As I pressed submit for my last blog post I was interrupted by an American voice. It was a man (Mark) and woman asking for the wifi password (I was sitting at a coffee shop). We started talking and long story short - he's a pastor from Montana here with some of his youth group. They offered to let us use their hotel showers!! After about an hour of conversation, we accepted his offer. We walked for about an hour to his hotel. We had the best showers and could not stop talking about how it was a total gift that we crossed paths. Mark wanted us to meet his friends and invited us to dinner. We ended up at a Peruvian restaurant with around 25 people. Person after person came into the restaurant, each having their own story about how they met Pastor Mark and many of them not knowing each other. So we sat there, all coming from different paths, speaking different languages, but all connected by this crazy, God-loving man, Mark! I was seated across the table from a man who works for the same ministry that we were supposed to be at THAT DAY (what?!?). He also knows the man who is hosting us! I often looked around the table at the many different conversations happening. We were seated at this table because we didn't have running water. How crazy is that?
The next day a group of young adults came over to our house for worship and fellowship. We sang our hearts out in our open-air living room, we each prayed for the safety of Peru, and I got to share some of my story. I think it was exactly what all of our hearts needed. As we sat in prayer someone ran up the stairs to tell us that the water had been turned on! We ran to the faucets and realized it was only on in the kitchen. Still full of excitement, we improvised and acted fast. As soon as our guests left we got to work. First up – we flushed each toilet a million times. We washed each other’s hair in the kitchen sink while the other half of us used buckets of kitchen water to shower our bodies in the bathroom. And then we switched. We filled any empty container that we could find with water from the sink, just in case. We cleaned any and all dishes. It was quite chaotic, pretty crazy, and like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The water eventually turned off again but we didn’t let it steal our joy. We went to bed that night with happy hearts and clean bodies. My face hurt from laughing so much and it’s now one of my favorite nights on the race.
My squad leader, Alyssa, said something to us on day 4 of no running water. She said, “We aren’t here to see howother people live, we’re here to live with them.” And that stuck with me. It’s one thing to see a natural disaster on TV or see photos of people from across the world. It’s easy to go on with your day without feeling like these things can relate to you. But that’s not what we’re doing here. We’re living with and beside the people of Peru. We’re doing life with them. Peru has been promoting the slogan "Una Sola Fuerza"/ "One Single Force", and that's what we are. The country is hurting and so are we.
I’m grateful that we’re here.
After 6 days, we now have running water. We hope it stays this way but the reality is that the rain is not stopping and the temperature is not cooling. Although my team is safe in Lima, there are other teams in other parts of the country that are getting hit hard by these floods. Peru hasn’t seen floods & mudslides like this in over 20 years and Lima hasn’t seen temperatures this high in a long time. We need your prayers.