6 More Months in Peru
Can you believe we only have 6 months left in our 2-year commitment in Peru? It feels like just yesterday we were exploring the local farmer’s market for the first time and I was struggling to speak a basic sentence in Spanish. Now we have our local spots, I’m teaching 6 classes fully in Spanish, and Julian has gotten into a routine at the hospital. As our time in Peru is coming to an end, we wanted to tell you all about our next adventure and where we feel God is calling us in this next season of life.
Some of you may know, moving back to Latin America has always been a dream of Julian. As he grew up in Chile, Latin America feels like home to him and serving the underserved was a passion he developed pretty young, so being a missionary made sense from early on. And for me this has all been a new experience of basically jumping off a cliff and believing God would catch me and hopefully teach me how to fly. I believe He truly has! These two years in Peru have shaped the people we are today; we came here as wide eyed newly-weds wanting to impact the world in a huge way, following God wherever He would be. We have seen God’s faithfulness like never before. We have felt isolated, seen and dealt with some of our lack of faith, pride, self-pity, and ugliness, and have grown closer and stronger individually and as a couple through these 2 years in these mountains of Peru.
We knew God had called us to Peru for 2 years under Samaritan’s Purse, and our plan was to continue to serve in Latin America (more specifically Dominican Republic) after that for the rest of our lives. But we didn’t realize that God had something different planned for our next season.
Honestly, as time went by in Peru, I started questioning whether we were supposed to live in Latin America for the rest of our lives. As Julian and I talked about the future and our passions, I realized more and more that God was giving me a passion to mentor young women. Also the more I lived in Peru, the more I felt that we were supposed to be back in the States. It was scary to have a dream like that, to know that these dreams contradicted what Julian and I already planned for our lives. It was scary to admit that I didn’t know if I was called to live overseas for the rest of my life, or even for the next season. Luckily my husband is amazing, and though he may not have always agreed nor were our plans/dreams matching at that time, he listened and did not shut down my dreams. Instead, he dreamed with me, and we asked God to mesh together our dreams together somehow.
(Julian) It’s so funny to re-tell this story of how we were asking God “what’s next?” and how He answered us specifically, but I felt like every married person I talked to about this already understands what I went through. See at first, as a single man, I was on a speedboat towards my destiny of lifelong overseas mission work. But when I got married all of the sudden I was in a canoe with two oars, with Devyn holding the other oar. We had to figure out how to row together and as I saw my speedboat dream of living forever in Latin America slip away, I felt as if Devyn was wrong and as if she had to listen a bit harder to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit (and start rowing a bit my way LOL). Thankfully, she just didn’t allow herself to be bullied into what I wanted because I know we would have missed out on where God was calling us for the next season. Like literally one day as we were both walking up the hill to the hospital after a nice dinner with another missionary family, I felt God tell me “you are not supposed to convince her of where she needs to be in the future, that’s my job, and if I want you guys to stay in Latin America forever, then I will make that happen, not you…” Fast forward a bit to the M3 Medical Missions Conference in Houston (Feb 2019), while sitting in a break-out session I realized that I was always trying to make a deal with God that as long as He followed my wishes, then I would follow Him. But God wanted all of me, not a 50/50 split. So going back to the States would be 100% God and 0% Julian. And I know some of you are probably thinking “well, serving as missionaries overseas does sound a bit more holy or important than coming back to the USA” which is exactly how I felt too, but the truth is that God doesn’t need US to be completely faithful to the people in Peru (or Latin America). He was here before we came and He will be here after we leave. But He WILL do anything to have our hearts over everything else, which is why I think He has me going back to the States for the next season. This all leads to the next point that since the very beginning, Devyn and I were both asking God to lead our boat, and we would do ANYTHING to get to be part of the story of God’s love for humanity, and it seems to us that our next part in the play is back in Houston. And who knows if we'll ever be missionaries overseas again (I am not holding my breath), just excited to see where God will take us.
So, as we are finishing our adventure in the mountains of Peru, we know God is calling us back to good ol’ Houston, Texas! We feel strongly that God has something special and unique there just for us. We also feel strongly that we will continue to be missionaries but in this season our mission field happens to be in the United States.
We would love your continued prayers and support as we end this chapter in our lives and prepare for the next. Though we are sure this is where God has us for the next season, we are still praying through what exactly our lives in Houston will look like, where we will work, where we will live, when to start a family, and how we will adjust back to life, but also to bring back some of the lifestyle we developed here in Peru. We know God is in control of it all but your prayers help when human doubts and fears creep in.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this time, you have truly been a blessing not only in our lives but in the lives of many students, patients, and families here in Peru.
As we end our missionary term through Samaritan’s Purse, we are still personally needing financial help with the transition back to Houston (our missionary funds cannot go towards this purpose). So, if you would like to support us or continue supporting us for these final 6 months, we would ask that you would personally support us through our VENMO/Paypal/CashApp accounts (listed below) instead of through Samaritan’s Purse.
We are so excited to finish out strong and see what’s in store for this next season!
With so much love,
Devyn and Julian Swanson