Sunday, November 07, 2010

A Birthday To Remember!

John Mark, Mirko and his wife Leidy
The guys
Some of the youth kids watching a video

Luis and Maddox-buds

Some of the group

The front of the card

The inside of the card! Now can you see why I started crying?!?!The back of the card where they signed it
The inside of the card
Well my first birthday here in Peru was WILD!!! I knew birthdays were a pretty big deal here but I had NO idea! Friday night Lee took me out to a nice dinner and we just had an incredible time just "being" together and talking about whatever the heck we wanted. When we got home there were flowers, a gift certificate for a massage and perfume! I was getting ready to thank Lee when I read the card and my friends (more like sisters) Claudia and Rocio had snuck into our room earlier that night to put the surprises in my room. It was already an incredible birthday and it wasn't even Saturday yet!

Saturday morning Claudia and Rocio picked me up for a delicious breakfast at my favorite place Don Mamino. We always have a blast together but it meant so much to me that they were being so sweet! Rocio could see how happy I was and SHE started crying at the table! Her sister and I looked at each other and then of course I started crying! It was like a cry fest, haha.

I got home and Lee and the kids gave me some perfume and a movie and we had some strawberry tarts to celebrate. I mean could it seriously get ANY better?!? Well during the next couple of hours while the kids were resting the doorbell rang 3 TIMES for flower deliveries. I thought it was some kind of joke. By the end of the day I was staring at 4 flower arrangements. I sort of felt like I was at my own funeral, HAHA! No I really love them.

Then last night to top off the whole evening was our youth night. We always have it on the first Saturday of the month so it happened to fall on my birthday. We went along as planned with the English class at 5:30 and the youth night at 7:30. I kept asking what needed to be done because usually I provide the food etc... but Lee kept telling me not to worry about anything and that the youth kids were taking care of it all.

Well... he was right. They brought food, drinks, decorated a cake, played games, some other friends came and sprayed confetti everywhere, others just came to be a part of the entertainment and all in all it was a fun and incredible night. The best part of the night was a card that a few of the gals and guys hand-made. I posted pictures of it below because it was absolutely incredible! Of course when they presented it to me and I saw all the pictures of my family, teammates and friends on it I started to cry. It was seriously one of the neatest things I have ever received.

More than anything I think that yesterday God used the day to really encourage myself and Lee in our work here. We have had days where we look at each other like "what are we doing?", "are we letting God use us in the way He intended?" Well yesterday God sweetly whispered to me "YES!"
The first flower arrangement came from some friends of ours that we met through Sofia's ballet. They are Christians here and have truly been an encouragement for our family. The second ring literally had my heart in my throat. Antonio is a guy that we met about 5 months ago that works on our street washing cars and doing odd jobs. I won't go into too much detail but it was a relationship that was cautioned against. Needless to say we pressed on and even had a heart to heart with him about what was being said. In my broke-down Spanish we were able to talk for about an hour and really solidified some mutual trust. Lee started studying the Bible with him and he comes to our gathering on Sundays. When he showed up at the door with a bouquet of flowers that I know cost him more than a days work I could barely take it from him. I was SO grateful and new at that moment that God has a plan for Antonio.

Then another guy named Jorge came by with a beautiful lamp (this guy we met through Rocio and Claudia and is now part of our gathering.) Later that night some of the youth kids came with heart lamps, a stuffed cat, a Peru shirt etc... I was HUMBLED by their generosity! They encouraged me with their words, hugged on me and I truly felt like a part of THEIR lives. All we have wanted since we got here was to feel a part of this community and God over and over used each person yesterday to encourage, uplift and show me that He has used us to help build lasting relationships with these precious people of Peru.
I have fallen in love with the 25 or so youth kids, the Rocios, Claudias, Christinas, Daniels, Jorges, Antonios, Meches etc.... that God has so graciously brought into my life.
It was, a birthday to remember!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steph - no doubt people love you there as we do here for your giving heart and love of laughter. I'm really glad to see they were able to show their love to you on your special day. You deserve it. It probably meant a great deal to them to have the opportunity to show you how they feel. And of course, Lee loves a good surprise and the joy of seing it come together - glad that he was able to do that for you. Now about that picture of him wearing a jester's hat? Please send me the pic for future embarassment! Happy belated birthday friend. BNutt