Peru #1

1

We left Taylor around 5am Saturday morning. Roughly 24 hours later, we woke up on the floor of the Lima Airport. What an adventure we’ve had! Our travels have taken us out of Indiana snow storm into the warm Miami heat, then to the coast of Peru. In Lima, we met our translators and our VisionTrust partners, then rushed off to check our bags and get on another flight to Ayacucho.

Following a long day of traveling, we finally landed in Ayacucho this morning (Sunday). Bleary-eyed, we walked out of the plane in awe of God’s impressive creation which surrounded us with mountain ranges and smoky haze. We were quickly welcomed with open arms by the Peru VisionTrust staff and driven to our home for the next week. After a brief time of refreshment and rest, we were shuttled to the church where, again, hospitality and love was the overwhelming theme. Worshipping alongside our Peruvian brothers and sisters in Christ brought joy and unity, despite the language barrier that existed for many of us. We were overwhelmed by the kind words, blessings, and hugs which were showered on us as we left the building.

After a delicious lunch and another brief time of rest, we then traveled to Casa de Luz, the orphanage run by VisionTrust. Walking into Casa de Luz this afternoon, all of us were excited to hang out with the children, not expecting the harsh truth that encompasses their little lives. Entering into the house, we were introduced to five beautiful faces eager to play and love. Through fútbol and talking with the staff, we enjoyed getting to know the heart and mission of Casa de Luz. After a time of play, we returned to our home where we enjoyed incredible food, prepared for the next day, and crashed!

Please join us in praying alongside the VisionTrust staff as they are in need of land to build a bigger facility for Casa Luz and that the Lord would continue to provide consistency for the children who don’t have family. Also, pray that the Lord would continue to bless us with energy and good health. We love you all!

The Peru Team!

 

Houston #1

It has been a little over 24 hours now since we arrived in Houston, and we are loving every minute. Our drive was pleasant and safe, filled with laughter, games, and good conversations as we really began to get to know one another. Along the way, we also had the privilege of meeting a couple of people who really encouraged us in our efforts this Spring Break.

During a stop at for dinner at Panera in Illinois, one of our bus drivers was approached by a man about our bus, bearing a cross, a giant image of the American flag, and the words, “In God We Trust.” Our bus driver proceeded to tell this man, Bill, where we were from and that we were planning to do hurricane relief work in Texas. Oddly enough, Bill told our bus driver that he was from Texas and really appreciated what we were going to do. Then, God laid some words on Bill’s heart that he ended up sharing with our whole team. He reminded us that no matter what we are doing or where we are, we should always be ready to share the gospel with whomever we meet. He encouraged us that what we would be doing was an important opportunity to live out the love of God. We were so touched that God spoke to us through a complete stranger.

The next morning we were blessed by the hospitality of one of our own leaders’ parents (Lauren Drogo). In Little Rock, Arkansas we were served a delicious breakfast and were taught the word of God by Lauren’s dad. This couple was and is such a beautiful example of being used by God in an untraditional ministry seetting, such as running a restaurant. They use the bistro as a bridge to share the gospel with those they came in contact with. He stressed the helplessness of humanity and the way that we must rely on God to be filled. One verse that was read was John 15:5, which says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” This verse was such a great reminder of how little of an impact we as people can have on others and the world if we do not rely on God to be our help and strength.

Since our arrival in Houston yesterday, our team has been overwhelmed by the gracious hospitality of our hosts. Fuller Center and several local churches have welcomed us with comfortable housing, a building to hang out in, and plenty of delicious Texas barbeque. As we have driven some of the suburban streets of Houston and talked to some local men and women, it is clear that the effects of Hurricane Harvey are far from gone. It is still common to see a house with large piles of drywall and wood in the front yards, remnants of the hurricane.  The first dinner we had yesterday was made by a man who was about to open a barbeque restaurant just a few days after Harvey hit. The rain flooded his restaurant building and ruined all of his new facilities. Now more than 6 months later, this man has still not been able to open his restaurant but gives his food to volunteers and those in need. Stories like this are not rare among the residents of Houston. Though the hurricane destroyed a lot, it also brought a city together.

Today was our first day serving with Fuller Center for Housing, and we were satisfied but tired after our day of work.  Our group was split into two teams, working on two different housing sites. One team worked on the house of a sweet woman and her daughter that was in some of its finishing stages. The two had been taken to safety from their home by boat during the hurricane after having received 51 inches of rain in a matter of two days. This team washed, caulked, and painted around windows, unloaded cabinetry, cut baseboards, and worked on flooring a bathroom. The flooring proved to be quite the challenge. The other team worked on the house of an older couple who woke up to deep water surrounding their bed during the hurricane. This couple also had to be taken by boat to higher ground. The team installed and painted trim on the house as well as several doors. All in all, our teams were delighted to have used power tools and nail guns without any injuries today.

