Thursday, July 23, 2015
Wednesday was a very long day of travel, made longer by a mechanical issue (malfunctioning weather radar) forcing our plane from Altanta to Lima to turn back to Atlanta an hour after being airborne. Then we had to circle Atlanta to burn off fuel and wait out a thunderstorm. The eventual delay amounted to five hours. So we didn't get to our hotel until this morning at nearly sunup. We took the morning to get some sleep and settle in. At 2pm we were picked up by one of the senior clergy of the diocese in a spacious but "veteran" van owned by the diocese. We were accompanied by Fr John Park, formerly a missionary here in Peru and now retired back in the U.S. Fr Park served as our interpreter. We were also joined by Bishop John Hind, sometime Bishop of Gibralter and retired from Chichester, and his wife Janet. They took us to visit two churches in the northern part of the Lima area. Even though it was "in town'" getting there involved over 90 minutes of thick, urban driving. Both churches are planted in "improvised" communities. In Brazil, they would be called favelas. These are very poor people, and the Diocese of Peru has, literally, "moved into the neighborhood" in ways that no other church will commit to. I was deeply moved, and spent most of our dinner conversation later, at an Italian-Peruvian "fusion" restaurant, talking with Fr Evans and Brenda about how we might "translate" what we saw into our context in central and southern Illinois.