Today was a wonderful day, but very difficult. We had three shows and most of us are having problems with the altitude. Headaches and extreme fatigue make it hard to do our best and we are determined that we want to do our best for the children. Please pray for us! We need to feel better!
Years ago, we were in Malawi and one day, the teachers sent us 1500 children and then the teachers they left. Before we knew what was happening, the entire team found themselves pinned against a pick up truck. We would not have been able to do the show, but two Scottish ladies came to our rescue. They offered their building for us to use (so that we could better control the children) and all of the children ran for the best seats. We were saved!
Today, we could have really used the help of those two Scottish ladies! We set up outside on the courtyard at a public school and they gave us 500 students. Then, the teachers left and we had a very rough time.
There were moments when the children were really listening, when you didn’t hear a sound. Then, someone would decide to stand up and move. Before long they were all standing and moving toward us. Then, they started pushing and finally, after much effort with the entire puppet team out front trying to calm them, I made a very difficult decision. I ended the program.
I have never done this before but we had lost all control. I was concerned that smaller children who were being pushed by older children would fall. It was terrible! We were only half way through with the program, but the children had heard the Gospel.
You see the Lord knew that we would never finish the program and He had laid on my heart the desire to tell a different story than I normally tell. When I tell the story of Zacheus, the miracles of Jesus and His words are shared at the end of the story. However, Jesus’ miracles and His words are at the beginning of the story of Peter. This was the story I told.
There is always light in the dark. My heart broke when I realized what I had to do. These children were from desperate places; 70% of them did not even live with their parents. They were hired out to work in other families’ homes living with them and working after school and weekends. I was told that they receive almost nothing for their labor. One friend called it slavery.
As the children began to leave, some 50 children gathered around me and would not leave. They looked at me with deep longing in their eyes. Their faces were sunburned and their lips cracked from the dry air. These children waited for me to finish the story. They ached to have hope.
With the help of Arisela, a dear Peruvian Christian, I finished. No one made a sound and all eyes were on me as I told them how they could put their trust in Jesus. As I spoke, I reached out to touch each child. Heather saw what was happening and said she wanted to cry. When I finished, all of them came to me and said, "Gracias, muchas gracias." Then they wanted to kiss my cheek and give me a hug. In fact, they wanted to hug all of us.
I was overwhelmed by the enormous out pouring of God’s spirit. We made a plan, but God had a different plan. I can only imagine how Jesus will change these children’s lives. Pray for them! God knows them all by name! When we finished, my friend who had translated for me, hugged me. Like me, she was overcome with the wonder of the Father’s love that He had poured on these children. Pray!
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
The second show at the same place was very different. We were given hundreds of teenagers who listened well. They watched every part of the program, loved the story, and especially enjoyed Sam’s knives. You would expect more trouble considering that they were teenagers, but that was not what happened. They laughed with us and payed wonderful attention. A teacher from the earlier program watched in wonder. She came to me and said, "Now I understand what you were trying to do. I am so sorry."
Teenagers have real concerns and if you speak to those issues, they will listen. This is a place with many broken families, but no one wants to repeat that pain in their own family. I told the young people how to have love that lasts for a lifetime. I told them that such love was only possible when both people shared a relationship with Jesus. I finished by leading them in a prayer so that they could put their trust in Jesus.
These teenagers are very poor, but they took some of the little they had and brought us two cold drinks to share. Several girls came to see me as we were finishing our packing. They had gone and bought me a pair of earrings. I wanted to cry and asked to have my picture made with them. It was hard to tell who had the biggest smile. They said, "We wanted you to have something from us so that you would remember us. Thank you." Another young girl brought me a popsicle or if you are English like our translator Steve, an ice lolly. They all had so little, but they wanted to thank us. We are blessed!
OUR FIRST SHOW
Our first show today was at a private school and outside like the others. They were so responsive, but the principal was even more excited. He told us, that it was a beautiful program! More, he is trying to help us schedule another show!
1. Here we are allowed to go into any public school and pray with the children.
2. Our friends have a big dog name Simba who only eats sweet potatoes. He especially loves sweet potato chips.
3. In the high Andes, the ladies wear lots of clothes, but will walk barefoot in the snow.
4. Mothers carry their children on their backs, tied with brightly woven blankets called "Keperina"
5. For breakfast in Cusco, people love to start their day with a bowl of sheep brain soup. You can also enjoy stomach soup made from cow, pig, sheep, or any other animal. As you Americans enjoy your bowl of cereal, think of us!
6. We are cold every morning , needing a sweater and a coat. By afternoon, it is hot and even with sun block on, we are all red faced and burnt.