17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
II Corinthians 5:17-21
This is the final blog from San Juan de Lurigancho!
Our trip has been nothing short of amazing. We reached the point in our trip where the “rubber meets the road”. Our flesh told us that we are tired and we can’t go on, but we found out that His power IS made perfect in our weakness.
Wednesday Night-“Want some fiber?”
We attended a service at Buenos Nuevos, Maria and I gave our testimonies then Brian Moyer (#10) gave a powerful message on knowing our value and not letting the situation we have been surrounded by in life limit it. Afterward, we led an alter call to let our team pray for people (as we do at every service). We saw several healings and salvations-strengthening all of our faith! After the service we got to try Peruvian pancakes with coffee! They tasted like a thinly fried funnel cake without the sugar.
After service each night, we sat around on the first floor and talked until we got tired. This time consisted of TONS of silliness! Wednesday night, while we were sitting around, fiber (of course) was the hot topic of the night and would be every day-welcome to mission trip humor! We have laughed so hard on this trip! It has been much needed! I made up a nickname for Chuck because he looks like a “Frank” so for the rest of the night we called Chuck “Frank” or “Franko”. There are too many nicknames and jokes to count!
Thursday-“Where the rubber meets the road”
We started off the day with breakfast, quiet time with God, and team worship. This worship was full of pressing in past our flesh and letting the Holy Spirit come upon us. This was where the rubber met the road.
During team devo, Alison said that we needed to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to highlight the child He wanted us to minister to us as we went to Villa La Paz (a free clinic/home for children who have major health hindrances founded by a United States Doctor who sold his practice in the states to open it). The children who live there are incredible!
As we were on the way to the clinic-Villa La Paz (about an hour away), we were pulled over by the Police and given a ticket. Apparently this is normal. Our bus driver (Edgar-the best bus driver ever) gave the police some money and we drove off, where the rubber meets the road.
As Alison encouraged us to do, we all prayed for God to place us with the exact child that He wanted us to minister to and boy did He do just that! Everyone met their “one” to pray over and spend time with. Each one of us had an experience that we will not forget. My experience was something I will always look back on and continue to pray about…at least I had my tissues this time! When we arrived at the clinic, I was instantly drawn to the older kids. There is a teacher/tutor that comes to the house each day. This time, there was a teacher instructing a few kids and teaching them English. Of course I sat down with them as I teach high school and love that age group. The students sitting at the table were those of visible hindrances-such as burns from head to toe as well as hidden hindrances. It was unavoidable to notice that one of the kids was being a "little" disruptive-meaning he was taking the scissors and trying to CUT his classmates, as his teacher proceeded with English words such as “cook” and expecting them to give her the Spanish translation. This student had no visible hindrances, was wearing a soccer jersey, looked to be about 12 years old, and reminded me of one of my students in the states—he was SO cute but definitely frustrated the teacher! When the teacher was done with the lesson, I asked her his name, and she said his name was “Frank”! (Refer to Wednesday night.) The Holy Spirit let me know that "Franko” was my “one”. Of course I jumped up and went and found him. We got some amazing pictures and laughed a lot despite the language barrier. As far as I was concerned, I was just thinking that Frank was there recovering from an injury-soccer perhaps-as he seemed active and vibrant. When we were eating lunch with the kids and staff at Villa La Paz, I asked the manager there (her name is Liberty-and she is AMAZING) “Why is Frank “hanging out” here?” This is where my heart dropped…..
Liberty said that Frank has an inoperable heart condition and he has to live by the beach and not in the mountains. She said that he has to live there for the next three years until his heart stops. Of course I asked, “Well, what happens when his heart stops?” I’ll never forget the look on her face when she told me that he is on a transplant list in Peru but no one really donates organs in Peru. I immediately jumped up and ran out of the dining area and balled…of course. A lot of things went through my mind, but as I ran out of the room, Debbie said “Sarah, pray.” I began to do just that and remembered that God placed me there with Franko and that I needed to go to war on his behalf…where the rubber meets the road. Chinique and I laid hands on his heart and prayed for a new heart. We had faith, we prayed, and we believed that he received a new heart. Come to find out—Frank is actually 16, even though if you remember, he looks 12.
The best part is, Frank is truly living—he’s not moping around about his situation. After we prayed for him, we took him out to the bus where he and the other older boys headed off to school…. where the rubber meets the road. I know that Frank is making an impact at school as well as on us.
Its stories like these and encounters with the Holy Spirit that happened all day for all of us. Be sure to ask the team member(s) you know about their time at Villa La Paz. We had a powerful team prayer then headed back to Pat’s Place.
