Recent Posts

July 7, 2012

Service in Villa Rica

The city of Villa Rica – population 14,000 – was founded by European settlers in the 19th century.  The area is known as La Tierra del Café (the Land of Coffee).  Italian migrants, who appreciated a good cup of java, began planting seedlings on the surrounding hillsides soon after they arrived.   Today the region boasts the best coffee in Peru and, according to local promoters, some of the finest beans in the world.  The most flavorful varieties thrive in rainy areas that are relatively high in elevation.  At 1,470 meters (about 4,823 feet) above sea level, Villa Rica’s rain forest…

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July 2, 2012

San Francisco and Azulis are sister villages with a combined population of 447 inhabitants.  There are close cultural, familial and social ties between these two native Yanesha communities.  On the first day of our visit to Azulis, in fact, we met families from San Francisco who had traveled there for the baptism of three adult believers in the Yanesha Bible Evangelical Church.  Two of the families we met that day are hosting our students, Will and Darin, and after meeting them briefly in Azulis we made plans to meet up later at their homes in San Francisco. Before leaving for…

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July 1, 2012

Service in Azulis

The community of Azulis is named for the clear, blue water of the river nearby.  The village was established by four native curanderos (healers) and their families a century ago.  In the 1950s missionaries from the Summer Institute of Linguistics (Wycliffe Bible Translators) ventured into this protected valley and began working with village leaders to write down their language, promote literacy and translate the New Testament into their native tongue: Yanesha.  The rain forest is remarkable for its biodiversity and when given the assignment to write down the names of all the birds they knew, village children soon came up…

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June 30, 2012

Service in San Miguel

Living in a foreign culture — getting to know a new host family and figuring out how to accompany the people they work with each day — is a challenge for our students during these six weeks of service.  They are stretched in new ways as they leave the comfort of the group experience that defined our study time in the Andes and in Lima and now venture out on their own.  As directors of the Peru SST program we are encouraged by our recent visits with students, hearing how they exercise their faith and seek God’s comfort as they…

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June 10, 2012

Service Begins

This morning the students, all 21 of them, boarded a bus for the central region of Peru to begin their six-week service assignments. Three will volunteer in Tarma, a beautiful city located in the Andean highlands, teaching in a Catholic school and working with children in a program sponsored by Compassion International.  Six will live and work in the sister cities of San Ramon and La Merced, spending time with kids in an after school program, teaching at a school for special needs, assisting at a medical clinic and volunteering at a fair-trade coffee organization. Two will live in Oxapampa,…

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June 10, 2012

Adios, Lima

We said goodbye to our Lima host families by inviting them to share an evening with us.  We played games and enjoyed a program of drama, dance and song. We also shared American-style refreshments prepared with delicious Peruvian ingredients — sandwiches, salads, kettle corn, cake and passion fruit juice. The students shared their gratitude for the time spent together with their Lima hosts.  Early Sunday morning they depart for their service locations. Muchisimas gracias, familias!

June 5, 2012

A Closer Look

As we approach the end of our study time in Lima, we deepened our perspective on what it is like to live and work here by listening to speakers who have migrated here from other places and then traveling to the edge of this sprawling metropolitan area. Father Jeff Klaiber is originally from Indianapolis.  He came to Peru to work as a priest and learn about liberation theology in the 1970s.  An author and university professor, Father Klaiber taught us about the role of the Catholic Church in Latin American politics over the last 200 years. Jerry Acosta is originally…

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June 2, 2012


Lima — the City of the Kings — was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro.  For almost three centuries it served as the political and economic hub of the Spanish Empire in western South America.  In 1821 Peru gained independence from the Spanish crown and Lima became the capital of a new nation.  Today over 9 million people call Lima home — most of its residents are first- and second-generation migrants from the Andes and rain forest who have moved here in search of work and education. We spent a day with our study coordinator, Celia, learning about the history…

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May 28, 2012

Lima Culture

During our first week in Peru’s capital we began learning about local criollo culture.  Celia Vasquez, our study coordinator, described Limeno greetings, habits and cuisine.  James Plunkett, an American businessman who migrated here 48 years ago, taught us about Peruvian politics and economics.  Father Eduardo Arens spoke about Jesus’ use of humor in the gospel of Mark and recent developments in the Catholic Church.  Pedro Farias taught us dances from the coast, southern mountains and rain forest. To learn more about animals and, in particular, the famed caballo de paso, we visited the Instituto Superior Tecnologico Privado de Tecnicas Agropecuarias…

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May 26, 2012

Lima Families

We returned to Peru’s capital after our time of study, service and travel in the Andes and were greeted by Celia, our study coordinator, Alicia, our program assistant, and twenty-one eager host families.  We introduced the students to their new family members, shared coffee and sandwiches, and snapped photos before they departed for their new homes.

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