It was a bit difficult, at first, to get adjusted to different people, a different climate and different food. I admit I got a bit homesick some days.
As I started opening up to the people around me, loving them and making time for them, our relationship started growing. I did not know that it would be so difficult to say goodbye.
Sunday, the church held a farewell meal for me. People from church brought me gifts and thanked me for serving there. In the evening service, the pastor asked me to come forward so that they could thank me as a church and pray for me. Before praying, he asked if I wanted to say anything to the church.
I spoke about some of the difficulties I had faced and talked about all the wonderful people I had met. I thanked them for opening not only their homes to me, but also their hearts. I could not stop the tears that started rolling down my cheeks.
At the beginning of this month, I was happy that I soon would be home with my family and friends. But now I was sad again, because I was going to leave behind all my new friends.
I have learned to love my host family as my own. Since I got here, they supplied all my needs and tried making this place my home. When I had a stomachache, the pastor’s wife made me some tea to make me feel better. Whenever I was feeling down, some of the girls would come and take me out to talk.
Oh, how beautiful it was for me to see the love of Christ. Only a person that has the love of Christ can reflect that same love on others. I thank God for bringing me here to serve. As I continue serving in missions, I see that this will keep happening wherever I go.
Farewells will always hurt, but there’s no greater reward than to know that your family in Christ keeps on extending and that that very love will keep on pouring on to others.
Janet Ruiz, a student at the University of Texas-Pan American, is serving with Go Now Missions in Peru.