Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Marry Christmas everyone! This month in my devotional "Voices of the Faithful" the focus is Christmas Around the World . On Monday I was reading about a woman who was having a hard time celebrating Christmas being so far from her friends and family. Her exact words were “Serving the Lord through international missions is fantastic. I would be miserable doing anything else. However, there is one time of year that seems difficult-Christmas. I am thousands of miles from my extended family and friends and from "normal" holiday activities." I couldn't believe what I was reading, I sure didn't remember Beth Moore coming to Peru to talk to me, but, there it was my own words and thoughts.

I love what I'm doing here, but I have defiantly been fighting homesickness more since Dec. 1st. Knowing that my family and friends were back home listening to Christmas music, baking cookies, putting up their Christmas trees, spending time with their families and trying to find just the "right" gift. While I'm here in Peru with NO Christmas music playing, NO kitchen to bake in, NO tree to put up, NONE of my familiar family or friends to spend time with and no money for just the "right" gift.

For the first time I realized how I had relied on MY own Christmas traditions in order for it to feel like Christmas. I wouldn't say that I had completely lost sight of the real meaning of Christmas, but I had certainly taking my eyes off of Him. Sometimes it takes loosing something or someone to realize what is or was most important in our lives. Please not forget the real meaning of Christmas! Oh and could you eat a cookie and Christmas candy for me ;). Thanks!

Okay, so after all that let me tell you a little about celebrating Christmas in Peru. First off, I have not heard one Christmas hymn sung in Church or on the radio. I found out the other day that the reason we have not heard any is because they only sing 3 Christmas hymns."Silent Night! Holy Night!” Hark! The Herald Angels sing", and "Joy to the World". Fruit cake is VERY big here, but it’s more like sweet bread with fruit candies. Also they love hot chocolate, the real stuff. They melt a chocolate bar with milk and sugar. Yummy!Melissa's Mom sent her a little Christmas tree for the girls dorm and Heather gave us her left over decorations, these little things remind us that it is Christmas in spite of what the weather might be telling us :). Also Laura's Mom sent her some homemade cookies and candies, sure am glad we all share around here :)! We decided to draw names for secret Santa, but the gift can't be more than 10 soles (about $ 3.50).
On Monday I went out with a few of the girls to try and find a gift and I think we walked around for an hour and a half and finally I gave up and looked again another day. It's so much harder to go shopping here.In Peru everyone stays up till midnight on Christmas Eve and then opens their gifts, they play games, drink hot chocolate, and eat fruit cake. One on my favorite things about the Christmas season is the Christmas Eve service at our church. When I signed up to do devos on the 24th I knew exact ally what I wanted to do, well my date got changed to the 23rd but I didn't care. I had people read and sing some in English and some in Spanish. It went very well, not as good as the real Christmas Eve service but a good one all the same!

Yes, things are different here, but that’s doesn't mean it's not just as wonderful! Thank you Father, for all that you've taught me this Christmas!!Hugs and Loves to all my family and friends!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

Molly, Olivia and Alexis,

I´m very sorry I´m not there to celebrate your birthdays this year, but please know that I love and miss all three of you very much! This blog is for 3 of the GREATEST nieces in the world! I know you all can´t read but maybe your Mommy or Daddy will tell you about it someday.

Some of the greatest moments in my life have been when your parents told me I was going to be an Aunt. And on Dec. 8th, 15th and the 21st when three of the most beautiful little girls were born!

Molly, I love your beautiful smile! My favorite thing to do with you is play on the floor, it really doesn´t matter what we are doing just as long as we are together. I would do anything I could to make you smile! I can´t believe you have turned 1 already and that you are walking and talking! I hope they are teaching you my name, hint, hint :)! I love and miss you very much Molly! Love always, Aunt Brittany

Olivia, I love you hear you laugh! It makes me smile just thinking about hear it :). My favorite thing to do with you is dance in the kitchen. Your face lights up as soon as you hear the music. Make sure you save a dance for me for when I come home in Oct. You bring such joy to my life! Happy Birthday pretty Girl! I love and miss you! Hugs from Aunt Brittany

Alexis, I love your cheerful spirit, you bring warmth and light to every room you enter. My favorite thing to do with you is read books and play outside. You have loved to read books since you were little, I hope this is the case your whole life! You are always so full of energy and ready for an adventure, I love that! You are an amazing and sweet little girl! I love you! I miss you and can´t wait to see you again! With love and Hugs, Aunt Brittany

Happy Birthday Girls!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A moment of clearity

Monday in class our teacher told us that we would be going to Padre Cocha (an island about 10 minutes across the Amazon) on Tuesday. He asked some people to prepare a skit, others to have games for kids and one person who would be willing to preach. Esther (my partner) and I decided to help with the skit, we got some help from our friends and had an idea of what we wanted to do. On afternoon when I was in town the other girls sat down and made an outline of the skit. I thought perfect all I have to do is show up and do my part, I forgot that I lived in Peru. Right before practice one of our guys said I think the skit is too long and maybe a little complicated. So he suggest a very simple skit he had done many times.

I'm learning that things more than likely will never go as you planned them too, and that's okay. This is a little difficult for me because I like to have a plan and stick with it :).

We practiced the skit a few times on wednesday night and called it good. I actually really liked this new skit and was very thankful that someone had suggested it! Thursday morning we got up at out usual hour of 5:45 am in order to be at chapel by 6:00 for devotions. At 7:00 we head to the dinning hall for breakfast. That left us with an hour and a half to get ready.

At 9am we grabbed a few moto taxies and headed out. Our teacher had gone ahead of us and gotten a boat for us to take across the river. We were all so excited to finally be ON the Amazon!!! We arrived on the island around 9:30, the pastor meant us at the church and told us a little about the island and their cultural. By 10:00 we were out knocking on peoples doors inviting them to come to the park at 4pm for the skit, games and preaching. Esther even made me do some of the inviting, I'm still struggling to speak Spanish. To be honest its mostly out of fear, but each day I over come that fear a little more.

When we were out we were literally walking through the jungle and right by the Amazon. I realized that this was what is was about. I had hated and wanted so bad to give up in Arequipa and every time I did Melissa would ask "Brittany,why are you here? " My answer was always, because God called me here. I can't tell you how incredible it feels to now see the fruits of God's labor (Even if its just a very small piece of fruit ;)), I know that there is no way I could have made it through without Him.

Seeing things clearly,