I know I said that the last post would be my last, but that’s only because I thought I wouldn’t have another opportunity to sit down and write out another post. So, here I am again. Now, if things had gone according to plan, I would be in Lima right now trying to nod-off to wake up and fly out at noon the next day to go to Colombia, but that’s pretty much not what is happened. I’ll get to that.
Today, I woke up at 6:10 a.m. because I just couldn’t force myself to act asleep any longer. The shower in our bathroom is what we call a “widow-maker” because it has the capability to do just that. Water comes into the shower head where a metal coil is charged with electricity, thus warming the water and pouring out onto the user. Somehow the electricity is grounded so that nobody gets shocked unless a stray hand comes too close to the shower head and then you do get a bit of a buzz. Well, this past month the water has been cool, which when you live in the mountains where ice can be found on the ground all day long, cool is cold. So, since it was my last shower I took apart the shower head and plugged up some of the holes with toilet paper and enjoyed my last, but hot, Puno shower.
While I was showering I was freaking out about the day. My strings were drawn pretty tight inside of me. So, I took some time to pray about what was happening in my heart. I was thinking a lot about control and how I really have none of it. The only person I have control of is me, and I have the control to give up the desire to control things. I know this is a topic I revisit once and a while, but I think that every time I have mentioned it I have new perspective. But, after I felt that I gave it over to God completely I started mentioning things that I could control. I could control how I react to disturbing news, what I say to others, etc. And then I started going through in my head what I would do that day. And then it dawned on me that I had to say goodbye to Thomas and Ella. They are Amanda and Chad’s two kids.
I haven’t been emotional until today. When I thought about leaving Thomas and Ella and having to say a final goodbye to them, I lost it. I had broken the seal and the rest of the day was a hard emotional roller-coaster. Even as I got in the car with Brian to head off to Juliaca to say goodbye to my contacts I couldn’t stop.
I had been praying all week that God would let me cry for my contacts, to show them that I care for them and that this departure really matters to me. That it does hurt. But, when I was saying goodbye to my contacts in Juliaca, it didn’t come. But, I realized that maybe that’s not what they needed. They needed someone to be stronger than they. Someone that could encourage them onward. So, instead of hugging them and sobbing my eyes out like I did for the rest of my Puno family, I stood by them, accepted their hugs and their tears and told them to keep following Christ. I told them that I love them very much, but that God loves them more. I may have been there as an instrument to be used by God, but it was ultimately and only Him that has changed their lives and placed a call on them to come to His feet. I was only a messenger. I’m going to miss them. And maybe I will mourn more later.
After we said goodbye we hopped back in the truck and Brian was going to take me to the airport. So, we were cruising along toward the airport when to our surprise a bunch of strikers had grouped together in front of the airport gates and had put rocks in the roadway. I rolled down a window and asked two ladies passing by if there were any flights. Nope, they were all delayed. I was not having any of it. So, I got out of the car, unloaded my bag and went to see if what they said were true at the gates. Sure enough, all flights were suspended. I felt my heart drop and I wanted to hit someone. This strike has been going on for three weeks. They are teachers. There has been no classes for three weeks! And do you know what they want? A 30% raise. Pretty amazing. I was mostly surprised and irritated that the airport would pay attention to a bunch of teachers standing outside of their airport or even that they would think somehow people who travel are directly linked to their teaching positions.
So, we headed back to the truck and I reloaded my things. I was surprisingly calm at this point. Usually, I would be a basket-case. I would be a nervous wreck. But, really the it just shows how the Lord has changed me in this. I called Chad on the way back to the truck and told him to get me LAN’s number so I could call them and get something worked out. He told Elisabeth from the office and she was then on the phone with me and then with LAN and helped us get some things cleared out. In the meantime we just went straight to Arequipa, which is a four hour drive, to try and get on a flight from there.
Well, I’ve arrived in Arequipa and I went to the airport and I got my tickets rescheduled, but I don’t leave now until the 21st. But, I have a place to stay here in Arequipa. It’s pretty neat to think that I have some connections all across the country. So, that’s where I’m at now. I praise the Lord for the difficulties of the day, because it has taught me more patience and it has also shown me how the Lord can really carry my worries and concerns. I praise Him also because with the new flight arrangement I get from Lima to Cali all in one day! No spending the nights in any airports! Praise His Name.
So, my goodbyes are done. This chapter of my life is closed. I have learned so many precious things that I would not give in exchange for anything in the world. God, you are beautiful, and I’m delighted to call you my Father. I ask you for many more times in my life like the ones that I have had.