The flight out of Miami was delayed. Surprised, anyone? But this was delayed even more than usual, due to unusually heavy rain that shut down the airport for a couple of hours. That meant that I didn’t arrive in Lima until after midnight. Great little airport, by the way, with a lot of upscale shops and western food outlets everywhere. I was surprised that all the shops were open, and that people were eating full meals and generally acting like we do around, say, 7 pm in the States. I had read recently that Peruvians are night owls, and it’s really true. My flight for Iquitos boarded on time and landed on time, about 6:30 in the morning. That meant my whole trip took just shy of 24 hours, without a lot of sleep. That’s just about as much time as it takes to get to Delhi! Oh well. Met some nice people on the way, including a group from a church in Pennsylvania who were going to Iquitos as well to help build a church in a remote village.
Iquitos is a city of about half a million, much bigger than I realized. I spent the first day either stretched out on my bed or on a motorcycle. All in all, just about the perfect day! My host, Roldan, has a cool little 125cc moto (he calls it “Blue Thunder”!) that he let me drive him around on. Traffic wasn’t too bad, with only a few moments when it reminded me of Phnom Penh. We got caught in a sprinkle, which actually felt good in the heat of the day. The weather is running about 34 C for a high (upper 80s), with fairly substantial humidity. The city itself is booming with population, but I didn’t see much in the way of construction in the city core. Didn’t see a lot of tall buildings, either, but may have just missed them as we criss-crossed our way back and forth to visit all the churches of the Evangelical Union Church of Peru, my hosts for my time here.
I’ve been put up in a very nice home owned by a member of one of the churches who is working out of town for awhile. Other church members are seeing to my care and maintenance, and in general I feel pretty spoiled. The Peruvians are a typically happy group, and all have been exceedingly friendly, even the ones I’ve run into (figuratively, not literally) on the street.
My hosts have prepared a nice full itinerary for me while I’m here. Tomorrow we get in a boat to go to a village about 20 minutes downriver. We get out and then take a one hour hike through the jungle, climbing a couple of hills on the way, to get to the village of Picuro Yacu, where I’m to preach in the evening. We’ll spend the night there, and then return on Saturday to do a concert at another church here in Iquitos, meet with some of the leadership for some fellowship, and then preach at yet another church that evening. Sunday I’ll be at two churches, Monday do two radio concert broadcasts, preach a communion meditation, and attend a fellowship at a home to finish off the day.
We’ve just learned that there is be a regional strike by the leftist camp here in the country on the 8th, and a national strike on the 9th, the day we’re supposed to head to La Paz. We’ll move to a place closer to the airport, and be out of the city on the 8th to keep out of the way. That day we’ll take the 26’ dugout canoe and spend the day on the river, which should be awesome. All in all, the brethren here are marvelous hosts. My dear friend Roldan met me at the airport this morning, and then after arriving at the house a group of pastors came by to welcome me, including Rev. Juan Hoyos, who presides over the Evangelical Union Church of Peru (and hence, is Roldan’s boss). Marvelous men.
I don’t have internet access here at the house, and doubt that that I’ll be able to get to a café to send this out before I arrive in Bolivia. Maybe Monday. At least, this will give me a chance to get some good pictures together.
Well, it’s only about 8:30, but feels like midnight to my body. Signing out for now. Thanks for your prayers.