Friday, August 31, 2007

The Earthquake and a Small Update

So, whats it been now, a month? Sorry that its been so long, kinda slacked off. Anyway, where to begin... Well, I'm sure that many of you have heard about the 8.0 earthquake that rocked a large portion of central Peru (anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours away from Lima), one of the greatest natural disasters in Peru's history. As terrible and heartbreaking as all the destruction and lives lost have been, we're now seeing that there will be many people in a town called Chincha that will begin to follow the Lord. As we begin to rebuild a families house that a small number of people met to worship, we see the response towards love, service, and truth. If you think about it, almost any major change in the Bible came about out of tragedy, look at Jesus' death for example. He died so that the whole world might live. In the same way, this tragedy has opened many peoples eyes to the brevity of life and how small we are, and, in turn, has made them seek for something eternal. We have the answer to pain, sorrow, and death; Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

We're still waiting to begin the SIBI sateltie school in our living room (the internet people have STILL not come after 2 weeks), but we're hoping to start as soon as possible (AKA when the Internet people get here).

Spanish is going great still, I'm able to understand and speak more everyday and its just a mater of time before I am able to carry good conversations on with who ever. I now have a personal teacher who, after only two class periods, has taught me about past, future, auxilary verbs, direct and inderect objects, and tons of new vocabulary. Unfortunatley the thing about languages is that when your a baby and start speaking your native language, your just repeating everything you hear and you determine if its right or not by how it sounds. Now, when you learn a new language, if you don't know much about your own languages grammar like me (yes, I hated english class and am now paying for it) then its very difficult to understand how to form sentences that make any sense.

Well, thats all for now. I will hopefully be able to update you a little bit more on the church situation down here (first there was one, then 3, and now 5. It gets more confusing.) as soon as I know exactly whats going on. Just know for now that we had our 5th baptism, again by one of the memebers of our church that Paul discipled, and Brent had a study with one of the teenage guys that comes to our Wenesday night small group. Know that there are great things being done here, and God deserves all the glory for it. Well, I hope that all of you are well and that you are drawing near and near to God each day. Until next time, take care and God Bless (I know how to say both of these in spanish, but unforutnatley I have no idea how to spell them so you'll have to wait for next one.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Jungle

Here it is, after spending a week in the Andes Mountains going through all kinds of different villages and Jungles, I'm back. There will be no possible way that I will be able to express in words the beauty and larger-than-life feeling, but I hope that I can shed some light on the amazingness of this trip.

We left on Tuesday afternoon and headed for a small city in the Andes mountains called Tarma. After driving up winding roads and passing on the curves we made it to one of the highest roads in all South America called Ticlio. Talk about cold. After that we made our way downhill towards Tarma where we ate "Caldo de Gallina" which is basically the greatest chicken soup I'd ever had. Then we traveled down to a jungle city called La Merced where we spent the night in a jungle bungalow hostal. Crossing over the mountain from Tarma to La Merced you could literally feel the change in the weather, from freezing to insta-sweat.

The next morning we got up, went into the city to get fresh Juice made from 4 different kinds of fruit. The Juice tasted so sweet, but it had no sugar, all natural. After that we went across a bridge where we checked out the river and played Tarzan on some of the vines and roots on the side of the road. A root about half an inch thick could support my weight. After we "hung out" for a while (I'm sorry about that, it was so perfect) we went to eat lunch at a sweet resturant next to the river. There I ate an animal called Zamano, which is basically a cute and cudily jungle rat. Don't judge it to quickly because it was some of the best food I've had in a long time. Very interesting. After that we went to some of the most breath taking waterfalls I've ever seen, and whats better is that we got to swim in them. After we did some crazy jumps and swimin we left to head back into to town where we chilled out and then got to bed after an extremly long day.

The next day we got up late and spent the day at the Hostal where we ate breakfast, played cards, and relaxed in some beautiful jungle scenary. We went and got some lunch in town at La Merced where I, again, ate some jungle rat. O, and the pieces still had some hair on them. Then we climbed up to the top of the city and got to see some amazing mountains and jungle behind the village. We walked down and talked to a crazy farmer guy who talked to us the whole time with his mouth full of something. We went back and ate some "Picarones" which are the peruvian equivalent to dounuts, even though they are way better. We went back to the Hostal and hung out the rest of the night, awaiting the return of our "guide" from the church to get back so we could go to a village deep in the peruvian jungle.

The next day we got up and started our journey through the mountains towards a village called "Pozuzo" which is a village started by a germans back in the late 1800's. We crossed through some of the most picturesque scenary I'd ever seen until we reached a town called Oxapampa. We ate lunch at this crazy "Southern" resturant where we ate steaks and stuff and took some great coyboy pictures. Then we went into town to find some "Picarones", but they weren't going to be ready until later so we went and found a ranch where we rode horses and saw one of the bigest bulls of all time. Then we went back into town to grab some "Picarones" and coffee, and then hit the road again. We rode on this ridiculous dirt road for the next four hours and, after a "near death" fall and a flat tire, we made it to Pozuzo.

The next day we got up and ate some amazing bread and cheeze for breakfast and then headed out to find some adventure. We explored the city a bit and marvoled over the white spanish/german speaking people. We treked through the jungle a bit and basically explored most of the city and surrounding jungle. We went to bed and got ready for the next day of travel.

We woke up and went back to eat and buy some of the bread and cheese we had the day before, and then started back to Tarma. We had an amazing trip over all, and had some great laughs and memories. Sorry I couldn't write in every detail, but your probably bored already. Altogether great times, great sights, and a great God who made it all possible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Celebration and The Park

Well, this past two weeks have been great! Honestly, I ask myself three or four times a week if it can get any better and, to my surprise, it always does. God is good and is showing me how to love more and how to keep the joy of my redemtion in all situations. God has taught and shown me many leasons that will last with me for the rest of my life, and I thank God for everything that He gives me each day.

