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Cold winds, cloudy skies, low temperatures and dropped altitudes. Difficult to picture these conditions in the middle of August here in the States but those were the exact conditions Michelle faced as she ventured to Peru. She partnered with Missionary Nick and Sara; helping with their Children's Ministry. We are happy and excited to ask the questions we have all been wondering while she was gone and sharing pictures of her amazing journey!
Mission to: Ventanilla in Lima, Peru
History fact: Those who were homeless in Peru moved to this once empty space, build their own homes, and created this town with their bare hands.
Group picture Missionary Nick & Sara(Far left) and Team Pray-Ru. . . and Michelle in the middle!
Duck . . . Duck . . .GOOSE!
Children of Peru laughing and running with our group!
Preparing ourselves for Worship and Bible Skits.
The excitement built as balloons were passed out!
This little gem taking care of her little brother while mom is hard at work. The power and love between siblings is like none other.
Jesus holding his balloon and bringing joy to everyones heart. Although he has Autism, he is proving to the world you can embrace life and have fun! Jesus will hold a special place in our hearts.
Michelle and Tatiana becoming quick friends and what a beautiful friendship this will be!
Michelle and the group of volunteers putting on a show as Mickey and Minney!
Endless amounts of hugs from our friend James!
What feeling did you receive as you stared at the mountains and oceans of Peru?
Tiny. I am not even kidding! You feel in such awe and wonder, the mountains literally consume you with beauty and majesty. You have such a busy life in the states with work and let's be honest more work that you forget there is more to life than your office. There is more to this world - more than just you. That's the feeling these mountains and the people of Peru gave me. In a spiritual sense, I felt closer to the Creator of all things. Looking at his grand designs and thinking how much creativity He put in his creations. It was truly a beautiful experience and simply seeing pictures of Peru is nothing compared to actually being there.
What was your schedule and some activities that you and the group of volunteers do?
Our days would start at 6AM and there were a variety of actitivities we would do. From teaching English, doing skits, performing for the kids, playing games, arts and crafts. We even had the privledge of helping build a Church! We offered reading classes to the kids and adults. Our last 3 days of our Missions trip, we had an opportunity to travel to different parts of Peru and soak up some of it's beautiful culture and people. I even learned that there are over 3,000 types of potatoes in Peru! I ate maybe 3 different kinds.
Coming back from your Missions Trip what would you say you brought back from Peru?
Love and that a smile goes a long way. Going to another country, you realize how much love people have and want to give. I had the priveledge in giving comfort to children, help building a Church and Here in the States I feel like we have been taught to fear love. That love comes with a price. It doesn't, and I feel like my first world travel experience taught me that. Unfortunately, just being back in the States for 9 months, I already felt myself becoming hardened by our society, especially since I work in a very fast paced industry. So going to Peru really helped me become refreshed and remind myself to love freely. The people of Peru have that inner treasure of being able to just love one another. I didn't feel like a traveler or an outsider, I felt like I was part of their family. That's something I want to keep with me always: Your neighbor is family, to always be available and to love freely.
Was there any culture shock?
I'd say there was when I did my first full year of Missions work, but visiting Peru and being accepted with open arms, it wasn't hard to adapt. Especially when you go with an open mind. The greeting however, I must say it is different than here in the states! Peruvians give hugs and a kiss on the cheek as their greetings. In the states we have the stern handshake where everyone has their own personal space! But as soon as you let go of that entitlement, and just humble yourself, it becomes very easy to adapt to other cultures.
What advice would you give to someone who is doing their first missions trip?
Have an open heart and mind. Surrender your entitlement, because although you are sacrificing your time and energy, ultimately it's about the lives you are helping. It's about the people you will be meeting and assisting. And my final advice for anyone interested in doing Missions, embrace the struggle. Take enjoyment in the heat, cold, dirt roads and small spaces.
Will you continue doing Missions Trips?
Yes. Obsolutely with no doubt in my mind! I don't see myself doing it full time, but if we are being honest here, I'd rather do Missions than vacation. I can't vaycay anymore!
I do give so much respect and commendment to Missionary Nick and Sara. They are such an insperation to both young and older ones. They have been doing this for over 20+ years and you can feel their love just emanating from them! They have such joy and peace. Having sacraficed everything but lost nothing. In fact they have gained so much more than you can even imagine because it goes deeper than just materialism.
After 10 days of hard and loving work, Michelle and her team got a chance to explore the city and soak in some Peruvian culture.
Cusco City, Peru: Enjoying the stone work of the city.
Cusco City, Peru: Look at those clouds and architecture! The city really does speak for itself!
Cusco City, Peru: Home is where the heart is.
Sand Dunes, Peru: A 5 hour bus ride but totally worth it! Getting ready to sand board with Team Pray-Ru!
Sand Dunes Peru: Say cheese!
Cusco City: If the city walls could only speak . . . Wonder what they would say?
Last stop Mount Macchu Picchu ; Michelle (left) and Jaimie (right).
If we lived in a world where everyone gave freely and expected nothing in return - How would that world look like?
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