A Travellerspoint blog

Valientes en Virundo

Fulfilling our assignment as part of a special campaign in Peru for the Quechua speaking people

semi-overcast 35 °F

Off to Apurimac!

The Lima Branch Office invited Quechua speakers to participate for the first time in a campaign to visit one of 7 cities from one week up to 3 months.
Our Quechua group in San Antonio didn't want to miss out on this opportunity to we filled out the application. From Moquegua, my friends Sonia, Miho, Gladys, Eusebia, and I were assigned to Apurimac to spend the week in a small Quechua Cusqueno speaking village called Virundo. The branch assigned us 5 along with a single sister, Dionisia, from Lima to join us. So we made our plans to meet up in Abancay, Apurimac which would put us en route for Virundo.

Here Sonia, Miho, and I got together at my house, shortly after receiving our assignment from the branch, to make plans. This included researching where Virundo was, figuring out how to travel there, and seeing if we could get some contact information.

Here Sonia, Miho, and I got together at my house, shortly after receiving our assignment from the branch, to make plans. This included researching where Virundo was, figuring out how to travel there, and seeing if we could get some contact information.

The branch assigned Sonia as our Captain :) So she had the responsibility to communicate with the Branch Office in Lima for further instructions about literature, what the focus of our visit should be, and turning in the final report of our work. The rest was really left up to us all as far as finding accommodations and making travel plans. While previous campaigns may have focused on planting seeds and getting lots of literature out into these faraway villages this time the branch asked us to focus on starting bible studies. So it wasn't necessary to take boxes and boxes of literature with us. Still, we took a couple, but we're excited to share the good news using the simple tools we have available in Quechua like our videos, the Good News and Listen to God brochures.

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Arriving to the bus terminal in Abancay

Arriving to the bus terminal in Abancay


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The trip from Abancay to Virundo

Abancay is the largest city around Virundo; and also where the nearest congregation is, about 7 hours away. Sonia had made arrangements for us all to spend the evening at a brother and sister's house from the local Abancay congregation. So after the 16 hours of travel from the coast (Moquegua) to the sierra (Abancay), we had a place to rest up before departing for Virundo.

The only car that would take us into the mountain to Virundo left at 2 am. So we left the brother's house in the quiet of the night and walked a few blocks over to the small station of vans. We piled all of our belongings on top of the 20, or so, passenger van, and waited for the others to do the same. One of the passengers thought it was a good idea to take a container full of gasoline along. It was placed on top of the van with all of our luggage, and before we even took off, it ended up leaking all over the top and right side of the vehicle. Gasoline trickled down the windows and of course, those who handled this container entered the van smelling of pungent gasoline. The whole 7 hours we just about suffocated!

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Also, there was a woman who was experiencing extreme stomach pain or something. But she pretty much moaned and cried half of the journey. It pretty much sounded like she was having birthing contractions. She rode along with us for I don't know how long, hours I'm sure, but didn't make the whole way when it was possible she was left at another small village along the way. Wow, what a ride! It was nearly impossible to rest calmly because these two things would cause anyone to feel nervous the entire time. Not to mention how dizzy you can get from the constant twisting and turning roads. As we traveled along we noticed an obvious decrease in temperature. Higher and higher altitude, colder and colder air. At sunrise, we began to see the scenery for the first time, and visualize what our surroundings would be like for the duration of our assignment. It was really pretty observing lots of green mountains, fields, and farms. But would there be anyone awaiting our arrival? Where would we stay? Well, Sonia did a great job doing what she could to communicate with the brothers from Abancay. So little by little one brother, referred us to another brother who referred us to another and eventually we found Senor Eustaquio. Eustaquio has a fleshy sister who is a JW in Abancay. So, he was our only contact. He and his wife expected our arrival.

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Once we arrived in Virundo we didn't even have to look for Senor Eustaquio, he found us. This is a really small town. I mean really small. So when a van shows up with new people in it, everyone knows about it. He found us right in the plazita as soon as we got our dust filled baggage down from the roof of the van. After such a long trip, it could be comforting to know that you're going to arrive to comfortable conditions and be able to rest well. But, we had no idea what our accommodations would be like for the week. But, Senor Eustaquio and his wife Gloria offered us their best. :) For the 6 of us, they gave us 2 beds in a room of their small clay brick home with a tin roof. Fortunately, Miho brought her own blow-up mattress for the floor. So we divided up in twos, and we were okay.

