Travel Day. Inicio. The journey begins. Our Elim team arrived on campus bright and early with an agenda in mind. Within a matter of minutes the flurry of handing out t-shirts, copying passports, and loading up the tour bus had commenced. Locked in tight from front to back, we made our way to O’Hare. When we arrived at the airport our spectrum of bright FH (Food for the Hungry) t-shirts caught a few looks.
The man at the ticket counter noticed our t-shirts as well. He asked, “Are you giving away food? Because I’m hungry.” We just laughed and told him we were on a missions trip. The day continued on in lighthearted fashion, and we made the uneventful plane ride to our final destination. Lima!
>We are staying in a simple hotel in Lima. Most of us have hot water which is a blessing! Especially because it is cold here! Lima is going through an unusual damp and rainy season, so we are all grateful for warm showers and beds. We met for breakfast and devotions in the morning. After breakfast we all went to the backyard and did some team-building games: Action Name game, Pass the Clap, and Group Song Circle. Okay, they may sound cheesy, but by the end of it we were in an uproar!
Orientation was led by the Director of FH Peru, Ryan Smedes. The communities in Peru that FH is working in face serious violence problems within the family unit. FH is working in the communities to facilitate the development of healthy and Christ-centered family relationships. Elim and FH share the mission of restoration of relationships. We both believe that all are created in the image of God and because of this we are called to glorify Him! So when we think of poverty, we can all identify with some way that we experience broken relationships whether relationally, spiritually, physically or materially and we are all in need of a Savior to bring restoration.
Throughout the rest of our day, it was the orchestration of God that allowed us to play our individual parts within the community of Los Cipreses. When we arrived at our destination, we were greeted by a crowd of smiling and excited faces. The children and adults had been waiting for us to arrive.
The children pulled us up the hill to their community center and the adults beckoned our team to come inside. FH staff and community leaders of Los Cipreses had decorated the entire community center with streamers, balloons, and a banner welcoming us to their community. Together we all stood and sang together our national anthem, and then the Peruvian national anthem. Both groups of people blended their voices in harmony.
The presentations continued as a group of younger children performed a dance number called La Hora Loca, pulling each of us into their dance to join them.
One of the coolest moments was when Johan, a little boy with down syndrome who we have met the last couple of years, presented us with a very expressive dance with his sister. He was amazing! It’s such an encouragement to see him included in the celebration. He’s a child of God. We know it, they know it, let’s celebrate!
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