At night we went to the Iglesias Evangelica Pentecostal Del Peru for worship. Kayla and Jana gave their testimonies which both had to do with God awakening their dreams. They both had a joyous response and tears in people’s eyes. The church was holding a women's conference so of course our guys got to sit in the back, near the food! Alison brought the house down with a powerful word about giving your dreams to God and letting Him walk it out rather than seeking approval from the world-or even other christians...after all, when you are in Christ and He in you...your dreams are actually His!
We went back to Pat's Place and of course laughed and laughed-about fiber I'm sure!
What an amazing day!
Friday is when the days started feeling like they were going at a super sonic speed.
At 6:30 a few of us got up, walked to the local soccer fields and worked out. The presence of God was so strong there--maybe because that was were the team, one year ago, led a crusade where thousands gave their lives to Christ. It was awesome!
Later on, as we went to the second floor to prepare for team worship--Thomas fell down the stairs and twisted his ankle. Of course Chuck had a field day picking on him for the rest of the trip.
During the day, half of our team painted Edgar's house (and did a pretty good job I might add especially after the amazing meal he and his wife cooked for us)! The other half went to a college (said to be like the Harvard of Peru). The team members were instructed to share about how they think the students (economical engineers) can work to improve Peru. After the team talked, the students flocked to them asking questions about math homework and boyfriends!
Friday night we got to spend time with the women at Pat’s Place. The guys took all the kids and played while us women ministered to the ladies through the ugly duckling story-connecting it to how God sees us. Corletta and Allison did a great job preparing. We read the story, made origami swans, made stained glass crosses and shared the gospel. Corletta led the prayer of salvation and four women prayed it for the first time (to receive Jesus into their hearts). We were all crying happy tears....of course with no tissues. After all, the angels were rejoicing!
I say all of that without saying that Peru was playing in a huge soccer game vs New Zealand that would put them into the World Cup if they won. As we played with the kids and shared the gospel, we all had on bright red Peru soccer headbands with Peru stickers on our faces! I love how much pride the Peruvians have for their country! Viva Peru!
Chinique was able to take pictures of the women and children at Pat's Place so that they can be sponsored by monthly supporters. If you are interested, there will be a website up soon!
Saturday-Fiesta in the Park!
On Saturday we went to Hope House, a girls orphanage. Each one of our team members had a gift prepared for a girl there. Once we arrived, the girls introduced themselves and we gave them their gifts. After that, we played and laughed with the girls. Hope House had been chosen by a mall to supply their Christmas presents this year! The mall and media crew arrived after us so we were able to see the girls get ready for their big debut! Hope House was hard to leave. In fact some of the girls got in our bus before we did and did not want to get off. We fell in love with the girls there!
Next, we accompanied a church by doing a ministry in the park. This was a prime example of having the entire time planned out and nothing went according to plan. All of a sudden, the church was looking to us to lead games with the kids....Chuck decided to play dodgeball, girls vs. boys. Word of the wise: don't play dodgeball with toddlers who speak a different language than you with soccer balls and in a field of dog poo. It was perhaps the most funny part of the day but it was a disaster! All of the boys got out at once by running towards the girls with the balls. It was hilarious!
After dinner at a local Peruvian Restaurant, we led a youth night where the kids moved the chairs to the side to dance during worship. Thomas could have had a concert on his own because the youth LOVED his talent! Chuck gave his testimony then Donte and Chinique did a skit about giving Jesus their heart. They all did amazing! After the skit, Donte gave a teaching on trusting my the Lord and "tuning in" to Him! Afterwards, Brian S. (aka Big B) preached on "real Christianity". There were salvations and restored hearts.
Our final day consisted of worship at Centro De Alabanza.
Alison gave a message on living in the fire of God. It was amazing. The response afterward was expectant and fruitful as the congregation all came up for prayer. Fuego is fire in Spanish-what we were praying for people-however-Brian S. thought it was "fleggo" which of course he found out after he prayed that over many people...hilarious!
In the afternoon we went to Miraflores to see the beach and have a fun day! We then went to the Indian market and shopped our hearts out! It was awesome! While we were there, we bargained with the sellers, we laughed and laughed and laughed!
After shopping we went back to Pat's Place, packed up, then watched a performance that the children put together for our departure. There were lots of tears and hugs!
As we sit here in the airport, reminiscing on the trip: there are two things needed on a mission trip....fiber and gold bond! We think about the practical items so we won't think about the pieces of our hearts that are left in Peru. Jesus sees each and every person, His love is ALL around--stop and notice! God's presence has a brand new meaning to me now. What a great experience...be home soon!