I was thinking back on past mission trips and realized I never really posted anything from my Peru trip. My trip highlight (this is kind of long): Some of my most memorable nights on the trip were when we got to show the Jesus film to the people of the small village we were working in, Santa Clara. The first night we showed up and the plaza was packed, and everyone was singing.
It was so awesome to hear them worshiping in Spanish, I couldn’t understand all of it… but it was still beautiful to hear. We begin to get the projector set up and learned that we didn’t bring the remote with us to Peru, which means we had no way to put the DVD in Spanish. Minor issue, so we found the only DVD we had in Spanish and played it. It was the story of Jesus and it was playing great until the end of the film with the Crucifixion, the disc started skipping. I was strangely emotional then, I was mad that the disc was skipping, I was upset that the Peruvians weren’t getting to see that part, We felt that Satan was attacking… All we could do was pray, just asking God to let it play through. Well He apparently had something else planned and we had to stop the DVD. It was kind of discouraging, but we had the pastor pick up from there and finish the story. This pastor was the most sincerely passionate pastor I have ever seen. Just getting to watch him and see him live his life that week was really very encouraging. He lives with his 4 kids and wife in a one bedroom house, and they own ONE bible. We loaded up and left while people were still there because it took us 45 mins to get back to the place we were staying and it was late. Hearing later that many came to know Christ despite our efforts…Praise God!
So that was on Tuesday, and we had planed on being there Thursday as well. During the week we found a set of speakers and a DVD player with a remote. The second night at the plaza there weren’t as many people but it was still really full with about 300 people, and it was our last day in the village so it was our last chance to say goodbye to all the kids. So we start setting up this time and we had to work some magic with the plugs and wattage conversions, and we got it a little backwards and started to smell smoke. We realized that we blew out the speakers we brought. So we got it in Spanish, but now you can’t hear it, so we got the sub-titles to come on. We had no idea how many of those people were able to read. I went and sat down with some of my favorite kids and we attempted to read the subtitles out loud. There was lots of laughing because they were going to fast to read, he kept saying to me “mas rapido!”
At this point I couldn’t tell if people were getting it or even paying attention. Toward the middle of the movie it showed Jesus telling his disciples where to cast their nets. Then they pulled up a net full of fish and could barely get it in the boat. At that moment over the entire crowd I heard “OOOhh” and “WOW” and they were so amazed! Now, I watch that and think “Cool, lots of fish”. But I am not a fisherman and it is hard for me to realize how powerful that is. The people of that village are fisherman and that defiantly caught their attention, even if they couldn’t hear what was going on.
On Wednesday for bible study with the kids, we taught them about Jesus washing his disciple’s feet, and then we washed their feet. Lots of kids didn’t get it, but we prayed that one day they will read or hear the story and think back to that experience, but we didn’t expect that day to come so soon.
Well I was sitting with my buddy Carlos who is about 9 years old during the movie (the one I was trying to read subtitles with). We saw Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her hair. I noticed him pay close attention to it, and then turned to me and motioned to the field where we had been all week and done bible study. It took me about 5 mins to figure out how to say that what we did with them yesterday was the same as what he just saw. It was really to cool to see the power of the gospel go out right before your eyes and see him figure that out and link Jesus to our actions from the week.
At the end of the movie I looked around expecting not to see many people, thinking they had left because you couldn’t hear anything. But to my surprise the plaza was still full. The story of Jesus was known to some in the village but not many, I don’t think they had ever thought that the death of Jesus was so brutal. During the Crucifixion part of the movie they showed the nails and all the little girls around me, looked up at me with terror and just said “no no?” It was a bitter sweet experience. The movie defiantly made Jesus, this person we had been telling them about all week, come to life. After the movie ended, we had to say our final goodbyes. I was so glad that I went to the movie the second time as well as the first. Not everyone got to go, only 8 or 9 of us each night.
So many of the parents came out and thanked us for being there. All week we would tell the kids at the end of the day “hasta mañana” or “until tomorrow”, and also made sure that they knew that we weren’t there to stay and would be gone in a short time. So, after the movie all the kids followed us to our motor cars to say goodbye, and they all start shouting “Hasta Cielo” or “until Heaven”, which I don’t recall ever saying to them. I almost burst into tears. Most of the time they just repeat what we say. It was such a great experience, I felt so encouraged when we left, and had such a hope for those kids. On the 45 min motor car ride (which is a motorcycle with a bench seat in the back) home Robby thought it would be a cool idea if for the entire ride back all we said was “Praise God for….” It was a great end to an Amazing night.
The best part was when we got back to the mission where we were staying and the power had gone out while we were gone. We hadn’t taken showers earlier that day because we knew we would be out again getting dirty, and that day we went “all out” when playing with the kids because it was our last day. Needless to say we were pretty gross. So the water pumps don’t work with out power, so we all gathered round a flashlight in the meeting room with a giant bag of Wet Ones and “took a bath” together. Sweet Sweet Memories!!