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Keep Seeking First God's Kingdom!

sunny

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What a privilege to be a part of this summers International Convention in Detroit, Michigan! I was good to be able to visit and attend with all of my family. We did a lot to make the delegates feel right at home. For example, my mom was a tour guide for the tours at the Detroit Institute of Art, and Historical Museum. The brothers from other congregations helped them get to know the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and The Detroit Zoo! We entertained the delegates at our Kingdom Hall after service with lunch and song. I also learned that our brothers from Detroit (Motown) are extremely talented. We got to see them shine at the rehearsal night at our assembly hall in Belleville. We saw everything from a full orchestra, chorus, to opera singing! We were at the second convention at Ford Field and had 37,200 as our maximum attendance. It was such a joy to hear talks given by Brother Anthony Morris. He is from Saginaw, Michigan, but he and his wife have traveled all over the world strengthening the brothers. He was such a personable speaker that made us laugh. It was easy to feel the intimacy he has with Jehovah as he spoke and read His Word. Brother David Schafer, from the Teaching Committee, also visited Detroit and spoke very directly to all of us! I loved his blunt expressions as he helped strengthen our conviction that Jesus is the most qualified to rule God's Kingdom! Awesome, Unforgettable! There were several moments that brought tears to our eyes. Almost every experience shared was from one of the visiting missionaries, or special full time servants. Many commented that they love their assignments because they can enjoy service to Jehovah without distractions. They don't have to worry about houses, and cars, and payments! Freedom! And, truly the best life ever, in this wicked world!
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Up the QEW, Ontario, Canada

A brother from our congregation in Mount Clemens, MI took a small group of us up to Canadian Bethel, and Niagra Falls in his RV. It was nice to be there again. I hadn't visited since 2006! What a joy to see our Canadian brothers working hard to further the good news!
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New York, New York

My sis and I took a road trip to New York to visit our friends Rob and Fleurette who are working as volunteers with the Warwick Project. Try making it to New York without a GPS in this day and age. I remember getting around just fine before with printed out Mapquest directions, haha! But somehow this time we were mislead. Well after driving way too far into Pennsylvania we were grateful to have made it to our destination safely, finally!
We were anxious to see the two self- guided museums in Brooklyn; The Divine Name, and A People for Jehovah's Name. It was a such an encouraging visit! It's great to see the collection of our history by way of hundreds of photographs, documents, and objects from different parts of the world! Get there if you can! And while you're there try JOYA. It's an excellent Thai Restaurant just up the street! The best Thai food I've had in New York or California!
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Thank you family and friends for the making of good memories!
These two months were just another reminder that Jehovah's organization is a united brotherhood all working toward the same purpose! It was nice to visit the Mount Clemens Congregation and once again feel their undying support! Thank you all!

Posted by TenekaCJ 21:19 Archived in USA Comments (1)

The Emerald of the Andes

Preaching in Isolated Territories -Ayacucho

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During our pioneer school, last October, our circuit overseer explained that there are still many territories that are unassigned in almost every department in Peru. He told us that the branch had made an arrangement to apply and receive an assignment to visit one of these territories or congregations with need, for a minimum of 15 days up to 3 months. This immediately appealed to Monica and I. So, at the beginning of this year we wrote, and we were happy to receive a letter assigning us to visit Huanta, Ayacucho!

We were both excited to have the opportunity to visit! First, because Ayacucho is the land of Monica's parents and grandparents. She holds memories of visiting as child. Secondly, because Ayacucho was listed as one of the 6 cities needing help on the initial letter I got from the branch back in 2010!
Therefore, we made arrangements with the coordinator of the congregation there in Huanta. On the phone, Br. Ramirez was very encouraging and enthusiastic, assuring us that we would be taken care of well. He advised us to bring sunscreen for the blistering sun, as well as rain boots for the downpours of the rainy season. He also talked about the potential of us being sent to isolated territory were we could hold a meeting! So this made us even more excited. Ayacucho is a region or state north, and just about 16 hours from Moquegua.

"Peru"sin'

So, first bus! This was the most comfortable. Well as comfortable as you can be after several hours in a bus! Along the way we observed long stretches of desert, not much else. After about 10 hours we stopped in Ica. Ica was interesting because they grow some of the biggest grapes I've ever seen, and they were only 2 soles a kilo.

