Friday, June 25, 2010


This is just some thoughts that went running around in my head after I read Justin Jones blog, which I can totally relate to. So yep, might be getting sued over some copyright issues :)

Anyways, back in January I started getting really stressed out about life because I realized that I would be returning back to the States, and had no idea what I was going to be doing. I had no clue where I should live, where I should work, if I wanted to continue on with my education, if so, where I wanted to take classes, where I was going to come up with the money for classes, and yep, you get the picture.

You see, I am a type A personality and I have always had everything planned out in my life. When I was in 5th grade I knew I wanted to go to GCA, when I was a junior there I knew I wanted to go to SAU and that I wanted to be a nurse, then when I was a sophomore at SAU I knew I wanted to be a SM, and while I was a SM, I knew that... I had no idea what I wanted to do next!

After spending a lot of time stressing, I realized I was neglecting my work in Peru and that I needed to focus on that until my time there was finished. So I worked peacefully, returned to the States, and now have life figured out again, right? WRONG!

Since getting back I feel kinda at that super stressful point again, I am no longer a missionary and am not quite sure what my purpose is anymore or what I really want. I am a college graduate that has no job and is living with my parents currently (everyone's worse nightmare, right?) I have my life kinda planned out to live back in Chattanooga, but have no job to pay for anything. I think I want to start classes again, but want to make sure that is want I want to do, because in my mind I have convinced myself that if I move in one direction I am deciding my fate for the rest of my life!...But this is where I am mistaken.

Why do I feel like I have to condemn myself like that? I guess I see picking a direction as such a finalizing, permanent thing...such a huge commitment! Time after time though, people keep reminding me that I am young and God has it under control, so why am I so worried? Even if i do go one direction with life and then feel it is the wrong direction, I have no real huge responsibilities yet and I can just pick up and go another direction.

Sometimes, I feel as though I have made the wrong decision with what I am doing, like maybe I should have stayed in Peru or worked at camp for the summer, but at the same time I don't think that is how God wants me to feel, always regretting and fretting over decisions. I truly think that God has a future planned for us, but I think He also gives us some choice in the matter. Maybe there is not one specific direction He wants us to go, but that He gives us several paths to choose from, and maybe they can all be good ones.

So here I sit at home in Jellico, TN. I still have no job, no certain decision on my career, or if I truly should be looking into living somewhere else than Chattanooga, but I feel oddly more at peace, not totally for sures, but getting there. Like maybe this is what I need right now, and that if I make a decision, its not the end of the world. If that happens not to be where God wants me, He will shut doors and I will just pick a new direction and continue on....

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Ten months, ten weeks, ten days, ten minutes…It seems like since the day I arrived here in Peru, I have always been counting down the time until I would be returning to the States. During most conversations that took place in my first month here, all of us SMs would usually end up talking about something or another that we were going to do when we got back to the States. There were times during these past months when I really did not think that I was going to make it down here; all I wanted to do was get back to my “normal life.” Well, now that time is finally here, I am confused, living here in Peru has become my “normal life” and now I am not as anxious to leave. I ask myself, when did this occur, when did I go from hating it here to being happy and content?

I have always heard people say that coming back can be hard, but I truly never thought it would be the case with me. Tonight as I sat around singing hymns with the few other remaining SMs, I was flooding with memories from the year and felt all sentimental. Now, as I spend my last night here at Kilometer 38 in good old Pucallpa, I feel like crying…like I have for the past week. Leaving behind the people, the project, and the culture seems like such a hard task, especially since I do not know when I will be back. I know I have so much to look forward to in the States, all of my amazing family and friends that have so faithfully supported me all of this year, and I will have all of the comforts of life again, but right now I feel like staying here would not be all that bad.

