Friday
Jun112010

Day 2: Press Conference & Practice

Well, everyone has made it safely to Peru!

Yesterday we had a great first day with the entire team. The morning got off to a tiny bit of a late start but we finally all got to Don Mamino's for breakfast. During breakfast Shaun and Pablo presented the team with a little surprise. They have been working hard to find a company that would make new warm ups for the guys, and God blessed us with two gentlemen from a company who sponsored the team! They made new warm ups and two sets of basketball uniforms (and also gave them each a t-shirt) all for completely FREE!

 

After breakfast the team headed to their first press conference. There were several TV stations, newspapers and other media sources that came. We spent the rest of the morning there as the team explained why they are in Peru, what events they will be going to and what they hope to accomplish while they are here. They then opened the floor for questions and there were some great questions that allowed the team to share the name of Christ in their lives. It's so exciting to know that this press conference will be shown on National television! Who knows how God will choose to move in ways we will never know!


The team meets before going into the press conference

A representative from the US Embassy came to sing the National Anthem!

Lots of Media attended

Jake translates questions for the team

The Team poses for a newspaper picture

Lots of pictures with the public

And lots of autographs!

After the Press Conference, the team went out to a late lunch and then to Naval for a team practice. It was a great day and who knows what kinds of opportunities will arise (during this trip or future trips) because of the press conference.

Make sure you check out all of the updated pictures: East Texas Champions Peru Tour 2010

Today the team will be in Chincha all day! Specific Prayer requests for today:

  • Safe travels to, from and in Chincha
  • Time with Pastor Alejandro's church
  • Prayers against sickness as the players adjust to the different food/weather
  • Safety during their first game
  • Many opportunities to minister and share the love of Jesus
  • We will also be finalizing the reservations for the Chincha Building team that is coming in a few weeks! Prayers for their team as they are preparing to come to Peru soon!

Update on Chincha coming soon! 

Thursday
Jun102010

Day 1: The Calm Before the Storm

As I (Amanda) write this, Shaun and Pepe are sitting to my left finalizing the schedule for the Basketball Team. We have been planning this trip for so long, that it still feels like it is a future trip...But it is HERE!

As of last night, we have received five of the 13 players. Today we have had a mostly relaxing day, which is one of the advantages to showing up an evening early. (The rest of the players will hit the ground running.) This morning everyone slept in a bit and then we all met at Don Mamino's for brunch at 11:30am. We spent the entire morning eating and talking before heading back to our apartment to relax. The rest of the day has been spent watching TV, talking, playing Ninja and just enjoying each others company.

Brunch at Don Mamino's

Playing "Ninja"(a game created by Daniel) Obviously the guys got really into it!

I know for Shaun and I it has been a joy to spend time with friends from home (Especially Texans!) There's always something comforting about "family" sharing a good afternoon together. It has been a little surreal for me, since this is my first year to be in Peru during this specific event. For the past two years I have only heard about the Basketballs Missions trip and it is really exciting to not only be here, but to be part of planning this trip. If it weren't for this trip two years ago, Shaun and I might not be in Peru, so obviously it holds a special place in my heart.

For now, the guys have gone back to their apartment to relax and finish getting settled. At 8pm most of the guys are meeting at the church for the Thursday evening prayer meeting. Shaun and Daniel will be heading to the airport to spend the evening meeting the rest of the team. Their flights arrive between 9:05pm and 11:50pm. I will be home with a watchful eye on each flight, and a hand on the phone, incase there are any "unexpecteds" that arise.

At this point, I feel like every minute should be enjoyed, because there will be few moments to relax and take a deep breath for the next 10 days! It's very exciting and I know God has some amazing things in store for this trip. I cannot wait to see how he will work through the individual players and the entire team.

Our goal is to post daily (or at least every other day) to keep you updated with all of the happenings. I think it will be easier and more effective than trying to update on everything in one post at the end of the 10 days.

THANK YOU to all who have been praying for us as we plan and for the team as they prepare to arrive in Lima! Specific prayer requests for today:

  • Safe travels for each of the players coming into Lima
  • Few (if any) delays
  • NO lost baggage
  • Safe taxi ride into Surco for arriving players
  • An encouraging and uplifting prayer night at the church for the players who are here

Blessings from Peru,
Amanda

Don't forget to check in on the pictures we add daily to the East TX Champions, Peru Tour 2010 photo album!

