After our main event on the 19th, I then traveled
to Cusco to spend a week doing impact with more than 80 other short-term volunteers! I was accompanied by two dear friends of mine from Ohio: Vicki Dunn and Steve Elam. I really enjoyed sharing my experience in Peru with someone from home so that they could relate to my love for the country!
This is a picture of a little girl from Mantay, a women's home that I had visited previously during my first trip to Cusco. I translated for half of the group as we went on a tour of the facility. We were all filled tears during the end of the tour as the guide showed us the nursery and explained the importance of nurturing and making sure these infants know that they are loved, unlike their mothers knew. Our time there included a puppet show which talked about the amazing love Jesus has for each one of us, balloons, nursery feedings, and a powerful testimony that brought many of the young women to accept Christ's open arm invitation.
Due to the largest festival that is celebrated in Cusco, we were limited to our modes of transportation for 80 people. Throughout the week we learned the art of flexibility and on Tuesday we went to the main plaza to pray with people. This was a difficult task because of the parades that were going on and the mentality from the Catholic church that they must pay for prayer. After explaining that it was free, my group and I prayed for jobs, health, the children of the world, and that the people of Peru would get closer to God with 7-10 different people. We then went around to the different plazas and prayed that God would fill the lives that were in that place with his light.
On Wednesday we returned to Oropesa where I went on my previous trip and had a medical clinic and a children's festival. There was a great turnout with over 50 children and 130 people who came to the clinic!
Thursday the 24th was Inti Raymi which is an Incan celebration of the summer solstace and has been intertwined with Catholicism. On this day they have several parades and tradiotions which include climbing up a mountain and sacrificing a llama. We were unable to do any ministry this day, so we were able to visit around the town and see the festivities. It is evident the hold that the enemy has on this city and that it is going to be the hardest of the 7 cities to plant churches because of the Incan roots, however God will be victorious and we were able to get a glimpse of that during our week there.
My favorite part of the week was on Friday when we went to visit the women's prision. This was another women only visit for our group. We had the opportunity to talk with the ladies and here their stories. Many of them are just like you and me with beautiful families and dreams, but had fallen on hard times and are now paying with their freedom. We gave them foot and hand massages and just loved on them with the love of Christ. Lonna Vopat shared her story once more with the women who could easily relate to her testimony. They were all moved by the work of God's redeeming love in her life and almost all of the women gave their lives over to the hands of their heavenly father!!! We then handed out gifts and Bibles to them with a promise that we would return and help them in there walk. One lady shared with me how several groups had come before, but our group was the first where she could feel the spirit of the Lord!
The rest of the week was filled with more children's festivals, another medical clinic, church service, and many trips to the plaza. I was able to help translate for the medical clinic on Saturday which was such a neat experience. Eventhough the majority were only getting prescribed vitamins, tylonol, and rolaids, many of them just desired to get attention, touched, and seen by an American.
Although we would have loved to have done more ministry and impact, it turned out to be a powerful week and many lives were transformed! My prayer was that all of us would return to the states with a fire that would spark the church in the states to share the same kind of love.