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Peru Trip - blog update

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

13 people responded to the call for a mission trip to Moyobamba, Peru this August of 2022.

Friday, August 12:

Several people will be flying from different locations and ultimately reunite in Lima, Peru. Here are a few pictures as the adventure starts.

Saturday, August 13

A few of us got into Lima yesterday afternoon while others arrived in Lima early in the morning at 3am. Breakfast at 9am at the hotel was great and we are now ready and waiting for our flight from Lima to Tarapoto.

It was a quick flight, only 1.5 hours, had beautiful views of the Andes Mountains and other scenery. To put into perspective, the temperature in Lima when we departed was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 93 degrees Fahrenheit in Tarapoto. This is due to the lower elevation. From the airport in Tarapoto we traveled by bus all the way to Moyobamba. This trip took a few hours but once again, the views were breathtaking. Halfway through the bus ride we stopped to fuel up on coconut water and other delicious snacks including plantain chips, sandwich cookies with strawberry jam inside, sweet bread, and meringues.

Approximately 5:30pm Peru time, we arrived at our final destination, the Vargas household. Hans's parents were very welcoming to all as soon as we arrived. We settled in quickly so we could fill our bellies after a long day of traveling.

We arrived to the restaurant via motortaxi. Never a dull moment traveling on Peruvian roadways. Pollo y papas fritas (chicken and French fries) was quite delicious and filling. We were introduced to Inca Kola, a national beverage of the country. Following dinner we explored some of the shops in Moyobamba and took a group photo at the main town square.

Sunday, August 14

Sunday was an eventful day, where to start:

Breakfast was at 8am. We had a variety of bread rolls that we could pair with a delicious dulce de leche spread as well as a variety of marmalades. The coffee we drank was provided from Hans's uncle, Juan's, farm. Can't get much fresher than that!

We left the homestead and headed towards church. Iglesia Evangelica Presbiterana has been the Vargas family church for many years. At the church we were given the opportunity to stand around the perimeter and pray. At the end of the service we were able to partake in communion.

After church we dined at a beautiful restaurant coated in plants everywhere. Hans helped everyone choose something from the menu (which was all in Spanish), but the dishes were still a surprise when they came out of the kitchen. Megan enjoyed the peanut soup. She said that it tasted just like cheesy potato soup. Other dishes included: Peruvian BBQ, chicken with garbanzo beans, goat, meat and potatoes, and a side of rice with every dish.

Once we left the restaurant we walked back to the Vargas home, enjoying the sights of the city and the sounds of the motortaxis racing by. We quickly changed out of our church attire to get ready to visit Juan's farm.

Victor hailed us a bus and we all crammed inside. Upon arriving to the farm we braced ourselves as we made our way down a winding bumpy dirt road, while also enjoying the view of the rows of pineapple that grew underneath the Peruvian sun. Juan along with Victor and Hans interpreting, showed the variety of crops that could be grown in the local soil. This featured oranges, pineapples, lemons, avocados, papayas, bananas, mangoes, sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, and many many more.

On our way out, the bus got stuck. All those willing got out to push and grass was cut to bring traction to the tires. After many attempts the bus was free.

Again we quickly changed into our bathing suits at the Vargas home because we were headed to the hot springs. The group enjoyed traveling from hot spring to hot spring, the temperature increasing with each pool. Maxing out at a whopping 43 degrees Celsius (or for you Fahrenheit people that is 109.4 degrees). Once it was time to leave, we exited the springs only to see that Victor had come to pick us up in a large Toyota pick up. The majority of us rode in the bed of the truck.

For dinner we enjoyed Peruvian style crepes and ended the night sitting around singing songs and sharing tales from our adventurous day.

Monday, August 15th

The day started early for some eager runners at 4:45 AM. Hans led Gary, Dan, Stephen, and Megan down to the river. Excluding the part about there being approximately a million stairs. The runners still had fun!

We began our day by visiting Lucio's farm, a relative to Hans. He grew watermelons (which we were able to try) and cocoa plants as well as raised many guinea pigs. They were adorable! Travis advised Lucio while Hans interpreted between English and Spanish.