While entering the house I was reminded of Jesus' instructions to his disciples. He told them that the people they found who appreciate their message would help care for their basic needs. He told them that when they reached a town, they should stay in the home where hospitality was extended them and not be “transferring from house to house.” (Luke 10:7) They should not be seeking a place where the householder could provide them with more comfort, entertainment, or material things. He said: “Wherever you enter into a home, stay there until you leave that place.” -Mark 6:10. That meant that they should be content and focus on their assignment.

Well, that is definitely what we had to do on this occasion. Because the house was a little scary. You could physically see the years that they had lived in this house and the things they had accumulated where all in plain sight. Sharing the room with us were old sweaters, heavy quilts, and pictures of their children. Soiled books, papers, and thick cobwebs covering the random holes in the framework stared back at us. An old broken desk housed rusty tools and sewing knick-knacks. Overhead the ceiling was covered with, large commercial plasticy mesh onion or potato sacks, yeah, just imagine a bunch of those sewn together loosely hanging from the ceiling.
If we had spent time trying to find the most comfortable place to stay we definitely would have wasted time, and we probably wouldn't have found much else. So it was important to be grateful for what they shared with us. All in all, none of this took our focus away from our mission: Start bible studies with the whole town!

Beautiful view of our territory for the week

Beautiful view of our territory for the week


Our first day "peru"sing the town, ready to preach

Our first day "peru"sing the town, ready to preach


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Being in the middle of nowhere gives you the opportunity to experience a thunderstorm at its best. Strong wind going through the trees, and heavy rain on the tin roof well describes our first night! Even, hailstones came through the roof onto our beds! That's why you'll see an umbrella over the bed in one of the pictures. Lol. Adventure for sure!

Oh, it was a good thing we all showered at the brother's house before we left Abancay because there was no shower here! Just ice cold water that slowly trickled from the faucet of a concrete sink whenever we turned the valve to open the pipe underground. It was quite an experience. The bathroom was a super cramped pitch black "room" covered in dust. But there was a flushable toilet, so that was a plus! Although honestly with my fear of spiders, I almost preferred to just go outside! Lol.

But what fueled our energy and motivation were the sheep we found, the habitats of this town. These people really wanted to know the truth. We started 31 studies during the week. It was really heartwarming to hear them ask about meetings. Eustaquio's sister lived here in Virundo about 10 years ago and really treated this town as her personal territory. It was beautiful to hear that many had fond memories of her and the work she did. For health problems had to go live in the city. But Jehovah has made sure that the seeds planted were watered once again.

Food: Physical and Spiritual

People in this town of Virundo mostly ate llama or alpaca meat and potatoes that they harvested. A small supply of vegetables and fruit come in from Abancay, I believe, once a week. La Senora Gloria, (Eustaquios wife), prepared lunch and for us everyday sopa y segundo. We would give her a suggestion of what wanted every night and we paid about a dollar a day to have lunch. We were grateful that she took the time to cook for us because otherwise we only brought along a small electric burner and an electric kettle to heat water and make oatmeal in our room.

We made sure to keep up with our spiritual routine and read the text together every morning, and did the meeting together complete with demonstrations in Quechua and song.
This little store belongs to Eustaquio and his wife Gloria. Here we bought things like fruit and bread in the mornings. Also, we ate lunch inside the store at a small table every day

This little store belongs to Eustaquio and his wife Gloria. Here we bought things like fruit and bread in the mornings. Also, we ate lunch inside the store at a small table every day

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Eating grilled llama on a stick with boiled potatoes

Eating grilled llama on a stick with boiled potatoes

Shots of our activity

When this man saw Miho and me, he ran and got his bible out as if he was waiting on us. He did everything he could to try to prove that God and Jesus are the same, and Miho did a phenomenal job defending the truth in Quechua, however, in the end, he wasn't willing to reason. So false beliefs are still entrenched deep in some people, even in the middle of the mountains.

When this man saw Miho and me, he ran and got his bible out as if he was waiting on us. He did everything he could to try to prove that God and Jesus are the same, and Miho did a phenomenal job defending the truth in Quechua, however, in the end, he wasn't willing to reason. So false beliefs are still entrenched deep in some people, even in the middle of the mountains.

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It was a nice feeling to know that we had the whole town to cover and could focus on reaching every door every person in every field possible. We were able to cover the territory in just 3 days and quickly begin to make return visits and start studies with people right away. It was so fulfilling knowing we had been thorough and had done our best to reach everyone. Between the 6 of us, we started 35 studies during the week and did our best to return to them pretty much every day we were there.

