Mission: Peru 2012
By Jordan Rowley
Climbing For Christ spiritual coordinator
In May 2011, God sent a team of four from the United States to the Peruvian Andes Mountains. It was a family affair. The U.S. contingent was made up of father and son Gary and Jesse Fallesen, and my brother Justin Rowley and me. We were blessed to serve alongside many of our Climbing For Christ members from Peru. It was a joy getting to know them, as well as their passion for the Lord and the lost. Mission: Peru 2011 was essentially planned as a survey trip, and we learned very quickly that the fields in the remote mountains of Peru were very ripe for the harvest.
It was during Mission: Peru 2011 that Jaime Servat became Climbing For Christ’s missionary to Peru. From 2011 through 2012 Brother Jaime has been a man on a mission, setting out for remote villages, evangelizing and ministering along the way. It was a number of these villages (and a few others) that the Lord led us to visit during Mission: Peru 2012.
In July 2012, the Lord sent Justin and me back to Peru, where we would connect with five Peruvian members of Climbing For Christ (all but one had joined us in 2011).
The team (left to right): Pastor Cesar, Justin, Jordan, Juan, Franklin, Edwin and Jaime.
We were all excited to be together again to do the work that God had prepared from before time for us. Our goals were very simple, yet very fundamental. We set out to preach and minister to the lost, encourage and edify our Christian brothers and sisters, and ultimately to bring honor and glory to the One who sent us. We planned on accomplishing all of these things in a number of ways.
Simply being there.
Even in Peru’s capital city of Lima, God blessed us with opportunities to connect with and encourage other Christians. My thought was that we were only passing through Lima on our way to the Andes, but God provided several divine appointments. One was with Brother Oscar, who came to visit us at our hotel the night we arrived. After we spoke with him into the early hours of the morning, the Lord touched his heart to pray for our team daily. He also sent many encouraging messages to us. Another one of those divine appointments was with Pastor Cesar, who the Lord moved to join our mission. He ended up being a huge asset to the team.
One other example is from our “jump-off” city, Huaraz. I didn’t plan on doing any ministry there. However, once again God had another (and better) plan. Before we headed out to our first village to minister, God ordained a meeting with a young man who was struggling with alcohol, gangs, and violence. We shared the Gospel with him for about 45 minutes and then we were blessed to pray with him to commit his life to the Lord.
Only God could have orchestrated those wonderful appointments in such unexpected places. Sometimes it’s by us simply being available that God chooses to open an opportunity to minister in someone’s life. Of course, we were also blessed to find more of those divine appointments where we were expecting them, as we served in the mountain villages of Ranraucro, Hierbabuena, Coihaharanan, Chilcabamba, Carhuapara, Chalhua and Machco.
It’s such a blessing to be able to return to a place you’ve previously served and reconnect with the people. Often times, you get to see how much they’ve grown. In spite of the fact that you may speak two different languages, it can be like reconnecting with an old friend. Last year, one of the strongest and most special relationships we developed was with Allison and her family. We were as blessed to meet young Allison as we were heartbroken over her story. We learned that Allison’s mother suffered from severe seizures. So severe, in fact, that she had to seek treatment in Peru’s capital city of Lima. At some point, her father deserted her and Allison had to move in with her grandparents. The whole team knew that God had a purpose and a plan in placing this sweet young girl and her family in our path. One of those purposes became evident right away, as we were thrilled to have an opportunity to pray with Allison’s grandfather, Eleazar, for salvation.
Since our visit in 2011, Jaime has kept in touch and visited the family a number of times. Their relationship has grown even stronger. In fact, on one of Jaime’s visits, Allison asked if Jaime would be her “papito” (daddy). Allison and Jaime have grown such a special relationship that when she grows up, Allison said that she would either like to be a missionary like Jaime, or a nurse so she can help others and take care of Jaime when he gets old.
