By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Friday, May 20
The U.S. members of Mission: Peru returned to their homes and families late this afternoon. Tired but feeling blessed to be a blessing during this 12-day Evangelic Expedition.
“Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” — Psalm 115:1
Thursday, May 19
We are homeward bound, having made the eight-hour drive from Huaraz to Lima to catch our overnight flight back to North America. Four airports and this part of Mission: Peru is complete. But the groundwork for Climbing For Christ ministry in the Cordillera Blanca has only just been put in place.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” — Psalm 89:14
Wednesday, May 18
As we hiked toward Huandoy Este’s magnificent 3,300-foot (1,000-meter) face on Tuesday, Edwin was walking ahead of me. Edwin climbed that face just like his father before him. But it wasn’t the face of the mountain I was seeing. I was seeing the face of a C4C-sponsored mountaineer.
This notion — delivered, I believe, from the throne room of God — was discussed during our C4C Peru planning meeting today. Edwin, Jaime, Jordan and I were looking at the many opportunities God has laid out before us these past eight days.
Jaime Servat, left, and Edwin Milla — C4C Peru’s newly appointed co-leaders.
Tonight, when 15 people — including seven current and three prospective members — met at the C4C Peru “home office” in Edwin's house, we introduced C4C’s new missionary to Peru (Jaime) and our sponsored climber (Edwin). They will team up to co-direct C4C Peru.
The missionary and the mountaineer; it is a partnership in climbing that was made in heaven.
Among the many things discussed in our planning meeting was a visit to a village that it is another two hours of driving and three hours of trekking past Yanama. It will be the first survey of many to remote mountain villages to find unevangelized or undiscipled people in the Cordillera Blanca.
Our goal is to index the spiritual and physical needs in these places — with Peruvian members going on the survey trips — and then come up with a game plan for serving the lost and the suffering. This will lead to Mission: Peru 2012, which will be held sometime between May and September 2012.
There are many other opportunities under prayerful consideration. We just know that God has blessed our hiking socks off on this trip.
After a two-hour C4C Peru gathering, we had a sumptuous feast — prepared by Joseph Milla, a mountain cook and Edwin’s younger brother. It was a fitting last supper as this Evangelic Expedition nears its end.
Tuesday, May 17
On our way out of the Yanama District we stopped in Chalhua and delivered two boxes of food the team did not use during its visits to mountain villages in the Cordillera Blanca. We gave one to 9-year-old Alison and her grandparents and the other to Pastor Isabel and her family of 10. Then it was “adios” and we continued down the road.
The team treks toward Huandoy (20,955 feet/6,350 meters). In photo (from back toward front of line) are team members Jordan, Jesse and Edwin. Edwin, a mountain guide, counts among his ascents the 3,300-foot (1,000-meter) face of Huandoy Este.
We stopped at about 15,000 feet (4,545 meters) after going through the Portachuelo Pass and started a four-hour trek between the 5,000-meter peak Yanapaqcha (18,018 feet) and the 6,000-meter Chacraraju (20,170 feet). It was a mostly clear, sunny day with blue skies highlighting the white snow on the majestic peaks surrounding us. We walked in awe of the God Who created this indescribable beauty.
We descended out at 13,000 feet and continued our dusty, bumpy ride for another three hours back to Huaraz, where we will spend the next two nights..
Much has happened in a short time (seven days) in Peru. It is rare for a survey trip to produce such bountiful results. We give all thanks and praise to God, who prepared the way.
We have a great deal to pray about, consider, and plan. The C4C Peru members, especially those from Huaraz who have been major players in this Evangelic Expedition, are a great blessing to the work that has been and will be done.
We will be meeting, praying and planning on Wednesday for what the Lord will have us do next. It is an exciting time in Peru and just the beginning of Climbing For Christ’s ministry in South America.
“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:10
Monday, May 16
Only God knows the hearts of those with whom we have shared. But at least seven people prayed for salvation and another recommitted his life to Jesus in the remote, dirt-poor mountain village of Chalhua (11,900 feet/3,625 meters).
The soul saved by the Spirit that moved us the most was 9-year-old Alison Moreno. Alison’s mother is in the hospital in Lima suffering from epilepsy and her father deserted her. Alison is living with her maternal grandmother and grandfather. The grandfather, a drunkard, claimed to want Jesus in his life and we prayed for him.
The child who stole the team's heart.
Alison spent much of the day with us, singing to us with the voice of an angel and eating a lunch of pan-fried fish and potatoes by our side. She took Jesse and Jaime with her to do chores with the family’s sheep. We will try to get her to Lima (about a 14-hour drive away) to see her mother, Taina, when Jaime goes to see and pray for Taina.
We were guests of Pastor Isabel Obregon, who has had a house church here for two years. There is a small, but growing (especially after today - praise the Lord!) body of believers. We walked around the village of more than 1,000 handing out all our New Testaments and scores of tracts. We shared Jesus with many and some responded. It was an answer to our morning prayer to “give ’em heaven” in Chalhua.
Pastor Isabel and Pastor Santos Florentino Ortego, who oversees the Assembly of God churches in the district and traveled with us to Yanama, requested assistance in building a church. We told them before evangelizing the village that it was our prayer that they would need a large church by the end of the day.
The land where a proposed church (the first) for the village of Chalhua would be built with C4C's help. Contrahierbas, a 19,918-foot (6,036-meter) peak, stands in the background.
We were shown the land for sale next to Isabel’s home. It would cost about US$1,800 to purchase. Pastor Florentino estimated the cost of building a church at US$6,000. We told them we would take this request to the Lord.
Normally, 22 people worship in the church at Chalhua, but tonight we outgrew the house-church setting and worshiped with more than 60 under a full moon at the “church in the field.” Several of those who accepted Jesus earlier in the day attended, which warmed us on a cold night.
Sunday, May 15
The road to Portachuelo Pass.
We left Musho and made a seven-hour drive up and down a curvy mountainous dirt road to more remote and poorer villages on the other side of the Cordillero Blanca. The drive took us through the Portachuelo Pass at 15,700 feet (4,767 meters) with jaw-dropping views of His creation. We were surrounded by 6,000-meter (20,000-foot) peaks Huascaran, Chopicalqui and Huandoy as well as numerous 5,000-meter (16,500-foot) peaks, and looking down on turqoise-colored high-altitude lagoons.
A precious child we gave a ride to on the way to Yanama. Her mother and brother were with her. Turns out they are one of the two Christian families in Chalhau, a village of more than 1,000.
The drive brought us to the town of Yanama (11,200 feet/3,400 meters), which is located near one of the villages we will evangelize — Chalhua (11,800 feet/3,575 meters).