Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Christmas Greeting from Maria in Peru

December 23, 2013

Greetings from Peru!
Pictures are mainly from Huánuco where I was recently for a week. I went to the baptism of a 10 year old kid, Jose and a 9 month girl, Esmeralda. Miraculously all my trip expenses where covered by people I did not even know (even the rides from a to the airports). Jose and his cousin went walking for 3 hours to meet me at the airport. He told all the workers at the airport he was going to be baptised and I was going to be his godmother, no wonder why they were curious to meet me.

Almost every day I ate in the humble homes of people that appear in the card. We shared sorrow, joy, and the hope that comes from Jesus. I experience God’s love through them. I suppose what I experienced in Huánuco was "grace", something we receive without deserving or having any merit. I happen to be the only one from the Canadian Mission there in Huánuco at this time, but in the Spirit, all that care for these little ones were there too. Thank you for your care and prayers.

"He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name"
love to all from Peru,

News from Peru (Feb 6, 2013)

February 18, 2013

Here are some photos taken before going to the Camp.

The kids that went to the Camp were from Las Columnas (downtown Lima), Huanuco (near the jungle) and one from a place called Huaral (3 hours going by car towards the North of Lima).

We were 22 people: Three adults, some youth and some children.

“Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:5)

News from the Camp in Peru (February 7-10, 2013)

February 18, 2013

The Word of God was shared, the Holy Spirit touched each of us in a unique way.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

More pictures from the Camp in Peru

February 18, 2013

The simplicity of the gospel and the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit brought repentance, forgiveness, and desire to change.

God’s Great Commission “go forth to all the world preaching the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

More pictures from the Camp in Peru

February 18, 2013

There were activities such us: meditation, games, preaching, prayer groups, praying for the world, dancing and singing, serving meals, and much more. Through all this the Spirit of God was at work breaking every yoke and heavy burdens.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” – Isaiah 58:6


Much more from the Camp in Peru

February 18, 2013

The group from Huanuco is already gone but for las Columnas the Camp continued with a trip to the ocean.
Thank you so much to all those that supported this little ones to be part of the Camp of Faith and Prayer.

Update from Maria in Peru

January 24, 2013

From: maria palomino <palomino_maria>
Date: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Hello all:
I heard the cold is intense over there. Here in Peru is totally the opposite with the Summer.
Catholic welcome Lillian (???). I just know there is a welcome that never fails: LOVE. That is what I received when I first went to LJH near 10 years ago. May ‘love’ be always the strength of LJH.
I have hardly been in touch with any one as time is always short. I’m still alive and having lots of fun in all I do. Here are few of last week’s photos. God is everywhere, especially when eating popcorn with the little ones at “Las Columnas”, downtown Lima.

“…though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor..but have not love, it profits me nothing…love does not rejoices in inequity, but rejoices in the truth…Love never fails” (1Corinthians 13)

A big hug and lots of love from Peru,

Maria from Peru

January 11, 2013

Peru is a country where close to 60% of the population is below 25 years old. Lima is a city with around 10 million people so you can imagine the action here: crazy car drivers, streets kids doing all kind of tricks in the streets to get few coins, great food, music, soccer, ocean, sun, even “the cirque du soleil” is going to be here for a whole month starting this weekend, the rally Dakar has been moved from Africa to South America and started last Sunday here in Lima. The Peruvian economy might be growing but corruption and distribution of wealth has not improve much the condition of the poor.

Here in Lima, the Camp of Faith and prayer is coming soon (Feb 6-10). So far, it has been the main instrument to share about Jesus with so many children LJH has been involved with for the past 7 years. It’s a place where they can experience the love and presence of God. If you feel like sending a child to this Camp, the cost (all inclusive) is close to $40 plus $10 for transportation. It can be given to LJH (making sure is for the Peru Mission) and you can get a tax recipe. All of the children I take to the Camp are poor and/or from dysfunctional families where they are abused. Being for few days in a place where they can play, laugh, share activities, sing, have a good bed, food and hear about Jesus can be a life changing experience for many of them.

