She was floating on air. The amber light shown down on us from the rather low-hanging lightbulb and dipped everything, even the rusty stove top, with a gold coat. If I wasn’t mistaken, half the light beaming in the kitchen came from her face. I ducked to avoid hitting my head on the meat hanging from the ceiling as I came around the countertop and set down the now empty giant pot.
“I didn’t think that I was going to come tonight,”she said even still wearing her smile. I asked her why, “Diego fell off the bed, and then Jessica threw water on our bed…” and she went on to describe a day that was frustrating and trying and yet, she was there, wearing that smile.
“I had a ridiculous day today as well,” I told her, able to sympathize with the spiritual battle that she had fought against. “It was just thing after thing,’ I continued, ‘And it ended with me loosing it and throwing mustard all over the kitchen.” I laughed at the ridiculousness of how it sounded, but every ounce of it true. She laughed with me. We were both full of joy and content from the beautiful church service we just came out of. Our area coordinator Ps. Segundo Rimarachin had come to the church to give a special message to our brothers and sisters and afterward we shared food, hot chocolate and testimonies. The beauty of it all was still hanging over our hearts, like a heavy morning fog. I prayed that the morning sun would never come out to chase it away.
I lowered my voice a little, “And Efrain, how is it that he came?” She shrugged her shoulders a little bit and teetered on her feet as she giggled. This is something that we all have been praying for, to see her husband step foot into the church and eventually give his life over to Christ.
“I told him, ‘Let’s go to the church,’ and he said, ‘Okay!.'” She let out another giggle showing her crooked line of teeth.
“Wow, Diana!” I encouraged her, “We won’t stop praying for him. This is such a huge step for him!” She nodded her head. The guinea pigs began to squeek filling the momentary silence. They scurried around our feet as we stood there taking in the bliss of the moment. Diana knows the rather large move this is for her husband, to be present in church. He’s always been on the edge, always on the brink of making the move toward Christ, but something always pulls him backward. But, this was the first time he came to the House of God.
I asked her if she would be able to go to the church service Sunday in Puno, she said she would like to and told me to go ask Efrain if he would go. I walked out of the kitchen into the darkness of their black patio. I left the golden lights and stepped into the darkness. My eyes adjusted a little as I tried meneuvering myself around the muddy wet spots, not wanting to get my dress shoes too dirty. Pocha started barking and howling from inside her mud house. She had just had pups and is overly protective. The sheet of tattered plywood blocked her exit. “Shut up, Pocha!” I yelled passing by.
I got out to Efrain, who was sitting on his motorcylce with his one year old son seated on his lap. He was ready to go. “Hey, Efra!” I got his attention and shook his hand, “Hey, are you going to come to church in Puno this Sunday morning?” He looked at me rather dazed, “We are going to come here first and pick everyone up and then go all together.”
His expression changed from bewilderment to encouraged, “Yea!’ he said, ‘Let’s go! We’ll go.” Diana came out just in time to hear his answer and I swear the street lamps couldn’t match the glow that eminated from her smile. We all shook hands and gave goodbye kisses. Diana got on the motorcycle behind Efrain seemingly by levetation. Her hair bounced slowly about as she settled herself behind her husband. She reached out her hand for one last handshake. I recieved it and Efrain began their trek home pulling Diana’s hand from mine. She held firmly until the force separated us, reflecting, I’m sure, how much she wants to hold on to the happiness and blessing she was feeling.
Last night was a blessing. Pastor Rimarachin is in Puno to visit the church plants where we have been working and last night he was able to see Juliaca and the church we have there. I was so excited to have him. We prepared a special service with food and hot chocolate for afterward and in my head everything was going to go as planned. However, yesterday things were falling apart all around me. I was worried about raising support for my next job and then little inconveniences happened one after the other. In the end, after I had thrown mustard across the kitchen, I realized I was in the midst of spiritual battle. I prayed for strength. Immediatly I found encouragement in passed experiences that when things like this happen it’s Satan trying to keep me from experiencing the pouring out of a blessing from God. And boy, was it ever a blessing.
Our church last night was full. I mean, PACKED! People were practically tripping over each other to get to their seats. Granted, there were only 19 people (including kids) that were from Juliaca and the rest, making 30, were from other places… I didn’t care. It was beautiful to hear such a small room filled with chorus lifted to our God.
At the end, we served hot chocolate and sandwiches. There were 30 sandwiches and one was left over. God’s provision was shown last night! Then, we were able to share how the church started and also the miracle that is Diana. She was able to share her thanks to the Pastoral family for their support when she was bed-ridden from her accident.
It was just an amazing night to see how the Lord was and IS moving in Juliaca. Here are pictures from the night:
(top image: Ceni y Faustina; image left: Efrain, Diana y Diego; right image: Eulalia)
And this is how crammed we were. It doesn’t look so bad here though…