Thursday, Aug. 16
After hours on the road and in the air (along with a delay out of Lima for Aurora, Ava, Lexi, Mike and Rachel), each of our Mission: Peru 2018 team members have arrived safely at their respective homes in the U.S. Praise God for this fruitful mission!
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Team gathered to exit Peru: (left to right) Jordan Rowley, Jesse Fallesen, Mike and Rachel Wall, Lexi Hooper, Ava Worm, and Aurora Murga.
As we made the long drive from Huaraz to Lima, I sat and reflected on this team that God assembled many months ago. At the very start of our expedition, I was impressed again and again by the thought of God using each of these different people in different ways for different purposes. And for nearly two weeks, I’ve watched Him do just that.
It has been a blessing to serve in the mountains of Peru alongside Aurora, Ava, Jesse, Lexi, Mike and Rachel – and of course Edwin, Jaime, and the others who labored with us to make Mission: Peru 2018 a success.
We shared the Good News of Christ, while showing His love and shining His light. Now it’s time to head home as we all board red-eye flights this evening. Adios Peru. Hasta pronto.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Today we said goodbye to Catalino and Angel and began the slow journey over mountain roads to Huaraz. With a handful of minor complications, we made the drive in about 11 hours. The long trip from Huayllapa back to Huaraz offered a lot of time to reflect on the recent days. It’s been a great blessing and honor to see lives forever changed by the power of the Gospel. We also sowed numerous seeds of God’s precious Word throughout the Cordillera Huayhuash. We trust God will water those seeds, and cause them to bear Him much fruit.
Monday, Aug. 13
Today we awoke to relative warmth – one of the only such mornings given the altitude of our previous camps. Catalino and Angel joined us for yet another meal at breakfast. We are thrilled to call these two men “brothers in Christ.” Of course, we’ll be sad to say goodbye tomorrow morning.
After about 7 hours on the trail – and numerous encounters during which we were able to share New Testaments and pray with people – we arrived at our last camp. Huayllapa, our final stop on this year’s trek, is our lowest camp yet at roughly 11,400 feet.
Shortly after our arrival, children began to trickle in, drawn by the hope of candy from trekkers. We spent the evening enjoying many of the playful children in an intense game of soccer.
Please be in prayer for our travels back to Huaraz tomorrow. And, of course, for all of the many people we have encountered on our trek through the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Sunday, Aug. 12
We broke camp at 8 a.m. and trekked a little out of our way to where we had been told a family was living. We found them and struck up a conversation. Julia, the elder of three women, said she knew and believed in Jesus. However, her nieces, Irma and Amanda, did not. Edwin and I shared the Good News with them. Obviously touched, with tears in their eyes, they prayed with Edwin and asked Christ to enter their lives, forgive them of sin, and be their Lord. We left them – and two small children – with New Testaments, and prayed for their new lives in Christ, and their land and animals.
We then began our trek.
Six and one-half hours after breaking camp we made it to the 16,404-foot Punta Cuyoc Pass. It was a beautiful view all along the trek today. Huge mountains seemed so close we could touch them. A steep 2,000-foot descent awaited us after our time enjoying the pass. We were all thrilled when the trail leveled off just before camp.
In the evening, we invited our donkey drivers, Catalino and Angel, to share dinner with the team. After eating a delicious meal and some great laughs, we asked the men if they’d ever put their trust in Christ. Both said no – but they were ready to make a decision tonight after hearing Edwin present the Gospel. Heaven rejoiced, and so did we – literally – as we shared several Spanish worship songs together to celebrate a special and sacred moment.
Tomorrow, Catalino and Angel will join us for breakfast. We look forward to sharing another meal with our new brothers in Christ.
Saturday, Aug. 11
Late Friday night several of our team members and Jaime went to visit a home near our camp at 13,450 feet. The family was excited to have visitors. Soyla, the matriarch of the family and a fellow believer, had many questions about Christianity. Jaime was happy to answer. Her grown son, Armando, had never put his faith in Christ, rather he was an alcoholic. But after experiencing God’s love through our team and hearing Jaime speak with his mother, he decided to put his faith in Christ. We are so thankful that Armando made this life-changing decision.
