Hi, sorry it’s been so long since the last post but time just seems to be flying by.
In the last post I mentioned the dwindling attendances at the Ite church meetings. Well sadly the two subsequent Tuesday meetings also had no attendance in terms of a congregation, just Richard the seminary student working in the village and me. Richard had even gone up early and visited numerous houses to remind them about the midweek but its winter here and after a day’s work many don’t want to come out of their houses. On the upside the Sunday before last we had a congregation of 10 including a couple of young men who haven’t come to the church for a long time, but who Richard knew. I plan to go out again tomorrow night (Tuesday) and see who turns up. This obviously depends on whether or not the national transport strike planned for tomorrow actually goes ahead, just to keep things interesting.
Last week from Wednesday to Sunday I took the opportunity, before the strike, to make a quick visit to Arequipa. I was kindly hosted by the Roycroft family and was able to enjoy their fellowship and see how much baby Grace is growing up. I also visited friends at the language institute and met up with different friends I had made in March. Recently I have been having difficulties finding adequate terms and phrases in Spanish to express concepts for the practical theology module I hope to teach. While in Arequipa I was able to meet up with a tutor from the institute who is a trained psychologist and they were able to offer some useful terms and phrases. This will help my preparations enormously.
While in Arequipa I also met up with a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years. My friend is the oldest son of a missionary family who worked with a Quaker missionary society in Tacna and then in Arequipa. While they were in Tacna I was briefly home schooled by his mother along with him and his brother. Anyway he and his wife happen to be visiting Peru at the moment both to see the tourist sites and also to revisit some of his childhood roots. Thankfully we were able to arrange our visits to Arequipa so we could meet up. He, his wife and I spent at least 2 and a half hour catching up on everything. The funniest part however, was when we were leaving. Having exited the coffee shop my friend asked to pray for me so the three of us stood heads bowed to the left of the front door and prayed. Then I asked to pray for them and their families. Halfway through this prayer a lady pulled on my elbow and interrupted us. She was one of the waitresses from the coffee shop, and was very eager to find out if the young lady was feeling alright. Apparently a lady walking by had gone in and alerted the staff that there was someone evidently ill outside and the waitress came out to check. I informed the waitress that we were just praying. In one sense it’s very funny and we were grateful for their concern. On the other hand it was sad to think that this kind of praying was so alien that various people mistook it for something else completely.
Thankfully I had a safe journey down again yesterday, but have been suffering a bit of a tummy bug today. Hopefully, as with most of these things, it will pass shortly. Thank you once again for remembering both the work here in Peru and me in prayer.