We flew into Pucallpa on Monday. Immediately embraced by the heat, we traveled to El Refugio de Esperanza (The Refuge of Hope). The next day, we got to go into a village off of the Ucayali River. We got the kids to play tag with us and then did Vacation Bible School. That day we made butterflies to represent how we are new creatures because God changes us. The same day, we went fishing for Piranhas. A few people in the group caught some! We also had an opportunity to go to a local zoo and hold anacondas on our shoulders. It was ridiculously scary!
The next morning we went to the opening ceremony for the school. It was incredible to see how the students from Rising Church were so willing to get up and lead during the ceremony. Sadly, this was the only day that we were able to do Vacation Bible School with the kids who go to the school at El Refugio. We had a busy week ahead of us!
The weekend we were there, El Refugio hosted a camp for children with special needs. Including camp counselors and our team, there were about 60 people present. The team worked really hard to take care of the kids and make sure that they had fun. Special Needs camp came packed with a festival, dance party, and a competition to keep groups active. The theme of the week was "The Love of God," and our goal was to teach all of the campers how much God loves them.
It was awesome to see how this team worked through their tiredness. This was their second week of missions, and personally I know how difficult that is. I am extremely proud of their leadership, their willingness to step up and look goofy with kids, and their persistent happiness that they showed at all times.
- K.P., 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.