Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving in Peru ~2010~

Happy Thanksgiving….I know I’m a little late.

I had one of the best Thanksgivings ever this year, and I wasn’t in my “home” country, or with my family. But I felt so at home and surrounded with love.

On Thanksgiving Day I Skyped with my family in the States. I thought it would be really hard to see everyone at my parents house, but to my surprise it wasn’t instead is was a wonderful blessing. The best part was being able to pray with them! It brought tears to my eyes as I heard my Dad pray, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed praying together as a family until that moment. They were kind enough to NOT eat in front of me, but they did talk about everything they had and all the yummy pie they were about to eat. No one’s perfect I guess : ).

We decided to wait and have our Thanksgiving until Monday the 29th when the boys would be back from working out on the river. Heather invited our DS and his family to join us, so with all of us we had a total of 15 adults, 4 kids, and 2 babies! It was a multi-culture table, with rice , maracuy√° juice, and salsa de cocona. We prayed and sang in Spanish and English and we all went around the table and said what we are thankful for. As we were going around the table the DS asked if this holiday was only once a year? I think it’s safe to say that he enjoyed EVERYTHING!!!

So what was/am I thankful for? I’m Thankful for the work God has done in my life over the last year and I’m thankful for the new family he has blessed me with. Although there are times when I’m frustrated with the way things are here, deep down, there is no place I’d rather be. I pray that each of you too can be thankful for all God has given you and find joy in where he has called you…..wherever that may be!

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NLT)

See picture’s below!

Pictures of Thanksgiving 2010-#2

The boys watching Football

The DS and his wife!

The N.American 40/40's (Lt-Rt: Katie, Laura, Me, Drew and Sophia)

The 40/40 N. American girls!
Posted by Picasa

Pictures on Thanksgiving 2010-#1

1 THE FEAST!

My plate

My beautiful partner(Esther) and I

LOVE THEM! (Lt-Rt: Heather, Laura, Katie and me)
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 17, 2010

~Love Deeply~

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Have you ever noticed that it doesn't say "And love will NEVER hurt" We all have stories of how we've been hurt by loved ones, it's just a part of life. I find verse 8 interesting because I think we could all say that at one time or another love has failed......but NOT HIS love, human love.

Anytime we get hurt by love or from loving someone, what do we do? We pull away; we put our hearts in a safe and don't give the code to ANYONE. We become determined to protect ourselves.....most of all to protect our hearts. I'm finding that this is NOT possible in ministry....or in life in general.
I'm reading Henri Nouwen's book "The Inner Voice of Love" and I have decided that I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love it because he has some very beautiful words to share and says them in such a way that you can relate. But I hate it sometimes because it challenges me, it makes me look in the mirror and see not only faults but ways to improve. And to be honest, most of the time.....it's not easy to change who you are or who you've become.

Ok, so back to love. I want to share with you what Henri has to say about loving deeply. He says "Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful.

It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pan of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decided not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.

The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of your self and thus gradually build a community within you.

Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live; there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear."

There's really not much else to say after that......except just keep making your circle bigger! Continue to love and love deeply......even when it hurts.

In His love and mine, Brittany

Friday, September 10, 2010

Missionary Munitions " Worshipping as the Occasion Serves" By Oswald Chambers

"When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." John 1:48

We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. "If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion." You will not unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it; when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crisis always reveals character.

The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. The time comes when there is no more "fig-tree" life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as the occasion serves you in your home. Worship aright in your private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.

"I can't be expected to live the sanctified life in the circumstances I am in; I have no time for praying just now, no time for bible reading, my opportunity hasn't come yet; when it does, of course I shall be all right." No, you will not. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.

The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.

What a great reminder for us to worship our King at all times, not just when we're in church, or when we're doing our devotions but at all times! As we just read, if we aren't worshipping as the occasion serves how will we ever stand the storm? So my question for all of you is "Are you worshipping as the occasion serves?" When you're doing the dishes, laundry or even mowing the yard? What about when you're driving (walking or riding) to work or school?

As soon as I'd finished reading this devotion, I got up to use the restroom (I had a LARGE cup of coffee this morning :)). I realized how dirty the bathrooms were and knowing that this week was mine and Esther’s week to clean them; I decided to put the rest of my devotions on hold and do some quick cleaning. As I was cleaning I begin to think about what I had just read, and I realized I needed to seize the moment! So right there in the dirty bathroom I began to worship, I started singing a favorite hymn. And once I fished singing I started to pray and just praise God for who He is and for what He is teaching me. I have found that when God is teaching us something, He will always give us the opportunity to put that which He is teaching us into practice. So I had a beautiful time of praise and worship this morning as I cleaned the bathrooms :)!

Love Always, Brittany

Friday, September 3, 2010

The GREAT battle!

Since moving here to Iquitos there has been a constant battle against mosquitoes, beetles, cockroaches’ and many other insects. Lately the mosquitoes have been really bad; they have invaded our dorm and have started living in some of our dressers (no doors or drawers). It had gotten to the point that every time I pulled a shirt or shorts out 10+ mosquitoes would come
flying out.