During our mission, we returned to the village of Chalhua, where Allison and her family live. We were blessed not only to see how much Eleazar had grown with the Lord, but also to get to meet Allison’s mother, Taina, who had been able to return to Chalhua for a few weeks. The Lord gave us many opportunities to minister to and pray over Taina and the rest of the family. We also came bearing gifts from the United States. Late one night, after showing the Jesus film, we visited with the family and handed out their gifts. Although we insisted that the gifts were from God alone, the family could not stop thanking us and Climbing For Christ. It was a very special moment in which, although we are from different continents and speak different languages, we all really connected in spirit and in love. We look forward to watching God continue to develop these, and other, relationships in the future, as we have all committed to remember one another in our prayers.
Allison and her mother Taina.
Offering our prayers for the people.
God opened many doors to us through prayer. The needs are so great in the mountains of Peru. Many people in the hard-working farming communities have some kind of sickness or affliction. And it seems that most have very little time or resources to seek any kind of treatment. As heartbreaking as that can be to see, it was through these circumstances that the Lord touched many lives.
One example is that of a man named Fernando. When we heard that there was a man who was sick and bedridden not far from where we were ministering in Ranraucro, we knew that we should visit him. After trekking over to Fernando’s property, we were greeted by his wife. She invited us in and we followed her up into a small and darkened room. We introduced ourselves to him and shared about the kingdom of God for some time. Then one of our team members asked if he wanted to pray for salvation. He said yes, and so we joined together in prayer. After that, we all prayed for healing for his sickness, which we ended up learning was a complication due to a surgery he recently had. Later that night, as we were meeting with and teaching some of the local farmers in another room of this man’s home, he slowly walked out and joined the group. We all gave praise to the Lord for the healing that had begun to take place in this man. We were blessed to be given numerous other wonderful opportunities to pray for the needs of many of the people.
Laboring alongside of fellow Christians.
Often, just having another Christian to work, laugh, brainstorm, and pray with can make a huge difference in life and ministry. It was a great blessing for Justin and me to serve with our Peruvian brothers Jaime, Edwin, Franklin, Pastor Cesar and Juan. And I pray that they were blessed by us, too. In addition to our team, we were also able to serve alongside many other locals/nationals. One that comes to mind is sister Carmina.
Jaime met Carmina while ministering in Chilcabamba several months before our visit. Back then, she was one of only a handful of Christians in her village. In fact, even her husband was not saved. We learned that many Sundays, Carmina and her children would walk three hours to get to the nearest evangelical church (which it turns out we actually visited in 2011). Upon our arrival, she passionately greeted us and told us of her burden for the people of Chilcabamba. Her desire was to see God stir the hearts of her village, and of her husband. She begged us to speak to him. Of course, we were more than willing. Juan passionately and patiently shared the Gospel with him. He was very reluctant at first, but over time his heart softened, and eventually he prayed to receive the Lord as his Savior. Later that night, we all sang praises and offered prayers to our Father.
Carmina and her family.
The next day, Carmina led us to another village called Carhuapara. We trekked for about an hour under the hot mid-day sun to get there. We met with a handful of the villages 11 Christians. After speaking with the Christians, we were able to preach the gospel to one of the Christian men’s wife. Even after sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ with her for about 45 minutes, she was still not willing to confess Him as Lord. In spite of that, God still used our time to encourage our fellow Christian in the faith. Most of them ended up attending our showing of the Jesus film that night back down in Chilcabamba, where God answered the fervent prayers of Carmina, as many of her neighbors came to the Lord. After the film, we were blessed to present Carmina, the pastor from Carhuapara, and another young man named Martinez with new Study Bibles. In addition to those, we also distributed dozens of regular Bibles and New Testaments.
Purchasing and distributing Bibles.
Without a doubt, bringing the Word of God into the remote villages we visited was one of our most important tasks. We were blessed with enough support to purchase about 50 Spanish Bibles. We also bought five Study Bibles to hand out to pastors, leaders, and future leaders. While we were purchasing these at the Bible League of Peru, the man we were working with also decided to donate 50 Gospel of John study guides to our mission. In addition, another brother also donated 50 New Testaments. We could tell that the Lord had big plans for us.
