Hi, I’m just writing to let you know what we’ve been up to in the last week or more since the last post. On Sunday the 12th the team and I left Ilo and Ite in the morning to travel to Arequipa. We arrived just after 2pm and got settled into a cheap but comfortable hostel. The aim of our stopover in Arequipa was primarily to allow the team to get gradually adapted to the altitude. When they last traveled to Puno all but the driver and Dave Murphy succumbed is some way to altitude sickness.
Arequipa proved to be a good time for the team to relax for two days. There was a lot of fun and we managed to visit the Roycrofts which gave both Andrew and Carolyn and the team a chance to get to know each other a bit better. Whilst in Arequipa I was able to see the doctor who has been treating me so far and she gave me the green light to travel to Puno (which is where I’m writing this from).
On Wednesday morning we departed for Puno. It’s a good road and the journey went well with a few pit stops for the toilet and also to take photos of the scenery and especially a few Vicuñas which were grazing close to the road. They are an endangered species but there is a reserve for them on the road between Arequipa and Puno.
Thankfully no one suffered any major problems with the altitude, just a little nausea which was quickly resolved. So thank you for your prayers in regard to this. We arrived in Puno around 15:30 and after meeting Pastor Jair Ventura, with whom we are presently working, we settled into our accommodation. It’s a little cramped but cozy. Our team consists of the 7 Misión Rescate team members, Freddie the minibus driver who was a member of last years M.R. team and myself. We are also accompanied by Luz Maria the Ite camp centre administrator who has been very helpful. In total that makes 10 of us and thankfully everyone has gelled and are working well together.
Jair is pastoring the Missionary Alliance Evangelical Church here in Puno. Its a difficult task for him so we are more than glad to be able to help in any way possible. He has had plenty of activities lined up for us. On Thursday we visited a children’s home for boys and undertook a “program” to transliterate the Spanish, which means a selection of games, memory verses, a Bible story or lesson and then a quiz based on the story. We had programs both morning and afternoon because in Peru most children go to school either in the morning or the afternoon. So this way we were able to share with all the boys in the home.
On Friday we then visited a girls home which had a bout 70+ girls in total but of very different age ranges. This time we carried out a program for the younger girls and then a separate program for the teenagers. Again we revisited the home to speak to the girls who had been at school in the morning. In the morning Lizbeth spoke to the teenage girls about self esteem and our value in Gods eyes. Some of the teenage girls dont attend school or work for various reasons so in the afternoon Sara spoke to them about Gods love and relationships. After both the morning and afternoon sessions with the teenagers, the girls surrounded some of our team members and initiated very meaningful conversations. These girls have very difficult backgrounds and it was a great opportunity to minister to them in even a very small way.
Today, Saturday, we visited an old peoples home and spent time with them. We sang songs, played not very strenuous games (at least not for the old people) and shared the gospel. We also spent time just speaking to them. Ricardo was invaluable as he was able to speak to the old people in Quechua and translate the gospel message to them as some of the old people spoke very little Spanish.
It was a lovely time and my heart went out to these old people who seem so content despite their basic living conditions. This was the first time I have visited an old peoples home here and to see them content spending their days sitting in the sun to keep warm and doing what they can around the home like working in the gardens or peeling potatoes in the kitchen. While I felt for both the boys and girls in the other homes I felt particularly touched by the old folk who were just so happy to have fun with us strangers. One lady was so impressed with our singing she insisted on singing to us. She stood up and promptly began to intone the Peruvian national anthem. She could only remember the first verse or so and soon began to invent something of her own creation; I couldn’t make out exactly what. We gave out cake and Fanta (hope there weren’t any serious diabetics) and spent almost an hour after finishing our program just sharing with the old folk. After the meeting Sara told me she had led a man called Manuel in the believer’s prayer. Pray for Pastor Jair and the church here as they seek to continue their visits to all these homes, and especially the contact made with a number of the girls who would like to come to the church and also Manuel and the other old people who we witnessed to.
In the evenings from Thursday to Sunday the team are taking the meetings. Thursday night was a Bible study, and then Friday to Sunday are evangelistic meetings. Simon Curry spoke last night (Fri), Guido is speaking tonight and then I’m speaking on the resurrection on Sunday night. Please pray that these meetings would be well attended and pray for all those taking part and especially the preachers as they share the gospel.
I’ll try to get a good number of photos posted of all these visits. On Monday we start working with a Baptist church here in Puno so please pray as we continue planning and preparing for this.