Hello from Lima, Peru! I was initially planning on writing a daily update on our trip to visit our partners at Vida Nueva, but that proved too difficult. The internet is cranky so I need to be near wi-fi, which means the hotel, and that has basically been only the place where we rest and I read.
So I’m just going to share some thoughts from the weekend and write something up longer after we get back.
On Thursday we had Thanksgiving dinner with Pastor Pedro Bollon and Jorge Garcia, a member of Vida Nueva. We had a nice long conversation, largely made possible because Paul Baerenwald is awesome. Paul has lived and worked in Mexico and speaks Spanish at home with Beatriz and the boys so he not only is a great translator but also adept at small talk. Pastor Pedro listens intently, speaks softly, smiles easily, and speaks much better English that I do Spanish.
On Friday we traveled to Vida Nueva to meet with a group of people from the congregation. I’ll write more about that later. It, like all of the other Lutheran congregations here, was intentionally planted in a very poor area of town. It was once in the midst of a refugee camp but has been improved over the years. Recently the streets were improved so that Jorge’s taxi could drive right to the door. Again, it was great to have Paul. Everyone thinks that he is a pastor too.
The congregation has hopes of expanding their building so we talked a bit about that but mostly just about what happens at their church, what their daily lives are like, etc. They pray for us by name every time they worship just as we do so it was great for all of us to put faces to names. They wanted us to especially greet Elizabeth Menke, Don Hodde, and the other members of Faith who have traveled to Peru over the past few years.
On Saturday we went to Luz Divina, another Lutheran congregation, that was hosting a sports day for all of the Lutherans to get together. Well over 100 kids and adults participated. A boisterous worship service in the church began a day of soccer (played at a VERY high level) and volleyball. The kids from Vida Nueva did well. It was a real adventure for them.
Sunday – again I will write more about this later – began with worship at Vida Nueva, an afternoon with Pastor Pedro and his family, and then an evening service at Buen Pastor, a mission in another part of town also served by Pastor Pedro. Worship was heart-felt and it reminded me again of the value of the lectionary and the church calendar as they were reading the same texts as I knew were being read at Faith. Given the time zones, we also worship at the same time.
I could say so much more but let’s just say that it took almost an hour to get from the hotel to Vida Nueva even on a Sunday morning. Then almost two hours to get from there to Pastor Pedro’s home via a taxi and two bus rides. Another hour and a half – three bus rides and a good walk – to get to Buen Pastor. And then we had to get home – a bus and a taxi for us.
Today we are resting. Tomorrow we are going to spend the day hanging out in the neighborhood around Vida Nueva, hopefully with some time in people’s homes, getting to know more about life as it is for them. We’ll stay through their church council meeting in the evening and then head directly from there to the airport.
Thank you all for remembering us in your prayers on Sunday, we did the same for you. See you next weekend.