Thursday, February 24, 2011


Monday, February 21, 2011

A Few Snapshots

I've decided I'm far too wordy and it's surely tedious to read my frequent ramblings! So instead, (and better,) here are a few pictures with concise synopsis. :)

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Elliot

The gorgeous Plaza, downtown Trujillo.
Wish I could have taken a 360 degree photo to share the full scope of it with you!

Two gringos, people-watching in the Plaza :)

Mountains in the distance

Mrs. Elliot plays beautifully and we sing together from the hymnal most afternoons

A "fancy" dinner downtown

Mr. Gren reading to the gang (a rare moment when all are awake!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm free!

Went to a women's prison yesterday with Isobella, a friend of the Elliots who has a ministry there. She speaks no (and I do quite literally mean "NO") English so it made for a hilarious time... each trying to figure out what the other was saying. She wasn't content to just ride quietly along beside me in the taxi--no, we must try to communicate. :) I was glad. It was fun.

The prison was a precious experience. It would take an age to tell all about it so some day, when you and I are in a personal conversation, ask me about Elena from the prison. I'll tell you a victorious, poignant story about the severe mercy of God to a beautiful young woman. She is a paradox: her body is imprisoned, but her heart soars freely in the heavens. Sometimes, though, because of the physical bars that surround her and the dark inmates she's in contact with constantly, she forgets her spiritual freedom and sits like a little bird on the floor of its cage, unaware that the door has been opened and her heart is free to fly. This is why I praise God for Isobella and those like her who are teaching young Christians in the prison! Jesus will use this teaching (and our prayers) to continue drawing Elena into a fuller, deeper, more joy-filled life.

Walking outside of the prison, I saw the dirt street filled with women and children, men old and young- some hawking their wares and some sitting idly, eying me curiously. These men we call "free." But I wondered if they are free. I wondered, if I could see for a moment with the eyes God sees men with, which ones would be walking with heavy shackles chaining their heart to the dark pit below.

For this blog wallpaper I chose the bird, liberated from her cage, because it is a perfect picture of what Jesus has done for me. He has set me FREE from the dungeon of sin and shame and guilt... the cage of condemnation...the shackles of the devil I served...the meaningless existence of a prisoner! Thanks, thanks to my Savior, Jesus!

Friend, are you free?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

The trip was a great blessing. It was my first time in prison but I trust it will not be my last.

(Oh, hush!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An afternoon on the beach in Huanchaco

Trujillo* is beautiful. Flowers, fountains, and--even amidst the grunge aspects of it--brightly painted houses or decorative wrought iron fences add a bit of flare. The latino people charm me with that flare and love of color.

Miss Elisabeth and I take a daily walk around a few blocks near the house, but I've been longing to see more of the city. It was a prayer of mine, in fact; one of the silly, superficial prayers that if God weren't God He'd roll His eyes at:

Lord, I know I'm going to Peru to serve Lars and Elisabeth,
and that in itself is just amazing but....
would You work it out for me to see a few things and get out a little, too..?
...If not, that's ok....

Enter Sylvia!
She's from Argentina and has been working for the past 5 or so years as a missionary among the Chichua Indians in the mountains of Peru. Thank God, she just so happened to be taking a vacation in Trujillo, at the Elliot's home, during the time the Grens and I are here.

("Just so happened!" Heh!)

No, I don't have the audacity to presume that God brought her all the way from the Chichuas just so I'd have a girlfriend to play with, but I do know that God in some mysterious way can simultaneously direct big events in a person's life (Such as when and where Sylvia should take her furlough) with the miniscule, insignificant ones (my prayer). I've thought about that often and it's one of the things that amazes me about Him. How does He fit those tiny details into the big scheme of things!?

There's a bit of a language barrier, what with me knowing next-to-nothing of Spanish (in my dreams I'd like to fancy that I'll be "conversational" by the end of this trip--never mind it'd be comparable to having a conversation with a two old neanderthal--). We still have a wonderful time together and the fellowship is sweet. I long to talk with her more deeply but it's hard to do. We promised each other we'd study the languages further and be able to have a decent conversation next time, sans puzzled facial expressions and frantic gesticulations!

Anyhow. All that to say, we went to Manhuaca today. Took a bus and a taxi the 20 minutes or so and ended up rounding a corner to see perhaps the most beautiful surf I've ever encountered. Huge waves. It's hard to describe how the intense haze of the day, the wild, thrilling pounding, and the silvery sunlight combined to make it breathtaking. Pictures won't do it justice either. They make it look shabby and dull. It was glorious.

We shopped in the markets, walked the beach and ate some delicious food from a stand.
I forget the name of it but it was fried and so heavenly. (Sylvia had just put the last bite in her mouth and was saying "MMMMMmmmm!" When I took this picture.) :)

Then we lay on a brightly colored scarf in the sand while the sun began to sink and we talked (or tried to) and reveled in God's exquisite sky.
We left long before it began to grow dusk (I promise, worried parents!) and made our way back home.

And now, I feel like I have SEEN Peru. (Well, at least a very little sliver of it.)