Firs off, let me say that I'm writing this as I await our amazing trip to Tarma, a mountain city that is about 4 hours northeast of Lima. I can't tell you how excited I am to be going, I know this trip is going to be such a good break and renewal for me. This week is the independence week for Peru, which means parties and celebrations up to the 28, the day of their independence. Next week I should post some new pics of the city and the jungle, along with all the other amazing things we've been doing down here. If you haven't already done so, you should really check out my Picasa photo site at

This past friday was Amber's birthday, and we made it one to remember. We took her down to the beach for lunch and fun, and then that night had a surprise party at the neighbors, (a family with three daughters around our age, who we're trying to build closer relationships with) where we had Aji de Guina, which is quite possibly the greatese thing I've ever eaten. The next day we had another surprise party at one of the memebers homes, where we listened to music, ate cake, and had a great time "communicating" and spending time with the youth. Overall, I think that we basically set up an unreachable expectation for birhtdays, and with mine coming up, we'll see if we can get anywhere close to that bar.

Language has been steadily getting better and better, so much so, that I've been having dreams about speaking spanish and understanding spanish, which has been strange (and a little scary). If you've ever really learned a new language, then you can understand how it feels to steadily improve in you understanding and communication with that language. It's been so strange to go from one week where I didn't understand anything, to the next week where a understood a little bit, to the next week where I can almost catch what they're talking about. What a thrill it is to understand something that sounded like 100 mph jiberish a week ago! Please continue to pray for me and my entire team as we continue to learn spanish and improve with our communication with the Peruvians.

This past sunday we had church in a park near Paul and Amy's house. I can't describe to you the joy and unity that we felt as we reunited the three different churches for a day long celebration. There was more than 13o people there, and with that many people, anything we try and do is going to be a chore. Paul got a good deal on food and plates so we helped with drinks and the rest. We had a cookout after church and ate and talked together for a long time. We then had a huge soccer game with the youth and some of the other men from the church. There was even a man named Sanir who looks pretty old at first with his short salt & pepper hair, but after he gets into his "playing" clothes he's a completely different guy. I played goalie, because I'm horribile (for now) at soccer and everthing involved with it, so I tried to use my long arms as a weapon against the opposite teams attacks. Unfortunatley, I forgot that everyone in South America is an expert at soccer, so my height didn't help me at all. To say the very least, the day was a ton of fun and good for the memebers to be reunited together after we mulitiplyed out into three churches.

Well, thats all for now, I'll hopefully have some amazing storries and pictures after we get back from the jungle, until then take care.

God Bless,
- Bryson

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Small Update

Hi Everyone! Hope that things are going well wherever you are right now, and I pray that God walks close to you. Well, where to begin? Things have really flown by this past month (still can't believe its been that long), and there are so many things that have happened. First off I gota say that God is GOOD! Never in a million years could I have imagined what God would be doing with me right now, it still blows my mind to think about how He's blessed me!

One of the members of the church has been studying with a friends grandmother for about a month or more now, and last Saturday she was baptized. Now I want this to sink in... A man that Paul first taught and studied with is now out in the world trying to do the same thing! It blows me away to see how God can radically change lives in such a short ammount of time!

These past few weeks have been crazy busy with all the small groups, churches, and meetings that all of us are having that I haven't had much time to update everyone on what was going on. We're still trying to find two places to meet for the two other churches that are multiplying, and that has been a bitter sweet experience. Let me explain; After we lost the rent for the building where we were metting, one of the members of the church voluntered his home for the next week's gathering. Now you have to understand that in a culture that is so hardwired into the idea that chruch is a "building" instead of a "people", it makes little to no sense why we (peruvians) would have church in someones home. But the week folowing we had more than 70 people in this tiny living room that was ment for about 2o people max! It was so amazing (and slightly uncomfurtable) to be cramed into that little room and to hear the voice of Gods people ring out with love and sincerity. Simply amazing. So why we are still looking for a building, we're not so sure that we really "need" one any more, so we're praying for God's will to be done in this.

Learning the language has been an "interesting" experience to say the least. Everyday I learn so much, and at the same time feel more and more like I don't know anything. Talk about frusterating! I'd have to say that, on average, I get laughed at or ridiculed about 5 or 6 times a day when I'm trying to communicate with people outside the church. For some reason it only makes me laugh at myself and realize how hilarious it must sound for a 6'4, 19 year old young man to be speaking like a 2 year old child. It's always the best to be asked some question like "So, how long are you going to be in Peru?" and your answer is "Si!", or for someone to ask "What's your name?" and you answer "Hasta Luego! (See you soon!)". Its awesome. I hope that my sarcasm isn't showing any hatred for the language, I just want to express how much "fun" it is learning a new language. I know that God is helping me everyday to learn and remeber more, and who knows, maybe by next week I might have the vocabulary of a 5 year old!

Well, thats all I can think to write at this time, but hopefully I'll be able tot get in the habit of making a weekly post. I pray that all of you are good and that you rely on God for everything because He's already given it to us!

God Bless,

Friday, June 22, 2007

The First Post

Well, I've been in Peru now for more than 3 weeks, and already have so many funny, impacting, and awesome stories that I'm not sure where to begin. We ate guinea pig, watched two baptisms, went to the coast, and been to a number of different small groups and birthdays. The foods amazing, the people are hillarious, and everyday is a new adventure. Hopefully I'll be able to give some new specifics on whats going on with the church and everything, but for now, just enjoy the pictures and ask any question you want.
God Bless,
- Bryson