Peru Missionary Surprised 50 Years Later With Alpaca On 89th Birthday
A former missionary who spent years in Peru was surprised with a real-life alpaca on her 89th birthday - the first time she had seen one in more than five decades. Jo Lee, from San Antonio, Texas, couldn’t believe her eyes as Waylon the alpaca was brought from around the side of her home to greet her. Jo lived in Peru from 1961 until 1969 with her husband, Lewis Lee, 90, after they had been appointed by the Foreign Mission Board to serve abroad. But back in her native Texas, Jo’s granddaughters - Krista Friedman, 34, and Sharon Champman, 29 - would joke with her about how much they all loved the llamas and alpacas native to Peru. Jo, having lived around them, would receive themed birthday cards and socks from her family - but for more than five decades had never seen one in person since she left South America. With the coronavirus stifling birthday plans across the country and the elderly being encouraged to social distance for their safety, Krista and Sharon saw an opportunity. Having reached out to Texas Party Animals, a company that rents time with alpacas and llamas for the likes of birthdays and weddings, the sisters were able to plan the surprise for April 6. After the initial shock, Jo was able to feed Waylon, walk him around the garden, and share photos with the animal with all her family. The story did not come to light until recently, when Loretta Hajovsky, the owner of Texas Party Animals, shared Krista's video of the surprise on the company’s social media accounts.