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Introducing Caleb and Sophia to the children of Virundo

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One of the highlights of the trip was being able to give a witness to all the young children while they were at school. We approached the school headmaster, Christian to pitch our idea of showing the kids some videos about basic bible teachings. Thankfully, he set aside time to sit down with us and kind of interview us. He asked about who we are and why we had come to the village and what our purpose was. It took courage to express ourselves in this way and help him to see why it was important for us to reach children with practical bible lessons. So it was something that made us all smile when he said we could copy videos to his laptop so that they could be shown to the kids. He gave us a space of time during their lunch break so that we could present ourselves in front of the class and introduce Caleb and Sophia to them. We each took turns presenting a video and then asking a few questions about them afterward. It was really amazing to see people appreciate the power that the Bible has and value it enough to let us accomplish this with such short notice. We were so thankful to Jehovah that we had this experience. One that we hope many of the children won't forget. Here we are at the teacher's desk copying  Become Jehovah's Friend videos to his hard drive.

Here we are at the teacher's desk copying Become Jehovah's Friend videos to his hard drive.

The kids brought chairs from other rooms so that they could all sit and see the videos

The kids brought chairs from other rooms so that they could all sit and see the videos

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Here I'm setting up to show the videos from the teacher's laptop

I started a study with the mayor

Santiago, head of the family and head of the town. Just to put things in perspective the mayor of Virundo lives just like the rest of the people. But, he holds the keys to the municipal building, makes decisions for the town, and headed up their small radio broadcast that would make announcements to all the inhabitants. Santiago is a humble man with lots of questions. The day we met I knocked on the door and no one was inside, but before we walked away he approached us with a thousand questions. As Virundes' often do, he offered us a seat on llama skin on the ground in front of his house, grabbed his wife and we answered lots of their questions about who is Jesus and God, hellfire, what happens to the dead, etc. These moments are the best! The power of the bible is amazing when you see the truth light up people's eyes its one of the best experiences you can have. Their sincere interest in knowing what the bible says was enough to make anyone want to stay and study with them for as long as they'd like. We were able to visit them several times and start studying with them in the Bible teach books, leave other literature, and exchange contact information.

Sitting on the llama wool talking to Santiago and his wife, Santiago's foot in the corner.. lol

Sitting on the llama wool talking to Santiago and his wife, Santiago's foot in the corner.. lol

Final Report

Our report to the branch stated that we thought there was a large potential for growth in this village and that we recommended a married couple of special pioneers or even two sisters return to keep cultivating the interest. We all enjoyed so much being here but recognized that it would be difficult to stay long term as the village had no internet and it would be difficult to find something to do for work. So, it was hard to leave because our new bible studies asked about who would keep teaching them. Many expressed that the enjoyed the way we taught what the Bible really teaches. We left with contact information so that we can maintain contact a bit, but with big hopes that someday someone would return to Virundo.

Short stop in Cusco

In order to head back to Moquegua, we went by way of Cusco. Visiting the touristy town of Cusco was like stepping back into civilization!
Walking around Centro de Cusco

Walking around Centro de Cusco

Buying the best black tea (Te Huyro) in the world for a friend <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' /> Shoutout to VG!

Buying the best black tea (Te Huyro) in the world for a friend :) Shoutout to VG!


We spent the rest of the evening at Cafe Valeria to get some fancy sweets before heading back to the coast

We spent the rest of the evening at Cafe Valeria to get some fancy sweets before heading back to the coast

Posted by TenekaCJ 13:21 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

8 YEARS in Peru!

Random Memories

sunny 87 °F

I have spent the best time of my life here in Peru! Moquegua specifically, had really become my home. Serving where the need is, and helping the congregation helped me to learn so much about myself, about teaching people of all different personalities, and the brotherhood. It's been a pleasure feeling "en familia" with my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and sons and daughters in San Antonio.
Last year, como no, my Samsung Note kinda blew up on me, so I've lost hundreds of pictures :( That's a little why I've neglected to post as well. The memories are still vivid though, but here some pics of the past year or two, most from mid-2017. Some pictures of the ministry in the Quechua group in the beautiful valley of Moquegua that I called home. in no particular order.

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20170422_161755.jpg My custom of starting the morning off informal witnessing in the plaza of San Antonio20170427_132819.jpgMy Twin study

My Twin study

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Memorial Campaign 2018 QUechua Group


That day we walked for hours from Chen Chen to San Antonio and ended the day taking in a gorgeous view

That day we walked for hours from Chen Chen to San Antonio and ended the day taking in a gorgeous view

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Studying with Erika :)

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Last student assignment in Spanish. When our pre-group became a group, we began demonstrations in only Quechua

Last student assignment in Spanish. When our pre-group became a group, we began demonstrations in only Quechua

