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.
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.
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.
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,