Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Merry Christmas Link Fix

Dear All,

It seems that our Spanish Christmas song link did not appear in our latest blog email last night - sorry! 

So here is the link to our original blog post which works as was intended;


Incidentally from our blog site you can also reflect back on any or all of our 52 posts from 2017.



Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

22 December 2017

Dear Family and friends,

We want to thank you all for your prayer and support in 2017.  We could not have accomplished what we have without you!  Peruvians are hearing the Gospel as Diospi Suyana radio broadcasts the love of Jesus in this place.

So let us take this moment to wish you a Merry Christmas Spanish style – please click on the below image (YouTube link), wind up the volume and sing along with us;


Chris & Sandi, Jake, Sam, Isaac, Sarah, Georgia, Solomon, Jessica and Stacey.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Juvenfest 2017

24 September 2017

Jake and Sam, among other musicians and singers from Diospi Suyana, performed at the first Curahuasi Juvenfest – a youth Christian musical outreach event for the area.  It was held in the Diospi Suyana school gymnasium where Jake performed his specialty as a DJ, going by his stage name “De Jake”. 

And Sam was part of the Diospi Suyana band with vocals.  They rehearsed almost every night for weeks leading up to the event, culminating in a night of good music, video, lights, dancing.

The wash down was that it was a great success and there was talk of other Juvenfests planned for Curahuasi.  The next may be in the Plaza de Armas (the town square) to reach further afield and enjoy a concert in the open space.

De Jake delivering his brand of song which the kids love.
Music, lights and dancing with De Jake.
The Diospi Suyana youth band that formed for the Juvenfest.
Sam, our standout singer.
Again Sandi and I were made very proud parents!



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Our Lifesource Christian Church Pastoral Visit

16 September 2017

From Wednesday 13 to Friday 15 September, we had both the privilege and honour to host our amazing senior Lifesource pastor John Iuliano accompanied by our equally amazing friends Rod McGibbon and Ronny Marin from our home church in Chatswood, Sydney.  What a wonderful time of rejuvenation and encouragement it was for the whole family.

My son Solomon (6) and I drove to Cusco on the Wednesday to greet them at the airport, grab a bite of lunch and enjoy the time chatting for the 2 ½ hour journey to Curahuasi (it was so good to “speak normally” again J).  And where would a Perú road trip be without a typical Panamericana highway both direction closure for maintenance – this one at our iconic Apurimac River Bridge, about 30 minutes away from our home in Curahuasi.

Solomon standing in front of our Apurimac River bridge whilst we waited for it to be reopened for traffic.
We arrived home to dinner being cooked by our neighbour who is Peruvian chef.  He cooked Pachamanca (from Quechua pacha "earth", manka "pot") which is a traditional Peruvian dish based on baking with the aid of hot stones.  The meat is normally lamb, mutton, pork, chicken or guinea pig, marinated in spices.  We had mutton and chicken in ours.  Other Andean produce, such as potato, green lima beans, sweet potato, occasionally cassava or yuca, and humitas (sweet treat) as well as ears of corn, tamale and chili, is normally included in the baking.

BBQ Peruvian style “on the rocks” with the fire made beneath – here our chef cooks the Pachamanca meat.
We watch on as our Chef prepares our Pachamanca for dinner in our casa la hacienda back yard.
The Pachamanca cooked bananas and a selection of normal and sweet potatoes from local produce.
As evening came, we were blessed by what we called an “early Christmas” of Aussie goodies for the whole family.  Such as, but not limited to; Weet-Bix and Vegemite (I never thought I would miss this so much!), Aussie lollies (which tasted like real lollies should), Anzac biscuits, Tim Tams, Minties, Nurofen for Children, Dimetapp, some clothes from my mum & dad including PJs and shoes that fitted us (adult sizes in Perú don’t fit us as they are way too small).  For Sam there was cycling gear from his club in Sydney, NSCC.  And odd things like a toilet bag as mine broke and they are simply not available in Perú.

Specifically for me there was some hardware including kitchen drawer runners from my brother that actually work properly and not bind up like the local ones do!  For Sandi there was also special cooking ingredients that were simply not available in Perú.

And for the kids - there were new Schleich animal toys for Sarah, Georgia, Solomon and Jessica (they play with these for hours).  Oh and Frisbees and handballs for the kids to play with the locals.  Our kids have introduced handball into the school and it has transformed the place in recess and eliminated the troubles they used to have with the Peruvian kids.  It has taken off so much we needed more balls!  All stuff unavailable in Perú!  Thank you so much to Ps John, Rod and Ronny for loading up your bags so much with all this stuff!  And to Rod & Kirstie McGibbon whose house was the main collection point for us.

