I am writing this from Peru!
We had orientation last week in Los Angeles, and our group has bonded so much! I feel like I have a huge family now. There are 12 40/40s assigned to two different cities, and also two families (a married couple and a couple with two little girls), but right now we are all together in Arequipa, Peru for language training and then training in Bible and church planting.
I live with a host family in a beautiful house in Cayma, Arequipa with my roommate Brandi, also from Ohio! We love it here, and even have our own bathroom and wifi. Language school starts Monday, and it will be weekdays from 9-1. Every Tuesday, Extreme staff joins in prayer in the office and fasting until lunch time, and we would love it if you would join with us! This is a huge mission and the enemy will soon be attacking, and probably already is. I know I am in the first stage of culture shock though, so I am loving life!
By the way, today I drank frog juice! Watch the video for proof and to see how it is made, but I really tried. When I started chugging it, that's when I almost lost it. But you should definitely watch the vid.
For the record though, frog juice is not something that all Peruvians drink. Our host family thought we were crazy for trying it, but it was pretty much a hazing thing for the newbies.
I have so much more I want to share with you, but there is church tomorrow and I need to go to sleep. I'll update more soon! But keep me in your prayers. Are host parents are nominal Catholics, and they don't really understand the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I am learning that "the most compassionate thing you can do for someone is to bring them to the foot tof the cross."
With love from Peru!
And if you want to know more about Arequipa, here's some extra info from Extreme's website:
With a population of 940,781, Arequipa is only 1/10 the size of the capital of Lima, but the second largest city in Peru. Arequipa is famous within Peru as the White City due to the local white volcanic rock that has been heavily used in construction giving the city a white façade. It will not take much time in Arequipa to catch the local pride. Many shops sell toy passports with Independent Republic of Arequipa stamped on the cover expressing the local desire to be seen as separated from the rest of Peru and special in its own way. Special it is. The city is clean and the streets are by and large in good repair and the overall economy fares better than other surrounding economies. Thus, the average Arequipenian exudes a confidence and pride in his citizenship in Arequipa.
Pastor Edilberto Solano is the current District Superintendant of the whole of south Peru. Pastor Solano has served as DS here for the last 6 years. Since his arrival, the number of churches in Arequipa alone has grown to 3 full churches and 6 mission churches. Outside of Arequipa, Pastor Solano oversees the missionary activities in the other Southern cities of Tacna, Puno, Cusco and Puerto Maldonado that are currently starting their first missions.
In the hills surrounding Arequipa rests a barrio that suffers from harsh poverty. Nestled in the middle of hundreds of tiny homes built of loose boulders and thatch roofs rests a 144 sq. ft. stone church that doubles as a community dining hall for children. Mobs of kids gather at the church site for a healthy snack, games and a Bible lesson. On weekends, the church is standing room only with people spilling out the doorway all worshiping God and learning about their Lord Jesus Christ. Extreme has agreed to partner with this church/community center through its 40/40 program to improve and expand its meal program and to reach deeper into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Arequipa has been selected as the Extreme Peru Project Headquarters and will be the site of the Larry and Addie Garman Missionary Training Center. Everyone involved in the project that needs to learn Spanish will pass through Arequipa for Spanish language training.