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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

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Comments

Wonderful Teneka, thankyou so much for sharing. I miss the ministry and I miss Peru! When all this flu situation is over I hope I can visit again...well done sisters for all your hard work.

by Barny de-la-Mare

Amazing,good job.
Jehova te seguirá ayudando.

by Elysee

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