Our Jessica (4) excited about her face-painted handball☺.
Sam receives a needed cycling outfit that again fits him (at 16 he is growing fast).  This was a gift from his club – North Shore Cycling Club of Sydney.
Our cherished bounty of Aussie goods – a life support shipment for our family in Perú!
After our “opening party”, we called it a night as our weary travellers were understandably in need of some sleep.

Thursday morning started with the Diospi hospital’s 8:30 to 9:00am chapel service, including a meet and greet with the Diospi Suyana senior pastor Mariano Perez.  And then followed by a tour of Diospi Suyana hospital and media centre – see some photos taken.

Our Lifesource team visit of the Diospi Suyana hospital – here at the front entrance.
The hospital foyer where the patients watch the “Jesus” movie (in their local language) and Diospi Suyana TV whilst waiting for their medical appointments.
Ps John, Rod and Ronny in front of the Diospi Suyana 4x4 Unimog ambulance.
We had lunch back home and in the afternoon ventured into the Curahuasi shopping centre and nearby village to try and convey a bit of a feel for the people and countryside.
Curahuasi el Centro Comercial meat market. Note no refrigeration, so buy early in the morning to avoid illness!
The Curahuasi el Centro Comercial vegetable market - a typical stall.
Rod in front of a commonplace local school march around Curahuasi Plaza de Armes.
A typical residential street of Curahuasi – this one uphill from the Plaza de Armes.
The view overlooking Curahuasi with the 5,700 meter high snow-capped mountain backdrop and the grassy “Capitan Rumi” rising 400m from the town valley (with 1.3km steep drop-off on the other side down to the Apurimac River).
After which we returned home to another dinner cooked by our neighbouring chef – this time Peruvian Chaufa, essentially fried rice and chicken.  But no sooner had we finished eating then we rushed off to our Curahuasi church, Morada de Dios, as Ps John was giving a sermon on leadership. It was very well received by all in the small church with thanks to Ronny who did an amazing job interpreting for Ps John with passion.  It was also good for Ps John to meet and talk to our Perú pastor, Tomas Ascarza Chaparro.

Ps John delivering his message on leadership at our Morada de Dios church with Ronny doing an amazing job at interpreting with meaning.
The evening ended with an old fashioned supper of hot chocolate after church at our house and bed.

Friday was back to the Diospi hospital chapel service, but this time for Ps John to deliver the 20 minute gospel message, again with Ronny interpreting into Spanish.  Then a call for salvation by Ps John whereby all but 100% of the Quechua patients of the 200 or more packed into the chapel that day immediately raised their hands and stood up!  It was hard not to be a bit emotional about such a response – these people are hungry for change and a better life. 

The Diospi Suyana morning chapel service typically full with Quechua Indians and a handful of hospital staff before their day shift begins.
After this we returned to the Centro de Medios for radio and TV interviews with Ps John and Ronny to interpret although by this time Ps John found his Italian legs and due to the similarities between Spanish and Italian, was able to understand much of what was spoken.  Ps John spoke on his passion for missions and his amazing life testimony of faith in seeing this resourced showing how it’s God’s heart to go into all the world and share the Gospel.

Ps John and Ronny in the Diospi Suyana radio studio interviewed by Jesús Hurtado.
Similarly Ps John and Ronny being interviewed, but here for Diospi Suyana TV.  Click below for a short example video.

Our Lifesource team meets the Diospi Suyana Centro de Medios manager, Doris Manco.
Of interest the production manager Jesús Hurtado was the interviewer for both the radio and TV.  Ps John later noted to me that there were no people named Jesús in European Catholic countries, even Italy.  But he was surprised to see people named Jesús is common in Perú – including written on walls and billboards for advertising goods and services by someone of that name.  Conversely I noted the name Mary is revered and sacred only for Catholic worship in Perú.  Hence one native to Perú is never named Mary, for the same reason we don’t see the name Jesús used to name people in the west as it is revered only for our savour Christ of course.

Time for one last photo in Curahuasi with our family and our Lifesource team taken in our front yard with the 100 year old adobe kitchen backdrop.
We had our last lunch in the hospital cafeteria and home to pack bags and return to Cusco.  This trip was with the whole Welch family as we made a weekend of it to shop as we about once a month or so – predominantly for food items that we can’t get in Curahuasi.  After arriving in Cusco, we had a farewell bite to eat at Jack’s Café in Cusco – the only Australian eatery there!  It was a lovely finish to such a blessed visit.  We even met Ronny’s mum again who so happened to arrive there.

