We asked our witnesses from over the summer to give some input from their experience on our blog. Austin came from Colorado, and served willingly in all part of the work going on here in Curahuasi. He was a blessing to our family, and we really enjoyed having him. Take a look at this nice post from Austin McCuistion. I really appreciate how he talked about the problems of trust in the Quechua culture, and related it to how we fail to trust God. It is true that we all want control over our lives, and even when we are in relationship with God, sometimes it is hard to trust him with control over it. As you will be able to perceive from reading below, we had some quality people living with us over the summer.
Spending a summer in Peru was a great experience filled with many learning opportunities. While in Curahuasi, spending time helping out in the hospital and school, God was able to reveal and remind me about a couple of things in regards to his nature.
The first thing that I learned this summer came during a Bible study one Wednesday night with Will, Allison, Lydia, and I. Many of these weekly Bible studies focused on missions and this particular one was about features of a mission. One feature we talked about was the “power of mission” which is an “encounter with God” according to the pastor we were listening to. Specifically, we spoke about Abraham and the promise of God in Genesis 12:2-3:
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”
The amazing part about this promise from God is the last part where he finishes by saying that not only is he going to bless Abraham and his family, but also the whole world through them which I find so cool. So my thought is that if God has blessed us with so much, it is to be a blessing like Abraham’s family and go to other people and be a blessing to their life. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t necessarily require leaving where you live to do so. I believe God places opportunities for us to bless people wherever we are as long as we are open to following his Word. Whether it be serving those people in your workplace or church who seem to be left out or helping out at a local homeless shelter, we have been blessed with so much and I believe the best way to show our appreciation to God is to bless others just as Jesus did when he came in human form for the sole purpose of cleansing us of our sins.
Something else I learned during my time in Peru started from many conversations with some of the other American missionaries. As we discussed what they found to be the hardest part about missionary life, many times the issue of trust came up. During my time (especially in clinic with Will), I was able to see the lack of trust that seems to be embedded in the Peruvian culture. One of the hardest things for me was to not look at them and think, “Why aren’t they able to trust what the doctors are doing? Isn’t it easier to disclose all the information they have about their sickness at the beginning of the consult?” However, as my time in Peru progressed (and after countless discussions with the missionaries about this problem), I came to the realization that it is not necessarily their fault, but rather, a cultural anomaly.
Then, one day, as I was praying and attempting to understand this, I found that this trust issue, that we were able to see so easily, can be applied to our relationship with God. It is so easy to become frustrated with someone else when they are not trusting you, but then, when God calls upon us to follow him, we are reluctant despite his track record of always doing what is best for our lives. We, as humans, have a trust issue with God, plain and simple. At times we call upon our bravery and follow the path he has laid out for us, trusting in what he has planned. But other times, we falter, as humans do, and fail to trust the one person who we can put all of our trust in without a single worry. Fortunately, due to his abundant grace, we are forgiven time after time. This grace does not falter. It is not something he will take from us. He will continue to love us. Time, after time, after time of us failing. C.S Lewis states this extremely well in Mere Christianity:
“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.”
Therefore, as we attempt to follow Jesus and his example, I feel this is an important point to remember about his nature. Despite the way we are treated by others, whether it be mistrust or indifference or even contempt, we need to forgive them and continue on loving them to the best of our ability for this is what Christ does for us.
As I have already said, being able to spend seven weeks with the Caires was great for me at this point of my life. I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to be one of their first “witnesses” for the summer and pray the best for their lives as missionaries. I sincerely believe that the work they are doing through the hospital and the school are making differences in the lives of the Peruvian people and that God has great things in store for them. Thank you for all your prayers. God bless.
Austin, It is great to read some of your processing of this summer. I really like this sentence: “We, as humans, have a trust issue with God, plain and simple.” We are thinking about you as school starts and we really, really appreciate your heart to come and learn and help here in big C.