OCTOBER 2017
Just a month after the jungle, our Quechua group, in San Antonio, planned a preaching campaign to the highlands of Moquegua where the people speak Quechua! It was an awesome trip. The main city we set off to visit is called Chojata. (Cho-ha-ta)
This city is about 5, 6 hours away from Moquegua. It's a bit of a rough trip because of the climbing altitude and constant twists and turns. To make it to Chojata you drive throughout altitudes reaching up to 5,100 meters about sea level. For just about all of us it was our first time visiting this pueblo. We were able to make plans to go because a brother from Chen Chen, a nearby congregation in Moquegua, and his family who has his own combi offered to take us. This is a huge blessing because they are not in the Quechua group, but wanted to take advantage of the time to do an unassigned territory trip with his family. What a blessing and and almost a must , because it would give us the opportunity to not only preach in Chojata but also we could make it to the 7 other pueblos that come after it as well.

In the Plaza de Armas de San Antonio with our luggage waiting for the van.

In the Plaza de Armas de San Antonio with our luggage waiting for the van.


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Along the way the scenery offers glimpses of rocky mountains, lagoons, and vizcachas. Vizcachas are small rodents related to the chinchilla. Because of their long tails and upright ears, I think they look something like a mix between a rabbit and a squirrel.These furry friends are native to not only southern Peru, but west Argentina, as well as some parts of Bolivia and Chile. I read that vizcachas residing in desert plains, such as the one we were traveling through, do not drink water but extract it from the plants they eat; for example, grass, moss, and cactus.
Fun fact: I also read that vizcachas are experts at digging underground tunnels. They can dig them up to 65 feet (20 meters) long, with up to 15 entrances and exits! Vizcachas like pretty harsh, cold, dry and rocky environments, and dwell in altitudes up to 16,400+ feet (5000 meters)! They move extremely fast, so I was unable to take pictures. But these are from Google ;)
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On the way through the desert we were able to see several herds of vicuña.

On the way through the desert we were able to see several herds of vicuña.


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The black lagoon

The black lagoon

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vicuña on the move

vicuña on the move

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Upon arrival, a couple of sisters had the assignment to look for a place for us all to stay, others had to organize our breakfast and lunch everyday. With many prayers to Jehovah, everything came together well. We were able to find decent rooms to rent out, and a comedor where a lady offered to make us lunch everyday. So all we had to do was do our best to cover all of the territory!
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To escape the rainy season we arrived during the freezing cold season instead. Lol. We had to sleep in layers, and I personally had to muster up courage just to touch the water. Brushing my teeth was even a challenge! Soo cold! That's what it's like at 3,625 meters above sea level, well it's not that high, just about half way up Mt.McKinley. Anyway, the mornings started off quite chilly, but usually the sun would come through and warm us up by lunch time. It took us just two days to cover all of the village of Chojata. Although, in past years census' show that there where at least 1000 people living here, at the end of 2017, the population was only about 700 people. And Chojata is the like the center town, the "big" town, where most people live. Everyday we were able to start good conversations, bible discussions with brochures, and do lots of invites to the meeting that we planned to have. The villagers, or townspeople, really got to know us well, and most everyone learned of our business and who we were most likely before we even reached their door. This really worked to advantage especially when spreading the news about the meeting. After a while we were repeating it to the same people over and over! Some householders responded, "Yes we heard about your meeting!" Lol.
The mayor heard about us too. And he was a really friendly cooperative guy, and was really excited about our visit. International travelers, tourists(in his eyes) coming to his town! He offered to give us a tour of a couple of attraction that are in Chojata. So on our free day, he jumped in our combi and took us to see a cave that has prehistoric cave or rock paintings. And then we went to the mirador, or viewpoint, overlooking a huge canyon where we could possibly see condors.
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More deserving ones?

One morning despite the cold, were all up and in the van at 4am, well most of us, lol, there's always one! Why so early? We planned to cover all other pueblos in the distance. Without a personal vehicle this would be difficult since there isn't always mobility to and fro. So, we stacked the boxes of literature in the back, had our Thermos' and bread, and we looked ahead see who we would find in the other villages. If you are ever in a way far away lost town in Peru, you will probably find yourself, like me, looking off at the mountains in the distance and thinking, 'what else could possibly be out there? And as you drive further and further away it seems like you are leaving the only life and civilization behind. But lo and behold, we made it to Coroice, Lloqe, Yunga, Pachas, Yalagua, y Pampilla. We were able to go to these 7 other villages around the area since we had our own transportation. We found that some people have been listening to services from other religions, mostly evangelists, but that they are pretty much sheep without a shepherd of course. It was great to see their interest in the Bible, and there desire to posses their own copies. Unfortunately, on this trip we didn't have access to many bibles, but it was nice to scope out the interest, and see what can potentially be done in the future.
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This woman from Pachas had on a Michigan shirt! lol.