One night I decided I’d had enough, so I got our bug spray for clothes and just started spraying all my clothes. This time I was very happy when they all started flying out……until something else began to start coming out too. COCKROACHES!!! The first one was on my books, but when I sprayed him with the bug spray he quickly moved……right at me. I screamed, took off my shoe and began whacking…..I’m proud to say that I got him. But when I looked back at my dresser more where coming, just about in every cubby there was one or two trying to get away from the smell of the bug spray. I’m sorry to say that I was not as brave this time. I screamed and began to jump up and down. When I stopped jumping I ran up to Kevin and Heather’s and asked for some traps.

When Heather and I came down to put the traps in place, all the girls were laughing at me, usually I’m very good and handling these things, but I was just a little overwhelmed. I was so freaked out that I could even sleep in my own bed; I had to sleep with Laura (what a good friend). I have no doubt that I will NEVER live that moment down.
So I’m broken hearted to say that my battle against the cockroaches’ was lost……..but it’s War now and I WILL NOT LOSE!!

I hope you all got a good laugh and that you enjoy living in your NON-cockroach infested homes : )

~Brittany~

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Through The Storms

This is from the book The Extravagant Love of Jesus.

I did not know His love before, the way I know it now.I could not see my need for Him, my pride would not allow.I had it all, without a care, the 'self-sufficient' lie.My path was smooth, my sea was still, not a cloud was in my sky.I thought I did not need to grow, I thought I'd found my place.

But then the way grew rough and dark, the storm clouds quickly rolled;The waves began to rock my ship, my anchor would not hold.The ship that I had built myself was made of foolish pride.It fell apart and left me bare, with nowhere else to hide.I had no strength or faith to face the trials that lay ahead.And so i simply prayed to Him and bowed my weary head.His loving arms enveloped me, and then He helped me stand.He said, 'You still must face this storm, but I will hold your hand.'

So through the dark and lonely night He guided me through the pain.I could not see the light of day or when the storm would ware.Yet through the aches and endless tears, my faith began to grow.I could not see it at the time, but my light began to glow.I saw God's love in brand new light, His grace and mercy too.For only when all self was gone, could Jesus' love shine through.

It was not easy in the storm, I sometimes wondered 'why?'At times I thought 'I can’t go on' I'd hurt and doubt and cry,But Jesus never left my side, He guided me each day,Though the pain and strife, though fire and flood, He helped me all the way.And now I see as never before how Great His love can be.

How in my weakness He is strong, how Jesus cares for me!He worked it all out for my good, although the way was roughHe only sent what I could bear, and then He cried, 'Enough!'He raised his hand and said, 'Be still!' He made the storm clouds cease.He opened up the gates of joy and flooded me with peace.

I saw His face now clearer still, I felt His presence strong.I found anew His faithfulness, He never did me wrong.Now I know more storms will come, but only for my good.For pain and tears have helped me grow as naught else ever could.I still have so much more to learn as Jesus works in me; If in the storm I'll love Him more, that's where I want to be!

Author: unknown.

Can you believe it’s been year already? August 29th, 2009 at 6am I arrived in Arequipa, Peru to start a new life, a new adventure and a new walk with my savior. I never dreamed I would change this much, sure I’d imaged meeting new people, learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture. But I didn’t think I would be a “new” person.

A few months ago a very good friend had posted this poem on her facebook, I’ll admit when I read it I wasn’t thinking about my life, I was thinking about the lives around me. Then when I was thinking about what to post for my one year anniversary I re-read the poem. And this time it was as if the words where jumping off the page, because this poem not only applies to my life in general, but more specifically my life this year.

It’s no secret that this mission has been hard, just read some of my earlier blog entries, but I hope it’s also not a secret that God has changed my life through this mission. The friends I’ve made are no longer just friends, they are family! The memories that have been made are not those that will fade over time, they will last a life time. And the beat of my fading heart will never sound the same, because selfishness has died and a new love and passion has been born; and its hum cannot be silenced.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers, love and constant support! Thank you for your sacrifices in order to support me monthly, I pray that you know that they are not returning void. More than just my life has been changed, the lives of the people here in Peru have been changed….BECAUSE OF YOU!!! Philippians 4:18-19 Says: “I have received full payment and EVEN MORE…..they are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Heavenly Father, I pray that you would open up the flood gates of heaven and shower these people with riches and blessings, may their cup overflow! Oh God I pray that you would supply their every need, may they never worry but simply trust! Thank you so much for their lives, for their obedience to you and thank you for their love and GREAT strength! God, Thank you for your faithfulness in my life and theirs’! I pray all of this in your Holy name, Amen.

In His love and mine, Brittany

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Just have a little Faith!"

July 12th “Streams in the Desert”
“He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

Faith grows during storms. These are just four little words, but what significance they have to someone who has endured life-threatening storms!

The path of faith is one of sorrow and joy, suffering and healing comfort, tears and smiles, trials and victories, conflicts and triumphs and also hardships, dangers, beatings, persecutions, misunderstanding, trouble and distress. Yet “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

Yes, “in all these”-even during storms, when the winds are the most intense-“we are more than conquerors.” You may be tempted to run from the ordeal of a fierce storm of testing, but head straight for it! God is there to meet you in the center of each trial. And He will whisper to you His secrets, which will bring you out with a radiant face and such an invincible faith that all the demons of hell will never be able to shake it. E.A. Kilbourne

Oh the storms I have faced thus far, some I have written about and others have stayed tucked away. I knew the life of a missionary was hard, but I had no idea it could shake you to the very point of breaking. Throughout the history of missionaries we have seen some have broken, and some have been steadfast. What we may not see or do; is give credit to those that do break, the fact of the matter is they came and they followed God, while others said “No” and choose not to follow.

I think we often forget that His “thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways” (Isa. 55:8). We don’t know what He has planned for those around us, we can only trust and follow Him in what He has shown or asked us. The words of the very talented writer of “Streams in the Desert” bring me immense comfort. When she says “God is there to meet you in the center of each trial. And He will whisper to you His secrets, which will bring you out with a radiant face and such an invincible faith that all the demons of hell will never be able to shake it.”
Maybe one day I will write a book and tell you all about the storms I myself and my team have experienced, for now just know that we are standing in the midst of some of the fiercest storms of our lives. And the only way we are standing is because there is someone who is holding us upright.

So wherever you are right now, whether you are overseas or stateside, whatever trial you are facing know that God is meeting you in the center and He will lead and guide you through this storm. Just have a little faith!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Love Extreme Arequipa 2010

As we say here in Peru (except in Spanish) “Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Well, the projects are over and Esther and I have started back to work, just today in fact. Love Extreme in Arequipa and Love Extreme to Iquitos were both incredible. It was VERY evident that both cities were and are still bathed in prayer, this is something that never ceases to amaze me; the power of prayer.

*As I attempt to re-tell all that has happened in this last month, please remember that I may have forgotten or confused a few things…..such as exact numbers. So with that I ask that you NOT quote me on any of this ;). THANKS!*

How I wish each and every one of you could have been in Arequipa Saturday June, 19th to hear Nick Vujicic. We had something like 10,000 people there just to hear his testimony, and the first time he did an altar call EVERYONE stood up. Nick was sure that didn’t understand what he meant so he had them all sit down, and again he asked them “Do you want to know this Jesus Christ, the one and only person who can give you REAL life, a full life?” And this time 80% of the crowd stood. Again Nick had everyone sit and for the third time he asked if they understood his question; now you need to know that Nick had a translator (who was AMAZING, but still sometimes things are lost in translation or just translated different).

And for the third and final time 60%-70% of the crowd stood and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Praise the LORD!!! Most of them came back to one of the conference rooms with us and we were able to get there contact information, pray with them and most importantly welcome them into their new family. I had the honor and privilege of helping with this part.

Sunday Morning we had a celebration service with recording artist, Tammy Trent and special speaker, Woody Stevens. Once the service was over we had a quick break and then Extreme announced were they are going to next. At this point in the service ALL the Extreme staff was up on stage, all dressed in black pants or a skirt with a white top. I felt an overwhelming since of pride as I stood on that stage, knowing that God had called to be a part of the work He is doing in and with Extreme. And of course who wouldn’t feel a tiny bit prideful (in a good way of course) looking out into hundreds of faces and seeing your Mom, sister and members of your home church and most of them looking at you with tear-filled eyes.

I managed not to cry until Felix Vargas stood before all, with tears rolling down his eyes and with a GREAT and MIGHTY passion he cast a vision and claimed victory for the country of Paraguay. As I was listening to the words of this remarkable man, I couldn’t help but think of how GREAT and MIGHTY our God is! I mean He took a man who was so enslaved to sin and in my opinion probably one of the toughest men to walk this earth and God called Felix by name “out of the power of Darkness and into the power of Light”. And that is exactly what Extreme is doing, Carrying the Light to a dark and hurting world!

To be continued! More on Love Extreme to Iquitos to come!

In His continued Service, Brittany

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Scared of going home...

This week I had some very random stomach issues and as I was lying in my bed I started thinking, “Oh my gosh, what kind of stomach problems am I going to have when I’m home in Dec/Jan?”

When we first got here I remember being sick like every other week, but I mean come on I’ve been here for 9 months now. And I eat the same thing every week, chicken and rice with different sauces. One day in class (when I was supposed to be taking notes) I made a list of all the food I want when I get home and as I looked it over later I realized there was only one chicken item that made the list. This is funny to me because I love or should I say loved chicken, no it would be more accurate to say that I love American chicken. It’s clean and you know that people have washed their hands after touching it, and you can get it boneless and ready to cook in minutes.

