Back in Limaland

Its true! I'm back in Limaland and have hit the ground running to get ready for the servant team that's coming next week! And even though I feel tired and the skies are grey I haven't been able to stop smiling. The reunions have been sweet, birthdays have been celebrated, soccer has been played, hugs all around, then if you throw in a few airport runs, a beautiful friday night of prayer, followed by crazy laughter on the cab ride home—you have yourself a pretty great first week home.

Being in the states with many of you was a blessing. I know I've said it, but I'll say it again. Thanks for coming out to see me, for making such an effort to encourage me whether by presence or email or sweet gestures. I wish I could express how much it meant to me.

Family time in canada was irreplaceable. I seriously adore my family. Iowa was gorgeous as always, the tall corn, the rolling hills, evening drives around Saylorville, the amazing people and  the Palmer's goodness. The retreat was excellent, I admit I was slightly nervous, but it reached into my being in a deep and refreshing way. It is a privilege to count myself among all of the amazing friends I met there who are serving Jesus among the poorest of the poor all around the world.  colorado was full with beauty & emotion & reconnection with old & new friends. And wow, there's just something about those mountains & blue spruce trees...

Of course the time always flies by and i always wish for just a little bit more. I guess I'll just never be able to have my fill of you all :).

Anyway, I wanted to catch you up to speed and check back in from this side of the equator. Also, Dad said I should post my most recent support letter as well for those who don't receive it so thats below (if you would like to receive it just shoot me an email).

Okay, so in summary:

Thanks, love you, keep on keepin' on!

besos.

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Dear Sweet Friends & Family,

It was another Tuesday night on the streets and I was looking for my friend C to wish him a happy birthday.  He turned 13 on the Sunday before and Sarah and I were hoping to take him out for a celebratory lunch of salad, french fries, rotisserie chicken, & Inca Cola.  When I finally saw him I ran up to him to pitch our idea.  Before I knew it there were tears streaming down his face.  He left his home shortly after his birthday last year and the passing of this one was a sharp reminder that a year had passed.  He had spent his birthday on the streets and hadn’t even remembered until that moment when I came running up to him.  I hugged him.  I grasped for something to say but no words came to my mind, so, I just squeezed a little tighter. 

Then the most amazing thing happened.  The other boys began to notice C’s tears and gather around.  I started to push them away because I thought they would tease him.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  First came the questions “Por qué estás llorando?”  “Why are you crying?” “Qué pasó amigo?” “What happened, friend?”, and then the “Why didn’t you tell us it was your birthday?”  “Its not too late to celebrate!” “happy birthday!” and there were hugs, lots of hugs.  And I sat in the middle of the beautiful circle of boys and listened to them encourage each other and tell stories of birthdays forgotten & dreams of better ones to come.

C’s good friend J piped up, “The devil doesn’t want us to have good things, that’s why we need to pray to Jesus for truth.”  I nodded and wiped the tears from my eyes and C’s eyes.  Again the words failed to come to me and I was in awe at the face of Jesus so clearly reflected in those boys’ eyes.  Through J’s words truth was spoken into darkness.  We talked a little about what J meant by that.  We agreed that it is never too late to celebrate a birthday, that our God is a God who gives second, third, fourth and ninetieth chances, and that just because its been a year doesn’t mean its too late to go home and/or try to make things right.  Another group of boys came over to hug C and before I knew it I was in the center of a huge circle of boys and girls playing their instruments and singing every version of the happy birthday song they could come up with.  During a lull in the impromptu celebration I got up and hugged them both and we agreed to meet for that celebratory lunch the next week, their songs filling my ears as I walked away.

The whole idea of truth has been, and what it means to see truly has been surfacing in a lot of my thoughts, conversations, experiences & prayers.  Amidst the suffering, finding truth and clinging to it is essential.  Seeing things as they truly are, through the eyes of God, completely changes my point of view when I am able to get glimpses.  At a conference about ministry to at-risk youth, which we recently hosted, I had the opportunity to share about the privilege it is to search for the “hidden treasures” that are the youth.  Treasures that are seen and discovered when we are searching with the eyes of God, and when we are allowing truth to break down the lies we’ve been told about what makes a person valuable.

C and his friends who gathered around him are hidden treasures and I am blessed to know them.  They push me forward in the search for truth and in the fight against the lies that so often surround us, and I hope I do the same for them.

Please pray for us as we walk this road together, that we would cling to truth in all things and ever be seeking to see ourselves, and the world through the eyes of God.

Please pray as well for the new Servant Team.  We are excited to welcome these six incredible girls into the Lima community for the next four months.  Pray for me as I lead them, for our community as we receive them, and for them as they integrate and open themselves to what God has for their time with us.

It was a joy and a blessing to see and communicate with many of you over the past month.  You have encouraged me and inspired me in ways you probably aren’t even aware of.  Time with you is priceless and I hold it in my heart as a treasure.  Thank you a million times over.  I attached a field update for those of you I wasn’t able to see face to face. 

I am here because you make it possible through your generosity, your encouragement, your prayers, and your love.  You amaze me.

Thanking God for you!

love & peace,

Monica