Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stories from Peru

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Frederick Buechner


That quote really sums up my recent week in Peru. I was there on a short term mission trip. This was my 3rd trip to Peru and it will not be my last. God really stirred up a deep passion in my heart for the country of Peru. I love the people, so full of love and kindness. I love the worship, lively, exciting and reverent all at the same time. I love the children, precious little faces full of hopes and dreams. I know that God has called me there and I only want to be where He calls me, so that is very exciting to me!


Deep hunger..... I saw deep hunger in every sense of the word. Physical hunger on the faces of children and their parents, people hungry enough to dig through trash to find scraps to eat. I saw eyes filled with hunger, a hungry soul knowing that somehow, someway there has to be more out there. I felt the hungry hugs of women desperate to feel worthy and lovable. I heard the hungry cries of lonely children whose parents have abandoned them to the streets. I heard the hungry pleas of Pastors praying for God to move and bring relief to the country of Peru. I saw and felt the hungry spirits of everyone around me. Hungry for God to move, hungry for more of God, hungry to know Him more, to serve Him more, to know more of the freedom He gives. And that's the best place to be because in Matthew 5:6 the Bible tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.


And fill us, He did!!!


Here are just a few highlights of the week:

  • 85 people were saved, accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior!

  • Service work at Hope House, a girls orphanage. We painted several rooms, doors and a ceiling. We built cement steps, a huge project that really amazed me when it was finished in 1 day!!

  • The doctor and dentist that was on our team also gave medical and dental exams to the girls at Hope House. The dentist even pulled a few teeth.

  • We spent plenty of time hanging out with the girls at Hope House. Visiting with them, giving them gifts, singing with them, playing volleyball and gave them supplies for their home. Just simply loving them.

  • Visited Villa La Paz, a clinic where many children stay who are awaiting surgery and where they recuperate after surgery until their family can care for them again. Some children live there...their families can't or won't take them back. There are very few doctors in Peru, so adequate medical care is virtually nonexistent. Dr. Larraza, who runs Villa La Paz, was a professor and surgeon at Emory Hospital and University in Atlanta. He gave up his position to start Villa La Paz and now devotes his life to the children that come through the clinic. Again, we simply spent time with the children and gave them gifts and supplies for the clinic.

  • Visited Centro Shama boys home. A boys orphanage that rescues the boys that live on the streets and under the bridges of Peru who are addicted to drugs. The boys come in, get off the drugs, go to school, have chores, learn about God and are rehabilitated. These boys are precious and very talented. They are excellent dancers and singers. They have videos, CD's and perform concerts. It was so much fun spending the day with them playing soccer, seeing their rooms, watching all their great dance routines. We gave them lots of gifts(soccer balls and cleats, toys, books, Bibles) and gave many supplies for the home.

  • Made several visits to the San Pablo area. This is an extremely poor community that is served by Iglesia El Renuevo, the church we partnered with for most of the ministry time in Peru. No running water, no electricity, many of the children had no shoes when we met them, the houses are shacks made out of discarded scraps of metal and wood, some without roofs.

  • At San Pablo we fed the children a meal on Sunday morning and then ministered with a short devotion. On 2 other trips there we played soccer and volleyball with the women and children. We gave out a lot of gifts, including shoes, toys, clothes and toiletry items. As part of our team was walking through the community they came across a group of 9 young girls who were practicing a dance routine. One of our team members explained we were there to do women's conferences to tell people about Jesus and asked if they knew who Jesus was. The girls did not know. The team member went on to explain the Gospel of Jesus and all of the girls accepted Jesus as their Savior right there! Praise God!!

  • Medical clinic for the community near Iglesia El Renuevo. The medical team (which included a doctor, a dentist and several assistants) saw over 70 patients, administered minor medical care, gave out several prescription medications as well as many over the counter treatments, gave lots of toiletry items to the patients, the dentist pulled several teeth and even had to extract 1 surgically! If doctors are rare in Peru, dentists are even more rare; so this clinic was a critical need for the community. 4 people received salvation that day also. One man said this... "I just came by here and all my needs were met. I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was sick and you helped me. And I got my spiritual needs met too!" That still brings tears to my eyes! That's just what Jesus would have done.