I have wondered many times if I should stay longer, but have prayed about it a lot, and do not feel that God has called me to stay any longer right now, and with every hard change in life, I find the next stage of life that is just as good as the last. I honestly hate change though, and sometimes I ask myself why I go out and do so much and meet so many new people, when I know it will ultimately just lead to more goodbyes and heartaches. Sometimes, I just want to be one of those small town folks who live in the same place all of their life and grow old with the same people they went to grade school with. Sure changes occur and people always come and go, but why do I always seem to look for adventures which obviously will result in big changes, especially involving those whom I am with?

Makes me think of a conversation I had with my good friend Lauren down here. When leaving one location to start a new campaign, I had one man ask me why were where leaving. He said we obviously were having a huge effect and were still needed in the community, why could we not stay any longer? When I was talking to Lauren about this later, she made a good point; that if we had never left any of the other communities before, we never would have met anyone in this community either. So I guess it is with life, if we get stuck in one place, we never know what we could have done, who we could have met, what God could have had in store for us. So, as I start making my trip back home tomorrow, I am going to try to look beyond the sadness and goodbyes, and realize that what is ahead is exactly what God has planed for my life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Final Blog in Peru?

Hey Everyone,
Yep, I have been really bad and haven´t written a blog in over a month now, I apologize. Guess exciting stuff has still been happening in my life, but have been too busy to write about it! What´s really bad is that I am not really in the mood to write today either since I am sick right now, but I promise that when I am back in the States in a week, I will write something worth reading again! Well love and miss everyone, and hope to catch up with everyone soon!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


(Written a week ago)

Today I went to order medicines, but the guy said that he still needed another hour and a half. Well, I had already agreed with the other girls to meet with them at the pharmacy around six or seven. With no truck to pick me up and needing to wait for the medications, I plopped down on the sidewalk outside the pharmacy. Now keep in mind that I am already quite the attention getter because I am not only white but a girl! Well, me sitting on the sidewalk made for an even greater specticle. As almost every person walked by, they would do a double take in my direction. I bet many were wondering why a gringa was camped out on the ground. I couldn´t quite pass as a backpacker or hippie, yet what kind of rich tourist would lower themselves to this type of seating arrangement. This game became quite just as entertaining to me as it was to the locals. With every passerby, a confused look would appear on the locals faces, and a huge smile on mine. I will have to admit that the thought crossed my mind to put a hat out for money, but figured it might offend people.

Crazy what kinds of stereotypes we have not only in our societies, but also in our churches. Just like certain people in society are expected to act in certain ways, christians are often put in categories as well. Sometimes others expect them to live and do everything a certain way. If anyone dares to break the mold, they might as well leave the church. I don´t think that God wants an army of identical Christians with no creativity and no different ideas on improving the church and spreading the gospel. God made each and everyone one of us uniquely on purpose and I think He wants each of us to use the talents He has given us! God doesn´t box us in, so who are we to do so to others?

Medical Humor

Colt walked into the clinic and began unloading the medical supplies I asked him to pick up for me at 38 when he ran back. One by one he pulled different items out of the backpack, it truly looked like he had found everything I had asked for. Then that is when he told me there was one thing he wasn´t sure if he had found, the pulse ox. He told me he had looked everywhere, and then he pulled a item out of the bag....a plastic speculum (which are used for vaginal exams)! He truly had no clue what it was and said he had been looking for something that fit on your finger like I had explained and he went on to show me how it fit on his finger. By this time I was rolling, I couldn´t stop laughing, but I felt bad because I knew he would be embarrased when I told him what it really was. Finally, I got myself under control, I broke the news to him of what he had on his finger. Poor guy, he turned a couple shades of red and sheepishly handed over the rest of the supplies before heading back over to the dental side. Oh well, guess you gotta learn sometime.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Mother of All Blogs

Yep, I haven’t written for a month, and yep this is a series of blogs and pictures to make up for it, so hang on, almost got a book going on below this comment, and yep this probably means that I won´t be writing for a while again!

