Sunday was full of fun and excitement! I, along with 5 other ladies, went to the church service on the mission. The way these people just love Jesus and worship Him is so powerful to watch. The freedom they’ve found in their new life in Christ shows in everything they do, from singing, to dancing, to hearing and responding to the Word as it’s preached! Halfway through the service, a man named Freddy came and sat in the middle of our group and offered to translate for us because we had no idea what was being said [but we were still enjoying just being there!]. Freddy spoke English very well, and I was able to find him later and hear a little bit about his story!
The rest of the group headed out early that morning to go to a local prison for their service. From the stories I’ve heard, it was amazing to see and unlike any American prison you’ll ever step foot in. [SPOILER ALERT: I’ve asked Lance to share some of his experiences on here, so I’ll let him talk more about the prison in his posts!]
That afternoon, we went to the Safehouse for family day. It was the first time that any of the women in our group had seen the Safehouse. They had a small soccer field [a MUST anywhere in Peru… it’s their favorite pass-time!], a well, a chicken coop/guinea pig house, an area for a garden, lots of pretty flowers, a cashew tree [however you can’t just eat the cashews off the tree; they have to be processed first, but I don’t remember the reason why], and an outdoor grilling area.
Right now, they have significantly cut back on “luxuries” at the Safehouse so that they can put as much money in to building the Jessica House as possible. The men that live there ask for food donations from local markets/vendors so that they can spend as little on food as possible, they wear their clothes multiple times before washing them [and it’s hand washing with hanging them out to dry], they shower outside with water from the well, and they cook outside on the grill as much as possible so they don’t use a lot of electricity. They NEVER complain, and all are very grateful, and get this, EXCITED about living there! [Side note: the majority of houses don’t have AC and are “open” so that air can just flow right in and through the building. The houses are made of concrete and are not insulated, but it’s surprisingly cooler than you would think!]
It was fun to meet a lot of the guys’ families that day, and you could tell they were so pumped to be able to introduce their families to us. Even not knowing the language, you could still understand a little bit of what they were saying about their family, but more than that, the joy on their faces as they introduced you to their family is what I’ll always remember about that day!
After service ended, we hurried out and went to eat at a new restaurant in town. We had a traditional meal of chicken, fries, rice, and coleslaw/salad. It was DELICIOUS! There were a bunch of different sauces on the table that were so yummy. I ended up just taking a whole dish of one of them for myself! Just thinking about it makes me hungry for it again. We got to try a drink they make called “chicha”. It’s made from purple corn… sounds gross, but it was actually tasty! [Although I preferred the kind our cooks made at the mission!] We had great conversations over dinner, and really soaked up everything going on around us! Oh, and it was the first [and only] place we went with air conditioning and I just about froze in there! It’s amazing how quickly you become adjusted to your surroundings!
All in all, this was probably the most relaxed day we had while we were there. It was definitely needed too, because our next 4 days there were SO busy!
*A lot of these pictures were taken by other people on the trip. I’m very thankful to them for allowing me to use these pictures to share our experience with you!