Sunday, June 19, 2011

ENGAGED

I am getting married!! Caleb asked me to marry him on Friday night (6/17/11)! I couldn't be a happier girl :) God has really blessed me with an incredible Godly-man to stand by me the rest of my life. Never did I expect God to bless me with a husband this wonderful! I am so excited to become Mrs. Chelsea Johnson.


We are both at an age where we know what we want. We have been praying about our relationship before we met, when we first met, and after we started dating. Throughout it all God has been soooo good! Here is our engagement story :) Caleb is in a band (which if you haven't heard The Micah Tyler band, you should buy there stuff on iTunes, help support their ministry!) and they are getting ready to be gone for the summer. They will be leading worship at camps for the next 5 weeks. They left today (Sunday) so on Friday Caleb wanted to go on a date before they had to leave for 5 weeks; and since we haven't really seen each other since I got back. He told me later he was trying to recreate our first date :) We went to a movie and then went to dinner at Cheddar's. Caleb kept taking pictures of me all night long, but I didn't really think anything of it. Throughout the night he kept asking me "you really would marry me?" I kept telling him that I would, he only needed to ask :) When we got back to my apartment I was a little tired and cold so I laid down under my covers. He said he needed to go grab a movie out of his truck that he bought at a garage sale. When he came back in, he stuck his head around my door frame and asked if I would come there for a minute. I still had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. When I got up I noticed he was still hidden behind the wall, only his head was sticking in my room. I got close to him and that is when I noticed a ring box in his hand! I was SO surprised!! My heart stopped beating for just a second (in a good way of course!). He got down on one knee, told me he loved me, and asked me if I would marry him. I don't think anything came out right away, I was still trying to process what was actually happening, poor guy! Then I snapped to and said yes! He put the ring on my hand and I still couldn't believe what had happened! I am so happy to be engaged to the man of my dreams. God really blessed me more than I thought possible!

We are not planning a big wedding. I actually want to elope, but I felt guilty not including our parents. So we are going to have a very small wedding, with only our parents present. We do have a date set, but since we are not inviting anyone, we are not telling anyone when. I am so happy! I am excited to start my life with Caleb. Last night I read this in my Bible, and I find it very fitting with what God has for our futures:


"It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Otro dia, Otro Aventura

I am writing this update from my house back in the U.S. Due to complications with my diabetes I came home early. And honestly, I don't know how to feel. I was so sad to have to leave; but I am happy to be back home at the same time.

Honestly, it started when I got to Lima. I was having trouble keeping my blood sugar at a normal level. It was hard keeping it above 70, which is rather low for a diabetic. But I kept silent about it because I was raised with the mind-set that diabetes is not going to hold me back. However, in the past 5 days my blood sugar levels have become very low. To the point where I would pass out and not be able to wake up in the morning. I was also raised with to be smart with my diabetes. Not to make stupid decisions; and so the battle within started. I kept praying about it because I don't want to be a failure.

The worst though happened Monday morning. And I don't really remember much about it, but I came to in the shower, scared and alone. You see, if you 've ever been around me when blood sugar is low I don't act like my normal self. And that's how I was. After I "came to" I went to my teammate and voiced a concern that I had been praying about, coming home. He told me to stay put and he would walk to the Constante's (the missionaries we were working with) and tell them what I was thinking.

We all decided that the best thing for me was to come back home. Visit with my doctor. And try and get back to a normal level again. Health was not something any of them were willing to risk for me. And although the Evil one has attacked (several times), God has been evident throughout the entire process. I was able to get a flight out of Lima that night. And although I sit defeated in my plans for the summer I was reminded of a quote "sometimes our plans have to fail in order for God's plans to succeed." So I am home back in Texas, awaiting the next thing God has for me. Thank you all for praying for me while I was in Peru!! No, I wasn't there as long as I planned on being, and yes I do feel a little discouraged. However, I serve a God who continually blesses me amongst the craziness of life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Idioms

I am really enjoying working with the English Fellowship team here. This is a kind of ministry I feel comfortable with :) We hold Bible study classes to read the word and discuss English phrases and words that they do not understand. But also, we are mainly forming relationships with the people of Lima. Most of them are believers, but some are not. I am excited to see where God leads us this summer together! He is so good.