Good Times with mi Familia Moqueguana

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IMG-20180102-WA0011.jpg Pioneer School #3 January 2018 (I lost most of my pictures from Pioneer School :( )
IMG-20180313-WA0026.jpg Our service group Quechua 6 after watching the month's Broadcast at Pedro's

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Assembly Moquegua 2017

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When Go and Junko, an excellent example and zealous couple left Moquegua after 7 years of service

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Trip to Chile to visit friends
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Celebrating 2 years of marriage with Hugo y Yomira

Celebrating 2 years of marriage with Hugo y Yomira


Tapas at Isaac's house with our Japanese friends

Tapas at Isaac's house with our Japanese friends

Canadian breakfast at Kassandra's (sister who joined the congregation from Canada

Canadian breakfast at Kassandra's (sister who joined the congregation from Canada


Lunchecito after watching the months Broadcast with Grupo Quechua

Lunchecito after watching the months Broadcast with Grupo Quechua

Papa Rellena anyone?

Papa Rellena anyone?

After meeting with Sonia, Loida, Miho, and Kassandra

After meeting with Sonia, Loida, Miho, and Kassandra

After the meeting we would stop at "Starbucks" and drink street tea in a bag, emolientes.. yum!

After the meeting we would stop at "Starbucks" and drink street tea in a bag, emolientes.. yum!

2017 Memorial "All the Single Ladies" lol

2017 Memorial "All the Single Ladies" lol


Pollo a la Brasa after the assembly- April 2017

Pollo a la Brasa after the assembly- April 2017

Celebrating Kassandra and Josue's Engagement

Celebrating Kassandra and Josue's Engagement

Pioneers of San Antonio

Pioneers of San Antonio

Pancake dinner with the girls

Pancake dinner with the girls

Lunch with our awesome Super, C.O

Lunch with our awesome Super, C.O


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Going Away... Bye for now, Moquegua!

I moved!

As of November 2018, I have relocated to Ayacucho! Since visiting 5 or 6 years ago, I remembered enjoying the feel of Huamanga, Ayacucho. I remembered it being cozy, and that it had an ancient small-town feel but at the same time a little modern touch. To me, it's kind of like a mini-Cusco. The locals haven't detached themselves from their culture, you can hear Quechua being spoken in the streets, and like most departments in Peru you see typical dress being worn and sold around town.

Jehovah has taken care of me in a way I hadn't felt, before taking the leap. But since I did, back in 2010, I haven't looked back! And the goal is always to do more! So, moving to Ayacucho will allow me to do just that. There is a Remote Translation Office close by and like I said, the people in this town use Quechua regularly. So it's been great to hear it being spoken with more frequency.

I am currently studying in a local Center of Education to maintain my student visa, Operacion de Computadoras, Computer Operation, which right now consists of learning advanced Excel that I didn't know how to do. The teacher and Director of the Center are very understanding about the fact that I am here for the ministry and won't be spending much time in the center.
I am working for a company right now based in Germany teaching English classes to adults, I have a few more months sure, but we'll see what happens after that.

I love the change of scenery and getting to know the brothers and sisters has been refreshing...

I'll write more about EYE-YUH-COO-TCHO later. Hope you enjoyed the photos from the not so distant past.

Talk soon!

Posted by TenekaCJ 12:09 Archived in Peru Comments (4)

Chojata

A trip to Moquegua's Isolated Quechua Territory

OCTOBER 2017
Just a month after the jungle, our Quechua group, in San Antonio, planned a preaching campaign to the highlands of Moquegua where the people speak Quechua! It was an awesome trip. The main city we set off to visit is called Chojata. (Cho-ha-ta)
This city is about 5, 6 hours away from Moquegua. It's a bit of a rough trip because of the climbing altitude and constant twists and turns. To make it to Chojata you drive throughout altitudes reaching up to 5,100 meters about sea level. For just about all of us it was our first time visiting this pueblo. We were able to make plans to go because a brother from Chen Chen, a nearby congregation in Moquegua, and his family who has his own combi offered to take us. This is a huge blessing because they are not in the Quechua group, but wanted to take advantage of the time to do an unassigned territory trip with his family. What a blessing and and almost a must , because it would give us the opportunity to not only preach in Chojata but also we could make it to the 7 other pueblos that come after it as well.

In the Plaza de Armas de San Antonio with our luggage waiting for the van.

In the Plaza de Armas de San Antonio with our luggage waiting for the van.


