It has been a joy this week to be in Cabanaconde, high in the Andes above the Colca Canyon. The village is at about 11,000 feet and is accessible by road having driven over a high pass at 16,700 feet. Fr. Alejandro, assisted by Deacon Justo, minister to this flock and to some villages on the far side of the Canyon. These latter are only accessible either by foot or mule. This week we participated in an evening of ALPHA as well as a teaching session attended by six villagers from the far side who had walked for two days to get to the San Felipe mission.
This mission was initiated by Bishop Godfrey and Fr. Clay Lein, the rector of St. Philips, Frisco, Texas over six years ago. Since that first time when the ground was consecrated teams from Frisco have built a two story ministry center. They are building a church, where we held an open air communion service. Meanwhile a general purpose room serves as a chapel. San Felipe has asked the diocese for permission to complete the church building and then they hope to generate church income by giving hostal accommodation for trekkers.
For me, one of the highlights was being able to share the gospel and give a bible to one of the local park rangers. Several of us were sitting at the canyon rim and chatting while awaiting part of the group who had gone exploring. He, Onofro, wanted to know who we were and then more about Anglican Christianity. He was thrilled to have a bible. It was a bi-lingual one that had been given to me earlier in the year by Bishop Godfrey. Onofro has promised to read and he will chat with me in October or November when I return, though by then I am sure he will have had some great conversations with Padre Alejandro. When I return he has promised to take us to the villages on the other side – we will travel by mule, I hope. What a joy and blessing. Please pray for Onofro. In this village, tradition tends to insist that people be Roman Catholic. even if nominally so.
Polly and I return to Vermont May 25 – Please pray for safe and easy travel.