Monday
May102010

June and July

We are now preparing for teams to start coming down in almost one month.  (In a later post I will describe each trip).  It has been quite an eye opening experience to plan each trip in a country foreign to me.  Sometimes in America things are as simple as a phone call.  Here a phone call can just be the beginning of a very long process.  Sometimes that "process" can change very unexpectedly.  Sometimes it can be a lot of fun; specifically the part about meeting new people, and trying to work out good deals.

Just a month ago Amanda and I were talking, and wishing that we could do more.  We have learned that this is a feeling we will probably have quite often as missionaries.  Now here we are in May, and sometimes there is so much work we can't even think straight.  This is something else we are also learning.

I was reading "My Utmost for His Highest" this morning and I thought it would be good to post Oswald Chambers words.  So here they are:

 

. . . add to your faith virtue . . . —2 Peter 1:5

Add means that we have to do something. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves— God does that. But God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him. We have to do all that ourselves. We must “work out” our “own salvation” which God has worked in us ( Philippians 2:12 ). Add means that we must get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages that is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning— to instruct yourself in the way you must go.

Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative— stop hesitating— take the first step. Be determined to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks, and never reconsider or change your initial decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do something, you are being careless, spurning the grace in which you stand. Take the initiative yourself, make a decision of your will right now, and make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you, saying, “Iwill write that letter,” or “I will pay that debt”; and then do it! Make it irrevocable.

We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.

 

Monday
Apr192010

Twice in My Life

Twice in my life I have had a Spanish teacher make it a point to tell me how horrible a student I was.  I can never remember the exact words that were used, but it was to the effect of "worst student ever...".  Not to say that I didn't deserve the title, but it's definitely not one I would wish upon my progeny.

That paragraph describes one of the many platypuses in my life.  Why platypus?  Well, in Christian circles I have often heard that we know God has a sense of humor because of platypuses.  So, me being a missionary in Peru certainly qualifies as a humorous situation.  I go from worst student ever, to being completely immersed in the language.  I know, I am stating the obvious.  But I think for this story, the obvious serves a purpose.  Commencing story:

This past week of rugby was an interesting one, filled with opportunity and running.  On Tuesday I hopped in a taxi by myself for a 30 minute drive.  But before I did so, I talked for about 30 minutes with a guard that works down the street. 

I was trying to catch a cab for a few minutes and I was not having any luck.  Next thing I know, this guy Carlos, comes over and we drum up a conversation.  Carlos, my new friend, is someone I have purposefully waved to for several months.  He is a guard for San Fernando, a grocery store by our house.  He always waves back, and then gets back to guarding stuff. 

In our conversation suddenly my limited Spanish started to free itself.  After talking and talking, I finally had to break away because I was already late for practice.  However, before I left, we set up a time to get together for lunch on his only day off.

I hopped in the taxi, gave my driver Jesus an Inca Cola, and then talked to him for the entire drive.  My Spanish was getting better and better.  I know because they all understood me.  Praise Jesus, (not the driver). 

Friday Carlos called me and we went to lunch together.  However, I need you to understand the importance of the last sentence.  In almost six months in ministry, because of my language limitations, I have NEVER invited someone to lunch without a translator.  It was unbelievable.  I only understood 60% of the conversation, but he helped me out.  We joked. He told me about his family, his jobs... his beliefs on cussing.  I told him about my family, my jobs, and how sometimes I have caught myself saying a bad word or two. 

I know that God was in the middle of that conversation, even in the parts I didn't understand.  He invited me to see his family in their home, about three hours away... (I think).  I gave him my dictionary, and he is already practicing words in English.  Who knows what will happen? 

However, it got me thinking a lot.  The worst Spanish student ever, ate homemade chinese food in Lima, Peru with a person who only speaks Spanish.  Nehemiah was a cup bearer before he was a wall builder... 

Only God can orchestrate that kind of a platypus.

(I have now unofficially, officially copyrighted the term platypus.)

