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Westminster Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg, SC

2011 Mission Trip to Santa Clara

Peru Mission Trip 2011
July 15-16
Travel Day/First Day in Iquitos

You never know how exhausting traveling is until you are in and out of airports for 24 hours STRAIGHT!  Yes, we have arrived in Iquitos and are fired up for what the Lord has planned for us in Santa Clara in the next few days. 
DSC02312Like I said, we had a lot of airport time today, including a 6-hour layover in Miami and a few hours in Lima.  I felt like whenever we got the chance to sleep horizontally instead of in the uncomfortable airplane seats, we took it.
We arrived in Iquitos just before 12 where we were welcomed very lovingly by 95-degree heat and the loving smiles of our Peruvian friends.  As we rode through the cities the reaction to Iquitos between the people who have been on previous Peru trips and those who have not were very similar.  I feel like no matter how much you are exposed to such diversity, you still lack this upfront state of awe.  All I know is that no matter 18 or 55, this group we have here this week is quite unique and special.
DSC02315                After some amazing sandwiches, we were off to a small tour of the city by our awesome intern, Ben Green.  He showed us several recommended areas of Iquitos and even through we encountered rain, I feel like nothing could beat the view from the Boulevard out to the beautiful jungle and water that goes for miles and miles.  We also walked down to experience the Boleyn Market, which included an array of very surprising items.  From shoes and shirts, to fruits, veggies, and raw meat, there was a little of everything to experience at this outdoor market!
                After an amazing chicken dinner at El Jardin (Pam’s home that she has graciously opened to our use for meals and for some room and board), I really felt like the group opened up a little bit more with one another.  My mother (Catherine Remington) and I shared a devotion about how God is going to put barriers and things in our life that are going to seem so difficult and at times impossible to overcome.  However, through leaning on one another and God instead of selfishly thinking about what we individually can do, we will get through whatever God’s will calls for us.  After sharing people opened up with personal experiences of this situation as well as their previous Peru trip experiences that have touched their hearts. 
                Our God is an amazing God for allowing us to even have this opportunity to come and share whatever God gives us to the people of Santa Clara.   I hope as you follow this blog for the week that you see what God is doing through us and how we as a group grow closer together. 

I apologize that there are not going to be a lot of photos today because of overall lack of “picturable” moments!  However, do not fear, this week will yield many pictures and I really hope you enjoy a Chemistry Major’s form of “writing.”

Peru Trip 2011
Day 2
Church at Santa Clara

                Today was our first day out to the amazing village of Santa Clara.  After a goodnights rest, we set out on our motorcars for the port!  Now this is personally my second year, but for those who have not yet experienced motorcars they are quite exhilarating.  Between all the weaving and quick stops the drivers do, you always think you’re going to crash, however never actually seem to.
DSC02317.JPG                As the group got onto the two motorboats and set off to Santa Clara a storm started brewing around us!  It poured for the majority of our boat trip and the most amazing thing was that our driver was looking through this tiny open area just to merely see what was in front of us!  I’d say we have some serious faith.
                Once we got to the port we unloaded the boats and quickly were met by the lovely tree trunks and planks that we were to walk on over the mud and water.  Yes, at first one might think that this is an easy task, but many have fallen in transit.  One member, Lauren Mueller, wasn’t so lucky to escape the embarrassment of the “first fall.”  As she toppled into the mud/water she was very kindly assisted by our drivers and the little kids from Santa Clara.  Someone had to fall, and unfortunately Lauren took the cake!
                As we walk up to the church we were graciously greeted by a hug and kiss on the cheek by Pastor German.  What an amazing man of God he is.  I know that meeting him and getting to know him last year was a highlight of the mission trip so I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned this week.
                Santa Clara is a BEAUTIFUL village.  I can’t take a lot of time to describe it, but I think it’s the spirit of the people that make this village so special. 
                As we greeted people Cliff Walters was sure to hand out  “Breunos Dias” to all the Santa Clarians.  He is the member in the group that really makes all our fellow southerners back home proud!!
DSC02323.JPG                We then went to the church service and as I looked around I saw kids that were probably a few months old to older men and women.  The beginning of the service consisted of praises to God through songs.  The people were so joyful and so vocal about their love of the Lord.  I can say that I definitely got a workout with all of the hand motions and standing we did during worship!
                Then the children left and pastor German preached his sermon entitled “I am not guilty.”  Even though it was in Spanish, you could just see how the people respect him as they listen attentively, holding onto every word.  I also just noticed Pastors passion for what he says.  He knows that this world needs a savior and that people are extremely lost, and his goal seems to be ministering to those that are lost and that are in need.  He always seemed to in some way give the credit of his sermon back to God.  Also, just the overall welcoming nature of everyone in the church was so comforting.  Instead of being pointed at and having our picture being taken, we were embraced, kissed, and given handshakes by the majority of the children and adults. It’s a real sense of community!
                After the service we moseyed our way back to the boats to head back to Iquitos.  After a quick lunch we had a free afternoon, which consisted of preparing for crafts and watching the unfortunate loss of the Women’s World Cup. 
DSC02324.JPG                The night consisted of Anne and Kingsly Martin sharing an amazing devotional with us, an interesting dinner at a local restaurant named Ari’s, and a stroll in the Square.  Sunday night is definitely the night where everyone seems to congregate in the square.  I stood with a few of the younger people on the trip and watched a man using spray paint to make the most beautiful paintings.  His precision was impeccable and the raffle/show he had that went along with his business was quite entertaining.  
                Our first full day in Peru was definitely an amazing experience!