Blond Moment #2

The other day I was flipping through my friend Colt’s snowboarding magazine. I came to the Q&A page and came to a question I found quite entertaining. It said, “Are there ways to work on style, or is our style just a natural thing we’re stuck with?” Before even thinking, I opened up my big mouth and said, “What is this magazine, Cosmo or something?” Colt was kind of blown away by the question and asked why in the world I would say something like that. I read off the question sarcastically, but hardly finished before he cut me off and said, “It’s talking about your snowboarding style you idiot, not your clothing style!” After that, the whole group we were sitting with busted out laughing. Decided it was time for me to just sit back and listen for a little while…

I Can’t Believe You Just Said That

Lauren is a stick…
Melanie is a stick…
Julie is a stick…
Mindy is most definitely a stick…
And then there is me…

I definitely would not call myself fat, but don’t think that I fit in the stick category like the rest of the traveling team girls. Last week someone informed me that I was “mas gordo” than the other girls, for those whose Spanish is extremely limited, that is the same is saying “fatter”, but the person said that was okay because it made me more beautiful. What an insult, right?

Last week I also got an extremely huge zit on my face and as much as I tried to cover it up, it was quite noticeable. The first day after it appeared and I decided against the route of plastic surgery, one person came straight out and asked what was on my face. I explained exactly what it was, taking into account that zits are not an extremely common thing down here with the locals. The next person that asked me about my blemish though also had them on his face, and I thought to myself “You know exactly what it is, you have them all over your face, why in the world are asking me, didn’t your mom teach you any manners?! You have successfully aided in slaughtering my self-esteem for the day!”

A few weeks back a little girl came up to me and asked me if I was a “pela cara” (translation: face peeler), which refers to the white people that sometime come down here, pose as tourists, and then kill people for their organs. I told her no, then thought, “wow, that took a lot of nerve,” but she continued on with no concern to the seriousness of her accusation. She went on to tell me that her dad said we were and that she should be careful around us. I couldn’t help but smile at what should have been a really awkward conversation.

Some people would get pretty offended over comments like these and at times I have, but well, that is exactly the way the Peruvians are…no beating around the bush, just pure bluntness. The thing to learn is not to take personal offense to anything; Peruvians just are bold and usually say what is on their mind. They are not afraid to confront one other, on even awkward things.

This year I am trying to learn to be more like this people; so often I sugar coat stuff or avoid problems as long as possible. Why talk about things when you can ignore them, pretend like nothing is there? There is always someone else who will work out the issue if I stay quiet long enough, right? Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to become a brutally honest and hurtful person, but I have found the importance of facing your problems head on, and not being afraid to confront others. Communication can do wonders, sometimes harsh words spoken in love can be difficult to hear at first, but appreciated later. Sometimes when things are brought up, better understandings can occur between people. So although I think Thumper’s mom had some pretty good words of advice, I think it is okay to say things that aren’t always nice, but to do so with the right attitude and intentions, and with perhaps a little more tact than the Peruvians.

God’s Gift

I first remember meeting Daniel and Noah one of the nights when we were sitting around waiting for the truck after a hard days work in the clinic. My friend, Martin had a huge group of kids around him, not a huge surprise since he always is out meeting new people, and he motioned me over to meet a few of them. It was pretty dark and I could not see the faces of the kids really well, so by the end I had pretty much completely forgotten all of the names and who they belonged to. During this, Martin decided to introduce me to the kids as Dr. Gimbel, and as much as I tried to persist, the name stuck. The next week when we moved into our new house, there were two little boys who would always run by and say “Hola Dr. Gimbel.” As time when on, I learned more about these boys and their family, the good and the bad. As hard as I tried not to have favorites, they quickly became some of the kids that I enjoyed the most because they were so loving, they were not annoyingly hyper, and they did not constantly ask me for things.

