It’s been a tough re-entry this time. I was only gone from Lima for two months, but time crawled for me while I was away. Not because I missed everyone here, although I did, but because I was so busy. Our Father has created a special bond between me and the Vineyard family that adopted me in Antwerp when I was sick. He has knit our hearts together, creating a deep friendship fast–a friendship that seems to leap over language and cultural barriers. (“Jesus Culture,” like the folks at Bethel realized, transcends everything else.)

I was only in Antwerp for a month, but we dove into learning Sozo ministry together, then dove into putting it into practice. We met most days of the week for most of the month. It was mind boggling to see Jesus coming close to heal His Belgian children, just like I’ve seen Him do time after time with His Peruvian children. Meanwhile, out in the world, there were tanks and armed soldiers on the streets and police and army units had closed the borders between Belgium and France while they searched for the Paris attackers.

Vineyard Antwerp, Ik hou van je. Ik mis je. It was hard to say good-bye.

After Antwerp, rural Texas. From five-hundred-year-old cobbled streets to “Hook ‘Em Horns!” My sister and brother-in-law had just bought an RV and parked it under the pine trees. A back-up for the natural disasters that central Texas is prone to. (They’ve had to evacuate their home twice in the last five years.) So I got to break in the RV, staying in it over Christmas. It has a built-in stove and microwave, and they bought me a little coffee maker. It was a sweet American haven: fresh coffee and birdsong in the mornings, dogs and cats to play with, football on the TV. Laughing over shared likes and dislikes with my sister. We could be twins.

Now Lima. From forty degrees in Texas to ninety here. That’s been hard this time. No AC here. All day the sun cooks the brick houses and all night they, in turn, cook you in a brick oven. Hard to sleep. What’s been the hardest to deal with, though, has been returning to find that we seem to be backing away from the intense ministry and miracles of last year. It was an amazing year. Jesus was healing people and delivering them and filling them with the Holy Spirit. It was glorious. There were moments in His presence, in healing and deliverance and worship, when I said to myself, this is what it was like in the first century!

But it was messy, too. We didn’t know how to administer things very well. We didn’t do very good follow-up or take care of ourselves very well. It was all new. We obviously had a lot to learn. Now I worry that we might not have the will to keep learning. I pray that we do. I realize, writing this, that I need to discipline myself to pray about this until it changes. I need to cry out to You, Jesus, to give us the courage to fight the good fight together. Finding last year’s advancing army unsure and static has made the heat hotter and the long nights longer. I see that this has to be part of the counter-attack.

We need to go back to war. Please pray for us.

The Kitten Chronicles: Elf

So. It was a Peruvian afternoon in April of last year. Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Warm and still sunny in Lima but not hot. I was buying something at the tienda (store) that Olinda, our landlady, runs on the first floor of our building. She was counting my change out into my hand when she looked over my shoulder and said, “Allá, Mira, Pamela. Tu gatito,” which is to say, “Look. There’s your kitten, Pam.”

I turned and looked and there was a little kitten, maybe the size of a man’s fist, mewing and toddling away from us down the street. I hesitated, the usual thought detaining me: I can’t take care of a cat!. Then some movement further down the street caught my eye and I looked. One of our neighborhood pit bulls was headed straight for the kitten, eyes on an afternoon snack.

Nope. No way. Not on my watch. So I trotted over and scooped up the kitten.

babyhand2 And, of course, as soon as I picked her up there was no more question about it. I had a cat. She was white with rust-colored patches, which is why Olinda called her my cat (I’m also white with rust-colored patches.) She was dirty and covered with fleas. I took her straight to the local vet, two streets down the hill. The vet cleaned her off with a combination of warm water and flea killer. I bought food right there, took the kitten home, fed her, built her a cozy bed.

She ate and slept, ate and slept for two days, then started exploring her new home. I named her Elf because she looked like one. The young lady who’s house sitting for me in Lima is taking care of Elf until I get home. She’ll be a year old soon. I miss her.

favorite spot

Trash Pickers

I took the photo of the little boy in the photo above just down the street from my apartment in Lima. It was garbage day and, along with his mom and dad and several siblings, this little guy had been walking from house to house in our barrio all afternoon sifting through the bags of garbage that people left on the curb for the garbage truck. He and his family members untied every bag, sifted through it, took out anything valuable and/or recyclable, and put it in the woven plastic bags that the boy’s standing in front of. All the bags and the load in the moto, the motorcyle car, are the family’s take for the day. It’s the boy’s job now to guard the stash until they get back.