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Along the way the scenery offers glimpses of rocky mountains, lagoons, and vizcachas. Vizcachas are small rodents related to the chinchilla. Because of their long tails and upright ears, I think they look something like a mix between a rabbit and a squirrel.These furry friends are native to not only southern Peru, but west Argentina, as well as some parts of Bolivia and Chile. I read that vizcachas residing in desert plains, such as the one we were traveling through, do not drink water but extract it from the plants they eat; for example, grass, moss, and cactus.
Fun fact: I also read that vizcachas are experts at digging underground tunnels. They can dig them up to 65 feet (20 meters) long, with up to 15 entrances and exits! Vizcachas like pretty harsh, cold, dry and rocky environments, and dwell in altitudes up to 16,400+ feet (5000 meters)! They move extremely fast, so I was unable to take pictures. But these are from Google ;)
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On the way through the desert we were able to see several herds of vicuña.

On the way through the desert we were able to see several herds of vicuña.


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The black lagoon

The black lagoon

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vicuña on the move

vicuña on the move

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Upon arrival, a couple of sisters had the assignment to look for a place for us all to stay, others had to organize our breakfast and lunch everyday. With many prayers to Jehovah, everything came together well. We were able to find decent rooms to rent out, and a comedor where a lady offered to make us lunch everyday. So all we had to do was do our best to cover all of the territory!
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To escape the rainy season we arrived during the freezing cold season instead. Lol. We had to sleep in layers, and I personally had to muster up courage just to touch the water. Brushing my teeth was even a challenge! Soo cold! That's what it's like at 3,625 meters above sea level, well it's not that high, just about half way up Mt.McKinley. Anyway, the mornings started off quite chilly, but usually the sun would come through and warm us up by lunch time. It took us just two days to cover all of the village of Chojata. Although, in past years census' show that there where at least 1000 people living here, at the end of 2017, the population was only about 700 people. And Chojata is the like the center town, the "big" town, where most people live. Everyday we were able to start good conversations, bible discussions with brochures, and do lots of invites to the meeting that we planned to have. The villagers, or townspeople, really got to know us well, and most everyone learned of our business and who we were most likely before we even reached their door. This really worked to advantage especially when spreading the news about the meeting. After a while we were repeating it to the same people over and over! Some householders responded, "Yes we heard about your meeting!" Lol.
The mayor heard about us too. And he was a really friendly cooperative guy, and was really excited about our visit. International travelers, tourists(in his eyes) coming to his town! He offered to give us a tour of a couple of attraction that are in Chojata. So on our free day, he jumped in our combi and took us to see a cave that has prehistoric cave or rock paintings. And then we went to the mirador, or viewpoint, overlooking a huge canyon where we could possibly see condors.
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More deserving ones?

One morning despite the cold, were all up and in the van at 4am, well most of us, lol, there's always one! Why so early? We planned to cover all other pueblos in the distance. Without a personal vehicle this would be difficult since there isn't always mobility to and fro. So, we stacked the boxes of literature in the back, had our Thermos' and bread, and we looked ahead see who we would find in the other villages. If you are ever in a way far away lost town in Peru, you will probably find yourself, like me, looking off at the mountains in the distance and thinking, 'what else could possibly be out there? And as you drive further and further away it seems like you are leaving the only life and civilization behind. But lo and behold, we made it to Coroice, Lloqe, Yunga, Pachas, Yalagua, y Pampilla. We were able to go to these 7 other villages around the area since we had our own transportation. We found that some people have been listening to services from other religions, mostly evangelists, but that they are pretty much sheep without a shepherd of course. It was great to see their interest in the Bible, and there desire to posses their own copies. Unfortunately, on this trip we didn't have access to many bibles, but it was nice to scope out the interest, and see what can potentially be done in the future.
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This woman from Pachas had on a Michigan shirt! lol.

This woman from Pachas had on a Michigan shirt! lol.


Sonia and Kati entered into a school and after giving a witness to the teacher and explaining what they were doing, they were able to introduce this class to Caleb and Sofia, and later pass the videos to the teachers laptop. Later the congregation learned about this experience when Sonia was interviewed during our mid-week meeting. <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' /> <br />The other picture is all of us happy to have finished preaching in Lloque

Sonia and Kati entered into a school and after giving a witness to the teacher and explaining what they were doing, they were able to introduce this class to Caleb and Sofia, and later pass the videos to the teachers laptop. Later the congregation learned about this experience when Sonia was interviewed during our mid-week meeting. :)
The other picture is all of us happy to have finished preaching in Lloque

