17 Dec 2011

Beginning To Look A Bit Like Christmas...

Although the sun is still shining and it's still warm, the weather is changing here in Arequipa. The mountains surrounding the city have disappeared almost permanently into cloud, and the air has a thick humidity which actually makes quite a pleasant change from the dry, dusty climate of before. The Arequipeñans keep looking at the sky and muttering ominous things about 'the rain coming', and the Council recently cut off the water supply to the whole city for 24 hours so they could clear the drains ready for the oncoming weather.

Trying to get the tree lights to work in the Plaza de Armas

One thing that the coming of the rain does mean, however, is that it must be nearly Christmas, and the city is slowly gearing itself up for the festive celebrations. Lights and decorations have appeared in many of the shops, turkeys are becoming increasingly fearful, and White Christmas is being played endlessly on the radio (despite the fact that it has never snowed in Arequipa, and probably never will). A particularly strong feature of the Christmas tradition here is the nativity scenes, which appear in most of the Catholic churches but also in many government buildings and shops. The focus is on the Níño Jesus, who is worshipped as a baby at these nativity scenes and is also responsible for bringing presents on Christmas Eve (a tradition which is slowly being usurped by Father Christmas).

The Nativity Scene in the Basilica Cathedral
For us, Christmas is obviously a bit different this year. Apart from the very different climate, songs, food and traditions, it feels very strange being away from family and friends at this time of year. We will be spending Christmas itself in Cusco with BMS colleagues Scott and Anjanette Williamson and the Peru Action Team, which should be great. However, being at language school means we've also had the chance to share in some of the Christmas traditions and food from all over the world, and we've been reminded again that even though our traditions are often very different, the reason for the celebration and the good news of Christmas is the same wherever we are.

Language school Christmas party
This has also been a time of saying goodbyes, as many of the other students at the school are moving on to begin work. Please pray for them as they make this transition, especially for those of them with children. And please pray for us, as we come to the end of full-time Spanish classes and start thinking about working with some of the local Baptist churches and learning more about Baptist life here.

1 Dec 2011

November '11 Prayer Letter

Our latest official BMS prayer letter is now available and can be read by clicking here. Thanks for reading and for all your prayers, and do let us know how we can be praying for you!