Peru Pilgrimage Reflections

Aug 23, 2016

In June, twenty-five people from across the country traveled on a LEAD Pilgrimage to our companion synod in Peru. A pilgrimage is a search for spiritual significance, a departure from daily life. It is a journey that stretches your worldview and your God-view. Here are their stories in images and Facebook posts from throughout the journey.

Peru is doing a pretty great job of blowing my mind.
– Heidi Petersen, student at Texas A&M

Lima
The pilgrimage began in Lima where Pastor Greg Gaskamp, an intentional interim with the Southwestern Texas Synod, shared: “Arrived less than 24 hours ago, but already deeply immersed within this journey. The people and history of Peru are opening me up!”

Saturday’s highlight was a Children’s Festival with groups from local congregations coming together for games, crafts, and worship.

Yesterday we co-hosted a children’s festival with several of our partnering Peruvian Lutheran churches. There was much silliness and giggling (mostly at our Spanish). We ended the day with a worship service where the U.S. pastors were invited to stand with the Peruvian pastors to speak against violence, especially domestic violence, which they had identified as a tremendous problem in their churches and neighborhoods (in ours as well). It’s a powerful thing to be invited into the lives of these friends.
– Pastor Mindy Roll, Lutheran Campus Minister

On Sunday, the group worshiped with two different congregations where love and friendships overcame language barriers as the bread and wine were shared.

Serving in hope
Serving in unity
Serving in love
– Deaconess Liesl Begnaud

Peru 05

Cusco & Machu Picchu
The journey continued in Cusco where the city was preparing for Inti Raymi, a festival celebrating the winter solstice.

The evening was spent with our sisters and brothers at Talitha Kum, where we worshiped and enjoyed fellowship together.

The next few days were spent exploring the wonders of the Andes, growing and challenging ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually in the Andes.

No amount of words and pictures can even get close to portraying the amount of God’s beauty and grace I’ve experienced in these mountains, people, and places on this amazing trip!
– Samantha Schwab, student at Texas A&M

The pilgrimage took us to the famous Incan site of Machu Picchu.

A sunrise hike up Waynapichu… Great guide, great new friends, and God’s great creation to experience. The scenery is too awesome to capture in a camera frame.
– Reggie Bruhn, engineer and member of Spirit of Joy! Lutheran

One final reflection in the words of Cecie Suknaic, student at Texas A&M:

Today is my last day in Peru, and it’s been absolutely life changing. I have been challenged in new ways: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have met some amazing people, both those here in Peru and those also a part of this pilgrimage. I have hiked through the Andes, swam in the hot springs, and visited Machu Picchu. I have eaten some strange courses, including alpaca and guinea pig. And I’m not ready to leave. My heart has been opened to the people of Peru, and God has been doing incredible things in my life these past 10 days – it’s truly been a most excellent adventure! ¡Dios te bendiga!