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Does the Caterpillar Know?


Does the caterpillar know

When she must build a cocoon?

Does she know that she

Will one day be transformed?


Even if she does not know

Her instinct tells her what to do:

Build this cage to protect yourself

It’ll make you beautiful.


This time in a caterpillar’s life

Is just seen as a stage

Something she must go through

So that life may go on.


There are times in our lives

Where walls must be built

To protect who we are already

And to give us a safe place to grow.


Do not be discouraged

When you feel trapped or held back.

God has a purpose for this time

You’ll understand when you’re through.


From my first trip to Peru in 2009, my life has been an almost constant adventure. Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, California, Nevada, Colorado… Traveling and experiencing new things is a passion of mine, so having a full time corporate job in Grand Rapids, MI doesn’t quite match up to my dreams. But, besides the fact that having this job is a necessary step to start paying off my loans, God has been using this time to begin building walls around me – walls of protection and growth. Walls that will allow me to be transformed and bring clarity to what God has for me, and who I am in Christ. I wrote this poem a few weeks ago while at work, and I think I said it perfectly. I’ll understand this time when I’m through.


The Foolish…

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)

Oh, how these words ring true for me! The past few days I have been attempting to memorize Romans and the words in it remind me how foolish I am, how depraved, how weak, and how desperately lost I am without the saving power of Jesus Christ in my life. They remind me that I can NOT boast in myself, but only in the Lord. Yes, God has worked in me and has been changing me, but glory to God, that has nothing to do with my power OR even my will – but it is by God’s power and according to HIS will.

FOOLISH: I used to tell God that I couldn’t live without someone; I thought I could change myself; I tried to find loop-holes in the Word of God; I disobeyed my parents; And I sought the love and approval of man before God. [Because I did not see fit to acknowledge God (Rom. 1:28), He gave me up to dishonorable passions (1:26), to impurity (1:24), to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (1:28) – in other words, He let me do what I wanted and it ruined me. But then he started working in me, breaking me, disciplining me for His glory because He loves me and has freed me from my sins by his blood (Rev. 1:5).] And though I am still foolish, God has revealed to me truth thought His Word – and in a way, I shame those who believe themselves to be wise – those who deny God’s existence and His power. I am proof of His existence and one of the countless examples of how God’s power changes people.

WEAK: The effects of my sin left me broken, lonely, depressed, despised, worthless – but it was what I wanted, right? No prayer I prayed or willpower I put into changing could ever accomplish anything. But God used my sorrow and brokenness to change me and to form me into a vessel of mercy he could use. “When God has a plan for an individual, He often begins with discipline in the form of affliction and sorrow. Just as a good farmer cuts down the trees and clears the land before planting, God cuts down our trees of pleasure and pride, that our hearts may be plowed, broken, raked, and prepared to receive the good seed of the Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon). I am thankful that God brought the sins in my life to light, those that I had tried so hard to keep in the darkness. I am glad he brought me so low that I had no choice but to fall on my knees. My flesh is still very weak, but that does not matter because “When I am weak, He is strong” (1 Cor. 4:10). Even Paul struggled with his weaknesses. He begged God multiple times to remove “the thorn in his flesh,” possibly a physical affliction. But God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

LOW and DESPISED: I have definitely been low and despised, but I know that if I live for God, there is more to come. Especially if I am a TRUE Christian and live by what the Bible says, I know I will be despised and hated, even by some who claim to be Christians. But the more low and despised I am, the more God’s glory will be shown in me.

Therefore, because I am a fool, weak, low, and despised… I have nothing left to boast in other than my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and rightfully so. To all of you Christians who boast in yourselves, in your ministries, in numbers and figures of “souls saved”, in your successes, in anything other than the Lord, Shame on you. Because nothing succeeds without the Lord, and no one is saved unless God saves them, and you… well, YOU are less than NOTHING without Him. We live in an age where the god of self reigns supreme, where the creature is worshiped and served rather than the creator (Rom. 1:25), where we are encouraged to be empowered and believe in ourselves, and where so many people deny God the credit he deserves. We need to remember that we are nothing without God and that nothing happens because of our power, but because of HIS.

“To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Phil. 4:20).

Shaw Family Ministry Video

This is the first version of the Shaw’s Update Slideshow I made for them. I am going to make some shorter and some more in depth movies of specific ministries. Praise God that it worked to upload this video on youtube – it took all night! Check out the Shaw’s youtube site and their website.

The Miracles I See

It’s a miracle how everything seems to die under the winter snow,
But spring arrives and plants continue to grow.
It’s a miracle how a child in the womb never breathes air,
Until she is born and she is suddenly aware.
It’s a miracle how you spoke and the earth had no choice,
It was set into motion at the sound of your voice.
But of all the miracles that I can see,
The greatest miracle is what you’ve done in me.


I am working on a Ministry video for the Shaws. I love making movies, but it’s a whole different thing when you make them for others. Yes, I am enjoying it, and yes, I can still use my creativity, but it does require a lot of communication and working together with the Shaws, which can be difficult and time consuming. Please pray that I would get this video done soon (and a more in depth one later) so the Shaws will have this resource available for their supporting churches. Pray that I would get it done soon!


