First things first. We're home. We couldn't be happier to be in our own beds. It seems like breathing is so much easier now that we are back at sealevel. Thanks for all of you that prayed for us. We felt those prayers.
Continuing our adventures....we left Puno after a great breakfast, one of our first good ones so far. As we were leaving the hotel, the bellboy tells us that there are strikes on the road we are traveling and it might make our journey difficult. Great. We continued on our journey to arrive five minutes later at a huge road block. We were told it would be difficult to pass before night fall. Okay, now what. Norberto went to investigate the situation and talk with the people. A student approached us and told us since we were tourists we are exempt from the workers' strikes and should be able to go through. We were ecstatic. We jumped into our car and drove past the strikers, the lines of buses and trucks and angry drivers who were picketting against high tolls. We prayed and it was like God opened up the Red Sea for us to pass through unharmed. Little did we know there would be 10 sets of these blocks. Each time Norberto would get out, be diplomatic and ask politely to pass. Each time we prayed that there would be no violence or struggles and that we would be allowed to cross the picketlines. Web_sta_cruz_to_arequipa_126It was the strangest sensation being the only vehicle on the road for over 50 miles. We saw hundreds of people walking to work and school in the hot arid sun and our hearts went out to them.
We wanted to pick up everyone, but it would have been impossible. We picked up two people and they were stunned that we would choose them. We had the chance to share with them about how God chooses us as his own.
We were stopped by so many Peruvian policemen. We made the determination that Bolivian and Peruvian police belong to the "Let's make tourist's lives difficult" club. One policeman told us that we would need to pay a $200 fine because of our tinted windows. They're all just looking for beer money, unfortuately.
We finally arrived at the "How Great is Our God" conference in the afternoon. We had a fantastic week of sharing and hearing what God is doing through Missionary Ventures in South America. We got to know all the missionaries working on the continent. We ate fantastic food (Thanks Keatons!) and we had some wonderful times of worship and prayer. It was a tremendous experience. We both had the opportunity to lead morning devotions and we had time to talk about all that God is doing here in Paraguay. We left renewed and refreshed.
On Friday we continued our journey to Cusco. The road we took was horrendous. 10 hours of driving on pot-holed dirt roads, if that's what you want to call them. We arrived at our hotel that evening and toured the city a bit.
On Monday made our trek to Machu Pichu. By this time, Norberto was getting used to the altitude, so treking was no problem for us. We had a great day, despite the rain. It is quite an ordeal to actually arrive at the ruins. We had a four hour train ride, a half hour bus ride and an hour trek down the mountain again in the afternoon. The scenery was spectacular and we are very grateful for fulfilling this dream.
We'll share our last and still-full-of-adventures part of the story shortly.