Monday, July 2, 2018

Off the Beaten Path

We headed off the beaten path again. This time we went in search of a pueblo which we were told did not have a church, a church leader or a christian community.

All packed up and ready to go
We learned of this pueblo on May 12th. As we searched for more information regarding this pueblo we learned that it was not on any maps and it was not considered part of our region. Upon learning this we needed to call the priests who minister to that region. Taylor spoke with Padre Juan Carlos and he happily gave us permission to investigate further.

We scheduled an overnight visit to the pueblo of Mirador for June 16-17. Our plan was do spend some time ministering to the community of Mirador and also to search for the community of Nuevo Puira.

And here we go
Our family was super excited to have an overnight in a pueblo again. It had been two years since the last time we had this opportunity. We were better prepared this time though. We had an idea of what to expect. We knew that it would be much colder than the weather we are accustomed to and we also knew we should bring snacks and extra blankets. We filled up all of our water bottles and we packed our few cold weather clothes. Everyone slipped on the boots in anticipation for an adventure.

We arrived in Mirador as scheduled but due to Peru playing in the World Cup the pueblo was not ready for us. We understood their excitement for the game because the same thing happens in Wisconsin when the Packer's play in the Super Bowl! The animador showed us to a store room where we would be spending the night. They were kind enough to bring a mattress for the children to lay on. It gave them an opportunity to get off of the mud floor where the chickens were scratching. We unpacked the truck and watched the game with our generous hosts. Unfortunately the game ended in a disappointing loss for Peru.

Hiking for Jesus!
After the game we were able to convince the animador to be our guide to Nuevo Piura. Unfortunately we learned the whole family would not be able to make the hike. We were under the impression it was only a short twenty minute walk. The animador quickly informed us that it was going to be an hour and a half hard hike to get there. He recommended only Taylor and the older kids should go. Reluctantly I stayed behind. I was really looking forward to hiking through the jungle. But the Lord had other plans.

While they were hiking the little ones and I spent the afternoon teaching the children and youth about Jesus, salvation and His great love for them. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon with these children. We were also blessed to eat lunch with a young family.
Top of the mountain ridge view
Taylor, Malachi, Ruth and the animador hiked literally up a mountain. The hike was exhausting but God's beauty was rich. Their hike also took them through the jungle where the trees reached the skies and the animals were abundant. Monkeys were swinging through the trees around them. They saw a woodpecker and the giant toucan. They also learned to stay away from any tree which has large red flowers because of the ants inside. The bites from the ants are very painful and can result in death if a person is bitten too many times. This type of venomous ant is a different one than the one that bit Taylor. In fact, the indigenous people used to use the ants as a form of punishment. If someone committed a horrific crime and was found guilty the town people would tie them to the tree. Once secured everyone would use rocks and sticks to bang on the tree to anger the ants and the ants would come out and bite the person to death. We will be avoiding the tree with big red colors at all costs!

Mid hike break
Taylor, Malachi and Ruth arrived to Nuevo Piura to find the people excited. The town was founded 20 years ago and in that time no one has come to evangelise the people. Our family was the first representatives of any Christian church to ever come to the town. The townsfolk are happy to know that they are not forgotten. When talking with the people Taylor learned Nuevo Piura was not the only town without a church community. He was given information about two other towns yet to be visited.

From the top of the mountain we could view three different regions
Taylor talked with the people and encouraged them in the faith. One lady asked if he could baptize her child. He explained to her that we will prepare the people who desire baptism but that we will need to schedule a sacrament mass with the priest when everyone is ready.

Taylor scheduled two return visits with the town. One short day trip in July and an overnight trip in August because by then the mountain pass should be dry enough to drive our truck all the way there. Hopefully after that trip we will be able to schedule a sacrament mass so all of the little children can receive baptism. Our intent is to continue visiting and teaching the people so the young adults and married couples can receive their sacraments as well but their prep is more intense and is over an extended period of time.

Taylor and the kids returned tired, hungry but very happy. I was overjoyed to hear about their hike and of the excitement from the people of Nuevo Piura. I was surprised to learn about the other pueblos who have no church community.

View in Nuevo Piura
We arrived!
That night I led another class for the children and some of the adults of the community while the rest of the family snuggled and rested. The kids loved the sleeping arrangement on the floor. They also enjoyed the fact we all had to snuggle in close to stay warm. Thankfully we had enough blankets to layer with the ones they gave us and the ones we brought.

The next morning we were served bread and milk. The milk was fresh from the cow that morning and the warmed it up to kill any bacteria.

The group of kids who attended my studies
We did one last teaching before heading out. We taught the Kerygma. It just so happened we could not find the key to the church so we stood outside teaching the children. As we shared with the children we quickly noticed the children were not the only ones listening. Adults began sitting on the stoops of their houses. Passers-by stopped to hear the message. By the end the key was found and the church was opened but God wanted all of His children to hear His word that day.

When we arrived home we were all exhausted. I think for the first time we were thankful to be back in the heat. We were so thankful that God brought us to His children in Mirador and Nuevo Piura.

Kerygma study in the street
Tomorrow we will be traveling to the region of San Jose de Sisa to speak with Padre Juan Carlos about Nuevo Piura. We will be showing him a hand drawn map explaining the regional divides and where all of the pueblos fall as well as how each region has access to each of the pueblos. Padre Juan Carlos will have an opportunity to decide if he would like us to work with the families of Nuevo Piura or he can choose to minister to them since they are in his region. Either way the people of Nuevo Piura will have a faith community and will come to know God's love and mercy!


Our new map

Our sleeping arrangements

Leo found a bug