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The biggest grapes I had ever seen!
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Since there is no direct route to Ayacucho we had to stop here and then find a way to San Clemente. We heard that this would take us to a corner where we could catch a mini van to Ayacucho's capital Huamanga. From there we would have to take another ride down to Huanta. The ride from San Clemente to Huamanga was most interesting. It was a 12 passenger van with 14 or 15 people. There were lots of ups and downs and twists and turns. Even though the elevation is only about 9,000 ft, I remembered how I felt when I first arrived in the country and travelled to Cusco. Mountain sickness! Well, it was easy to remember because we were surrounded, sitting nice and snug and cozy, by 4 children who were all taking turns throwing up in plastic bags. Monica, was right next to one of the boys but ever so patiently helped the mother clean up after her him over and over again. So needless to say, we were so glad to get out of that van!

It was evident that we are were in the sierra because at one point the roads got more spirally, greener, and wetter. We drove through several streams of water, and even had to stop in the road to let people cross with their groups of llamas!
So once we made it to Huamanga. It was time to find our way down to Huanta.
We took a mototaxi to the stop for Huanta.
There we found groups of people standing around waiting, and some shouting, "Huanta"! So we looked for the van that was filling up the quickest and got in. So, after our luggage was packed strapped to the top of the vehicle, we began the downward spiral to Huanta.
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Soo two buses, a mini van, a moto-taxi and a combi later, we arrived in the town of Huanta! After briefly looking around on the unfamiliar street corner with dead cell phones; we found a place to call, and we met up with the coordinator of the congregation. He gave us a large smile and enthusiastic "Welcome to Huanta" greeting. Then, we began walking along with some other brothers that came along to help carry our bags. We walked about 5 or 6 blocks to the house of some sisters who are also supporting congregations in Huanta. The house was dark, damp, brick, and cold! But we were warmly welcomed, and made ourselves comfortable for the days to come.

The very next morning we went out in the ministry. We were then able to see why Huanta is called the "Emerald of the Andes". Huanta is renowned for fruit growing because of it's rich green land. Here there are tuna (cactus fruit, or prickly pear), white peaches, lucuma (eggfruit), pacay, cherimoya ,and avocado!
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Ministry in Huanta
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Food sold on the streets of Huanta

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Lunch with some of the friends

It was suggested we visit Luricocha,

a territory just a few minutes away off the beaten path. The congregation doesn't have an arrangement to work it regularly. This was our first assignment. There is regular transportation to this city which is really only about 10 minutes away in taxi.

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Quechua is the native language of this woman and the majority in Ayacucho
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Since this territory hadn't been worked in a long period of time it was up to us to keep good track of the progress made. I had fun drawing a map and marking the return visits we had encountered. It was important to keep good notes in order to visit them again soon. The people were hospitable, and sometimes gave a listening ear. But even when they didn't they did share a handful of fruit, like pacay and peaches.
But overall we noticed that the people are quite shortsighted. Many were just not open to viewpoints other than their own, not even Jehovah's! How dangerous! Not only have they not heard the bibles message in some time, but to make matters worse a lot of them were quite zealous about defending the pagan doctrines taught steadily by the 'Assembly of God' religion. Teachings like the Trinity and hell-fire are widespread. One woman told us she didn't have time, but began to speak very defensively about the Trinity. We decided soundly to leave her door and continue with the next. But then, she sent her husband/brother outside to question us!
That experience didn't get us down, because there were several others who very quickly began to study with us at their doorsteps using the Good News brochure. Children were also very willing to learn and answer questions about the bible.

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I'm not sure these girls had ever seen someone with my skin color. They asked a lot of questions, and were happy to know that I'm a twin too!
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I was able to show these kids on their way home a few of Jehovah's videos with Caleb.
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Our beautiful surroundings begged for our attention at every turn. But, one man saw me taking pictures from afar and kind of reprimanded me for it. When we reached his home to speak with him he first told us what he thought of us. He couldn't understand why it was necessary to have a camera, and was very paranoid as to what I was going to do with the "pictures that I took of him". Ha, ha! After assuring him that we didn't work for some secret government agency, he accepted some literature.

