March 19, 2014
An eight hour overnight flight, landing at 6:30 in Lima, immigration, then baggage claim. Waiting… watching… then the carousal stopped and none of our bags had come through. We prayed, and then we talked to the local authorities who told us that our bags should have been on the flight (we thought they might have been left in New York). As she said that the carousal started turning again and one by one our bags emerged from behind the curtain—only our bags. I think God was reminding us to be patient, adaptable and trusting in Him.
Applause erupted from the welcoming group of fifteen or so mission officials as SOULS Northwest and Portland Adventist Academy participants came out of the airport in Tarapoto, Perú. They were so excited to meet us, and they are so organized. They even had a banner made just to make sure we felt welcome. We got out baggage settled and they handed everyone a freshly cut coconut with a straw, and prayed for us before packing us and our stuff into cars and taking us to the hotel, the Rio Shilcayo.
Speaking for people who you’ve never met and don’t understand is unnerving. As we drove through the streets of Tarrapoto to our hotel I began to see the kind of people that live here and I started to feel less stressed about speaking. They seem to be sweet people with a close-nit community. This evening at the hotel the staff fed us a delicious meal—they served a chickenless noodle soup, some vegetables and eggs over easy with some sort of salsa over it. Personally I’m not into runny yokes so I skipped that one, but the rest was delicious.
Wifi at the hotel is “etch-a-sketch” as Cheyenne would say. By that she would mean that it’s off and on and even when it’s on it doesn’t necessarily load very fast. We’re also isolated from cell service. I had no idea how much I relied on the regularity of phone calls, but now without access to cell service I catch myself anticipating my phone to ring or having phantom vibrations and having to tell myself that I can’t get calls. Then I feel the slightest twinge of disappointment. I never realized how conditioned for connectivity I am.