Christian missionary and author, Elisabeth Elliot once wrote, “The important thing is to receive this moment’s experiences with both hands. Don’t waste it. Wherever you are, be all there.” I feel like this is the perfect picture of how our team spent our third and final week serving with Gamaliel Church in the seaside town of Pachacutec.
On this eventful week, the Living Missions Peru staff had the privilege of serving alongside a youth group from Rising Church in Georgia lead by Ryan and Brittany. Although the Rising Church youth group was the smallest team we served with this summer, their enthusiasm and commitment was unmistakable! Our mornings were filled with various ministry opportunities: from painting fences and newly constructed classrooms, to encouraging and sharing Christ’s love with local families on prayer walks, to sharing our faith through market evangelism. Personally, my favorite morning ministry activity was helping out in the kindergarten classroom with another girl from the Georgia team!
Our afternoons were focused on Children’s ministry, and at 2:00pm each day our Vacation Bible School sing-a-long songs rang out through the streets like an alarm calling and inviting the neighborhood children, "Come play and learn about Jesus!" Ryan’s youth group students held nothing back during this VBS time with the children. They played soccer until they were out of breath, danced like it was going out of style, and fully committed to acting out Bible stories, giving the children a picture of our Loving Jesus.
For the Living Missions staff, knowing this was our final week in Pachacutec was our motivation to “be all there.” We didn’t want to waste a single precious moment, knowing there were not many ‘tomorrows’ left.
Ridge Spring Baptist is my home church and was my original connection to Living Missions Peru. In May, the team had a fundraiser for their mission trip. A former Clemson and NFL football player, Woody Danzler, came to give his testimony to all who came. The event was well advertised and we were expecting a larger crowd. Unfortunately, only two people came to the fundraiser. We were all very disappointed, but Mr. Danzler saw an opportunity to motivate and encourage the team directly. After Mr. Danzler's message, we were all even more excited and motivated to serve God in Pachacutec, Peru. Before Ridge Spring's trip even started, we saw God working in ways we could not understand. We could see God making good things out of what we might call "bad situations."
I left about a week after the fundraising dinner to begin my internship with Living Missions Peru. After serving with a few teams in Peru in June, Ridge Spring came to Peru to serve the first week in July. The leaders of the Ridge Spring team had very big shoes to fill as the previous leader of the Peru trip, Andy, would not be coming this year.
Throughout the trip, the leaders of the team--Brian, Peden, as Tanya--showed an admirable trust in the Lord as they stepped into unfamiliar territory leading the team. Once again, God provided for the team in a situation that many people may have found difficult.
The team members of Ridge Spring showed outstanding enthusiasm on their mission trip. I know that many of the team members initially struggled with the idea of going on prayer walks. Halfway through the week, I realized these very people were repeatedly choosing to go on prayer walks so they could improve their abilities to share the Gospel with others. These enthusiastic attitudes encouraged me everyday.
After their work days in Pachacutec, the team had very long team meetings in the evenings. In these meetings, they would enthusiastically worship God, even though they were tired from working all day. After that, they would talk about their work day and give each other words of encouragement.
God gave the Ridge Spring Team many gifts. He provided courage to the leaders of the team who had big shoes to fill, He instilled enthusiasm in the team members, and He gave the entire team the ability to love the people of Peru in God's name.
I hope that everyone from the Ridge Spring team had a great time on their mission trip. I hope they saw God working through them. Thank you all for a great week!
- F.W., intern
This year marked 11 years of Christ United Methodist, my home church from Jackson, Mississippi, working with Gamaliel Church in Pachacutec, Peru. After already personally seeing 6 years of partnership between the two churches, it was such a privilege to spend my 7th and potentially final year in Peru as an intern working with both churches. While my time at Gamaliel may have come to an end, it seemed to be a year of new beginnings for Christ United and Gamaliel. With a new youth minister leading the team from Jackson and many new and younger students joining in the partnership, this year's trip promised great things for the future.
One of the most incredible parts of working with the Jackson team this year was helping lead prayer walks and home visits. Watching high school students help lead people to Christ and invest time in new relationships was refreshing and inspiring. In one instance, we met a girl at the very end of a walk after almost deciding not to go due to lack of time. But the students on the walk were able to relate with the girl about family problems, encouraging her and sharing scripture. This experience was so rewarding not only for the girl, but for the students as well, who continue to keep up with the girl through Facebook. In another instance, a home visit in which we planned to share our faith ended in a very different fashion. A woman named Nanci, who was born blind, shared her incredible story of faith with us, teaching and inspiring us much more than we could have done for her.
While it was great seeing so many new faces, it was also great to see continued growth in the relationships between CUMC students and kids from Gamaliel. For some students, this was their third or fourth year coming back to Peru, and seeing them continue to serve year after year gives me much confidence in the future of the partnership between Christ United Methodist and Gamaliel. Pastor Sergio from Gamaliel Church shared his future plans with us to build more classrooms on multiple floors and to build a soccer field. I know that even though I may not be returning next year, that the relationships there, as well as the construction projects, will continue to grow and shine light on both the community of Pachacutec and the students of the church from Jackson.
- H.F., intern
We have a busy month this month, and we are thankful for so many brothers and sisters in Christ who will be serving with us in the days and weeks to come.
Our first mission trip of the month was a team from Canada. This is their fifth time serving with us in Peru. It's always great to have them back, eh! You can click here to see pictures of their trip.
