Hi all! I hope this blog finds you well and you’re all having a capital R, Rad Valentine’s day (I treated myself to a cupcake today).
Since this day is all about love, I want to share with you the love I have for my host family here in Arequipa. I mentioned in my last newsletter that my host family is so big it has taken us a while to figure out how they are all related and even who lives here in this enormous house. As I learn more Spanish I have found I can pick up more and more on conversations had at the dinner table and learn more about the personalities of each family member. It has been so fun seeing different qualities arise in everyone from oldest Abuelita, who’s hilarious antics constantly have everyone laughing, to youngest Maria Fernanda, who I can see so much of her mother in.
As much as I love getting to know this family, it makes missing my own family and friends very real. Sometimes the homesickness hits me out of nowhere and there’s not much I wouldn’t give to spend the afternoon with my mom. It’s funny how I can love being here, living this life, experiencing this culture, and learning this language so much, but at the same time miss my Philly home fiercely. I am learning when this homesickness comes over me to run to the Lord for comfort and solace. A passage that I have often turned to over the years when feeling particularly discouraged was Psalm 40, and it has been a great consolation for me over the past few weeks. The first few verses say:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
I have been reminded lately of the love Jesus has for me (and you too!). He gave up everything so that I can live free from sin. He has done something I can never hope to repay, and I am so blessed to have the privilege to be his daughter. I hope to live each day walking in love as he did.
As always, thank you for your prayers. You all mean more to me than I can ever say. Please continue to pray for my language learning, its challenging but I am really enjoying it! Also, please pray for The Wilke family who will be my team members in the jungle. They are arriving to Arequipa in just under 2 weeks!