Welches in Peru

Welches in Peru
Our family (November 2018)

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