A New Perspective on Community

White water rafting excursion Brazil

“We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Any one is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right. When we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars in an effort to say, I love you” –Shauna Niequist

And that’s the way it should be.

I love the way Shauna describes community throughout her writing. People around a table, eating, loving on each other, learning about God.

I got to experience this kind of community this past weekend. My Mission Mentors, Wendy and Stan, let me tag along on their trip down to Rio Grande do Sul (the state just south) to visit a small house church group. This house church meets in a small house that they just starting renting specifically for the church. Each week they gather together, about 20 of them, and have church. But it is not your typical church service or your typical congregation. They live life together. They are involved in each other’s everyday lives.

Brazil Missions house church

They help each other grow and learn. And it’s beautiful.

While we were there for the weekend we had a “service” or teaching on Saturday night. We all sat around the living room in a circle (around the cutest old wood-burning stove). We sang together, prayed, and had a teaching. All the while passing around the famous Chimmarrã drink.

Chimmarrã drink in BrazilThis drink is really popular in southern Brazil and is a perfect example of the idea of community present not only in this church but also in Brazil.

They have this special type of cup, the mixture that makes up the drink, and a metal straw. They fill the cup with hot water to brew the drink and pass it to someone in the group to drink it. Once they are finished (and I learned you’re not done until it slurps!) it gets filled up with hot water again and passed to someone else.

The drink just keeps going around, all drinking from the same straw, and most everyone drinks out of it. It is fascinating to me and I think it’s such an accurate display of the community that they live in: together, all sharing life, no matter what comes along.

Brazil Mission trip

I only got a glimpse into their lives. But they are some of the most hospitable, generous, welcoming people I think I have ever met. They let us stay in the “church house” for the weekend. They cooked us meals and made sure that we had everything we needed. And despite the language barrier, I was able to see Jesus shine through these people just by their love for each other and us.

These people have a love and passion for God and the Word of God unlike anything I have seen. I could tell they crave time in the Bible, they crave time with God, and they crave time with each other.

I really learned this weekend and got a good picture of what it looks like to live in true community. To gather in a house and learn about God. It’s not just about showing up to church once a week, but eating with each other, doing every day life, and learning to love through the easy and the hard moments.

Brazilian flag street market

Some of the best conversations happen around the table, when people are eating and feeling comfortable. That’s why Shauna writes about food and community, that is why the Rio Grande do Sul church meets in a house instead of a church building, and that’s why they always have food after the service.

Life happens in these little moments and we miss so much if we don’t pursue a community like this.

This thought and realization really hit me hard these past few days. “Community” is such a buzz word right now in the States. We are all about community, and it’s great that we aspire to be that way. And I think that I would have said before coming to Brazil that I have a good church community.

But my concept of community and what it means to live as a church has really been challenged since I have been here in Brazil and especially this past weekend. I know my life back in the States is missing this type of church community. The type where you gather weekly in each other’s houses, making people feel welcomed, loved, and accepted for who they are. Eating together, doing the nitty-gritty parts of life with each other.

Mission trip to BrazilGod has really been pressing on my heart since we returned from the weekend to better understand what community within the church should look like. That way it will be something that I can take back to the States. Living in this type of community is beautiful. But it is also scary. It’s scary knowing that a group of people know and love you fully. That in order to be loved fully you have to be vulnerable, share your deepest pits and failures with others.

But to be known fully and loved is the best kind of love and community.


face to face with a parrot in BrazilCharlotte Gray is a California girl with a heart for the Pacific Northwest now living in Brazil. She’s a junior Organizational Communication major with a minor in Global Business at George Fox University in Oregon. With dreams and aspirations to do big things, she is studying abroad and doing mission work in Florianopolis, Brazil with Veritas Christian Study Abroad. She plans to travel all around, meet amazing people, and try things totally out of her comfort zone—and hopefully pick up some Portuguese along the way too. She loves adventures, coffee, and all things gray.

Want to join a community of believers and difference-makers in Florianopolis, Brazil or one of our ten other program locations? Find out how.

Posted in Brazil, Latin America, Missions, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Parisian Desert: A Different Kind of Culture Shock

Study Abroad and mission trip to MoroccoMy host family. Muslims. College students. High school students. Classmates.

How would God use my life in Paris for four months? What would he make of my heart during this time? I had ideas of how I would selflessly serve those around me and how I would bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Paris.

Then a lot happened I didn’t expect and a lot didn’t happen I expected to.

