Monday, July 29, 2013

Somos libres. Seámoslo siempre, Seámoslo siempre!

We are free. May we always be so, may we always be so!

iFeliz día de independencia, Perú! Happy Independence Day, Peru!

This week, Perú has been painted white and red with the flags that have been hung up on every house and car, and it has gotten me in quite the Peruvian spirit! We have been celebrating all week with delicious foods and traditional dances from the three regions of Perú. In addition to independence day, we have had multiple goodbye parties for dear friends who have moved back to their countries, the July school semester ended, and my sister's birthday was the 24th. It has been an incredibly busy week!

Saying goodbye to Martin before he went back to the States!

Saying goodbye to Brandon before he went to Argentina for a month and then back to the States.

Saying goodbye to my favorite boludo German before he went back to Argentina.

My sisters Karen (left) and Vivian (right). We're an oreo!

Many of you have been asking me what exactly I do in Perú since it looks like we just travel and party all the time. I am here to tell you that I actually stay pretty busy with school during the weeks which is why I haven't posted in a while since it's so monotonous. My days go a little something like this:

I am up every day by about 6, and I have breakfast consisting of yogurt, a banana, and some cereal at my spot at the table.

Now do you see why I've gotten fat? Look at all that bread!!

 I leave around 6:45 when it is nice and brisk on our street.

 I walk 2 and a half blocks on Avenida Larco, the main street in Trujillo, to get to school.

Then cross the crazy street to get to the Language Center, which is across from the main university.

Then, I pick up my markers and eraser for my class and head on in. It's completely open-air (that door on the right was my classroom in June), so it gets a little chilly sometimes. It's nice when things get too boring because if the sun ever comes out, we can have class on the patio at the back.

Then, I direct my lovely students from 7-11 with a 15 minute break. We have some fun times in English which usually stem from me serenading my students, teaching them football chants, etc.

Then, I head home around 11:15 and either prepare lessons, take a nap, or go to the gym (not as frequently as the first two...) before sitting down to a wonderful home cooked meal at 1:00.

From there, the evenings are always different. Sometimes I teach 4-7. Sometimes I tutor 5-8. Sometimes I have nothing to do at the school so I run errands, meet up with friends or go to church. Dinner usually consists of some kind of fresh herbal tea (chamomile, hierba luisa, hierba buena, anís, etc.) and a papa rellena, sandwich, or omlette, etc. They have very light dinners here which I have liked a lot.

This week, I have really been enjoying the spontaneity of this culture. I don't always like to plan everything out way in advance, so this has been perfect for me! As an example, I am planning to go to a city 12 hours by bus from Trujillo tomorrow, and I bought the last ticket on the bus 2 days ago. Also, it's totally acceptable if you cancel on someone at the last minute or show up an hour late to an event. I truly embraced my Latinidad this week as I showed up between 30 minutes and 2 hours late for everything. I'm not so sure my dad could survive here, as punctual as he is ;)

Thanks for your continual prayers and support! My stomach has been much better the last week or so. I will have another update after my trip north to the warmer weather in Tumbes, Perú and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Pray for my sunscreen to work well against the equator sun!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Hey friends,

I appreciate all of you who have kept up with me on the blog. It's so nice to know that I am still cared for when I'm 3,000 miles away. If you don't have the blog sent automatically to your e-mail, you can sign up on the right-hand side under "Follow by Email" by simply typing in your e-mail address!

While I have your attention, I would love to ask for specific prayers for my poor, over-worked digestive system and my church situation. My stomach has been struggling since week two, and it's been a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of fight. Right when I have been feeling fine for about two days, I feel bad for the next five. I've been praying for some sort of regulation or relief along with eating plenty of fruit and drinking plenty of chamomile and anis. Thankfully, I was able to find a gym, and that has helped some, but I still find myself randomly feeling sick almost every day at different points.

Secondly, I have found a great Baptist church down here that has taught me SO MUCH. They are such strong believers and have so many different intensive bible studies going on. The college-aged people are studying Genesis on Sunday mornings, Ruth on Monday nights, and the historical background of the Baptist denomination on Saturday nights. On Sunday nights, the congregation is studying Judges. I have had my fair share of teachings from very intelligent pastors and have met a lot of new people. I want to ask for prayers for stronger connections with my amigos that I've had the pleasure of meeting. They're all great, but the slight language barrier, my shy personality, and the fact that I am coming in to such a tightly knit group have made it hard to form strong relationships. As wonderful as the teachings have been, I am really missing the community of church. Your prayers are appreciated!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


As today is my country's independence day, I have done plenty of reflecting over the last 24 hours. Even though I am currently realizing my dreams and living in a third world country 3,000 miles away from home, I still feel very blessed to call the USA my country. My time in Perú has been incredible as I just passed the one month mark a few days ago, but I am still anticipating months two through seven with excitement. I have learned so much and have had a myriad of priceless experiences. If I had to sum up the whole trip thus far in one word, it would be


From my enthusiastic and silly students 

to my warm and loving host family, 

I have felt at home since my arrival.  God has been revealing His plan for me in Trujillo piece-by-piece and has exceeded my expectations on all occasions. Two years ago as I was praying during a Wesley service, I had a little conversation with the Lord, and it went something like this:

Melissa: Lord, do you want me to go abroad?
God: Yes.
Melissa: Alright. Where would like for me to go?
God: Perú. T.
Melissa: Ok????

It was so simple, but at the time, I knew nothing of Perú and had never even heard of Trujillo. I thought He was wanting me to hit up Tanzania for a week! It wasn't until I arrived and described this whole story to my family that I realized that the T stands for Trujillo (because I'm that observant). If that's not proof enough that God wants me here, I'm not sure how much clearer it can get!

I can feel Him walking with me everywhere I go. (No, Dad, that doesn't mean I walk alone at night.) This past weekend was a holiday, but I wasn't having much luck finding someone to go on a trip with me. Well, I went to my church's prayer service on a whim, met a sweet friend named Cynthia, and was invited to go with the young adults on a day trip on Saturday. The news that we were going came at the perfect time! Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled at the last minute, but the Lord did not fail! Instead, He sent me my sweet cousin, Lalo, who decided to spend the day with me playing Ultimate Frisbee

and my roommate Hannah who forced me out of my comfort zone to go do touristy sight-seeing around Trujillo. That led to us meeting a tour guide who has awesome connections and brought us up to the balcony of the mayor's office and let us sit in his chair!

This trip has truly been one of a lifetime as it has given me time away from the hustle and bustle of America. This is the first time in over seven years that I have not had two calendars at all times planning out every bit of my life.  All of that being said, I have to remind myself that God is not bigger or better or more powerful in Perú but that He appears so clearly because I am living according to His will. What a wonderful adventure He has taken me on!