted hear...I loved reading about her missions :)

Sarah♥

Erin Marie said...

Thanks for sharing this! I've been missing Honduras a little bit after just coming back from spending a year there. So it's encouraging to hear about other people's journeys who are still out there doing international missions.

Katie Cook said...

Ahhh I loved reading this:) Thanks for sharing Amanda, and for hosting this Samantha! I loved hearing about how GOd is moving all over the world! woo hoo!

Rambling Momma said...

i love Amanda, I love her blog and i LOVED reading this. Now Samantha i really like you for having Amanda on as a guest.

Erin said...

how beautiful! i just love amanda and her blog - what a heart for Jesus! :)

how awesome of you to feature her, as well - this is an incredible and inspiring interview!

xo

Amanda Wissmann said...

You girls are SO sweet and I am incredibly encouraged :)

Thank YOU, Samantha for the opportunity!

Blessings!

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