My Veritas Abroad program in Paris became four months of trusting God to take care of his child and four months of trusting his plan is bigger than I could comprehend at the time.

These four months stretched me to be a woman of faith, a woman of truth, and a woman who lived out what she believes more than words could ever explain.

Before this trip, I had no idea what it meant to live out my faith, defend my faith, or even truly believe in it. My whole life has been spent in Christian communities encouraging me to believe without ever questioning. In Paris, I had expectations of leading people to Christ, but I had never imagined my faith would be shaken and questioned.

I experienced a whole new kind of culture shock: a spiritual one. 

After 21 years of countless believers mentoring me, it shocked me to know only one Christian: Parker Windle, my Veritas Mission Mentor. Every week in Paris, I had the blessing of sitting in community with him discussing our book Center Church by Timothy Keller, Christianity in Paris, and my role in it all.

While I felt my faith weaken from life in Paris, my theology grew more sound through meetings with Parker.

The first two months felt like my heart was in the desert—too weak to even pray for an oasis. In my mind, I thought Christianity could be dead in Paris, but in my heart, I desired to be proven wrong.

Then came two weeks that proved this wrong and restored my heart in the most beautiful way.

When I started my internship teaching English with a missionary family at a local church, I connected with other believers and gained a sense of purpose in Paris.

teaching english in Paris

Teaching English to people in the neighborhood not only benefited their language abilities, but also gave us the opportunity to walk alongside them, hear their stories, and show them what a community of believers looks like. Week one with the missionaries showed me even though the number of Christians in Paris is low, the few faithful have been called to rise up and lean on each other through it all.

Teach ESL in Europe

During spring break, I took a trip with Veritas and ISA to Morocco. This trip completed 180 turn I had been taking.

Morocco is a third-world, Muslim country whose population is nothing short of the most generous people I’ve ever met. My heart stretched with the knowledge of Islam and North African culture, broke for those who do not know the love of Jesus Christ, and filled with goodness and blessings from the natives.

Bible Study in Sahara Desert

Sitting in the Sahara desert gave me a glimpse of what my heart experienced the first two months in Paris. One verse came to mind again and again:

“A voice cries, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” Isaiah 40:3

This verse never says following Jesus is easy, but rather the opposite. I have not been called to a place where Christianity flourishes and thrives, but to a place where it is dead and needed. This walk of faith is symbolized in the desert because it shows the realization of suffering, hard times, and desperation.

In the desert, I met a fellow ISA Paris student who loved Jesus in the most radical way. In the desert, we shared each other’s hopes, dreams, and understandings of our callings this semester. In the desert, I saw the sovereignty of God and the abundance of his love and grace.

Study Abroad Morocco Excursion

I always felt I had to do some great thing if I ever wanted to do missions—that
I would need to be the next Billy Graham bringing thousands of people to Christ every
year.

After being in community with people in Paris and constantly talking to Parker about my role, I realized I will be quite the opposite of Rev. Graham, and that’s okay.

When asking Parker what is needed most in Paris, he simply responded “Christians.” Paris needs a body of believers to be a light in such a dark city.  Christians who take time to build relationships with Parisians and try to answer their questions.

Parisians are deep thinkers who want to understand life. Simply saying “Jesus loves you” and leaving is no way to reach European culture; however by living in community, we give them an opportunity to ask questions, to wrestle through the Bible, and to see how someone of faith lives.

study abroad in paris

My Veritas Mission Mentor would be considered unconventional in the US and may even be told his way of ministry is wrong. Parker walks in the way of Jesus more than most people I know. No place for him is too far gone from God’s grace. No person should feel like they are out of the reach of Jesus.

Parker doesn’t wait for people to come crawling to his church. Instead, he goes and meets them where they are.

Polyglot has turned from a language tool to a ministry opportunity for Parker and Veritas students. Meeting on Tuesday nights getting to know Parisians and foreigners in a bar is nothing short of God’s hand working in Paris.

Conversations can lead people to ask questions, learn more, come to church, and become a child of God in one of the most natural ways I have ever seen.

Mission trip to FranceWhat I learned through Parker and his ministry at Polyglot quickly taught me how to
share my faith and be faithful every day, every place I go to. It taught me how to use an opportunity of being at a bar, garden, or concert to talk about Jesus and show the love of Christ to the people around me.


Veritas Christian Study Abroad StudentsAllison Woodfin, a student at Wheaton College in Illinois,  studied and did mission work with Veritas Christian Study Abroad for a semester in Paris, France.

