Friday, March 27, 2009

My Peruvian Experience - Part 2

Well, it's been almost 3 weeks since I have been back from my trip to Peru and although some of the emotion has worn off, (pretty typical I hear), I still can't get some of the little faces I saw out of my head. There is something about children that naturally touches your heart and these children grabbed mine and haven't let go. As I have been reflecting on the trip, I thought I might put down some of the thoughts I had after returning. Not sure where all of this fits, but sometimes clarity comes out of randomness...

* First of all, we were treated like Rock Stars! I'm not sure if it was because we were visitors from America or they saw us as representing all who assist them with their daily necessities. It was absolutely amazing the treatment we received from the children as well as those who worked with the church. I was humbled by this. Pretty big responsibility.

* Gifts in this life are not always tangible. I witnessed a mother play peekaboo with her child (an act she apparently did not know how to do with her previous children), and the joy on her face and her child's spoke volumes. She merely enjoyed the presence of this gift (her child) and the child enjoyed the discovery of his mother. I learned from this lady that day.

* I need to stop using the word "need" so much...Most often I interchange "want" with "need". Not that wants are all bad either...I just need to be more honest with myself about it. I have witnessed true need and it's not how I use it.

Also, I have finally finished a highlight video of the trip. These are the faces I can't get out of my head...and I hope I never do.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Peruvian Experience - Part 1

Last week I was blessed with the incredible opportunity of going with Compassion International to Lima, Peru. I have been out of the country and have been on Mission Trips before but this trip affected me like no other trip I have ever been on. The poverty that these children and families are in is mind boggling. Dirt floor homes (or shacks), walls made of cardboard, no running water...the list could go on and on. The looks on their faces when they were given pencils or stickers or bubbles brought tears to my eyes. You would have thought they had received a million dollars. On this trip I cried...I laughed...I felt sorrow and my heart rejoiced. I realized that God is not a God of America. Many in our country have categorized Him as being formed in the buckle of the Bible Belt. A child's song came to mind as I walked through the trash filled streets of Lima..."He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." God is doing a great thing in Peru and around the world. I was grateful to have experienced just a small part of that. Thank you to those who prayed for us while we were on this trip.

I realize that pictures speak a thousand words, so here
are a few pictures and clips from the trip.

This is outside of the window of the first church we visit
ed. The homes on the hillside tell the story. Check out the boy at the end of it being brought to church by the other kids...physically!

On day 2 we were greeted by over 200 children at Compassion Project 444. I have no idea what they were singing, but it was wonderful!!

I also was blessed to have the opportunity of meeting a little girl whom my family will be sponsoring in the future. Later that day I had the privilege of visiting her at her home!

Well, there really was too much to try and post right now, so I'll be posting more on this trip later. Thanks for reading.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Starbucks & the Church

I am sitting in Starbucks right now thinking to myself, "Wow, the church could learn a lot from Starbucks!" Now I'm not talking in just serving better coffee...I mean churches today even market, "Now serving Starbucks coffee!" I'm more thinking about the quality of the environment...the welcoming of people from all demographics and socio-econonomic status...the vibe that you get where you feel like you could stay here all day! It's just a cool place. (I'm still hoping that the one I'm sitting in won't one that is shut down.)

So, we have the most important message to be presented to this world but often the church "experience" is either non-inviting...non-welcoming...or non-relevant. When was the last time that your average church goer was sad that the church service ended?! Why do we tend to settle for mediocrity in our presentation of the most important message ever?

I'm thinking right now about how this applies to Rock Point. Do we settle for mediocrity? Are our environments as engaging and welcoming as they can and should be? If someone had the option to spend their morning at Starbucks or Rock Point where would they choose?

Hmmm...I'll get back with you on that one.