Blessings are found in perspective

Published 8:57pm Thursday, July 11, 2013

Every summer for the last four years, I have made a trip south of the equator as a member of a Reimagine Peru mission team.

As anyone who has ever taken a vacation will know, getting to travel to a place you don’t call home — whether that be in a different state or a different continent — can be an awesome, eye-opening experience.

For a little over a week each year, I am submersed in an entirely different culture. Different foods, different customs and most strikingly a different language greet me as soon as I walk out of the Lima airport.

Like me, most of the members of our mission team neither fully understood Peruvian customs nor spoke fluent Spanish, but those things were embraced rather than feared because we travel with a special purpose.

Each summer two mission teams — one in June and one in July — travel with Reimagine Peru to build houses and spread the gospel message in a small community called Santa Rosita, located on the outskirts of Lima, Peru.

Building houses for the most unfortunate members of the community is used as a way to minister to physical needs in hopes of gaining opportunities to spread Christ’s love.

The community of Santa Rosita is situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, which run through the country. However, these slopes and valleys are not green and lush like I first imagined them. Because Lima is situated in a desert region of Peru, they are giant hills of rock and dirt. Lima receives less than two inches of rain a year, which makes their climate a lot different than the humid climate found here in the Southern United States.

The climate is not the only difference between Santa Rosita and the community this newspaper serves.

Almost every house in Santa Rosita consists of one or two rooms generally made of thatch or cardboard. Even the houses we build for them, which are some of the nicest in the community, would only be described as sheds by most American’s standards.

Some don’t have electricity or even running water in their homes.

In spite of lacking what most would call basic necessities, the people who live there are some of the happiest, most thankful people I have ever met.

The residents of Santa Rosita focus on and appreciate what they have, while working together towards providing what they still lack. I believe Selma could learn for this small Peruvian community.

I simply want to remind everyone how beneficial a little change in perspective can be.

Those community members, who seem to lack so much, remind me each year to be thankful for the blessings I have been given — just as they are.

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