Missions doesn’t look the same everywhere. Veritas Abroad wants to help students develop as mission-minded leaders and loving members of the body of Christ, no matter how or where they’re called to serve.

Ready to step out of your comfort zone for the sake of the Kingdom even if it means a little culture shock? Apply to study and serve with Veritas today.

Posted in Europe, France, Growing Faith, Missions, Paris, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting My Watch to Island Time: Floripa, Brazil

Study Abroad in Brazil

I am absolutely in love with Brazil! The culture, the people, the food, everything.
I also can’t complain about living on an island for these next few months for my study abroad and missions program.

The city of Floripa is beautiful! I spend most of my days in the downtown area because that is where the university campus is located. There are people everywhere constantly and a definite hussle atmosphere. You get a little bit outside the main downtown area and things slow down a little bit, but Floripa is definitely an active city.

Florianopolis, Brazil

With 40 something beaches on the island alone, I still feel like I haven’t seen that much in my past couple of weeks of being here. I have been to the beach a couple of times and it is beautiful. The weather is WARM, so of course the ocean feels great. And I think this is my first time actually swimming in the Atlantic Ocean!

college study abroad in Brazil, South America

Since I grew up in San Diego, I am definitely a beach girl. But living in Oregon these past few years has deprived me of some good solid beach time. So these next for months, I will thoroughly enjoy getting lots of sun.

Over the past two weeks I have seen the wealthier side of Floripa. The majority of the city is pretty safe and has higher living standards. The island draws a lot of tourism so the city is well kept and highly developed. Most of the time I don’t feel like I am living in a third world country.

Beaches of Florianopolis, Brazil

This past Monday, all that changed. I saw a whole different side of the city.

I went with my Veritas Mission Mentor and the other missionaries I am working with to a hill where many poor and impoverished families live. We walked around the neighborhood interacting with and inviting the kids to a kids club at the church. I did not take pictures because of the risk of calling attention to myself or getting my camera stolen.

I couldn’t believe the conditions that they live in every day.

They walk up and down this huge, steep dirt hill several times a day. They carry groceries, walk to school, and work—and each trip they have to climb this hill in super hot weather too. Their living standards are very low. And it broke my heart to see this community pushed off to the side of this wealthy city where it seems that no one cares or wants to interact with them.

Brazilian culture, I’m learning, is defined by class and each class does not interact with one another except for possibly being employed by a higher class. It is devastating to see how the lower class gets pushed to the margins of the city. They are forgotten about, rejected, unloved.

This is a city that needs prayer. Needs Jesus. Needs to be loved.

Mission trip to Brazil with Veritas Christian Study Abroad

Christian Study Abroad in BrazilCharlotte Gray is a California girl with a heart for the Pacific Northwest now living in Brazil. She’s a junior Organizational Communication major with a minor in Global Business at George Fox University in Oregon. With dreams and aspirations to do big things, she is studying abroad and serving through missions in Florianopolis, Brazil with Veritas Christian Study Abroad. She plans to travel all around, meet amazing people, and try things totally out of her comfort zone—and hopefully pick up some Portuguese on the way too. She loves adventures, coffee, and all things gray.

Posted in Brazil, Daily Life, Latin America, Missions, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain: Routinely Adventurous

Study Abroad in Sevilla, SpainAs I complete the first couple weeks here with Veritas in Sevilla, Spain, I experience a combination of feeling like I’ve been here for so long, yet still feeling so new to the country and this way of life. It has been great to settle into classes and realize how thankful I am that every class I am taking here is just that much better because I’m actually living in Sevilla, Spain!

One day each week, our photography class takes a tour of different parts of the city, and the other day, we learn about how to best capture aspects of it. It’s been really neat to document my time here in Spain through pictures—it’s helping me see the city in a deeper way than I have even looked at Berkeley before. In my Spanish History of Art class we learn about a period of Spanish art, then go to a museum or building right down the street and see it in person.

Apparently, Sevilla has been a capital for the arts in Spain as well as a vacation site for the Roman Empire—there is a whole city of Roman ruins right down the road that we are going to visit this weekend! It is amazing to be toured around the city by my professors who absolutely love Spain and know so much about its history.

College Study Abroad in SpainChristian Study Abroad in Spain

Triana, the district where I live, is a known birthplace of flamenco dancers, fútbol players, and tile factories. One of my favorite things so far has been to run along the river and through the winding cobblestone streets of Triana at sunset. I have to stop every 10 minutes to take pictures because each turn brings a new, unique, beautiful aspect of this charming city.