We visited Luricocha every day for about 4 or 5 days and were able to cover the territory well. Each time we visited we went further and further back into the thicket. Avocado trees lined the walkways, and decorated the homes. We were able to have some good conversations and see how the people live in the the area. I liked seeing how here, man still live in close harmony with nature. But still, we were ready for more. More work. More isolation. More humility.

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I got my shoes all muddy in Luricocha one day. And while we rested in the park, I got my shoes shined and polished by a little boy.

The Challenge We Were Waiting For

SAN JOSE SANTILLANA

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The car we rode in to Santillana.

After expressing our observations to the coordinator, and speaking with many brothers in the congregation, we decided to visit another city. San Jose Santillana is a city a couple of hours from Huanta that hadn't been visited by anyone in at least 5 years. So we decided if we wanted a chance to find more interest, now was the time! We expressed our interest in visiting, and Br. Ramirez supported us. But he was really worried about our safety on the trip. During the rainy season the roads can be very dangerous because the route to Santillana is just a dirt path along the side of the mountain. There are no railings, no protection; just slippery mud and rocks. The brother told us of the many accidents that have occurred with people losing their lives because of falling. Even so, the next morning we packed our bags. A young brother from the congregation meet us at the terminal/stop, and brought us 4 boxes of literature to use.

On the way to Santillana it seemed as if we were driving without a destination in mind. As you see the seemingly untouched mountains, you wonder how can anyone live out here, there's nothing! was easy to wonder what life is like for the people who live in the cluster of houses seemingly hanging on the mountains.

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scenery along the way

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We prayed a lot. The drive was rough, we experienced a little rainfall. But what was most scary was the fact that the only thing keeping us from the next head on collision was the car horn and the attentiveness of the man driving. Trust in Jehovah, because it was hard to trust the driver. Well, I must admit that he was being very careful as he honked the horn at almost every sharp turn. It was just a one way muddy street the whole time. Looking at the steep precipice I couldn't help but wonder, what we would do if this car fell off the cliff. But thanks to our prayers to Jehovah expressing our desire to fulfill our assignment, we made it safely :)

The first thing we did was investigate the two places available to stay. Monica went to ask the two hostels that were right in the plaza, while I waited with our things. She found the best option for us, and we waited while the woman of the house sprayed the room heavily with air freshener and got us our key. No, I'm just kidding there was no key, we used the padlock that I brought! But thanks to Jehovah we were comfortable in the room provided, and eager to learn the territory!

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The hostal we stayed in
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The entrance into the town of San Jose

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This is the literature we were able to distribute all over town!
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Monica with a mom and daughter who were so happy to receive the large print version of 'What Does the Bible Really Teach?'
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We began preaching at the first house in town and proceeded to follow the road wherever it went. It was easy to find people at home in the late evening. That's because by this time they have finished grazing the animals, and manicuring their fields. IMG_1700.jpglarge_8BCB0F9C2219AC6817D49FB092502CC7.jpg

We found many who were willing to listen, and made sure to get literature into everyones hand that we came in contact with. We used mostly the Bible Teach book, and tracts.

As we trekked along the road, a man in his late 30's approached us with a very curios stare. He wanted to know what we were doing. He questioned what we were teaching. And once we stated our purpose and what we believed, he patiently asked us if we could show him from the Bible. We did that and offered him literature that he didn't want to take. But we were happy because he seemed very interested in conversing with us further. Since we found him on the road, we weren't able to easily contact him again. It wasn't until our last few days in the city that we found him again, this time in his home. By this time he knew who we were, and he knew our work. To our surprise, he was the pastor of the local church! He considered us a threat, and constantly suggested that we go elsewhere with our message, assuring us that the "flock here was well cared for". He devoutly believed in the Trinity, and didn't want us further "misleading" his members! The saddest part is that we had been visiting his daughters who really had a great interest in getting their questions answered from the bible. We didn't know it was their father. But after that, he no longer permitted us to come to his home, and asked us to stay away from the whole block of homes near him. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Satan never sleeps! And neither did we. We spoke, and did our best to reason with the man for about an hour. But then, as we had already planned, we began to visit the other cities on the outskirts as he had also suggested.

