In March, massive rains wreaked havoc in Peru – especially on the western coast. The mountains to the east sent massive walls of mud down upon desert coastal towns without warning. Over 100,000 people lost their homes. Thankfully, I have friends in AGWM relief and Convoy of Hope. Those two operations proved invaluable and generous. Some of my friends in Convoy came down personally and helped my team advise and direct the efforts of the national church. Missionaries Chris and Debbie Bowser and Phyllis Rose helped gather and ship out food, clothing and emergency supplies for families in 5 different cities. We were also able to provide water filters to key towns. It made me really respect those who do disaster relief every day.
One of our primary goals for this term was to fully establish Chi Alpha (XA) ministry to university students in Peru. Here, XA goes by the name “La Red Universitaria,” which means, “The University Network.” Lena has taken the lead, aided by two of our missionary aids (Anthony Baird and Kristen Pratt) in founding XA groups on four different campuses. They began by offering English Speaking Bible studies. From there, we’ve begun having Friday Night bilingual worship services for college students in our home. We've been aided in our outreach efforts by various teams from the University of Louisiana XA group and Wright State University. The Louisiana team came with some unusual evangelistic tools: Cajun dancing and gumbo. The response was excellent. Our first Friday night gathering had over 60 students in attendance – all of whom wanted to learn how to do Cajun dancing. While the students where dancing, one student was brought to me with the question, “Why is there so much joy here? Why are you different?” When I said Jesus, the student began to cry and gave his life to Jesus with great repentance. That student is just one example of those who are coming to Jesus.
We continue to serve as the Andean coordinators for ChildHope (formerly Latin America ChildCare) – overseeing Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. ChildHope is an Assembly of God ministry providing hope, education, and food to impoverished children. It is an incredible joy to know that many kids have their primary meal in our schools. There, they also hear the Gospel. Three U.S. teams helped us recently: In May, a team of SAGU students came and taught on sexual abuse. One child confessed to one of the students that she was being molested. In June, Destiny Church (Huber Heights, Ohio) went with us to the jungle town of Iquitos for a High School retreat. And, in July, Byesville Assembly, helped build a new educational center for our ChildHope kids in Catacaos (a area of extreme poverty which was drastically hit by the recent flooding).
Our family is doing well. Our oldest daughter, Hannah, has finished her classes and will officially graduate with a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Wright State in December. Then, one month later, in January, Hannah plans to marry Anthony Baird – the young man who has worked diligently with us this past year. Hannah is currently on ministry staff at Destiny Church in Huber Heights.
Colton (20) is a student at Wright State and very involved in XA. Will (15) and Abi (13) continue to live and minister with us in Lima. All four were great assets this past summer, aiding with hosting teams and doing evangelism. Will and Abi continue to work with us in our Lima church plant: Iglesia Misión Vida.