Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peru: Day 2

Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ dear friends and family!
So today our team visited the shanty-towns on the southern edge of Lima. The bakdrop to this area is the Andes mountains as you can see in this picture, a truly breathtaking panorama...This picture is the same view, more or less, for 360 degrees; the shanty-towns spread out literally as far as the eye can see and are areas that are at the foot of the mountain are legal neighborhoods; the further up the mountainside you go they are illegal squatter communities. We spent our day towards the "top" among the squatter communities. The poverty is saddening and the immensity of how many people are here (if I recall, our translator said there are about one million in the shanty-towns!) is staggering. Most of the people who live here are Quechua Indians who've migrated from the Andes.
(Pictured are some women washing clothes at the community water spicket.)
The area on which they build homes is very steep so the way people build is by carving out the mountainside to make a flat enough space for a house (all by hand with pick axes and lugging rocks in a bag).

The purpose of our trip was to visit two Churches in the shanty-town, Cristo Redentor and San Pedro. The couple who run these, Fr. Misael and his wife Claudia, are an incredibly godly couple; totally sold out for Jesus and committed to serving Him. Likewise for a young seminarista, Raul, who works with the youth at Cristo Redentor. Their passion for ministering to the children and youth in these slums was incredible to see. (Sandy, Fr. Misael, Claudia, local kiddies, our translator Clara, Mariela (in the blue shirt) and Ellora)

We had a great time with the kids, singing songs and playing games. Then with the teenagers one of our group, Sven, gave a wonderful short exhortation to them about finding their identity in whom God created them to be.

(pictured L to R: Marco, Sven, Joe, Ellora-seated and Michael-drums)
One fun moment for me was having my new friend, Marco who is a seminarista (seminarian) at the Anglican seminary here, help me translate some Portuguese songs I know into Spanish.

(pictured: Marco, me and Joe)

After our time at Cristo Redentor we got back on the mini-bus to return to downtown Lima and were bid farewell by a common sight...a dog on the roof...

On the way back to downtown Lima where we're staying we got an impromptu tour of the city from our driver.

They have these neat little motorcycle taxis out in the shanty-towns (mototaxis).

After dinner our group, a little sunburned and tired from hiking up and down all the steep inclines like those pictured here...

...prayed Compline together and had fun cracking up excessivley at each other in our tired, slap-happy state. (our team: Joe, Ellora, Michael, Mark, Sandy, Micah, Bill, me, Sven and one of the local priests, Benjamin)

Once again, all I can do is praise God for the privilege to be here and see the passion of those who are ministering for Him. It's truly inspiring. Please pray for Fr. Misael, Claudia and Raul and the churches of Cristo Redentor and San Pedro. They're doing awesome work here to bring the "least of these" to faith in Jesus Christ. May Our Lord bless each of you abundantly! Gloria Dios!

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