Aniversario de Anta

This week is the anniversary of Anta, the valley or region we’re in. Yesterday and today were holidays: banks and post offices and other businesses closed.

They have far more holidays here than in the States. It seems they are eager to take a break from work.

This holiday is a big deal for the area. There are dances and festivals and special markets. People dress up and take part in parades that block off the main streets for extended periods.

The Incas worshiped various aspects of nature, and many of those customs are still part of the people’s celebrations. They will offer sacrifices to the earth, thanking it for giving them life and asking for good crops. There are many superstitions during fiestas. People live in constant fear lest they get caught in one of their many myths.

We are warned not to touch moths that fly in the day, or someone we love will die. We can’t catch frogs or toads because they are sacred; catching them brings bad luck. We shouldn’t have certain succulents as house plants because they will bring evil spirits into the house. And they warn us to watch the stars and the moon for how things will go.

It is sad to see how fearful they are of so many wonderful things. If they would learn to know Jesus, they could have love that casts out all fear and peace that passes man’s understanding. How much better to be safe in the arms of the Creator than to live in terror of creation!

I was with Rafael this afternoon again. He seems to look forward to our times together and our discussions, reminding me so I don’t forget.

Recently, Daniel dropped in for the night out of the black. He wanted to use our internet and to have a bed. The next morning he tried to sell us Spanish romance novels and German horror stories. I wasn’t interested, but I did notice one book I wanted: Un Líder Cómo Jesús.

I mentioned to Rafael that I had bought it. He was rather excited about borrowing it from me, which was a surprise. I recommended we read it together aloud. He immediately said yes.

So for the past couple of weeks we’ve been reading about how to be servant leaders like Jesus. We read awhile, then discuss what we’ve read. This is great practice for my Spanish and excellent biblical study for him.

We’re both enjoying it quite a lot; though, Rafael is a hard teacher. He is constantly criticizing my pronunciation and lets very little slide. I am finally starting to speak in paragraphs, which is exciting. I wish I could more freely talk because he has a lot of questions, but we’re getting there poco a poco.

The past many sermons I’ve given have been edited by Rafael. He doesn’t come to church because he and Elisabet keep their store open on Sundays, but he always gets my sermon anyway. We’ve had some good discussions from those. Currently, I’m working through a series of sermons from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. There’s much in there that Rafael is not obeying, but I can see God is speaking to his heart.

The rain comes nearly every day now, sometimes as a mist, sometimes as a torrent. The upstairs room the boys are in started leaking again. We gathered buckets of water.

I discovered one of the repairs actually created a deep-ish bowl that filled up and then poured into the boys’ room. I didn’t feel I could safely repair it myself, so I asked Rafael for help. He came Saturday and helped me pull up the repairs and the old piece to replace them with one new piece. No leaks again!

Afterward, we had a pizza supper, followed by a game of Monopoly that lasted until after 11:00. Steph won, of course. Elisabet wasn’t feeling super well and ended up sleeping a couple hours on our couch. It was a fun evening, but we remembered why we play Monopoly only once every few years.

Lamar has been in the States for two weeks, helping his family with an estate sale of his parents’ things. His mother is in glory, and his father lives with one of Lamar’s brothers, so it was time to consolidate things. They also did extensive remodeling of the house in preparation for renting it out. Sounds like they had an intense time. Joel went along with him.

That left me as the only fellow here. I was really glad for my times with Rafael because I felt pretty alone without Lamar. The ladies stuck to themselves a fair bit as they waited out the two weeks, so the time seemed to drag on for me.

In this case, absence made the heart grow fonder. I’m eager for him to be back, and I’m happy that’s tomorrow.

One thing I was glad for while he was gone was to have to be busy with church. I did the entire service alone for two weeks–well, Dane picked up the offering. But the busyness in the Word was good for my mind. However, I do feel a little tired after three sermons in a row in an as-yet foreign language. I’ll be thrilled to hear Lamar preach again.

¡Vaya con Dios!