Thursday, September 1, 2011

our journey to peru

I think the question that was asked the most was, "How did you get to Peru?" You guys asked how this all started, our path to Peru, and why we moved to Peru instead of another country or staying in the US.

If you saw our lives five years ago you would never have believed that we would ever be living in Peru. We were your average, American dream chasing family living the life in Southern California.

{Our original blog header}

Our journey to Peru unknowingly started four years ago with a short term mission trip to Mexico. (Which opens a whole can of worms about the healthiness and helpfulness of short term mission trips that I can't even begin to address, but I would recommend this post by my friend Tara who lives in Haiti. This mission trip to Mexico most likely was not healthy or helpful which grieves my heart, but it is part of our story). In this essay that I wrote after returning from Mexico I shared how we had realized that obedience to God meant serving others and that having a young family shouldn't interfere with that calling. A year after our Mexico trip (yes, we sat on our butts for a year and did nothing) we started this blog and here is what Blake wrote in our first post:

"It was a year ago that our family experienced an awakening. It’s an awakening that we hope and expect to change the course of our lives forever. In July 2007, we spent some time in Mexico where we built a few houses for those in need and spent some time with a few of the locals. Our young family endured the challenges of spending four days in minimal living conditions and overall we enjoyed our time. We didn’t come away from our four day trip with any new profound thoughts, but it was clear to Sarah and I that our family, our lives, need to be lived out in a new way. We want to live a life of GOing - a life of action - as part of a revolution.

We see following Jesus awakens us and inspires us into action. The revolution of Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart or the middle of the road. It isn’t safe. It isn’t comfortable. It costs us a great deal to say yes, we will GO. We take hold of the revolution by abandoning ourselves to Jesus and letting go of everything else. GOing is a decision we are called to make daily, moment by moment - a call to choose others before ourselves... a call to be awakened to the needs right around us, and to respond through action.

In reading those words now it is no surprise that we ended up in Peru, but at the time we had NO clue what we were getting ourselves into. We just knew that we were finally starting to surrender our lives to God. We spent a lot of time reading the Bible (specifically what it had to say about poverty), prayed, and educated ourselves on the realities of poverty in our world today. In January of 2009, I wrote this post with frustration that our family was not doing enough, Blake wrote this post about challenging ourselves to life differently, and we started volunteering with the local motel ministry. This is the first time that sacrifice was brought up in our family.

In June of that same year, we spent a week in Guatemala. We had absolutely no intentions of moving to a foreign country, but we wanted our kids to experience life in a foreign country for a short time. We saw our kids (especially Riley) come to life in Guatemala. We saw them serving others with joy and loving on kids that had been deemed unlovable. Riley cried when it was time to leave.


We came home from Guatemala and still didn't quite know what to do with ourselves in regards to serving others. Riley raised money for clean water wells
through service projects and eating rice and beans for a month, but it still felt like we weren't doing much. We were doing acts of service, but we were not living a life of service.

Then the earth shook in Haiti and I couldn't believe the devastation that followed. I desperately wanted to be there to help, but quickly realized I wasn't needed. I read Tara's blog and yearned to be in a position like her. I realized that in order to be available to serve others when tragedy or hardship hit, I had to be living that life of service. Not sitting in my comfortable home, living my comfortable life, and jumping on a plane when I was ready to serve. I kept thinking of Esther who, when her people were facing death, had been put in her position as queen "for such a time as this." (Esther, chapter 4)

I wanted to be in position for "such a time as this." I was tired of standing on the sidelines and watching from afar. After years of God working in my heart and slowly bending my will to his, I was ready to really step out in faith. In March of 2010 we put our house on the market in order to downsize and move into a low income neighborhood in our county. We wanted to live among the poor and know them. We felt that only by being their neighbors and friends could we ever begin to know how to help and serve them. We visited many neighborhoods, always praying as we walked through them for God to reveal our new home.

By July we were frustrated because we had no clear direction on where we were supposed to move. I felt like God was taking forever in getting back to us. At the end of July, Krochet Kids approached us with the job offer to start their program in Peru. Let me backtrack and say that at some point in the past (I can't even remember when) Blake had mentioned to the guys at KKi that when they did decide to grow their program to another country to keep him in mind for the job. I'm still not entirely sure why Blake threw that out to them (because he didn't really want to move internationally) except that he loved what KKi was doing and really wanted to be a part of it.

We took a month to pray about our decision, but it was pretty clear from the get-go that this was God's answer for us. Both Blake and I felt a peace and confidence almost immediately. We were just as shocked as everyone else that Peru was where we were moving. It hadn't even been on our radar, but when God speaks it's undeniable. In August of 2010 we accepted the job with Krochet Kids. I am so thankful to have this blog because it paints a very clear picture of all of the ways God had been working in our hearts to prepare us to say "yes" to moving to Peru. This obviously wasn't an overnight change, but years of pruning, praying, changing, learning, waiting, faithfulness, and trust. We weren't ready for this four years ago or even one year ago. But God brought us to just the right place at just the right time.

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