The team had their hands busy working on construction projects at the school, visiting homes and schools in the neighborhood, helping out at a local children's home, and putting on VBS in the afternoons.
Three ladies from the team put on special teacher training workshops for the teachers at Gamaliel School. This is the second set of workshops the ladies have put on at Gamaliel, and the teachers are all so grateful!
While the Canadian team was in Lima, a team of college students from Atlanta were serving with our partner church in Cusco. The team participated in drama evangelism in local markets, put on youth group programs for the youth at the church, and visited a local youth detention center. They also did some painting at the church and put on VBS for the children in the community. Click here to see pictures of their trip.
We are looking forward to serving with two more teams later this month: a team of college students from Prattville, Alabama and a team of high school seniors from Atlanta, GA. Please pray that the Lord would continue to work through us and through these teams, and that He would be glorified!
Thanks to a group of women from Wisconsin, many seeds of the Gospel were planted last week in Pachacutec. It was an encouraging and uplifting week for so many women both at Gamaliel church and in the surrounding community. It was amazing to see how barriers of language and culture were so quickly broken down and how the women so naturally made connections and built relationships with each other. Through crafts, songs, games, Bible studies, and small group discussions, the women had a chance to open up to each other and share about their lives, their families, and their faith.
Please continue to pray for the women of Gamaliel church, who will continue leading women's meetings over the weeks and months to come. Their desire is to continue building the women's ministry at their church and reaching out to their friends and neighbors in the community with the love and hope of Christ. Pray for wisdom, strength, and passion as these women serve!!
To see pictures of our week on Facebook, click here.
Thank you for your continued prayers!
We are counting down the days until our first mission trip of the year! We are looking forward to hosting a returning team of ladies from Wisconsin who will be working at Gamaliel Church in Pachacutec.
I can still remember back in 2010 when the ladies first contacted us about a mission trip. "We are just a small group of women," they told me. "Is there anything we can do in Peru?" I could hardly contain myself from screaming "YES!!!!!" At the time, we had been praying for months about the women's ministry in Pachacutec. We knew that there were many women who needed community and needed to hear about Jesus, but we weren't sure how we could help. The answer to our prayers came in the form of this small, but determined group of women from Wisconsin. The ladies put on women's workshops to reach out to the women in Pachacutec. It was truly a special week! (Click here to read more about their trip in 2011.) It was so clear that the Lord had called these women to Peru in His perfect timing.
This year a few of the ladies are back, and they are joined by a few more ladies who will be joining us for the first time. The ladies will be putting on the second edition of "Una Semana Para Nosotras" -- workshops to teach women about what it looks like to follow God as a women, a wife, a mother, and a friend. Our work starts on Saturday!
Please join us in praying that God will use this coming week to transform women and their families! We pray for meaningful relationships to be formed so that women can connect, encourage each other, and spur one another on.
Thank you, prayer warriors!
Way back when, Gamaliel was just a sandy hill and a vision from the Lord...
Years later, it's easy to see how the Lord has been working at Gamaliel! Where there once was only sand, now there stands a ministry built on the Rock. Gamaliel serves its community through a church, a Christian school, a soup kitchen for children, and a community library.
As Gamaliel Church celebrates their anniversary this month, we join with them in celebrating the Lord's faithfulness and provision. Please continue to pray for them as they grow in faith and in number!!
Gamaliel Church recently took its second mission trip! They traveled to the Peruvian province of Yauyos, where they served in the towns of San Jeronimo and Chocos.
Here are a few words from Pastor Sergio before their trip:
One of the things that I have learned -- and it has not been easy -- is where the Lord was leading us for our mission grip this year. In the first week of October, the Lord guided me to go to Huaráz with my wife Felicitas and my daughter Génesis to look for a mission field. It seemed like it was the right place, but we realized when we arrived in the village that it was not God's will for us to go there. Various things happened, and we went back to Pachacutec. We prayed to the Lord and He led us to another mission field: Yauyos (a province of Lima), approximately 95 miles (7 hours by bus through the mountains). The small villages there are called Chocos and San Jerónimo. In San Jeronimo I was able to meet Pastor Pedro, who is 75 years old. I was really struck by his enthusiasm, his heart for Jesus, and his vision to do missions. They are also constructing a House of God (their church), as you can see in the photos. They would like us to help them with that. We will go on our mission trip December 6-8.
Pastor Sergio and the missionaries from Gamaliel shared the Gospel in San Jeronimo and Chocos as they visited homes, met with church members at the local churches, and put on programs for children. They also brought donations of clothing and Christmas gifts to distribute to the families in the community. How beautiful to see Gamaliel's heart for missions and for serving others!
Please continue to pray for Gamaliel as they explore what it means to serve the Lord in their church family, their community, and beyond!
This year we have embarked on a new adventure in one of our ministry sites. We are working with a small group of 5 ladies to make children's books, which we hope to eventually sell in the US to provide support for these ladies and their families. But these aren't just any children's books - these are hand-made cloth activity books, made to be fun, interactive, and a throw-along-in-the-car-to-keep-the-kids-busy kind of thing. These books are going to be awesome!
The idea for this project came from Emilee, a friend of ours in California. Emilee has a similar activity book at her house which was hers from when she was little. Her little niece absolutely loves coming over to play with it. So we got to talking...what if we could produce these books and create jobs for people in a community in need? Awesome. So we set to work.
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.