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Celebrate Epiphany with the Peru Mission Network

Three Kings Day is the culmination of the Christmas season in Latin America. Presbyterians can celebrate with hot chocolate and a virtual Peruvian bus tour

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Join the Peru Mission Network, global partners, and mission co-workers for a virtual Epiphany celebration called “We Journey Together: An Epiphany Celebration and Chocolatada,” beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday.

Epiphany, which is often referred to as “Three Kings Day” in much of Latin America (Bajada de Reyes in Peru), is a time of celebration that marks the end of the Christmas season.

“Tradition, as the Bible says, tells us of wise ones who traveled from afar to pay homage to the Christ child,” said mission co-worker Jed Koball. “In parts of Peru, this has become a time to celebrate all children, with gift giving and chocolatadas. A chocolatada is much like it sounds; it involves chocolate — namely, hot chocolate. But more so, it is a time of gathering and celebrating the gift of life we share.”

The program includes pre-recorded messages and music from partners in Cusco and San Martin. Pastor Pedro Pablo Garcia of the House of God Presbyterian Church in Lima will also speak. He has been instrumental in orchestrating dozens of community kitchens in the more impoverished areas of Lima throughout the pandemic and will talk about how to honor Christ from afar with the gifts we have to share.

As in the U.S., during the pandemic, gatherings and celebrations are forbidden. Due to travel restrictions, all partnership visits scheduled for 2020 and 2021 have been postponed.

“This has left a hole in the spiritual lives of both our Peruvian global partners as well as the Presbyterian congregations in the U.S. that have grown in understanding and in love through global relationships that have grown over time,” said Koball. “Like the wise ones of long ago, we yearn to find and pay homage to the living God who sometimes calls us from very far away.”

The event will include a virtual bus tour of Peru to visit partner sites and hear messages of hope and endurance in a time of pandemic. There will be music and memories and time for fellowship as well. Koball encourages all who participate to be prompt because the first 30 minutes are carefully choreographed. The rest of the time will be facilitated (and translated) conversation with global partners.

“What we learned from the wise ones is that the journey to the Christ child is best done together, for in their coming and in their going, the wise ones never traveled alone,” said Koball. “In honor of the living God, we have discovered in our journeys together and in common mission to help create a world fit for all children. We are coming together virtually on Epiphany to renew our spirits for the year ahead.”

Emcees for the event are Koball and mission co-worker Chenoa Stock, who is serving with the Evangelical Church of Peru (IEP) and the Joining Hands Peru Network. Mission co-worker Jenny Koball, who coordinates the Peru YAV site, will also appear. The YAV program is currently taking applications for the 2021-22, in-person YAV year. March 1 is the last day to apply to serve at an international YAV site. More information is available here.

To join in this special celebration, click here.

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