Yesterday our Bible study was on Luke 15, the Prodigal Son. It was so interesting to hear what they had to think about that passage. And what they had to think about our God. I thought to myself last night that even though we grew up in two totally different cultures, God is the same. He is the same God all over the world! It just hit me how amazing He truly is. How I was raised and where I grew up is so different than the people of Peru, but yet, we serve the same exact God. He amazes me constantly! I am quickly falling in love with this country. They are so genuine and so open to hear from God. They pride themselves on how they treat "gringos" :)

Another thing I am really enjoying is helping teach them English and discussing with them different phrases in our language that are common to us; but sound strange to an English language learner. In my ESL classes I took this year they really emphasized not speaking in idioms. Something that is common to us is hard for an English learner to understand. For example: "tongue tied" as an English speaker I know what that means and how to use it in context. One of our students used that last night and it confused the entire rest of the class. But I do have one funny story to share :) Now, you all know I love to laugh and this story makes my heart smile! One of the guys came up to me and had a few phrases he didnt understand and we discussed them. The last phrase he asked me made me laugh so hard :) He understood after I explained it why I was laughing. The phrase he didn't understand the meaning of was "I have a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!" When he asked me about that phrase I almost fell over laughing. It was just so funny to hear. I really have enjoyed partnering with my teammates and the missionaries here in Lima.

Tonight a couple of the girls are coming over and teaching Amie and I how to make Aji De Gaillina. I am so excited for that! We are starting to build relationships with people here and are wanting to hang out with them other than just at Bible study. I am looking for God to do great things this summer; in us and through us. Thank you for your prayers! I covet them while I am here in Lima. In our Bible study last night I ran across this verse, and I wanted to share it:


"If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is."
2 Timothy 2:11-13


I am so comforted in knowing that even when I fail, God is still faithful! That was such an eye opener to so many of our students last night. God is so great in giving me this opportunity this summer!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Routines

I have officially been in Lima one week today! Since last Wednesday I have settled into a pretty good routine. There are a few Peruvian things I'm not sure I will ever get used to...#1. The way they drive and #2. Freezing cold showers. Other than that I am settling into a routine here. It is interesting to me how God places certain people together at certain times. I really feel like the 3 people on our ESL team this summer were placed together by God's hands. There is Amie (from Maryland), Ben (from Tennessee), and myself (from Texas, yay!). Before last Wednesday, I didn't know these 2 people, and now I feel like we fit together just perfectly. We all have the same heart for the same people :) It's been great to partner together and work for the Kingdom.

Today Amie and I went to Jose Galvez, a city just on the outskirts of Lima. Her church is coming down next week for a 10 day mission trip to Jose Galvez, so we went today to set a few things up before their arrival. I know God was with us today because we made it from our house in Miraflores to an entirely different city, by bus! At one point this evening when we were traveling back I thought to myself "God is so good! I can barely make it on buses in the US and here I am in another country on a bus doing just fine." He sends us the exact help at the exact time we need it. After we were finished getting things set up for next week, we walked to the church they will be working with while they are in Peru. The church has a Christian school on its grounds. We were there as school was being released; I must say if I spent too much more time with those kids, coming back to the states would be a lot harder. Those little faces are just precious! They are so interested in talking to someone from Estados Unidos (United States) and they are so eager to practice the English they know! And not to mention they are the cutest children :) I kept thinking of the Spanish speakers in my class this past school year. I just kept wondering if they were in a Spanish speaking school would they struggle as much...

This afternoon we rode with the church in Jose Galvez to another part of Lima and sat in on a church service they were holding with Compassion International. A team from Alabama is here for 10 days and today they were training parents on how to take care of teenagers, with a Biblical emphasis. It was neat to sit in and listen to the knowledge they had to share. And of course it was always great to see God use people to spread his word, even if I could understand only about 20% of what was being said. That is one thing I get most frustrated with; I can mostly understand what people are saying to me, but to formulate a response is out of reach! I wish I would have minored in Spanish. I could kick 18 year-old me!

Tomorrow Ben is leading our Bible study during the English Fellowship. I want you to pray for a man named Miguel. Last Saturday we went to dinner with a few people from the English Fellowship and I really got to talk with Miguel about his life and his faith. He believes in Jesus but he has a lot of questions still; Satan is really plaguing him with doubts. Pray for him and for us as we live our lives in Lima over the next 2 months. That is the great thing about Peru...they are so open and hungry for something. Miguel is that. He is hungry for God, he just needs to open up and let God take care of the doubts. I ran across this verse today and I hope it is true for us in Lima this summer, I will leave you with this:



"We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News, but rather our own lives too."


1 Thessalonians 2:8

Monday, June 6, 2011

Presidential Election

Yesterday was presidential elections in Peru. It is law here that every citizen must vote; if they do not they must pay a fine. Everything in Lima was closed yesterday. We got up and went to Paco's house for church yesterday morning. Churches all over the country were unable to hold service yesterday due to the elections.