The other reason I’m scared about going home is because this week it dropped 15-20 degrees (which means it was about 70 degrees) and I was wearing jeans, and a long-sleeved shirt. Oh and I drank two cups of hot tea that day too. I know, you don’t need to say it I can say it myself. “I am the biggest wimp now!” But you have to remember its 85-90 degrees just about EVERYDAY here so when it all of the sudden drops to 70 that’s cold to us jungle people. My sister like to give me a hard time that she is going to skip all the long underwear and just give me some ski pants.
So in 6 months be looking for a blog about how I froze to death in Kansas : ).


Hope you enjoyed being in the mind of Brittany when she was sick in Peru. I promise a more serious and spiritual blog will be coming ;).
With all my love, Brittany

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Growth in the Darkness

I’ve said before that my time here in Peru has by far been the most difficult time in my life. But, I think I’ve grown more spiritually here in Peru than ever before. I was joking with Heather (my cluster support Mom) the other day saying “You know people have told me for years that I have an old soul and have wisdom beyond my years (both a blessing and a curse in my life). But, at the rate God is growing me I feel like I’m going to leave Peru feeling like I’m a 102 years old or people will be telling me, “My, my Brittany how you’ve aged.” I laugh at this yes, but more than I laugh I praise God for the work He has done in my life.

My devotional explains it perfectly, it says: “It is indeed extremely doubtful that a person’s soul can really know the love of God in its richness and in its comforting, satisfying completeness until the skies are dark and threatening. Light emerges from darkness, and morning is born from the womb of night.”

“And it is also a real and unquestionable fact of human life and culture that a person’s character is strengthened most during the darkest days.” ~Malcolm J. McLeod~

Romans 5:3-4 (NIV) says: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.”

Growing and loving Him more each and every day!
In His service,
Brittany

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our First Week

Esther and I have been working in 9 de Octubre for about a week now, and so far so good. For the next month our week will look something like this…..

Monday: FREE DAY!!!

Tuesday & Wednesday: 10am-11am Discipleship class with Jenny
11am-12:30pm Evangelize
12:30-2pm Lunch (out)
2-4pm Evangelize
*Dinner on the compound at 6pm*

Thursday & Friday: 2:30pm-3:30pm Discipleship class with Rosa
4-5pm Discipleship class with Blanca and Demetrio
5pm-6pm Dinner (out)
*Lunch on the compound at 12:00pm*

Saturday: Discipleship classes and maybe some outreach projects
12:30-2pm Lunch (out)
*Dinner on the compound at 6pm*

Sunday: Church at Colinas (Our mother church)

This is just to get an idea of what we will be doing, more than likely it will change a little from week to week. But it gives you an idea at least.

God has been so good to us, we already have 4 people who are or will be starting discipleship class. There is also a Nazarene family in the area who are willing to help in any way possible. We are hoping to eventually have some classes/church services in their home.

Esther and I are doing wonderful, we are working as one. We have had some really good laughs and some good discussions. One day I even spoke up and told her I didn’t like something she’d done; this was a big step for me. We see things VERY differently, but we have a mutual respect for one another.

Blanca (who will be starting her first discipleship class on Thursday) owns a little store; she sells snacks, soda and other various items. One day this week we stopped by to talk to her and get a cold drink. After we finished talking she asked us what we’d like to drink. Esther asked for a couple waters before she realized I had my own. But it was too late, Blanca’s son (Demetrio) was already bringing two glass bottled waters……..with gas. Esther had forgotten to say without gas, but I was fine with it. Little did I know that this was Esther first time to drink water with gas. She was really struggling to drink it and finally when Blanca got up to tend to something Esther turned to me and said “I don’t think I can finish this.” And me being the nice partner I am, I said “But, you have to or you will be a bad missionary.” She laughed and said “okay but it may be next year.” When Blanca came back we asked her how much we owned her and she said “Nothing, this one’s on me” my partner turned to me and said” in that case I will finish mine.” I decided I should be nice so I finally I asked her if she was done (knowing she wasn’t but because Blanca was right there I had to ask) I said I will finish yours.

We had a good laugh at this in the taxi on the way home. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being able to do something my Peruvian partner couldn’t; even if it was only drinking a bottle of water.

More stories to come as we continue in our ministry!
With Love, Brittany

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Devotions

From: ~Streams in the Deseret~ By: L.B. Cowman

“Dear friend, God may send you some valuable gifts wrapped in unattractive paper. But don’t worry about the wrappings, for you can be sure that inside He has hidden treasures of love, kindness, and wisdom. If we will simply take what He sends and trust Him for the blessing inside, we will learn the meaning of the secrets of His providence, even in times of darkness.

Remember, diamonds are found in the rough, and their true value cannot be seen.”

Although I don’t understand all that God is doing right now, I’m choosing DAILY to trust Him. It’s not easy or without its sacrifices, but I have hope that it will be worth it in the end. Little by little my heart is being healed.


Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 was Esther and I’s first day as missionaries. We were very blessed to already have some contacts in our location, so Tuesday morning we went to visit our first family. A grandmother and her three grandchildren, the mother died a few years ago and the father ran off. Jenny, the 15 year old granddaughter is 5months pregnant with her 20 year old boyfriend’s child. This is not uncommon here, by the time girls are 20 they have 2 or 3 kids.

