Jose Antonio Meets his Grandparents

One of the biggest challenges for our family living in Arequipa is being so far away from family. Despite the distance, however, we’ve experienced the tremendous blessing of Adileen getting to know her grandparents. Katie’s mom, Ann, got here the day Adileen was born and stayed for a month! Katie’s dad, Kin, came for a visit during that time as well. Then my parents came for a week when Adileen was a month old. Since, they’ve both been able to come for another visit and we’ve also gotten the chance to visit them in the US, as well as Adileen’s cousins, aunts, and uncles. Throw in FaceTime and Adileen can recognize and (on a good day) name all of our family. All of this and Adileen doesn’t turn two years-old until January! 

Alfredo and Melania live across the street, three doors down with their five year-old son Jose Antonio. Alfredo grew up in northern Peru far from the city, and his parents and brothers still live there. He told me the story of his father’s conversion experience from Catholicism to a more personal version of Christianity. This helped Alfredo’s father stop drinking and life got better for the whole family. Still, Alfredo left his family when he was in his late teens and moved south, learning to work in the copper mine and eventually ending up in Arequipa. That’s where he met Melania, they had Jose Antonio, and ended up buying a small piece of land and building their home on our street. 

Until last month, Jose Antonio had not met Alfredo’s parents or brother. Though the distance by air is short (a combined three hours of flight time), it would take about 40 hours to get here by bus. So when Alfredo asked me to help him buy airline tickets online so that his mother, father, and brother could come visit I was thrilled. They were the first in the family to learn to navigate airports and layovers, and had a fantastic visit to Arequipa. Above all, Jose Antonio had some special bonding time with his grandparents and uncle.

While they were here, we invited them all over for one of our neighborhood pizza nights, and they got to try pizza for the first time and meet about 20 of our neighbors. On their last night here, Alfredo invited us and the two other families that we’re reading the book of Acts with into their home so that his parents and brother could spend a bit more time together with us and see how it is that we come together and read the Bible. 

It meant a lot to me that Alfredo would want to spend some of his precious last hours with his family with us and our other neighbors reading the Bible together. It was incredible to see how much Jose Antonio loved being with his grandparents and uncle. And it made me that much more thankful for the special times Adileen has gotten with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and more that are to come as she grows up here in Arequipa.