Well its real people. We are in Cajarmarca Peru at Villa Milagro (Miracle Village- in case you aren’t currently caught up on your Spanish). It’s completely unreal, and the feeling of home is ever present in my mind. I mean really, this besides San Angelo, and Belton, has that feeling of home; not sure what it is…could be the beautiful people and staff and Larry, or the fact of just getting completely away from the distractions of the U.S mentality or something else?! Whatever it may be, I can only hope that if it hasn’t already settled in with the rest of the crew, that it does throughout this week. It is exactly that feeling that will spur you to continue living the life Christ calls us to live, back in the states after our trip is done.
It has been a long day my friends, I mean lonnnnnnnnng day. We arrived in Miami in good time, and made our flight and headed out to Lima; a lovely 5 hour, overnight flight. Upon arrival in Lima, we prepared ourselves for a new experience, besides lack of sleep, but a nice 6 hour layover; which in all honesty we conquered with ease and a little cat nap here and there. Also, for those of us who chose to avoid the nagging tiredness, we played with beanie babies…yes the beanie babies we brought to hand out at the orphanage; they were tossed and juggled and thrown across the terminal in an attempt to entertain ourselves; mostly successful, and gained some Peruvian onlookers as well.
The flight from Lima to Cajarmarca was a quick one, only an hour…PTL (praise the lord). We were all ready and revved up to get off on our way. The best memory of the day for me is when I first saw Larry waiting at the terminal for us; there is nothing like seeing an old friend, and knowing what experiences come along with knowing and staying with him at Villa Milagro, as well as his staff; and today Celso received us as well! Second greatest moment in being a returner to Villa Milagro, is when those besides Larry who live and work with the site, remember who you are; Celso was the first of many. Now after we all got outside and loaded up in our vans, we headed to our home for the next oh week or so. Waiting for us was a fantastic breakfast and bright smiling faces! We also were lucky enough to meet the now permanent missionary family, helping Larry and his mission, Justin and Deidra and their two girls AnnaMarie and Madison. They are phenomenal people, gosh let me tell you; talk about radical and following God’s direction, they did it folks! But more about them later, after breakfast we got to nap!!! And when I say nap I mean until 1 o clock people! Woohoo!
Folllowing our nap, was lunch; yes food again, of course. Now they don’t mess around here when it comes to meal time, no sir-ee, they know how to feed us. We then got to tour the farm a bit, and those who havent’ seen it, went into the office (White House) building and looked at the ceramics, and trinkets, and woven bags and alpaca blankets, etc…that are made on site here at Villa Milagro, from locals who come in, wanting to learn a trade or just looking for a small job. Just one more way Larry helps out the community. Once we finished here, we headed back on the vans to the square in Cajarmarca. Once there, we all split and looked around a little, but then headed up to the hill top, or Silla de Inca, to take a look at the valley and its absolutely breathtaking scenery. The hike was no joke, a lot, a whooole lot of stairs, and not evenly sized either. Passed a beautiful church about halfway up, as well as many stores to shop in and experience the culture in. The church was filled with people singing, and what a neat experience that was, to hear them shouting and praising in the middle of the day. To the right of the church was a little hut, where a man charged you one soles (35 cents people!) to see the park/Silla de Inca, top of the hill. And believe me, if you are ever there, I don’t care how hard it may seem to climb and it’s well worth the time and effort, to see the view and scenery. Oh and by the way, don’t worry I’ll be sharing pictures of all this with you as well; not going to leave you hanging, or to your own imagination for that matter. J On our way down, we shopped a little in the stores, and talked with the locals inside. Gots myself a new bag, and one that is very indigenous to the people and this area. It was just so fun inside, and talking the owner and his wife- the owner spoke English very fluently and surprised me when I asked how much in Spanish. And when shopping here, it is incredibly crazy how stupid cheap everything is, when you convert it from soles to American dollars; so kind of a secretly special treat going on for us there.
After spending time in the square, we returned back to Villa Milagro and prepared for the Quincineria, we were so graciously invited to. Su- Hei, was the girl, well young lady turning 15. Larry informed us that her family didn’t have much and that the church and youth as well as himself, were putting this birthday Quincineria on for her. It was a very interesting experienece to be at a birthday party where you literally had no clue who the family was, but knew that being there would be making memories for them for a lifetime. Her dress was precious, the decorations were precious, and she was…yes precious, but also very beautiful. One of our very own boys from the youth was chosen through an event similar to the bouquet toss, to be her escort for the evening. It seemed to be a very interesting experience for him, or so it seemed from our perspective. Also as the evening continued to pan out, we were asked to sing 2 songs, and present a gift to her. Larry helped us out with the gift, and she seemed extremely thankful for it (it being a silver watch and earrings, as well as some hairbands. The songs were in English, but she didn’t care one bit, she was just ever so thankful. However, Larry being the pedrano( Godfather), he provided her with a motive for transportation, her brand spankin new bicycle! I wish you could have seen the look on her face, you’ve never seen a bigger smile and one more full of genuine gratitude. After the presentation of gifts from us, and her family; members of her family and friends continued on with the program, singing a few more songs , providing dinner (which we have no clue where it came from, but it was absolutely wonderful!!), etc…We then closed down the night, with hugs goodbye and smiles all around.
After we arrived back at Villa Milagro, we began planning for our church service the next morning, and discussing how our first day/2 days including flying, had been. It’s the end of the day, and moments where we can open up about how God is moving in our lives, that we grow stronger together as a group.
I’m positive that I have left out a few minor details, but in order for you to get all the info, you’d actually have to be here. Since you are not, you can just catch up on most of what is going on during our trip. Oh, and by the way, please excuse my poor use of punctuation. When trying to remember all the info and catch ya’ll up, grammar and punctuation are pretty much thrown out the window. So I apologize in advanced, but more than likely my habits won’t change as the day’s progress. Well now, I believe that’s enough for this blog, more to come later.