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.
This week was particularly special and challenging for me because it was my last week in Peru for the summer. My heart felt heavy knowing that at the end of the week, I was going to have to say goodbye to the loving people of Pachacutec, the Rising Church youth group, and also all of the LMP staff who truly had become my family.
On Saturday, July 19th, after finishing our morning ministry, we held a youth service at the church. After a few silly games and some great truths shared by two members of the Georgia team, Gigi, one of the LMP staff and translators who was leading the service, invited both the Peruvians and Americans to share how they had seen the Lord working in and through their lives this summer. This time of sharing and encouragement was incredible; the name of Jesus was so glorified through everyone’s stories and thankfulness. It was a blessing to be a part of such a special and intimate time.
As the week came to an end at Sweet Gamaliel church, my heart was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude! I was thankful to the Lord for allowing me to experience Peru again, for a fourth time. I was thankful for the incredible Living Missions Peru staff and interns who became my family, and I was thankful for the Rising Church team who served the Lord’s children and people with passion and love throughout the week. As I reflect back now, I am confident that our Heavenly Father is pleased with all of the seeds that were planted and all of the love that was poured out on the sandy hills of Pachacutec.
As we settle back into our lives in the states, my prayer is that along with living each day being guided by the Spirit of the Lord, we may also “Receive each moment’s experiences with both hands,” just as we did in Peru.
- L.L., 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.