It was around 11:30 when we got back into our familiar van and headed south for the six hour drive to Arequipa. Much of this was through a desert plain--known as the Altiplano--that sits around 12,000 feet in elevation. I'm not happy about the fact that I don't do well at such an altitude, and the last two nights have been largely sleepless because of the need to take a particularly deep breath about every minute or two, which requires being awake. Arequipa sits at about 7,500 feet, and my lungs are grateful for the respite.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Woke up to a crisp 27°F, though it was not that cold in our unheated hotel room in Juliaca. We were picked up by our usual driver, Fr Victor, at 8am. The first stop was the parish of St Mary Magdalene, where we had visited briefly last night. This time, Fr Luis, the rector, was with us. We read Morning Prayer together, then learned more about the details of the parish's ministries and their plans for expansion onto property they already own in order to accommodate the demand for a primary school. There are also two missions in Juliaca, both of which are also taken care of by the same clergy team of Fr Luis and Deacon Justo. Both of the buildings are owned by private parties who are happy to make them available to the diocese as long as they continue to hold services. Both are located in growing neighborhoods, where the Roman Church has no presence. There is great potential in both places. Together, the three churches involve over 300 people on a regular basis.