Hope is the life breath of all my days.  The sun’s rays, the feel of the wind blowing through my hair, the stars in the sky.  All gifts of remembrance that the Lord is good and he supplies us with hope.  Hope in the mundane.  A guiding light.  

The sun shone high in the sky and the heat rose to meet us as we arrived in the radiance of Iquitos, Peru.

And there were brilliant colors lighting up the streets.  The blues of the buildings.  The green of the shops.  The red of the motokar.  The air was thick with the noise of the cars, buses, and motorcycles.  The city greeted us with a rush to the senses, the boldness of it all keeping us spellbound.

The streets and villages in Iquitos, Peru, were filled with beauty, strength, and joy.  Children laughing and playing.  Clothes hanging to dry in the sunshine.  Poles in the water to catch supper.  The market was filled with fish and vegetables waiting to be sold so an income could try to be earned to support a family.   

The boat carried us as we glided on the water to grab a better view of the village.  The same water that was contaminated with waste.  The same water that the fish were out of and being eaten and sold.  Houses were one room for moms, dads, children, aunts, uncles, cousins.  And yet, the resilience of the people was felt ever so strongly.  What a gift to be welcomed to walk in this village among this people. 

The rainbow appeared, slight at first, and then fully formed in all of it’s magical beauty.  And I knew then, Immanuel, God with us, was here in this place, spreading hope like wildfire.  He dwells among us, holding us, caring for us.  We are not forgotten.  Belen village in Peru is not forgotten.  Hope is rising.  The villagers are dignified and hardworking and change is coming.  He is holding them in his righteous right hand and leading them to freedom.   

Four contagious smiles lighting up the small, sweltering room.  Joy is present here.  As we put together a puzzle and make bracelets, my mind wonders at the ability of the body and soul to find strength and happiness amidst the pain.  These beautiful girls have been abused and mistreated in ways I can’t even wrap my mind around.  And here we are, kicking the soccer ball, playing volleyball, laughing and rejoicing at our mistakes and our victories.  How great is the peace of the father.  How great is his love.  How marvelous are his works.  The freedom we witnessed in these girls was a true gift from above.  May it continue to be so as they heal. 

Our family’s manifesto says that we know that hope is trusting and waiting for what is still unseen.  And that we hope in his name because his name is good.  Telling the story.  Waiting for what is still unseen; economic stability, education, safer homes, healing of heart and body, sustainability. May the god of hope work through us to make the invisible become visible in the villages of Peru.

I walk away from Peru with a renewed sense of hope.  A renewed sense of trust.  A renewed faith.  As much as I can serve them, they serve me and teach me so, so much more.  It is a great gift to meet others who are trusting in hope to lead them in their everyday mundane.  We are not so different.  All just reaching for the light that shines the brightest.   

let hope rise

And maybe the best gift ever, the greatest hope ever is to share our gifts with one another this Christmas season.  Visit helponenow.org  and learn about the community of Peru, make a donation and light up lives with your one miraculous life.   

vickibruening Uncategorized

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