Reflections On Peru | Julia

The hours upon hours of journaling here, chronicling our days in Peru was therapeutic for me. It helped me to remember our incredible adventure in Peru and the lessons I gleaned along the way.

But I really hope to offer a perspective beyond my own, so I have asked our team to share from their experience.

Today's reflections are brought to you from Julia!


Ready or not, the time had come to say goodbye to Iquitos which had truly become a home away from home over the last week to me.


Today was the day! I had been waiting for the last few days to have the team sing Happy Birthday to my hubby! Initially coming on the trip, I had really hoped he would come with me - "it'd be a pretty epic way to celebrate 40," I tried to convince him. To my own disappointment, he didn't feel the same undeniable leading I had; and I felt pretty bad about missing such a special birthday. I wanted him to know that even though I wasn't with him, I was thinking of him and grateful for his love and support.


We awoke Saturday morning with great anticipation for our free day in Peru! We had been booked on a tour that would allow us to visit two indigenous tribes on the Amazon river, have a buffet lunch at a lodge, and then go into the jungle where we could see a sloth (EEEE!!!!!!) and an anaconda. Jacob and I both agreed that we wanted to see one before we left Peru (just maybe not too up close and personal! But as Christina pointed out, you'd be fine as long as you weren't the slowest one ... or as Kristie pointed out if someone accidentally tripped you'd still be OK as the slowest😂) We also were told we'd have the opportunity for baptism/re-dedication in the Amazon river! Thank the Lord Shawana reminded me to pack my swimsuit and a towel that morning, because I wasn't about to miss that goodness. (Thanks ShaMama!)


We'd hit the ground running and hadn't really stopped since arriving in Peru.

Friday morning our team took the morning to recuperate while Pastor Adam and his team headed out to speak at a church.

The hotel owner was gracious enough to offer Christina and I a freshly picked starfruit from the tree. It was my first time eating one and I was super delighted as I had been craving some Peruvian fruit the whole time I was there! It was tart and tangy, and ever so juicy.


Thursday morning was another early start to the day. I rolled out of bed tenderly as I was a bit sore from blood pooling beneath my skin along my right thigh that manifested in some pretty gnarly bruising along with a slightly tender rib. I also discovered another small cut on my opposite leg and new bruising.

 We’d since learned in our time in Peru to be ready earlier than what we were prepared for, so Renée and I packed our bags and cleaned up after ourselves to be ready before breakfast which was served upstairs. We sat among two long tables and were served a fruit puree (room temperature) which made me feel a bit at home since I love smoothies! We were served a plate of fried catfish caught fresh from the Amazon, cooked bananas and a few tomato wedges. I’d learned that most people were happy to swap me veggies for meat, so I passed off my fish for more bananas and tomatoes. I did keep one bite of the fish to try and it was quite delicious! The food kept coming … after we ate our plated breakfast, drank the juice puree and coffee, we were served a plate towering with bread rolls. We tried to eat them, but we were so full, which tended to be a theme for the whole week!

Sure enough, we needed to be ready pretty much immediately after breakfast to catch our boat. Indiana was such a beautiful community. As we passed through, I noticed the streets were neatly landscaped with sculpted topiaries and we walked passed a colorful market on the way to our boat. You could say Indiana left a mark on me ... wah-wah-waaahhhh.

But really it did!


It seemed like not much after rolling in to bed I had to roll right back out ... but I kind of expected that these days would be a whirlwind. As someone who has battled chronic fatigue, I was in awe at just how far "I" could go (but let's be real, it wasn't my strength but Christ in me!)

I kind of failed at packing a bag for our first excursion out the day prior - I brought my camera, Bible and journal and had only remembered my water bottle after having seen someone else from our team with one before we left the hotel. (Noting for next time, having a water bottle with a clip is smart! Thanks Jacob for bailing me out that day.) Day 2, I had felt a little more prepared for what to expect or so I thought ... We needed to pack an overnight bag as this was our day further in the jungle where we would be spending an evening in the community of Indiana. A day older and wiser, I packed up my Thieves spray and TP leaving the Poopourri® behind!

We left our hotel early without breakfast and boarded the bus, then headed into the bustling streets.


A small landing strip of concrete received us into Iquitos. We deplaned and passed across the way, the hot sun beating down on my neck, towards a small structure which at the time didn't even feel quite like an airport to me. I think I was in such a daze that I missed two-thirds of the building though honestly!


I don't typically do well with having peace before leaving for any trip. I'm proud to be a light packer; but there's always the worry that I've forgotten something ... Typically it doesn't much matter, I usually visit family where I can borrow or run to the store and buy what I may need (although I usually cover myself pretty well!) 

But preparing for Peru in and of itself was a bit of a culture shock for me even before having stepped foot on its soil. Having had to have thought of things I've never had to before like vaccinations, Malaria pills, medication for the "rea" and "pation" (as Christina labelled it) you know ... just in case ... bug spray, TOILET PAPER! << I missed that one and many other items ... Thank God for Shawana who was on our team (whom I've proudly dubbed ShaMama - I was so proud of myself for coming up with that lovename for her, only to find out I hadn't been the first😞) The list of suggested items goes on and on.

I had to laugh at myself as I traveled to Peru with more luggage than I've ever traveled with in my LIFE! Three suitcases and a camera bag to be exact; yet I was packed into the smallest bag I'd ever traveled with. (My two largest suitcases were filled with donations and I crammed all my personal items into a small carry on ... and dispersed the wealth that needed to be in the "checked-in" luggage into every one else's bags! Thanks guys!!)

I was less than half awake on our drive down to "O-Harry" that Monday morning - but honestly, is 2 a.m. considered morning or night😂? Andy fell victim to my musings as I consoled myself that I'd be OK ... really the only essential thing was my passport. I could survive stanky in the jungle (though I was sure my team would prefer I didn't😂.)

After a long drive in the dark, I started to become more alive with anticipation as morning light broke. We finally arrived at Chicago's O-Hare airport where we printed our boarding passes, passed through security and waited (f-o-r-e-v-e-r) at our gate for the first leg of our trip, our flight into Orlando. (We had arrived extra early as we wanted to avoid the chaos of Chicago's rush hour traffic and make sure we had time to check in our two-dozen bags without being rushed.)


It was a Sunday morning when Pastor Rob introduced our Missions director, Christina, to the platform to announce an opportunity. I remember looking over at my adventurous friend Mary, who was with me that Sunday, and saying “I don’t know where it is but I want to go!” before our director even made it to the pulpit. (I don’t even recall if I knew at the time if it was a chance to go somewhere vs. giving towards something.)
Christina proceeded to present the church with the opportunity of joining alongside the Doutts, missionaries stationed in Nicaragua, in July during that summer of 2018 where we would assist in a building project, present a 3-day children’s ministry (like VBS) and then spend some time “treasure hunting” in the dumps for souls. I felt my heart screaming “YES!”
This time something was different though …
Kendra And Ken Doutt Missionaries To Nicaragua and part of the Engage Nicaragua project.
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