A few young new believers with their new Bibles.
We brought a number of Bibles with us wherever we went during our daytime outreaches throughout the villages, and had many opportunities to give them to new believers. We would always explain the importance (and blessings) of reading the Bible. We would also give them out to those who prayed for salvation after our Jesus film presentations. It was after the film one night, in our second to last village that we ran out of Bibles and New Testaments just after the last person in line got his Bible. We praised the Lord for His perfect provision! Not only did we have just enough Bibles and New Testaments for all of the villages we served in but one, but that last village was one that we actually visited and distributed Bibles in during last year’s mission. For me, it was one of those moments when you’re surprised (but not really) by something the Lord puts together so perfectly. It’s these moments that serve as a good (or should I say perfect) reminder that God is in control of every detail of the mission.
Presenting the Jesus film.
The Jesus film was a wonderful complement to the other work we were doing. In the mountains of Peru, many cannot read either due to lack of education or poor eyesight. Many others are either not taught the true Gospel where they attend church, or do not attend a church at all. Still others were new to the Christian faith. For all of these reasons and more, the film was a great ministry tool. It offered a chance to learn the powerful and life changing truths about the life and teachings of Jesus. For those who could not read, the film essentially played out the Gospel for them. For those who were members of a church that did not teach the true Gospel, the film offered them an opportunity to hear it (maybe for the first time). And for those who were knew to the Christian faith, many of whom were saved earlier that same day, the film offered an enormous amount of Biblical truth that I’m sure shaped (and will continue to shape) their walk with the Lord.
Wherever we went and whatever the Lord called us to do each day, we made sure to invite people to our Jesus film presentations in the evenings. We were thrilled to see so many people come. Many came out of genuine hearts that were hungry to learn. Many came out of curiosity. Many came for a variety of other reasons. But whatever brought them to the film, no one left without hearing a clear and compelling presentation of the gospel.
Preaching the Gospel to the lost.
We give praise to the Lord for the many souls that were saved during our mission. In the end, this was our primary aim. In the mountains of Peru the harvest was, and is, truly plentiful. The vast majority of the people we met and spoke with were so receptive to the Gospel. It seemed that so many were ready to believe, but just needed to hear the truth. We went out into the streets and house to house bringing that truth with us. After all, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ and that alone, that can truly save a life. And it’s only the gospel that has the power to truly change a life.
Jaime sharing the Gospel.
In spite of our passionate desire that all we came in contact with would come to the Lord, of course, many choose their own path. We spoke with one woman for about an hour about the Gospel, and offered her a number of opportunities to pray, but she was simply not willing. Many we spoke with and showed the film to were not willing. Only God knows how many of the seeds we planted will eventually take root. Our prayer is for all of them to one day come to Christ for their salvation. Of course, many did, and we rejoice with heaven over every one of them!
The past two missions to Peru have proven to be very fruitful! So what does God have planned for the future? Of course, only He knows that. Nevertheless, we will pray and plan for the harvest to continue. That plan includes all of our Climbing For Christ Peru members, our missionary to Peru, Jaime Servat, and maybe you, too. In fact, one of our team members is already planning on returning to the village of Ranraucro around Christmastime to deliver some small gifts and health care supplies. In addition, Jaime will be returning to the villages we served in to do more evangelism, as well as discipleship training of the new believers. He’ll also continue to search out new villages and minister to the people there, too.
So, we prayerfully look forward to more evangelism and discipleship. And perhaps the Lord’s plan could be for us to serve more of the physical needs of the people in the future. This could be through a medical clinic, through distributing clothing, or a host of other ways. And what about those villages where there is no evangelical church? Would God have us train up a leader there? Would He have us plant a church there? These are the questions and ideas that we will continue to pray about, as we look to the future of Climbing For Christ’s Mission: Peru.
May the Lord’s kingdom come, and may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Posted Aug. 15, 2012