Maria – latest from Peru (March 5, 2011)


We are part of the same Body of Christ

I’ve just finished talking with Lucille through Skype. I was glad she couldn’t see me because I am wearing one of Mike’s t-shirts he left for the poor (…I needed it). I contacted her after reading her e-mail where she says:

“Nicolas really misses the people in Peru. I don’t know what got into him last night, but he was crying saying he missed all his friends. He said he got close to people in just a few days. Here it takes very long to get to know people.”

Well, last night I took my 90 year old mom to the movie (“The King’s Speech”) and after that we had the best hamburger of the world (“good for the stomach”). We went to a place where Lucille, Mike and Coco had gone with me for ice cream not long ago. At that time Coco shared his ice cream with a street kid. Somehow food is nicer when we share. I thought of them and wished they were still in Peru, enjoying that nice hamburger with us. I felt a bit sad they were not with us. They came from so far away and did not go to Cusco or even Huanuco or to the places tourists usually go. I was still thinking of them and woke up at night and asked God to bless them in the little I was able to offer. Isn’t this amazing? Coco was sensitive to my feeling at the restaurant and subsequent prayer. We are part of the same precious Body of Christ no matter the distance and what happens in one of the members affects the whole body!

Julio, the ex-street kid I met when he was only 11, contacted me recently. He is now 23 years old. Still selling candies, but so good with people that he is quiet successful. He lives in a shanty town where he has built a small wooden house and has a stove, a fridge, and even a TV! He works from 7 am to 11 pm with breaks for his meals. Still playing football and in excellent shape.

The times he used to sleep on cardboard in the streets are gone, also the difficult years when he tried drugs, alcohol and used to lie to me (but not to God). He has even taken me for dinner and did not let me pay (Chinese meal). Is this the Julio that drove me crazy to the point that I used to tell him, “even if I get tired of you, Jesus will never give up”. He blesses people in the name of Jesus when he sells his candies and knows by experience about the power there is in the living Word of God. That is the Jesus he preaches, the Jesus that never gave up on him, and God uses him. Julio is one of today’s harvest. What a privilege to see this kid that could had been dead so many times, so full of the joy of the Lord.

This past Monday Julio accompanied me to Las Columnas and shared his story with the kids. It was so funny when a 12 year old (skinny kid) asked Julio for advice on what to eat to get muscles. After that, some of the kids, Julio and I went to a place a few blocks from Las Columnas where they could play football. There was a group of older kids in their 20s that accepted to play with my kids and guess what, the kids of las Columnas (under 14 except for Julio) won the game. The ones that were watching (including me) were cheering, jumping and enjoying this game so much.

Well, now I am thinking in my dear friend Pierre and his daughter Emilie, soon coming for the third time to Peru. For Simon it will be his first time. I am remembering when in one of our missions (in Huanuco) Pierre said something I will never forget. Imagine the scenery, lines of people hoping to receive prayer in the park in front of the church and Pierre looks at me and says, “Maria, they think we are missionaries and we are just a bunch of nobodies” ….it is great to be just simple people with the desire to serve God not thinking we are in any higher level but rejoicing in serving and living in the joy of the Lord.

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