January 15, 2009
This morning we visited Wilma´s orphange. She has been ministering to children and women with children - many of these mothers being young and single (ie. alone, depressed, and anxious) - and is currently heading up construction of an orphanage that will house about 30-50 kids from one of the poorest areas in Lima. It´s a desert wasteland; people don´t even have running water or wells. They have to pay a sizeable portion of their income to purchase water from trucks. Wilma has given her heart and body to these people, which means doing things like joining her construction workers by grabbing a pickaxe and breaking up rock in order to lay the foundation. I would hesitate before taking a pickaxe to this ground, because I´ve never seen ground so hard. It never rains here. The only vegetation is cacti.
Wilma showed us around, making the empty, dusty, still-under-construction rooms come alive with her dreams. One room near completion housed 4 looms just purchased last week. She is teaching the single women how to weave bags, that can be sold in Lima or the States. The women learn a trade, earn an income, receive the love and teaching of Christ in the process, and receive care for their children.
Before leaving, we prayed for all the women there. I don´t know everything that happened, but one woman was healed of her headache and nightmares and another of kidney stones. I say healed because all pain disappeared in both cases and someone was given an accurate word of knowledge about the nightmares and acted on it. The lady with the headache was crying literal tears of joy. These people have such faith! We prayed short prayers and asked them how they felt. Both said they were healed and that was that.
Next we visited a family that Wilma knows who allowed us to enter their home and take pictures. We wanted to share with people what a typical home is like there. They lived in cramped squalor. One girl cried while recounting how her aunt had tried to sell her. The aunt, without her mom´s permission, had already sold her brother. The mother visited all the orphanages around there, looking for her son, with no success. These people really, really need to experience the love of Jesus, so we are really excited about what Wilma is doing.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Iquitos and will travel down an Amazon tributary into the high jungle for a few days. I will be interpreting for David, whose church purchased the 265 acres, and Clay, who´s company will be creating audioBibles in the local languages with the help of Wycliffe Bible translators. They are laying the foundation, so that by this summer, tribes can start coming in and help with the translations and learn better ways to live. Well, my bed beckons.
January 13, 2009
I (Ben) leave tomorrow morning and will be gone for 8 days. This morning (Tuesday) I was pretty tired. I had woken up at 4am (not planned) and decided to look at airline ticket prices again. The night before I had found a decently priced ticket, but did not have peace about it. I felt God had something better in store for me. This morning, the same flight was available but for an even better price. Rather than try to figure out if I had peace, I decided to go ahead and get it. Twice, I filled out all the information only to find out and pressing the "Purchase" button, that the seats had already been sold.
So lying on the floor 30 minutes before leaving for work, I told God, "Well, I guess I'll be fasting and praying again." I felt God say, "It's not necessary for you to fast." I thought, "Alright. Great, then I won't be tempted for taking the credit for what you're going to do." Then I felt He said, "Ben, do you trust me?" I said with a sigh, "Yes, I trust you." I stood up and honestly felt like I did trust Him. That afternoon, God provided a $1,000 donation. So within a 24-hour period, God financed this trip.
And not only that, but He even answered a "luxury" prayer. I told God this morning, "God, you are wealthy beyond imagination. I don't want to fly Spirit Air! (All the cheap flights I had found were with Spirit.) I don't want to brag about how awesome You are and then tell people I got a bottom of the barrel flight with Spirit. Please, please give me something better." I'm flying Air Canada:)
We ended up talking to David for a long time while Stephanie was with the youth. He showed us his workshop outside and told us all about what he does. He's an engineer and an inventor who creates innovative ways to share the gospel with unreached people groups. He then sells these inventions to ministries like Campus Crusade who takes them all over the world. He showed us some of his inventions-speakers that were light, waterproof, and no more than a foot tall. Projectors that can be run on a generator to show a full length film, etc. He then talked to us about the land he and Stephanie bought in the Amazon and how they had been going there for years now, sharing the gospel with the tribes and teaching them sustainable ways of living, farming, agriculture. He told us about the miracles and healings that were taking place as God revealed himself to the people in the Amazon.
David stopped talking at one point, looked at us, and said "What is it that the two of you want to be doing?" You would think this was an odd question, but it wasn't. I immediately felt the Holy Spirit fill the room, and David's gaze felt like it was piercing right through my heart. I wondered if Ben was experiencing the same thing. I looked at him and guessed that he was. I told David how we would love to someday be in Latin America, reaching out to the people there. Ben explained how God gave him a heart for Latin America and how he did the same for me when I first travelled to Guatemala. Ben shared with him some of the words spoken over him by various people over the past few years. Such incredible things, but they seemed so far off from what we were doing now. I asked David how he got to where he was. He told us a story about how God told him to sell his business one day and go to the Dominican Republic to hold a conference. Ever since then, God has guided his steps and led him to where he is now, touching thousands of people's lives. A few minutes later, David looked at Ben and I and asked if we would like to go to the Amazon with them in January. Neither Ben nor I really answered David, and then we went inside.
