Firstly I went over to Ilo to spend Christmas with the Morrow family and the three Irish ‘Misión Rescate’ team members. We had a good time of fun and fellowship. On the Wednesday night we all attended a Christmas dinner at La Pampa church in Ilo and it was really tasty. We actually had turkey which surprised me as I reckoned we would have had some other less Christmassy dish. Anyway although it was tasty it proved a bit difficult to cut with plastic disposable knives and forks, but I made a valiant attempt.
Thursday was spent getting a few last minute things sorted. In the afternoon a few of us took a drive out to the old camp site where summer camps previously were held. It was a good time to reminisce. That evening a few of us went to a fun fair round the corner from the Morrows house. I probably couldn’t have imagined a less Christmassy place to be on Christmas Eve, but it was good fun. It’s so different to be in the kind of warmth that has you doing things that at home you associate with summer.
Christmas day was spent at the Morrow home and everyone opened their presents etc and much fun had by all. Then we had a great turkey dinner. During the afternoon I was able to phone home on Skype and get the update on all the ‘goings on’ there. Also over Christmas period I was able to phone other friends and family and catch up on their latest news and that was really good.
On Boxing Day we all headed over to Tacna to have a missionary family get together at the Brews. Again another lovely turkey dinner was shared and a great time of fellowship and I then stayed in Tacna.
On New Year’s Eve I opted to stay in and celebrate New Year in Ireland via Skype with my parents, then finish and print my sermon and youth talk for the weekend before climbing onto the roof to watch the fireworks at midnight. There were fireworks across the skyline of the city in all directions and was lovely to watch. Eventually though the smoke from them and the numerous bonfires got quite dense so I called it a night. On New Year’s Day a friend and I headed to the beach to meet up with friends there. Although we bumped into many people we knew, we didn’t manage to find those we were initially looking for.
On Saturday I was a bit ill on it, not sure if it was the raw fish dish, Ceviche, I ate at the beach or too much sun, but thankfully by the evening I was well enough to go to the ‘Luz de Vida’ youth group. It never ceases to amaze me how many new faces I see attending there, if only their attendance would be more regular. There are 15 or so faithful and then anything up to 20 (or possibly more) who attend sporadically. It was a good time spent together and a lot of encouragement was made for the youth to sign up for camps because I truly believe they would all benefit from them.
Pray also for them at the moment as their Pastor has accepted a call to ‘Pan de Vida’, one of the other churches affiliated to the mission here in Tacna and has taken up pastoral responsibilities there since the first of January. Pray for him as he juggles pastoral responsibilities in both churches for the near future. Pray as the congregation in ‘Luz de Vida’ include many young people who are only beginning to take some tentative steps into any sort of leadership responsibility, and those adults who do attend are either saved a short time or still unconverted. Pray for God to guide them as they now begin to consider possible candidates for the pastorate and that God would provide the right man to lead the church.
Today, Sunday, I made another trip to Tarata to visit the church there. This time Reuben, the director of the radio station, accompanied me which was much appreciated. I had a lovely time with the believers there, though numbers were down as many had travelled elsewhere for the New Year. This however, worked also in our favour as some of the Pastors children, now all adults working in other cities in Peru, had travelled home for the New Year. This meant I was able to catch up with a childhood friend, his sister who I haven’t seen in 20 years, and his eldest brother also. We also managed to fit in a visit to the village of Ticaco to visit Gregoria once more, and as always she was delighted by the visit. Despite being almost blind and quite deaf she amazed us with her lucidity. She enjoys being kept up to date by Berta about the major happenings in the different villages in the Tarata valley, just like any Granny. We again shared from Gods Word and Reuben prayed with her. We then had a prolonged departure as she almost systematically interrogated each one as we left for any details we hadn’t already mentioned; details shared with anyone in the surrounding vicinity! Pray for her as she continues to trust in her saviour and witness to any of her relatives who care to visit.
I’m now back in Tacna getting caught up with things like this blog and making plans for camps which start later this week. I am planning to attend as first aider so I’m making a list of things I need to buy in the next few days and other things I need to do before going to camps. Please pray that God would undertake in all these final preparations. Pray also for the camps themselves:
- That many campers would attend, and that God would prepare their hearts to receive his Word.
- That God would guide the speakers in their preparations and then also as they share with the campers.
- That God would enable the leaders and helpers to be used by Him to witness and minister to the different groups of campers.
- And finally as first aider I ask you the please pray for safety and good health for everyone, as I would like nothing more than to be unemployed in this respect during camps.
The first week of camps, starting Saturday the 9th, is for young adults 18+years, the second week for teenagers 12-17 years, and the third week of camps is for families.
If I get a chance I will write something to keep you up to date as camps unfold.
Happy New Year,