Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Peru: Day 5

Greetings in the Name of Jesus dear family and friends,
Today was yet another wonderful day. We're all feeling a little tired as a typical day runs from about 8:00a.m. until between 7:00-9:00p.m. and are looking forward to some down-time Thursday. As has been the case each morning, our team began with Morning Prayer and today the "Prayer for Mission" was incredibly meaningful...
(St. Mary's Chapel South...Daily Morning Prayer in our apartment in Lima)

O God, who has made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near; Grant that people everywhere may seek after thee and find thee; bring the nations into thy fold; pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of thy kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our first visit today was to San Mateo Mission and School. All of the Churches in the Anglican Diocese of Peru are required to provide (at least) one social program in their community...for example, yesterday in Collique was the meal and Bible school...and San Mateo's is a subsidized private school for poor families.

(San Mateo Mission and School on the east side of Lima)

We were given a tour of the school and then charged with digging postholes for roof supports and painting. Many buildings, including the Chapel at San Mateo, go without roofs for a long time and one of the reasons this is possible is because it never rains in Lima. Now, it's terribly humid of course, but Lima has an usual meterological feature because of its juxtaposition between the ocean and the mountains so it simply never rains.

(The Chapel of San Mateo, we white-washed the trim which is the altar area and dug the holes; which you can see in the foreground. The cross typically hangs on the white pillar above the gray desk.)

The children who attend this school come from shanty-towns at the foot of the mountains directly behind the school; literally out its back door. While we were there we heard very loud music that we thought was Chinese or Indian pop music and were told it was actually traditional Peruvian music which the children were being taught to dance to.
(The area out the school's back door that the children come from.)



(The children learning traditional Peruvian dancing.)

After our visit to San Mateo we had a joint Eucharist at the Cathedral with the Peruvian Seminarians of the Seminario de San Augustin. The service was primarily in Spanish and we were invited to serve in the liturgy again. Nashotah House is known for our excellence in liturgy and the Peruvian Seminarian are still in a process of learning this so Fr. John said this would be a great opportunity for his students to see what they've been learning in action.
(From L to R are Bill {kind of hidden, torch-bearing} Joe - crucifer; me - torch-bearer; Fr. John and Deacon Anderson in the far background, Mark in the white alb serving as thurifer and our guide Marco, who was the preacher and did an awesome job. Seeing as he's with us all day I wonder when he prepared his sermon?)

After the Eucharist we had a time of fellowship with the Peruvian seminaristas in which three of them and three of us each shared our story. All of the testimonies had a common element of the Lord working miracles in our lives, perseverence and the joy we find in pursuing our calling. A particular delight for our team was hearing Bill's testimony of how the Lord has done a powerful work of healing and transformation in his life which brings hope to many others. Juancarlos gave an equally powerful testimony of his work at a far-off mission which is three hours one way by bus, where he serves a few days a week...on top of being a husband, dad, working full-time and studying in the evenings!

(Bill giving his testimony to the group).
(Juancarlos tells about one night when he stayed so late he missed the bus and had to walk 2 hours to the nearest bus station and then take the bus home arriving at 5:00a.m.! Fr. John translated for us all.)
(The joint group of seminaristas sit together to listen to one another's testimonies. From L to R: Ellora, Fr. Misael and Claudia {from Cristo Redentor & San Pedro: Day 2}, Bill, Juan Carlos, Edith and three other Peruvian seminarians.)

After giving our testimonies and exchanging questions with one another we shared a traditional Peruvian meal of Pollo de Brassas y pappas, roasted chicken and french fries with the best hot sauce ever. Edith, who was with us at Collique yesterday came out in traditional garb and sang a beautiful Peruvian song and then all the Nashotah-ites sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing".
(Edith in traditional Peruvian garb.)

(Clowning around together for the camera.)

We had an absolute blast fellowshipping with our Peruvian brothers and sisters tonight. Teaching each other songs, talking, joking and sharing what excites us about serving God. This picture is a good summation of the fun we had with each tonight.
(Sven, Raul and Edgar teaching one another songs.)

One of the things I've been so struck by is the passion for ministry and the intensity of the vision of the leaders like Fr. Misael and Claudia (Cristo Redentor & San Pedro), Marco (Jesus es Salvador & Oasis), Edith (Collique) and Raul (the youth at Cristo Redentor). During our Q & A time they asked if there was anything that's has impacted us on this trip and I shared with them that they've set the bar very high for us and are an encouraging and inspiring example of serving Christ.

Tomorrow we're off to an area we are totally is terribly poor (again, an ironic statment coming from these folks) and has a high rate of children with physical and mental handicaps. Please pray for us tomorrow to be
fresh as its a three hour bus ride there (often the bus rides are exhausting in and of themselves) and to be sensitive to God's leading as we work in these circumstances.
All that said, praise God for the ways He knit our hearts togethers with our Peruvians brothers and sisters today. Gloria Dios!
(Ok, so I'm a bit of a dork but I really thought it was fun to wear this red cassock. The guys joked it looks like I have episcopal aspirations {to become a bishop} in this photo. Lord have mercy! Ha ha!)
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