We are looking forward to working more with Fuller Center this week and getting to know the families who will come back to their homes that we are working on. Please pray that we may be safe in our construction endeavors, stay hydrated in the heat, and may be flowing with the desire to serve and love as Jesus did.

Thank you for your support!

Claire Rush

Nicaragua #1

Nicaragua has my heart. We left the Indiana snow for the warm hearts and weather of Nicaragua. After our long travel all of Saturday, Sunday was a day full of culture and learning. Sunday was packed with visiting a local church, a local potter, an artisan’s market, and eating amazing food. Our team learned and are continually learning about the beauty of this culture.

I believe I can speak for nearly our whole team by saying our visit to the potter’s house was a blessing for us all. The Potter walked us through the process he and his family takes in making pottery. This process is not easy, sometimes it looks like failure, but is worth while. The talk was interwoven with an extended metaphor of God being the potter and we are his creation. In one of his metaphors he used two pots. One of these pots I was holding. It was freshly molded and soft. The other pot he was holding was further along in the process. He was picking off the imperfections and took a piece of my pot to fix the imperfections of the other one. There are times in community where we must give of ourselves to strengthen another. This part of the process can be humbling but needed. As we are here, I hope some of us are being picked of imperfections while others are being picked to help a brother or sister. We left challenged to live better in community with God, ourselves, and others. Some of us also left with some of his original pieces to bring back to the states.

Monday, was our first day of placements in our different sites. One of the beauties of this trip is that we are split into smaller teams in different ministry sites.  The different teams are agriculture, microfinance, health care, education, women’s social work, and sports ministry. We can see how Student’s International meets the variety of needs within the larger community of Masaya. We are all doing drastically different tasks for the community from checking vitals, teaching kids, to playing sports. As this week continues I am excited to hear more stories from my own site and others. God is moving gloriously. I wish everyone could take part to see.

-Kristina Rivera

Mexico #1

The team bloggers wrote this prior to their leaving for Mexico. So, this one is a few days old!

Hi supporters,

We are eagerly approaching our departure from Taylor University to Cancun, Mexico in less than a week! In preparing and getting to know one another before our trip, we have gathered every week for class time. Our class time has consisted of growing the relationships with ourselves, each other, and God before we start serving. The time together has all revolved around Slow Kingdom Coming, a book by Kent Annan. In this book, we have been “awakened” to the many truths that God tells us through his word, which have been covered through five different practices which were highlighted in the book. These practices include: attention, confession, respect, partnering, and truthing. Each of these different practices outline a healthy way of serving on a short-term mission trip, and help us understand that the kingdom to come on earth is a process.

Our team is excited to be awakened to what God has to display. We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus by living out our team’s verse Isaiah 1:17 to the best of our capability.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

As we continue to prepare and awaken our hearts now and while in Mexico, you could continue your support for us through prayer.

Some things you could pray for regarding our trip include:

  • To be open with what God is revealing
  • Flexibility
  • Safe travels
  • Prevention of illness
  • Activities to go smoothly
  • No language barrier
  • To have a mentality of learning
  • Team unity

Thank you for all the prayers and support. We look forward to sharing more about our experiences in Mexico in the coming weeks!

Love,

The team bloggers, Alyssa & Jadyn

 

Daytona #1

Daytona Sign

Hey Guys!

So far, so good. We arrived to Daytona Beach safely on Saturday in the late morning. We shed our winter layers and said hello to the sunshine. A few people have even gotten a bit of sunburn already, so we’re all trying to liberally apply on a regular basis. We have to try to learn from others, right?

Anyways, after a day of rest, preparation, and more team building, some of us went out on the boardwalk to get a start at the week. It was a Sunday evening so not too many people were out, but we were able to talk with those who were around. Talking to people and actually jumping in to initiate conversations with my group has built some more confidence in me to step out in courage more and I’m grateful for that.

This morning, we gathered on the beach with another group that is here for some morning worship. I felt like being by the ocean made the iconic water references in Christian worship songs stick out all the more. But they also felt so more surreal once I thought about them for longer. God’s character is so beautifully revealed through nature and I really appreciate this morning’s experience with the ocean.

After worship, we headed up to some breakfast and we will start our team devotions pretty soon. I’m so excited for today and our start to this awesome week. If you could, please pray that our hearts are expectant for God’s miracles and that we may know on a deeper level that anything that happens is only by God’s doing.
Thanks so much for your prayers!

Love, Emily Wallace

Russia

3.26.18 4:43am

The team going to Russia encountered some delays which caused them to miss their connecting flights.  The team is now in route to their final destination in Russia.  Please continue to follow their journey and be in prayer.