People often speak of hearing God or seeing Him, and I never understood what that meant. I always thought it was just an analogy, just another perspective on connecting with Him, but then I went to Peru. I saw God in all of the children and people there. I heard Him, too. In every one of their voices. I first noticed it at the church service we went to at Pastor Daniel's church (which also serves as the Compassion project site, PE125). The two vastly different worlds we came from didn't matter when we were worshiping and honoring our God. We all sang together, we all prayed together, and we all shared our love for the same Father together that evening. I saw and heard God that day, and that was just the beginning of a week full of His overwhelming presence.
No matter how emotionally or spiritually unprepared I felt for the week in Peru, God filled me with joy and anticipation for hearing and seeing Him through these people, repeatedly. Every time I was in the presence of my team or the Peruvian people, He was there. A smile was plastered on my face the whole week and laughter was a constant between everyone. "A smile is universal" was one thing that our Compassion Leader, Mark Gehri, had said, and I couldn't agree more. The children loved when you smiled, returning it with one of their beautiful grins, a hug, and often an attempt at a conversation, despite the language barrier- a reaction that portrayed God and his effects on these children's warmed hearts.
As you can guess, language was a big divide between us and the Peruvians. The team vastly outnumbered the translators, as it was four translators to 18 team members. While this was a barrier between us, our thankfulness for God calling these two groups of people from different worlds together was the bridge to the gap. The Spanish word I undoubtedly heard said most to me and my team members was “gracias”, as you most likely know means “thank you”. These people were so thankful that we had given our time to meet and connect with them. I also received many presents from the children and the church. Specifically, a young girl gave me a piece of jewelry, a bag of sweets, and a “build your own bracelet” set. These things were most likely of great value to her, but she gave them up to a stranger so willingly. I was overwhelmed by the power of God’s presence within her and broke down crying. As an American I didn’t understand how someone with so little stuff could give away so much of it. But that’s who these people are. They understand that beside God, nothing has true value. When God is within them, thankfulness and the gift of giving are greater than any selfishness.
Lastly, I felt God’s nearness through the relationships I built while in Peru. The time there was so short, but meeting these people and just sharing a smile or a small conversation with them was greater than any physical object I got from this trip. “Sharing time with people is better than any stuff you can buy a person” is something my mother has always told me. Peru was perfect evidence of this. My family sponsors a child named Fabián that is a member of PE125. I was blessed to meet this 10 year-old boy while in Peru. Sadly, I only had a few hours of our last day there to connect with him, but I have never met a more incredible, godly boy than him. The relationship we built in just a few hours had so much love and joy in it just because of God’s presence. It was much like this for all of the Peruvians I met. And while I know that I may only be able to see most of those people once in my life, God laid the realization upon me that I will see them again in Heaven. How could I not look forward to that?
Peru was the place I first understood what it really meant to hear and see God. I have asked myself everyday since the trip, “How could an abundance of Him shine through in a place with so much poverty and not enough of Him shine through where I live?” but now I understand that I must be the light of His presence here because the brightness is found in peoples’ hearts and displayed through their thankfulness and love for others. The team members impacted the lives of people in Peru, but I believe I was not only changed by God but also by the Peruvians as we shared smiles and laughter, portrayed our thankfulness, and built relationships in honor of Him. The devil is still undoubtedly there, but God is winning the battle in the hearts of the people I was blessed to meet and in my heart.
May I continue to speak His words through my mouth,
Posted on Mon, June 26, 2017
by Grace Outreach