25 Aug 2012

Quick Update...

Huge thanks to all of you who were praying for the Bible study today. As is par for the course here, plans have changed slightly and it looks like the study will now be at some point during the week. Please do keep praying though!

Thanks again :-)

21 Aug 2012

Undefeated

In the run up to the Paralympics, BMS have produced a set of resources for use in churches. The Undefeated campaign aims to persuade the UK government to benefit the lives of disabled people in developing countries by becoming more inclusive in their foreign aid strategy. The resources are designed to inspire your church to celebrate the faith and excellence of Paralympians, campaign on issues of global injustice and be more inclusive towards disabled people. For more details or to order resources, please click here.

Tales of the Unexpected...

Every day we try to get out and about in the community to meet people.  Sometimes this is just into town or the market, but other times we go for walks and explore the area to try and get a sense of how Urubamba and its outlying villages function.   On many days these efforts seem to yield almost no fruit.  Quite often we come back having had little more than two minutes of conversation with people, especially conversation that didn't revolve around the vegetables we were buying or the freshness of the bread.

8 Aug 2012

Curahuasi and Beyond...

In Peru, as in many countries, plans are often considered to be slightly more 'flexible' than they would be in the UK. Things are liable to change at the last minute, events never quite start when they are meant to, and nothing can be taken for granted. The positive side of this, and one of the things we really appreciate about the culture here, is that relationships come before everything - it is far more important to invest time with the people that you're with at any given moment than it is to be on time to another meeting. The not so positive side is that, especially for us, it can be incredibly frustrating trying to get anything done!


A few weeks ago we met a Peruvian missionary who has been working in the rural region between the cities of Cusco and Ayacucho. Originally from the area, and therefore a fluent Quechua speaker, the focus of his work has been on planting churches in poor Quechua communities. At the last count he had planted 38 churches of varying sizes. Keen to learn a bit more about Quechua culture and the work he's been doing, we asked if we could come and visit him and some of the churches. He seemed very happy about this, and invited us to a big celebration/conference that all the churches would be having together in a small town called Curahuasi, about three hours outside Cusco. He promised that when he got home he would send us some more details...

Three days before the event was due to start, we still hadn't heard anything, so sent an email asking if he could give us some more information. The reply came back saying that the conference was now going to be the following weekend. This wasn't a problem, and in fact made life slightly easier for us, but we still had no idea exactly where it was or any of the timings. Several more emails elicited no response, but we decided to head to Curahuasi for the weekend anyway - after all how hard could it be to find a conference of 40 odd churches in a town of only 5000 people? We also have some good friends from language school who work at a German missionary hospital in the town, so we knew that whatever happened it would be a good opportunity to see them!


We arrived in Curahuasi to be welcomed by Frank & Anja Nöh and Stefan & Tabea Seiler, who we knew from Arequipa. After a great evening catching up with them, we headed off on Saturday morning to try and find the conference. Our first stop was the Baptist church, where we met the pastor. He was very surprised to have two gringos at the door asking if he knew anything about the conference..Some confusion and a phone call later confirmed that the only conference going on was an anniversary celebration for four churches in another village 35 miles away, and that the person we were meant to be meeting was in Cusco and therefore wouldn't be there. Having come all this way, we decided that we might as well go and visit the anniversary celebration, so got another taxi to take us on to Concacha, forty minutes drive up a beautiful snaking mountain road.

We arrived in Concacha just as they were heading back into a session, so didn't get a chance to talk to anyone before being ushered onto some uncomfortable wooden benches in the church. The whole thing was in Quechua, so we didn't understand a word of it! We did however get to 'enjoy' the delights of some typical Quechua worship, a brief audio sample of which can be heard below.


After the session, we finally managed to introduce ourselves to the visiting speaker, who was a pastor from a remote area on the other side of Cusco. He wasn't expecting us, but was delighted to see us and made us feel very welcome. Over lunch with him we were able to spend some time talking about his work and struggles and some of the social and economic problems particular to the area he is working in. We hope that this is a relationship which can develop further so that we can be mutually supportive. Please pray that this can happen!

After lunch we were introduced to the rest of the attendees and the whole meeting prayed for us. As always this was both very encouraging and very humbling - in every church we've been to in Peru people have gone out of their way to welcome us, to affirm our ministry, and to help us feel part of the bigger picture of what God is doing here.


The trip, therefore, was nothing like we expected it to be, but was a huge blessing nevertheless! Plans may change all the time here, but that doesn't mean that they won't work out well.