The Trip to Puno

The trip to Puno was made possible by a lot of people pulling extra loads, both in Puno and at home. The school children and all our animals stayed behind to be cared for by Caleb’s and China. We thought about bringing them along, but can you imagine a bus filled with goats and pigs and cows and bunnies?

We’re very grateful to Caleb and Belinda and China for being willing to pull the extra weight so we could share with the brothers in Puno. We’re looking forward to when they can visit Puno while we return the favor for them.

Esmeralda, MarĂ­agrazia, Leonela, Steph, Willow, Seth, Walter, and I were the group that went. Caleb dropped us off at the bus terminal Friday night. We were on a double-decker again, and I had managed to get the second-floor window seats. I love traveling by bus in those seats. Steph doesn’t share my enthusiasm: Any night that is not in her own bed with her own pillow is not a great night.

We arrived in Puno safe and sound around 5:00 the next morning. Rafael Roca took us to their apartment that is above the medical center where his brother is one of the doctors. The Roca family owns the building, but the first few floors are used for medical offices. We had to climb up, up, up, and away to the fifth floor to find our rooms. I’m sure Leonela was glad she stayed with Marti rather than with us. Hearing her breathe as she climbed the steps, I was reminded of missionary stories of raging elephants in the African bush.

We all very much enjoyed our time, but I think Esmeralda took the greatest advantage of the time. While Steph and the children napped Friday morning, Esmeralda and MarĂ­agrazia went out and found a boat to enjoy Lake Titicaca. It was a joy to see her opening up to the sisters there in Puno. I eavesdropped on bits of their conversations and was blessed to hear shared stories and encouragement throughout the weekend. The brethren there know what it’s like to step out for their faith similar to Esmeralda. The connection was beautiful.

Steph and Leonela were also able to connect with Marti and the other sisters there. I think we were ostensibly supposed to be going to give and encourage the brothers there, but our cups were definitely overflowing from the giving hearts of the brotherhood there. I enjoyed some time with both Rafael, who is the pastor there, and Pedrito, the deacon; the fellowship was rich.

Monday morning, I was able to take the boys and MarĂ­agrazia to a nearby park where they have the most frightening concrete slide I’ve ever seen. We watched several teenagers on break challenge each other to go down it. I think most of them walked away limping. MarĂ­agrazia and I made a pact that we would not go down it, no matter what, and having integrity, we kept our word.

We did not leave Puno until Monday night because the bus line we had used didn’t have seats grouped together for the morning trip. Imagine Seth sitting next to a poor Peruvian fellow all night while he tried to explain to the man the workings of rockets or dragons or marmelade sandwiches. There are some things we shouldn’t put others through.

Since we were still around Monday morning, I offered to open the building up for the cleaning lady and the first nurses and so on coming into the office. Rafael had patiently explained that I cannot turn the key in the lock far at all because it only takes a tic for it to unlock. But I did not know my own strength and ended up snapping the key off in the lock. I should quit working out, I suppose….

I was tickled pink to receive a gift from Rafael’s dad, Alfredo. He had ordered me a monocular that is rather strong; I can now keep track of whether or not Esmeralda has washed her breakfast dishes. It was very sweet of him to think of me. We had gotten along pretty well when we were there for Spanish classes back when. He’s a dear person, but he still does not know the Lord personally. How many of our dearest are not ready to meet Jesus? Let’s pray for him.

The ride home was what I would call a Miserable Bus Trip. I did not get the front window seat, so it was already Bad Enough for starters. But what really made it Miserable was that the driver had the heat on all through the night, bringing the local bus climate to something resembling to what I imagined in my more dramatic mid-night moanings as the Sahara Desert in spring (not in summer, I’m not that dramatic).

I might have slept some were it not for the Swiss fellow, who was taller than any person has a right to be, sitting in the seat directly in front of Seth. Not only did he have the front window seat (not bitter), but he laid his seat completely back into our space. Seth took this as a challenge to kick like a bronco all night long, causing the poor Swiss man to sweep his octopus arms around behind him wildly in his sleep. To avoid a brawl between Switzerland—who is supposed to be neutral—and America on Peruvian soil… erm.. bus floor, I stayed awake all night, practicing my ninja skills of snatching Seth’s booted foot out of the air just before it connected with the golden curls hanging in our laps.

Needless to say, I don’t very well remember the first few days following our arrival home.

However, I do remember that Pedrito called me and said that his son JosuĂ© wanted to come visit us to help Caleb work on the well houses. I’ll try to write about that tomorrow, maybe.

Before I go, I want to say welcome to the new folks to the blog. Some of you apparently took my challenge to share the blog seriously because we have a few more readers. Poor folks probably wondered why they had bothered to sign up when no blogs were being written for weeks. Well, go back to the beginning and read all the old ones. There are some interesting stories there betimes.

And keep on sharing the blog around. We’re still looking for more workers here.

Waiting in the terminal in Cusco
Our bus
Ready for bed on the bus
Unloading at the medicentro
The apartment has lots of plants đŸ„°
Marti made us breakfast in the madrugada.
Saturday evening at JosĂ© and Rosita’s, playing a Bible memory game
Esmeralda’s team won.
Sunday lunch at church
MarĂ­agrazia enjoyed her time with the young ladies there.
Talking with Rafael after church Sunday evening
The scary slide
Some of the teenagers with sprained ankles
The boys and I walked partway with the ladies on Monday while they went out to get ice cream.
At the lake
Getting my gift from Alfredo
Trying out my monocular from the roof of the apartment
Waiting to head home
The Swiss fellow had not yet arrived on the scene…
View from home again 🧡