Practicing rest: a family holiday
A bit of a pause since the last post on rest. I have been busy practicing!
Actually, talking about rest and actually embracing it without feeling guilty are two very different things!
This year we have been trying to practice rest and one of the things we felt we needed and wanted as a family was to get away and have a holiday just the five of us! Being missionaries and having family who live on different continents means that we have often got to travel internationally in the last decade, and when family and friends have visited Peru we have also been blessed at times to get away for a few days to somewhere pretty with a swimming pool and some scenery. Those travels have been such a blessing and just what we needed at different times in our ministry. This year, however, we felt like we needed to get away as just the five of us and realized that we have never had a family holiday just our family for more than a day or two. (To be honest, until recently that idea has not sounded appealing either. Toddlers + holiday in unfamiliar location + no help = stress NOT rest.) Anyway, Mark and I having both travelled internationally in the past few months, and feeling like we just came back from the UK/US as a family (even if it was 10 months ago) made thinking about a family holiday seem extravagant, but we knew the kids needed some time just with Dad and Mum without the day to day missionary life getting in the way. Our boys deal very well with people constantly coming into their house, telling them what to do and getting into their space, but they also needed a break from Lima life. So we decided we would pray about going away and pray in the money. The boys all prayed with us, as did some other people, and we were given some money to go on holiday to complete the budget that we had already drawn up!
Our original idea was to road trip four days to Cusco to take the boys to see Machu Picchu (it is actually close to 'Aguas Calientes' on the map below) and then road trip back, but we found some cheap flights and so decided to spend just under two weeks based in and around Cusco.
Before we arrived in Cusco we had an idea of a few things we wanted to do and we sat down as a family and asked everyone what they would like to do.
Kaleb (3) wanted to eat ice cream and to see animals.
Joel (6) wanted to go to Machu Picchu and go in some caves.
Daniel (8) wanted to see the Sun Temple in Cusco and eat ice cream
Mark wanted to take the boys to Machu Picchu, have two lay-ins and go for a coffee and get some sunshine.
I wanted to get out into nature and also see the salt pits at Maras.
We actually managed to see all of those things happen! (And perhaps the lay-ins were the most miraculous!)
We emailed some fellow missionaries who we knew in Cusco and they very kindly invited us to stay with them for some of our time in Cusco and to point us in the right direction of local transport and nature spots and that was an answer to prayer too! They were invaluable in orientating us and it was great to be able to get to know them and their family, who the boys also loved playing with and taking over their toys!
In case you know nothing about Cusco, the first thing to know is that it is high in the mountains. 3,400m / 11,200 ft high. You notice the difference on your body. We noticed it the whole time we were there, although we weren't huffing and puffing so much walking up the stairs by the end of our stay! Altitude can do weird things to your body but it didn’t hit us too badly. Mark was feeling heavy and headachy for the first day and none of us slept well the first night, but after that we quickly got used to it.
On our first day in Cusco we visited the centre to check out details on getting the train to Machu Picchu and to look for the 12-angled Inca stone which we knew was around somewhere... We eventually found it on Hatun Rumiyoc Street. Had our Quechua been better we might have got there quicker. The street name means 'Big Stone'. Inca stones are impressive. I will save the details for more photos of big Inca stones in later posts (I know, I know, I am getting excited about stones), but let's just say this: they have no idea how the Incas managed these walls and people have not been able to reproduce their technique to date.
Our second day in Cusco we got out into the countryside behind our host family's house. It involved a lot of walking up hill, but that also meant a lot of walking downhill to get back!
We are all nature deficient in Lima, so getting out into the countryside is a huge thing for us! Here are a few photos of our first walk. Spot the photo of the boys not enjoying walking up more hill!
I don't know if you have managed to get away recently, but I pray that you can set some time aside to get out into creation wherever that may be! Although its slightly different from the tone of my usual blogs, for the next few posts I am going to share some more about our holiday and share a few more photos. A blog holiday pause if you will!
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