Lilli Warkentin – an evening interview

Honest and convincing

DS: Lilli, for how many years in total have you lived in Peru?

LW: Roughly seven and a half years.  Most of my time I spent as a teacher at Diospi Suyana’s Colegio.  The last six weeks a friend and I spent in a Quechua village, as we wanted to truly experience the people’s living conditions.

DS: As a missionary teacher we did not pay you.  How did you make ends meet?

LW: I have no fixed salary, but am dependent on the willing donations of my supporters.  However, I never urged people to support me financially.  I firmly trusted God that he would provide for me.

DS: Your faith in God does you credit, but, be honest, did you ever go hungry?

LW: No, I always had more than enough so that I could even give to others.  I am 100% convinced that God cares for my needs.

DS: Did you ever regret exiting the German schooling system for so many years?

LW: Not in the slightest, since I knew that God wanted to have me here in Peru.

DS: What was your most life-changing experience during your time in Peru?

LW: Before starting at the Diospi-Suyana-School I was extremely concerned as to whether I would be able to lead a primary school class.  I simply doubted that I knew enough Spanish.  At the same time I had to temporarily leave the country in order to extend my visa.  These moments of stress were a real test of stamina for me. But I learnt that God’s power becomes so real when we feel weak and powerless.

DS: Now you are heading back to Germany, initially, however, two weeks of quarantine.  What happens then?

LW: I will spend as much time as I can with my family, as my mother is seriously ill.

DS: Do you think you might come back to Peru some day?

LW: If God definitely says “Go”, well, then of course!

DS: You believe then that something like God’s guidance really exists.  How would explain it to a non-Christian?

LW: I experience an inner certainty, a deep peace.  The process can last months.  Advice given by friends and Bible verses I come across during my quiet times point me in a certain direction.  Looking back on my life I can say that God has blessed and confirmed my path.  I think that it is important being prepared to do God’s will whatever the circumstances and not to follow self-made plans.

DS: What experiences did you have during those weeks when you lived in a remote Indian village?

LW: A friend of mine and I lived in the mountains in extremely simple conditions: a cold shower in the morning, a sheepskin thrown on some wood as a bed.  It was often drafty in the hut, especially at night.  And since the paths get soggy in the rainy season we got used to wearing boots all the time.  It sounds rather negative.  But I want to underline the fact that I consider it a privilege that I was made a part of a village community.  I regularly discovered that we often were at the right place at the right time.  I will never forget the conversations I had with the locals.  In many situations we saw God at work.  Experiencing that was very impressive for me.

DS: Do you think that the Mountain Indians suffer under their hard life circumstances and are therefore sad?

LW: Being happy in life in not dependent on external circumstances.  (S)He who experiences God being near feels safe and secure irrespective of whether one is living in a hut at an altitude of 3,500m or in a presidential palace at the time.

DS: In a couple of hours you will be on a plane Germany-bound.  The next station is clear, but the future remains hidden.

LW: That is true.  I simply trust in God that he knows the way and will lead me.  He definitely can plan better than I can.

DS: I wish you a travelling mercies and God’s blessing for your next steps.

At eye-level.  Lilli Warkentin speaking to an Indian woman.
Group photo in an adobe hut.  Social worker Debora Centner sits next to Lilli Warkentin



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