Yesterday we had our first discipleship class with Jenny and through that lesson; Jenny made a decision to accept Christ into her heart. I know what you’re thinking, hmmm discipleship class first and then a decision, interesting. I thought the same thing. It’s no surprise that this was my devotional this morning.

From: ~Voices of the Faithful~ By: Beth Moore and Friends
New life?

“How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14-15a (NIV)

After evangelism training in rural areas of Mozambique, we split into teams to share from home to home (or casa por casa here). I was on a team with an American volunteer and two Mozambican believers. We were in the middle of nowhere with 10 to 15 minutes of walking between houses.

At the last house, we were invited to sit with an elderly couple and some teenagers. I asked the old man if he had ever discovered new life. He said, “There is no such thing as new life. There is only suffering and pain.”

With his permission, I began to share about Jesus, an unfamiliar name to them. One of the teenagers, named Carlos, was especially attentive. I asked how he could have eternal life, and Carlos answered, “I’m not sure why, but I think it’s through this Jesus.” We continued talking about the gospel, and the couple and several teenagers wanted to give their lives to Christ.
After we prayed, Carlos looked at me and said, “I’ve had this thing in my heart for a long time. You told me today the answer I was looking for.”

That “thing in his heart” was the Holy Spirit seeking him. However, there was no way for Carlos to know what to do unless someone came and shared the truth with him.”
-Katie, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa

At first I was so against going “door to door”, I just felt so uncomfortable. But then the more we did it and I saw how hungry people were to hear about how they could have a different life, an eternal life, I realized if Esther and I aren’t going to do it, who will?

This devotional really helped me to see that better and gave me encouragement that the Holy Spirit is working. I have a very strong feeling that there are people in 9 de Octubre who have “this thing in their heats” and they are waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

With Love and blessings, Brittany

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heart Broken

It’s only been a few weeks since my last blog, but there is so much to tell. So I’m just going to jump right in, starting with my time in Arequipa.

When Melissa and I arrived in Arequipa (5 weeks ago) we received news that our best friend Laura was being flown to the states for medical treatment. We were devastated upon hearing this, but were reassured she would be able to return. I received an email from her yesterday and she is doing GREAT, and hoping to return very soon. Please keep her and her family in your prayers, for personal reasons I cannot share specifics.

Melissa and I both had meetings with our boss while we were in AQP. Because of many different things our boss and Melissa came to the decision that it would be best for Melissa to return to the states. Melissa had been thinking and praying about this for a long time, and so had our boss. Melissa left AQP April 13th and then left for the states on the 16th.

As most of you know Melissa and Laura were who I got closest too. The two weeks that all this went down was by far the hardest two weeks of my time here in Peru. I’m going to try and paint a mental picture for you. For those of you that are married, think back to your first year together. Everything was great, you had moved in to your house or apartment, you were CRAZY in love and wanted to spend every minute together. And then 8 months later something happens, maybe a tragedy, or your first big fight and one of you decides to leave. You come home to find their dresser cleaned out, their side of the bed is made and all their pictures are gone. The house is empty, but every time you turn around you are reminded of them because you had spent the last 8 months together building memories in that house.

Your heart would be broken, right? Well, mine was/is. When I came back to Iquitos and saw Melissa and Laura’s beds empty, and their dressers cleaned out I thought I was going to get sick. I climbed into my bed to cry, but there was no room for me because my bed had been filled with gifts. But the greatest gift of all was under my pillow, a book Melissa had written for me. As I read it I cried and cried, the pain was too overwhelming, there was nothing I could do but cry. And that’s what I did everyday for the next week. I’m still in touch with both of them, but it’s just not the same as having them here.

As if this wasn’t enough, this week our group was split apart. When we came there were 12 of us, 6 going to Pucallpa and 6 staying in Iquitos. Now we have 4 going to Pucallpa, and 5 staying in Iquitos. On Friday 3 of our North Americans and their partners left on a boat for Pucallpa and the last pair will leave in the morning by plane. We had all gotten closer than we ever dreamed. Our group has been through some REALLY BIG storms and we have had to rely on each other, we are each other’s family!

All of this put together has been weighing very heavy on my heart, but I have done my best to be strong and not show how truly hurt and broken I am. But, yesterday I had a break down after going to the internet and reading emails from Melissa and Laura and receiving two phone calls from our friends on the boat. When I got back I went up stares to our cluster support family’s house and had a good cry. I can’t even express to you how broken I feel right now, my world here has been turned upside down.

I don’t know how to close this but to ask for your prayers for not just me, but for my whole group. Below is a list of all the pair’s and their location.

Iquitos:
Katie B and Priscila
Juliana, Delila (Melissa’s old partner) and Laura
Drew and Victorino
Bran and Britaldo
Esther and I
Cluster support family: Kevin, Heather, Anna, Micah, and Sophia

Pucallpa:
Kristy and Nancy
Katie A and Emperatriz
Tim and Daniel
Kevin and Samuel
Cluster support family: Ryan, Sarah, Isaiah, and Landon

With Love and Thanks, Brittany

News:
On April 29th we graduated from our bible classes. At the end of the ceremony the whole church laid hands on us and sent us out to be missionaries.

