I left off in my last post that Bear and I continued to pray for open doors and closed doors. In fact, we devoted time to prayer every single night together for months because we did not want to make the wrong decision. We didn’t want our own desires to be what brought us to Peru; we wanted to be placed there only if it would be the place where we would be used most effectively.
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One afternoon I had the bus take me to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of The Locust Effect: How the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. Bear had seen it advertised on International Justice Mission’s Facebook page, and he really wanted to read it. I thought it sounded great so I picked it up for him. The problem was when I picked it up for him, I actually didn’t put it down until I finished reading it. Then I let him read it. The book was completely gut-wrenching, but it made me yearn for the pursuit of helping people in developing worlds. Of course, I was captured when I read about a girl named Yuri from northern Peru who went through such an injustice I couldn’t help but cry through the entire chapter; and after I cried, I instantly wanted to move to her community and help in whatever measly American way I could. It was during this book where I really felt God began to teach me about who I am and who I am becoming. I have a hunger for justice and a heart so ready to love and help children that I would sell everything I own just to do so. (It’s amazing how public transportation can shape you if you take the time to read and to be silent and to pray.)
* * *
Peru kept beating strongly on our hearts. Even the word “Peru” started popping up every where. It’s funny the way that works once you’ve become aware of something.
I was hesitant to bring the Peru thing up to my mom because she likes for her kids to be close. It’s bad enough that I live in Colorado, but I thought my mother would have a heart attack if I told her we might be spending an extended period of time in Peru. I was nervous, but this was something we had been praying about; and we trusted that God would start closing doors if it wasn’t meant to be. She was visiting Colorado back in December, and we found the perfect opportunity to bring it up to her while out to dinner one night. I brought it up, and she was like,
My mom does this thing when she’s excited where her eyes pop out of her head just a little. Okay, not really, but they open so wide. It’s easy to tell when she’s actually excited and when she’s faking it.
“Really?” she said. “You should go! I mean, I’m not telling you to leave, but you should do it!”
I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting for her to respond so positively. She was so supportive and not for a second did Bear or I think she was trying to manipulatively (but lovingly) talk us out of it. Awesome.
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The next person I was nervous to tell was my sister, D. She gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy the May before, and I just knew she would be sad if I told her I was going to be further away. Not only was I nervous to hear her reaction, but I was talking myself out of it because I didn’t want to be further away from K-Man. I miss this little guy so much as it is, and if I got any grief from my sister about it (confirming my hesitations) it’s possible I’d talk Bear and I out of going. But do you know what she said without a moment of hesitation?
“Sam! That’s amazing! You’ve always wanted to do this. You should do it. If this were just some random idea, I’d probably advise you to reconsider… but you’ve always wanted this.”
And when I said, “But what about K-Man?”
She said, “K-Man is a baby. He’s never going to remember you were gone so now’s the perfect time to go!”
Uhm, ok. That almost erased my initial hesitations. Thanks, sis.
* * *
For some of us, family is a huge deal and their opinions can easily sway. For others, the opinions of family members are relatively meaningless, and you might be wondering about the other doors that have opened for us.
So, to recap: Some random guy from Bear’s work bought both of our cars when they weren’t for sale, and he bought them for the price we wanted.
Enter: Bear at the scene with his employer.
“So… Hypothetically speaking… Let’s say you had a employee who got offered an opportunity to work for a children’s home overseas, like say… in Peru… If he or she wanted to keep working for you because he or she loves their job and doesn’t want to leave it, how would you feel about that… hypothetically speaking and all?” says Bear.
“So… you’re wondering if you can work remotely from Peru?” says Boss Man. “Yeah, I think we can arrange that.”
Uhm… OKAY! Except I should mention that I read Bear’s email to his employer/managers, and it was much more beautiful and inspiring and I am not giving him enough credit with my hypothetical scenario.
Basically, Bear gets to keep his job and work from Peru. The perk for us is we don’t have to sell our house, and the perk for his company is the opportunity to test security measures overseas (since they’d been wanting to anyway).
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Next, we were nervous to talk to Mama and Papa Bear about this opportunity. They’re not typically the type to support overseas anything. There’s plenty to do in our own towns, cities and states, and that’s only one reason they would typically advise someone not go abroad. So, we’d been doing a lot of praying about talking to them. Not to mention, they lived in our basement, and we felt so, SO bad about the potential idea of however that would look for them if we went to Peru. [Anyway, there is an amazing God story about the dates here involving the very hard thing we’ve been going through, but I won’t share because I would have to bring up a lot of things that wouldn’t make sense to people who may not know about all of this.] Anyway, a day came in January where we absolutely knew we would be able to make Peru happen. We still didn’t have all of the answers and didn’t know if we’d actually end up going, but we were certain it was a route we could take if we decided to. It was on that date we decided to tell his parents, and they didn’t tell us not to. This is a pretty big deal, especially for my father-in-law. (I’m not saying this to sound ill toward him. I’m being serious when I say this is completely unlike him, and his open-mindedness floored me that day. I like to think that our prayers prepared him for the news.) Anyway, we had a long conversation with them that night, and they told us they would start thinking about what their options were.
In the next couple months, we learned that their tenant situation with their house back in the midwest was turning sour, and they decided they would move back into it once she was gone. The sour situation may very well been part of the grand plan to put them in a comfortable situation before we decided to make any firm decisions about Peru. We felt good about this and were happy they’d be living in their own cozy home once again.
Around this time we met with R & R again to confirm our plans about going to Peru with them. We had some yummy dessert one night and talked about the realities of living in a developing world. We asked a million questions, and they gave us so many resources to help us decide what we’d like to do. We had a good conversation and looked forward to many more late night conversations with them, potentially in Peru.
Over the next couple of weeks we continued to pray. One day at the salon I actually had an opportunity to talk to my manager about where I was at with doing hair. Some changes had been made at the salon, and I was having a hard time working through them. She pulled me aside one day because she could sense I was having some issues with said changes, and I was able to confess to her that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do hair for the rest of my life. I cried it out actually, and she listened. She asked me what I would do if I could do anything in the world, and I told her I’d probably live in a foreign country working with kids. She told me I should do that. I mentioned to her that some opportunities had arose, and she asked me what was keeping me from pursuing them, and I basically responded by telling her fear was my main reason. She told me,
“You’re doing a disservice to yourself by not pursuing what you love.”
She told me to really think about it, and after we parted ways that day, I found her words ringing in my ears for the next few weeks.
As I sit here today I can say with ease that I’ve thought about it: I love doing hair. If I am going to live in the states and have a job, it’s going to be doing hair. I enjoy the art behind it. I really enjoy the salon I’m at, and more than that, I love my clients! I love making people feel beautiful and talking to them about their lives and about the things they love. My days of working in the hair industry have been amazing. I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve met along the way, and I’m a completely different person from who I was when I started in this industry. It’s been a great season, and now it’s time for a new season.
With that being said, we are moving to Peru for a bit!
Wow, I said it. It feels official in some kind of weird way, and I’m excited to be able to share our joy with more family, with friends and with readers (though you may be few).
The doors are continuing to open, and we are celebrating the adventures that await us!