Sister Henderson, who is the Mission President's wife, posted an update on the past weeks activities in the Huancayo Mission. There have been several missionaries who have had difficult times leaving to go home and travel into the mission, and she gives a report on why this has been so difficult. While her comments are mostly directed towards the families of missionaries who's return trips have been postponed, Heramana Blanca was caught up into this excitement (as was seen by her last post Stuck in the Mud). Here are Sister Henderson's comments.
The difficulties of simply leaving Huancayo continue. Some background. We have one very small airport in Jauja, an hour away. It has two flights a day, at 6:30AM and 4:30PM with small 30-person planes.
There are no navigation aids at this airport, so when it rains, the plane from Lima cannot land. This airport is so small that when planes land/take off men are sent out along the runway to keep the cows, sheep, etc. off the runway. There is also a 15k (33lb.) baggage weight limit because of the size of the planes and the thinness of the air at 11,000 ft. where we live which kept your daughters Marnie Law and Marilee Reese Silvester off the plane on Tuesday afternoon. The airline folks said that either everyone could leave with only 15k of luggage, or that three people could stay behind and the other three sisters could leave with all their luggage. Sister Paisley, Sister Silvester, and Sister Witt kindly offered to stay behind so Sisters Moss, Salinas, and Osgood could leave.
This is why we usually send missionaries on the bus; no worries about rain preventing flights and no luggage limits, but the landslide prevented that.
Due to the huge landslide, flying was the only way in and out of Huancayo for the past week, so no flights were available for the three until Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, we had 14 new missionaries arrive from Lima on three groups over two days, the last group without most of their luggage because of the weight limits. We also had to greet, train, and send these missionaries out to their new areas with their companions.
While this was going on, two men from the Lima Area Church offices drove a van with the new missionaries luggage an alternate route that was sketchy at best, and dangerous at times, that took 13 hours of tense driving, arriving in Huancayo Friday morning. The main road to Lima opened again on a limited basis Saturday.
We were also worried about the afternoon Saturday flight being cancelled because afternoon rains have been frequent and heavy this week. The van from the Area office was returning Saturday morning, and kindly offered to take Sisters Paisley, Witt, and Silvester, so we sent them off yesterday morning with big smiles, lunches, and fresh chocolate chip cookies.
Well this is Peru, and the best-laid plans can go astray. Our travelers got to the landslide at 4:00 PM and it was closed to traffic until 8:00PM, which did not give them enough time to arrive in Lima, fight the infamous Lima traffic and arrive at the airport in time.
Yes, their are several flights from Lima to the US, but all of them leave after midnight for some strange reason. My own flight for our son's wedding left at 2:45AM. So they have to wait until the wee hours Monday morning to leave. In the meantime, they are at a hotel. Since they are finally in Lima, they WILL leave tomorrow!
And it did pour yesterday afternoon, so we were correct in sending them in the van instead of the afternoon Jauja flight.
I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I thought all of you patient moms needed a full explanation of why it has been so difficult to get your lovely daughters home. The unofficial motto of our mission is "Peru Huancayo Mission: Never boring!"
It's been a difficult week for all with little sleep. We appreciate your patience. And thank you Don Love for rearranging flights yet again. All of these things have been out of our control.
May you all have sweet reunions tomorrow!!!