By Anna Fisher
I recently participated in the 2016 Peru mission trip with MFUMC. This was not my first international mission trip or my first trip to Peru; however, that did not lessen my expectations for my own perspective to shift or for Jesus to work in wondrous ways. One thing I have noticed after 3 mission trips to Peru is that my perspective shifts and broadens each time. The hospitality that I have received from the Peruvians blows me away and definitely makes me question the way I live. To see a group of people live so selflessly is a break from the modern day world of America, full of people living the “ME first-life”. One day we came home to pile of clean laundry…don’t ask me how, but Karina (one of the ladies that cooked for us) found all of our dirty laundry, washed it all, and cooked us 3 meals a day (the food is delicious by the way)! Seeing the way they cared for us and wanted to build relationships with us made me realize how selfish of a culture we live in today. Yes, the focus of a mission trip is to serve the surrounding communities and to tell them and show them the love of Jesus, but it’s so much more. It’s about building relationships with the people, because through that, seeds are planted and the love of Jesus is shown. I loved getting to know all of the Peruvians we worked alongside that week and I cannot wait to get back and see Pablo, our fearless leader, and my dear friend Jorge, who drove us around for the whole week and made sure to correct all of my Spanish. Another aspect that I love about these trips is that it’s also about strengthening relationships within our own group. The most impactful relationships in my life are with people I have traveled and served alongside. I think that’s what makes a church special; it’s not about where we are, but it’s about who we’re with and what we’re doing.
My favorite memory from the trip this year is going to have lunch with a family we met at a dump village. The plan for the day was to go help add on to a “casasita”(shack) for a family of a lady with a 2-year-old, and her mom, but Jesus always has His own plans! Some people from our team had to go buy some more materials before starting to build, so the rest of us walked down a couple houses and met a family painting boats outside. I talked to one of the ladies for a little while and then she invited us to their family’s “Cevicheria” to have lunch. About 6 of us followed their family to the restaurant and we all sat down to 4 pounds of fresh ceviche and ate and talked. In this moment I was so blown away to see how Jesus had intervened and orchestrated such a perfect moment for us to build relationships.
The best piece of wisdom I’ve ever been given is “Learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable”. When this becomes the forefront of thought it is so beautiful. There are God-given opportunities around us all the time, but they become so much more visible when we live in this way. Working in Peru has been such an impact on my walk of faith and I’d encourage anyone to take the opportunity to serve somewhere outside your comfort zone.