Saturday, August 22, 2009

Finish Line In Sight

First I apologize for neglecting the blog for the last 11 days or so. To catch everyone up to speed, I will give a Sparknotes version of our adventures since last post.

We left Wednesday the 5th on a bus bound for Puno. Puno is a town, located in the southeast corner of the country, that sits right on Lake Titicaca. Trivia fact for today's blog is that Lake Titicaca is the worlds highest navigable lake (according to my Lonely Planet guide book and a local tour guide). While in Puno, we were able to gather data on 15 of the future church plant locations for that region. On one of our days of work, while we were visiting a town on the border, we were able to venture across to Bolivia (just so we could say that we had been there). We also had the pleasure of playing futbol (soccer) with the pastor and some of the kids in his youth group. This is noteworthy because we were playing at an elevation of over 12,500 feet! On our last full day in Puno we took a boat out to the islands of Uros and Taquile. The Uros islands are artificial floating islands that are made of reeds. Indigenous peoples have been living on these islands for hundreds of years. Taquile is a natural island out in the lake. From the shore of Taquile you can look across the lake and see the snow capped mountains of Bolivia. We got on a bus headed back for Arequipa last Wednesday morning and arrived here in the late afternoon.

Since returning to Arequipa, we have downloaded all of our pictures (over 1,600 of them) and video to the Extreme Nazarene hard-drive. Just yesterday we finished labeling all of it and putting it into folders. The next step for all of our raw footage is that it will be handed over to Eleseo (I'm sure I just botched the spelling of his name) who is one of our Peruvian counterparts at the office. He will do all of the finishing touches and make the footage into videos that will be distributed to the sponsoring entities (churches, individuals, etc.) of the different church plant locations. Ryan and I had a chance to do some grunt work on Thursday afternoon. We were able to help grout tile in one of the local churches here in Arequipa. It felt good to do a lil bit of manual labor. We have one more day of work ahead of us, mostly just wrapping up loose ends and such at the office, before we fly out on Monday afternoon.

I think that should clue you all in to what we've been doing while we've been off the radar. As always, thank you all for your support and especially your prayers.

--- Chadwick & Ryan

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Day/Week In The Life Of...

We are now back in Arequipa. We arrived early Saturday morning and will be heading to Puno (a city which borders Lake Titicaca) Wednesday afternoon. It's a short trip (a mere 5 hours) so we should be there by nightfall. Bear in mind that I say we "should" be there by that night as opposed to saying that we "will" be there that night. Peru has made me SO laid back when it comes to scheduling. Ryan and I have learned that if you don't just roll with the punches (5 day boat rides that were promised to be 3 days, bus rides where the motor forces the bus to stop 4 times...) you will be very stressed out and unhappy.

At the behest of my mother I have decided to give you all an in depth look into what it is that Ryan and I have actually been up to all summer. So without further a due here we go:

Almost all of our trips start with Ryan and me heading down to the bus station to purchase tickets from "location A" to "location B." Our travels have consisted of 1 boat ride (from Pucallpa to Iquitos), 1 plane ride (from Iquitos to Lima), and too many bus rides for me to count (math has never been my strong suit :)

After we arrive at "location B" we meet up with our local contact, a pastor who lives in one of the 7 major cities (Pucallpa, Iquitos, Cuzco, etc). We have been lucky enough to be hosted by all of our pastor contacts (whether that be living with the pastor and his family or staying in designated housing facilities at the Nazarene compounds). The first day that we spend in our new location we talk to the pastor and lay out a rough "game plan" for how we will attack the next couple of days. The pastor will tell us how many of the locations are reasonably close and easily accessible. Sometimes we go to 15 future church plant location (as we did in Cuzco) but other times we are only able to go to 8 or 9 future church plant locations (as we did in Iquitos). The church plant locations have been selected for a variety of reasons. Some of the locations have social problems (prostitution, alcoholism, etc.), in other locations the pastor has a contact there that will help start the new church there, other locations were selected simply because they have large unchurched populations.

