These past few weeks have been filled with different activities and has kept me going everyday (which explains why I haven't healed from the gripe). We began our celebration of Semana Santa or Holy week with a birthday celebration for my new twin sister, Emily. Her Father gracious paid for all of us to go to a beautiful restaurant in the Plaza de Armas to celebrate with Emily. Our entire Cusco group happened to all wear the same color scheme which made for a grat family photo.
We also welcomed in two new members to our group. On Monday we had a breakfast for our friend Blake from Washington who came right off the plane with no sleep into the office for a great american breakfast! He will be in the next cohort serving in Tacna, but came down a month early to help out with a project in Cusco. Thursday we had a gathering at the Wilkins to welcome Gary Crites (who is from the same district as me) into the Arequipa team. Our cohort is now complete and we are excited to see what God has in store.
The Cusco girls had the opportunity to dine with the Linnels who are a couple from Alaska serving here in Arequipa. The food and conversation was amazing! We each went around and shared our stories of how we ended up in Peru and it was interesting to see how God has brought us all together.
For Good Friday, we had a showing of the Jesus film at one of the churches here in Arequipa. Over 30 people came to watch the movie and there were several of them that came to the Lord! What a perfect day to accept the beautiful sacrifice of our Savior!
On Saturday, Cailyn and I had the opportunity to spend the day with our local churches youth group. We took a one hour bus ride out in the middle of the dessert to the small little pueblo of Yura. There the nine of us spent time playing games and swimming in the natural spring water from the mountains. It was a great way to connect with some of those in our church and practice our Spanish! The bus ride home was a little rough though because we had to stand for an hour with about 55 people in a school-size bus!
Easter was definitely different this year, but it was still a day of celebration and praise. I was able to talk with the majority of my family on skype and then headed to a dessert gathering with all the Extreme staff here in Arequipa. I even had the chance to act as an Easter bunny and help with a hunt that we had for the children. My favorite part of the day was after our gathering when the Cusco team and Kindra Bible spent an hour and a half on the roof at the guys house singing songs such as Beloved, How Great thou Art, How he Loves, and He knows my name. We then shared our blessings, concerns, and requests and followed it by a time of lifting each other in prayer. I couldn't imagine a more perfect end to my first Peruvian Pascua!