Meeting Night

I think we all agreed that the best part of the trip was the night we held the meeting. Almost the whole week we were inviting the village and telling them that there would be a meeting, although we still had to make all the final arrangements. Once we got those squared away, it was time to make a bigger announcement. In small villages like this all the news and announcements about; for example, when they will harvest the oregano, or if there will or won't have water the next day, or when there will be certain functions or meetings etc, is announced over a loud speaker from the Municipality building. So a few of us sisters, Sonia, Loida, Elizabeth, and I, mustered up courage and went along with Brandon to see if we could get permission to announce our meeting over the loud speaker. The man in charge was very nice. After Brandon explained to him what we would be doing, he handed over the microphone! Brandon took the mic, and you heard his voice say, "We want to communicate with the village that Jehovah's Witnesses are inviting all of the people of Chojata to a meeting that will be tomorrow, Thursday at 6:00 pm in the auditorium of the municipality of Chojata. The theme of the talk given will be, 'Be Courageous, and Trust in Jehovah'.
It was pretty exciting. So all that was left to do was prepare the auditorium. We had to sweep and wipe dust away with whatever supplies we could find. I remember Sonia and I stood outside to welcome any that would come. We waited there patiently as one by one, then two by two, people started to come in! We greeted them warmly, "Imaynalla kashanki!", and ushered them down the stairs where the other sisters where waiting.

34 people from the village attended!! It was awesome to see the place we had converted into a temporary Kingdom Hall with chairs, and tables displaying our literature, fill up little by little. Brandon gave the talk in Spanish (since he was still learning Quechua) and Eusevia (our native Quechua speaker) translated it into the language of the people. Amazing! We each made sure to sit next to one of the visitors so that we could show them scriptures read from the Bible. I was glad to have my iPad so that I could make the letters large, since most of them were older ones. After the talk we showed all the videos we had from the organization on the screen, by way of the projector. It was too cute seeing the little mamitas y papitos get so excited about the videos. Later they started to take out their little super outdated phones so that we could pass them videos. One of the sisters was so zealous about passing videos that, she deleted all the music files from one mans phone so that there would be space! Well hopefully he really comes to appreciate spiritual things more, he probably didn't even notice. Lol.

Here Brandon is giving the talk about Confidence in Jehovah with David and Goliath

Here Brandon is giving the talk about Confidence in Jehovah with David and Goliath


Here you can see the people watching the video, What is God's Kingdom in Quechua Cusqueño, being shown on a projector by way of a tablet

Here you can see the people watching the video, What is God's Kingdom in Quechua Cusqueño, being shown on a projector by way of a tablet

I think the next morning we did return visits and studies, and then had to say goodbye to the village that had treated us so well.

On the way back to Moquegua we stopped in Chilligua (4,530 meters or 16,732 feet above sea level) to eat at place that sells fresh trout from the river with potatoes and fried cheese. Very popular food in these parts.
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Overall, even with the challenges we faced, it was an amazing time! Our Quechua group became closer to one another, and we were happy and satisfied to have traveled so far with hopes to return someday, and very pleased to be able to spread seeds in this isolated territory.
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Thanks for reading and checking out the pictures! Sending lots of love to my friends, family and international brotherhood!

Posted by TenekaCJ 16:27 Comments (5)

The Need is Great in the Jungle

Visiting friends in Pilcopata, District of Kosñipata, Cusco

sunny

September 2017


Anytime you step foot in the jungle it's a trip to remember! Sonia, Isaac and I went to visit a couple friends for a week in Cusco's jungle. Our friends Kati and Diana from Spain were supporting a small group in the town called Pilcopata. They invited us to visit and check out the ministry in Pilco, Gamitana, Patria, and Salvacion; and see what their life is like in the jungle. The 3 of us were definitely excited about the change in scenery, and the opportunity to visit the selva again. For me it had been years! (See entry "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears")

From our coastal desert valley in Moquegua, to reach the selva we had to first travel to Cusco which is about a 16 hour trip in bus. Once we arrived in the city of one of the most most beautiful and impressive ancient sites in the world, we changed and hurried to make it to the afternoon part of the "No Se Rinde!" (Don't Give Up) Convention. We planned to meet up with Kati and Diana there, and afterward spend a night in the city of Cusco! large_otw2selva17.jpglarge_asambleacuscob4selva17.jpglarge_nightonthecuzco17.jpg