College students by the river in Sevilla, SpainChristian Study Abroad in Europe

One of the most rewarding things has been establishing routines such as running—something that is really making it feel like I’m here to say. Through our meals together, my roommate and I have had so much fun getting to know our host mom Isabel. (Simply reviewing the verb tenses in my Spanish class has expanded my capacity to form sentences more than I would have thought.)

We’ve started watching a hilarious Jimmy Fallon-like talk show called el Hormiguero. It has the most random things, and we end up laughing so much every night. (My roommate and I even saw the talk show host on a billboard and felt proud that we recognized the face on it!)

We are also finding out so much about Isabel as the days go on. Not only did she live in the cathedral tower, but also was an artist for many years and helped paint the beautiful tiles on the Plaza de España. She even made hand-sewn flamenco dresses for her daughter and granddaughter. She walks to local shops everyday to buy groceries: a different shop for the butcher, for fish, for produce, and for bread. In the two weeks we have been here she has yet to repeat a dish or make something we don’t like; in fact, her food gets better every day. She has even started referring to our dinners as “Restaurante de Isabel,” and rightly so.

Study abroad Homestays in SpainStudy Abroad host families in Spain

Another routine I’m getting into is to start my days journaling at a local coffee shop. Packed with people enjoying breakfast in the mornings, theses shops switch to ice cream for the afternoon hours. (I can get a latte for about one euro. It’s amazing!)

I think when I got here I wanted to immediately have my “favorites” established, sort of like how when you visit a new city for a couple days, you go only to the best places and every second is new and exciting. But I’ve been learning when living in a city for awhile you’ll have a different kind of discovery process as you mix day-to-day things with the chance to explore and find places you love in the city.

I am so thankful for the Mission Mentors through the Veritas program. They have helped make the transition here so smooth by answering so many questions we have about the Spanish culture. They were even kind enough to have all of us at their house for a retreat this past weekend. I’m realizing how neat it is to learn about the attributes of God in a new language even when most of the service I spent doodling different snippets of phrases I could understand from the sermon in Spanish.

Through the week we have met so many people in the ISA program (about 20!) who want to come to church with us Veritas students as well. How amazing to find that community even in another country! I am also excited that the Mission Mentors are going to connect us with some of the high schoolers here they know—after working at camp all summer it’s neat to be able to do similar work here in mentoring them (sometimes in Spanish, nonetheless!).

On to the next adventure.

Christian study abroad in Europe


Sarah Singh is a Political Economy Major at UC Berkeley, with a concentration in Natural Resource Markets in Developing Countries. She’s excited to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain with Veritas to become more comfortable using Spanish and to learn about the culture and religions of Sevilla while living in it. Sarah’s lived in the Bay Area her whole life and is excited to live in another part of the world this semester.

Make adventure and discovery part of your daily routine! Apply to study abroad and do mission work with Veritas Christian Study Abroad this summer. Summer deadlines are March 25 and April 25. For more info please visit veritasabroad.com and speak with us on our new online chat feature!

Posted in Daily Life, Europe, Growing Faith, Missions, Spain, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Join Veritas Abroad in the End It Movement

 

27 million= the population of Texas

27 million= enough people to fill every professional football stadium 12 times.

27 million= the number of people still trapped in slavery today. *

Slavery still exists. And we’re taking a stand.

February 27 is “Shine a Light on Slavery” day, and Veritas Christian Study Abroad is joining the End It Movement to raise awareness about slavery in the world today.

End It Movement and Veritas Abroad

Veritas Christian Study Abroad is joining teams of Freedom Fighters around the world by drawing a red X on our hands. We’re sending students to places like San Jose, Costa Rica to fight for trafficked people. We support these ministries as a group and other ministries as individuals.

How to get involved:

  • Draw a red X on your hand and post your photo on instagram tagging #enditmovement & @veritasabroad.
  • Support organizations and ministries fighting for freedom through prayer and giving.
  • Go. Drawing an X is only the beginning. If you want to fight for the freedom of enslaved people,  join our teams abroad. Find out how.

We’ve been set free, let’s walk in that freedom together.

End It Movement Isaiah 61
Posted in Growing Faith, Missions, Social Justice, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three People Who Could Change Your Experience Abroad

“By willingly accepting foreign circumstances, the illusion of control is disrupted and we open ourselves to the creative work of God and greater intimacy with Him.” -Skye Jethani

Study Abroad in Seoul, South Korea

Before departing for South Korea, I made some goals for myself and chose this quote by theologian Skye Jethani as my mission statement of sorts for my trip. I chose obvious goals, such as connecting with a foreign culture, but I also resolved to seek out spiritual growth.

