It has been a long while since I have made a blog post! Since coming back to the United States, I have been very busy at school: 18 credit hours, swim team, youth group, campus ministry, etc. Any who, God is good in all things, even in the stress and midst of the classwork, He is good. Now....I have titled this post with somewhat of a pun because I have a need that has to do with my swim team!
My Swimming Team is going on a mission trip over winter break to work with Puente Missions in Aguada, Puerto Rico. We will be be working in the local community: aiding with a local swim team, construction, prayer walks, and reaching the community with the truth of the gospel. I personally have had the opportunity to live and work for six weeks with the missionary family that we are going to be helping. They are a tremendous blessing and have a heart for the Lord and people. The love of Christ is evident in the way Chad and Chandi Mayes live. I am praying that the Lord would work in the lives of my teammates as we go and that he would transform lives of the people we come in contact with. The Lord is with us wherever we go and I am certain that people will be impacted by this trip in one way or another. My request is that you will be willing to pray for the Asbury University Swimming Team as we go to be the hands and feet of the Lord. If the Lord lays or leads on your heart to financially support me to go on this trip, attached is information on how to help support me. Even if you cannot help support financially, we definitely need prayer. GOD'S PLAN REQUIRES GOD'S POWER! #amen
LINK TO DONATE!! ^^^^^^^^
There are a thousand and one things that I could say about this past week and what has gone on here in Peru lately. I suppose I can start by sharing what the Amazon Rain forest was like and then share what the Lord is doing at Puerto Alegria.
All the stories that people here about the Amazon such as there are huge snakes that want to eat you, flesh eating fish like piranhas, and termites and mosquitoes that like to bite your ankles are true. There were boa constrictors and anacondas longer than the length of two lunch tables, there were monkeys (got to hold hands with the monkeys), there were toucans and many other exotic birds, and plenty (I mean PLENTY) of mosquitoes and other bugs. We slept in mosquito nets each night and probably used (as a team) around 10 cans of bugs spray with lots of deet haha. I also feel as though I have fulfilled the "Be A Missionary" song that we always sang in Sunday school when I was little due to the fact that I ate grubs or "Zuri. It was probably the most strange thing I have ever consumed and if I am being honest, it really did not taste that bad! I swam in the Italya River/Amazon River (we also bathed in the river everyday haha). It truly was an adventure.
This home also has been one of the only homes were I felt like I was being fed spiritually so this week past week was a tremendous blessing to me. At each meal, Ray (the house father) read a passage of scripture and we would always pray together. The boy were also able to quote some verses when we read. There was just something special about this home and the Holy Spirit is definitely at work. The team I was with this past week from South Carolina was exactly what I needed. We, as a team, did devotions each night, so it was another opportunity to be fed spiritually and talk with some other university students my age (praise God for some people my age). This week in my personal devotions, I was reading through Hebrews and even through that the Lord was just teaching me how amazing and worthy he is and I am so thankful for the cross and for Jesus. There are so many things that I could say and I do not know how to put them all into a blog post but all-in-all, this past week was the one I was most excited for all summer because I got to live-in and experience the Amazon Rain Forest. Although I was most excited for it, I was most excited for the animals and different culture, I was not expecting to be blessed but such an amazing church group that took me in and made me part of their family, I was not expecting to be taken in by the home and prayed for and loved on when I was the one going to serve these people. I was humbled this week, refreshed this week, given a little bit of home, and I could not have imagined this week even if I tried. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
(Also, all the photos uploaded under Iquitos/Puerto Alegria of animals are ones that you can see in the jungle right around where we stayed)
This post is one that hits close to home. So at the beginning of the summer I met a young man named Roy at the home in Ica. He is still young and can move a little bit but most of the time, he is confined to a chair. Roy has a disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. There is a team that left a walker to aid in his need and to help him walk as long as he can. Here in Peru there is not much availability to the kind of help received in the states, such as the need for an automatic wheelchair eventually. There is another boy at the home in Ica that I have come to love spending time with and eat meals with and his name is Bryan. He is mentally handicapped (sometimes it is very difficult to understand what he is saying due to his condition being applied to Spanish)and is 17 years old. The home can only keep him until he is 18 and there is no known family that can take care of him or any place to put him as of now. These are two boys that the Lord has laid on my heart and I am asking that people will pray. Truly come before the Holy of Holies, who cares more for these boys that we can imagine, and pray for a miracle. I believe in a God who is bigger than any problem we face and is the author of salvation; miracles are not a thing of the past.
