Written by our Cusco Veritas student, Audrey Beathard! Audrey is an Education major at Texas A&M university. She enjoys outdoor activities – hiking, snowboarding, playing sports, wake boarding, or anything else. She also loves quoting funny movies and having deep talks with my friends! Photos by Rafael Tudela.
I feel greatly impacted by my time here. I think that this was an amazing experience that God allowed me to have and I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had here. My Missions Mentor, Giovanni, was amazing to me and to all of the girls on the program. She not only gave us an opportunity to get involved with the church that her husband is a pastor at but she was also caring and loving to us. She was like our mom while we were here but also was pouring into us. She was so accepting when we went to church and always saved us spots or knew where we were going to sit and came up and asked how our weekend went. In regards to her being a mentor, I loved meeting up with her. We all met up once a week on Thursdays and then she and I met up once just us two. She was always focused on Gods word in our meetings and loved sharing things with us and asking us what she could be praying about for us. Every week I felt like she was caring for us and letting God use her in our lives.
Two weeks in particular towards the beginning were spot on with what I needed to hear. One was about being in a place and feeling like you have limitations but that God will work through them and use those limitations for a benefit. That week I was struggling with having this language barrier and feeling like every time I spoke in Spanish that I wasn’t understood at all. I use words all of the time and am such an open book that because I couldn’t communicate with words my frustration was coming off in the way I looked and acted towards people. She told me that God probably feels the way I do in this situation all of the time. The amount of times that he tries to communicate with me and I don’t understand or pick up on it must be a lot. It is a way for me to connect with God. I loved how reassuring she was and how she compared it and made me think about it in another way.
I loved the ministry that I got to be apart of here. I taught English classes at the church two times a week with a full-time missionary and then I went to Sion which is an after school program for the kids in this impoverished area every Friday. I loved the time that I got to spend with the people in the church during the English class and with the kids at Sion. I loved going to Sion and helping the kids with their homework and loving on them in whatever way that I could. I learned a lot from those kids and will be praying for them and hope I get to come back and see them one day. I thought it was cool that we were paired with a non-Christian organization as well because I felt like I got to minister to some of those people in the program as well. I enjoyed getting to know these people and hope that I was a light in some way to them. It was interesting getting to talk to them about God and see their perspectives and make lasting friendships with people who aren’t exactly following God. Most of my friends at school are believers and so it was a nice and different experience that I am grateful that God orchestrated.
I have gotten to broaden my horizons on what life is like in another country. It was an amazing experience living somewhere else for a long time that isn’t in America. I saw more poverty than I have ever seen but I also saw more joy in the people who were impoverished. I saw a lot of things that I wish I could change in regards to the kids and the education but I’ve learned that you just have to continue to pray for the kids. This experience has deepened my faith in that I can see that God is global. He worked in my life here and I saw him working in people’s lives in Peru whether they believe in Him or not. I think my experience allowed me to be more comfortable opening up with people that I don’t know and being open to sharing new experiences. I learned a lot from the ISA students and also from the people in Peru. All of these people have allowed me to see things in different ways than what I am used to. I also saw how loving God is to his children. The times that I felt alone or that I didn’t know why I was in Peru I instantly felt like God was coming in and caring for me and directing me in certain ways. I felt His loving presence with me during my time.
I have always thought that I could be a missionary long term. In some ways, I learned that being a missionary full-time in another country could be hard for me. At times, I missed my family and thought that being home would be better. Although those moments were few I still think that I would have a hard time doing that and don’t really think I am called to it. I think I am called to more of a short-term mission oriented thing that could last maybe 2 years. I think this experience has shown me that short term is more up my alley and that it is okay. Not everyone needs to be a missionary and there is a mission field in America as well. Even though I found out that I don’t think God is calling me to long-term missions I do think that I am being called to missions in general and that God has a place for Peru in my heart.
This culture is part of me and sometimes I even feel like their history is my history as well. I think that is something you gain only when God softens your heart to a place and allow your mind to be more open to a different culture. I learned a lot while I was on this trip. I learned some things that I didn’t think I would learn, but I am so grateful that I did. I am glad that I can call Peru my home and I am sad to leave all of the friends that I have made here in Peru and all the friends from different states in America. These people, more than anything, have made my experience what it was and I know 100% that God put them in my life for a reason. I look forward to continuing contact with the people I met and look forward to the day that I can come back to Peru and meet up with everyone again.