We made it! We are officially in our new “home” in Lima, Peru (for now, anyways), starting the first satellite office for Silent Images. The satellite office idea isn’t actually a physical location; it’s just us being based out of Latin America this year. We have our own room in a guesthouse run by an organization we are partnering with called South America Mission, or SAM, although we haven’t had much time to settle in!
We arrived on a Thursday at 2:30am, after a holdup in customs over some car parts we were bringing for Matthias, a missionary here we had never met. We got a few hours of shut eye before waking up to unpack, then immediately packed again for a trip across town where we would be working and staying for the next week. Matthias met us with a taxi, and one and a half hours later we arrived at his house – yes, it takes that long to get from one side of Lima to another, and that wasn’t even during rush hour! We ate a delicious, authentic Peruvian dinner called Aji de Gallina, and then transitioned to yet another missionary’s house, Julio, who would be hosting us for the next few days.
Julio woke us up the next morning a bit earlier than expected – he wanted to be on time for the motocross event. At this point, we have to say a bit about Julio. His full name is Julio Chiang, formerly one of the top motocross riders in all of South America. He’s a pretty big deal. And in 1994, he gave his life to Christ, and has been using his sport as a platform for ministry ever since. Now, he’s planting a new church in Lima called Iglesia de la Ciudad, or City Church.
Ok, back to our very first motocross experience!
We drove out of Lima on a highway and eventually turned on an unmarked side street, down an alley between two walls, and emerged into a different world. There was a PA system bumping pump-up music, people pitching large tents and chairs, trucks carrying dirt bikes roaming around for parking spots on the outskirts of the track – which was an impressively constructed dirt arena of jumps, bumps and turns. We spent the next several hours filming the event, and quickly realized there was barely any shade to be found as our skin started roasting. But Julio lived up to his reputation.
After about six hours at the motocross track, we finally jumped in the truck to leave, dusty and sunburnt, and drove to a “famous” lunch spot. Everything seems to be a “famous” spot when you’re with Julio, a very proud Peruvian. After eating delicious chicharron sandwiches, which consists of fried pork, sweet potato and red onions soaked in lime juice, we headed straight to a pro-life march in the heart of Lima. This was a monumental event, not just because millions of people turned out, but because it was the first time the Catholic Church in Lima had partnered with the Evangelical Church for anything. We marched through the streets, and by marched, I mean, we walked five steps and then waited five minutes before walking another five steps. We did this for about four hours before Julio said it was time to go, so we never made it to the beach, which was the end point for the march.
Exhausted, sun scorched and in desperately in need of a shower, we climbed into the truck finally headed “home” to rest.
The next morning on Sunday, we began our first project for Silent Images here in Peru. We served SIM’s prison ministry, Unidos en Fé (United in Faith), where they show the love of Jesus to English-speaking foreign women who have been imprisoned for trafficking cocaine out of Peru. We interviewed two amazing women about their experience and transformation as they turned their lives to Christ with the help of the ministry. What really impacted us was the perspective these women have about the path of their lives, and how they have come to realize the Lord was leading them to Him with every step – for those who love God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).
The ministry is led by Mary, a Canadian who has called Lima home for 10 years, and lives to serve these women and the Lord in everything that she does. And she does a lot. The outreach begins when Mary and a few others visit the prisons with care packages, full of food, toiletries, and other essential items that Peruvian prisons don’t provide. Slowly they build relationships as Mary holds bi-weekly luncheon Bible studies in the prisons, which continue after the women serve their sentence and are on parole. This ministry has completely changed the path of these women, and we look forward to sharing the two videos we’re producing for them once they’re done!
After three days of filming for Unidos en Fé, it was time to switch gears. We spent the next two days filming for the Lima Initiative, the SAM church-centered movement for long-term transformation of Lima, led by former motocross star, Julio. After capturing the necessary interviews at an incredibly beautiful house and yard built into the desert mountain, the majority of our filming was capturing iconic sights of Lima juxtaposed with the “other side” of Lima — shantytowns. We basically got to be tourists, driving around to see the best things Lima has to offer — cliff views of beaches, world-class cuisine, and bohemian nightlife. Our only regret is that we didn’t go hang gliding off the cliffs and above the ocean to capture the most iconic image of Lima (like the kinds of images you find when you Google “Lima, Peru”). We’re excited to put this video together too, and we’re eager to see the impact this church plant will have on the city.
Wrapping up our week of filming, we headed back to our guesthouse, ready to unpack and unwind, which is exactly what we did. We even managed to switch out the crib that was originally in the room with a table to use as a desk. An extra bonus from the crib being moved out is now we can open the previously blocked door to have access to a really nice balcony. Of course we didn’t just relax ALL weekend though, we had to check out the nearby “park”, which turned out to be a park, zoo, amusement park, botanical garden, concert venue, recreational lake, etc. We spent nearly the whole day there and could probably continue to visit every weekend and still just scratch the surface!
After only two weeks in Lima, it feels as if we’ve been here for two months! We have seen so much and met so many people. Before we left the States we had prayed for community in the places God was leading us, and he answered that prayer in abundance (He always does!).