Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blessings and a Butterfly


 All 26 of us arrived safely with luggage and camp supplies after midnight, Saturday January 3.  We spent Saturday in Lima and then caught the evening flight to Trujillo.  Sunday we worshiped at the Wichanzao church in the morning where Ephesians 1 was one of the Scripture passages.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  Vs. 3-4

The passage goes on to talk about how God loves us, has adopted us, blessed us, redeemed us through his blood and forgiven our sins, “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…”

It is because of what God has done for us…because of the love and blessings he has poured onto us that we are here in Peru to tell others of the wonderful news of what Jesus has done for us.  It is also the reason that we have adopted Karina…because of what Christ has done for us.

Oh, how we miss her……soon.

Sunday after church we ate lunch with most of the missionary families in a park near their homes.  It is a blessing to be with these families and see their love for God and the people of Peru, to see their sacrifices and their joy.  They are an example and encouragement to us.

We are blessed to know them.

Sunday evening we worshiped at the Larco Church and then ate supper in Allen and Sandi Smith’s home where we had my favorite cake:  Tres Leches (Three Milk Cake)…the best cake in the world is here in Peru.  We also had Black Jungle Cake for SaraCaroline’s Birthday – she is the youngest team member and is here with her mother, Carrie.

While at the Smith’s we had a wonderful time of worship together as a team, singing and praying together.

Monday was training day.  The 26 of us joined about 35 Peruvians (most were with us last year) to prepare for the details of running camp.  The reason that the churches asked us to come work with them in this children’s ministry is to assist the church in raising godly leaders through intentional sacrificial service to others.  We practiced some of the camp songs, went over the purpose of camp, walked through details of running the program, my dad, Paul, taught everyone how to share the gospel of Jesus using the wordless book and Child Evangelism Fellowship materials – then had everyone practice on each other, went over rules for campers, advice on caring for the kids while at camp and spent time in prayer.  

We then had a delicious Peruvian feast with rice, French fries, a beef/vegetable mix, an incredible pepper sauce, Inca Kola and ice cream.  

Next we gathered our camp supplies and headed to the Sol y Luna – the Sun and the Moon – this is the facility we have rented – to make final preparations for camp and then it was off to the Hogar de Esperanza (House of Hope).  The House of Hope is an orphanage for 41 children.  Last year 15 orphans came to camp and I had been praying that God would make it possible for more to attend this year.  While at the orphanage I met with the director and she agreed to send all of the children.  I wish you could have seen the joy on the children’s faces as they found out that all of them could come to camp. 

One girl that attended last year had been told that she could not go this year and with tears in her eyes she showed us her Twin Lakes t-shirt and told us she could not come again.    When we told her that she was coming, she jumped up and down and gave us many hugs – every time she sees me she hugs me and says, “Gracias!”  Her name is Yuliana and she needs a family.  In July she will no longer be available for adoption.  Is there anyone out there that can give her a home?  Will you pray about being her mommy or daddy?

We spent a couple of hours at the orphanage playing, chasing, giving piggy back rides, swinging, see-sawing, passing out candy and stickers, laughing with the children and dreaming about possibilities.  

Twin Lakes Summer Camp, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS sent all the unclaimed lost and found clothes and shoes from last summer with us to give to the orphans.  Tuesday, many of the orphans came to camp with those clothes on.  Thanks, Twin Lakes for blessing these kids!

What a blessing it is to see the orphans here at camp.  To all you supporters that made this possible, thank you!  You have made 41 orphans so happy and given them an experience they will never forget.

Please pray about the relationship between House of Hope and Peru Mission.  God seems to be opening up some ministry opportunities for Peru Mission (and for us)!


Tuesday was the first day of camp.  We have 240 people here at Sol y Luna singing praises to God, playing, doing activities that some of these children have never done and hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have mentioned this before, but I will mention it again:  Sol y Luna is based at the feet of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon in the former capital of the Moche Empire.  The Moche were a pre-Inca civilization that ruled parts of South America.  The Temple of the Sun was the administrative center of the Moche and the Temple of the Moon was the spiritual center where human sacrifice was practiced.  If you have seen Mel Gibson’s Apocalypse, then you have a picture of what the Temple of the Moon was like.  All throughout the temple are carvings of the Decapitator – a creature with a knife in one hand and a human head in the other.  Right where we are holding camp, many years ago, people were enslaved and sacrificed to pagan gods.

Today, at the foot of this temple children are running free, laughing, playing and hearing the wonderful news of what Jesus did for them – how he lived, died and rose again for his people.

