Slumber Parties and Service in Lima, Peru

For the two or three people I somehow forgot to excitedly tell all about this – we are spending a month in Lima, Peru working with a children’s ministry called Heart of Christ Ministries.

Our trip to Lima started with a full day of driving 600 miles from Panama City, FL to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The girls are used to road trips and they are great travelers – and this was particularly exciting because we rented a van, which for some reason totally thrilled them, so we had a great day of driving.

The next day we slept in, and then made one last minute Target run before catching a 6pm flight to Lima.

We haven’t flown in several years, so Cora didn’t remember ever being on a plane. It was exciting for her, for about 5 minutes until she learned that the in-flight movie was Wonder Woman, which somehow was way more exciting then staring at the Earth 30,000 feet below you.

We got into Lima around 11pm, and took a bus to our new home around 1am, very tired and grateful for comfy beds to fall into. Cora fell asleep like this mid-sentence.

15 of us made the trip from Florida, add in the 2 interpreters and the family we are staying with there are 21 of us staying in one house, sharing two bathrooms.  It’s like a big ol’ week long slumber party, or camp, and it’s too bad we give up on things like slumber parties and camp when we grow up because they are a lot of fun.

There is a lot of growth to be had from sleeping on an air mattress in a room with people you hardly know (yet) and waiting your turn to use the shower or the toilet when you’ve already been holding it for way too long. You bond with people in new ways when you share life like this. It’s a challenging and beautiful thing.

We been having fun trying all the different modes of transportation in Lima – buses, trains, taxis and mototaxis. Mototaxies are 3-wheel motorcycles with a small bench seat and an enclosure built around them. I had split from the group this day so I missed out on the mototaxi ride, Ada and Cora enjoyed it though.

This is the reason we are here (not to make babies cry – ha!) to serve the children of Caja de Agua, one of the least advantaged neighborhoods in Lima. The baby crying in the picture is one of the children we’ve sponsored, his name is Ian. Ada felt so bad because she thought she made him cry. He was just sick and wanted his mama.

Caja de Agua is up on a hill, a huge hill, with no car access. To reach the ministry, which isn’t even at the top, you walk up a steep incline and then about 150 stair steps.

The people who live here walk up and down these stairs every day to access their homes. I’m hoping one day I’ll be more conditioned to this, but right now these stairs just about kill me every time.

The little girl with Ada and Cora is their friend Mya, the daughter of the founders of Heart of Christ Ministries.

I’m gone for 3 hours and they are guzzling soda! Inca Cola is a local favorite, it’s everywhere. Of course the girls loved it. They were limited to this one. I’m such a mean mom.


Once a month the ministry shops for groceries with the money for the sponsored children. We went with them to the grocery store and then helped them sort and pack all the food and then hand it out. They typically only have 3-4 people to do all this work. We had 17 and we were tired and sore. Again, I’m gonna need a workout regime to train for the next trip so I don’t feel so pathetically out of shape. Stair stepping and bagging groceries on the ground, that’s my exercise routine.

The beard on the right is our pastor, Zach, the beard on the left is the founder of Heart of Christ, TJ. Funny story about Zach – he accidentally left a loaded magazine in his carry-on bag and created quite the stir in our TSA line at the airport. TJ started calling him Pastor Pistola and the name stuck with all the kids at the ministry. It’s so cute to hear all these little Peruvian children giggle and call him Paster Pistola.

Cora insisted on hauling the heaviest bags – there were three boxes of milk, a carton of yogurt drink and two bottles of oil in each of these bags.

These are the two girls we currently sponsor and their moms. Belen is the older girl, the younger girl is Thanys. She always has that million dollar smile on her precious little face.

This is our group and all the children (and their families) who are sponsored by members of our church.

I’m so proud of these girls and their willingness to work hard and help out.

One of our interpreters, Melissa, turned 20 while she was with us. This was the first time she had met any of us, she just answered a Facebook request for interpreters. Instead of going home to be with her friends and family, she stayed with us and allowed us to celebrate with her. We are so grateful for all her help, and really enjoyed getting to know her this week.

This beautiful cake came from a bakery down the street. It’s been pretty much a nightly ritual for our group to walk down there. Their pastries are all gorgeous, and from what I hear taste just as good as they look.

One of our projects while we were here was to create two full bathrooms so that future groups can stay at the ministry. We started with two rooms – one with a toilet and one with a sink and turned them into two wet baths each with a toilet, sink and shower. It was a dirty job – I’m proud of our the people on our team who made it happen, they all worked really hard. Ada was Paul’s assistant for a while, fetching him the parts he needed.

Nick jumped right into teaching the kids, he’s a natural. He’s going to be teaching this group every day for the month we are here. I might have to drag him away kicking and screaming in a few weeks.

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