Two months have gone by, nearly in the blink of an eye. Peru has become home to us, though not necessarily one location. We’ve spent a few weeks in Lima, a few weeks in the jungle near the Amazon, a week in the high sierra mountains of Arequipa, and we even made it up Machu Picchu! It’s hard to process all that we’ve done, but one thing we’ve done very little of, is video editing. It’s safe to say that we’ve been filming for four weeks straight, and we will continue to film nonstop for two more weeks — one week in the highlands of Peru and one week in Quito, Ecuador.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have videos to share though! If you’ve been waiting to see some of our labors from South America, this is the post for you. Not one, not two, but three of our first video projects in Lima are now public.
If you’re really wondering what Lima is like, check out the below video we produced about South America Mission‘s Lima Initiative, which is a church plant focused on transforming the city for Christ. This video highlights the food, culture and sights of Lima and is a great starting point for you to “immerse” yourself into South American life!
The first ministry we served in Lima was an English-speaking prison ministry for foreign women who have been arrested in Peru for trafficking cocaine, which is a very difficult situation these women have fallen into, but we saw so much beauty in this ministry. United in Faith exists to show the tangible love of Christ to women in prison by visiting them regularly, providing them with a welcome package, studying the Bible, and praying and worshipping together. Once released on parole, the women are invited to continue their friendship with United in Faith through discipleship, mentorship, Bible studies and church involvement. Check out the below video to see how this ministry works, and how it’s making a difference.
It was amazing to meet some of the women on parole and to see how the Lima prison ministry has truly impacted these women’s lives. We’re excited to share Betty’s story, below, as she walks you through her journey from prison to faith.
THREE WEEKS IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZON JUNGLE…
We didn’t realize how loud and chaotic Lima was until we got out to the jungle. That’s when our entire perspective changed, and we fell in love with the “jungle vibe”, a much slower pace of life. The heat, humidity, unexpected rain, sights and sounds attracted us, and suddenly we were not looking forward to returning to Lima. Good thing we had three weeks in Pucallpa! When we finally got to the place we’d be staying for the first half of our time in the jungle, we could not believe our eyes. The most beautiful butterflies fluttered around the house we had to ourselves, which turned out to be our dream house built on stilts over a piranha-filled lake. The center of the house opened up to an atrium with trees growing out from the bottom of the lake creating a canopy over the tin roof of the house. Every meal we ate in a different nook of the house, since it had so many porches and balconies to enjoy, each providing a different perspective. This spot, with no internet, turned out to be exactly what we needed — a time of rest and rejuvenation. The community of people we found out at Cashibo Lake filled us with inspiration and great memories while filling our bellies with delicious home cooked meals and treats! During the time we weren’t filming for seven video projects or teaching storytelling workshops to missionaries and students, we enjoyed sunsets at the lake, a tour of the lake’s canals by boat, feeding monkeys by hand, nature walks on raised boardwalks, and grilling burgers while swimming in a saltwater pool. Since our house only had screened windows, at night we would listen to the synchronized songs of the crickets and frogs, and the occasional bat screeching. Then, we’d make our way up to the only room upstairs, and fall asleep in the canopy of trees. If you can’t tell from the pictures and fond memories, our time out at Cashibo Lake was a dream and paradise.
ONE WEEK IN PERU’S HIGH SIERRA MOUNTAINS AND A WEEKEND TO MACHU PICCHU
When we got back to Lima, the city seemed colder than normal, but maybe that’s just because we’d adjusted to the Amazonian heat. We jumped right back into filming projects for just the few days we were back in town, and even made a few trips out to do some Lima bucket list items including Parque del Agua (a nighttime laser light show projected on fountains) and trying some unique culinary dishes like anticuchos (beef heart kabobs) and picarones (sweet potato donuts with a cane sugar glaze).
Just as quick as we arrived, we were off again to Arequipa, known as the “white city” since its historical buildings and beautiful center plaza are built from white volcanic rock. We filmed for one ministry and taught one workshop before taking a long weekend to explore Cusco and Machu Picchu.
This was Cassie’s second time to these iconic Incan marvels, but we did the trip slightly different. After an overnight bus from Arequipa to Cusco, a colectivo (minibus) to Ollantaytambo, and a train to Aguas Calientes — we were finally at the foot of Machu Picchu (versus Cassie’s previous four-day jungle hike through the wilderness to reach the same point). We woke up at 4am with breakfast in hand, cameras and tripods strapped to our backs and headlamps lighting our footsteps, ready to climb the 1,500+ stairs for the sunrise of a lifetime. Despite the hour and half climbing predictions and to our complete surprise, we reached the summit in one hour flat! The sun was still below the mountain peaks, and so we rushed to the highest vantage point we could find to watch the sun’s warm rays spill over onto the ruins. It was absolutely breathtaking, and not because of the altitude. We then spent the next five hours exploring the paths through the ruins before finally making our way down the mountain and starting our reverse journey to Cusco.
After a full day in Cusco, we hopped on our overnight bus back to Arequipa and then a plane to Lima. Once back in Lima, the city seemed warmer than normal, but maybe that’s just because we’d adjusted to the chilly Andean mountains — it’s funny how perspective can change so quickly. After a lazy weekend of resting, we’re now geared up for our next two weeks straight of filming — this week in the mountains of Ayacucho and next week in Ecuador.
We look forward to sharing more videos, photos and adventures with you soon!