This morning, I woke up early, showered, cooked breakfast for Carlos and me, and made it out of the house around 8:00. It usually takes about an hour to ride the bus to Doris's house, and it looked like I would make it by 9:00, if not earlier. But then, nothing ever goes as planned.
I didn't wait long until I saw the purple and gold San German bus turn onto our street. I waived it down, but it drove straight past me. It stopped at the next corner, and I ran to catch it, but didn't make it in time. The same thing happened with the next bus. And the next one. The fourth one stopped. But it was absolutely full, and I didn't feel like hanging out the window. Four purple and golds.
Luckily, Carlos was with me this morning, and he knew an alternate route. We walked a few blocks and caught a comvee to Santa Rosa, where we caught another on the way to La Marina. But by the time we made it to La Marina, we were out of money. Carlos hadn't planned on coming with me, and I had only brought enough to pay my own bus fare both ways. So, we had to get out at La Marina, and walked until we found an ATM. Once we had cash, we caught one last comvee the rest of the way to Doris's house.
This morning I started teaching English to small groups of kids at El Refugio, the house where Doris runs her ministry for abandoned children. My first group was Rachel and Angel, the 11 year olds. They were very eager to learn, and already knew quite a bit. We practiced greetings, reading, and played one of my favorite Young Life games. "What are you doing?" is a really fun way for them to practice verbs.
Then the younger group came in. Today I had Dulce, Celeste, and Lucas. Those children have so much energy. And they were much more interested in coloring and drawing than learning English. So, I made some adjustments, and let them draw, and then talked to them in English about what they drew. But they soon got bored, and began running wild around the house. There wasn't much I could do at that point, because Mondays are Doris's day off, and the staff speaks primarily German. All the kids know German. But I don't. I'm going to have to find a way to have a little more support on the days I teach there.
After our English lessons, Carlos and I ate lunch and then rested for the afternoon. He came by around 5:00 to take me to downtown Lima. We enjoyed walking around the square, and then found a tour that would take us to the top of a mountain in the middle of the city that overlooks all of Lima, called Mirador San Cristobal. When we summited the hill, the sun was just beginning to set. Perfect lighting for pictures. We enjoyed the view, took pictures of the giant cross at the top, breathed, and rested in the light.
I've come to realize that I love finding a place where I can get up high somewhere and see all that is around me. I find that I often fix my eyes on the high places, whether in the mountains as I hike in Yosemite or near Oakhurst, or in the city, looking up to the skyscrapers, or here in Lima, gazing at the tops of cathedrals. I fix my eyes on the high places.
I realized this last summer as I was backpacking through Yosemite with a group of campers from Calvin Crest. One morning during our devotion I found myself staring at the top of a mountain we planned to summit, anticipating the view and the thrill of being up so high, and the pure majesty of the mountain itself. But later that day, at the peak, I realized that what I appreciate most about the high places is the perspective that they offer. From the high places we can look down and see where we have been, and can look ahead and see where we are going. From the tops of mountains we can better appreciate the valleys.
Tomorrow, Carlos and I are eating breakfast with Edson, one of the area directors here in Lima, and praying for Young Life's Global Leader program here. This is a program that provides college education for students around the world who desire to learn about the ministry, and will work as part-time staff while they are in school. The Global Leaders here in Lima have been facing numerous difficulties in the last month, from illness to finances to trouble with interpersonal relationships. Edson believes that the source of these trials are spiritual, and so we will be praying over them tomorrow morning. Please join us as we do so.
Please also pray for us as we play soccer with kids in Santa Rosa tomorrow. We are very close to starting a club there. Several kids from Santa Rosa joined us at camp this year and gave their lives to Christ, including my friend Emilio. We're working on building relationships with more kids and getting them excited about the first club in Santa Rosa, which may take place as early as March.
For now, I'm enjoying the friendships that are forming, and fixing my eyes on the high places, lifting my eyes to the hills, from where my help comes from.