Shaun

Tuesday
Apr132010

Cantar- To Sing

 I like to sing. I don’t claim to be very good but I am not tone deaf. I’ve been in my share of choirs, musicals, and ensembles. Being in Peru has been a new challenge, in all aspects, but especially in one way I didn’t expect: Music. Of course the language in Peru is Spanish, but I guess I hadn’t thought about the fact that the worship on Sunday’s would also be in Spanish. Below is the play by play of my experience with Sunday morning worship.

 The first couple of weeks: Interesting, to say the least. My brain was on overload trying to understand anything and everything. If we sang a familiar song I would unintentionally focus more on the English, singing it quietly to myself. I didn’t realize I was missing out on the blessing of worshiping God in a completely new way, but when you don’t understand anything going on around you, you tend to hold on tightly to what you do know.

 Fast forward a few months: Singing the same handful of songs can really boost your confidence. I felt like I was finally grasping the general idea of the music. I knew the tune and could keep up with the pace. Granted, I still had no idea about the literal translation of the words, but it was better than nothing. At this point this is what my thought process probably sounded like, “Spanish word Spanish word JESUS Spanish word Spanish word LIFE Spanish word  Spanish Word AND Spanish Word...” You get the idea. At this point I was becoming more interested in learning how to translate the songs, rather than my limited understanding.

 At one point I had started thinking about what it might be like to not only sing in Spanish, but also understand everything I was singing, giving me the opportunity to really worship. It had crossed my mind to ask about joining the worship team, but I was not confident and kept the thought to myself. However, shortly thereafter Shaun approached me with the same question, “Have you ever thought about joining the worship team.” Coincidence? I think not.

 After praying about it and weighing the pros and cons I finally mustered up the courage to ask. The worst thing that could happen is that I would get a big, fat, “NO”. (I actually expected it. I’m trying to work on the confidence thing) I had my supporting speech all ready, “I’m not the best, but I really think I would learn more Spanish, it would help me practice my pronunciation, and maybe even help me become more confident.” I didn’t even get to the speech. All I had to do was ask and Cesar (the leader and a friend of ours) said, “Of course!” Turns out they were in the final stages of changing several things about worship, including new music and some new members. He said I would be coming in at the perfect time! We decided that I would sit in on a few weekly practices before becoming active just to get a little more comfortable.

 3 weeks ago: I joined the team for my first practice run. There were 3 of us; Carlos (Lead singer), Cesar (Guitar) and me (uhhh). It was then that I found out that the worship team would be Carlos, me and one other girl, Giselle, but that she was not able to make it to practice during the week and would join us for practice before the service on Sunday. I was then handed brand new music (I had never heard) and practice began. I butchered my way through the first practice, but you have to start somewhere! They left me the music and the lyrics so I could work on them during the week and asked if I was ready to sing with them on Sunday. I thought they were kidding, but they were serious. I decided against it, but agreed to join them for practice on Sunday morning, just to get used to it. Practice went well, and as I went to take my seat Cesar said, “So, you’re going to sing with us today, right?” I. went. numb. but after regaining feeling I somehow let them talk me into joining them. Shaun had reminded me that it wasn’t a performance for anyone, but it was praise to God. I tried to keep that in mind, but I kept my eyes on my lyrics and my thoughts on the pronunciation. During a pause I glanced up and I realized that not one person was looking at me, and that’s when I was reminded that this was not about me. It was a very humbling experience!

 Over the past 2 weeks I have really focused on practicing my Spanish and understanding the translation to each song. I can’t say I don’t get a little nervous right before worship starts, but as I focus more on the music and less on myself or the people around me, the nervousness goes away. I want this to be something I remember as a blessing. I want to be able to tell people that God allowed me, an American that speaks English, the opportunity to praise Him in another country with their language.

 For me it’s really exciting that now, instead of this:

“Spanish word Spanish word JESUS Spanish word Spanish word LIFE Spanish word  Spanish Word AND Spanish Word...”

 I understand this:

“Jesus is the bread of life, the manna of my desert, my energy, my sustainer. Jesus is the bread of life, my first necessity and without Him I am nothing. Because Jesus is the eternal bread of life.”

 It’s a process, and I am constantly learning, but I am thankful to have a new opportunity to work on my Spanish, in a way that I enjoy!