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The group will be starting their trip back to the States this afternoon. Please continue to pray for safety during this final leg of their adventure.
Here are a few pictures from their trek and visit to Machu Picchu:

Student update from 5/29:

We just made it back from the trek safely. We are tired and sore, but in good health and in awe of the majesty of God displayed throughout our trek. We summitted mountains, saw glacial lagoons, experienced four different climates, and survived the "Gringo Killer." (Editor's note: gringo is spanish slang for an american from the US).  We met other hikers alone the way, from the U.S., France, Belgium, Russia, Ireland, Uraguay, and Germany and were able to engage in conversations with them.

On Sunday, we got the chance to unwind and relax our sore muscles in a hot spring in Santa Teresa. It was a refreshing time to wash off and have fellowship with each other while playing in the water under the stars. 

Today we hiked Waynapicchu (editor's note: this hike gives you a bird's eye view of the main ruins of Machu Picchu....it's pretty spectacular!) and explored the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu, while learning about the history and culture of the Incan people. We even got the special gift of seeing a day-old alpaca. 

Our theme of attentiveness continued throughout the trek as we observed God´s glory and responded to each other´s needs. Everyone was willing to give an encouraging word when someone was down or lend a helping hand when someone was in need. Although the trek was difficult, everyone powered through and finished strong. We are excited to spend our last few days together relaxing and reflecting before coming home to share our stories with all of you.

--The Gang

 

Update from 5/24:

Everyone is healthy and we are excited for the adventure ahead. The switch from working with the kids in Huancayo to becoming tourists again in Cusco was strange and we are still adjusting a little bit to that. The environment of this city is so much different. Out travel day was long and tiring, but we are now all rested, well fed, and ready to climb. We had a meeting with our trek guide, Papa Freddie, this morning, and he alleviated some of our biggest concerns about the trek. He went through the trek day-by-day and told us what to expect and what we would need to be prepared. Luckily, our veteran Peruvian explorer (Sam) already had us well-prepared. The time we had in Huancayo to adjust to the altitude will definitely be beneficial. We are very excited to be immersed in God`s beauty for the next five days while we explore the Andes mountains and Machu Picchu. 

All the best,

Peru Crew 2018

**Reminder: As of 5/25 the group will be on their trek which ends at Machu Picchu on the 29th.  They will not have any kind of service until after that, so there will be no blog updates for the next several days.  

 

Some pictures from the group's time at Tinkuy:

5/21: Staff update

It has been a full several days since our last check in, and they have been good days. On Saturday, we took an excursion to several sites, including Chupaca where we ate Pachamanca, a famous meal in Peru that is traditionally prepared underground and that you eat with your hands. Everybody loved it! Then we visited ancient ruins called Arwaturo and took a boat ride on a gorgeous lake where the ducks run on water. Several students even got to try their hands at rowing. From there, we headed to La Concepcion, a giant statue that towers above a town in the mountains. Our bus driver dropped us off, and we immediately began a steep ascent to the top. Even though we have been running around with children and walking six miles a day at over 11000 feet above sea level, this was a great test to see how well everyone had prepared physically in the months leading up to the trip. It was tough but they pushed through. And there was ice cream to help us celebrate! We ended the day with a visit to the town of Hualhuas, and a tallera where they make clothing and rugs by hand. The father of the host family where we have been staying knows the owners of this shop, so our time there felt very personal. Hugs all around before returning home that night. 

On Sunday, we had a church service on the roof of our host family's home. It was a beautiful morning and we could see for miles. Huancayo has approximately 500,000 people in it, so we had a big area to pray for. We have been blessed this week, for sure, but we have also seen the needs of these people as well as our own needs. Full of gratitude, we ate a delicious lunch at Detras de la Catedral (Behind the Cathedral) and then walked through the Sunday Market where students looked for gifts for their friends and family back home. We even found a poor copy of The Emperor's New Groove, a Disney cartoon that takes place in Peru. 

Today we finished our yard work and classroom organization in the morning, and our teaching in the afternoon (This was our fifth day here). Tomorrow will be a celebration and goodbye with the kids we have so quickly grown to love. Our group is already talking about how hard it will be to leave. 

In between our work and adventures have been rich conversations. This group is very mature. Whether we are walking in pairs to the school twice per day, or having one of our regular evening meetings based on Bible passages and various articles and book excerpts, the students are, as they say, leaning in. Praise God for that. 

We are grateful for your prayers. Please know that this has been a special, even unforgettable, experience so far. Please also pray for our trek this week. We leave Friday for five days. This will push all of us into new areas of growth. It will be my fourth time on this particular trek, and I am looking forward to sharing such a majestic and challenging adventure with all of them. 

In Christ,

Sam

 

5/18: Student update

We began our day at Tinkuy Peru school, where we continued the yardwork we started yesterday. This included weed wacking away the overgrown grass, pulling weeds from the cracks in the basketball court, and picking up trash from the yard. During this time, we faced several trials, including having our patience tested with the inadequate tools provided. This made us all more attentive to the fact that we are graced at home with working tools or other means of finishing projects. We also have been reflecting and realize that these kids do not have less than us, but rather we are all part of God's Kingdom and are coming from different walks of life. 

After finishing our work on construction projects, we trekked back to our host family's house for lunch where we were fed once again with a meal that exceeded our expectations. After lunch and a few much needed naps, we ventured out and continued to teach the kids English. In our classroom in particular, we have several children who like the activeness of school, but not necessarily the sitting down and learning part. Today was better than yesterday, and we were able to bribe them with Playdough to sit down and stay attentive. They remained attentive for the rest of the afternoon until they were dismissed at 5. The founder of the school was very pleased with the classroom management. One of the most difficult parts about teaching is the frustration and exhaustion of teaching with the language barrier. However, one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching these kids is seeing everyday how they have so much to teach us also. 

After returning to our host famil's house for dinner, we were blessed with a scrumptious meal. Tonight, we decided that we were going to start sharing our testimonies after meals in order to love and get to know each other better. During dinner, we also shared our top love languages so we can better see how each of us needs to be cared for. Following dinner, we had time to discuss and reflect readings we had been given. The readings we finished revolved around loving the kids we are influencing to the best of our ability. We realzed that we need to remain attentive to how each of them is feeling and how they are learning. These attitudes can then be used to modify our teaching in order for the kids to get the most out of our time here. 

Tomorrow, we will participate in similar activities as today, hopefully better prepared, and continue to try to change the lives of these kids. We expect teaching will get easier every day and the language barrier will become less and less. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to serve God's Kingdom in the town of Huancayo. 

Love and blessings, 

Madi, Dale, Aisha, Cassie

 

5/16: Update

 Today was our second full day in Huyancayo.

Two treks uphill today.  Dirt and concrete.  Lots of dogs.  Smiles and waves (and sometimes giggles) as we greet people on the street with our best attempt at Spanish.  Burning legs and lungs as we push our bodies to perform at this altitude.  

Today we worked at the Tinkuy Peru school.  We cleaned, edged, and cut the grass (with yard scissors!), and trimmed and tidied the school yard.   In the afternoon, our team broke into three groups to tutor the kids in English.

Our time at the school raised questions on caring for others.  We are wrestling with 'doing good' vs. being present and loving well in the moment.  One of our students reminded us that God allows us to sow seeds, but we may not get to see the fruit.  It's selfcentered to expect (or even want) to see change in the short amount of time we are here.  But we are called to love and give of ourselves nonetheless.  It is so easy to open our hearts wide to these children, but painfully difficult knowing that we will leave them in just a few days.

We give and we receive.  Peru has much to offer, and we are looking forward to learning more about this beautiful culture.  As we get to know these kids better, there is much that we are learning from them as well.  Though we may never truly see the fruit of our labors, we trust that God is at work , and we will all grow from our time here.  Brief as it is, our time with these children is meaningful.

Gratefully,

Mollie and Spencer 

(trip leaders, on behalf of the Peru Team)

Here's a picture of the group while they were in Lima

5/14: Student update

Hello All!

After several hours of travel we have arrived safe and sound in Lima, Peru!  Everyone is well rested, energized, and ready to continue our adventure after spending yesterday exploring the city of Lima and growing in fellowship with each other.

The first theme of the trip we have been focusing on is Attentiveness and Gratitude. Starting the day in this foreign environment, we made sure to take in the new sights, sounds, and smells as much as we could so we could gain a better understanding of what was really happening all around us. As we traveled through the city, we heard the story of a woman whom Sam (one of the leaders) has known for a long time named Consuela (from Lima). 

Back in February, Consuela lost her son to appendicitus and other complications from various other health issues. This would be her first Mother´s Day without her son so we decided to take her flowers and chocolates and spend some time with her. She thoroughly enjoyed our company and so did her daughter Veronica and their dog Ramona. Speaking only spanish, we all appreciated how patient and loving they were towards all of us, especially those who knew little or none of the language. They made it easy for us to try and mimed some of the words that they were saying to make it easier for us to understand.

All of us learned a lot from the story of how she remained strong, despite the loss of her son. It put a lot of views into perspective and we found strength and courage in Consuelas words. A sense of gratitude truly swept over our group as we reflected on what we can sometimes take for granted and the struggles that people like Consuela have to face. 

Following our visit, we had the opportunity to walk along the coast of Lima and even dip our feet into the Pacific Ocean. While the walk down to the shore was a rigorous six miles, we all were in high spirits and took the opportunity to talk to someone we didn't know very well yet. We all are truly thankful for how well our group is clicking and how fortunate we are to have this great bond already -in addition to a such a knowledgable and experienced leadership team. It really does not feel like we only met each other three days ago. We agreed that we are going to have to maintain this high level of communication with each other throughout the trip, so that way we can best serve each other and ourselves, as well as making it easier for us to ask for help when we need it. 

As we sat down for dinner last night, we were very grateful for a woman from the restaurant who went out of her way to help some of us decifer the spanish menu as we decided what we wanted. When we got to out seats, we didn't realize that we sat down directly beside a different group of missionaries from the United States and were extremely fortunate to talk with them and get a little more information about Lima and Peru as a whole. It was very cool to hear their story and share some time in prayer and fellowship with them.

After three days, we are all having a blast! We are eating and sleeping well and enjoying the Peruvian culture. Today we are taking a bus to Huancayo to meet out host family while we serve at a local school. We thank you all for your prayers and continued support of us as we experience Peru and all that it has to offer.

5/13: They've Arrived!

The group has arrived safely in Lima.  They will spend the day today exploring the city and recovering from traveling all day yesterday.  Tomorrow, they will head to Huancayo by bus where they will be spending the next week working at Tinkuy, the school where they will be teaching english and doing service work.  

The Experience Peru 2018 team will begin their adventure on May 11!

Watch this space for updates from the team during their time away.