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Searching for sheep in Santillana

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Our Favorite Experiences

Subiendo a Picas

The route to Picas smelled of the freshest air and the fresh eucalyptus trees that surrounded us. We felt the mountain dew fall upon us as we travelled up and up. Picas was an even quieter town. The walk was only about 30 minutes. But we were able to find the most humble people! It is amazing how the people in these towns go up and down these mountains with ease! It's their everyday route. We did our best to keep the pace placing tracts along the way with people that were coming down to go to work. It's so nice to receive hospitality from a stranger. As soon as we would arrive to some homes they would preoccupy themselves with finding a place for us to sit, and share our ever so important message with them. We meet a young woman who lived with her parents and grandparents. So we sat down with them almost immediately it seemed, gave her a brochure as she found her large bible in Quechua, and we began to read a lesson. There were many ears listening, not only her parents, but there were two huge milk cows, pigs, a trip of goats, and a heard of sheep that seemed to be a part of the conversation as well! She was so happy to have her own reading material to study her bible! She was so grateful that as we said goodbye, and distanced ourselves from her home, she ran after us with a bag full of dried lima beans from their fields. We wished that we could return again and again to the doorstep studies that we started. We only pray that Jehovah will continue to care for the people up on the highest hilltops in Picas and that someday again soon the message will reach them, and their hearts.

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Hiking to Occopecca

We needed to make it to one more town within our reach. It was Occopecca. In Quechua the "double c" has the "jota" sound in Castellano. So it's pronunced OJO-PEJA, and in English OHO-PEHA. This was a long trek, we packed fruit and water to sustain us on the way, and we even stopped to rest. It took us 2 hours one way to make it to Occopecca. The town was quiet and empty. We first ran into a family. The mother was combing her hair, and braiding looong braids on both sides of her head, the grandfather was slightly blind, and the young girl didn't say much. The mother made it clear that they too read the bible and knew all they needed to know. Eager to find deserving ones, we left them a small tract and continued on. Another woman came out of her house, after seeing us, and gave us armfulls of peaches. The white peaches are so sweet here, you never get tired of them. She directed us to more houses just below. So we followed her pointing finger and found a large yard with kids at play. I was looking for the best path as Monica followed. I ended up sliding down a hill right next to their entrance way! O well.. I shook myself off and the children were happy to see us. The neighbors were also visiting. We introduced ourselves and told them that we wanted to share videos with them based on the bible. Monica pulled our her tablet, and we were able to introduce all the little ones to Caleb and Sophia! They were so happy. Even though they had never seen anything like it, I loved their humble appreciative attitudes. You didn't hear one comment like "Cool! A tablet, do you have any games?" "Can I see!?" They just humbly and patiently watched. It was awesome to see them learn little lessons from the bible. Then, with the adults gathered around, we spoke to them and found out how they were related, and they all ended up being quite humorous. The only male there was visiting his mother along with his wife and kids. They were from the jungle, and looked different than other Peruvians I had seen. Light skin light eyes. Very simple. He told us how much he likes reading. So he was happy to receive 3 books from Jehovah, Mankind's Search for God, The Bible God's Word of Man's, and Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life. He seemed to be searching for the truth, but was headed back home very soon. We don't know when someone else may find him with the truth. But we made sure he took it along with him. It's comforting to remember 1 corinthians that reminds us that it's Jehovah who keeps making it grow :)

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On the way down from Occopecca

One evening we went to visit a mother with her 5 children we had been visiting and they invited us inside and offered us a bowl of soup. I remember that the bowl was thin and metal, and that the soup mostly consisted of wheat. We sat on short stools near the dirt floor in the dim sunlight that entered the mud brick and wooden walls. We tried our very best to eat the meal that represented the hospitality and kindheartedness of the family. Before we even began to speak about the bible the rain began to fall! Then came the thunder and lighting. It was a downpour that wouldn't letup. The family all crowded into the small bedroom quarters with us, and lit candles. It was difficult to hear from the rain drumming on top of the metal roof. But once everyone settled we were able to talk about some bible characters. The young ones had their bibles nearby because they told us they were churchgoers. So we were able to do something like a game of bible trivia to see which characters they remembered, and the lessons we learn from them. Since the power went out, we were unable to eat at the little cocina we had been frequenting. Maybe the soup was a blessing after all! We made our way down the hill with just the flashlight from Monica's phone. It was hard not to slip on the rocks. But we made it back to our dark room and were glad to have some of the fruit leftover from the day to eat before bed.