Day 2 in any given location means that we are hitting the road with the pastor. Depending on how close the locations are (both to each other and to where we slept) we will visit anywhere from 2 to 5 future church plant locations. Once we arrive at one of the future church plant locations we break-out our cameras (Ryan's weapon of choice is the point-and-shoot camera while I wield the video camera). For each future church plant location we obtain one short interview with a local resident (anywhere from 5-10 questions) and take a bunch of pictures of the community. The questions that comprise the interview range from questions on local culture, to social issues present in the community, to the role played by religion in the community. As we have found, some people are much more enthusiastic about giving an interview than others. We also do an interview with the pastor who will be overseeing the planting of the 18 churches in his region over the next 2 years. All of the information that we gather will go on the Extreme Nazarene website ( and will be used to make short videos for the churches (most of which are in the US) who are sponsoring the future church plant locations.

The first interviews that we conducted in Arequipa got off to a rocky start. Ryan and I were straight out of our 3 week crash-course of language school and on our own without a pastor. We struggled to find someone who would oblige us with an interview. The first interview that we did had to be scrapped because the street noise was too loud. As we were sitting on a park bench an old man rode up to us on a bicycle and started chatting with us. After a while we asked him if we could interview him and he agreed. We shot the interview but caught little of what he was saying. Upon returning to the office we showed our work to one of the guys at the Extreme Nazarene office. As Scott watched the video I explained to him that I was totally lost as to what the guy who we interviewed had said. Scott paused the video and said, "Well, right now he is saying something about his colon." I was quite dismayed because there is not one question that remotely relates to the colon (or any other internal organ for that matter)! All I could think was, "This is going to be a LONG summer!"

After leaving Arequipa things went much better. In the other locations we had pastors that would accompany us and find someone who would agree to be interviewed. In most cases the pastors also asked the questions (which allowed them to be more specific and elaborate if necessary). Ryan and I also became much more proficient with our Spanish as the summer wore on. We had to be because none of our pastor contacts speak any English.

After 3-5 days of visiting all of the church plant locations that we have access to, we head down to the bus station and purchase bus tickets to our next location. We have done this routine for Arequipa, Pucallpa, Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, and Cusco. We are now off to do the last location that we are responsible for (Puno). Originally we were going to go to Tacna too, but due to some setbacks we will not be able to make it out there. Tacna will be profiled by someone else after we leave Peru.

I hope that gives you all a better idea of what it is that we have been doing for the last few months. I'm sorry that it took us so long to write a post like this. As always we thank you for your prayers and support! God has been SO good to us this summer and we anticipate that these last 2 weeks will bring us more of the same!

--- Chadwick & Ryan

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Since our last post we boarded another lovely bus and headed to Cuzco. Cuzco is a beautiful city nestled in one of the many valleys of South-Central Peru. It is the ancient capital of Peru and there is tons of history in and arouncd the city which dates back to the pre-Incas.

We arrived in Cuzco on Sunday morning and by Thursday night we had finished gathering data on all 15 future church plant locations that are easily accesible in and around Cuzco. For the last couple days we have been playing tourist. We have visited Qoricancha (the Incan Sun Temple), St. Dominic`s Cathedral, The Incan ruins at Pisac, the Qoricancha museum, the museum of contemporary art, the museum of popular art, La Cathedral (which is joined to Iglesia del Triunfo and Iglesia de Jesus Maria to form a cathedral compound), the ruins of Tambomachay, the ruins of Pukapukara, the ruins of Qènqo, the ruins of the Temple of the Moon, the ruins of Saqsayhuaman, and the Museo Inka. I would encourage everyone to google some of these sites, as many of them were miraculous in scale and craftsmanship. You could say that we`ve made the most of our time here (and we still have yet to go to Machu Pichu). We plan on heading to Machu Picchu on Monday but, as with everything in Peru, those are only speculative plans that may be subject to change, due to strikes etc.

After we get back from Machu Picchu we will be heading back to Arequipa to drop off all of our information and rest up for a couple of days before heading off to Puno (again these are speculative plans).

We are in good health and spirits. As always thank you all for your prayers.

--- Chadwick & Ryan