Gerry & Julie Gutierrez' Update
November 2, 2013
We came to Lima for the 18th National Prayer Breakfast and what a wonderful experience this was for my first time here.
From Lima we came to Huanta. Gerry preached this past Sunday to his little flock that was thirsty and hungry for the Word. Gerry asked me to speak to the congregation and tell them a little about myself. Of course Gerry translated. I felt the acceptance and love of the entire congregation.
As I sit here now on Saturday morning looking out over the Andes Mountains I am once again reminded of God’s creations, all majestic and breathtakingly beautiful. The rooster crows again and even though I have not met or seen this rooster I have decided to adopt him. Perhaps because this takes me back to my childhood and while visiting my Amish grandparents was always awakened by the crow of a rooster.
Each new day I am feeling more at home here in Huanta. Each day is a new experience just like that of a great adventure. Gerry has taught me the importance and need of starting each day in the Word. He is a wonderful teacher and leads by example. His day always starts in the Word and immediately following he journals his first thoughts. He coined the phrase, “We must squeeze the lemon”, thereby getting every drop of wisdom from each chapter and verse of the Scriptures.
It is amazing to me how throughout the day all that we read in the morning is realized in each passing moment, in the big and the small events. Gerry has taught me how to be serious in the matters of the Lord’s work and yet at the same time be like little kids and enjoy life with the innocence of a child-like heart.
I have come to positively love Peruvian food! Gerry would boast of the delicious flavors with variety of all kind and absolute freshness and now I see why. My taste buds have been introduced to a whole new world. Being a Lancaster County girl I always believed potatoes were made famous in Idaho. I was wrong – they originated in Peru. There are1500 varieties of potatoes. We start the day with fresh bread and freshly squeezed orange juice. From there we enjoy fresh eggs, potatoes, avocado, peppers and many other interesting foods.
Gerry loves to take me to Market downtown. We just are like kids going through all the fruits, vegetables, grains and breads. Everyone at the stands knows Gerry and so we always get special attention. And you can bet Gerry knows how to select the cream of the crop. And I must tell you he loves to buy me flowers and we enjoy the heavenly aroma of roses as they grace our dining room table.
I stand in awe of the many stories Gerry has of his childhood, teenage and adult years here in Huanta. Yesterday we visited his little hometown of Maynay. We went to the house where he was born and I stood in the same spot where his grandfather stood to shave in the morning. We walked the grounds and saw the beautiful orchards where Gerry as a child would indulge in the most delicious fruits of all kinds. He would start at one end eating his way to the other going from tree to tree. To quote Gerry, “At one time this orchard was like The Garden of Eden.”
We have yet to walk the streets or patronize the many shops and restaurants without someone coming up to us to greet and welcome Gerry home. I have witnessed the hope Gerry puts in the eyes of his people – they love, respect and honor him. The word is out around town that we are here and people are saying they will be in church Sunday to hear him preach, and many are coming for the first time.
I have a deep sense of being called to Peru. Gerry does too. When he left suddenly with two pieces of luggage 3 years ago after Ruth broke her leg, they settled down in Chattanooga. He had no idea what would become of his little flock in Peru – this is now becoming clearer. We want only to be wherever God calls; the rest is just geography and details. It is clear to me that Huanta needs Gerry and I stand honored and humbled to help and to serve in any way that I am able.
Last evening Gerry and I and German made a visit to the local police headquarters. Gerry needed to introduce German to the chiefs as his colleague because of a terrorist threat by phone to the local Radio Amauta Station where German is the director. But in a New York minute Gerry took the opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus. There we sat looking at the police chief and the city judge and commander and of course German the pastor. What I saw were 3 men sitting on the edge of their seats holding fast and clinging to every word with wide eyes and ears and hearts open to receive. It was an amazing moment to witness. An hour later all 3 men said they along with their wives would attend church Sunday to hear Gerry preach. One man walked us to the car and could not stop hugging and thanking Gerry.
So up and down the streets we walk and I continue to witness people of all ages from little tykes to teenagers to the elderly reaching out to Gerry and you can know, he always has a word of encouragement tailored specifically for each person’s need of hope, joy, love and encouragement. I am so very proud of my husband! I particularly recall one elderly man as he approached Gerry, he just hugged and lay his head on his chest and stayed there as if Lazarus was being comforted in the bosom of Abraham. Just amazing!
Halloween is celebrated here in Huanta so we took advantage of the opportunity to be a blessing. As Gerry would say, “We have been blessed and so a blessing we must be.” We took bags of candy along with several food items and visited many brothers. We would pull up to the houses situated on the narrow streets and knock on the door and sure enough, a family would come out and the moment they would see Gerry’s face from the dim street lights they would break into a smile. I know something about human nature and can tell you this visit from Gerry would leave these families feeling loved, cared for and respected. I have been humbled to witness such love. I am surrounded by the love of Jesus carried out in the same humble way as I walk with Gerry.
Gerry asked if I miss Lancaster, my hometown, and my life there. And of course I do miss family and dear friends however I can say with conviction, I have no doubt whatsoever I am right where God wants me to be and have been called. I shared with my husband the inner sense I have had these past several years of God working in my heart. I sensed God saying to me, “Julie, prepare your field for I have plans for you”. I always believed one day I would leave Lancaster to embark on a new life but I had no idea it would be one so amazing and with such a wonderful man that loves and follows Jesus. God has given me a joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.
Gerry and I have seen from the very beginning God’s handprints upon our union. We grow closer each day with new appreciation for our blessings excited always to see how God will use us for his glory. Life cannot get any better than this and as Gerry would say, “No way”.
I am blessed amongst women!
For HIS glory,
PS. Please pray as Gerry prepares to preach to a full house tomorrow. Most of them are authorities and leaders of a one hundred thousand-inhabitant city.
PSS. Just as we were about to close this letter a knock came to the door. There stood a family with children asking to visit with us gifting us with a bag of green eggs and avocado, fresh from their farm.. They proceeded to tell Gerry how much he is missed and in his absence over the years they have gone astray. They pleaded while nearly in tears for us to come back and lead again in the footsteps of Jesus. They will do everything they can from their part.