Today, we trekked up to the roughly 15,500-foot Portachuelo de Huayhuash Pass. After five hours on the trail, we made it to our next camp at 14,317 feet. We will do outreach in this area in the morning before our push up the biggest pass yet, at 16,400 feet.
Friday, Aug. 10
We broke camp and made the three-hour trek to Carnicero Pass, at 15,091 feet. The long hike to the pass offered several great views – and an opportunity to share God’s love with two farmers. We prayed with them and shared a New Testament for one of the men’s 1-year-old son, named Oscar.
An hour into our descent from the pass we came across a farmer, Elizabeth, who lived and cared for her mountain home and animals all alone. When asked she said she believed in Jesus. We rejoiced, and encouraged and prayed for her. Per her request we also prayed for her elderly father, Tobias, who lives in a nearby village.
Please join us in continuing to pray for Oscar, Elizabeth, Tobias, and for health and strength for our team.
Thursday, Aug. 9
The day began with a miracle. As the team was slowly waking up over breakfast, we were treated to another visit from our new friend Edmundo. Not only did he bring us a large wheel of cheese as a special gift, he brought us word that when his wife Justina awoke today she had been healed from her pains. Immediately, I remembered Jaime telling her yesterday in Spanish that when she awoke she would feel like a new woman. I’d forgotten that detail until Edmundo shared this good news.
After breakfast we trekked for about five hours, making it up and over the 15,522-foot Carhuac Pass. We were rewarded for enduring the previous day’s weather woes with beautiful sunshine and a humbling view of Peru’s second-highest peak, 21,768-foot Yerupajá, along with a handful of other stunning giants.
After settling into our new camp, we noticed a small family living across a nearby lake. We made our way over and began a conversation with Elsa and her daughter Diana. Both of them had a belief in God but neither had received Christ into their hearts. We shared that in addition to Jesus forgiving one’s sins, when He enters the heart He becomes an ever-present friend and guide in every season of life. Heaven rejoiced when both Elsa and Diana received Jesus – and we rejoiced as well.
Please keep Elsa, Diana, and their family in prayer, along with strength and good health of our team.
Wednesday, Aug. 8
We began the day meeting and praying with Amapila and her children, 13-year-old Ason and 2-year-old Edellite. After sharing three New Testaments with them we prayed for God’s blessing on their lives and headed out of our camp.
The trek out of Matacancha led us up to the 15,420-foot Cacanan Pass. After enjoying the stunning view (and a personal high for many on the team) we began the walk to Mitucocha, at 14,110 feet. As we walked we enjoyed the sunshine and a light snow. However, the weather quickly deteriorated to wind, rain and hail. We endured the adventure and the final push to camp.
As the rain poured down, Mike, Jesse, Edwin, Jaime and I formulated a plan to reach out to a handful of people we heard lived farther down the valley. We began to pray, and as each person prayed the rain let up and gave us a window.
We began the long hike and along the way we met Edmundo, a believer we visited with earlier, and his wife Justina. Justina was suffering from pain in her head, legs and back. We prayed for her and entrusted her to God’s hands. Please join us in lifting up Justina.
We learned of another man 1 ½ hours past Edmundo. With the Parable of the Lost Sheep on our minds, we pressed on to meet him. The weather quickly shifted again to heavy sleet. We trudged through to meet Fortunato and his wife Carmen. After some conversation we learned that they, too, have faith in Jesus. After giving them Bibles and some brief encouragement about the importance and blessing of God’s Word, we prayed over them in their home.
Making the lengthy trek back in the darkness and mud, we gave thanks for an opportunity to share God’s far-reaching love with our neighbors.
Tuesday, Aug. 7
Change of plans today: Instead of driving for three hours to Llamac and trekking for five to Matacancha, we made a four-hour drive all the way up to Matacancha at 13,650 feet.
For several of us on the team who have experienced trekking in Peru in years past, it all feels so familiar – including connecting today with our beloved cooks Jose and Vetter. In addition, we were introduced to another man, Plinio, who is helping out our team.
After settling in to camp, we hiked down the path and found Landauro and his wife, Fidela, tending their 90 sheep. After sharing the Good News – and the Good Book (a pocket New Testament) – with him, he joined us in a prayer of salvation. Lord willing, this is the first of many such mission moments.