We walked to Paco's house, which I would guess is about 1-2 miles away from where we are staying in Lima. That is one thing I am loving about being here. We walk everywhere! I love walking to a destination because it keeps me moving and keeps me in shape :) Since we are not nationals of Peru we held our own church service in Paco's living room. He talked about Daniel 6. I really liked how church was held yesterday. It was very informal and we discussed more than listened to one person preach. It was something different; more intimate. Rebekah made Aji de gallina for lunch yesterday! It was very tasty. I'm hoping to get some recipes while I'm down here and try them when I am back in America. After lunch we headed back to the house. I Skyped with Caleb yesterday for the first time since I left :) It was so good to see his face and hear his voice. Although I am really loving it here in Peru, I miss him! We talked for two hours in the afternoon, and Skyped again in the evening for one hour. I love technology now. It makes leaving home a little less painful :)

Today has been a very relaxed day. We met with a group from Florida who are here for 9 days on a mission trip. Pray for them as they head out into the city. Wednesday Amie and I are planning a trip to Jose Galvez, another part of Lima. Her church is coming down on June 15th and spending their time in that area. We are going to go get some things set up prior to their arrival in Peru.

I appreciate all of your prayers! Please keep the people of Peru in your prayers as they transition into a new leadership. The people are very uneasy with the candidate who won. However, God is still the one on the throne!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

La Vida Peruana

I have been in Peru for 5 days now. I am starting to get used to their lifestyle. It is very different from the states; Peruvians have a very laid back attitude, if you set a time, they may or may not be their when you said. I am learning that even though our Bible studies say we start at 6, we don't really get started till around 6:45, and even after people still show up. Peruvians are also very late night people. Our day doesn't really get started until about 10-10:30 in the morning, but we might be out with a group until 11:30-12:00 at night.

I am finding that the people here are very surprised when I tell them I am from America. Every person I have met here is surprised when I tell them I am American. Apparently I look very European; I don't really understand it, but that's ok :) I've also never had anyone associate my name with the "Chelsea" soccer team in London. But that is how people here have told me they will remember my name.

We have had 2 English classes so far. Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Sundays we have a Bible study. Paco (the missionary we are working under) has a passage that we read and then we discuss different English words in them that may be unfamiliar. We also discuss cultural differences. Thursday night we read Matthew 22:1-14 and discussed what weddings in Peru and in America look like. It was very interesting to see some of the similarities, but also some of the differences in how weddings are performed in these two countries. Saturdays we have "class," but it's more of a hang out time. A time for us to just be in fellowship with these people and a chance for them to practice their English.

Peru is a very receptive, very open country. When we talk about God and look at the spiritual aspect of scripture they want to know more; they are hungry to hear God's word. But I can also see Satan working in them as well. We are trying to befriend the people that come to our classes in hopes that we can share the gospel with them. Please pray for the people of Peru; and for the people in our English Fellowship classes. Today is a very big day for Peruvians; they are having presidential elections, and the people we have been working with tell us that Peruvians have to choose between the lesser of two evils with their candidates. They are all very worried about the direction the country will take after this election. We keep reminding them that God is in control; no matter who takes office, God is ultimately in control!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Goodbye USA

After 18 hours of travel, I made it to Lima!! I am writing this from my room in Lima, Peru :) Isn't God so great! Caleb picked me up at 6 a.m. and we headed to Houston. Surprisingly, we didn't hit much traffic. Since we were so early, we just sat in the lobby and hung out before I had to leave. It was hard saying goodbye, but it's only 60 days, and I'm so excited to be used by God! My first flight (Houston to Miami) wasn't bad. I had only slept about 4 hours the night before, so I fell asleep before the safety instructions were given. Then in Miami I had a 3 hour layover, so I took my time and walked around.

The flight from Miami to Lima was delayed about an hour because of an insane amount of stand-by passengers. So we took off about an hour later than we had originally planned. The flight from Miami to Lima was a little rough. There was so much turbulance on the flight. I fly 2-3 times a year and I've never been sick on a plane before. But for the first time tonight, I was nauseaus on a plane. I thought at one point I was going to need the barf bag, ha! I just kept praying the whole flight that God would calm my nerves. I sat next to a guy from the Mormon church on the flight to Lima; he was starting his 2 year mission. It got me thinking how we were both going to Peru to tell the people about our God (although, two very different viewpoints!). Then I got to thinking, there are several different people on this plane going to do the same thing. Peru is a hot spot for missions right now. I'm so very excited to be here!

At the airport in Lima the line to get through immigration looked like it would take forever. But I got through without any hitch. I also got through the "baggage check" line without having to have my bags checked. That's now twice I've gone through that line and got the green light, yeah! When I finally made it through customs there were SO many people waiting to pick people up, I had a moment of panic. But once again, I just prayed that God would calm my nerves. I found my roommates without a problem.

I am now sitting in my bed for the next 2 months, in my room, in Lima! I can't believe this is actually happening. God planted a dream and answered a prayer of mine. I will never understand why He loves me so much, and why He continues to bless me. We are staying at a house in Miraflores for the next 2 months. I am living and teaching English with 2 other people. After 18 hours, I can finally say I'm here!

I cannot wait to be used this summer. Buenos noches!