Our last two weeks in Peru were spent between Lima and Arequipa. Lima is not our favorite place, but I think if we had experienced a time like our last week there, we would have had a more positive image of Peru’s capital. As we mentioned in our last update, we were serving with a British missionary for a missions mobilization video project, not a video to promote his ministry or church. During this time, we got to be a part of his church’s community and we felt more welcomed than anywhere we’ve ever traveled. Each day, we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at different church members’ homes. This was not scheduled or planned for us, each day we were invited spontaneously and were welcomed warmly. Each person’s house was just a few blocks from the church, which we visited for Sunday night service as well as a pastors training conference that we filmed.
One afternoon, we enjoyed an outing at a neighborhood field where we played volleyball, jump rope and other games. Jordan and I laughed over the fact that here, the parents take their kids so the adults can play at a park; while in the States, it’s the reverse. We met so many kind families, but we really connected with three couples around our age, who had all gotten married the same year we did. These three couples were still enjoying three years of marriage without kids like us, which is quite rare in Latino culture. It was so cool to see the love they all shared and to hear how they have committed their lives to ministry, giving up high paying jobs in other parts of Peru to have more time to spend with their spouse and to serve in ministry. We were all so similar and we felt a true connection and acceptance in this community — sharing meals and laughter each day. It is always such a joy to find such community despite being so far away from our friends and family.
As we moved on to our three projects in the beautiful, sunny “white city” of Arequipa, this same kind of community greeted us, but instead of a church family, it was a biological family who welcomed us into their home. We stayed with the British missionary’s family of five while we served in Arequipa, and we became a part of their family for five days. Their three kids (9, 7 and 4) instantly stole our hearts with their adorable British accents. We joined their daily morning devotionals at the breakfast table, ate tea (dinner) and pudding (dessert) together, played board games with the kids and read them stories at night. We even had the chance to bake their son a Darth Vader cake on his birthday! It was such a blessing for us to get to know them deeper each day, and to hear about their hearts they have for missions and healthy churches.
The other two ministries we served in Arequipa were medical related — one being Medical Ministry International (MMI). We filmed two days with MMI. Our first day we documented the story of one of their patients who had received two cataract surgeries from optometrist medical campaigns to Peru as well as the necessary follow up. The lady’s name was Juana, and she was so grateful to regain her eyesight from these surgeries, since she cares for her husband who was blinded after a mining explosion and her 42-year-old son who is bedridden. She started crying when she told us how much of a blessing and answer to prayer it was to be able to work again so that she could support her family. The second day of filming, we saw MMI’s physical therapy clinic, which is mostly geared toward children with disabilities. This clinic runs year round with passionate Peruvian staff that helps kids while wearing big smiles. We’ll be producing two videos for MMI, and we look forward to putting those stories together and sharing them with you in the future!
Because Colombia has been in the international spotlight regarding the FARC rebels vowing to disarm after 52 years of war, we thought it was good timing to share two videos with you that we produced from our time in Bogota earlier this year. This is a monumental time for Colombia, but it’s also a time of uncertainty. As the FARC rebels lay down their weapons, what will happen when the rebels, who have lived in hiding, try to reintegrate into society? Colombia actually has the highest number of displaced people than any other country — more than Syria or Darfur — as a result of this war. For a country with so many internally displaced peoples, this will be a time that true healing and reconciliation needs to happen. This is exactly what Fundación Comunidad Viva strives to do — to rebuild the social fabric in Colombia.
Check out the two videos we produced for this ministry below, which we are so excited to finally share with you! The first of two is an overview video of the entire ministry, Fundación Comunidad Viva.
The second video we produced for this ministry is about their program called La Cueva, which is a home for children who age out of government-run orphanages and were never adopted. Once they turn 18, La Cueva is a safe home for these young adults, where they can find family, work, education and opportunities. One of the two voices to tell the story is a girl who was orphaned as a result of the FARC war. This is a truly powerful video, and we encourage you to watch it!
Our last full day in Arequipa fell on a Saturday, and we decided to take advantage of our last day in Peru. We would have loved to tour the beautiful Colca Canyon, but since we were flying out that night, we felt we better stay close and tour the Santa Catalina Convent. Inside the convent, the colorfully painted walls and beautiful gardens and squares made for wonderful pictures. We wandered inside for a couple hours, enjoying being outside in the heat of the sun. It was a beautiful way to spend our last full day in Peru.
After spending five months total in Peru, we’ve now really said goodbye to the country (for the rest of the year), and more than a week into our time serving in Guatemala. We’ve filmed three days for a ministry called Lemonade International, a nonprofit that exists to partner with local leaders as they facilitate community development programs in solidarity with the people of a dangerous sector in Guatemala City called La Limonada.
Lastly, to give you an update about Jordan’s foot, it seems to be healing well, with less swelling and pain with each day that passes. Thank you all for your prayers!