This last Sunday I took few toys to ‘Las Columnas’ (the project down town Lima), but I did not have enough presents for all of them (they are close to 60 kids) so I had some draws with the few things I took. There was a cute teddy beard (I bought for a $1 at the New Edinburgh garage sale), many of the girls, especially those between 10 -12 years old group wanted this toy. A young woman (16 years old) that does not even live at las Columnas participated in the draw and guess what, she got the right number for the teddy beard. I was a bit disappointed as I thought she was too old to appreciate it but God is never wrong. A couple of years ago, some of the girls shared with me about the condition of a girl living also down town, that had been physically abused by her own father since she was 9 years old (he’s been in jail for the last 3 years). I was praying to meet her this time. Well this was the girl that got the teddy. God is always perfect. Although she looks quiet normal she is very broken inside. She might be one that will come to the Camp. Each child is special and I get to know them better year after year.

There are many stories as each child is unique but I better say good bye now.
The last three photos are: some members ‘of my family and a couple of Peruvian dishes: ‘cebiche’ and something nicer than potatoes called ‘yucas’. They were prepared by my brother in law who has recently discover that he loves to cook.
Hasta pronto,’

Living Nativity at Las Columnas – from Maria in PERU

December 24, 2011

There is no better way to learn about Jesus than to become Him. This is what happened at Las Columnas last night.

The kids were involved in a living nativity acting according to the Bible. They did all the preparation (readings and acting). They also sang carols and danced. I hardly helped in the preparation as I had to go to Huanuco for a few days last week.

This is the project where LJH with the help of SCIMP (an organization from England that combines the efforts of Catholics, Anglicans and Methodist to support a Third World project each year) and other contributors, changed the underground pipes and and replaced an old latrine in the first patio (there are two patios) with common washrooms and showers and a place to do hand washing of laundry.

For those of you who are interested, below is an article written before we started work. The humidity and smell is no longer there and the heart of people is progressively changing from low self esteem, disrespect, use of drugs and alcohol to people with hope, gratefulness and desire to know the Jesus that cares for them.


viernes 7 de agosto de 2009
La Casa de Las Columnas

Living in a historical house in Lima AD 2009
When you walk from the Plaza de Armas in Lima along the Jr. Conde de Superunda past the church and convent of Santo Domingo you pass the magnificent blue Casa de Osambela. Next to it is an entrance, number 316. Welcome to the Casa de Las Columnas. You enter a different world. It could be the nineteenth century, or earlier. It smells of humidity and urine. Laundry is drying everywhere. Women are busy doing the laundry by hand in the courtyard. This place was from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century the noviciado of the convent of Santo Domingo. Boys were learning to become monks.
Only 20 persons have a regular job.
Now 61 families live here in 53 rooms, divided over two patios. In total around 250 people have their home here, of which 50 are children. Only 20 persons have a regular job. A room is on average 30 square meters. They don´t have running water or toilets. Around the first patio live 43 families. They have to share two taps and one toilet. Two other toilets have broken down and have not been repaired. Only seven families use the toilet, the others use bedpans. The second patio has a bit better services for its 18 families; three taps and four toilets. Since the beginning of the nineties people don´t pay rent anymore, says Iván del Castillo Vélasquez. He moved here in 1984 when he was 17 years old from Cabana in Ancash. He came to study in Lima to become a teacher. Now he teaches Spanish at a secondary school and he is secretary of the Asociación de Vivienda Las Columnas. But he is moving out in December. Finally he is eligible for Techo Propio. He has a wife and a son of five. “This is no place for a child to grow up”, he says. Many people are drunk and play loud music at night. As they don´t pay rent, they also don´t care for the place. The way of living here is not a good example at all.

Part of the convent Santo Domingo
On August 5th Iván initiated a talk about the history of the house for the inhabitants. So they would know where they’re living. Around 30 people attended. The talk was to organize, together with the NGO Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Asesoria Poblacional (CIDAP), as part of their campaign Centro Histórico de Lima: centro vivo. First Deolinda Villa Esteves of the sub dirección de Investigación Histórica of the Dirección de Patrimonio Histórico Colonial y Republicano of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) explained the history of the building. Originally it was part of the convent of Santo Domingo. This convent has occupied since 1541 two whole blocks, with the church and tower on the lower right corner, the noviciado on the lower left corner and the refectorio on the upper left corner. In the book Tesoros Verdaderos de las Indias from 1681/83 the convent is described in detail.

