Well, I'm here! Here being Peru =) My trip started Tuesday when my wonderful sister, Amber, drove me down to Chicago where I caught the first of my 3 flights. I have to share some of the "little" details that God took care of!
1) Monday night I was FREAKING OUT about luggage weight. I had taken out everything I possibly could, & my suitcases were still both pushing 50lbs. And don't even ask about my carry-on; good thing they don't weigh those things, because it weighed WAY over 50. Haha! Anyways, I was so nervous about checking my baggage in because I was sure they would both be over, but I really didn't know what else I could take out (I was taking some things over for the family I'm staying with that they can't get in Peru). Sure enough, my first suitcase was 56lbs. Not cool!! I was already starting to stress while my mind raced to think of what I could take out. Then we weighed the second one, & it was exactly 44 pounds!! God truly takes care of every detail =)
2) This comes back to my EXTREMELY heavy carry-on. I could barely lift it about my head....so much for P90x! Ha! Anyways, I was attempting to get it up in the overhead & almost dropped it on the nice, unsuspecting lady who was sitting nearby, but my wonderful seat-mate, a kind, older gentleman, used his man-muscles & hoisted it up there for me. At the end of the flight, he got up right away & got it down for me. The thing that was a rebuke to me about this whole thing that this man was deaf. He was so kind & helpful; looking out for others instead of himself. I definitely need to be more like that.
3) By the time I got to Miami, I was DYING of hunger!! Ok, not quite, but I was pretty famished since I had been too nervous to eat anything (except for a Starbucks Coconut Mocha Frappe...& that doesn't count, right? =) Anyways, I hadn't eaten in like 24hrs, so I had some rumbling in my tummy. I had heard tale that there was a sushi place in the airport, but it was a massive airport! So I walked towards my gate for....well pretty much forever, but not quite, because if that were the case I would still be walking. So it was almost forever...but not quite. AAaaaaand, I'm rambling. Back to the story! I was just about to settle for a nasty, 3-day-old-overpriced-refrigerated-sandwich, when I saw it: the sign that gloriously announced SUSHI!!! Ok, that was a blessing in & of itself, but God gave more. My waitress was a super sweet lady named Mary. She asked me about my trip, & then told me she had a missionary friend in Peru & gave me their contact info. Then she asked me straight up, "so you believe in God? Are you trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior?" I thought it was so great how she just came out & asked so boldly. So many times I find myself dancing around the subject when I first talk to strangers, even though it is the most important question I could possibly ask. Anyways, she was super sweet & gave me a big hug when I left. Blessing!!
4) I MADE MY INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION!!!! Ok, that was a HUGE praise, because the chances of me actually getting on my flight were quite slim. Especially with me navigating an airport I haven't been in for almost 3 years, with my minimal Spanish skills, & less than 6hrs of sleep in the past 48hrs. Thankfully I made it through customs without a hitch, but then when I got to the line to check into LAN, it was an extremely long line of all children! It was so strange; I swear every child in Peru was going on a fieldtrip to Machu Picchu or something. Lol! But nevertheless, by God's grace I made my flight. They were on their final call, & I made it with only 5 minutes to spare before they sealed the entrance. Nothing like cutting it close!
5) I feel at home. The Earnhart family has really gone above & beyond to make me comfortable here, & I really don't feel the dreaded culture shock. I definitely miss my friends & family, but I have loved getting to know the Earnharts & the Peruvians better. God is already widening my perspective of cross-cultural ministry, & He's also driving me closer to Himself. I no longer have my roommates from Northland nearby, or my friends that I have had almost every class with since freshmen year. I can't just pick up the phone & call my family, but my God is always near. One of the verses that has been a huge comfort is Psalm 18:30 "This God--His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him."
Thank you all SO much for your prayers! I look forward to telling you all about "El Refugio," the women's ministry that I was able to be a part of tonight. And also tomorrow we have a full day, so your prayers are appreciated then as well! We have visitation in the morning, a girl's activity in the afternoon, & then a teen activity in the evening. Please pray that each of these events would make opportunities for the gospel, & also for people to be encouraged in Christ. There are a lot of hurting brothers & sisters in Christ, & you can make a difference by supporting them with prayer. More updates soon!