So, that was my lovely little day!

*(Pronounced "Trrru-HE-yo")

Sunday, February 13, 2011

(I cant find the apostrophe key.)

Were in Trujillo, Peru!
After a long and scenic bus ride we arrived at the Elliots home yestderday evening. What a precious couple- I love them already! Couldnt keep the moisture out of my eyes as I met Bert Elliot--the brother of Jim and he looks so like him. Jims life has so greatly influenced mine that I am overwhelmed to be meeting the people who he most loved in all the world. I cannot stop thanking God.

Its hard to describe how incredible it feels to be in a different coutry again. It felt this way the first time I was in Europe, then Asia, then Mexico... everything is done so differently. The people are so beautiful, the language so musical, the smells and tastes so new, the architecture so foreign. Theres something about it that sends a thrill of joy through me and causes me to pray that the Father will let me travel for a long time to come, to many more places, spreading His glory in each place I am.

Ive been working on Rosetta Stone Spanish since my time in Mexico with Ashleigh, and during the 9 hour bus ride was incredulous to realize that I could actually pick out the meaning of some signs and conversations. This learning a new language is an amazing experience--a challening one. It feels as if a key to unlock the mysteries of a different culture has been placed in my hands, and I have but to fit it in the keyhole and push the door wide open. Its a delightful mystery. I love it.

And now its time to stop raving and head out to keep company with the four dear old folks in the livingroom.

(Lars is reading a book aloud, and as I sat languidly enduring the story and gazing around the room it occured to me that as he read quite energetically, he was unconsciously serenading the slumbers of the other three. A pen-and-ink portrait of Jim Elliot hangs on the wall and his eyes were pointed directly at the sofa upon which Lars reads. His particularly scrutinizing gaze made me wonder if Lars has that unconscious feeling of being watched at times...?)

Now here I sit in the computer room, and the reading has silenced and been replaced by the sound of a rather loud snore from one of the four sleeping beauties.

Yes, folks, this trip to Peru will be high energy.

I hope I can keep up with them.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Tale of Two Brothers

Many years ago in the early-to-mid 1900's, there were two brothers. Both had dreams... and they talked about them together as they'd work side by side making money by doing odd jobs around town in Portland, Oregon. The youngest was dynamic and energetic, vibrant and noticeable. The older was quieter, but with a joyful spirit... a ready smile...and--perhaps what some didn't realize--the same fire burning within. The younger brother would speak of the passion he had for missionary work; for the ache he had to be on the field, preaching the Gospel, working for Christ. The older would smile and nod, affirming his little brother and together they would pray that God would send them both, for the older wanted to preach the Gospel in far away lands, too.

One day, the older brother prayed a prayer which he knew could cost him greatly. He told the Lord that if his staying in America could somehow make his little brother successful on the mission field, he would do so. He would raise support. He would hold the ropes so his brother could go.

As God's will saw fit, both brothers ended up on the field. The younger, Jim, burned his light brightly until he was killed only a few years after he stepped foot in Ecuador. The older, Bert, broken-hearted but faithful, continued to work in the steamy jungles of Peru planting churches and schools, counseling and discipling. He and his wife is there to this day; nearly 90 years old, with no plans to return to America for Peru has become their home.

For more on this story, watch this short video clip about Bert Elliot. It will, perhaps, change your life.

Praise God, on Friday Elisabeth, Lars and I will travel to Peru for two weeks with the Elliots! I can't wait to meet these amazing people.

I don't believe I will ever be a Jim Elliot with the story that will change the life of thousands of men and women across the globe. No... but perhaps, by God's grace, I can be a Bert.

And that is my prayer for you, friend. You who are taking the time to read my stutterings here. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Oswald Chambers- "Are You Ready to be Offered?"

"I am already being poured out as a drink offering." 2 Timothy 4:6

"I am ready to be offered." It is a transaction of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be what they may, there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private, no one person can help an other. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.

"Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." The altar means fire - burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this way of fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your way of fire?

Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.

"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." Philippians 2:17

Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful - to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say - "I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.'

It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" - are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket - to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Cry of My Heart

I've been singing this song to the Father recently.
It echoes the deepest whispers of my heart; somehow almost puts words to the longing inside of me that can't quite be vocalized.

Just the time I feel
that I've been caught
in the mire of self-
Just the time I feel
my mind's been bought
by worldly wealth-
That's when the breeze begins
to blow I know,
the Spirit's Call...
And all my worldly wanderings
just melt into His Love.

Oh, I want to know You more!
Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You.
To feel Your Heart and know Your Mind,
looking in Your eyes stirs up within me,
cries that says I want to know You
Oh, I want to know You more.
Oh, I want to know You more.

When my daily deeds
ordinarily lose life and song,
my heart begins to bleed,
sensitivity to Him is gone.
I've run the race but set my own pace
and face a shattered soul,
But the gentle Arms of Jesus
warm my hunger to be whole.

Oh, I want to know You more!
Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You.

And I would give my final breath
to know You in Your Death and Resurrection,
Oh, I want to know You more.