March 26, 2013

Church

Quinn is volunteering at Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriania Emanuel (Emanuel Evangelical Presbyterian Church) of Ayacucho.  The church was planted here in the Cuchipampa (Hog Flat) neighborhood by missionaries from the U.S. Presbyterian Church several years ago.  Quinn lives and works with the pastor’s family in a building complex located on the steep western flank of the mountains that surround Ayacucho’s capital city of Huamanga.   The church serves a tightly-knit community of Andean families who migrated here in recent years due to economic hardships caused by terrorism and the post-war reality.   Most families still have close ties to their chacras (family farms) that lie anywhere between two hours and two days journey from Cuchipampa.  They make trips at least once a month to gather produce to eat or sell in one of the local markets.

The houses on the edge of Huamanga are humble and the streets unpaved, but the people are warm and anxious to move forward.  Most of the neighbors are Catholic but many attend Sunday worship services in Quechua at the Presbyterian Church and some of the youth come to weekly group meetings in Spanish.  Quinn has been asked to help out with the youth, leading Bible studies as well as English and cajon (percussion) lessons.   Many neighborhood families enroll their children in the fledgling primary school located next to the church.  Quinn is involved in every aspect of church life — he accompanies Pastor Juan Samuel on home visits, assists members of the praise band on the drums or cajon on Sunday mornings, and teaches English in the primary school during the week.  He also lives on the church/school premises and shares his meals and free time with the pastor’s family.  Early on, before the school year began, he described his service assignment as doing the duties of a stay-at-home mom.  Quinn’s contagious enthusiasm and eagerness to serve are a blessing to the church and to the people he interacts with each day.

 

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