‘Ahhhh!! 2 weeks of quarantine!’ That was I how I felt on the 16th March. Who knew that 166 days later we would still be in quarantine? Peru is still in a state of emergency but things are opening up more and more as the economy needs to be reactive. Please keep praying for Arequipa, we will be under strict quarantine until the 1st September and the State of Emergency nationwide has been extended until the 30th September.
Breaks – having a holiday hadn’t been on my mind but realising that it is now over the half way mark in the year I took a staycation at home towards the end of July. It was good to have time to relax, be creative and reflect on all that has happened over the last months.
Caring for and growing plants in our garden. We now have herbs which have grown from seed that we can enjoy and we hope that one day fruit and veg will appear as well! Having an outside space has felt such a luxury, particularly as many I know don’t have such a space.
Depending on God. There have been many times when I had reached or done all that I could have done and needed to rely fully on the power of God. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been amazing to look back at his providence and his working in many different ways.
English conversation classes with ‘Arequipa English’ started up in July. We are holding the class via Zoom; it is a bit of a learning experience for us as we work out how best to run the classes especially with unstable internet.
Fun with housemates! We have spent a lot of time together. We have had bonfires with marshmallows in the garden, made party hats for Zoom parties, watched Netflix and played games together. I am grateful for my housemate’s friendship and support.
Grants and fundraising searches for A Rocha Peru who I started to help again during the quarantine. One of their biggest needs at the moment is for funding as they look to the future and have several new projects they would like to start. I have also hosted a monthly prayer meeting for members and workers during the quarantine.
Hope in the midst of the unknown. Trusting God in all the unfamiliar and uncertainties.
Independence Day on the 28th July. This year celebrations looked very different to previous years. No parades or get-togethers. We enjoyed some traditional Peruvian food to mark the day.
Photos: The header photo is taken from our flat roof. A bonfire in the garden, a zoom with A Rocha Peru and celebrating the 28th July!
Joe Wicks has been keeping me fit! Every week day morning with two friends in other cities, we exercise together via Skype. This for me has been so valuable. It has kept me sane and is a joy to connect with them regularly.
Keeping in touch with friends. I have enjoyed talking to friends in Peru and further afield. I am grateful for mobile phones and the technology we have to stay in contact.
Lack of travel. For someone who has been so used to travel and being away from Arequipa for a few days to two weeks every month, staying put has had its pros and cons.
Mujeres virtuosas – (Virtuous women!) this is the name of the book club that I am helping to lead and run. We are currently meeting online but I am so looking forward to the day when we can meet in person. It has been lovely to get to know these girls from Arequipa better over the last few months as we journeyed through this season together.
Noise! If you have been on a call with me you probably will have heard the dogs on our street, the music blaring out from the neighbours or people selling their goods. As markets were closed to due to the virus, people took to the streets to sell their food and goods and often used loud megaphones to announce what they were selling and at what price!
Orientation over Zoom! I gained a new Strider, due to her not being able to travel to Bolivia at the end of March. Amazingly, I was able to find her a placement in the area where she was stuck and give her an orientation over Zoom. It feels odd to have a Strider that I haven’t actually met in person, but hopefully later in the year I will have that chance.
Patience lots of this was and still is required.
Queues to get into the supermarket and to use the bank. This has now become an everyday sight here in Arequipa and a normality for us. No longer can we ‘pop out’ for something. Going out of the house has become an event.
Repatriation flights – well I only wanted one, for a Strider. Eventually she got a seat in July after a month and a half of waiting. It wasn’t the easiest to get her out of Huaraz, in the mountains, down to Lima, but God made a way! As she said ‘it keeps it interesting’. Praise God for his timing and involvement in all the details.
Striders, Latin Links short term volunteers. It has been a privilege to support the 3 striders in Peru during the quarantine. It hasn’t always been easy for them but amazing to hear how God has and is working through and in them.
Photos: Queuing to get to the bank (Peru is a cash economy), an example of the document we produce for our book-club and wearing a mask to go out.
Trying out new recipes. It has been fun having a bit more time to cook and attempt some different recipes. I don’t want to take for granted the fact that we haven’t had to worry where our next plate of food comes from, when so many in Peru do.
Understanding the subjunctive and further learning. I have spent time over the quarantine to keep up my Spanish learning. I have also started a year-long course learning about Member Care (caring for missionaries). So far it has been interesting and I am learning lots.
Videos. I have recorded, edited and been part of numerous videos over these past few months. From sharing news, to acting as a small child, to filming, be it for a housemate’s video for their ministry and work or for churches and/or friends. Not sure I will be winning a BAFTA any time soon!
Working alongside Elvira who is planning to serve with Latin Link in Europe supporting and encouraging others who have a heart to serve with Latin Link in Peru. Please do pray for this aspect of Latin Link’s mission as we seek to improve and grow this area of our work.
X-ray–what I didn’t expect a Strider to be getting, but due to a rough football tackle at his project …. His foot is now out of a cast, he is being well looked after and still getting involved in his placements.
Yay for so many things to be thankful for. God’s goodness is immense. At times, to be honest, it has been hard to find joy. Though, I have been constantly reminded of how God is at work, often in the small details.
Zoom. Many, many Zoom meetings! I am extremely grateful for the technology that has allowed so many activities to continue, and allowed me to participate in things that otherwise I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do. Though, I am so ready to meet up in person with people!
Thank you for your continued support and love, shown in many different ways.
-For my housemates and the house that I live in
-For God’s faithfulness and his goodness
-For my family, friends and colleagues, who have shown support in many different ways
-Pray for Arequipa, for those making decisions, for those on the front line and as we come out of strict quarantine
-Pray for the striders still in Peru and as I support them
-Pray for the different things that I am involved with, that I would have a good balance in the use of my time
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.