Words can not describe the emotions that I am going through leaving this place. After only living here for six months, I honestly feel like I have another family now. A year ago, what seemed like just a crazy idea, I decided to pack up my family and spend six months on the mission field of Arequipa, Peru to study under missionary Chris Gardner. And the experience has been one that I doubt I will ever top.
My plan was to come down and learn about missions, church planting, and leader training. While all of those things have taken place, and I have learned so much while being here, there is one thing that I will take away from here that I will never forget; the love that these people have poured out on my family.
In just a few short months we have made friends that will no doubt last a lifetime. From each one of the missionaries that are working here, to the pastors of the many churches that have been started, college students, and each person that has accepted us into their lives here. We have laughed, cried, been mad at each other, taken trips, prayed, studied the Bible, hosted events and been a part of many many more things that have help train us for the mission field.
I want to thank each one of the missionaries that have spent these past six months allowing me to question them and learn from them. They have opened their homes and their lives so that we may learn what it takes to be a missionary. The pastors here that have taken the time to talk to me, even though my spanish is horrible, they still listen to my questions and try to help me to understand what they are telling me. To friends that have made this time here so fun and memorable.
If there is one thing that I learned on this journey, it is that God has blessed me with and incredible wife. She has does an absolutely amazing job here learning the language, culture and I am so proud to stand with her for the rest of my life. I really don’t know how the rest of you men make it without Sherry, she is the best!
I want to thank all of those who prayed and gave to make this opportunity possible. I want to thank my home church, Victory Baptist Church, and my pastor Derik Lawrence for believing in me and sending me here. My family who has loved me and encouraged me all along the way.
God has been so good to us and has blessed my family more than I would ever deserve.
As I leave tomorrow morning, tears will be shed and a piece of my heart will always remain here in Arequipa, Peru. I love each and every one of you and will miss you dearly.