Mission trip to Peru

November 12-21st, 2023

Scroll down for a small sampling of pictures from our trip.

 Click to see our Mission Trip team presentation!

Ascension Mission Team for Peru: Darlene, Jennifer, Amy, Jessica, Kristy, Dave H, Peggy, Dave S, Pastor Joel, Dan 

                 At MSP

            Our mascot Laken

               We've arrived!

 Today was our first day of our Peru mission trip.  The main things that were accomplished today were going to the La Victoria church and cleaning a bunch of tables and chairs, prepping walls for painting, and helping to entertain the church's After School kids at the park in the afternoon.

When we arrived in Lima last night, the first thing that made an impression on everyone was the traffic.  Not just because of the sheer volume of cars, motorcycles, scooters, and busses, but because of the way the people drive!  Watching from the back of our mini-bus, there were times when I was amazed that we weren't involved in multiple accidents. This is one city where I would never volunteer to drive in.  

We went to an amazing Peruvian-Chinese restaurant this evening (Chifa).  Our host Erin ordered for all of us, every one of the nine dishes we ate were delicious.

Tomorrow's plans include painting the first floor walls of La Victoria, power-washing the front of the building, and cleaning and organizing the second floor classrooms.  And of course, playing with the kids.

Please keep all of us, as well as the La Victoria teachers and children, in your prayers.


It was painting day at La Victoria today.  The paint itself was different than what I had used before:  you needed to add water to it before it was ready to use.  It took two coats, but we were able to finish the first-floor sanctuary.

There is an additional guest staying with us during our stay in Lima.  His name is Kevin, and he is a graduate if the Lutheran Seminary of Bolivia, waiting his first call.  While he is waiting his call to a church in Bolivia, he is assisting Erin here in Lima.  

Kevin helped Dave Semenchuk power wash the front of the church today.  We had a bit of excitement when Dave cut all power to the building when water from the power washer leaked into the breaker box, but we were able to reset the breaker in just a few minutes.

One last unexpected surprise occurred when we got back to our lodging and discovered that the men's bedroom was locked - and the only key was inside the bedroom.  We tried to "pick" the lock ourselves, but ended up calling a locksmith to open the door.

Pastor Walterson was our dinner host for the evening.  Pastor Walterson is a native of Paraguay, currently serving the Lutheran Missions in Lima.  His four-year-old daughter Isabella entertained/exhausted us throughout the evening.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to paint the second floor classrooms and office, and plant a garden in front of La Victoria's church.

I ask you to continue to pray for your mission team as we serve in Peru, and also to add Kevin and the Waltersons to your prayers.

Your Peru Mission Team

The mission team suffered one "fatality" today.  Kristy woke up this morning not feeling well, so she stayed at San Borja and slept most of the day,

We began work on the La Victoria's garden today.  By garden, we mean that there is a 18 x 7 foot area out front of La Victoria's building between the sidewalk and street.  The first step was to remove all the junk from the rock-hard dirt.  There was quite a bit of broken glass, bottles and trash that we picked up.  Then Dan and Dave Hesser used a pick axe to break up the dirt to get it ready for planting.   Two local people, named Jorje and Smith, began assembly of the metal gate that will encircle the garden.  They showed up that morning with parts of a metal gate tied to the top of Jorje's VW Beetle, and augmented it with metal rods purchased from the business across the street.  They then set to build the fence from scratch, cutting the metal pickets and welding everything together.

While the fence building was going on, the mission team had members painting classrooms, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the sanctuary floor, and  then re-assembling the church's sanctuary.

Plans for tomorrow include planting the garden, and organizing the kitchen and classrooms.

Please continue to pray for your mission team during our stay in Peru.

Your mission team.

There are three Missouri Synod Lutheran churches in the Lima metropolitan area.  The church where we stay is in the San Borhja district of LIma, and is referred to as San Borja, we travel daily to do work at the church in the La Victoria district of Lima, which we call La Victoria.

The San Borja church is within a major retail area, as there are multiple restaurants and shops within easy walking distance.  La Victoria is more manufacturing and warehousing.  The textile industry has a large presence there, as well as numerous single-person machine shops and the like.

This morning before leaving for La Victoria, a group of us went for a walk.  There is a park area near the San Borja church with flowers, trees, and walking/biking paths, so it was fun to see some of the surrounding area.

Today the mission team finished cleaning the kitchen and painting the second classroom and office on the second floor.  The garden has been planted and gated.  One of the sides of the concrete border for the garden is missing, and needs to be rebuilt.  That is on the list for tomorrow.  The men folk of the mission team have been speculating how we will mix and pour the concrete to rebuild the border.

So aside from finishing the garden border, the mission team plans to label the kitchen cupboards, put back the furniture, etc. of the second classroom and office, and label the contents of the school's activity bins.

We also get to attend a bible study at La Victoria tomorrow afternoon, which will be interesting.

P.S.  --  Kristy was feeling better this morning and contributing to today's painting effort.

