Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peruvian Memories

Hello all! Happy Saturday! Zach and I have had an extremely lazy weekend (it's been GREAT) and the best part about our laziness is that we lay on the couch and have nice long talks about all sorts of randomness. Wonderful, mindless banter. Occasionally, amidst the silly talk, one of us strikes up an in depth conversation that really gets us thinking. As we reminisced about our Italian honeymoon last night (mostly wishing we could still eat gelato everyday) I started to think about the previous trip I took abroad, a mission trip to Peru in 2007. Poor Zach had to listen to story after story; the "you had to be there" stuff gets brutal after a while.  However, I had to share this with you all in the hopes that it will encourage you as much as it has me over the past 4 years.

Sitting in chapel half asleep one morning in January '07, the speaker for the day introduced a program called Let's Start Talking, a mission-based organization that sends people all over the world to teach English through the book of Luke in the Bible. God laid something on my heart and I was instantly hooked. My friend Elissa and I went to a meeting in the library that night after golf practice and the next five months were a whirlwind of training, excitement, and anticipation. Our team of three didn't know where we would be sent until a few weeks before our departure. We hoped to sing "The Hills are Alive" in the Swiss Alps, or shop the amazing streets of Tokyo, or something equally as awesome anywhere else in the world. But, much to our dismay, we were to go to Lima, Peru for six weeks. We disliked this idea very much. It just didn't seem, well, "cool". Despite our nervousness of the culture, my secret inner fear was that I wouldn't make a strong enough connection with the people to truly change their lives. I kept wondering how God would give me the ability to move these people. It just didn't seem possible. For one, I'm terrible at Spanish. How could I break the language barrier in order to help them know Christ? How could our team of three make a difference? As these questions kept flooding my head, I turned to God in prayer and hoped He would provide us with all the tools we needed to spread His word to the Peruvians.

Sitting in the tiny church, reading from our workbooks, it was Erin, Mark and I that were doing the learning. The men, women, and children that came to read with us daily were AMAZING. They would melt your heart. Some would come without shoes (June/July in Peru=winter=very, very cold) after having walked for miles to come study about Jesus. Their desire to learn was so inspiring and profound that at times I felt ashamed of my own lack of drive. All my worries were alleviated as it became apparent that the Bible speaks for itself. It truly is universal. We were not the instructors, God's word did all the talking. One chilly afternoon, a woman sat down to read with me looking troubled. As we began to talk, she told me that her four year old daughter was very ill and her family could not afford to get her treatment. Her little girl hadn't gotten out of bed in three weeks. She began to cry and I asked her if she wanted to speak with the preacher, but she shook her head no and said she wanted to follow through with our lesson. She somehow found encouragment as she read, her voice strong and persistent with every verse. When she left that day, I felt heavyhearted knowing she would likely not be back and I would never know what became of her child. I have faith that her little girl is somewhere smiling, though, because I can still hear her mother's beautiful voice reading "For with God nothing shall be impossible". Luke 1:37

A few pictures of our adventures....

 appetizing pig heads in the market in Oxapampa
bathroom at the church
lunch....I'll let you guess what all this platter consisted of
our great church group

Pachacamac,  built c. 800-1450 CE

frightening dog....
      Amazon hut

 guinea pig on a platter

 white elephant church party

 cuties at church on Father's Day

SCARY "bridge"...this was my view looking down

      beautiful Amazon!
 lonely jungle boy
 fish in the Amazon
cab ride with Erin and Mark

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1 Month Anniversary

Happy one month anniversary to my best friend in the whole world. The last four weeks have been a whirlwind of eating way too much, laughing way too hard, staying up way too late...and loving every minute of it. My life changed in such a profound way on June 25th and I am incredibly thankful that you are the man God chose for me. As the months continue to trickle on, may our future be filled with sweet memories, random adventures, and a cuddly puppy dog (I know, I know..."someday"). Love you Z-Bear.

In honor of our first 30 days together we decided to bake a Chocolate Chip Pie, recipe courtesy of our fairy godmother, Ann Allen. Let me tell you will never eat anything better. Ever. It reminds me of the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie from Chilis but without the coconut and even sweeter (if that's possible). Hold onto your hats people; this is amazing!

1 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans-chopped
1-9 in. pie shell
(I would also recommend vanilla ice cream for topping!)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature. Beat eggs until foamy. Add flour, sugar, and blend well. Blend in melted butter. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 1 hour. 

                               foamy eggs

        stirring in chocolate chips/pecans


                                                                1 rose for 1 month :)

our own personal "candy bar"
                                                                                  glass candy from Venice 

  lunch at Jason's Deli...look at the size of that spud!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pina Colada Cake

Zach got this YUMMY recipe from his mom to bake for my birthday and we ended up making it a couple days late...thank you Momma Lisa! After telling my mom the recipe over the phone she told me that the Pina Colada Cake used to be one of her favorite summer-time sweets to bake too. After hearing that, we knew we had to share!

Pillsbury white cake mix with pudding
1 lb. Cool Whip
3 eggs
1/3 cup Crisco oil
1 cup water
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 can "creme de coconut"

Prepare cake mix as directed. After baking, poke holes with fork in cake (we used a knife...whatever does the trick). Combine Eagle Brand milk and creme de coconut; pour over cake. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Spread Cool Whip on cake. (optional: sprinkle flake coconut on top for a pretty touch)