Ready or not, the time had come to say goodbye to Iquitos which had truly become a home away from home over the last week to me.
But hopefully just for a little while ...

It's safe to say that we all left pieces of our hearts there and no one is looking to "get them back" but I'd feel confident to say we are all ready to leave a little more!

And ironically, as I write this listening to worship music, the song Pieces just came on. And it made me realize that while we mean "leaving pieces of our heart" in a good way, we serve a Father who does not give His heart in pieces. He is limitless and infinite and loves passionately with a heart that is not given in "pieces" but Holy and wholly! So perhaps it would be better to say that our heart is multiplying in size and love, just as the miracle of the fish that were multiplied to feed the crowds in Matthew 14, our hearts multiplied to show His love.

☝️That was a freebie that leads me to share this:

"Equal implies my love can be measured, and I assure you ... it cannot. Same would mean my children are replaceable or interchangeable,  and they are not. My heart is not divided into compartments. No one could take the place or displace another in my heart. For you see, I don't love my children equally, I love them UNIQUELY." -Lisa Bevere from her book Without Rival.

What an honor it was for our team to be the vessels of God's love pouring out unrelentingly! We were tired, we had been banged up physically, emotionally and spiritually, but God's grace allowed us to continue pressing forward and pressing in, breaking through the darkness of depression and hopelessness that permeated the culture with the light of God's love and mercy.

I had no idea I was going to share that ... but the series is called "Spirit Lead Me!" ... so there'ya go!

We arrived back to the airport in Iquitos with a few less bags ... because we played nesting dolls with them and left some behind. I actually got a better look to see that Iquitos airport is legit, and not just what I observed in oblivion that first day! There was a tiny gift shop at the entrance, so a few of us took a peek inside and I had seen they had tiny little Caiman Alligator key-chains carved from wood. I had to buy one for Little Andrew as a souvenir to remember his time with us!

And Andrew, if you're reading this, I hope you know you hold the keys of freedom! You are an incredible young man with a remarkable destiny that was evident to our team as we watched you ministering the love of God with passion and fervor at just 12 years old in various capacities! I am so excited to see what God unfolds in your life!

We checked in, went through security (and had a moment of amusement when we saw the container filled with souvenir blowguns that hadn't made it through ... our team packed theirs in their check-ins) and then went to our gate. I think there were maybe only two gates there?! ... But still legit!

Unfortunately, I missed most of any of our flights because sleeping is my favorite thing to do ... But this time I actually missed the sights because I was able to sit next to a young man from Poland or Hungary?! Now I can't remember which ... He travels for long periods of time until money runs out and had seen so many incredible places! I asked if he had pictures and he graciously shared some. He was so incredibly talented in that regard, I wished he had a social account I could follow for inspiration, but he taught me that he prefers to enjoy the moment. I love capturing, I've said a dozen times it's like oxygen to my soul, and being able to relive my adventures through my photos brings me joy in between the adventures ... but I do understand the struggle of getting so caught up behind the lens that you can be disconnected from what is going on in front of it. I marveled at the places he'd been until we landed in Lima, maybe a little less than a 2 hour flight.

Once we collected all of our luggage, we made our way for the very first time "into" Lima. I knew coming home from Peru there would be a culture shock and adjustment, but I'd almost say that happened just when we landed in the capital of Lima! The air was so much more chilling than the Amazon basin had been, we traded our jungle landscape for a cityscape of towering buildings, bigger billboards and typical traffic jams ... The plan was to drop our bags off at the Missions House where we would be staying for our one night in Lima, and then head to the "Beverly Hills" district of Lima to the food court at the mall for lunch, with the authentic "Indian Marketplace" to follow where we could purchase souvenirs that were authentically made from natives in the jungle and mountainous regions and in between! Of course we had to ask Pastor Adam a second time for clarification on plans so once we had it straight, I couldn't resist asking a third time. His look of defeat amused me as I quickly let him know I was teasing!

At our missions home, we divided in pairs to rooms, this time I got to bunk with Christina and Claudia ... or so I thought. I was heartbroken to find out that we were losing Claudia and Little Andrew before the day's end. It made sense but selfishly, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to them either!

