I look back at my life before Peru, and it was so different. My identity was in my accomplishments - how good I did in school, the music I wrote, or how well I played oboe. I was the girl who liked classical music, or the genius girl.
Then came Peru. Where I overcame my anxiety disorder. Where God stretched me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually more than I'd ever been stretched before. Where my life was changed forever by three special needs children. Where I made some of the best friends I've ever had. Where I learned to dance in the streets no matter what people thought of me. Where I got sick as a dog and learned to trust that God would take care of me.
I remember when I came back, I woke up every morning thinking I should be getting on a bus. I was distraught, confused, hurt. What was I doing in America? I was useless here. I needed to go back. I missed waking up with my teammates. I missed doing the Lord's will in tangible ways every morning. I remember tearing up every time I head the Cupid Shuffle, because we'd danced to it to attract people to street evangelize to. I cried when I heard "You Never Let Go" because that had been our team song.
But I had one song that I listened to all the time, because it just felt like it expressed me perfectly. Tedashii's Transformers.
You can see the way I've changed,
New swag, new talk, new phrase.
I'm not who I used to be.
Transformed, man, you should get used to me.
That's how I felt - transformed. I was a completely different person, and I wanted people to see it. I wanted people to know that God had changed me. My identity wasn't found in grades or music anymore. My identity was in who God had made me. My identity was God's daughter, who was passionately alive for his children, who were orphans in this world.
I've changed so much, it's almost unbelievable to look back and see it.
And now I'm going back. I was almost too busy to be excited for a while. I was incredibly stressed about getting enough money for the China deadline, and I had some passport problems to sort out. But now that that's all over, I realize how incredibly excited I am to see my Peruvian "family" again!
It is surreal to me that I will be in Peru in 11 days. Please be praying for my team as we prepare to leave. That God will give us peace and unity. That we will not have any preconceived expectations, but that we will be overjoyed with whatever God has in store for us. That we will fulfill God's mission for us in the five days we'll be there, regardless of whether it matches our mission or not.