Saturday, June 23, 2012
When my son-in-law dropped me off at th airport, he said I looked like an excited teenager. I guess love will do that! But I won´t be joining Leví till the 28th.Well, uneventful is a good way for flights to be. All flights were on time. I took advantage of wheelchair service due to sometimes great distances between gates (especially Chicago!) Thanks to sis Deb´s love offering I was able to tip those who served. Especially when the gal in Chicago told me she gets only $5 per hour, plus tips, and she has a baby, and is going to college in the fall. (She was responding to my questions) But once there, I have them leave me, and I do local walks to stretch out a bit. The longest layover was in Miami, so I did my first drawing. When I have more photos to download, I´ll put it on with an explanation.
My welcoming committee in Lima was a bit smaller than at other times - many WANTED to go, but having to BE there at 4:30 in the morning is daunting (it´s a good hour or so to Villa el Salvador from the airport) - especially for those who have to study for exams. But Jorge and Sabina came with two of my boys, Rónald and José, and they helped load the 2 heavy boxes into the taxi, the driver of which wanted 35 sols at first, but then 50 when we came to the end. That´s about $20, low by US standards, but high there. I covered it - the least I could do for robbing my friends of sleep! Note to self - next trip, get a later flight! Sabi, Rónald and José dozed in the cab on the way home - I told Jorge he had to stay awake because no way could I give directions.
Sabi prepared me a breakfast of a hamburger as I showed her the herbs and spices Abi and I had gotten for her. She was eager to try them out. I gave José and Rónaald the little goodies I had acquired from my flight - some fancy chocolates a fellow traveler gave me from her business trip, and a couple of oatmeal cookies from the last flight´s"dessert" - and also their "gorras"- baseball caps: for the music team I had gotten some army grey ones that said "God´s Army", which go well with the "Soldado de Bendicion" shirts I gave them last year.
After breakfast I went next door to my hosts´ house, Irma and Wilfrdo (José's parents) and had a nap to catch up a bit on lost sleep. I returned to the church at 12:30, where Sabi had lunch about ready, having used some of her new spices.
I've met José's pet white rabbit, and Ruth's little parrot and pet quail. A nice quiet change from two hulking slobbery boxers fauning for attention! And now here I am. Son Jhon has arrived, so I have to give him his hat and bandana and peanut butter - he gets a little extra spoiling since his own mother passed away. And later I'll have Moisés help me load photos. Youth service is tonight, so I want to get in on that. Hasta luego!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am returning to Peru on Friday, for the 9th time. Each time has been different, and I think it's the Lord's way of keeping me from trying to "box" Him in or limit what He wants to do, where He'll do it, and how. I had my ideas of what I'd be doing this trip a few months ago, but the Lord let me know otherwise, bit by bit. One thing is certain - I am remarrying...uh...Right, Lord???
I actually met Levi Utia the first time I went in 1997, but I didn't really come to KNOW him know him until the summer of 2007. In hindsight I can see how the Lord was preparing the way for this union by first establishing a friendship and letting me get a glimpse of this man's character.
So anyway, the agenda goes SOMETHING like this. Leave Friday afternoon, via American Airlines, by way of Chicago and Miami, arriving in the early morning of the 23 in Lima, where I'll be greeted and picked up by my "family" - oh, they really are family! - from the church Voz de la Transformacion , pastored by Jorge Samelvino (brother to my late friend Hugo) and his wife my DEAR friend and considered little sister, Sabina Campos. At first I was going to go directly to Pucallpa, where Levi is, but I have a goddaughter, the niece of another pastor friend, and her birthday is the 26th. I want to have some time with her and the family. And I want to see if I can find either a keyboard or a guitar which I can afford to buy for my musical husband. And since my last trip, I have bonded very strongly with the church family there, so I really want to have a few days with them before I devote myself to my new husband. But I don't want to stay away TOO long. So...I will continue on to Pucallpa on the 28th of June.
I'd THOUGHT we were going to have the civil ceremony - this is the only one Peru recognizes - on June 30th, but it has been in Levi's court to make arrangements, and he has been working 7 days a week. So I don't know the exact date - I expect it will be in July. And I ask the Lord, what may be the significance of the date HE has chosen for us to wed. Because I've learned he DOES things like that.
So, I have an IDEA of what's going to transpire and the rough outline of the time frame. But the details will unfold before me - and Levi - as we walk into this new life together. So, for now, I'm happily counting the days till I'm reunited with the family in Lima, and will enjoy them while I'm with them...and the days till I'm back in Levi's arms!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Recently when I spoke to Levi, he shared with me his concern about his father, Eladio. Papa Eladio is 78 years old, and at various times has had one infirmity or another, and by God's grace has recovered. Levi said he's been having stomach problems, and there is concern that it may be cancer at the root. The sickness of body isn't so much the issue, however, as that of the heart - his usual cheerful demeanor is failing. I ask prayers for healing, but more than anything that joy and peace would be restored - that there would be no fear for whatever is in the future, trusting in Him who holds it in His hands.
Papa Eladio has been a great influence and example in many lives, especially Levi's, and he honors his father as he works to support him and his mother.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I'm editing a previous post ("In a Relationship") with photos and more details.
For those who want to know... I'd met Levi Utia initially in 1997 in Iquitos,
(he's 5th from the left in the back row...I'm the gringa in back, wearing the denim skirt!)
but didn't really get to KNOW him know him till 2007. He was one of a few who accompanied me to re-visit some jungle churches in Nuevo Kuwait and Jorge Chavez by boat from Iquitos. He was NOT originally slotted to come with me - I think it was DIVINE INTERVENTION. Because actually, Foreman was supposed to join me, together with Esli and Abel, and Ps Johel. But Foreman was having work done on his house, so he sent his mother (my good friend Marleni) and his friend Levi, who, he said, likes doing that kind of thing anyway.