We are so grateful to all of Lifesource Church for their generous support of us enabling us to be here to help the Quechua people of the Andes with the message of hope and life in Jesus Christ.  And for such an encouraging visit by Ps John, Rod and Ronny.

So blessed!


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Diospi Suyana 10th Anniversary Celebrations for the Kids

02 September 2017

The Diospi Suyana 10th anniversary celebrations showed that there is a real heart for children here!

We had three kids’ events across the week straddling the official anniversary (Thursday 31 August).  These were two movie afternoons and a main stage concert.  At each event the children heard the Gospel, received a Gospel story handout and a food treat to take home. The movie sessions had 380 kids attending each day and the main stage concert had approximately 400 kids attending.

The movie afternoons were our family’s first experience in helping to run an event for Peruvian kids.  We had a small team, just the Peruvian leader, Gladys and two newly arrived German voluntarios.  It was a fun learning experience.  But definitely chaotic.  At one point I was left alone with the microphone and a room of 380 Spanish only speaking children!  Thankfully I did not need to try and speak Spanish to them all!

We screened a VeggieTales Pirate movie.  These kids do not sit still for long at all!  Also a Curahuasian cultural expectation is that popcorn must accompany a movie… but our venue in the council chambers didn’t allow food! J  We had a hard time monitoring the kids slipping out the door to bring food back in.  The toilets were a novelty for them and I am sure every one of the 380 kids in attendance went!

Our Sarah and Georgia did a great job of clowning around in the street to attract attention and to invite kids inside – see photo below.

For the second afternoon movie session, we managed the door much better and asked that kids only go to the toilet once… it was much calmer.  It was exciting to see that the local children were so keen to come along and they were so eager to take a bible story booklet home with them.  As a culture they do not queue well, a mob exit of many children is harder to manage but everyone got their copy.
The amazing Gladys Hurtado - friend and Club de Ninos leader.  Here before 380 kids in the Curahuasi council chambers.
Sarah and Georgia made great clowns!
The third event was at the end of the week and was an afternoon kids’ concert in the main Diospi auditorium.  There was much music and dancing and a dramatic Gospel presentation.
A colourful singing and dancing presentation in the Diospi Suyana auditorium.
Gladys Hurtado and David Guizado in the Diospi Suyana ute distributing our gift packs.
The children of Curahuasi are very open to attending Christian events, small or large.  Please pray for them as they are the key to real cultural belief change here. 
Love, Sandi

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Diospi Suyana 10th Anniversary Celebration

31 August 2017

The Diospi Suyana 10th anniversary finally arrived.  Although the anniversary was in fact celebrated with many events over a whole week both before and after the official day of Thursday 31 August.

Here is my account of how Thursday unfolded.

On our big anniversary day, Sandi was unfortunately sick and chose to stay at home with the three little kids.  It didn’t help that the highway between our house and Diospi Suyana hospital was blocked unpredictably for most of the day from before 7:30am to after 6:00pm for roadworks!  So I took our five eldest kids and narrowly made it through the highway roadblocks (including protestors – refer to comments later) from our house to drop our kids off at the Diospi Suyana Colegio to the sound of many helicopters in the sky.  As I was an official photographer for the event, I quickly drove up to Diospi Suyana to photograph what I later realised were trial landings on the Diospi Suyana heliport for the benefit of the pilots.  But we were confronted with hundreds of riot police in full gear.  My eldest son Jake was with me and we finally got access to Diospi Suyana.

There were three ministerial helicopters – the Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard, (better known simply as PPK) finally landed at 10:20am in the third helicopter, with his other dignitaries and his media team arriving in the first two.  He was warmly welcomed by the Drs Klaus and Martina John, Dr Jens Haßfeld, as well as the governor of the state and the Curahuasi mayor.  PPK with his team were taken on a half hour tour of the hospital showing the newly completed extensions. 

At one stage this included a display of paintings centre administration to the hospital, where Klaus referred to one of the paintings depicting Christ’s miracle feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes. Klaus remarked "Mr President, this is the story of Diospi Suyana.  We had no money, no equipment and no employees. But God has made it happen from the very little into something big!"

The group of dignitaries walked slowly and chatted before arriving at the full amphitheatre to be met by an enthusiastic audience of about 4,000 people and poignant worship music from the stage.  All the Diospi-Suyana Colegio students had walked to the auditorium and then marched in preceded by their banner.  After this we sang the Peruvian national anthem. Then a large number of participants also sang the projected text of the German anthem that followed.

Peru has thousands of public and private initiatives. Therefore, the participation of the President in the tenth anniversary in the Diospi Suyana was an amazing honour.