Martin, at the same time was getting really close to the boys too, and was trying to be a good mentor to them. You see, the boys’ real father had left years ago and did not interact with them much anymore, their stepdad was never around and when he was he only caused problems. The mom decided to go to the coke fields to work for fast cash, and one of the older sisters left with the littlest sister to live with a boyfriend. The boys were left in the charge of their older 17 year-old sister. She was pretty lazy and overall let the boys do whatever they wanted. With all of this in mind, school was going to be starting soon, and was not looking like a huge priority. Martin and I began to wonder if anyone was going to be responsible for getting these boys to school. After talking things over, Martin and I decided to leave getting the uniforms up to the mom when she came back, so she would be involved in the process, but decided to sponsor getting the kids school supplies, etc.

So Martin and I started the huge process of trying to get these kids enrolled, talking to teachers, working with the sister, getting supplies lists, etc. Martin decided to help Noah, and me Daniel. The boys both said they wanted to go to school, but when it came down to the first day of school, when I got back from visiting, 15 minutes before classes were about to start, neither of them were ready to go or even intending on going. I patiently talked with Daniel, who said he did not want to go because he did not have the uniform to wear, but then promised to go the next day. Slightly frustrated, I let him off the hook, but then did not give Noah much of an option, just told him to get ready and I was taking him. The next day, Martin and I started hounding the kids around 11 AM, but once again Daniel was refusing to go. Martin sat down and gave him a talk and finally Daniel stalked off to school, but was obviously angry at us. All of the other SMs kept commenting on how ungrateful the kids were being, but I just tried to let it roll off my back keeping in mind the home life the kids had. The next day though, I was out and about visiting and got back late to find that once again Daniel had skipped school and was out swimming, and that is when I snapped.

I do not think I can use the word love, to describe my feelings toward these two boys, but I definitely really liked them. I felt a certain since of responsibility for them. They had such awful lives, the reason I wanted them to go to school was so that they could continue their education and succeed in life. I wanted to instill in them the importance of education, so they could have a different mindset than all of the other people that we worked with on a daily basis. Everyone down here wants to go to America, because they want better lives, more things, etc. But what they do not understand is that the key to moving out of the slums is not finding an American to take you to America, it is getting an education. I could not understand why these two boys were not embracing the opportunity that we were putting before them. It hurt me to see that I was not making an impact enough upon them, that they were not embracing the vision, that they would grow up and live exactly as their parents did. I realized that in all reality I was not mad at them, I just ached inside because I knew that in not responding to this gift, they were deciding their future.

It was while I was still upset over the boys’ actions and attitudes that I had a “aha moment,” as a previous professor used to put it. I decided that God sometimes must feel a lot like the way I did. Here He sent His Son down to die for us and literally gives us the free gift of salvation as long as we accept it. But the thing is, many people don’t! How His heart must break, seeing us try every other thing in the world to find happiness. We think we truly know what is important and what will be us success in life, but in reality we don’t have a clue. God put everything in place; He gently guides us, but refuses to force us to do anything. He knows exactly how to make us happy, but He must give us the choice. I don’t think He ever gets angry at us, but just feels a great sense of loss and pain, when we don’t choose His way. The great thing is though, that He will never give up. He will forever have great aspirations for our lives and His grace is unfailing.

Who knows what will end up happening with these two boys, but I hope that through the experience that I had with them that no matter where I end up in life, that the most important thing is too maintain my relationship with Christ and daily except the gift of salvation He so freely gives us.

All for Show

Last Sunday my friend Martin and I went to visit a family that used to live near us, but then moved back to their town house with school starting again. This family runs the menu at a local school and feed about 2,000 students every day, wow and I thought it was bad to cook for 12! Keeping this in mind, they are a little bit better to do, but still not amazingly rich or anything. Anyways, from the moment we said yes to coming to visit them, they began bragging about everything they had and really building up the visit to their house.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the entire Sunday ending up feeling like a huge show, and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. I wanted to be appreciative and a good guest, but had to admit the whole thing was kind of humorous. When they put my clothes in the washer (which was brand new), they explained to me how the whole thing worked and then we all sat around and watched to clothes when it went to the spin cycle. I tried to act really stunned at this helpful clothes washing device as if I had never seen one in order not to look like a rich snobby American, but inside I was cracking up.