This semester with Veritas in South Korea has far exceeded my expectations both in its cultural impact and spiritual impact. The spiritual challenges and growth I have encountered here have been phenomenal. I’ve especially learned a lot from the people I have met through Veritas and Jubilee Church.

Without these three people, the Veritas program, and Jubilee Church, I think the impact of this trip on my life would have been much less significant.

1. Teacher.

Victor Chun taught my Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class. This class gave me such a different view on missions. The course material was already convincing, and Victor’s own personal passion for the topic of missions greatly added to the class. It would be near impossible to not be excited about missions after hearing Victor talk about it! This course gave me a much better understanding of what the Bible has to say about missions, the history of missions, the current need for missions, and how to practically and effectively carry out missions in today’s day and age.

This course increased my self-confidence as well. The largely discussion-based model helped me solidify my own personal beliefs and learn how to better articulate them. Victor facilitated this. He is not one inclined to judge others, and always was such an encouragement to my classmates and me.

2. Mentor.

Borra Han played an essential role in my spiritual growth here in Korea. Not only did she host a weekly Bible study I attended, she also connected me to Jubilee Church, helped me find volunteer opportunities, and encouraged me to daily seek Christ. Borra’s interest in and compassion for others is truly amazing. Although Korea in general has a high concern for others, Borra’s heart for people definitely stood out among the rest. Never before have I seen someone who inspires me to strive to show Godly love quite like Borra.

3. Friend.

My friend Stephanie DeMott has had a tremendous impact on my spiritual life as well. She leads the Bible study for college girls at Jubilee Church, as well as teaches English at Konkuk University in Seoul. Every week, she has come to Bible study with material prepared that challenges me and helps me grow in my faith. The thing that I appreciate most about Stephanie, though, is her honesty. She is honest about her own struggles and insecurities in every Bible study. She has been such an encouragement to me spiritually!

Study Abroad in South Korea

Living in a foreign environment is hard. Being part of a study abroad program rather than simply being an exchange student was extremely helpful, but it was still difficult. My own experiences have made me much more sympathetic toward international students. I also learned a lot on this trip about loving others with a true, honest, and Christ-like love. When I return to my home university, I think I will be much more likely to reach out to the international students since I know what they’re going through and have more of a passion for loving people.

Culturally, I learned a lot about the vast differences that exist between different areas. Even though Korea is very modern and fairly westernized, the small differences add up surprisingly quickly. Businesses are open different hours, the food is different, television is different, paper is different sizes, The list goes on and on. I am also now more aware of things in my own culture that could be seen as strange: tipping in restaurants, giving engagement rings, buying foods in bulk, etc.

I also gained a lot of confidence in myself. Although my own future still terrifies me, I can say with confidence that everything is going to be okay. After living on my own in a foreign country for four months, I know that I am capable of handling much more than I give myself credit for. I now know I am more capable, confident, independent, and intelligent than I believed I was before.

I think the biggest lesson I learned here in Korea is this: sharing cultures doesn’t diminish each culture’s significance; sharing cultures enhances the beauty in each culture.

Korean food and culture

Adopting some aspects of Korea’s culture doesn’t make me any less American. It just means that I’ve seen the beauty in Korean culture and realize that it’s okay to recognize that. Every culture includes both good and bad. That is simply a truth. There is no shame in admitting the areas of your culture that need improvement and recognizing the areas of other cultures that deserve accolades.

This semester has been one of the most fantastic times of my life. That doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoyed it all, but I did grow a lot out of the incidents that I didn’t enjoy. This semester has been a time of spiritual renewal, cultural learning, and confidence building. I can honestly say that Korea has gained a very special place in my heart.


Study abroad and missions student in South KoreaThis blog post has been contributed to by Victoria Nelson, student at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Victoria studied abroad and served through global missions in Seoul, South Korea in fall 2014 with Veritas Abroad.

Who will you meet abroad and how will you change for the better? Step into a spiritually challenging yet rewarding experience with Veritas Christian Study Abroad. Summer application deadlines are around the corner!

 

Photos by Veritas Abroad students Aliciea Vang and Victoria Nelson.

 

 

Posted in Asia, Growing Faith, Missions, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking the Myth of Security

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” –Helen Keller, The Open Door

There is a café in the San Blas district of Cusco called The Meeting Place. This café is
known just as much for its amazing waffles as for its unique business model: all the profits from the café go to specific ministries, such as free housing for missionaries.

