As you may know, we had the privilege of meeting and working with TJ’s sister Tracy in Peru this week! Tracy gave a week of her time to come see camp in Arequipa, and she was our translator! Not only did she bless us by helping us communicate, but she brought joy, creativity and endless laughter to our team. We also put her in the skit 🙂 What a gift it was to do ministry with Tracy this week. Check out her thoughts on her time at camp!
Well, I’m TJ Connor’s sister and I live here in Trujillo, Peru. TJ had been harassing me for probably 11 months to come to Arequipa with his team this past week. As this is our summer here in Peru, I had been unable to commit until I had the dates of a few of my own upcoming responsibilities nailed down. Anyway, the Lord worked it all out for me to be able to come and serve along side the Pinecove staff! It was such a privilege and blessing to get to know each one of them! For those of you who have never traveled to another country- imagine for a minute going somewhere and not being able to speak the same language. Then imagine trying to partner together with them towards a common goal. (Think Tower of Babel from Genesis) Imagine trying to direct kids in various activities. (Did I mention the kids are ages 7-11 who have never been to camp and are so excited out of their minds to be at camp, sitting still or sleeping are the last things on their minds.) Imagine being served rice and rice and more rice for a whole week and having all the nationals watching you during each meal to be sure you finished your whole plate! Now think of your own friend, son or daughter- the one that worked all summer at Pinecove camp, who is passionate about camp, loves Christ and wants to see others come to know Him. The one who personally sacrificed to raise the money to travel down to Peru during their school break. That was the group I got to work alongside of- translate for. A great group of very passionate young people who despite all the cultural obstacles and differences, gave their 100% best in each of their own individual camp roles to help bring camp to 50 Peruvian kids! It was amazing!! It was exciting!! It was so awesome to watch them adapt their crazy camp games, ideas and leadership skills to assist the Peruvian team in running camp! It was totally rewarding to watch as 4 little boys accepted Christ on Thursday night, and to know that all those before mentioned difficulties seem like NOTHING compared to the joy of knowing that four little kids now understand the life changing truth that Jesus Christ died for them.
It makes the tiredness seem like nothing. You even almost forget the 10,000 mosquito bite type welts on your legs, and the nausea you feel every time you see more rice. All you can think about is – THIS IS SO WORTH IT!!
So, what do I want to say to anyone who might read this blog?
If your friend or child was on this trip- LOVE THEM, ENCOURAGE THEM, & UPLIFT THEM in prayer! They were being stretched this week, but were being used by God to do something bigger than themselves & that my friends is priceless!
And to my 16 new Pinecove staff friends- It was a blessing, privilege and honor to work with you all. Thank you for serving in Peru. God was honored and pleased this week, and that for me is one of life’s biggest joys. Remember, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”- 1 Corinthians 15:58
And to Katy- the girl who has the difficult job of keeping TJ organized and on track, who brain storms with everyone about how to better their game/idea, who copied the schedule in English and Spanish atleast 30x a day, who tirelessly runs around helping out everywhere all at once- you are great at what you do! Keep using your talents to serve God! Your team would not be the same without you! Maybe TJ will get you a wireless travel printer for your birthday! (Or a pack of 2000 sheet construction paper. I know you LOVE that paper!) Seriously, I know God sees each little & big thing you did & I pray He will bless you for them.
And last but not least- to my baby brother TJ- keep on encouraging and leading others to follow Christ. You’re doing a great job- helping others to remember what really matters in life. Giving your all 100% of the time. I’m so glad I got to see your craziness in action this week! I’m proud to call you my brother! Love you!
– Tracy Altuna
I can speak for our whole group in saying that that the joy of the Lord is evident in Tracy! This girl is one of a kind and I’m grateful to know her. Join us in praying for Tracy and her husband as they continue in ministry here in Peru. Thank you Tracy for your selfless service and for being part of our trip-you are so loved!
Stay tuned to hear about our first tourist adventure soon! Parents, I will include details of traveling home in our next post!
-Katy “Bedazzle” Weidner