After sleeping over at some old friends of Sonia for one night, we met up with the girls again to head to Pilcopata. We waited for a 20 passenger van to fill up so we could embark on the 6 hour trip from the sierra (Peru's central highland or mountainous region) to the selva (jungle). :) We stopped maybe about halfway to our destination, in a village called Paucartambo. The twists and turns on the narrow roads overlooking cliffs can be nerve-wrecking, and not only that, but the altitude along with the bumpy ride can really make you dizzy and nauseous, fortunately we prepared by taking pills beforehand. We did have a safe trip thought well, after repairing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere! lol But the most impressive part of the trip to me was the point where you could see the change between the two biomes. It was as if a line had been drawn down the middle, where you could quite clearly see the difference in the types of trees, and bushes; you could feel the climate change to a thick humidity, and even the color of the soil was distinct. It was most interesting to look behind and see the predominantly mountainous and cold climate of the sierra and then, look ahead and see endless mountains covered with hundreds of varieties of plants, and animal life. Upon arrival into the town, the van dropped everyone off one by one, near their homes, we were last, and we ended up making it by nightfall. Here we are in Paucartambo.
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The following morning we were eager to see what the preaching work was like, so we asked the girls were they had left off and we started to spread the good news. ;)
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Mirador Atalaya

Mirador Atalaya


Here are some shots of the day we went preaching in the village called Salvacion. It's a quiet town full of nature. We saw so many different colored moths and bugs I had never seen! If you want insects en cantidad, pues, Salvacion! We ate the typical fish Paco for lunch, preached some more, and also stayed the night so that we could hold the meeting in the evening. I was able to go on a few studies and return visits with Diana and learn from her way of teaching. We met up with some really sincere and humble people who waited on her to come and study the bible with them. It's so great to see people with that level of interest. Also, it was a blessing for the group to have Isaac with us so that he could conduct the meetings all week. In Salvacion, there is now one baptized brother. He had just been baptized at the convention that we attended on our first day in Cusco. But, he is an older man with physical limitations, so the help was greatly needed and appreciated by all in attendance. During the meeting huge locusts were flying into the light constantly. They kept hitting poor Isaac the whole time he gave his talk. They were really large so much that you could hear them hit different surfaces. So our Watchtower Study articles served double purpose that night. Haha
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After the meeting in Salvacion

After the meeting in Salvacion

In Pilcopata where the girls house is, there is also a small room that is used as the Kingdom Hall. Sonia and I were also able to participate in the demonstrations for the meeting. It was a privilege to help because in such a small group, Diana and Kati, in addition to handling the sound (the laptop that plays the kingdom melodies) and counting donations, participated on pretty much every meeting that called for it.

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One afternoon we also went to preach in Patria. In Patria I saw the largest amount of coca leaves that I had ever seen in my life. It was mainly in this village that they dry and package the leaves, to take to Cusco and beyond. I'm not sure if it's cultivation in legal in this town or not, but they sure weren't trying to hide it! The whole village basically smells like coca, and it's a strong unpleasant smell. But, it happened that the day we chose to preach there the rain poured! So we ended up in the home of one of the only witnesses that lives there and we practiced singing the Kingdom songs, with everyone that had come out that day. Since there were several children, we even did a small bible drama about the 3 Hebrews and the fiery furnace. Lol.
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Patria, in the sisters house

Patria, in the sisters house

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Exploring one day, and the most disgusting spider ever!

Our visit coincided with the visit of some other sisters from Cusco who were working at the RTO. It was great to benefit from their association and hear their experiences. We cooked together, played games (OINK!), and sung Kingdom songs. One day we went tubing in the river, that was a good time swimming in the river.
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Here are some pics of the day we passed by the town called Atalaya, and we went to a small animal shelter called Dos Loritos (Centro de Rescate de Vida Silvestre). It was being cared for by some Europeans at the time who were very nice in showing us the different animals that had been rescued from illegal animal trafficking. The goal is to send them later back into their natural habitat. But in the meantime, we were able to make friends with the monkeys, see vibrant parrots, a tapir, and a sloth. It was amazing!
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After the weekend meeting, great attendance

After the weekend meeting, great attendance

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Last day together

Last day together

It's easier to observe closely Jehovah's creation in places like this. It makes me realize how much we all still have to learn about creation. But talking to others about the hope we have in front of us, and helping them gain accurate knowledge to have faith in these promises as well, makes me realize how much time we'll have to do it. This week was filled with good association, and the making of memories that we won't easily forget.
I hope you enjoyed coming along! (Although this was a year ago now) Thanks for reading!
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Posted by TenekaCJ 19:21 Archived in Peru Comments (5)

Reaching Out

We Learn to Speak a Foreign Tongue....

QUECHUA! RUNA SIMI

The language of the people.. Quechua (KECH-WAH) was the main language of the INCA EMPIRE that's said to even predate the Incas.. so, really old language!!! Once the Spanish invaded and conquered the land and Empire, there was a great change in culture, the Peruvians learned the Spanish language and the Catholic Religion. But even so, Quechua is still spoken in 7 countries; but most significantly in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Peru was the first to recognize Quechua as an official language in 1975. There are more than 3.2 million Quechua speakers in Peru, that's 16.5% of the population!