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One day in Santillana we meet a man whose eyes just lit up to learn about the resurrection. He was so excited we made plans to visit him again the same evening and he promised to have his family waiting with him. When we made it to his home they brought us into an empty room that had just a few buckets to sit on. He, his wife, sister and law, son and niece all joined us. They had so many questions! They were asking us why others believed what the bible clearly doesn't say! We talked about many subjects while trying to focus on a few paragraphs in the Bible Teach book. We returned everyday until we left. It was so fulfilling to help them find the answers to their questions using God's Word the Bible! They were very happy to understand that the Bible does not teach the Trinity. We loved helping them understand just what the soul and spirit really are. And they were happy to accept just what the Bible said.

Really outstanding was the opportunity and privilege Monica and I had to organize a meeting. We began to spread the word from the beginning that there would be a meeting held. We arranged to speak with the head of the local hospital, because the brothers told us that there is room on the second floor that we would be able to use it we got permission. We were happy to hear that we could come back to hold our meeting there in the evening. It was a nice clean room that even had a dry erase board for us to use. We invited and invited! We also prepared a small talk to be able to teach a simple lesson to whoever arrived. The time approached to begin the meeting, and our audience mostly consisted of young ones. There was an attendance of 20! There were only 3 adults! But we were happy to see the young ones willing to learn. We gave the "talk" like a two part symposium. haha. It was like conducting a group Bible study. We asked questions and got everyone involved. It really made us see that there still are receptive hearts out there. We see why Jehovah is patient about bring his day of anger. It impressed upon us the need to be a close as you can to the people. They responded well because they saw us everyday. The people can really progress once they get to know you. You have to be constantly present and consistent with them. So needless to say it was sad to know that our stay was short. We pray that the congregation can return as soon as possible to continue watering their interest.

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This is after the meeting with some of the young children that attended.

Saturday morning we heard that there would be a feria (farmers market) where many from deeper in the valley would come up selling their fruits and vegetables. So we went with our backpacks full of literature; full of books to plant as many seeds as we could. We saw the small street lined with merchants who had just walked the 4 hour trip from below. Many of them came with their donkeys fully equipped with huge quantities of tuna, papaya, mango, banana, peaches, and tremendous sweet potatoes. We began preaching on one side of the street. It was so neat that, although wanting to sell their produce, they took the time to stop and pay attention to us. We were able to read many scriptures before moving on to the next. We focused on Jesus Christ and Jehovah's name, since we noticed that many are confused about who they are. We would read a few scriptures along with a paragraph from the Bible Teach book, show them how they would use the questions, give them the book, and move on to the next. We did that until a line formed! People noticed that we had books and began to line up for their free reading material! It was great, we couldn't talk fast enough. It was nice to have the Bible Story Book to share it with the parents too! Many, after receiving their book would "contribute" fruits and vegetables. My backpack was full of literature when we came down, but I had to go back up and empty it because it filled up with fruit! We continued speaking with as many as we could throughout the feria. I began to notice that the merchants really weren't that busy because in reality they were mostly just exchanging things between themselves. In such a small town they can't expect much business. So what a spirit of giving they have! Since some things only grow in the low valley, like papaya, they travelled all this way to basically share their fruits! But this time their visit was even more worthwhile and we hope now they will cultivate something more than physical food.

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When our assignment ended ...

we were able to go down to the capital Huamanga. There we visited the congregation, went in service, and even had the privilege of having lunch with the Bethelites at the local Translation Office. I was suprised by the way, despite being a busy city, somehow managed to keep it's ancient charm. Huamanga really seemed to be one of the homes of artisan work and crafts. We went shopping in the stores, and explored the plaza. In Huamanga, it's nothing uncommon to see teenage boys with their guitars strapped to their backs, they love music! I was able to find a good deal on a guitar too!
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These are our friends the Thoms. They graduated from Gilead in 1997 along with Todd and Melinda and have been in the same territory, same assignment for 17 years! It was so encouraging meeting them and hearing about the progress they've seen the brothers make. When they arrived to the city there was very little activity. And now there are several congreagations in Spanish and Quechua, and the brother are participating in the construction of a new Translation Office! Jehovah is certainly blessing their efforts in Huamanga! They taught me what a joy it can be to patiently work with the territory and assignment that you have so that you can experience Jehovah's blessing!

