The Bowers in Peru

The Bowers in Peru

Marvin Bowers, SAMS Missionary Bridger, has been serving in Peru. Read his latest update:

Dear Friends and Family,

Last week I made a trip from Lima to Juliaca.  This industrial, trading city is located in the Andres at about 14,000 feet not far from Lake Titicaca.  I arrived on a Monday and spent all day Tuesday with Padre Luis visiting members of the community.  Padre Luis was one of my students when I was teaching courses at the seminary in Arequipa.  Since his ordination four years ago he has served in Juliaca and he is doing a wonderful job.

 

Naty and Bianca last week in Juliaca

Some of you may recall that two years ago a thirteen-year girl named Naty was violated and became pregnant.  With the love and support of her family and her church, she gave birth to a daughter, Bianca.  Naty had some life-threatening complications after Bianca’s birth.  Some of you, especially members of St John’s Anglican Church, Petaluma, made generous gifts to help pay for life-saving surgery.  The photo below fills my heart with joy and gratitude to God and to all who helped.

 

Hugs at Jardîn Peruana Español

We also visited a K-8 school, Peruana Español.  The owner, Eloi, is a community leader who has a radio program and is thinking about running for mayor.  He told Padre Luis that one of the biggest issues is sanitation.  There are open piles of garbage all over the city.  May God bless and guide him if he decides to run.
Padre Luis’ friend and a community leader, Eloi
Hugs at Jardîn Peruana Español

 

On Tuesday night Padre Luis and his wife Alisia (they were married in December) and I went out to dinner at about 9:30 p.m., and I got to bed a little after 11:00 p.m.  On Wednesday I was so exhausted I didn’t make it to 7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer with Padre Luis.  I ended up spending twenty-four hours in bed–no headache, no upset stomach, just exhausted.  As on previous visits, I had taken altitude medicine but this time it didn’t work.  Could it be that I’m getting old?

There was a 6:00 p.m. service on Wednesday at Santa Marîa Magdalena in which I had planned to participate but I just couldn’t do it.  At about 8:00 p.m. there came a knock on my door.  I awoke from sleep and said, Come in.  It was the youth choir, El Coro San Benito.  They filed quietly into the room, sang two songs and then joined hand around my bed and prayed for me.  What a blessing.  I felt overwhelmed by their love and the healing presence of God.

El Coro San Benito in my bedroom. My toes are under the covers. Abimael, far right, is the leader of the choir and it was his idea to sing and pray for me.

El Coro San Benito in my bedroom.  My toes are under the covers.  Abimael, far right, is the leader of the choir and it was his idea to sing and pray for me.

I felt better on Thursday but it took all my breath and strength to climb up the stairs into the plane for the return flight to Lima.  Back at sea level, I was OK but I wouldn’t have missed the trip to Juliaca for anything.

God bless you all,

Marvin

Journeys in Peru: Part 3

Trying to book airline flights.

Fr Phil had managed to book their four legs of the airplane flights in Peru from England, I wasn’t as fortunate. 

As I was booking four separate airline journeys, none of which were round trip, I kept running into trouble. I had tried multiple times to book my flights from the US on the LATAM website, trying English, trying Spanish, each time after entering all the information–city to city, flight to flight, date to date; only to have my credit card rejected for no reason anyone could figure out. Hours on the computer, hours on the phone with the LATAM representative, produced no results.  

So when I arrive in Peru, I try again to book my own tickets online figuring that now I was in Peru, maybe that was the problem. Nope. This means a trip to the airline office; thank goodness it is in the same district that I’m in so it will take only about 15 minutes to get there and a one sol bus ride (about 35¢.) I explain the situation to Paola, who plugs in all four legs of my journey, only to come up with a cost that is almost 50% higher than what I had been quoted on the website! I decide not to buy the ticket that day, but go back and see what my husband John gets on his computer. 

John checks his computer and gets the same price I had gotten before, sends me a photo of the computer screen and I go back to the office the next day and show Paola. The problem is that LATAM changed their pricing schedule. I”m not eligible for that price now. They have four columns, but now foreigners can buy only the most expensive tickets, not the next cheaper level down and the website was showing the wrong level for me as a foreigner. I buy the expensive tickets. No choice. 

In the meantime, I warn Deborah (the unexpected visitor) by e-mail to expect a hefty cost for her airline tickets. Phil has sent her the itinerary that we will follow. She is in Andorra and contacts her husband in Spain to see what he can get. In the end, she asks me to get them as he ended up going through the same things. So back to the airline ticket office again the next day. Praise God we all have tickets on the same flights! Now to deal with the buses! 

Blessings,

Susan in Peru

 

Journeys in Peru: Part 2

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country.

Saga of the Cellphone–

A cell phone is an essential piece of communication in Peru. Everyone has one, texting is cheap, you don’t get charged if someone calls you, and you can keep receiving calls even when you don’t have any money in the phone. Knowing we would be traveling all over and that I would need it, I went to get “THE CHIP”

In the past, it was easy to get a chip for an unlocked cellphone-merely go to the local supermarket, go to the kiosk, pay $5 and get a chip which you then put into the phone. I started the journey with this in mind.