This Tuesday Esther and I will go to our first location (9 de Octubre, 9th of October). We already have a few names of people who are eager to hear more about Christ and are willing to have us disciple them. We are praying God continues to lead and bless us in our work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When I Saw the Cross, I was home! From “Voices of the Faithful” by: Beth Moore and Friends.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32 (KJV)

“God has been so gracious to us by giving us a beautiful place to live in a 77-acre coffee plantation.

One day, Caleb, our 8-year-old son, and three of his friends went exploring through the coffee plants. When they were ready to come home, they were not sure which way to go. They decided to go up one of the hills, but they still could not see the house. Then Caleb had the idea of climbing trees in order to see farther. After climbing several trees along the way, he yelled out to his friends, “I see the cross!”

In hopes of having a good harvest each year, our landlord had constructed a large white cross on one of the hills near our house because he believes that Mary, Jesus, and God would bless his efforts. So when Caleb saw the cross, he knew which direction to head. When he retold the story, he commented that when he was up in the tree and saw the cross, he knew that he was home.

What is the compass you use to guide you and your loved ones? What is your home? Are you sure that the path you are on today will lead you to the eternal home with God?

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Caleb saw the cross, and it represented home, safety, and the right to say, “I once was lost, but now I’m found.”
-Jeff and Karen, Middle America and the Caribbean

Father, I praise you that you sent your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that He rose again. Thank you that as a result, anyone who believes in Him can have eternal life! May I never stray from the cross. May I abide in you. Amen.

Someone once asked me “What would you say to the 40/40’s who are preparing to come?” I thought long and hard, I came up with some encouraging things to tell them, I thought of a LOT of things I would tell them to bring, but, there was something weighing very heavy on my heart. It was as if God Himself was telling me to tell them the truth! So this is what I would tell them and anyone who is preparing to become a missionary.

This will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. You will question your call and God more times than you would care to count. You will experience things in your own life that you NEVER dreamed of experiencing. Some of those things will be GREAT and will change your life forever….in a good way. And then other things will be horrible and change your life, but maybe not in such a good way. I cling to the promise that God will use EVERYTHING for HIS good, because without this promise my life is a lost cause.

You will make friends that will last a lifetime. It’s a “Live together or die alone” kind of thing. Your cluster support family, partner and fellow 40/40’s are your family. Learn to trust and love them because they are all you’ve got in the hard times! This is what I would tell you, if you asked me about my life as a missionary. This is the truth of my life, and I’m committed to it!

My sister Angela sent me a song that touched my heart and has since been an anchor in my life. It’s called “The Words I Would Say”. These words have kept me going when I was ready to give up: “Be strong in the Lord, And NEVER give up hope, you’re gonna do GREAT things, I already know. God’s got His hand on you, So, don’t live life in fear, Forgive and Forget, BUT DON’T FORGET WHY YOU’RE HERE, take your time and Pray, these are the words I would say.”

“What is the compass you use to guide you and your loved ones?” mine is the cross. I will walk in the shadow of the cross that way people will see Jesus first, and then me!

With all my love, Brittany

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Funnies!

Something that started early on with our group was the saying “You know you’re in Peru when…..” well, once we moved to the jungle we changed it to “You know you’re in the jungle when……” I decided that my blogs have been really serious lately so it’s time for some funnies!

“You know you’re in the Jungle when…..


You don’t leave the house without putting bug spray and deodorant on.

You have completely forgotten what a “hot” shower feels like.

You don’t remember a time when you weren’t sweating.

It’s the end of January/beginning of February and you are getting hit with water balloons.

More often than not your shower partner is a green tree frog.


You gladly welcome the company of the geckos’ on the ceiling because they will eat the spiders living in the corners.

You think it’s strange to ride in a car (There are about 38,000 motorcycles and motto-taxies here; and not too many cars).


Your iPod becomes your best friend because at night it drounds out the sound of the rat running in the attic.


You NEVER throw away your receipts because you might need some toilet paper later.


It’s not strange to see a monkey sitting in the waiting room at the Dentist office. And no the monkey was not waiting to see the Dentist, he was just a pet.


You are happy to be sleeping on the top bunk because you know that the mice and rats can’t get in your bed. True story, one girl woke up to find a mouse in her bed with her. Also one of our guys moved his mattress to the floor because the bed frame is too short for him. Well, one night he woke up because a rat had crawled into his mouth. He has since moved his mattress up on benches.

Your skin is poke a dotted with mosquito bites.


Your clothes are wet…………and it’s not from water.

Your diet is chicken, rice and potatoes.


That itch on your leg might be an ant, mosquito or sweat….and the funny thing is you don’t care anymore.

WARNING Food sealed in packages is not safe from the rats!

A gourmet meal is Kraft Mac and Cheese….Mmmmm it’s never tasted so good!


