It’s hard to believe that our three months in Peru are already over. We’ve seen and done so much — traversing nearly all the diverse environments the country has to offer. From the desert capital situated on the Pacific to the high sierra to the Amazonian jungle to the Andes mountains, Peru offered us a wide range of adventures and it’s been amazing to see how God is working in all of these places. We definitely feel like God is also doing great work through us, as we have had not only the opportunity to serve these ministries with our passion, but we’ve also had the opportunity to teach others and share our faith. We feel like God has given us great success as the first satellite office for Silent Images. To date, we’ve served more than 15 ministries, produced 11 videos, and taught four storytelling workshops to more than 100 people.
Our first two months in Peru was nearly 100% filming and traveling for projects, while our last three weeks we spent editing. This gave us a chance to finally put together some of the amazing stories we’ve captured over the last three months. Below are just a few video stories we’d like to share with you.
Martina’s life was transformed after she discovered Latidos de Esperanza, Heartbeats of Hope, a ministry that helped her through a difficult time in her life and introduced her to Christ.
Mission aviation is an important link for organizations to reach tribal communities in the jungle of Peru. SAMAIR has been around for many decades, and is excited about the influx of native Peruvian missionaries reaching indigenous tribes.
With the help of SAMAIR, mission organizations that have a heart for reaching the unreached are able to further their efforts in the Amazon. Pioneers International is one of these groups launching people into tribal contexts to spread the Gospel.
While missionary parents are ministering in the field and working in these tribal areas, there’s a huge need for high-quality education for their kids that meets American standards. In Pucallpa, the launching point to the jungle of Peru, SAM Academy is teaching and ministering to missionary kids so their parents can focus on what God has called them to do.
We made it out of Peru once during our first three months for our last filming project before our three weeks of editing. We went to Ecuador to film for a Christian school for low-income students on the outskirts of Quito. This is where we spent our third anniversary, and although Cassie was sick in bed, we spent it happily together without leaving the guesthouse. We truly got to celebrate during a weekend trip to the Ecuadorian missionaries’ family dairy farm in the mountains just 40 minutes outside of Quito. There we were able to get much-needed rest in the most peaceful landscape, and we even got to horseback ride! Jordan miraculously stayed on “Hot Chocolate” despite the crazy mare taking off with him at a full gallop — several times. And even after getting kicked by crazy “Hot Chocolate”, Cassie couldn’t wipe the grin off her face as we cantered and galloped on the winding mountain roads.
Right when we returned from Ecuador, we went into editing mode for three weeks straight. But you know us, we would have gone stir crazy living and working in our bedroom in now chilly, grey-skied Lima winter if we hadn’t taken weekend getaway trips! So, our last two weekends “in Lima” were not spent in the stifling capital. Instead, we bussed it to more open parts of the country, where fresh air was not taken for granted. One weekend we spent trekking through the Cordillera Blanca mountain range around Huaraz, a small climber’s town that reminded us of Kathmandu. There we hiked up over 16,000 feet in elevation to see glaciers and surreal turquoise lakes with waterfalls. At times, it was hard to believe these places really existed in nature and it was amazing to experience the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation.
Our last weekend we spent in Paracas, a place where the sand dune desert meets the sea. We took an exhilarating dune buggy ride up and down and all around the dunes at high speeds, many times unsure of where the bottom of the steep drop offs were. When we finally came to a stop — perched on the ledge of one of the tallest dunes —we hopped out of the buggy surrounded by sand as far as we could see in every direction. After taking lots of photos, we slid down the cliff on a snowboard and watched the sunset. Before the sun rose the next day, we were already beginning our 9-hour self-guided biking tour of the National Reserve. The desolate landscape of sandy mountains naturally decorated in a spectrum of colors and rocky cliff beaches dropping off into the turquoise water was perfect for mountain biking, especially with the ocean breeze on our backs.
Now we have said goodbye to Peru, though we’ll likely be returning for more projects in the fall based on popular demand. We’ve made some lifelong relationships and will be forever impacted by the experiences we’ve shared with people doing God’s work.
We are currently in transition between “home bases” — taking one week of vacation in New York City followed by three weeks of filming projects in Brazil. In July, we settle in Colombia, our next home base. We are excited for what we’ve already accomplished by the grace of God, and we look forward to the path on which he’s leading us.
PS: If you’d like to also read a short blog post Cassie wrote for Silent Images on our experience serving in the high sierra with an awesome organization that empowers indigenous women artisans, check it out here: http://silentimages.org/a-picturesque-adventure/