Tonight while we were at the mall area, I ran into a homeless man named Cesar. He asked me for food and not money but I did not have any soles to buy food so I gave him so dollars to get exchanged. Any who, I asked him about his story and how he ended up in Peru and he actually was from Miami, FL and he had been deported due to immigration papers being out of place and such. We sat and talked for a little while and I was able to pray for him but I wanted to post about him as well and ask that he also would receive intercession. There are not programs or homes or much of anything for anyone in Peru that is homeless.
My heart is heavy for these three men, for Dallas, TX, and for others that have been involved in shootings lately. I pray the Lord returns soon or the church (the people, universal) would realize that we are called to love and pursue a life that resembles Christ, not comfort. Loving people does not mean compromising what we believe, Jesus did not contradict scripture but he extended his arms to all. I pray that we would not just stand by or make politically statements or pick sides but that people would know us by our love as Jesus says in John.
In other news, I leave for Iquitos tomorrow. Please also be praying for good health in the jungle and a safe flight with the team, thanks!
After a long bus ride through the mountains of Peru, I arrived in Lima this morning and made it to the doctor! I was able to get prescribed medication, I have strep throat. Thank you for all your continued prayers for the trip and my health.
It has been quite a journey so far this summer, from the tastes I have savored to the beautiful breath taking views, God has revealed just a little sliver more of his glory. I just finished spending three weeks in Yungay at the boys' home there and that was incredible. I am thankful (even though I got sick the last week) that I was able to spend a prolonged amount of time there because it gave me an opportunity to build lasting relationships with the parents (Angel and Rosa) and the guys. I became just like one of the boys there and I now call them my brothers. Angel and Rose became Mama and Papa, which I cannot praise God enough for them and the good care they took of me since I was sick. I am excited to go back and see them for three more days at the end of July.
Tomorrow I will be headed to Ica again for a few days with a mission team from Dearborn, MI. They were in Yungay for the past week too. We will be in Ica until Thursday when our bus brings us back to Lima.
Also to tingle your taste buds....I will be flying to Iquitos, which is in the jungle, on Saturday! I will give more information about Iquitos this weekend but just wanted to give you all a little update! (Don't worry, I have bug spray and Malaria meds) Until next post....
PRAYER REQUESTS: Safe travels, I would trust the Lord and know He is working even when I can't see him at work, I would be attentive to the Holy Spirit, GOOD HEALTH FOR ALL OF US HERE! Amen!
So I don't have to much information to update on but I do have some prayer requests..
- Please pray for the team that I am with right now and that they would stay healthy and have a safe trip home
- Please pray that this team would experience Jesus and hear about the Lord through the testimonies of the different boys
- Please pray that I would have opportunities to share my faith and that I would love well and serve well
- Please pray for Great Britain and Europe as transitions are taking place; the changes are affecting many people and instead of making a political stance, I know many people simply need prayer
That is all for now... God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
So I will be staying here at the boys home in Kusi until July third. One of the works teams that I have been with left this morning and a new team arrives on Tuesday. The majority of the work that we are doing is making adobe bricks to build new buildings at the Kusi campus. The boys home at Kusi is not only a home but also a campsite for Scripture Union's camps and church retreats. The majority of what I am doing is supervising the work taking place and translating Spanish to English and vice versa.
One of the guys that lives at this home is 27 and has graduated from Kusi but still lives here as the cook. He shared his testimony with me and again I am amazed by the hand of God in his life. He has challenged me in my faith and continues to share with me about his life. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know him because he has become almost like a mentor, continually telling me to trust in God and follow wherever the Lord leads. His background and life before Kusi were dysfunctional and full of depression compared to how easy it seems I have had it. Yet he has challenged my faith in God. Meaning, he knows the Lord will provide and he places complete trust in the Lord whereas when I worry about the small things in life, I sometimes wonder where the Lord is. If anything, this trip has impacted my life maybe more than any impact I will have on the young guys here.
In other news, even if I had not encountered Christ in the lives of the people here, the beauty of creation proclaims his handiwork. The mountains out here in the middle of nowhere are completely astounding. This truly is a beautiful country. Well, until next time!
P.S. - the wifi is not fast enough to upload pictures so it will be a little while before more pictures arrive haha
Urumbamba (small town outside of Cusco) was incredible and the young guys were so hard to say "so long" to. I will get to see them again when I am with another team later this summer but the guys in Cusco were a blessing and they even challenged me. It was really fun to jam out to some Christian reggeaton (didn't know that existed haha) with them and loved singing along to Hillsong with them. They have a heart for the Lord and they see his hand in the everyday things of life. I was able to hear about some of Hector's (house father in Cusco) testimony while he has been the leader of the home and that challenged my faith and stretch me as well. Being able to hear stories and God's work in people's lives puts me in awe of the creator everytime. I am thankful we serve a living God who hears the deepest cries of our hearts.