It is a Christian business, but every Sunday they hold discussions on a broad range of topics, and people of all faiths are invited to attend. Three friends and I attended a discussion on identity. Another man there had been a missionary in Cusco since the 70’s.

Throughout the discussion, he referenced a number of great literary works he found relevant. At the end, he gave each person a three-page handout filled with his all­-time favorite quotes–a true treasure.

IMG_6724

Now I have a confession: I have never read The Open Door. In fact, I had never actually
heard of it until I was thumbing through the handout looking for a cool quote to use on Instagram to caption a shot I took at Lake Titicaca. I came across this quote by Helen Keller and loved it immediately. Yes, I loved it for its profundity and because it sounded appropriate for what my picture was portraying.

However, I also loved it because it articulated thoughts I had been hesitant to put into words myself. When I saw that the Helen Keller had said this, I felt a sense of freedom and validation.

During my senior year of high school, I took a class called “Perspectives on the World
Christian Movement”. One of the many things I learned is that the life of a true follower of Jesus is necessarily marked by adventure.

When I went off to college for the first time, I was further convinced of this. The funny thing is that it took me going on the biggest adventure of my life, study abroad in Peru, for me to doubt this. Thoughts started creeping into my head. I thought that maybe I was striving for a life of adventure over a life of God—trying to be someone I was not. I thought it possible to be passionate about Jesus and never expect wondrous things to happen.

IMG_6259  This is when God started to talk some sense into me. In our Cross-­Cultural Leadership class, we talked about the life of Abraham. Juan Carlos, our professor, told us that the word God used to tell Abram to go was “¡Vete!” in Spanish. This is a command to take yourself and leave. The same word is used by Jesus in the Great Commission: “¡Vete! and make disciples of all nations…”

Then, I learned in Spanish that this reflexive form of the verb “ir” is usually used when a destination is not specified.

And then came this quote.

There is one single word that comes to mind when I think about describing this semester abroad in Peru. You guessed it–adventure.

IMG_1824

Adventure manifested in learning a new language, in travelling to places I did not know existed, in seeing sights I had only ever heard or studied about, in meeting people from all over the world, in having challenging talks, in trying new (and sometimes unpalatable) foods, in dealing with strange illnesses, in being a sister to Peruvian kids I had known for only three hours, in being hugged by 26 kids more passionately than I thought possible, in travelling on a bus for 23 hours, and in learning more about the grace and power God gives us if we are willing to put forth even the smallest amount of faith.

I trust God will use the love I had the opportunity of giving to the kids at
Chachacomayoc Primary School, to the girls at Casa de Acogida, and to the beautiful Peruvians on the streets in ways that will bring Him the utmost glory. I feel confident knowing that any work I have taken part in Peru was done with love as the motivation.

I have learned so many things from being in Peru with Veritas. One of my highlights was
telling an eleven-­year-­old girl from Lauramarca the truth about who God is. She asked the most amazing questions and I was happy to use Spanish to explain the beauty of the love of God.

IMG_7863

I told her that God does not only speak English and Spanish, but every language. I told her to speak to Him in Quechua because he understands her. I learned that the misconceptions of Christianity may need to be debunked when witnessing to another culture. Finally, Juan Carlos taught us how to study and apply the Bible in culturally ­sensitive ways.

I know that I have no right to pull a naked quote out of a book I have never read, but I am
still choosing to use it in boldness for the truth it speaks about life. I have no right to have
anything to do with an indescribable, all-­powerful being that we humans call God, yet I am still choosing to boldly approach him and claim daughtership. And with that, I accept the duties and responsibilities that come with claiming to know the Creator God as my Dad.

I agree, Helen, security is mostly a superstition. We start to approach security as we draw near to the Father. However, in drawing near we are reminded of who God really is and the illusion of security is overtaken by the reality of the adventurous, powerful nature of a life lived in obedience to God.

Hasta_luego_Peruvian_family._I_m_going_to_miss_you_guys__you_re_the_coolest__ohana__studyandserve__peru__goinghome__loveyou_by_r2dollarz

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller


Natalie Bain is a Junior Biology major and Nutrition minor at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. Originally from Reno, Nevada, Natalie loves the outdoors and spending time with people outdoors. She’s a pre-med student who took a break from the science lab to spend a semester in Peru—and could not be more happy she did!

Step out of your comfort zone and into a life-changing experience with Veritas Christian Study Abroad. It’s worth the risk. Get more info today.

Posted in Growing Faith, Latin America, Missions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment