Monday, April 30, 2007

A Beautiful Day for Paseo

Sunday was a wonderful day! We had a joint service with the 9-10 groups associated with the Mennonite church here in this region of Peru. There were about 500 people from all over: Santa Teresa, Colquemarca, Cotabambas and more. There were people that were from communities over 5 hours away and stayed the weekend. We met out on the ground that we are believing (in faith) that God will provide for the school. It's a little more out in the campo (country) than even San Jeronimo and it was such a beautiful walk and wonderful to be out of the city for a little bit! The land & buidings are currently owned by the Presbyterian mission but they are willing to sell it to us at the original price that they purchased it at (which is a huge blessing but still a challenge at $250,000).

Different churches and groups presented songs and dances in traditional outfits. Here you can tell where someone is from because of the way that their traditional outfit looks like. It was a wonderful morning of giving praise to the Lord for the work that He is doing all over. Our mission jefe (boss) was there to give a word of encouragement and faith. We officially installed three new pastors who were already working in that type of role in various places. In the Latin culture the recognized role is so important for people -- they want strong leaders in place. So, it was good to recognize these men! Some have been sent out as missionaries from different places (one couple went from a warmer climate to a place up up up in the mountains). There was also an invitation and about 25 people responded. Please pray that they will grow in their new faith!

The dances and songs really were such a treat to see! One woman from one of the far places wrote a song of praise in Quechua and 4 people danced. I also had the opportunity to experience some of the Andean dances first hand! I danced with the girls from San Jeronimo and it was so much fun. We danced with the typical costume, sandals made from tires (they will last me for 50,000 miles - well, a looooong time!) and even yarn braids. A lot of the Andean woman will add on to their braids with black yarn. Most of us had rather short hair so we were really ADDING ON those braids. My braids were brown to match my hair of course! Our dance went well even though our leg decorations (ribbons wrapped up our legs) fell down and one girl lost her braid in the end! Don't worry, a little boy named Diego ran out to get it in the end. Hee hee... I've seen lots of people lose things during dances: ribbons, veils, flags, and even shoes but never before a braid!!! What an experience!

After the service we had lunch on the grass (chicken, potatoes, yucca from Santa Teresa & salad) in the hot sun. After lunch was a time of playing futbol (soccer) and volleyball or just sitting around and chatting with the hermanos (brothers). There was such a feeling of unity! Hallelujah that God is building the church of Peru, that He is using the country folk and the city folk and that many are being reached with His message of hope!!! Hallelujah!!!

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