My visa expires mid-October and every day after it expires, I will have to pay $1 to stay in Peru… Since I wanted to go to Bolivia again anyway, it makes sense if I go soon. At the end of October, I am most likely going to be traveling back to Bolivia to see the Olsons again (including Danae – yay!). If so, I would probably take the bus to Arequipa by myself and I am hoping to travel to Puno with Marta. Danae said she would meet me in Puno… but as of now, everything is up in the air (so to speak). Pray that I would figure things out and most importantly, that God would lead me where he wants me to be. If I do go to Bolivia, I would volunteer at the orphanage and possibly with street children for two weeks and then travel with the Olsons a few places as well.


I wrote my newsletter for the fall! If you would like to download it, click here -> Sumaq Chakikuna. It is called Sumaq Chakikuna, which means *Beautiful feet* in Quechua. As you may know, I love writing. It seems like I haven’t had much time to write lately, but the other day, I randomly came up with a whole storyline and now I really want to write. It’s about a girl who is married as a child in India and becomes a widow at a young age. Isaiah 54 was kinda my inspiration for this idea (to read Isaiah 54, open your Bible or click here). I will let you know if I actually start writing it.

Old Friends

Being here in Peru, it is so hard to keep up with people, especially old friends! Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to talk to people from thousands of miles away, and if they are avid facebook users, you can know some of their daily activities and who they’ve been hanging out with lately. It sometimes makes it hard to be so far away from those who are or who were at one point a big part of my life, but I need to realize that there is a time and a season for everything… There are people here in Cotahuasi who I am developing relationships with right now, and I know that when I come back to the States in January, I will focus more on my relationships there. It does not mean that I care less about anyone simply because I have not seen them for a period of time. I am learning that more and more each day. Besides, I have the best friend ever who is always with me – Jesus Christ, my savior. 🙂

Flowers, Please!

The Shaw's front yard is full of beautiful flowers.

A group of kids walk up to your door and ask for flowers. You have a yard full of beautiful flowers, plenty that will wilt if you don’t pick them soon. What would you do?

Answering the door...

The answer should be pretty simple, but it isn’t. The only time kids come to the Shaw’s door and ask for flowers is when there is a fiesta going on and they want to bring flowers as an offering to the Catholic idols there. Peru is basically a Catholic country, with more than 75% of it’s population declaring themselves Roman Catholic (81.3% in the 2007 Census).

This being so, idolatry is acceptable and even encouraged here. There is a Catholic church in almost every village in Cotahuasi Canyon, and there are idols in each one.

Idols in the Catholic Church of Aguas Calientes

Well, wait a minute – you may ask – don’t Catholics have the Ten Commandments? They do….but they are, let’s just say, modified. Take a look at these two photos. The first is the Catholic Ten Commandments and the second is the Biblical Ten Commandments.

The Catholic Ten Commandments

The Biblical Ten Commandments

Notice that the second commandment is deleted, and the tenth commandment is spit in two: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods” in order to still have 10 commandments. (Those Catholics are pretty sneaky…) Here in Peru, there is yet another twist. Instead of splitting the 10th commandment into two commandments, the Catholic Ten Commandments here simply changed the second commandment about idolatry into “Sanctificad las fiestas,” literally “Sanctify the parties.”

Not only is idolatry now acceptable, but Peruvians are encouraged to attend the drunken parties and honor the Catholic idols there. In fact, as I type this right now, there is a fiesta going on. Soon there’s to be a bull fight too, and a lot of the children we invited to Kid’s Club today are going to that. We’ll see if any kids show up to Kid’s Club… If not, it’s most likely that they are “Sanctifying the Party.”

Bowing Down to an Idol: I took this picture here last year. Read Exodus 20:4-5.

The Bible is clear in its stance against Idolatry. Read Exodus 20:4-5, Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 4:16, 16:22, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9. It is difficult to know how to respond to a culture that is blinded by the crooked religion of Catholicism (and native religions with the worship of nature and Mother Earth – Pachamama). We do know, however, that the Bible is the Word of God, and Catholicism has attempted to conform the Bible to man, instead of man conforming the truth of the Bible to himself. Acts 5:29 says that “we must obey God, rather than men.”

Pray for the ministry here in Cotahuasi – pray that God would guide us in how to respond to a culture deeply rooted in Idolatry.

It's difficult to know how to respond...

Tell me your thoughts! Also, let me know if you have any ideas for future blog posts. Thanks!

† Raquel Gozo †

Update (after Kid’s Club): One kid showed up at the beginning and by the time Kid’s Club was ending, there were five kids altogether. There’s a small glimmer of hope afterall! 😛


I have been in Cotahuasi, Peru for almost two months now – it has been an incredible summer! Britalia is now back in the states and has started her senior year at Grace Bible College. I sent out a newsletter in late July and am going to start writing another soon. If you would like a copy of either newsletter, comment below with your e-mail address.

A typical week in Cotahuasi looks like this:

Everyday, I cook Breakfast, read my Bible, and occasionally work on media for the ministry and do small chores. We often play volleyball in the early evening.