So I titled this post Yungay because that is where we are headed for our next few days. There is a boys' home in Yungay called Kusi. We will be helping them with some necessary building projects at the home and spending time with the boys (which is probably a given haha). The city of Yungay is fairly a young city due to a horrendous earthquake that burried the large city about 45 years ago. It sits at the base of one of the largest mountains in Peru. To get there, we have a 10 hour bus ride (give or take 2 hours because traffic and you never know what you will encounter in Peru).
PRAYER REQUESTS: The Lord would allow us to achieve and complete the buidling projects that we need to take care of in Kusi; that I would allow space for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of the team and the young guys; that I would not just go through the motions of doing ministry while hear and conitinue to know that the Lord is moving in powerful ways; finally, that I would simply be thankful and be able to just sit in the presence of the Lord and seek after him
Ica was an amazing time, especially being able to get to know the boys. The young guys come from really hard backgrounds, they are either abandoned or they come from abusive homes and things of that sort. Most of the time the boys know their families which makes things all the harder when doing ministry. The boy's home is better for the young guys to stay at but they also desire to live with their families because to them it seems okay since the families only visit every once and a while. The young guys are a lot of fun to play soccer with (although I was terrible against them lol) and get to know. They have interesting stories and I loved just being able to talk about life with them and have some conversations about faith and what it means to be a man after God's own heart.
While we were in Ica, we drove out to one of the Shanty towns (it was a very poor and impoverished area in the desert) and gave out water. We rent out a water truck for the time we were there and filled people's tubs and buckets. They will use this water to cook, wash, and drink. It is the best thing they have got. I have some pictures from this up on the photos tab underneath Peru - Ica. Pictured at the bottom of this post is a boy from the impoverished area.
Another neat thing is that the team that is with us now is a team from Scotland. They are not necessarily Christian but they being high school age students and through simply having conversations, I have been able to share my faith with them. When we were riding in the bus on the way back from Ica to Lima, I sat next to one of the Scottish guys and he began asking me about my faith and then a few others began to listen and then eventually the whole group was listening to me talk about God. That was a divine appointment; a seed has been planted. Praise God for his goodness and mercy.
PRAYER REQUESTS: the young guys at the homes - that they would understand their faith and truly make it there own and that they would continue to see God at work in their lives; the Scottish team - that they would continue to ask questions about faith and what it really means and see the reality of God; me - that I would not be nervous when speaking Spanish and that I would continue to look for God in everything we do and see his hand in the ministry here
I have been in Lima since Wednesday night/Thursday morning. My plane did not arrive until around 1am Peru time, which is 2am Eastern Time. Peru is an hour behind because of daylight savings time in the states. Currently, the missionaries have been taking me and the other intern, Jillian, around the city of Lima and getting us accustomed to the culture and people. We have been going through the schedule for the summer and the places we will be going. On Monday, our summer of travels begins. Billy (missionary) and I will be picking up a team from the airport and heading on our way to Ica while Billy's wife Kate and Jillian will be headed to Kusi, another home. Ica is a desert city about 5 hours (bus ride) south of Lima. We will be visiting/staying/working at Scripture Union's boys home in Ica. Peru is a country of rich culture and wonderful food, it has been very neat to experience Lima the past couple days.
Today, we spent the majority of our day at a place called "Hope House''. It is the only home that is specifically for girls that Scripture Union is affiliated with and is passing on to another organization called One For Others. It was an awesome experience to get to hang out with some of the girls and get to know them (pictures of them are on the photos tab). A few of them accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and a couple wanted to rededicate their life! God is so amazing and this was like a kick-started for the ministry that is to come during this summer.
PRAYER REQUESTS: Young people here in Peru will continue to accept Jesus and want to follow him, the teams that are coming in will be focused and have a desire to serve, that the Lord would continue stretch and grow me and the other intern Jillian, also for words to say when we forget some Spanish Vocabulary - also boldness to not be nervous when speaking Spanish
Hey everyone! I am getting prepared to leave the country for my internship in Peru. I leave June 1 and I will arrive in Lima. I will be in Lima for first couple days for intern orientation. After that I will be off to one of the Casas Girasoles (Abandoned Boys Home). I will be traveling the country, so each week I will update with the location of my whereabouts and how you can pray for me and the people that I am with. All pictures posted on Instagram can be found searching for my Instagram handle (@joshuafritz20) or by searching the hashtag #PeruMinistry2016. I think that is all for now, until next post, see ya!
Things to be praying for: the boys that I will be working with, the missionaries (Kate and Billy Greenman), the Lord would work in my heart, people would come to know Christ, safe travels, and my parents (cause I am leaving them for nine weeks haha)