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Monica was surprised to find out that a friend she hadn't seen in years is now serving at Bethel with her new husband!

Posted by TenekaCJ 13:08 Archived in Peru Tagged ayacucho Comments (3)

The Quinoa Craze

The INCAS called it the "Mother Grain"

sunny

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Quinoa harvesting in Peru and Bolivia

Have you tried Quinoa yet?

Before living in South America I had never heard of quinoa. But over the years I've learned to love it! If you are used to consuming organics then you may be familiar with it. But in recent years, quinoa’s worldwide popularity has increased tremendously, that's because of its nutritional properties, quality taste, and beneficial health properties. According to the UN, 2013 was said to be the international year of Quinoa!

But, If you haven't seen it... the recipes online, and Pinterest and such, are encouraging the quinoa craze and inviting all to love it. Since I'm here in quinoa's motherland, I thought I'd post a little about it uses here.

South America's Superfood

What is Keen-Wah?!

The seeds of this goosefoot plant you see below are known as quinoa.
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These are some pictures of quinoa I saw while I was in service.

Although quinoa resembles a grain it isn't. It belongs to the family of greens such as spinach or chard. It resembles cous cous and is as versatile as rice. Quinoa is native to South America(Peru and Bolivia), where locals have cultivated it for thousands of years. It has been known as a staple food in the Andes region because it was just one of the few crops that the ancient Incas could cultivate at such high altitude.

Did you know???

Virtually every quinoa seed eaten in the United States is imported from South America. Specifically, from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. In past years, almost no farmers outside of these countries grew it! But of course, plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa were determined to change that. It's already being grown in parts of the U.S. Areas of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Nevada and Canada. Quinoa cultivation has even crossed continental boundaries to reach France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy! You can find Quinoa at stores like Costo, Trader Joes, Wholefoods, and Target. It is sold as flakes, flour, pasta, and can even be brewed into beer. You may see it in a variety of colors such as red, white, or black.

Quinoa contains every amino acid, that's right all 9!, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth, and helps the body absorb calicium. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It's also gluten-free, so people with celiac disease can eat it up!

Well, in this unjust world there are oftentimes disadvantages to the advantages. The appetite of countries, such as the US, for quinoa has pushed prices up to the extent that the very ones who have spent years cultivating this seed as a nourishing staple for their families, can no longer afford to eat it. Here in Moquegua quinoa it is currently 18-20 soles per kilo. (6.50-7.20 dollars per 2.2 pounds). Some of the sisters from my congregation comment that last year it was 7 soles a kilo, and about 5 years ago 4! Hmm.. North and South exchange. Unfortunately, now its cheaper to buy chicken or just plain white rice than quinoa. This is just another example of how the focus on exporting premium foods can damage the producer country's food security. But it's true that at the same time other families are probably benefiting from the exporting as well. Who knows? But how interesting it will be, if Jehovah permits, to live in a world without these issues. And to get to know other types of crops and plants that we have never known from other parts of the world and to enjoy them in their perfect state without the manipulation of seed breeders and scientists.

How we eat quinoa in Peru

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White quinoa

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Quinoa beer sold in Ayacucho Here in Peru a lot of times its written with a 'U' (QuinUa)

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This is a sweet snack of quinoa rolled in a ball and stuck together with honey.

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Veggie stir-fry with quinoa

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Quinoa for breakfast. This was boiled together with apple and has some added sugar.

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Ingredients for my quinoa patties.

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Pure de quinua. Cooked with butter, cheese, and milk.

So what do you think?

I'm curios to know how long you've been eating quinoa, if you buy it regularly, and how much it costs where you are.
Take care family and friends!

Posted by TenekaCJ 10:49 Archived in Peru Tagged quinoa moquegua Comments (7)

Mom's Visit

Marvelous, Jovial, Happy! Maravillosa, jovial, alegre!

