My only expectations about my trip to Lima last month were to expect the unexpected. I did a little bit of research about the city, but with 10 million residents, I knew that I would not be able to predict what our host family or our experience would be like.
Being the Type A planner that I am, it was totally out of my comfort zone to fly to another country, with no itinerary but that's the beauty of serving! This trip forced me to be selfless and live in community for a week and I'm so grateful for that. Once we arrived late Thursday night, our host Julio let us know that we would be in for an adventure to remember, but he would not be giving us any details!
On Friday we traveled about 30 miles to an area called Santa Rosa. Located about 30 miles from the La Molina neighborhood we stayed in, Santa Rosa is one of the many areas in Lima where the poorest residents live. They inhabit vacant pieces of desert and set up little cities.
We had lunch with a church there, visited with the kids in the neighborhood & did a feet washing ceremony before gifting them with new socks & shoes.
What was most moving to me, besides the people we met, were the care and detail of these modest homes. Despite the poverty they live in, these residents clearly took care to create a home that reflected them and brought them joy.
This little sweetheart was the daughter of the pastor of this church. Although she spoke no English at all, we became fast friends and she even joined in helping us wash the feet of other children. It truly blessed me to witness her joyful, giving spirit, and I'll never forget "Princesa Janice"!
On Saturday, we visited another area of Lima where a woman established a home for girls who have experienced sexual abuse and have been removed from their home. With no assistance from the Peruvian government, she's created a safe haven for 28 girls. At one point she housed up to 80! Sadly, she is now suffering from Alzeihmer's and but fortunately her daughter Monica has stepped in to help.
We were able to meet the girls, play some volleyball, and play beauty shop! Rachel, who came with me, is a hair stylist, and she gave haircuts to every girl. Olga & I pulled together a photo booth using things that were on site and flowers from their garden. The girls had fun getting their photos taken with their new hair!
I left these girls feeling like I could have spent weeks with them. The unity and tenderness that they displayed was so remarkable, especially knowing that each of them carries their own dark past. My hope is that our short interaction will make an indelible impact on them as it has on me!
By Sunday we were all really excited to experience a worship service, which was held in the backyard of the home we stayed in. A few of us ventured out to the store to get food & flowers and I loved putting together flower arrangements for the house! Julio gave the message in Spanish with a friend translating to English. Their delivery was so endearing, I wish that I could hear it every Sunday.
There were about 30 guests total, and after church everyone shared a meal and lounged around the house. I think my favorite part of this day was sharing music inspirations with the singers in the church. That evening we headed down to the coast to witness an amazing sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
And that was just the first 3 days!
Tomorrow, I'll share the rest of the trip but in the meantime, check out this video summary below.
Creative spirit living & loving in Raleigh, NC.