I’m excited to bring you all part two of my South America trip update. Our time with the Tippie family in Huacho, Peru, was the shortest of the trip, only covering a couple of days. But boy, were they packed days!
Upon arriving back in Lima via a short flight out of Cajamarca with the Tippies, we took a three hour drive that got us into Huacho (pronounced “Watch-Oh”) near 11pm. I observed that Peruvians seem to be night-owls, and they eat late! We were tired, but Pastor Craig didn’t want to send us to bed with empty bellies. I was glad for that after a delicious meal of roasted chicken, aji sauce (think Chick-Fil-A sauce with a little south-of-the-border kick), and french fries. Peru LOVES their french fries, with their almost 4,000 varieties of potatoes that grow there! I could definitely have gotten used to that.
The four of us stayed at a hotel in the city just a couple of blocks from Pastor Craig’s house. Accommodations were so cheap that we each got our own room and bathroom! This should have made for some good sleep, but Huacho was where I experienced some of my greatest spiritual warfare of the trip, including some spiritually dark dreams and a pretty bad stomach bug that plagued me the entire time there. Huacho is the witchcraft capitol of Peru, and we were there to do some work for God’s kingdom, so these kinds of things are to be expected, especially after our focus on the armor of God at our prayer retreat in Cajamarca!
Our first morning in Huacho consisted of a four-hour meeting planning our upcoming youth group trip to Huacho in June, on which Pastor Mike, Pastor Tim, and myself will return to Huacho with 40 people for various outreaches including a surf camp, VBS, music, soccer, and more! It was eye-opening to see the necessity of traveling so far for such planning, as all that we accomplished could never have been done over phone or Skype. I gained valuable experience for planning future trips as Pastor Mike led the way with his expertise in this area.
That night, I was radically blessed with the opportunity to preach the gospel to a few dozen youth at a youth outreach at Pastor Craig’s church! I taught on the woman at the well from John 4, and showed them that Christ is the only one who can fulfill our longing for joy and satisfaction in life.
The next morning I had another amazing opportunity to lead a little “Gringo Worship” (as Pastor Craig calls it) for his church’s Sunday morning service! (You can check out video of that here on Facebook) One of my favorite parts of international travel is to worship with people of other cultures and languages. English worship was cool for them, but I really love the fun, lively, community-driven worship of the Peruvian people!
In the midst of all this activity, we also had the opportunity to check out a beach similar to the one we’ll run our surf camp at in June, as well as tour around and work through some other logistics for the trip in Pastor Craig’s super cool bright orange VW Bus! The trip ended with a sweet get-together at the Tippies’ house, a surprise party for Pastor Craig where seemingly the whole community came out to celebrate the life of this man who’s done so much for the Gospel in Huacho.
Huacho may have not been the hardest part of our trip, but between the spiritual warfare and my stomach illness, I really wanted to give up and go home, especially when I considered the possibility of carrying my stomach illness into the jungle. But the Lord was really teaching me a lesson on endurance, and the fact that missionaries endure this kind of spiritual warfare on a regular basis. Part of being a missionary is learning to endure through that and fight the good fight of bringing the Gospel to the nations. The Lord was teaching me what our missionaries go through, and was preparing me for a deeper level of that on the next leg of our journey in Brazil…
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Love in Christ,
Joel, Amy, Maggie, Harrison, Jude, and Clara Garcia