I want to introduce you to the people I hung out with in Peru. This was my team. We were team red and boy were we loud about it! I love these people. I cannot imagine a more diverse group that would get along so well. We worked together. We encouraged each other. And, yes, we laughed together!
I loved being able to be a part of the Operation Christmas Child distributions. I loved being able to see the joy on the kids’ faces. It was such a gift to be able to go, but my experience was different from those who had never been to a third world country and had never seen the poverty before. I wasn’t surprised by the things I saw. Still my heart went out to the children and families who live with so much less than we do. I was also reminded of all I have to be thankful for!
But as a wife and home schooling mother of five children who rarely gets uninterrupted adult conversation, I was personally encouraged by this team who accepted me just how I am and (very important here) laughed with me, not at me!
Stacey and Ashley were our team leaders. Stacey was so kind and patient with our not so go with the flow team! Thank you so much for all your hard work! Ashley, I was so excited to find out, is the face behind the OCC Twitter and Facebook pages! She is so sweet and such a great sport!
This is Carly, who I’ve mentioned before as the other blogger on the trip, from Living the Scream. We had connected through email and Facebook before meeting in Peru. Oh my goodness, Carly and I were like instant best friends. We had so much in common with our families and blogging, but we also have the love of laughter in common. For a while there it was like there was a contest for which one of us could do the next craziest thing. We kept each other in stitches! At one point on the plane we were laughing so hard I’m pretty sure the people around us thought we were drunk. Neither one of us drink though I promise, but we do have fun!
Selma and Jennifer are from Lifeway. I was touched by Selma’s compassion for people! When she saw someone hurting she was the first one there to care, listen, or pray with them. Just talking to these two ladies over lunch I was already bearing my heart expressing some of my most challenging parenting issues. Jennifer has a beautiful testimony of how God has changed her life. I was amazed when she told me she also works for another non-profit organization. She told me that she is single and has the time to give to the Lord and how much better that was than doing other things! She made me stop and evaluate my own life!
This is Jim Stanley from American Family Radio. Jim has got to be one of the most thoughtful people on the planet. He was always the first one to notice if a child came into a church late and hadn’t received one of the necklaces we were handing out. A few of us were craving Cokes or Diet Cokes and the next thing we knew there was Jim with a drink for each of us. After shopping at the market someone asked me what I gotten for my husband and uh I hadn’t gotten anything. Jim gave me on of the caps from Peru that he had purchased and told me to give it to my husband. Jason is a fan of AFR and I think it meant so much more coming from Jim anyway! Ha! I’m pretty sure the true spelling on his birth certificate must be “Gem.”
I had so much fun getting to know JP. He was one of our translators that really became part of the group. He kept us on the edge of our seats with amazing stories about his childhood, the history of Peru, and his family. JP’s love for missions and the children of Peru was contagious!
Rich is a VP of Ministry Strategy at Focus on the Family. He also blogs on the Focus on the Family site Dad Matters. After he first explained to me what he does at Focus on the Family, I responded with, “So how long have you been working at OCC?” You know me; I say ridiculous things on a regular basis! What’s worse is that I really thought he was talking about OCC the entire time! Talking to Rich was like we had been friends from high school. I enjoyed learning about how he is an intentional parent, and I was challenged by his example of committing things to prayer.
Edie also works with Focus on the Family. Edie was the member of our team that was always looking for ways to get things done, to figure things out and make them happen. She is a mover and a shaker and yes I’m also referring to dance moves! Ha! I loved watching Edie get into the motions of the kid’s songs–so fun! I appreciated Edie’s tender heart to the Lord’s leading in her life.
Roxie and Ray are with Point of Faith Radio in Denver. Roxie is a people magnet. The children flocked to her. She is a hoot and before the first day was over everyone knew Roxie! She is one of those rare people that can have you laughing one minute and bearing your soul the next. She loves the Lord, and she loves people, and anyone she comes in contact with can see that.
I was challenged by Ray’s heart for evangelism. When he called me over to translate for him, it was because he wanted to share the Gospel with someone. “How is this trip going to change what you do?” he asked me. I wasn’t sure at the moment, but he went on to tell me of ideas he had for how to do more in his community. He didn’t want to go home and behave as if he didn’t see the need.
As you can see I was so blessed to be a part of this team and get to know these people. God has used their friendship, example, and love for the Lord to encourage and exhort me! They have changed my life!