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"Her happiness infected us!" "With you it's like a party"

Those are some of the words that the friends used to describe my Mom and her visit. Two weeks went by so quick! But, the brothers enjoyed so much getting to know my mom. Everyone was eager to have us over, and hear her sing! LOL. We made sure my mom got to know what it's like to preach and walk through the valley of Moquegua. We briefly visited Tacna, went through Arequipa to Colca Canyon, and visited Ilo for the day. Here are some of our favorite shots!

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Monica and I with my new NWT. Thanks mom!
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While walking through the market in Tacna, we ran into two sisters from Tacna who were engaging in the public witnessing there. They are both from Texas. My mom was happy to be able to chat with them in English! They did everything to encourage her to stay!
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Trying Tuna fruit for the first time. Hahahaha! "I don't think you're supposed to eat the seeds!" hahaha!

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Tuna

Into the TUNDRA and COLCA CANYON

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COLCA CANYON is Peru's third most-visited tourist destination. It is known for being more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, US, with a depth of 13,650 ft (4,160 m) Scenic beauty! We planned a trip complete with transportation, tour guide, and hostal stay. We ended up riding in a van with a woman from Quebec Canada, who had been all over the world, some backpackers from the Netherlands, some jovenes from Trinidad and Tobago, and our friend Kota from Japan.
We took about a 3 1/2 hour trip through altitudes gradually reaching up to 6,000 meters (20,000 + ft.) That's about the altitude of some of the highest summits in Alaska or Yukon, Canada. The heights can be a little uncomfortable if you're not accustomed to it, and the cold tundra air gets a little chilly, but it was nice to see so many wild vicuñas and llamas in their natural habitat.
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Volcano Misti 19,000 ft above sea level. It had it's last eruption in 1985. large_IMG_1009.jpgIMG_1015.jpgIMG_1028.jpglarge_IMG_1087.jpg
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Along the way we stopped to take photos and see the many displays of the local craftmanship. One man had a domesticated eagle, that he brings out so the tourists can take pictures with it for a small tip. The bird was really heavy, and although it was passive the thought of it taking out an eye, passed through the mind of everyone.

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Chivay is a friendly town at the entrance of the canyon.
Here are some pictures of our hostal. It was clean and comfy. While in the US, a good hotel is one with a pool, jacuzzi and restaurant. Here, your main concerns change to hot water, and a private bathroom. Ha, ha. Thankfully our Hostal had them both! We took some time to see the city of Chivay, and buy some keepsakes, including our llanquis! Very popular sandals worn all around that are made of tires.
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The first night in Chivay our trip included a visit to a touristy pizzeria. They put on a show with music, singing, and dancing typical of Chivay. This night we all tried alpaca. I had eaten it before fried, so pan seared was quite a difference. My mom's face (below) will let you know what we thought about the taste. We should've went for the pizza! But two thumbs up for trying it!!!
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The mighty Andean Condor, can usually be spotted at "Cruz del Condor." Therefore, en route, our tour guide spoke in his broken English about condors the entire morning. Our hopes were high in seeing one or two. Once we arrived, we only saw one from afaaaar. How are we supposed to know it was really a condor? It couldve been an eagle. Well, maybe some other time. But all the same, the views were great and it ended up being a beautiful day.
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Me with a baby llama. Little girl from Chivay, Arequipa in the typical dress of the town.

The Port of Ilo

We arrived in Ilo to have lunch with friends Audrey and Mariella. It's always refreshing to see the coast. We ate the typical ceviche, and then went for a ride around the port in a little motor boat. We saw the sea lions that make there home right on the coast. It was a perfect day to sit in the park and eat ice cream. So that's what we did. There are a lot of good experiences happening in Ilo! There are many people just looking for a bible study. It was encouraging to see Mari and Audrey busy in service to Jehovah.
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Working in the feria " La Chakra a La Olla"

Aceituna! Aceituna! Choclo verde! Choclo verde! Saturday morning in the market. I'm sure my mom won't easily forget the shouts of the venders in a rush to sell their fresh product. Haha. My mom never came to like aceituna. But, I think she did enjoy seeing the movement of the feria. It's the perfect place to people watch, and get a good idea of how things are run here in Moquegua.
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BACK TO MOQUEGUA

Fortunately, during her visit Moquegua seemed to have a permanent overcast, which isn't common. It for sure made early walking and morning service more refreshing. Here are some pics from service and the brothers from the San Antonio Congregation.
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Here are some of the foods that the friends prepared, and some of the ones that showed their warm hospitality.
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We love you Lynnett!