We headed back to our bus and passed by the Pacific Ocean! Most people who know me, know I LOVE the water! It's refreshing for my soul. (Taylor was feeling unwell which though it was not a good thing, worked to our favor as we got to pull to the side of the road and stand on the coast. Thanks Taylor!) I was in awe, the ROAR of the Pacific Ocean there in Peru was quite possibly unlike anything I had ever heard before. And I've been to some pretty incredible places! Pastor Adam asked if anyone wanted to touch the ocean so I followed Renee's lead and crept slowly closer to the waves. I didn't want to get too close because of the undertow, but little by little I inched closer until a large wave came and saturated my feet. (I got to test out for the first time how marvelously waterproof my Merrell shoes were!) I observed people swimming and surfing in the ocean which I thought was CRAZY! That water had so much force and power ... but it made me whisper to the Lord as I stood there on the shore, looking at people who had gone in, "take me deeper Lord!"
I think we all were intrigued at how smooth and lovely the stones on the coast were. We each looked for ones that were special to us. Christina looked for a heart. I found one that was beautifully marbled and red when it was wet, and Pastor Adam picked a round, speckled white stone for me. We each clung to our rocks like treasures as we made our way back to the bus, where we grabbed a quick team picture before boarding. Again, as I sit here reflecting, looking over at my stones on my desk, I recall how many times I had heard Christina referencing that "the stone had been thrown and now we would see the ripples." and their smoothness reminds me of the stones David cast at Goliath. So let it ripple!

We arrived just a moment later at the mall after passing by some prestigious points that Pastor Adam pointed out. We wondered if we would have to take our rocks with us or if they could stay on the bus to which our bus driver got a good laugh at us! We were laughing at ourselves as well as we joked with each other not to mess with our rocks!

The food court of the mall was open air and overlooked the Pacific Ocean! I was happy to be able to have the view a little longer! Our team split up among different eatery's, many ran for the American known establishments. I wasn't ready for that ... "while in Peru ..." I wanted something authentic that I couldn't get back home. I settled on a sandwich shop that had smoothies. I couldn't read the menu - I only recognized Pollo as chicken. But I was not really wanting any meat. After Pastor Adam and Claudia translated the menu to me, I realized a meatless sandwich wasn't going to happen so I ordered one that had roast beef, avocado, and caramelized onions and I splurged and ordered a Guanabana smoothie or juice?! I wasn't sure which I was getting haha. They asked if I wanted fries but I felt I had already gotten so much food and spent enough so I kindly declined. A decision I regretted moments later when I saw lush, thick cut fries passing order by order before me ... I'm drooling even now🤤. So I made my way back in line and ordered a small side of fries. (Which I think a few others were happy about as they helped me to eat them! My sandwich and smoothie was really enough as I knew it would be; but don't judge. You would have done the same if you saw those fries!)

After everyone had lunch a few people found coffee or ice cream treats that sounded irresistible. Brookee, I am thinking of you with your "fruits of the forest!" I simply couldn't though I was salivating over her Popsicle or the Nutella® crepe Renee split with someone or the life-size photographs advertising sweet treats displayed at every turn. I was so full of sandwich, potatoes and Guanabana!

Watch The Floor Is Lava
We made our way back to the main level, where Christina got Pastor Adam and Renee with "The Floor Is Lava" game. (Brookes face when Renee went for the railing was priceless.) We snapped another group picture this time including Pastor Adam's beautiful wife Liliana! We then ran like a bunch of crazy American tourists to catch our bus who was driving down the road to pick us up. (Watch the video of crazy American tourists in Lima)

We made our way to the Indian Marketplace where we were all excited to, really for the first time, be able to pick up some authentic souvenirs made from different cultures in Peru. We really did not have enough time ... but we made the most of it! Christina found all sorts of crazy hats ... a llama, a rooster, a tribal face-mask and of course the irresistible Alpaca furry hats that are twice the size of your head in fluff!

We met back at the appointed time to head back to our Mission's Home as we still had to debrief which would take a while. When we got there, we made a tearful goodbye to Claudia, Little Andrew and Liliana, whom each melted right in to our team so perfectly.

Pastor Adam headed out to pick us up some dinner, and we collected in the living room to begin the debriefing process which I will not write too much about since it was a deeply personal and heartfelt time for our team. I will just say that we ended up not going to bed until really late, so we only got about 2 hours of sleep before heading back to the airport in Lima where we would spend the next 24+ hours getting back home!


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top