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My time in Peru!
Pastor Jose Padilla and his wife Martha
Missions to Peru!
A couple of years ago, I went to Peru on a missions trip.I had to get a passport and that wasn't cheap. At that time, I had to pay $100.00 for a passport and get checked by a doctor. Taking a couple of weeks off my job, I took a plane to Peru. My Pastor and his wife were,also, on the flight with me. The trip took, almost, 7 hours but it was worth it.
One good thing about my trip to Peru is that I was blessed with "inside connections!" First, of all, my Pastor hails from that country, so he had family there. Second, I am bi-lingual and know the Spanish language well. Upon arriving in Lima, Peru, we were greeted by my Pastor's family and had a time conversing and greeting one another.
We stayed in a hotel and then had a nice Peruvian breakfast, courtesy of the Pastor's sister. Then, we proceeded to change American currency to the Peruvian. Three "soles" is the equivalent of a dollar. The cost of living is cheap in Peru and an American dollar, at that time, went far. The temperature in Lima was very hot, but I had to get used to it. We went on a tour of Lima, Peru, graciously provided by the Pastor's cousin.
Downtown Peru has a mixture of Spanish culture with the Urban. There are, also, some Indian influences as well. Transportation is pretty good but the traffic is a challenge and can be a hazard. When we crossed the street, we had to run over the other side. The plaza in downtown Lima has some nice sites along with some military displays. We, then, visited a museum where they had a history of the Spanish inquistions and their methods of torture which was enlightening.
We, then, went to the Chinatown section of Lima, Peru. Believe it or not, Peru has a community of Chinese people. It is funny seeing them speak in Spanish without an accent. Stopping in a Chinese restaurant, we had a great time eating a traditional Chinese meal which consisted of Fried rice. You would think that I had a vacation in Peru and it seemed that way, but the next day, we departed towards Iquitos for our missions trip!
Chinatown in Lima, Peru
Iquitos and Requena!
We, then, took a flight to Iquitos, Peru. Upon arriving in Iquitos, The atmosphere quickly changed and we looked like we went to the past! There was hardly any cars nor the roads were well kept. What we saw was "Moto-taxis!" What is "Moto-Taxis?" It is a motorcycle that has a cart attached to it. Think of it this way-Have you seen a movie of a Oriental person taking people on a cart while he walks? Picture it that way, but with a motorcycle instead of a person.
Transportation, nevertheless, is good. They,even, have "Moto-taxis" available on Sundays! We stayed in a hotel and went to church, almost every day, for revival services. We, also, had great fellowship. The thing that impressed me about Iquitos is that the Christians there worship freely and without a care. We had church in a closed up building where there was no air conditioner.
How did I survive? By faith and drinking lots of water! Water is sold in Peru in two categories-Regular or Club Soda! I prefer the water, frankly speaking. We, also, had to be careful coming in to the church as the roads and bridges were narrow. We don't know how blessed we are in America, yet we complain.
Iquitos is a jungle, not like the Tarzan movies, because progress has come to that place. It looks more like a tropical place and rains a lot during the night, providing fresh air. The only hazard there is the mosquitoes. Malaria is, also, a concern. We had a church member with a high fever due to malaria. After praying for her, we took her to a doctor to be treated. Medical care in Peru is cheap.
Poverty is widespread and you can't help but feel sorry for the people. We had to teach them through the word how to be self sufficient. They have a mentality that they are helpless and see us as their provider to help in time of need. We would do all we could to help, but we also, established a sewing warehouse to help with the employment in Iquitos. Thank God for the help we received from our church in the States.
Rain in Iquitos, Peru.
Life in Requena.
Requena is the birthplace of my Pastor. My Pastor has been living in the States for more than 40 years. He served, proudly, in the US Army and is retired and doing full time ministry. He is a real people person and has a heart for his people. Taking a ship to Requena, I had a chance to see the Amazon river.
The people in the ship set up their sleeping hammocks. I could not sleep because I was not used to it, so I decided to walk around the ship. If you travel by ship, you better take toilet paper, because the rest rooms don't have it. The women breast feed their young in public. At first, I was shocked but you get used to it.
At Requena, we saw more poverty. A fellow Pastor lived above his church in a tree. He had no walls, just a roof and not much of a kitchen. I wanted to cry because it really touched my heart, but felt comforted upon knowing that my church was going to help him.
We were blessed with favor. Upon inquiring on a property that the Pastor had in Requena, we were met with good news/bad news. The bad news is that the City took his property because it had years lying there dormant. The good news is that God gave us favor and the city official offered us more land in return.
Upon returning to Iquitos by ship, we were met with terrible storm conditions in the Amazon. We were blessed with a room on the ship and, finally, I could sleep. Upon lying in bed, I noticed the ship, sharply moving from side to side. I, later on, found out that we were on the verge of sinking, but thank God, he protected us.
Finishing our ministry in Iquitos, I proceeded to go back to Lima. My Pastor and his wife stayed behind. I stayed in an hotel and got up early to take a cab to the airport. It was interesting to see a security guard in front of the hotel. Getting on a plane, I stopped by Colon, Panama. I was impressed seeing it as an Urban area and English is, widely, spoken. Upon arriving in the States, I was relieved. Never again will I complain to the Lord because I have learned that it could be worse. We do not know how blessed we are. Enclosed are a link and video to give you an idea of how conditions are in the jungles of Peru.
The video is in Spanish, but I will help translate some of it. In one scene, we are seeing the brothers helping a Pastor build his house. In the other scene, a thanks of gratitude for the house from the Pastor. We see, also, some scenes for a possible church building. Pastor Jose Padilla talks to the other church leaders on helping them further. In the next scene, we see the Pastor and his wife coming into a church service.