THE FIRST TIME
On the outskirts of the city of Ayacucho, there are many new communities. As we drove to one of these new places, I noticed that all color was disappearing. The world became the color of dust. Everything was brown as far as we could see except for one brightly painted green building. This was the community center and this is where we did the puppet show. The walls were lined with stacks of plastic chairs and as fast as we put them out, they were filled. More people were standing in the doorway and around the edges of the room. They were eager to come!
Most of us wear our clothes until we find a different outfit that we like better. These people wear their clothes until they fall apart and still, even with holes and dirt that will never come out, they are still wearing them. Poverty is a big problem and it is always accompanied by certain other problems.
A drunken man greeted us when we arrived and offered me a drink. I graciously declined. Alcoholism is a curse here. Families are broken by it as the mothers and fathers try to escape their reality. There is also a lot of physical abuse and so I must always be careful when I walk with my cane. Many of the children have been beaten with sticks and are often afraid of any adult with a big stick.
Truly, the poverty and brokenness of this place would overwhelm you if you saw this community without the eyes of faith. No one person or group has enough money to fix poverty on such a grand scale. But because you see with the Father’s eyes, you remember that being poor or drunk or abused is never a person’s biggest need. Our hope for these people is found in obeying the Father and telling them about Jesus.
The president of the community talked with me and thanked us for coming. He said that we were the first people to come and share with the children and adults about Jesus. He begged us to come again. Our new Peruvian puppet team is willing, but they will need an operating budget to help with the cost of travel and food. Your generous gifts to the puppet ministry have enabled us to share with thousands. Our friends will need $4,000 a year to enable them to make monthly trips to these remote areas and continue what we have begun.
I beg you to look at your church budget and examine how you are investing God’s money. Can you help our new puppet team reach those who are forgotten by this world, but always remembered by the Father?
A little more than an hour’s drive outside of the city, is another smaller place called Kinewa. I have no hope that my spelling is correct. We had been given permission to do a show in a park behind the market. We sent out the Peruvians with puppets and balloon hats to gather the children. As each team returned alone, I confess that I thought we would have no children. Three times, my new puppet team leader Juan looked at me and said a single word, "Faith." He has great faith and the Lord blessed his faith and us with around 50 children and adults. People were sitting nearby watching the show, many stood at a safe distance, some watched from across the street , and one older Quechua lady stood listening to the entire program from behind the stage. All of them heard how they could put their trust in Jesus! It was awesome!
1. High in the mountains, a man came to our puppet show riding a horse. I wanted to have my picture made on the horse, so with a lot of help, I climbed on top and he held the reins. We made pictures and he walked me around. I loved it and I guess he could see that because before I knew it, we were climbing the mountain to the Pastor’s house. It was an amazing ride!
2. For lunch yesterday, the entire team enjoyed guinea pig. I had my picture made with the head as they serve it with the teeth and eyes. Actually, it tastes a lot like chicken.
3. The llamas are the most amazing animals! None of us really mind when we have to stop and wait for them to pass.
4. Most of the taxis in Ayachuo look more like golf carts and are great fun to ride, but most of the time, we walk when we are going to dinner or to the store.
5. Each day, it seems that another one of gets sick and requires medicine. Trying to find a bathroom when you need it is always an adventure. Each meal is an adventure as we try to find something that we can eat that will be safe for us. I confess that I have never had as much trouble on a trip with an entire team suffering from food poisoning. Many of the Peruvians are sick, too. Also, most of us have colds as the temperatures change so much from morning to night. We find our comfort in God’s word and our strength in your prayers. Please keep praying!
6. Getting to each show is a daily adventure. We climb into the van and within minutes are covered in dust. Everyone laughs as we travel and makes jokes about how dirty we are, and seems in spite of everything to enjoy the adventure.
7. The greatest adventure is sharing with the children! Their need keeps all of us focused on what is really important.
Please continue to pray as we have only 3 days, Sunday (today), Monday, and Tuesday remaining to share with the children. Tuesday night at midnight , the team will fly home and I will go to Brazil. I have equipment to deliver to the Brazil team and plans to make for next year’s work. Best of all, I will have the sweet joy of being at Sam’s wedding!
In Jesus, Linda for