Dwellings for people with little means.
The great earthquake of 1746 destroyed most of Lima, including the church and convent of Santo Domingo. They were rebuilt in the second half of the eighteenth century. To raise funds the Dominicans sold parts of their block; among others the refectorio and the right part of the noviciado. The latter was sold to Martín de Osambela, who built his mansion here. The remaining part of the noviciado became the refectorio. It was used as such in 1810. In the period 1830-1850 it was used as a police station. The present entrance was constructed in that time. As of 1852 a certain Nicolás Rodrigo started to buy and rent these parts from the Dominicans. He constructed dwellings here for people with little means and rented them out. These constructions are what we can see today. They are not very good; no direct light and bad ventilation.
I could find two references to a Nicolás Rodrigo. In El Comercio of November 14th 1840 he announced together with Domingo Elías the opening of the colegio Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe in the old building of the Estanco de Tabaco. Rodrigo and Elías had received this building from president Gamarra. And in the 1850s Nicolás Rodrigo was a partner of Manuel Pardo in his guano export business.

The original floor is still there
After the historical context of the building architect Antonio Coello of the Escuela Taller de Lima talked about his findings. Main objectives were to see how findings here would correspond with those in the convent and to see if a dating could be made for pottery from colonial times. The arches are eighteenth century as part of the rebuilding of the convent. Several excavations showed that the original red tiled floor of the sixteenth century convent is still present 1.20 meters below the present floor. Several seventeenth century tinajas, big earthenware jugs, were found as well in the soil, for keeping of oil and other liquids, and remains of pottery from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.
La Casa de Las Columnas should be taken care of better. It would be great if the occupants of the house could do this in combination with professionals. Can 150 years of neglect be counteracted quick enough?

Publicado por Ronald Elward en 10:42 0 comentarios
Etiquetas: Casa de Las Columnas, Lima

Feliz Navidad from Maria in Peru

December 18, 2011

"Feliz Navidad" and lots of love from Peru to you!

God’s amazing love does not change but somehow, in my case, it is more evident every time I travel to Peru. I could share many things, Cesar taking me to the airport; Air Canada allowing me to take more luggage than regular at no extra cost; people giving me toys and funding to continue the mission work that LJH started some seven years ago in Peru etc, etc, etc. but I would never finish and you would get tired so I have chosen just a few stories here (hope it is not too long). I pray in this moment for the Holy Spirit to touch each one that reads this message with His light, peace and love and may all be for the glory of the living God.

All the pictures here are from Huanuco except for the one where I am with Ruth and another of Genoveba who is from Lima.

Here are some stories I hope will encourage your faith.


This 24 year handsome fellow from Montreal, with the looks of Mel Gibson in the movie "Brave heart", lives in Toronto. He sat next to me in the eight hours flight Toronto-Lima. Somehow he ended up sharing his life with me. His mother could not keep him because she was in drugs and Cedrix was taken to various fosters homes since the age of six. Eventually, he ended in a place for juveniles. He escaped there to end up living in the streets of Montreal with his dog. At that point he learned a trade and now works in construction and sings in a band. Nothing especial with his story except that something a bit humorous changed his life. He met a Peruvian girl that invited him to eat some Peruvian food which he liked a lot (she was joining him in Peru a few days later). The extraordinary thing here is that his band had played to collect money and toys to bring to poor people in Peru and in spite of being so wounded from all his life experiences, Cedrick cared for the poor. There was a difference in age and background, but we had lots in common.

He was touched when I share about the ‘good samaritan’ and also I told him that the Dalai Lama had been asked which was the best religion in the world and the answer given by this wise man was "the one that makes you more compassionate". Well, I ended praying for Cedrick, he showed his compassion for me by lending me his neck pillow to sleep and carrying my luggage. (You can see him in YouTube: Punk Rock Hockey Promo 2012)


Genoveba came to see me the day I arrived. My mom was amazed as Genoveba had not showed up for months and did not know I was coming.

