The second team of our intern season was from Alabama. The week, on paper at least, was very much like any other summer: five or so days of site ministry, a day of city touring, and then send the team back to the states. Piece of cake. Until three of our interns are taken out of commission by illness (nothing serious, mind you, just enough to keep them in bed for a few days). Then, to cap it all, our head translator falls sick as well and can't come to the site either. With our numbers suddenly cut in half, and short a leader to boot, we begin to scramble. Who's going to go cover for prayer walks today? Who's going to help put up poles in construction? Who's going to translate for the Gospel message? Who's going to lead the VBS songs? You get the picture. Now, remember, this is only our second team of the summer, and we are just getting comfortable walking on our new legs, when the rug is pulled out from under us (or so it seems). We needn't have worried, of course, because God's plan was absolutely supreme. Not only did every mission activity go just as planned, either planned by us or by Him, but also many times they exceeded our expectations. We slowly regained members of our family, for we had come to see each other as a family already, and by the end of the week we were nearly whole. (One intern's sickness was just so stubborn!)
The week of ministry culminated in what the local church called an evangelism night. So during every prayer walk and ministry opportunity throughout the week, we--team members, church members, interns and translators--invited people to join us for a meal and a night of teaching, sharing, worship and fun. As someone who finds door to door evangelism not only difficult, but also downright daunting, I was, to say the least, concerned about this night of evangelism. But as we began preparing for the service alongside the church members and staff, I began to see that this way of doing things was not just Biblical, it just plain made sense.
Here, in a community outside of Lima called Santa Clara, a church was doing it right: being the city on a hill. Here I saw the church, partnered with and empowered by other members from half a world away, reaching out to the community, offering food for those who were hungry, rest for the weary, and a hope for those who had none. The best part: I knew this wasn't just a once a year thing. I know that this church continually offers events to the public, partners with the leaders in the community to perform service projects, and always opens their doors to anyone who is willing to come.
I was floored. Down four folks to start with, and then finishing still short one person, things came together perfectly. We were allowed to glimpse at the way that God is working through a small church in Santa Clara, Peru for the furthering of His Kingdom and His Glory. He was never worried about our lack of people. God's plan was supreme. God's plan is supreme. God's plan will be supreme. We got to be a part of that plan. We are a part of that plan and always will be. Praise be to God.
- C.C., intern
My first week of work as a Living Missions intern was in the jungle town of Pucallpa, at a church called El Refugio de Esperanza (The Refuge of Hope). The first day or so was difficult as I tried to adjust to the sometimes-difficult jungle environment. As I tried to keep up with all the kids at VBS on the first day after very little sleep, I remember thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Luckily the team from Ad Fontes Academy in Virginia had mostly been there before and knew what to expect. I saw them take on every construction project, every VBS craft, and even every volleyball game with the same energy and joy each and every day. It became quickly apparent to me that God doesn’t call us to be comfortable where we are.
One of the passages this group studied was Philippians 2:4-5, which says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” I saw this attitude in the group as they interacted among themselves, with the children that came to VBS every day, and with the leaders of the Refuge. The team members were happy to go in front of the kids and dance to the VBS songs, as well as shovel dirt for hours to build a new playground. After church on Sunday, the team even served lunch to the members of the church. It was obvious that God had given them servants’ hearts, and following their example allowed me to enjoy my first week in the jungle as I got to know Pastor Victor, Israel, and the rest of the leaders of El Refugio, as well as many of the kids who came to VBS every day. I had many similar experiences everywhere we went over the summer, but my first week as a Living Missions intern was one that I thank God for every day, and one that I will never forget.
- F.F., intern
We have had the privilege of serving in Peru since 2003. We partner with four different ministries throughout Peru: two in the Lima area, one in the Andes mountains, and one in the Amazon jungle.