The time we spent in Peru was special. Setting out on this journey we never knew what to expect. We had a desire to see the Lord’s hand outstretched in power. I had this want to see tangible change in lives. I wanted to see idols broke down and grace experienced. I can tell you that in my own life, that became a reality. But some might read that and not see the big deal in that. They might not see the weight. That isn’t the Peruvian experience that many would want to partake in. More than not, when someone hears about us living cross culturally and doing what we do, they say things like, what a great experience for your kids to see different cultures and to get to grow up in that manner etc. etc. etc. And I don’t want to minimize or take anything away from the fact that it is a great experience for our kids. They have experienced life situations and cultures that many people will never get to. On the flip side of that, they have also had to give up many things due to this calling. They never have enjoyed little league or things of that nature. It isn’t a better life or a worse life it is just different. Here in Chile, it appears there will be a better opportunity for community style sports and rec leagues. So we are excited about that. We are excited to get into the community and make connections. But what about our time in Peru? What about our experience in Peru? Was it full or wanting?
How do I describe our Peruvian experience. One question I get all the time is, “have you been to Machu Picchu?” Or I hear “you have to see Machu Picchu before you leave Peru!” Well, after six and half years of living in Peru, I never did see Machu Picchu. I know it is or was, one of the seven wonders of the world. I know that the pictures don’t do it justice. I know that it is breath taking. Or how about the Nasca Lines? They are literally out in the middle of nowhere, but on our drive to Chile we drove right past them. The tower to climb up was right next to us. My son, Joaquin, really wanted to see them. But do to the circumstances we weren’t able to stop for ten minutes to climb the tower and have a gander. Some might say that is a travesty. While I would have loved to have seen those sights, I don’t believe at all that by not seeing them it has tarnished my experience in Peru. I do believe that as a Christian, I should appreciate seeing those incredible places. As a Christian I should praise God who created man with creativity and ability to make wonderful places like Machu Picchu. Looking at those sights should draw us to worship such a great God. Christians of all people should be sports enthusiasts or book worms or whatever makes you tick. God gave man the ability to design, invent, and organize. When I see a quarterback throw a football fifty yards that should make me in awe of our mighty Creator not the quarterback. We don’t make sports an idol or make sight seeing an idol, but as Christians we should enjoy them. But in regards to my Peru experience, I didn’t see Machu Picchu. I didn’t see God’s handiwork through man’s creation of an amazing archeological sight. I feel that I saw something even more impressive. I saw not the creation of a man made structure which would have drawn out praise to the Lord, but I saw direct creation from God Himself. How could my Peruvian experience be found wanting?
Sure I didn’t see one of the “seven wonders of the world”, but I saw something far greater. I saw lives changed by the power of God’s Spirit through the gospel. Regeneration is the direct creation of God. It is God taking a dead soul and making it alive. It is imparting eternal life. And by the mercies of God, I was able to see God do this spiritual work. There is nothing greater. On top of Regeneration I was able to see those who had been regenerated in years past grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s grace. I saw marriages restored and families healed. I saw people overcome fears, doubts, anxieties and even cultural strongholds. In retrospect, what else should I have expected? The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. God is going to do His work and we as Christians get the benefit of seeing the Lord do his work.
So was my Peru experience full or wanting? I guess that depends of your perspective. No I didn’t see Machu Picchu or the Nasca Lines or much of anything else Peru has to offer in that category. I didn’t see what most people come to Peru to see. But I saw something far greater. Yes my kids got to experience several of their formative years in a different culture, but they experienced something far greater. I saw the hand of the Lord working in power. My kids experienced the grace of God to sustain them. Without a shadow of a doubt our Peruvian experience was full. It was so full that we will deal with great emptiness for days to come. We left a huge part of our hearts. The Lord never said obedience was easy. To leave Peru has been the hardest part of our journey at any time. And Chile is a whole new wild fire that needs to be brought under control. I have great expectation that the Lord has great plans here. It will look different than what took place in Peru, but the gospel is the gospel and it transcends cultures and no matter where and when. It remains the power of God unto salvation. Forever we will be connected to Peru. Forever Peru will have a piece of us. Forever we will be able to praise our gracious God for allowing us to be part of what took place in Peru. Forever we will be able to say our experience in Peru was full, full to the max!
Soli Deo Gloria
Soli Deo Gloria