Peru Day 3

            Today we had our first full day in Santa
Clara! After our trip out to Santa Clara on the motorboats we brought in
all of our supplies for the day.  After getting our stuff together we sat
down for our group bible study, which will be on angels.  Dr. Paul noted
that it is good for us to get together and fellowship as believers in front
of our brothers and sisters in Santa Clara to show a good example.
            The group got straight to work on the water
filtration systems, while others started to play with the kids that were
already congregated outside.  The filtration systems, provided by
the Rotary Club of Spartanburg, provide the people of Santa Clara with
clean water.  Our part in this is assembling the filtration systems and
distributing them among the houses in the village. 
            I personally was playing with the kids along with
Blair and Hannah Harakas and the kids were so adorable.  We played with
this Frisbee for at least 30 minutes in the hot sun and they were just
content as anything.  I really feel like the people who cannot speak
Spanish connect with the children through love.  Merely loving on
them, either by hugging, giving a piggyback ride or even a high five just
gives them a smile that no toy or electronic could substitute. 
            As the day went on Marshall Washburn, Cliff Walters,
and Kingsly Martin worked SO incredibly hard with assembling the filtration
systems for these families.  There was so much willingness in our
group today, no matter where it was needed. 
            After a quick lunch Dr. Paul taught the adult class
as the rest of us worked with the filtration systems and played around with
the kids.  The kids LOVE seeing pictures, which is good because
Hannah, Blair, Jane, and I LOVE taking pictures. Their reactions when they
looked at our cameras and saw their own faces were priceless.  We also
taught them some games like Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose (except we did
Dog Dog Catin Spanish because there really aren’t that many geese or
ducklings around Santa Clara).
            Around 2:30 we had bible school, which was SO
interesting.  Pastor German’s wife taught the kids their lesson in
Daniel!  They started out bible school singing the theme song of the week
and the pastors’ wife was quite intent on all of the children singing and
participating.  I could just really sense the respect and love that the
kids had for her as their leader.  After her lesson we proceeded to do
the craft, which was making butterflies out of some paper, pipe cleaners,
markers, crayons, and stickers.  At first everything was a little chaotic,
but the kids were so helpful with unwrapping things and really
just appreciating all of the things that were at their disposal.  The
butterflies ended up looking SO cute and I know that the kids (may I remind
you that these were kids, teenagers, and even adults) were thrilled with
the new finger puppets!
            We then headed home on the motorboats. You know
that you are comfortable with a place when you feel like calling it home
and I really feel like the people here have accepted us into their homes as
brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s amazing how no matter how diverse we
are, we still have this bond of loving God. 

            I hope that y’all are continually praying for what
God is doing here with us as well as through our own hearts.

Westminster Presbyterian Church
By:  Nanne Remington



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