As summer comes to the northern hemisphere, winter is arriving here. My trusty hot water bottle has come out for the cold nights, yet the days are still pretty warm in Arequipa.
I am coming up to celebrating being back in Peru for a year, there are times when this feels crazy. How has it almost been 12 months? I still feel so new, with so much still to learn yet on the other hand if feels ‘normal’ to be here and this is where I call home for now. I am starting to feel more settled; I have a growing social life, I know local bus routes, how and where to pay the electricity bill and the good places for a coffee in Arequipa. I know I still have much to learn about Peruvian culture, living here and my work but I am making progress. I thank God for bringing me back to Peru.
Over the last few months I have become involved in a local book club. We meet up once a week to discuss the next chapter of the book we are reading and share our lives together. I really enjoy these evenings and good friendships are coming out of this group. There is always good chat amongst us, with different options and ideas. I am thankful for this group of girls.
Photos: Some of the girls in the book club and Sunday School teachers at church.
I have started helping out with the children’s groups at church. I am helping with the 7-9 year olds. It is fun and a good test of my Spanish. It is also a great way to know parents and others in my church better.
When I am in Lima, I meet up with C. She is a Peruvian strider, getting ready to go to Europe. I enjoy meeting up with her, the conversations we have and her honesty. There are several other Peruvians who are looking and taking steps to serve with Latin Link. This is an area that I am getting more involved in. It is great to see how this aspect of my work is growing. I have become involved in a new network of mission agencies and various church leaders in Arequipa, with the focus being on the mobilisation of missionaries sent out from Peru. We have our first public event coming up in August, so please pray for all the planning and that the event would encourage churches to become more involved in global mission.
Photos: Lunch with Striders and long-termers based on the outskirts of Lima. Celebrating birthdays with a Stride family.
I am still learning lots about the role of short-term coordinator. In July, I will be receiving my first Step Team (read more about Step Teams here). They will be coming out for 4 weeks to work alongside a church project, in Cañete. I am in the midst of all the planning and preparation for their time in Peru.
I am continuing to visit, support and build relationships with our current striders (short-term volunteers) in Peru. In the last few months, I have been able to visit and meet up with all our striders. It is always a privilege to hear about what they are doing and what they have been learning. Please do pray for continued wisdom as I seek to support them as they live and work cross-culturally.
In March, the north of Peru received heavy rainfall, which led to flooding and mudslides. You may have seen some of the shocking images which appeared in the press. There was much devastation and still much support and relief is needed as people lost everything. The road to recovery will be a long one for the hundreds of thousands of people who were affected. A Rocha Peru (who I have previously worked alongside) and Latin Link colleagues have been involved in supporting some of the neediest communities in Piura and Trujillo.
Thank you so much for your ongoing interest and support.
For the opportunity I have had to visit Striders and see more of God’s wonderful creation
For growing friendships in Arequipa, particularly within the book club
For a year back in Peru – for all the learning and experiences. God has been with me in it all
Knowing how best to support our short-term volunteers
For all the preparations and the safe arrival of the Step team in July
For the on-going relief work in the north of Peru
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.