We ended up talking to Stephanie for a while while David went to see what was going on with the youth. Stephanie used to be a missionary in Mexico and is such a neat woman with incredible faith. After we had talked about various things for a while, she looked at us and said "You guys should come to Peru with us." Ben laughed and explained how David had just asked us that. Stephanie was surprised at that because David hadn't mentioned it to her. "You know," she said, "David did wake up this morning and said he saw a picture of you, Ben, in Peru. Isn't that odd? He didn't even know you guys had ever been there or that Ben speaks Spanish." This was odd because David and Stephanie didn't even really know us before we came that night. Ben then told Stephanie how we had a conversation with David, and while they were talking God spoke to him (Ben) and told him to ask if he could go to Peru. Before he had a chance to ask, David asked us. We realized God had been piecing this together. First he gave David a picture, then brought us to their house with no other couples there that night, then God spoke to Ben and David confirmed it by asking. We were pretty excited, but both of us were thinking how would it be possible for me (Lisa) to go? I didn't particularly feel that it would be responsible to miss over a week of school, and God had called me to this program so I believed he wanted me to be faithful to it. The next thing Stephanie shared was how David and the other guy going were going to split up and work with the tribes and construction while she and another woman were going to be traveling to the tribes' locations to work with tropical medicine. Immediately, it made sense to both of us. Ben was supposed to go to Peru without me. Even if I were to go, we would be split up the entire time. Ben told David he was going, and that was that. We had not been able to talk about any of this until we got into the car, but God has confirmed the same thing in both of our hearts, so it was okay. It's wonderful to see how God really does join a man and a wife to have one spirit.
Since then, the pesky issue of financial provision came to the forefront. How would we pay for the trip? Should we use our savings? Both of us felt that if God had called Ben to the trip, he would provide the means for it and we wouldn't have to use money saved for emergencies. This is God's heart for us; he is our great Provider. He is our daily bread. He calls us not to worry about or love money, but to be wise and obedient. We prayed, expecting God to provide the money for two fairly expensive flights to South America- one to Lima and one to Iquitos. A week passed and nothing. I became a little discouraged. At that time I was reading Heidi Baker's book Always Enough (Heidi is a missionary in Africa and has changed the face of Mozambique. Her organization currently takes care of millions of orphans in Mozambique, Sudan, the DRC, and several other African countries). Heidi and her husband talk a lot about God's abundant provision, and how he always provides for his children to carry out the calling he has placed on their lives. Heidi lives a great life of faith, seeing God's provision pour in in miraculous ways that are hard to believe. They talk about not relying on others or being a burden to others for their provision, but about trusting on God alone. I knew that I was reading this book at this time for a reason. I told Ben I didn't think we were supposed to raise support, but that God would provide the financial means for this trip in His own way, to build our faith.
More time passed by, and nothing. David contacted Ben to see if he was still going to go because they were purchasing tickest to Iquitos, the city in the Amazon that they would travel to once they reached Lima. Ben and I talked about what we should do, because I felt that we should honor our authority (David) and not wait until the last minute to let him know, which may create some difficulties in travel arrangements. We weren't sure what God wanted us to do- should we pay for the trip with what money we had or wait? We prayed not that God would give us confirmation to go (he had already done that) but that he would give us wisdom and direction about how to pay for it and whether we were supposed to wait. That night, Ben had a detailed dream, in which a girl whom he barely knew gave him more than enough money to cover his trip to Peru. He told me the next morning that he knew the dream was from God. He rarely remembers dreams that occur in the middle of the night, and especially not in that detail. He explained to me that in the dream he and the girl both began to cry. We knew God had answered our prayer and was directing us to not buy the ticket ourselves, but to wait. We waited, and waited, and waited, and prayed, a lot. It came Monday and Ben was supposed to leave on Wednesday. Still nothing. But in faith, he had asked off of work and started packing. We kept praying and still hadn't told anyone what we needed. Some money came in Monday night and Ben was tempted to buy a ticket, but he felt compelled to wait on God for his full provision rather than buying a ticket himself. Tuesday, the day before he was supposed to leave, someone drove up to David's house with a check, saying "I think you guys need this". Ben's flights were then booked and now he is leaving tomorrow morning for the Amazon to act as a translator for David and the VP of Faith Comes by Hearing.
When God calls us to something, there is no need to be afraid. He WILL guide our steps. If we wait for Him and trust him. If we are willing to be obedient and follow Him, he WILL be our daily bread, our Provider. With every such experience, our faith grows. If we nurture it, it will blossom and bear fruit. This is just one of our faith-building experiences that will hopefully be a part of a future harvest. God is good, always.