God Sent Me to Peru

photo by Hunter Folsom

photo by Hunter Folsom

It’s ironic and counterintuitive how the painful things can be the most fruitful. It’s funny how I’ll pray for situations to happen as I feel God calling me towards them, even when I know (nearly) full well how difficult it will be. I prayed three summers ago that God would break my heart for my campers, and He did. Break my heart for what breaks yours. I prayed this spring that God would send me to Peru, and He did. Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

I prayed for the hard things. I knew what I was doing; I knew what I was getting myself into. And then in the midst of it, my faith was tested and my endurance was challenged and my boundaries were pushed beyond what I had known before.

Being here in Lima, working for Krochet Kids, is an incredible thing. That, I know. That, I am grateful for. That, I will never doubt. There are so many beautiful parts about being here: for one, the people. I am so amazed by the kindness and love of the Peruvian people. It reminds me of how I should treat all strangers I encounter — with love and respect. And then there are the people who work for Krochet Kids. They aren’t just the people I pass on the street, and soon they will be more than acquaintances. They are so much fun and joy. The cynic in me expects to be mocked when I speak Spanish but instead I am met with appreciation that at least I’m trying. The other night, a ton of us coworkers went and played soccer and piled into our VW van named “Hank” afterwards. I felt whole in that moment. Each night, my roommates and I all gather in the living room and just sit together, whether in silence or in laughter or in deep discussion. I feel whole in those moments.

Still, despite my joy, there are little spaces of my heart that yearn for home. I miss flower shop outings with my mom; I miss Chick Fil A runs with my sister; I miss laughing at my dad’s hundredth goofy joke of the day; I miss seeking out more and more coffee with my friend Molly; I miss exploring a new neighborhood (or a familiar one) with my boyfriend. And okay, the very petty Texan within me misses Diet Coke from the Sonic drive-thru or even running on a treadmill at the gym my family frequents.

Yeah, I knew this was how it was going to go. I knew the adjustment would be tough. I knew it would be a transition. I remember how culture shock feels. But knowing and experiencing are such different things, and now that I’m here and I’m experiencing it and enduring it…it is many beautiful things, but it is also hard. And sometimes that difficulty overshadows all the beauty when I’m not giving it up to God as much as I know I could be.

I overthink, I scrutinize, I get down in the dumps (for lack of a better term) when I could just be saying to God every single day, this day is Yours and I want You to use me. I let the monotony of the work day or the frustration of a this-should-be-easy task feeling difficult bog me down when I could just be relaxing, enjoying the lesson. And that’s what I’ve gleaned the most from this journey thus far: to lean into the lesson. To embrace the hard stuff. To confront it head-on and know I cannot be defeated by anything in this world when I have the creator of the universe on my side. That this too shall pass, that a few months is not very long — and what’s more — that my time here will only get more joyful with every passing day as I get more and more used to my life here.

And so, as I enter this second month of work here at KK Peru, I pray for patience and peace, but mostly I pray that I will learn to lean more fully into each lesson.