To give you a better idea about what life is like for me here in Peru, like Sarah did in the last blog, I need to tell you about the communities that I accompany.  My daily routine differs depending on the day.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days off that I spend resting, running errands and doing chores around our house. I try to spend some time with the host family since their family day is Saturday and I am working. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I ride the bus out to a low income district in the hills of Lima (called Carabayllo).  There I work with a church named Km. 18 in their Compassion International Program.  My responsibilities also vary depending on the day including (but not limited to): teaching English, leading devotionals, coaching soccer, helping prepare food in the kitchen, pastoral visits, assisting teachers in classes (including my favorite pastry making), tutoring children and listening to the stories of the children and employees of the church that work for the program.  I love the people I work with but sometimes I get tired of all the questions about where I am from or get frustrated because some talk to fast or mumble in Spanish and it makes them harder to understand. Working on relationships in Spanish all day is extremely tiring. Needless to say, the hour plus commute each way on the bus has become a refuge for me because I have time to be alone and enjoy a devotional or read a book in English.

Saturdays and Sundays I work with another IEP (Evangelical Church of Peru, which is Presbyterian in ancestry, theology and polity) church named Km. 11.  Saturdays I lead an adolescent (Jr. High) group with games, worship songs, prayer and a Biblical lesson. Afterwards, there is a small break for me to have dinner with someone from the church. Then, I do a similar gathering for the youth (high school+).  Sunday morning there is Adult Sunday school that I occasionally teach and afterwards the children’s Sunday school that I assist, teach, or go to make pastoral visits to the parents.  Sunday afternoon is fellowship/ pastoral visit time with families/individuals, which means I have lunch with one of the families of the church. Sometimes this includes laughing and getting to know the people and other times it includes tears and prayer but always entails listening to their stories and sharing my own.  Sunday evenings is their regular worship service where I assist, preach or sometimes “just” accompany. Equally, this long weekend wears me out from the energy that is used in forming these various relationships.

Forming community can be very difficult and exhausting.  Building those same relationships in one’s second language will drain a person’s energy and spirit.  For this reason, I am glad that during this year I have a sub-community that comes together five times during this year.  We just had our first retreat in Huánuco, a city on the high plains of Peru that separates the mountains from the jungle.  This missionary retreat brought Sarah and I together with our colleagues Kaley Anderson, Sean Delaney, Mary Morrow, and Hannah Schonau-Taylor (anyone who is interested can check out the blogs of these amazing women).  Spending time with them and our supervisors Debbie and Harry Horne, was a refreshing break from the Spanish-speaking communities we accompany.  We stayed at La Granja Lindero, which is a farm that does both ecotourism and in another section houses abused children and women.  It is surrounded by mountains and had a river running through it.  We ate some of the most delicious food, some of which was fresh and came straight from the farm including our milk, yogurt and butter.  The only down side was the abundance of “mosquitos” (which were actually biting gnats) and showering with cold water.

Hannah lives in the city of Huánuco and was our host for the retreat.  She showed us around the farm, around the city and led some of our devotionals and games.  The retreat provided us with activities to help us reflect about our first month, a Biblical study on Mark, time to fellowship with our colleagues, and a team building adventure in the jungle. Oh yea, we got to climb waterfalls in the jungle.  This was an awesome experience that combined ropes course, rock climbing, rushing water and lots of trust.  During this adventure, we grew as a group as we both struggled and had fun.  Building community at our retreat was also tiring, but it rejuvenated our spirits as we heard about the struggles and triumphs of our missionary team, while also reconnecting to God through the beauty of creation. Go team Peru! Thank you for your continued support because I am truly grateful to have a community of friends and family while I am away from my homeland. Hugs to all of you for taking the time to read this blog and for journeying with us during this year of service.



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