Your mission team.

Today we moved lots of furniture back to their original places in the classrooms and office.  We also labeled storage locations in the kitchen, office and classroom library.  Lots of pictures, posters and hooks were placed back on the walls of every room.  Final cleaning and straightening of all the rooms took place.  The facelift of the La Victoria church and care center was declared complete!

Several members of the mission team played soccer this afternoon with the kids.  There was lots of laughter, and nobody was embarrassed when they were outplayed by a bunch of 8, 9 and 12 year-olds.

We were invited to attend La Victoria's Bible School this evening, where we studied the first part of Psalms 11.  It was led by Pastor JeanCarlos, and was presented in Spanish.  Our host Erin acted as the English translator for our group, so we weren't left totally in the dark.

Note:  I didn't say anything about mixing concrete and building garden borders.  This was supposed to happen today, but the local workers that were to direct the project were unable to make it to La Victoria today.  We really didn't mind that we had a less arduous day than originally planned. 

Tomorrow morning we will be traveling to Pachacamac, which is an archeological site of a temple devoted to the worship of the god Pachacamac, where we will be touring its museum and ruins.  It's about a 90 minute trip to Pachacamac, so we will actually be leaving the Lima city limits.  Time permitting, we will head back to La Victoria and be part of the children's Sunday school (even though it's Saturday).  We will definitely be at La Victoria for the Saturday evening worship service.

Please continue your prayers for us as we learn more about the Peruvian culture, and our Lutheran brothers in Lima.

Your mission team.

This morning we visited the Pachacamac archeological site, which was about a 45 minute drive from our San Borja location.  At this site they have unearthed the remains of several separate civilizations.  Due to its proximity to the Lurin river and fresh water buildings, temples and pyramids were erected on the site by:

    the Lima culture (250 - 650 AD)

    the Wari culture (650 - 1200 AD)

    the Ichma culture (1200 - 1470 AD)

    the Inca culture (1470 - 1535).

The site is much larger than anticipated - over 2 square miles so we had ourselves a nice walk to go with our guided tour.

Two members of our team went to La Victoria to assist with Sunday School and Bible study with the youth, while the rest of us stayed at San Borja and caught up on our sleep.

This evening we all went to La Victoria and attended a Spanish Language worship service.  Even though we couldn't understand what was said and sung, parts of the service were familiar.  We used Divine Service One from the Lutheran Hymnal (Spanish translation), so we could keep track of where we were in the service.  Some of hymns were familiar; we sang "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "A Mighty Fortress".

Tomorrow we will be staying at San Borja and attending a worship service here, and in the afternoon children from all three of Lima's Lutheran churches will be coming to San Borja to have a bible school and play some games.  Should be fun!!

Your mission team.

This morning we attended a Spanish language worship service at San Borja.  This time, most of the service was on the display screen at the front of the sanctuary, so it was easier to follow along with the service.  Instead of the usual bible study after the service, we celebrated the birthdays of Pastor Walterson and our guide Erin with cake and snacks.

This afternoon, there was a Bible study with the youth of all three of Lima's Lutheran churches.  All the youth were in their late teens or early twenties.  After the Bible study, we went to a nearby park and played some games with the youth.  Once we were finished with the games, we returned to San Borja and enjoyed a cookout with everyone.

And once again, there was more birthday cake, and lively conversation.

Tomorrow, we will travel to the City Center, which is near the ocean, and do some souvenir shopping and sight seeing.

Your mission team.

Today was a free day for the mission team, filled with sight seeing and shopping.  We traveled to the Miraflores district of Lima, which borders the Pacific Ocean, and is considered the "Center City" of Lima.  We enjoyed breakfast/brunch at a restaurant that had outdoor seating with a view of the ocean.  After that, we were allowed a few hours to walk around to see the sites and tour the Shopping District.  

Several of us took the trail and stairs (LOTS of stairs!) down to the ocean beach, and a few of us took off our shoes and walked in the ocean.

There were literally hundreds of shops and restaurants in shopping district, as well as street vendors, selling practically anything that would fit in a tourist's suitcase (and a few things that wouldn't).  I think that everyone found something to bring back for themselves or a loved one.

Tomorrow we get to have a cooking lesson.  On of the teachers at La Victoria will be coming to San Borja to show us how to make a Venezuelan dish called arepa - a corn pancake stuffed with cheeses, meats and vegetables.  We will then get to eat our arepas for lunch.  After lunch we will travel to La Victoria one final time to work with the children during their class and play time.

Then it is back to San Borja to pack our things and head for the airport.  We have a red eye flight out of Lima that is scheduled to leave at 11:30 PM, so it will be a long day for everyone.

We have to admit that we will miss the weather we are having here in Lima, but are still anxious to get back to Minnesota.

Please pray for a fulfilling day with our Peruvian brothers and sisters in Christ, and for a safe uneventful flight home.

Your mission team

Yepci and Ariana teach us to make arepas!