A quote from Dan Lutes on the interaction: "At one point [while Travis and Lucio were discussing agriculture] Lucio said 'we just don't have that information.' It reminded me that this would be a good place for farming God's way to be applied and reminded me of Hosea 4:6 - my people perish for lack of knowledge"

Following the farm, we ventured to the Yantalo hospital, the local clinic in Moyobamba, where we got a private tour of the facility. Established by Luis Vasquez, a doctor from the United States that had a connection to the area, saw a need for health. Started in 2005 and completed in 2009, the facility boasts 16 patient rooms, full surgery room, cafeteria, pharmacy, neonatal capabilities, and a crematorium.

A quote from Kara Krueger on our time at the hospital: "The structure of the hospital is there but is not utilized, the government is not allowing the hospital the proper credentials to operate at full capacity. It is tragic that there is not enough healthcare, that there is a beautiful facility and it is not being used."

Upon leaving the farm, we took an unexpected boat ride across the Indoche River. To get there we climbed down some dubious stairs that were carved from the earth. Once we reached the other side we enjoyed the delicacy that is Cacao pods. Sweet and sour but watch out for the bitter center.

On our way back Victor took a tumble into the river which has ensued much controversy and conspiracies about who "pushed him." The culprit changes every day with each time the story is told.

We asked Victor if he believes someone pushed him: *shrugs shoulders* "the pastor?" *then proceeds to point to different people in the room*

After our adventure in the jungle we arrived home where Hans suggested we take a 2 hour nap break, instead everyone decided to take advantage of our free time and went out shopping and to get ice cream. Megan enjoyed getting to ride on the back of a motorcycle.

That night after dinner, we prepared the Hope Baskets with some help from members of the church here in Moyobamba. Some stations included weighing sugar, rice, oats, and assembling the baskets complete with milk, salt, oil, and crackers.

We ended the night singing songs both in Spanish and English and sharing experiences, thoughts, and prayer requests.

Tuesday, August 16

Our day started earlier than our others so far, with a long bus ride to the native communities of San Raphael and Shimpiyacu. We even got to take a river ferry to get there.

At each community we gathered in their local church with their respective Pastor's to discuss how the churches have been doing, their needs/prayer requests, and how the surrounding community could fit in with Hope in the Harvest Missions International. Some of us enjoyed playing soccer (or futbol to you Spanish speakers) and beach ball with the youngsters of the community.

A quote from Matt Crawford about his experience: "We had meaningful conversation about the church organization. My biggest takeaway was that these native churches need more support from us and the Moyobamba Presbyterian Church."

A quote from Anita DeYoung about her experience: "These small churches need our prayers and they need help from the larger church in Moyobamba to grow and evangelize. We will keep praying for them. And it was fun to see the kids playing"

A quote from Travis Sheets about his experience: "I was intrigued to know that [the people of the communities] understood that their agriculture products may not be producing as much as they could or being paid as much as they could. That gave me a lot of information. I was surprised that the attendance in the churches were so low, but that it sounds like they have a strong foundation.

A quote from Stephen DeYoung about his experience: "It was eye opening. These communities have many needs but they both put emphasis on improvement of their church/ability to praise God."

A quote from Justin Trent about his experience: "I was surprised that the community with the nicer church had the lower attendance of 12 people compared to the other church which was smaller and had 20 attendees."

A quote from Dan Lutes about his experience: "I thought it was interesting that the churches in these native communities were having the same problems that we have here in the United States. You ask people to church and they say they'll come but they never end up doing so. Christianity is on the decline and it's sad to see."

A quote from Kelly Kurth about his experience: "I was impacted by the things that the pastors said they think they needed. Things like hermeneutics and understanding of scripture. Those are definitely the things that I will find myself praying for them."

We ended the night celebrating Victor and Elizabeth's 42nd wedding anniversary with gifts, cake, and ice cream.