I like getting to know people when we get to spend any time together, so I asked about how he met the Lord and such. He told me about a failed marriage, a broken heart, and his present desire just to focus on Christ. We didn't spend a LOT of time together, but enough to be friends. My "son" Abel had some good times with him while we were in Iquitos, since they both like fishing. We saw each other again in 2008 - again, friends. But enough friends that when we were all at a park, he said, "Next time you come, I wish you'd bring me a 'gringa.' " And I joked, "Or you can wait till I'm, a widow and take ME." My husband's health had been deteriorating for years - a congenital heart disease was the main problem but he had oodles of other health issues that made me have to face the possibility of sudden widowhood for YEARS. And recently he was going downhill more rapidly - I still held hope of a miracle, but it didn't seem likely. So...the jest - but with a note of earnest, because I DID see qualities in him that I WOULD look for "if ever I were to remarry."
I admired and respected Levi then, and always heard good reports about him from others who knew him better. But Abel especially suggested that it might be a good idea for me to consider, after Ansel's passing . "Ma, I'd like to see you happy...Levi is a very good man: He loves the Lord, he loves missions and preaching. It would be good for you to have a partner. " Well, with Dany's help Abel found out where Levi was (he had moved to Pucallpa by then) and gave me the address and phone. So he was among the many I notified when Ansel passed away; among the many who knew I'd be going to Peru this summer. I gave him the name and phone of the church in Lima where I'd be staying.
He told me later that he had tried a few times to get hold of me there, but once was told it was a wrong number, and a couple of times was told I wasn't there (and in fact we were en route to Chiclayo). He was about ready to give up but his sister-in-law (God bless Sonia!) stepped in, got the church number, and managed thus to get the cell phone of my traveling companion, Vicky Campos. She called me via Vicky's phone and said she was calling on behalf of Levi. Did my heart suddenly skip a beat? She gave me his cell phone number. Vicky couldn't call it - didn't have the minutes. The pastor kindly loaned HIS phone, so I stepped into the other room to speak to Levi. Well..we didn't say anything WEIGHTY, but when I returned to the others, Vicky began to comment about how my eyes were shining. So SOMETHING in me was responding.
We connected by phone from time to time - just MINUTES at a time, either Vicky's or Dany's or SOMEONE's cell phone...or a pay phone...I wished Levi was computer savvy! We talked about the Lord and about how maybe we could be more than friends. Levi knows very little English, but it was he who first said, while I was in Chiclayo, "I love you." Dany often played go-between, because he and Levy had long been friends. The slang they use is that they are of the same "mancha" (literally, stain!) - folks that hang around together; members call each other "manchita" (little stain). And Dany would reassure me, "Ma, he is DEFINITELY interested in you."
Well, Levi was unable to get away from work, but wondered if I could go to Pucallpa. I had my doubts, with the full agenda. But when I had time to think and pray about the matter, I saw I did have time - but didn't want to go by bus again (24 hours one way from Lima over the mountains!). BUT my last 2 paychecks were more than anticipated, and Abel got a deal for me with Lan airlines (however, afterwards we discovered it was invalid for non-residents, so I have to pay a tariff, BUT, that's all right...) and Dany accompanied me - "to protect my virtue" - since he knows Pucallpa and is known there.Sabina, Vicky's sister, was very protective of me - she sternly charged Dany to watch out for me, because I was well loved and no one wanted anyone to take advantage of me.
So...we arrived on a Saturday night in Pucallpa's heat. We were the last off the plane cuz Dany wanted his pic taken in the cockpit (he has dreams of being a pilot).
Levi and his brother Victor and niece Ruth were there to greet us (Levi wildly waving).
I have to say, Levi was handsomer than I remembered, but I think that's because I wasn't really LOOKING at him that way before. I got behind him on his motorcycle - I had requested he come thus so that I COULD ride thus behind him - while Dany went in Victor's motokar with the luggage. We arrived at the family home - his parents Pastor Eladio and Marleni and son Joshua (age 22) and aunt Mercedes...later joined by Uncle Armando and Aunt Teresa...and we stayed up late talking. And we had a little private time to talk during which we agreed we shared enough of the same passions that we decided we'd each make a good half of a dynamic duo. He gave me a kiss that even now brings to mind that song - www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYUdldNzLNA "Your Kiss Is on My List" . Funny thing, I'd dreamed that I'd asked if I could give him a little kiss and he smiled and gave me a kiss that took my breath away. And it was something like!!!
Sunday night we almost all went to the home of Levi's older sister Marita where I was intro'd to a slough of nephews and 2 nieces...and had a home-style church meeting. Levi led, and I found myself more enamored of him as I could hear his love for the Lord. There was a lot of singing - and Levi sings very well,
writes some of his own songs - and I knew a good number of the choruses so could join in. After some sharing from the word, we had a little snack of hot cocoa and bread, and more singing, and then Levi made the official announcement that we'd come to the conclusion that the Lord had brought us together and were going to be taking steps to make everything official.
Anyway...I seem to be related through Levi to about half of Pucallpa...AND there's a bunch in Iquitos as well....I love my in-laws - and am very happy.
I have a phone plan that for $20 per month gives me 1000 minutes international long distance - so we're doing most of our courtship by phone. Some may think it's too soon, but as I said, I had already been grieving a long time...It's nice to be HAPPY. June 30, 2012 is not too soon!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I just finished a chronological montage so in less than ten mnutes you can get an idea of what happened during my 10 week misison trip. Not bad!
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