That night the Comunidad Cristiana had a welcome reception for us. We realized that even people who live far away and in conditions like this are made of the same stuff we are- hearts and hopes and broken dreams. It was reassuring to gather together with a group of men, women and a few children who really aren't that different from us. Everyone was of course surprised by our age (thinking like the rest of the world that we were more like 17), and they were super excited I think to hear that we had come to work with our peer group. So far there has not really been ministry in that area, apart from a sweet and small group of guys that our teammate Kyle has befriended.
I got to have a great conversation with one young woman in the Comunidad Cristiana about the work I want to do- both a ministry with those exploring faith from the outside and a ministry equipping Peruvian young women for leadership. We talked some also about the idea of working toward sustainability within the culture, making sure that the contributions we are making as missionaries are beginning something that can continue on just fine without us later. That has been a big issue for me in the last few days. It's a difficult thing to do. Anyway, I was encouraged by my conversation with this girl and hope to be able to share my vision with other women later. We will be returning for a week or so at Christmas, I think, which is actually not all that far away.
Language is going well. We have new names here- Timo (Deem-oh, short from Timoteo) and Ani (ah-nee). I feel like I am pretty much able to communicate whatever I want, but it never sounds as good as I want it to. I am increasingly excited about the prospect of working on accent and trying to become as Peruvian as possible in my language. Tim is also communicating with people and is able to have short conversations about basic things. His vocabulary is always surprising. This morning he woke up and said to me, "Soy una langosta" (I'm a lobster, referring to his sunburn). When did he learn that word? My funniest moment I think so far was trying to thank Monica yesterday for not selling me rice pudding when she realized it was old. I said to her, "Eres una mujer integra" and then reflecting on it realized that I had told her she was a whole woman when I had meant a woman of integrity. Oh dear.
The weather is interesting- very humid, which I didn't expect at all. I have seriously wavy hair around here. It's a little chilly right now, which wouldn't matter except that none of the houses have heat or air conditioning. Nonetheless, with a light jacket, we seem fine. It's definitely cloudy. Except when we went to see the 5000 year old ruins outside of town and got sunburnt. I felt like I was in Egypt.
Oh, there is so much to say, but surely you are getting bored by now. Please pray for us if you can- emotional rest, language ability, connecting with our teammates, health, encouragement. We are having a great "vacation" so far, but eventually this whole thing might sink in! I do feel grateful for the international travel we have done before in the developing world. It is making this country seem more familiar and predictable in a comforting way.
I have taken a lot of photos so far. If you want to see them all, look on my Picasa web album.