  • We had a leadership conference at Iglesia El Renuevo, with teaching on what it means to be a good spiritual leader in your home, church and community.

  • One of my favorite nights of ministry was the time we spent with the women of Pat's Place. Pat's Place is a home for women and children rescued from extreme domestic violence situations. We spent time with the women and children sharing stories of our lives and the forgiveness and healing we've received from Jesus. The women also shared their stories and we were able to pray for God to come in and heal their hearts. I know that God really touched those women that night!

  • While the women were ministering at Pat's Place, the men from our team were at the church having a men's conference. One of the team members spoke from Ephesians 5, teaching that Christ commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. It is so amazing to me to see the scope of what God is doing in the lives of the people of Peru. At the same time in one night, God was healing the broken hearts of the women who have been so abused and mistreated and He was also teaching the men how to love their wives! God is so good!!!!

  • We held 3 nights of women's conferences at 2 different churches. The conferences included special music, testimonies from our team members ( I was honored to share my personal testimony twice), teaching from the Bible on understanding and walking in your destiny as a Daughter of the King. After the teaching there would be a special ministry time of prayer. Our team would pray with every single women who desired prayer for any need. We saw many tears and broken hearts. We also saw God touch many lives and heal those broken hearts. This time of prayer was always extremely powerful. God is faithful to meet those who are seeking Him!

  • We had daily team devotions each morning that turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. God really ministered to me during those times, through the music and the message from my team members. God would take that time and fill my heart up with His love, peace, and joy. He would give me courage and strength and speak His love over me every morning. It was a very special time for me and the Lord.

  • We also had the privilege of praying for a house where Iglesia El Renuevo has recently started cell groups. Life groups(cell groups, small groups whatever your church calls them) are very important to me and a personal passion I have for the local church. So praying for this new direction that Pastor Jonathan is taking with his church was quite an honor for me and I loved being able to take part in that!

  • A really fun and meaningful part of our trip was right at the end. One of the girls from Hope House was having her 15th birthday. In the Spanish culture that is a really big deal! It's like a debutante party and it's called a Quinceanera. She did not want to have the party, saying that she wasn't pretty enough and that no one would want to be there. Deep down, these girls usually feel worthless and unlovable. Their parents have abandoned them and most think it's because they aren't good enough. Well, our team really showed up! One of the young men from our team escorted Maricella out into the party room that was all decorated in baby blue and white. He stood by her side while several people from our team and the house mother and father spoke words of encouragement and inspiration to her. And then he danced with her. That's when the real fun started, all the young men from our team took turns cutting in and asking for the dance! It was quite a sight to see. At the end, the young men all showered her with birthday gifts. It was a party fit for a princess!

  • We did get to have some down time too....we had a fun dinner out one night at Norky's restaurant. A popular restaurant that serves rotisserie chicken. It was delicious! We were able to shop at a fun flea market style shopping mall....lots to choose from and good deals to be found(or haggled for!). We visited a nice outdoor mall in Mira Flores that overlooks a beautiful beach and enjoyed a walk around downtown Lima.

  • But the most fun thing of all was serving God, right where He wanted me to be, right beside some amazing men and women who loved serving God too! It was such an honor and a privilege to work alongside this team in Peru, I learned so much from everyone and that takes me back to the quote.....

The place God calls me too is the place where my deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.


I know that I was created specifically for times like I just had in Peru. Introducing people to the deep, great love and freedom of Jesus Christ, sharing my story of the freedom, hope and peace Jesus has given me and being completely surrendered to the will of God brings me such deep joy and gladness that it's difficult to express but I hope one day everyone can experience it for themselves.

If you'd like to see more pictures from my trip you can follow these links to the complete album on my Facebook account: