During the last two weeks, I have been thinking a lot about ways I can offer myself while I am here. I have been praying and asking God to show me a way I can make a difference. I expected the answer to be in helping at an orphanage or joining a club somewhere. It seems He is opening doors much closer to home, in fact, in my home, serving the two women who serve me every day. Their names are Lula (with the laundry to the left) and Joni.
Joni is 17, although you might guess more like 12 or 13. She moved here from Cuzco (the mountains) a year ago. She is Quechua, a descendent of the Incas, and did not learn Spanish until she came to work in this house. She lives in a room on the roof, works during the day, and goes to school in the afternoons. She is so simple and so complex at the same time, the fruit of her culture and I expect, of many years of difficult living and perhaps harsh treatment. She is in the 7th grade, despite her age, and is having a difficult time. I imagine that education as a cultural value is foreign to her. Joni is timid and so much still a child.
Lula is 32 and has worked here for 6 years. I wonder what she was like when she came. She told me Friday about how hard her life had been, beaten by her stepmother until she almost died, working since the age of 4, living on the streets for a while, doing every kind of odd job. The woman I know now is full of life and joy, although she has many questions to ask of God. She also has a daughter, Andrea (to the left), who is 8. Lula's salary is maybe $100/month. Andrea's private school is $20/month. Then there's food, housing (they don't live here), and transportation. Lula has been saving up all year to buy Andrea a $30 mandolin for Christmas.
Would the Lord use me here? Please pray that He would open doors for me to offer myself. I am a little intimidated by the task. Pray that I would remember that it is His work and not mine, that I am here to do His will but not be responsible for it! What I want most to give them is the little I know about God and His love for them. Pray that I would have the right words to share with Joni's little heart and Lula's, too, that has endured so much.
PS- Joni is at school right now, but I will take her picture soon and show it to you!