Because my week in Cajamarca included lots of “jajaja’s” or, in English, “hahaha’s.”
After rushing back to the house minutes before my bus was leaving because I forgot my passport, I just barely made it on the overnight bus to Cajamarca, Peru. Cajamarca is a region of Peru in the Andes mountains. I stayed in the capital of this region, also called Cajamarca, with a missionary couple who have one lively and hilarious 4 year old son. The wife is from Portland and the husband is from Peru – they met at the orphanage I’ve been serving at in Trujillo! Unfortunately, a kids camp (similar to VBS for all you Americans) that I was going to be involved with during my time there was cancelled, but that sure didn’t dampen my time there. The rain there made it very damp, though.
Saturday, January 16th: Settled into Cajamarca; thankfully the high altitude of almost 9,000 feet didn’t affect me one bit. In the evening, I went to the young adult group at the church of my host family and was kindly welcomed there. I bonded with many of them instantly and continued to hangout with them throughout the week. My new friends were such a big part of why my time in Cajamarca was so wonderful. Seeing their passion for and involvement in the church was extremely moving and heartening. Between worship, greeting, the kids ministry, etc. every young person found a way to be a part of the church there.
Monday, January 18th: This morning, my host mom Nikki, her friend from church, and I walked a long, but delightful two and half hours in the morning. I absolutely adored seeing more of Cajamarca, breathing in the fresh, mountain air, and taking photos to remember the spectacular sights. Later in the afternoon, I went to Banos del Inca with Nikki. This district of Cajamarca attracts all the tourists due to the natural hot springs and geysers there. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Ba%C3%B1os_del_Inca_District)
Tuesday, January 19th: Today, I had my first market experience and it was superrrr superb. People selling most anything you can think of line the streets while even more people wander through the streets to find want they need, or in my case, want. I bought Cajamarcan sandals made out of old tires and saw a Peruvian lady carrying a very large pig’s head on her back. During my time in Cajamarca, I fortunately got to go back to the market a few times and enjoyed it lots every time.
Wednesday, January 20th: A lady from church, Betty, and I moto-taxied over to Belen Orphanage, an all girls orphanage in Cajamarca. Despite still feeling like I knew close to no Spanish, after Betty led a devotion, I was able to lead (with the help of hand motions) a craft for the older girls there. We decorated little notebooks and had a lovely time doing it! Although I didn’t get to spend much with them, I loved having a few hours with those darling girls.
Thursday, January 21st: Nikki, her son Matthew, and I visited a farm outside the city of Cajamarca called La Colpa. We fed ducks under the bright sun and climbed a church tower for a breath-taking view of that area.
Friday, January 22nd: My friends from church and I adventured to Llacanora this day. We had a blast hiking loads, exploring caves, and getting soaked under a waterfall.
Saturday, January 23rd: A few of the young people provide a Bible club for an area outside of the city, where there is no church, called San Juan. This day, I was able to join them. Again, I proved myself wrong when a lot more Spanish came out of my mouth than I thought was in my brain. For the 20 or so children, I led a few games before the Bible lessons started. This group of children was super sweet, amusing, and so receptive to the gospel. Moments like this remind me how powerful the Holy Spirit is and how humbling & incredible of a privilege it is that the perfect Lord of all uses us, imperfect people, to further His kingdom.
Sunday, January 24th: I left Cajamarca a bit teary eyed from the goodbyes to the beautiful people and beautiful city that place is. The 6 hour bus ride through the Andes brought tears to my eyes again out of awe for God’s creativity and beauty. My plan was to read or sleep for the journey home, but my eyes stayed focused on the astonishing, never-ending attraction behind the transparent window.
Although I don’t quite know how to put it into words and I am still reflecting on it, during this excursion I learned very much about the sovereign God, loving people, and who I am. Those 10 days were nothing short of life changing.
Right now, I’m back in Trujillo for a few days to do laundry, repack, and rest up before I fly to the jungle on Thursday. Look out for another blog post when I’m back from Pucallpa in a couple weeks.
Smile, Jesus loves you!
P.S. In case you didn’t see it yet, check out my new page on my blog called “AP Stats.” It’s more fun than it seems! Also, my photos page is updated and improved. I wish you could’ve been there with me to see the Andes for yourself, but you should look at the photos to witness a bit of the beauty.