For me as a thirteen-year-old bread was a big part of my life. How could anybody live without bread? That was the big question I asked myself on my first mission trip to the jungle.
When Jesus was tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread, he reminded him that “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). That “bread” we were bringing to the village — the Bread of Life! They needed that life-giving bread, but in my opinion they also needed the regular bread.
No bread for breakfast? That’s when I learned that yucca-root is a very good substitute for bread. But at that time I did not think it was good. When you try yucca for the first time it seems to stick to your gums. But now I love it! Like it or not, there was no bread in the village, but plenty of yucca. It was either eat yucca or starve. I guess I ate the yucca because here I am. Obviously I didn’t starve to death!
My father use to visit villages in the Andes to hold Bible studies. On one of these occasions, when there was a conference scheduled in Cedruyo, I got to go with him. We had to drive as far as the road went, then leave the car in a village and ride mules the rest of the way, on very narrow paths winding around the mountains, with steep precipices.
I was scared to get on the mule but Dad made me do it. I wouldn’t have been able to walk for hours. It was rainy and muddy. We arrived dirty and tired. Dad asked for water so we could wash up and the kind Indian ladies offered to wash our feet. I didn’t mind but Dad had a hard time accepting that kind gesture.
The room we were assigned to sleep in had only three walls—it was open to the village square. People came and sat around when we were going to go to bed. We felt like monkeys in a zoo. How do monkeys feel?
As much as it was a novelty for me to eat yucca instead of bread, it was a novelty for them in the village to have the visit of a young white girl, tall as I was.
Another memory from that trip is that some people we met at the village where we left the car thought I was Dad’s wife. We tried to convince them otherwise but they wouldn’t believe us. Maybe I was his sister! Did I look so old or was it that Dad looked so young?
I don’t remember the details, but one of the mules was lost. Dad encouraged the villagers not to worry, because at it says in Isaiah 1:3 that “the ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger.” And sure enough, the estranged mule came wandering back! That’s a memory that has stuck with me.
Another thing, nothing that has to do with the conference we went to, but something fun we did back then. There were no color photographs but special water colors to color your own pictures. Here is a proof. A memory for generations to come, something fun for my grandchildren as a keepsake. Their “mormor” colored photographs! And this is my colored picture from my first mission trip.
Something fun I did over the weekend? I started a blog in Swedish to post my parent’s “adventures” during their missionary life. For my Swedish-speaking friends, go to peruguld.wordpress.com. It’s called Guld i Peru, which means Gold in Peru. Peru has gold treasures from the times of the Incas, but that’s not the treasures I’m referring to. The gold is all the beautiful people that they have had the privilege of preaching the Gospel to. I’m planning on doing a similar blog in Spanish. English? Well, it will be my story.
And this is my short story of a trip that taught me a big lesson. If there is no bread to be had, have some yucca!