This is a guest post from one of our Peru Team members, Stephanie Reed.

Before we came to Peru I was a little nervous about how I would be feeling and how I would handle the culture shock. Now that I have been here a couple of days and been able to spend some time with the people, I feel blessed and am so grateful that I am here experiencing everything that God has in store for me. I am feeling extremely humbled and loved. Seeing all of the different living conditions has been sad and somewhat shocking. I never thought that I would go into houses in the same city and have such extreme differences.

Typical neighborhood in Negritos, Peru

However, for me, the biggest impact hasn’t been the living conditions. It has been the way we have been treated while we’ve been here. I am amazed by the amount of love and hospitality that we have been shown by the people in Negritos. Today we got the privilege of delivering a bed to a little girl that has spine problems and needed a good bed a mattress because of her condition. After we set up her bed and were getting ready to leave, she gave my daughter, Shellbie, a present. It was a cute little mirror that she had made in school, and I could see on her face how excited she was to give this gift to Shellbie. It was so precious to see the kindness of this little girl. The wonderful hospitality has made the biggest impression on me.

Delivering a new bed in Negritos, Peru

Shelbie gets a gift

Over and over I have seen people want to give us gifts from their home when we are the ones that are supposed to be here helping, giving and loving on them. I have thought more then once this week, if someone were to come into my home would I show that same love and kindness? If someone were to come to ThornCreek would we give them the same welcome that the people in Negritos gave us? Would the church be so full that people have to stand outside because we are so excited that people have come to help us?

Packed church to receive our ThornCreek Team

The other thing that has warmed my heart is that all of the little children are so excited to see Shellbie. Even though she looks nothing like them and can’t speak their language, they don’t look at her differently, and they don’t judge her. They want to know everything about her. They want to touch her hair and play with her and there is no judgment like we often experience at home.

Shelbie playing with the kids of Negritos, Peru

I know that God’s love and presence is here, and I believe that God wanted Shellbie and I to know that there are many people that love you regardless of how “different” you may appear.  I am so thankful to be here and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will be like. I already know that I will have memories that will stay with me forever.

Stephanie Reed