Wednesday, August 17th

The day started with constructing more hope baskets. We received the ingredients courtesy of Elizabeth, Hans's mother. For this batch we added beans, tea, and toilet paper. We received more help from Pastor Carlos Andreas' wife, Liliana with the production.

Today we had the pleasure of delivering our hope baskets to the lovely people of Moyobamba. The teams split transportation between Victor's Toyota, Robinson's car, and a variety of motorcycles.

Upon arriving to each household we explained the purpose of our visit and why we were giving the baskets. We handed out bibles and explained to them that "the bible is the only food you'll really ever need," as quoted by Hans Vargas. Before leaving each household we made sure to pray with the families in either English or Spanish.

After the morning hustle and bustle, we stopped back home for a grub sesh (!) where we ate chicken, rice, and potatoes. Oh! and watermelon! We then headed back out to deliver some more hope baskets to the further outskirts of the city and also to 2 local churches. We were also accompanied by Abby (sorry if you're reading this and we spelled your name wrong), a Scottish gal from Glasgow here for the summer teaching English.

Thursday, August 18th

We continued our adventure by handing out more hope baskets in the morning after a delicious breakfast. Our deliveries occurred on the other side of the city which we were unable to reach on our first day of delivering baskets.

Following our time delivering baskets, our group had the opportunity to tour Annie Soper, a Christian school in Moyobamba. The principal of the school, Jose David Sanchez Medina, showed us around their beautiful nature filled campus and described their future aspirations for the school.

We just so happened to be there during the time when younger kids leave and older kids come, so there were kids coming in and out of the school. We were able to watch kids during what seemed to be their "recess" as they played soccer, climbed on the monkey bars, and ran around playing tag.

We saw their computer lab, science room, and classrooms; one of which Abby (mentioned earlier) was teaching in.

Here is a link to their website if you would like to learn more.

After our tour of the school, we were invited to David and Martha's house for a late lunch. This is where a few of our group members stayed for the week. They bear a connection with the church in Frankfort. They prepared for us Cottage pie and cucumbers along with trifle and ice cream for dessert. They humbly opened their home up to all of us and were great hosts! 10/10

Following our late lunch, we had the pleasure of having one more little trip back to the thermal waters. It was very refreshing after a hot morning and an amazing lunch. It was not very busy since it was Thursday afternoon.

Friday, August 19th

Friday was our last day in Moyobamba, Peru. A feeling of sadness fell upon the group as we departed the Vargas household for the last time, but we had to return home. We gave Victor and Elizabeth hugs goodbye and we were off.

After a treacherous bus ride from Moyobamba to Tarapoto, we arrived at the airport and had to wait for our flight. A few of us went to a restaurant across the street and had lunch. Muy delicioso!

After a short period of time, our flight from Tarapoto landed in Lima approximately 4:30pm CST, at Jorge Chavez International Airport.

The Detroit/Arizona team had their next flight departing two hours earlier than the Indy group. This meant goodbye hugs for everyone. The Indy group hopped on a bus and toured the city of Lima for a few hours while the Detroit/Arizona team waited at the airport for their departure.

Saturday, August 20th

After many connecting flights for the Detroit team, from Lima to Miami, Miami to Charlotte, and Charlotte to Detroit, we finally arrived in Michigan at about 3pm Saturday afternoon. A picture of Anita thanking the Lord that we arrived safely has been added below!

The Indiana team had just as many connecting flights from Lima to Miami, Miami to Washington DC, and DC to Indianapolis. We arrived around 4pm on Saturday afternoon.

That is the conclusion of our mission trip to Peru! Everyone had so much fun and put it a lot of effort and work into making our trip a success. We hope to one day return and continue our work and see what progress has been made! Thanks for reading! Dios de bendiga!

Video Testimonials

The group members were asked to upload videos answering these three questions.

  1. What was something that surprised you on your trip?

  2. What was something unforgettable from your trip?

  3. Would you recommend this trip to others/would you want to return?

Here are some of the responses!

Megan Lutes

Dan Lutes

Anita De Young

Stephen De Young

Kara J

Extra Photo Gallery