|Hey everyone! Sorry about the delay of our update. Julie and I (Lauren) have been doing a lot of traveling over the past two weeks, making it hard to find the time to load pictures onto the website and write an update.
We arrived "home" to FAIENAP last night (Monday, December 11th). We had just spent twelve hours on a bus coming back from Huanuco, Peru. We had to leave FAIENAP for about ten days due to a conference that was taking place. We had met Bruce Benson here at FAIENAP; he was acting as a consultant for the Bible translations. He had mentioned us coming to visit he and his wife in Huanuco...so, of course, we took him up on this offer.
Huanuco is a small town located in the Andes Mountains, and Wycliffe has a base there. The surrounding areas of Huanuco are largely populated by the Quechua people, and Bruce and Jan Benson are working with one dialect of Quechua and translating the New Testament. They are also the project directors of this SIL base.
We spent an incredible ten days with Bruce and Jan...they went above and beyond to make us feel at home. As you can see from the pictures, we even got to help set up their Christmas tree and decorations. We were able to go to two different Quechua villages while we were in Huanuco. We were in the first village for three days, helping run a medical and dental clinic and passing out gifts and chocolate for the kids. We only stayed a day in the second village, but we helped to give out gifts and chocolate with a mission team from Lima. We also did some behind the scenes work for Jan's women's conference of about sixteen Quechua women. While we did work, our time in Huanuco was a huge blessing of rest and Jan and Bruce really gave us ten days of "home." To say the least, it was incredibly hard to leave Huanuco and the comforts of Jan and Bruce.
Over the past few days I have been thinking a lot about the relationships that I have formed throughout the past six months of this trip. People and places have flashed across my mind, and I catch myself wondering if my path will ever cross those people's paths again. Bryan, Riechelle, Beto, Gaby, and Deborah Buchanan (Rio Dulce, Guatemala); Samuel, Sarita, Lucy, Letty, Sammy, and David Alvarez (Guatemala City); Donald Lister (Rio Dulce, Guatemala); Gladys and Emilio (Nicaragua); Jan and Bruce Benson (Huanuco, Peru). I could keep going, keep listing the names and places of people that have forever changed my life. I could take you back to the different photos of our website and point out specific kids that have stolen my heart, their faces forever imprinted in my mind.
We are asked constantly by the people we work with or for if and when we will be returning. That's a hard question to answer honestly, because the truth is, we will probably never see them again. I would love to come back to FAIENAP one day and find that these boys and girls we have spent so much time with are now men and women of Christ. But, I don't know that, even if I did return, I would be able to locate all of them.
So, here we are, four girls moving from country to country being loved and welcomed by some of the most incredible people in the world, people that welcome you into their homes, open up their lives, share their world with you. For as much time as God will allow, we become a part of their lives and they become a part of our story. At some point, this year long adventure will end, and I will head home to Charlotte, North Carolina. I'll get a job waiting tables, and I'll fill my days with college classes. The world's of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Peru will be thousands of miles away. But I will be reminded of those places and people constantly. Every time I hear an ambulance I will think of the Buchanan's, every time I see a cowboy hat Donald Lister will cross my mind, every time I see a can of paint I will think of Gladys and her girls at the orphanage in Nicaragua, and every time Christmas rolls and every time I see a sunflower I will think of Bruce and Jan Benson.
December 10th marked six months for us on this trip. So, here's to six months of incredible people, incredible memories, incredible miracles, and an incredible God. And here's to the next six months of our journey.