Since about 2012 San Antonio has made the effort to search for people in the territory who speak Quechua. In the northern parts of Moquegua, about 5,6 hours away there is lots of unassigned territory. It's safe to say more than 10 towns or pueblos for example, Chojata, Ichuna to mention only a couple, as well as some of northern Puno, use Quechua Cusquena, one of the 32 documented dialects. I don't remember exactly how it all started; but, over time we have done census all around Moquegua and to the date have found and estimated 900 that speak Quecuha.

It's been interesting to find that when you communicate with native Quechua speakers, usually older people, you find that Quechua is mostly a SPOKEN language that very, very few know how to read. It's common for people in the ministry to say, "I know how to speak it, but reading is different" or, "I don't read or write Quechua, I only speak a bit." This is due to the fact that there is no surviving record of written Quechua predating the Spanish invasion. So most likely they had not created an alphabet. There was very little written communication as far as history shows other than the quipu, which is a whole other story in itself.

Many of the current generation of speakers does not believe that Quechua is important in their everyday lives or the lives of their
children, and generally don't pass it along. Some feel that it's best to use only the more eloquent Spanish, because if they do not, they will be looked at as nothing more than “campesinos” (peasants). The unfortunate result of these attitudes is that some doubt it's survival and others hide their linguistic roots. This can be a bit of a challenge when we are doing search or census work in our territory. Sometimes they deny even knowing it. Being taught by Jehovah we know that until the whole world speaks the "pure language" the truth reaches deepest in the heart when it's learned in your mother tongue. So there is a lot of work to do! The 16.5% is more than enough for Jehovah to guide the translation work in this country. For Jehovah it's not a low-prestige language at all! The work is growing! The need is great! We beg for more workers! That's why in present years there have been two more RTOs built in Ayacucho, and Trujillo.

We have organized a couple trips to visit unassigned territory. I missed the trip to Ichuna in 2016 because of my visit to the states.. But its a really beautiful place and a great opportunity to preach all day in Quechua. The people are very receptive to the message. Here are a few pics from the group that went.
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Everyone knows a little Quechua!

Quechua phrases and words are commonly used by Spanish speakers here in Peru. For example, when something is bland se dice, "chuma" which comes from the Quechua word ch'uma. Or, when shopping for veggies and you ask for a little more on the scale, we say, "Y la yapa?" from the Quechua verb, yapar (aumentar); (add or increase in English). Here's a word we use in English- JERKY! haha.. The word "jerky" is derived from the Quechua word ch'arki which means "dried, salted meat". And then of course there is Puma, llama, condor! Who knew?!

Try to count to 10 in Quechua!
1. Juj (huk)
2. Iskay (ees-kai)
3. Kinsa (keen-sah)
4. Tawa (tah-wah)
5. Pisqa (pees-kah)
6. Soqta (soak-tah)
7. Qanchis (con-chees)
8. Pusaq (pooh-sak)
9. Isqon (ees-cone)
10. Chunka (chun-kah)

Good news!

In March of 2016 we were recognized by the branch as an official Quechua Group!!
AND....
Then we were invited to go attend a special meeting in Ilo where we would hear some encouraging information for those who speak Quechua...

So what a surprise it was to see Brother Geoffrey Jackson come onto the screen and present the New World Translation of the Greek Scriptures in Quechua Ayacuchano y Cusqueno! Everyone was shocked, just like back in October 2013 in the US! When the brothers opened boxes right there in the middle of rural Ilo, and handed each one their new copy of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in Quechua, there were tears. The mamitas couldn't believe it! Gracias Jehova!
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At the KH in Ilo after the special talk and with our new Bibles!

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Miho, Sonia, Elizabeth, and Loida making territory map cards for the pre group.

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Good News Brochure in my 3 languagues :)

February 2018
The group is doing well. We've had a few CO visits already and they that have commented that they are impressed with the census work we've done in the 5 congregations in Moquegua. The group currently has 2 servants, one who was appointed just last month, and one elder who is in his 80's. The last CO visit a young elder who speaks Quechua visited with him to translate his talks, and decided to stay! So we are awaiting his arrival in the next week or so. Right now we meet every Saturday at 4:30 before the meeting in Spanish, and listen to a public talk streamed from Cusco and have a Watchtower Study. Afterwards, Sonia does a grammar class before the other meeting starts. We are happy that Jehovah has listened to our prayers and we hope to see the group grow even more in the months to come.

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Grupo Quechua at the Assembly in Arequipa November 13,2017

Posted by TenekaCJ 14:21 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

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