This woman of amazing faith never had the opportunity to learn to read or write and she is already in her 50s. Her faith and Bible knowledge comes from listening to the gospel when she goes to mass and from miracles in her daily life. Her circumstances and sufferings are terrible. In the middle of all that her faith has grown strong like a flower in the desert. She really knows the meaning of Matthew 16:24: "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me". If her faith would be based on experiences her circumstances would destroy it. Two of her children did not survive the age of 3 due to poverty. She came from the mountains during the time terrorism was strong in Peru and ended up living in a shanty town in Lima. Her alcoholic partner eventually abandoned her. The daughter that used to help her to cope with poverty passed away less than 2 years ago at the age of 24 (stomach cancer) leaving two small ones with Genoveba. She continues her walk in life selling matches and washing clothes, her hands are full of wounds (detergent, bad nutrition…) and she looks very fragile. What she makes barely helps with the poor diet she provides for her family in the shanty town where she lives.

Many would say, why is she in such condition if she has faith. Preachers of the "gospel of prosperity" don’t go to people like her neither "prophets" that think they are like movie stars going to "higher levels" and basing their faith in emotions. Genoveba’s faith is not based in circumstances but in the God that does not change and her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not many have faith as this woman but her poverty is a reality for near half of Peru. The hearts of many rich people have turned cold and indifferent in a place where anything is welcome by those born in poverty. They are poorer than the poor.

The poor and injustice will always exist. That is not an excuse to be indifferent. Can I just go to church, enjoy singing and not look at the naked or hungry around me? The true gospel is simple: share your bread, especially with those that can not pay you back, bless your enemies,…etc. Isaiah 58 talks about the true and false fasting. This is the Gospel scripture that started the LJH mission in Peru.

I have often experienced, when acting in obedience to serve others in the name of Jesus, God’s divine intervention and the natural becomes supernatural. No human effort or money can accomplish what the Spirit of God can produce in the hearts of people and that becomes the supernatural. That is the difference with human organizations that do good work and Christian Mission work. Sometimes our impulse and own desire can be confused with God’s will but God is merciful and if we keep on asking He reveals His truth. Jesus was always acting in obedience to His Father’s will and He is our model.


Ruth phoned me from Huanuco the day I arrived in Lima and the next thing I knew an early phone call woke me up. She was at the bus station asking me to pick her up. She’s been with me since then until Friday when I took her back to Huanuco. It wasn’t in my plans to go to Huanuco (10 hours from Lima by bus). It is a long story that I might share another time.

The first time I saw Ruth, she was a six years old girl with no shoes playing near a garbage dump. She is now 12 years old and it is a joy to see how she has turned out. There is a depth in her prayer and also in the awareness of her reality. Since my arrival in Lima until we went to Huanuco, she shared different stories of the Bible in our home prayer group. It was so funny to hear from her, in her own words with her eyes full of amazement about Daniel, Samson or Solomon and God’s divine intervention. Other than that I think she learned more math in a week than what she had learned in the whole year. Her parents wanted her to stay with me but it is still not the time.


Jose, this is the eight year old kid walking with me by the dusty road near the soup kitchen in the picture. He is the other child that comes always to my mind when praying for Huanuco. He sometimes goes to bed without eating. The shoes and sandals I bought in a garage sale for $2 were perfect for him. He showed me his head full of bumps from physical abuse. I hugged him for few minutes and watched cartoons with him at Myrna’s hostel where I was staying. For most of my time that I was in Huanuco, Jose was with me. Every time I have gone to Huanuco this little one follows me everywhere. Each time I write in his soul "Jesus loves you". He wanted to give me a little chick as a present but I couldn’t bring it so he gave me a little rock. This time I took him to the dentist and his tooth was saved. A charitable organization (Caritas) has made this very affordable, still difficult for people that has so many kids, no regular work and make so little.

It is a privilege for me to write in the little souls of children about Jesus love. The same way wounds and traumas that take place in childhood are so hard to heal or erase, the love of Jesus will make them strong in life. I did not visit any priest or bishop in Huanuco as I had gone unexpectedly and mainly to return Ruth. This time in Peru my priority was to take it easy with my own family, but I just have to "trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean in my own understanding".

I’ll be with the kids at "Las Columnas" (downtown Lima) next Wednesday. We will be singing carrols and celebrating Christmas with a living nativity, hot chocolate and paneton (sweet bread with raisins). I haven’t gone to Huangascar but the work continues.

My heart was with all of you at the LJH Christmas celebration but especially with my dear Alvina.