Feb 2--At the local supermarket, the Movistar kiosk. “I want to buy a chip, please.”

“Do  you have your national identity card?”

“I have my passport.”

“Oh miss I’m sorry, all passport and foreign residents have to go to the main office to buy a chip now.”

So I ask at the Claro kiosk–same thing. And at the Entel kiosk–same thing. It turns out that due to people buying chips and passing them to prisoners in jails, now any foreigner has to go to the main offices to get a chip. I resign myself to tackle the chip tomorrow knowing that it could take several hours.

Feb 3--As I was not sure of which bus route the main office was on, I took a taxi (thank goodness, they are relatively inexpensive.) However, the address the man at the kiosk gave me was the wrong street number. Since it was the right street and the building obviously said Movistar, I decided to chance it.

Get my number, wait my turn, sat down with a nice young woman who took my passport and copied my data into the computer and filled out all the paper work of where was I staying while I was in Peru. (Thank goodness, I could use the cathedral as my address and phone number) Sign four pages, fingerprint all four pages, initial spaces, check boxes, etc. Each time I double check. “I will be able to use the phone when I have the chip, right?”

She gave me a paper with my new cell phone number on it and directed me to another line in the next building over where I could pay S/. 8 for the chip. Wait in that line. They have no change for a S/. 10 note (a three-story business with hundreds of people making transactions every day and no change??). So I scrounge around and dig up S/. 8 in bits of coins hiding in my bag. Get a receipt and am directed to yet another counter in front of what looks like a storage closet where there is no one. I stand around for several minutes, start making coughing noises to try to attract someone’s attention. Eventually a young man appears, gets a chip and puts it in the phone. Now back to the supermarket to put money in the phone.

Recognizing vaguely where I am from having ridden the bus past the shops there, I proceed to walk a few blocks in the direction I see buses going looking for a bus stop. They are not all marked, so I kind of look for a group of people standing around staring down the street. Hop on the bus and head for the supermarket to put some money on the phone chip.

At the supermarket, I buy S/. 20 figuring that would last me a fair amount of time. Head back to the cathedral. That night I try to use the phone. There is a rush of Spanish when I dial a number, none of which I understood. The screen says, “SIM registration failed.” After trying to dial four times, I began to realize that the phone was not going to work and that I needed to do something else, but still wasn’t quite sure of what. I tried following the directions to no avail. Tomorrow. . . .

Feb 4–Back to the kiosk. “Sir, The phone is telling me I have to do something, but I don’t understand what it is.” He listens, tries the same thing. Nothing.

“I’m sorry, you have to go to the main office.” “Can I send someone else to do it with a note giving permission?” “No.” AARRGGH!

It is Saturday and it will not be open on Saturday or Sunday. I have to wait until Tuesday. Monday I have to be at the airport (a trip of at about an hour) at 7 am to pick up the Bishop of Springfield, IL and his link person. I realize that there won’t be enough time between the early morning pick up and the one that is coming in at 7 that evening (which will take much longer to get to the airport because it is rush hour) as there are other preparations to do.

Feb 7–Off to Movistar main office after the bishop’s meeting. Explain to the ticket woman, take my number, wait much longer this time, talk to another person who enters my birthdate into the computer. “That’s it.” “Let me try it.” I call the cathedral–super fast busy signal which means it didn’t go through.  Next try–“I”m sorry the number you dialed does not exist.” (um, yes it does) another try, another super fast busy. “Try turning it off and back on.” I do so. Still no luck, so he takes the phone and tries it. Nope.

“Do you have money in the phone?” I pull out the receipt showing I have. Puts more data into his computer, talks to the guy next to him, calls someone on the phone, more computer, and repeat all of the above. “It seems they haven’t registered your money to your account yet.” “But it was days ago!” “Well it will take about an hour.” I don’t have another hour to wait at the office to see if it works. “If it doesn’t work, can I send someone else to take care of it?” “Oh yes” “Give me your name so I can tell that person to talk to  you.” I get a ticket with him module number on it and head back to the cathedral.

I stop in the grocery store to pick up a few things, pull out the cell phone to get a number only to see that the screen still says, “SIM registration failed.”

TO BE CONTINUED—

 

Journeys in Peru: Part 1

Susan Park is currently serving in Peru. Read about her journey thus far.

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country. As usual, things don’t always happen as planned. I tend to refer to them as “sagas” as they often have several parts to the story with interesting twists and turns along the way.

Fr Phil from the companion diocese of Worcester, England and I had been planning this trip with people from England for several months–setting up travel arrangements, sites to visit, contacting people and places where we would be. The plan was to visit the diocese and see how things are progressing with the new Peruvian bishop and the new regional deaneries.

Saga of the Unexpected Addition

Jan 31st–Note from Phil in England who is leading the English contingent. “I think everything is about as organised as it can be for the moment at this end, unless you inform me otherwise!”

Little did we know that it was the calm before the storm. One of the sayings I put on the end of my team e-mails is “Blessed are the Flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.” God definitely would test my flexibility with this trip.

