A cultural experience

Early this morning I found out that our former “cuidante” had passed away. His granddaughter stopped by the house to tell me and to invite me over to pay my respects to the family.  We knew this man, Rocendo, from the first house that we rented when we came to Cusco.  He, his wife Felicita, and his granddaughter Monica took care of the property that the house was on.  He had been sick for sometime now so his passing did not come as a surprise.  I went over to visit with the family this morning.  When I got there Monica invited me in and said to follow her.  As I entered the bottom part of an unfinished house I walked through a couple of burlap sacks (hung as a dividers) and to my surprise Rocendo’s casket was there with a few other people sitting around it.  I paid my respects to the family and then they had me sit down in the same room. (Now I was expecting just to talk a little and pray with the family.)  I talked with the people there for a few minutes and then they brought me some soup to eat.  I tried to tell them they didn’t have to go to the trouble but it was to no avail (especially since they were the ones who had lost the loved one).  So, I looked down at the soup to see what I was about to eat and my stomach started turning as I saw what seemed to be different parts of a sheep in the soup.  I assumed it was sheep because when I walked in I saw a sheep’s head (freshly severed) along with the rest of its body hanging on some cinder blocks.  I ate as much of the soup as I could so as not to offend the grieving family and then told them I was full.  It was quite a different experience from any type of visitation or funeral that I have ever been to in the U.S.  The family was still waiting to get papers from the Municipality in order to bury him.  As soon as they got permission they were going to go and dig the whole themselves to bury him.  The saddest part is that I do not know if Rocendo was a saved man.  I had talked to him and his family in the past and shared with them the gospel but do not know if he knew Jesus as his Savior.

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