Next, they took me downtown and began telling me where everything was, even though I have been there more times than I can count. While in town, we stopped at Los Andes, the biggest import store in Pucallpa. I used to go there every day off to buy American things, but once again tried to act flabbergasted as the lady gushed on about how much stuff there was in this store. Occasionally she would stop and just look at things and ask what brand was better, as if she was actually going to buy something. She took me down every single aisle and explained to me where everything was.

By the end of the day, I was on the verge of telling them that I had already seen everything before, but didn’t want to offend the family. I felt bad that they felt that big of a need to impress us just because we were Americans.
I hope that I never become a person who is so focused on material items that I feel like I must show off everything I have in order to impress others. Because I tell you what, as nice as it was to use a washing machine and get to go to town, I would have liked hanging out with one of the local families in their shacks just as well. After a day with this family and seeing all that they had, I did not think of them as any better than any of my other families, in fact I think I thought a little less of them. What we have should never define us, what should matter is who we really are!

HERE THE PICTURES ARE!!! Got ear irragations with Melanie, picts of Iquitos, and Josue and I visiting in the rain!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Even though I am starting to count down the days left of this campaign, I dread saying goodbye to the people of 17 de Septiembre. No crazy experiences this last week, just life, the good the bad. Had a water/mud fight with a bunch of the kids which was a blast and a inspiring baptism, but also had a lot of families open up to us with their problems, which can be heartbreaking. As my time is starting to run out, I hope that I continue to take every opportunity to make a impact here.

This Thursday am heading to Iquitos for a long weekend to see friends and work at the project up there. Will fill you in on some details when I get back, in the meantime here are a few pictures!

(The pictures above include one of some of the people we baptized, Lauren with a little girl named...Brittany!, a few of us after the mud fight (I´m in the back if you can´t tell), us showing off our clean feet after a day of visiting, a vespers we had in our house when it was raining, our tent during a meeting, the police lined up after the riot calmed down, a few of us at my bday party, etc.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who Invented the Lightbulb?

So this past Wednesday we were visiting one of my favorite families. I guess I shouldn´t technically have favorites, but I truly love every one in this family from the three-year old boy who always wants to show me his ducks to the mom who always has a huge smile on her face. Anyways, we had just been invited by them to have some lunch and we were sitting around waiting for the food to be ready. Jose, who often likes to share little bits of knowledge about all different aspects of life, decided to talk to the oldest girl about the importance of taking the time to learn things.

He started off saying reading books is a great way to gain a lot of knowledge, and that we just need to try to fill our brains with good things. In order to illustrate this, he pointed up to the lightbulb and asked her who invented it. She of course didn´t know (people don´t even know much about the world wars and most can´t point out to peru to you on a map)so I was about to blurt out a answer when Jose said ISAAC NEWTON. He then went on to tell about how many failures he had before it worked. I had to seriously suppress my smile, but didn´t say anything because I didn´t want to make him feel stupid in front of this family. This was even better than his comment to one family that if they had lung problems they should drink milk in order to clean out their lungs. As soon as our visit was over I decided it was time to correct him. I smuggly reminded him that it was not Isaac Newton, but Albert Einstien...

Well, I had gotten such a kick out of the experience that I decided to tell the rest of the SMs that night when I came back for supper. As I shared the story and got to the part where I corrected him, another one of the guys busted out laughing. He then smuggly informed me that Albert Einstein did not invent the lightbulb, Thomas Edison did...Wow, now who felt like the complete idiot! As soon as he said it, I was like, man I knew that, what in the world was I thinking! It was too late though, I already had everyone rolling.

So lesson learned...pride most defiantely comes before fall!