Feb 1st –Midnight Pittsburgh time-5 am England time– I am putting the final items into my suitcase for my travels early in the morning, when I get an e-mail from Phil. He had just received an e-mail from the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Gibralter (encompassing Spain, Portugal, and three other areas) when last night (literally!), they chose the Rev. Deborah to be the new link person with Peru. Phil had invited them to be in correspondence to help learn from Worcester’s long term relationship. He ends his note saying, ” I assume that he doesn’t really mean that someone will materialize from Gibraltar in a fortnight to join us?!”

Actually, yes, it did! And it was only 10 days later, not two weeks.

5:03 am–Deborah tells Phil she plans to fly to Peru and join our group for a week.

By 10 am–Phil convinces her that it would be better to fly to Arequipa when she arrives in Lima rather than taking an 18 hour bus ride right after she has flown across the ocean from Madrid. He sends Deborah & me a reassuring note with much more confidence than I feel at the moment. “Deborah, Susan is very experienced at dealing with all these plans – and adapting when they get changed with three seconds’ notice!”

Based on confidence that God would work all this out, I proceeded to welcome Deborah to our group by e-mail.

Knowing I was going to have to tackle getting a chip for my cell phone, buy my airplane tickets for 4 separate journeys and buy Deborah’s and Bp Alejandro’s tickets as well (unfortunately, not as simple as going on-line to do it), I went to sleep on the plane.

TO BE CONTINUED—

By SAMS Associate Missionary, Susan Park.

Back to Peru

As I am heading to Peru tomorrow I covet prayer covering while I am away.

The purpose of this trip is to lead a retreat for the teachers at San Mateo School as we prepare them to share leadership this coming June when we do another Bible School. A team of four from Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, FL, will join me on Saturday. I shall also take that team down to Arequipa to explore mission opportunities.

As I arrive in Peru I will be joining Susan Park who is hosting a varied and diverse group of partners and friends of Peru. Bishop Dan Martins of Springfield, IL and his assistant Fr. Mark Evans are there on a one-week visit so as to renew their Peruvian partnership. Shortly arriving is a team from the Diocese of Worcester, England and their bishop – The Rt. Rev John Inge who is giving a teaching series at the Cathedral, will join them later. Towards the end of the month a group from the Diocese of South Carolina is coming to explore missionary opportunities. Also joining us will be a representative of the Diocese of Gibraltar.

I am excited. After a hiatus of a year we are beginning to see a new series of partner in mission relationships emerging. It is for this that I have worked over the whole of last year and more. The changes in the diocese of Peru since Bishop Godfrey has left have been many. In this time the Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Jorge Aguilar, has completed a detailed evaluation of the state of the Diocese. They have allied themselves very strongly with the Province of South America. They have abandoned any idea of becoming a separate province of the Anglican Communion, which was proposed about two years ago. They have established goals for clergy and lay people, which put spiritual formation, evangelism and discipleship as Anglican Christians at the forefront. They have planned a series of teaching occasions over the course of the next year.

Lima will be very different from Vermont. Today we are being blanketed by snow. Tomorrow night I shall be in hot and muggy Lima. This is one of the hottest summers on record for them. This is made worse by severe water shortages caused by damaging rains that have blocked the water systems.

Please pray for safe travels, good and useful conversations and a renewal of partnership relations.

Ian

Christmas reflections and hopes

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will  be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

dscf1982This has been a good and busy year.  Please, as we end this year when there is much uncertainty in the world, join me in heeding the Prince of Peace.  The angels announced Jesus with the Christmas message – Fear not, Jesus is coming.   Jesus has come and dwelt among us.  His perfect love casts out fear.  We seek during these times to make Jesus present as we serve others near and far.

I visited Peru five times in 2016 and am planning more visits in 2017.  These trips accomplished much.  Thank you for being part of what God has been doing there through these trips and conversations.  Polly was able to join me in November when we served  at the Cathedral in Lima over two weeks.  dscf2055

In Puente Piedra, Santisima Cruz church now has a roof.  A building for water purification at Colegio San Mateo  was installed – equipment coming in 2017.  The VBS at Colegio San Mateo in July was an amazing success, and we are returning in February to train leaders for another VBS in late June.13620277_10206966335099235_7119263508189618520_n

I have assisted at the Cathedral several times as they are still searching for a new English speaking rector.  We are developing plans for a complete rebuild of two schools and celebrating the new high school in Arequipa – St. Mark’s Anglican school. I also visited partners, congregations and bishops in the USA several times this  year so as to keep them abreast of developments in Peru.dscf1994

Goals for 2017

In 2017 we are resolved to do all that we can to support Bishop Jorge Aguilar in his priorities: Evangelism and Disciple-making.  Under a new initiative, the Anglican Church in Peru will teach and train clergy and lay people to grow the Church and make effective disciples. They will be aided by the Anglican Province of South America and Peru’s partner dioceses, congregations and individuals. I will be coming alongside to encourage and participate.

DSC_6184I must rebuild my funds with SAMS-USA so as further to travel to Peru in 2017.  Peru is where God has been leading me, using me and continues to call me.

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Have a wonderful Christmas as we greet the Prince of peace.  Polly and I wish you every blessing, peace and joy.

Ian+