Jesus does make a difference.  Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us.

After camp we took a nice break by going to the beach and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and black sand.  A few of us braved the cold water – even in the summer the water in Trujillo is cold…but not as cold as the Black Sea is in December…but that is another story.


Today, Wednesday, is the second day of camp and I am sitting in a corner of the open air dining area.  Last year and yesterday I ran most of the details of camp but today it has all been turned over to the Peruvian staff and they are running everything from welcoming the campers to starting and stopping activities, deciding the daily schedule (the schedule is a living schedule – it changes from one moment to the next…it is Peru), running snack and lunch – the only thing an American is doing is helping lead worship (Allen is just amazing leading this and he has assembled a great Peruvian worship team).  It is exciting to see that just in our second year and second day of that second year camp is running without an American leadership team – we are here if the Peru leadership wants us but they are in charge.  That was our goal from the beginning:  Equip them to do this ministry.

In front of me children are making bracelets and key chains using beads the colors of the wordless book.  To my right, the worship team is praying together preparing for assembly after lunch.  Beyond them the youngest children at camp have started eating rice, chicken, avocado, salad and drinking Inca Kola Coke and Sprite.  Avocado from Peru….simply amazing.  As I look straight ahead beyond crafts, the pool is full of playing children.  Tuan, on staff with Twin Lakes, is in the middle of the pool and has a line of children behind him anxiously awaiting him to toss them through the air.  I do believe that the pool is the most favorite activity for the campers.


To the left of the pool is Super Fun Games with a giant parachute and inflatable water slide…continuing on is the soccer field where the children are learning different sports.  Above sports is archery and face painting – face painting is another huge hit with the kids…they love being painted on.  To the right of face painting is horseback riding. 

I walked around camp to see how things were running and as I returned to the dining area the Peruvian Camp Directors were talking.  

They told me, “The children will be sad when this is over.”

One of the Camp Directors is also a pastor here in Trujillo and he said, “You are always welcome to come here…and this invitation is not just from these churches (in Trujillo), this invitation is from the presbytery, from the denomination.  We are glad you have come.”

I started writing this on Wednesday…now it is Thursday and we are wrapping up another great day of camp.  Each day we move closer to our goal.  When I arrived I told the Peruvian leadership staff to act like I was not here at all…not even to give advice.  I told them to make all decisions…so that is what happened….I have not been involved in any decision making or details of camp and the Peruvians ran it all!!  This is so good.  Not only did this accomplish one of our goals to let the Peruvians do this camp ministry on their own but it gave me time to meet with some of the Christian Missionary Society missionaries and we were able to open up an entire new branch of outreach for the organization (CMS is branching out beyond Peru) and develop a new position for the team that is really needed (more on this later).


Today almost every child recited the verses they have learned this week by memory.  It has been special to see their enthusiasm for learning God’s Word.

Tomorrow – Friday- is the last day of camp.  The US team will only be here for half of the day and none of us will run any aspect of camp.  It will totally be done by our Peruvian friends - another major step toward equipping them to do camp ministry without us.  We leave camp at 1PM and then we will go back to the hotel, gather our belongings, head to the airport and fly to Lima and then home…arriving Saturday.  Today the Peruvian leadership told me that when we leave the Peruvians will cry.

We will return.

Blessings…God has blessed us that we may be a blessing to others.  Thank you First Presbyterian Church, Jackson; thank you Twin Lakes; thank you Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Peru; thank you Larco, Wichanzao and Arevelo churches in Trujillo; thank you Peruvian staff; thank you Peru Mission; thank you to all of you who came on this trip; thank you missionary families; thank you to all of you who financially supported this trip; thank you to all of you who are praying.  It is a large group of people that God has put together to pull off camp.  Thank you…lives are being changed.


A butterfly.

One of the team members on this trip is Tasha.  Tasha is from Ukraine and knows Karina.  Just before she came to Peru, Tasha called one of the teachers at Karina’s orphanage to see how Karina was doing with Sheila and I no longer there.

Her teacher said, “Karina is like a butterfly fluttering around the orphanage.  She is oblivious to everything around her, smiling….she is so happy to have her family.”

Our dear butterfly…we will see you again in 12 days…soon.

1 comment:

  1. Reading about your "Peruvian feast" brought back incredible memories from my trip, we ate that same meal at least 3 or 4 times in our 10 days there, and it was AMAZING! We even had it with eggs one time. And looking at your pictures makes me want to go back even more than before, if that is possible. It is a great thing you guys are doing down there and I hope one day my husband and I can be a part of it. Hope things are well!