When you can NEVER throw your toilet paper in the toilet!
Your 16 month olds’ (NOT mine, our cluster support families) favorite pet is not the puppy but a HUGE ugly beetle!


When it rains you don’t want you use a rain coat or umbrella because the rain feels so good!


Seeing little boys peeing in the street is just a part of your everyday scenery.


You know it’s a "cold" day when you only take one shower and notice that the water is cold!


You can relate to a pregnant woman because you have cravings ALL THE TIME!!!

I hope you have gotten a good laugh and maybe a little insight about our lives here in the jungle. Feel free to live a commit or ask questions, I would be happy to answer you!

Mom asked me the other day how I’m doing considering my last blog. She also said many of you had also inquired about how I’m doing these days. I will say what I’ve said many times, we have our days, sometimes good and other times not so good. We have had lots of……for lack of a better word I will call it drama; these last 2 weeks. I’m sorry but I can’t tell you all that’s going on, all I can say is that we continue to need your prayers. I want to thank each of you for caring and loving me! It means the world to me.

Love always, Brittany

An Answer to Prayer!

I have wonderful news; a couple weeks ago Katie went to Lima to get a second opinion. The Doctor said that it is not t tumor; it is a cyst that has filled with liquid. She will more than likely not have to have surgery. Praise the Lord, for He has indeed answered our prayers! Thank you so much for all your prayers for Katie and her family!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Please Pray for Katie

Dear Friends and Family,
I’m writing this blog to ask you to pray from a very special young lady, her name is Katie. Katie is from California and will be staying here in Iquitos for the next year and 8 month (but who’s counting, right?). Katie is just a few months younger than I, and this is one of the many reasons we have become great friends.

About a week ago Katie started having lots of pain in her leg; she finally agreed to go to the doctor this week. The doctor gave her some pain meds and did a blood test. Katie decided to go back a few days later because her leg was still hurting, this time the doctor did a sonogram. The sonogram showed a small tumor on the inside of her right leg, just behind her knee. The doctor said she needs to have surgery as soon as possible.

Katie and her family are trying to decided when and where she will have the surgery. Yesterday all the 40/40’s had a day of prayer and fasting. In your times of prayer and solitude would you please say a little prayer for Katie and her family, pray that God will give them wisdom and guidance. Pray that God would give them His everlasting peace.

With much love and thanks, Brittany

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Truth!

Greetings from the Amazon jungle!
I'm sorry it has been a while since I posted anything new. I've gone back and forth on if I should write this blog or not and finally I decided it is necessary. In cross-cultural training they advised us to write blogs or emails as often as possible, but to be very careful about what we were writing. In other words, they said it's not the greatest idea to write when you are having a bad day.
I've done my best to be truthful and at the same time be careful in want I have written. It's time for me to be really honest with all of you.

My time here in Peru has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Really, it's only been since we got here to Iquitos, our time in Arequipa was great....well minus the whole car wreck :(.

Let me tell you a little about cultural shock. Cultural shock is horrible, there aren't really any words to describe it, just personal experiences. A friend once said Regin Spektor's song "Eat" best describes it when she says "It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song, you can't believe it, you were always singing along, it was so easy and the words so sweet, you can't remember, you try to feel the beat". We all have a favorite song, yes? And when we hear the first note to that song, we are already singing and maybe even dancing around. Thank about if you heard that song and you knew it was your favorite song but no words were coming to mind and worse it's like the whole song has been muted. You are no longer dancing around, you are standing in udder dismay, shock and ultimately, pain.
A while back I wrote my Mom and expressed to her how I felt that I had lost myself. I no longer knew how to be me in English or Spanish. I felt as though I had been completely removed from my body, placed on the outside and forced to watch this person try to live her life. I could no longer express my thoughts or feelings.......because I no longer had any.

As if that was not enough, we all know that Satan loves to attack when we are weakest. I have always know and believed that, "...our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil.." I have struggled with issues of and from my past, things I thought I had dealt with and given to God. I have struggled with things that I never would have dreamed would be issues in my life. Two 40/40's and two families have gone home since I arrived here almost 6 months ago. This is not a little short term missions trip, this is the real deal people. Satan is doing EVERYTHING he can to make this organization fail.

I'm asking each of you to dig a little deeper and pray a little harder. Cry out to God, plead with him for our protection, that He would give us the strength to fight the enemy. I know that I have a family at home praying for me because if I didn't I would not still be here. We are doing our very best and fighting with all we've got but, we are growing weary. 2 Corinthians 4:1 and 4:16 says " Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

We need you to come alongside us, pick us up when we have fallen, encourage us when we are ready to give up, and most of all love us and remind us of why we are here . YOU our supporters, our friends and our families are part of the reason we are here. God choose each of you to be apart of this ministry through your prayers and through your giving. Isaiah 41:9 says " I took you from the ends of the earth, from it's farthest corners I called you. I said 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you." This verse has brought me great encouragement, knowing that this is from God, this was and is not a Brittany thing. Remember you too have been choose!

A heartfelt thank you to each and everyone of you who are fighting with us! Thank you for your love and prayers! I close this blog with a very humble and GRATEFUL heart! With Love, Brittany

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lima get away!

Last week the North Americans got to go to Lima for a few days. In Oct. we started our residency process and now it was time to return to finish and pick up our residency cards. At first we were just going to fly in sign some papers and then fly right back. But we found out that we would need more time in the residency office than we had organically thought. This now meant that we were going to be staying the night.

The N.A. boys flew out early Monday morning and us girls flew out Monday night.As soon as we had our bags we headed straight for the food court for some McDonald's,Papa John's, Dunken Donuts, and Starbucks. We all got something different that way we could all have a little bit of EVERYTHING!!!! The night only got better.We arrived at our hotel were we found big beds (well, bigger than what we have on the compound)......without mosquito nets, a bathroom with HOT water, a TV, and FREE internet. You can laugh all you want but when you have lived in the jungle for 7 weeks you long for a cup of GOOD cup of drip coffee (all we have here is instant) and a big fat juicy cheese burger. You forget what a HOT shower feels like and that you CAN go to bed without sweating.

Tuesday morning Laura, Melissa, and I got up at 7:30 because we no longer know how to sleep in :(. Okay I got up at 7:30, but I think they woke up even earlier.Anyway, we had an "American" breakfast of bead with butter and jelly, eggs, O.J. and coffee. What a GREAT way to start off the day!We didn't have to be at the residency office till Wednesday morning so we had the whole day to ourselves. Laura and Melissa wanted to see the Catacombs, I had seen them when we were here in 2004 but agreed it would be nice to go back and see them again. I couldn't believe I was back standing in the Plaza de Armas of Lima,when I was there in '04' I didn't think that I would ever return. Little did I know that not only would I return to Peru but I would also become a resident and live in Peru for two years. I was reminded of the verse "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. ~Isaiah 55:8~

I'm happy to say that the bones were the same and had not moved since I was there in '04'. :). After we walked through the church and saw the bones and skulls we decided to get a bite to eat before heading to the beach. We found a little pizza place where we could get a slice of pizza and a soda for S/. 2.50 ($0.88), it wasn't pizza hut, but it was pretty good. On our way to catch a taxi we found an ice cream place that had dipped cones. Mmm, strawberry ice cream covered with rich chocolate, are you getting hungry yet? We pretty much ate our way through the city on Tuesday, and didn't feel bad about it because we knew we were heading back to the jungle soon. We finally made it the the beach about 3:30 pm. We weren't actually on the beach, we were above it at a park with a VERY big statue of two lovers. Of course you can guess what kind of park this was ;).

We decided to end the night by heading to the mall where there was a Chili's. I had a buffalo chicken sandwich with ranch and french fries. SO YUMMY! We made it back to the hotel around 9pm, just in time for me to Skype with family before calling it a night.

Wednesday morning we had to leave the hotel by 7:30 am in order to be at the residency office by 8 am. All 5 of us girls were done and had our ID cards by 10:30 am.Laura, Melissa and I went back to the hotel packed up our stuff and left it in the office of the hotel. This way we could check out and not have to carry our bags around all afternoon. Our flight didn't leave till 5;30, this meant we had enough time to go back to the mall eat a cheese burger, and have some time to drink a cup of coffee at Starbucks.


When it came time to board the plane none of us wanted to go, our time in Lima had been so good and so needed. But it was time to go "home". I'm trying to remember that for now, my home is Iquitos and that I have work to do here!

God bless you all!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Grand Adventure!

"Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far?" 2 Samuel 7:18

One evening the pastor asked us to think about what God had done for us this past year. I thought of many ways I had seen God's faithfulness, but the one that stood out most was being here. It's truly a dream come true, while yes, there have been times I have hated it here and wanted to go home, God has continued to be faithful and meet my needs. One of those needs being, friends. My two best friends here are Melissa and Laura. If you had told me when we all first met in L.A. that these two weman would be who I turned to most I would have laughed at you. We are all so different, but there is one BIG thing we have in common our relationship with Christ. I'm so thankful for Melissa and Laura, I know it would be so much harder if they weren't here.

My devotion for thursday was titled "The Grand Adventure" This young girl talked about how she was on a 16-mile hike in Hungary and she was surrounded by people she had only met days ago. She said who God was able to give her a peace just by looking up at the vastness of the sky. Then what she said next really hint home. "With my face toward the sky, I was struck with the absurdity of the situation. A recent college graduate leaving her family and everything she's ever known to move across the ocean would be considered unusual by most. But, then again, there is nothing usual about following Christ. However, saying yes to Him is the best decision we can make. With Christ, we can look at the sky from whatever country we currently call home and know that He painted it for us." I couldn't have said it better myself. In the words of this young missionary " I simply trust Christ and follow Him. He is the one who fulfills dreams and gives hope for a new year of serving Him."

So here is to a new year with Christ and being on the GREATEST adventure of my life.....so far that is! Happy New Year everyone!