I arrived in Arequipa, late Wednesday night, February 10th after what seemed like an endless journey. The journey began when I left Tucson, AZ on the 25th of January to travel to Memphis and Tullahoma, TN to visit with friends and the wonderful people at Cedar Lane once more, before leaving the country for the next two years.
While in Tennessee, the weather was cold and multiple winter storms came through forcing me to change travel plans and dress in layers, not having packed for severe winter weather.
I flew out of Memphis on February 8th and began the long flight to Lima, and I spent Monday night in the Dulles Airport in Washington, DC waiting for my flight to Lima which was scheduled to depart early the next morning. When I arrived in Lima, I was greeted by two members of the Lima team, Justin Thompson and John Mark Davidson. Justin and his wife Alison hosted me Tuesday night, so that I could begin the process of acquiring my residence visa the next morning. Tuesday night Alison took me to Chili’s for one last American meal before I left for Arequipa.
Wednesday morning I went to Interpol with Mirko, one of the team’s Peruvian contacts in Lima, where a man took my finger prints, looked at my teeth, and took my picture. I was asked my height and weight, which of course I didn’t know in centimeters and kilograms, then I was returned to the Davidson’s home where Alison and I had been visiting that morning. Justin dropped me off at the airport that afternoon, so that he could return home in time for the Wednesday night Bible study in his home, and I found a comfortable place to wait until 6:40 when the flight was scheduled to begin boarding. At 7:00 the departure screen announced that my flight to Arequipa would be delayed until 9:40. Once again I got as comfortable as possible in plastic airport chairs, and waited as the hours slowly passed. I was finally able to board the flight around 9:50 and we didn’t leave Lima until after 10 pm. When I got off the plane the Smiths were waiting to pick me up, and they drove me over to the McKinzies’. I was finally here, and all I really wanted to do was go to sleep.
I have now been here just over a week, I have rented an un- furnished apartment, begun language school, and met many of the Peruvians I have read about over the past year and a half. Everything is new and different, and I know that it will take time to adjust to a new place, a new climate, a new language, and a new culture. I look forward to preparing my apartment and settling in, becoming more involved in the ministry here in Arequipa, and building relationships with the Peruvian people I will meet over the next two years.