It was a sunny day with smiling faces everywhere.  A cheerful President, three ministers, a deputy minister and dignitaries from all spheres of society.  The festival lasted two and a half hours and it went without any incidents.  It was estimated that four thousand guests and a national television audience witnessed the fruit of our trust in God as the first hour with the president went live on Perú TV to all 25 states of Perú.  The TV report is of course in Spanish, but the panning shots show beautiful sequences from the crowded amphitheatre. Here is the YouTube post of the coverage;

We will never know how many tens of thousands of Peruvians watched the presentation on the hospital of faith in their living rooms Dr Martina said.  She was referring to our reference to the cross of Christ and the empty grave as the basis of our work here at Diospi Suyana.

Before the ministerial visitors returned to their helicopters to make their return travel to Lima, the minister of Transport and Communications (MTC) Martín Vizcarra, visited the Diospi Suyana Centro de Medios.  I was privileged to meet him and be part of some group photos.

Behind the scenes there was much happening as the celebrations unfolded.  For Peru August 2017 was a tumultuous political time.  For two months the teachers had been on strike with some 8 million students affected.  In Lima militant educators tried to forcibly break into the parliament building which resulted in bloodshed and casualties.  The mood in the country was becoming increasingly explosive.  To top this off, the public doctors of Peru also began an indefinite strike and finally the judiciary also refused to work.

Any of these protesting groups if they were to have gained access to Diospi Suyana on the anniversary, could have wreaked havoc and caused a stoppage to the celebrations.  This was more likely given the visit of the Peru president with the accompanied national media focus.  If the risk was deemed too high, PPK would have cancelled his visit and this could be a last moment decision.

Prior to the event, Diospi management met with the district police and also the presidential forces from the palace in Lima who are familiar with these occurrences in Perú.  A plan was agreed upon involving a large police presence of 550 on the day with three defensive rings surrounding the hospital. 

This was needed, as there was much protesting on the day with road blocks, smoke and tear gas in the air and much chanting and yelling from gatherings in the surrounds to the hospital.  We prayed as the result was in God’s hands from this point.  We had faith that God is in control and accordingly we saw his hand at work to unfold a most amazing day. 

Romans 8:28 (NLV) We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.

Following here is a photo montage of the day’s highlights;
A practice landing of the presidential helicopter on the Diospi Suyana heliport about 3 hours before the real thing.
An assembly of riot squad police in the front gate carpark of Diospi Suyana (part of the 550 protecting the compound that day).
Blocking the road to the hospital from the striking protestors.
Udo’s model broadcast towers on display in the auditorium, along with the Diospi Suyana picture (centre) to be presented to the president.
Lunch for Diospi Suyana staff was unloaded in preparation before celebrations got underway.
The Perú national broadcasters move in and setup their equipment outside the Centro de Medios.
The “Eagle has landed” moment – the president PPK touches down at 10:20am and is being greeted by Drs Klaus and Martina John with Dr Jens Haßfeld of Diospi Suyana.
During the tour through the hospital, Klaus refers PPK to the painting of the 5 loaves and fishes.
Group photo with the hospital nurses. To the left of the president is the minister for health Dr Patricia Garcia.
Klaus in his element explaining as much as possible about the hospital to PPK.
Then they head out the hospital back door to the auditorium.
Diospi Suyana Colegio (including our Sam, Isaac, Sarah and Georgia) march into the auditorium in view of our presidential visitors.
The Peruvian and German anthems were sung to kick off the formalities.
Firstly Klaus addresses the audience.
And of course PPK follows with his address.
It was a full house on the day – approximately 4,000 in attendance.
Gifts were exchanged including a picture of Diospi Suyana facility for PPK and then a moment for the group photo before the president departs to attend to his busy schedule.
Some final farewells were said to the president before his quick departure.
And as quickly as he arrived – PPK was off again into the blue yonder.
Back in the auditorium the show went on.  The opening ribbons were cut for each new broadcast tower by a dignitary for the respective province.
More awards were made now with local government officials.
The Colegio students performed Peruvian dance.
Udo and Barbara Klemenz were honoured for their amazing service to Diospi Suyana.  This was their retirement moment – and they will be very much missed!
Then a brief meeting and photo in our TV studio with Perú minister for Transport and Communications in the Centro de Medios – centre in the white shirt and blue vest with Klaus John to the left and Doris Manco to the right in light blue.

 And finally a few family photos taken on the day:
Our kids on the day in their Diospi Suyana Colegio uniform – left to right is: Sam, Georgia, Sarah and Isaac.
And Jake was there helping out in the Media Centre for the day.
And me with fellow missionary friend and accomplished musician Almond from the UK, now living in Arequipa.  Almond also helped with some of the worship during the anniversary.