At the start of November, I said goodbye to a Stride family sent from the Netherlands. They were the first Striders in my role as Short Term Coordinator that I welcomed to Latin Link Peru! I visited a Stride couple in Trujillo as they settle into their ministries and welcomed a new Strider, Karen to Arequipa. There are times when it feels like lots of change is happening!
In December, I travelled to Cusco and it was great to meet up with my mentor, Kay, face to face. It was good to look back over the past year to see all that had happened and what I had learnt, and to look forward to the year that is to come. I am excited for all that 2019 may hold for me as I continue to learn about the importance and power of prayer.
It was lovely to spend Christmas with my dear friend, Ali, who was visiting and with local friends. I got to celebrate a ‘Peruvian Christmas’ on the night of the 24th December. We had turkey with salads, then watched the sky light up with fireworks as people celebrated, followed by panettone (Peruvian Christmas bread) and hot chocolate. On the 25th I enjoyed a traditional ‘British Christmas’, which included pigs in blankets, stuffing, and Christmas cake (real treats!). Celebrating in a different culture can feel odd, but the reason for celebrating doesn’t change – Jesus Christ coming to earth!
Photos: Welcoming Karen to Peru, Latin Link Arequipa Team Christmas and celebrating Peruvian Christmas
2019 has started with what feels like lots of planning! I have been preparing for the Peru Latin Link national conference which takes place from the 17th to the 21st February. I will be helping to lead a session on the subject of sending out missionaries from Peru. It is exciting to see a number of Peruvians explore their calling with Latin Link and to think about how we can better serve, support and encourage them. I will also be leading a Stride retreat day on the 22nd February, looking at our identity in Christ.
Arequipa English, an English conversation class, takes a break over the summer holidays (December to February) though we are planning for the coming year and hope to start the academic year off with an intensive weekend over the first few days of March. Please pray for all the planning and preparation as we have changed location and hope to include some new ideas in the programme this year.
It’s good to have our housemate, Ruth, back after two months of her being away in Northern Ireland. The three of us are enjoying our new home and having others come to stay or share a meal or cup of tea. I am enjoying having a garden; a green space where I can watch birds fly around and nest and grow some plants – God’s creation is wonderful!
In the past few weeks I have made a number of visits to the ‘Migraciones’ (immigration) Office in
Arequipa to assist with the visa process for a Strider. Each time I am at the Office I am struck by the vast number of Venezuelans trying to obtain visas to live and work here in Peru. For more
information on the crisis, this is a helpful read –https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america- 36319877 Please do pray for the country and that we would be welcoming to them here in Peru.
Photos: Enjoying Sunday afternoon games in our new home, a baby bird who learnt to fly in our garden, fun with friends in Arequipa
Over the past months I have frequently been reminded of how I am part of a wonderful team, not just here in Peru but around the globe. Thank you to everyone who supports and encourages me in different ways, by praying, reading my news, writing messages/emails, sending care parcels and those who give financially. Thank you! Your support is greatly appreciated.
After some language training to improve my Spanish I will be taking up the role of Short Term Coordiantor (STC) for Peru. The STC coordinates the Latin Link Step (teams) and Stride (people) programmes, placing them in projects lasting from a few weeks to two years. Based in Arequipa, I will be getting involved in a local church and my local community.