Monday: In the afternoon, we sometimes visit the Hogar (Boy’s Home) and help with homework. Monday night, Brad teaches an advanced Bible/Theology study to some of the brothers.

The Hermanos studying at the Advanced Bible Study.

Tuesday: In the morning, I study for Bible study. Brad teaches the Men’s Bible study in the morning and Gina teaches the Woman’s Bible Study in the afternoon. I take part in the Woman’s Bible Study. We are studying “La Verdad Del Hombre” or “The Doctrine of Man”.

Wednesday: Janelle calls it “a day for visiting people”. In the afternoon, we visit the Hogar to help with homework. At night, we have prayer meeting at church.

The Boys from the Hogar making monkey faces 🙂

Thursday: We have Club de Niños (Kid’s Club) in the afternoon. Lately, we have been leaving on Thursday morning to visit villages. Last week, we went to Maghuanca, a village 2.5 hours up canyon, and spent the night at the school there. At night, the hermanos (brothers) ministered to the community, sharing the gospel, singing, and showing a few video clips of Christian testimonies. Other times, they have shown the Jesus Film in Quechua. We spent the night at the school. This Thursday, we are going to Charcana, a village a few hours down canyon.

Me with some of the kids at Club de Niños

Friday: Here in Cotahuasi, we have youth group in the evening. If we spent the night in a village like last week, we usually do kid’s club in the morning. Janelle does the main teaching, but I have been helping more and more each time as I learn more Spanish. We have been teaching on and making the “Wordless book bracelet”, which tells the story of the gospel by the colors of the beads on a bracelet. We sing songs, tell the story, have them color pictures, and make the bracelets. Last Thursday, Brad also taught the children about the importance of the Bible – being the very word of God. Occasionally, we leave on Friday to go to villages instead of Thursday.

Janelle and I teaching in Maghuanca

Saturday: This can be a day to relax or visit people. We sometimes come back from villages or make day trips to villages on this day as well.

Visiting on the Shaw’s Front Porch

Sunday: We have church in the morning and in the evening. We have gone to Huillac on Sunday morning as well – Hermana (Sister) Rosa goes to Huillac every Sunday morning to teach kid’s club and to have a Woman’s Bible Study there.

Sunday Morning Kid’s Club in Huillac

Please pray for the Shaw’s ministry in the Cotahuasi Canyon, and pray for me during my time here. I go home on January 9 so I can attend the Spring semester at Grace Bible college. Please comment with your email if you would like the newsletters, and feel free to write me at If you would like to check out the Shaw’s facebook page: click here, or their website: click here. Thank your for your support in prayers!

† Raquel Gozo

Two Days…

Hello Everyone!

The time is fast approaching when Britalia and I leave! (Sunday at 1:00) We have been extremely busy with finals, typing lectures, and last minute preparation for this summer! We still have two long days ahead of us filled with “Blomberg” – the professor we’ve been typing as a freelance job. We are finally done with School for this semester! I’m pretty sure that without your prayers and God’s help, we wouldn’t have made it (seriously!)

Wednesday night, we went to Olive Garden with the parentals! They’ve never met each other and they had a great time! (They even said they might hang out sometime without us). It was kind of like a last (fancy) supper with them. With all this work I have to do, I haven’t had the time to realize that I will really miss everyone! I’m sure Britalia feels the same way.

I would like to thank you all for your support and prayers! I will try to update this blog while we’re in South America and during the weekend I come back for my friend, Amanda’s wedding (May 21-23). In Florida, we will not have internet (or any electricity for that matter). If you would like to send us a letter or check out the HEART institute’s website, go here: The address of HEART is under the “contact” tab.

The weather here in Michigan has been great (53˚ today, 47˚ tomorrow, 59˚ sunday), but I must say, the weather in Lake Wales, FL seems a little bit more desirable (maybe a little bit past desirable). Here is the weather forecast, just so you all know what we’ll have to go through down in Florida.

May 09
Partly Cloudy 89°/67° 10 %
May 10
Partly Cloudy 87°/68° 20 %
May 11
Partly Cloudy 89°/69° 20 %
May 12
Partly Cloudy 90°/69° 10 %
May 13
Partly Cloudy 90°/68° 10 %
May 14
Sunny 90°/69° 0 %
May 15
Sunny 90°/69° 0 %
May 16
Partly Cloudy 89°/69° 10 %

Hope you all have a wonderful few weeks, and Dios te bendiga! Read your Bibles and pray mucho! LOVE, Rachel Joy

(BTW, here’s a picture of us and some of the girlies at school, We’ll miss you all!)

So soon.

In seven days, Britalia and I will be flying to the HEART institute in Lake Wales, FL. We will be there for three weeks, then spend 5 days with a family friend of hers. On June 2, we will take an Amtrak from Orlando to Miami and fly that night from Miami to Santa Cruz, Bolivia (with a stop in Lima, Peru). This is just the beginning of our adventures during the summer! Hopefully I will have time to edit this website and keep you all updated! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we are preparing for this summer and have our exams this week!

Blessings, Rachel Joy