This woman from Pachas had on a Michigan shirt! lol.


Sonia and Kati entered into a school and after giving a witness to the teacher and explaining what they were doing, they were able to introduce this class to Caleb and Sofia, and later pass the videos to the teachers laptop. Later the congregation learned about this experience when Sonia was interviewed during our mid-week meeting. <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' /> <br />The other picture is all of us happy to have finished preaching in Lloque

Sonia and Kati entered into a school and after giving a witness to the teacher and explaining what they were doing, they were able to introduce this class to Caleb and Sofia, and later pass the videos to the teachers laptop. Later the congregation learned about this experience when Sonia was interviewed during our mid-week meeting. :)
The other picture is all of us happy to have finished preaching in Lloque

Meeting Night

I think we all agreed that the best part of the trip was the night we held the meeting. Almost the whole week we were inviting the village and telling them that there would be a meeting, although we still had to make all the final arrangements. Once we got those squared away, it was time to make a bigger announcement. In small villages like this all the news and announcements about; for example, when they will harvest the oregano, or if there will or won't have water the next day, or when there will be certain functions or meetings etc, is announced over a loud speaker from the Municipality building. So a few of us sisters, Sonia, Loida, Elizabeth, and I, mustered up courage and went along with Brandon to see if we could get permission to announce our meeting over the loud speaker. The man in charge was very nice. After Brandon explained to him what we would be doing, he handed over the microphone! Brandon took the mic, and you heard his voice say, "We want to communicate with the village that Jehovah's Witnesses are inviting all of the people of Chojata to a meeting that will be tomorrow, Thursday at 6:00 pm in the auditorium of the municipality of Chojata. The theme of the talk given will be, 'Be Courageous, and Trust in Jehovah'.
It was pretty exciting. So all that was left to do was prepare the auditorium. We had to sweep and wipe dust away with whatever supplies we could find. I remember Sonia and I stood outside to welcome any that would come. We waited there patiently as one by one, then two by two, people started to come in! We greeted them warmly, "Imaynalla kashanki!", and ushered them down the stairs where the other sisters where waiting.

34 people from the village attended!! It was awesome to see the place we had converted into a temporary Kingdom Hall with chairs, and tables displaying our literature, fill up little by little. Brandon gave the talk in Spanish (since he was still learning Quechua) and Eusevia (our native Quechua speaker) translated it into the language of the people. Amazing! We each made sure to sit next to one of the visitors so that we could show them scriptures read from the Bible. I was glad to have my iPad so that I could make the letters large, since most of them were older ones. After the talk we showed all the videos we had from the organization on the screen, by way of the projector. It was too cute seeing the little mamitas y papitos get so excited about the videos. Later they started to take out their little super outdated phones so that we could pass them videos. One of the sisters was so zealous about passing videos that, she deleted all the music files from one mans phone so that there would be space! Well hopefully he really comes to appreciate spiritual things more, he probably didn't even notice. Lol.

Here Brandon is giving the talk about Confidence in Jehovah with David and Goliath

Here Brandon is giving the talk about Confidence in Jehovah with David and Goliath


Here you can see the people watching the video, What is God's Kingdom in Quechua Cusqueño, being shown on a projector by way of a tablet

Here you can see the people watching the video, What is God's Kingdom in Quechua Cusqueño, being shown on a projector by way of a tablet

I think the next morning we did return visits and studies, and then had to say goodbye to the village that had treated us so well.

On the way back to Moquegua we stopped in Chilligua (4,530 meters or 16,732 feet above sea level) to eat at place that sells fresh trout from the river with potatoes and fried cheese. Very popular food in these parts.
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Overall, even with the challenges we faced, it was an amazing time! Our Quechua group became closer to one another, and we were happy and satisfied to have traveled so far with hopes to return someday, and very pleased to be able to spread seeds in this isolated territory.
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Thanks for reading and checking out the pictures! Sending lots of love to my friends, family and international brotherhood!

This featured blog entry was written by TenekaCJ from the blog Serving in Peru, South America.
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By TenekaCJ

Posted Sun, Feb 24, 2019 | Comments