The friends organized a going away gathering for my mom. They enjoyed learning the "typical dance from Detroit" the hustle. But we had a little dance of our own planned. Valicha! We practiced choreography for a few weeks, and rented typical costumes for the presentation. It turned out really well! The brothers made many loving expressions to my mom, appreciating the example she sets as another busy servant of Jehovah. Now, everyone is asking when is she coming back. You're welcome, you will never go without food or house here in Moquegua.

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Posted by TenekaCJ 13:16 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Warm Winter

Pioneer Meeting, and Camping on the Beach

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A few weeks back we had our annual pioneer meeting. It was nice the way we joined together with the San Francisco congregation as well. The theme helped us all to understand ways we can "Imitate Those Taking the Lead Among Us, the Faithful and Discreet Slave". It was stated that they need our support especially when there are changes, or modifications in our teaching methods. They really encouraged all pioneers to use the provided resources, specially focusing on our new website jw.org! They reminded us how we are told in Isaiah 60:16 to "drink the milk of the nations" and encouraged all to use technology, or the Internet! It seems, that most in the United States don't have much of an issue in this regard, as records show that more then 81% of the country are avid users. But here in Peru that percentage is only 38% of the population. I hear many of the brothers opinion-ate that the Internet is just for young ones. But our brother even said in the end jokingly, "Work hard to buy your tablet, to show your studies these videos!" Everyone laughed, but what a great reminder to keep in step with the slave. JW.ORG is a new tool that we should learn to use well!
After the meeting, the brothers served us all pieces of cake, and Coca and Inca Kola. Also, the elders from each congregation put together an agenda for the year for each pioneer. Here we are with our little gift bags. After leaving the hall, they invited everyone to a chicken dinner.. Pollo a la brasa!

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Pioneers in San Antonio

Camping in Ilo

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Every year the congregation plans a beach trip to Ilo in December. This year about 40 of us went. We filled up 3 combi vans. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, it was my first time camping off the Pacific Ocean. And, well here in Peru, you can never be too sure about anything, it's always an adventure. So the adventure began! Well, once the combi finally started we were off. It's interesting going to the Ilo, because the whole ride there you are surrounded by dry desert. It seems that there is no water in sight for days! I guess it's not surprising since this beach is sitting just north of the Atacama desert (Chile), which is one of the driest coastal deserts in the world.
Anyway, about 60 miles later we arrived in the evening to Ilo's main pier. We took some time to snap pics, and observe the sea lions in the water. Some of the brothers ate ice cream, and papa rebosada. Once we got to the beach it was nighttime. Pitch black. Time to set up camp! It was difficult not to think about the camp of Israel who were securely guided by Jehovah's pillar of fire. We, on the other hand, relied on a pair of distant headlights to set everything up! Monica and I weren't able to get our hands on a tent in time, so thankfully we were able to borrow one to shield ourselves from the wind, and wandering crabs. I had never seen so many live crabs on the beach! The small ones, appeared to be large spiders running around in the dark. Aah! But besides that sleeping on the beach is the most peaceful! We made a small fire, and everyone shared, bread rolls and hot tea. The whole night through the young and older played volleyball. So sleeping was disturbed by faint sounds of running and laughter.

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In the morning the fire was started again, to boil water and make sopaipilla. This is a fried pastry something like what you can find in southwest US, Texas or New Mexico. Also, you can find it in some Mexican restaurants probably topped with lettuce and tomato. It's a fried quick bread traditionally made with flour water and a little salt. Here in Peru it's mostly served on the streets in the morning as breakfast.
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Ilo kicks up some pretty nice waves so the refrigerator chilled water was refreshing after our long run. As of yet, no beach beats the mountain and palm tree decorated beach in Culebra, PR. Buut... Ilo has great chicharron de pescado, and lots of sun!
For the sake of my Canon, I have no pictures of the action but; Marianella, Monica, and I spent some time catching crabs which was pretty fun. You just need a good grip, a stick and a bucket! Crab soup! Hope you enjoy the pictures! Chau!

Posted by TenekaCJ 17:29 Comments (6)

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