I was raised in a Lutheran home. My pastor was an old-fashioned pastor and still taught salvation through grace but left the final step for you to take on your own. Speaking about salvation was just not done, as they viewed it as a personal thing between you and God. When I was seven, I attended a Vacation Bible School at the same church. It was after a story on the fiery furnace that I realized that I needed to be saved. After the class was let out, I stayed behind by myself, knelt at my chair, and trusted in Jesus and asked Him to save me.
My mother grew up as a Methodist and stopped attending church when she married my father who was a Catholic. My Mom’s family would invite us to Sunday school, and as kids we visited their church. I always remembered the happy songs and the sweet people we met there. Years later my youngest sister started attending a Methodist church and kept inviting me to go with her. A few months later, I finally went and heard the wonderful truth about Christ. That same day at the age of seventeen, I asked Jesus to be my Saviour.
In early 2012 after prayer, fasting, and pastoral counsel, we felt that God was leading us to join Team Peru. Being able to use my aviation skills on a mission field had always interested me. We will have the opportunity to utilize aviation in the future in Peru. With the skills God has given me through the years in mechanics, aviation, and education, I believe we are ideally prepared for this work.
Greetings to all of you who are reading this prayer letter. We pray that God will protect you and guide you during these trying times. Thank you for praying for us!
This year due to COVID-19, our Pastors’ School was held virtually. There were Zoom classes for pastors, leaders, women, and youth. We had general sessions and preaching in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Even though we missed seeing everyone in person, we are thankful for the technology that allowed us to be a blessing to people in remote places. We had attendees from around the world, with two of them deciding to join our Bible institute, also virtually, this semester.
In August as we prepared for the conference, we went downtown to purchase lights, stands, and other things to be able to set up a studio from where we would stream our services. We loaded up a taxi with all the boxes and headed home. Normally, we try to start a conversation with the driver, but he was listening very intensely to a radio program about COVID-19. As we unloaded our boxes and paid him, we made small talk and told him we were Christians. Suddenly, he started to cry uncontrollably and begged us to talk to him about God. He and his wife had both gotten COVID-19 and almost died. They had been reading the Bible but could not fully understand it. They were praying for God to show them the way. After showing him the Gospel, Luis Payano prayed and asked Jesus to be his Saviour! He then asked about the possibility of a Bible study so he and his wife could learn more. Luis lives on the north side of the city about an hour and a half away from us and does not have a smartphone or computer to be able to watch our online services. We contacted a pastor who has a church near Luis and asked if he would be willing to follow up with him. Pastor Vladimir Paiva has been going to their home to have a Bible study with the family every week. Praise the Lord for sending Luis our way!
We have continued to help with the distribution of food packages in our local area. Over 300 packages of food are being given out every Saturday by the church in Chorrillos. People continue to line up at the church as early as 3:30 a.m. just to be in line to receive the food. Many Peruvians are still in great financial need because the country is still under quarantine, and the local economy has suffered tremendously. These difficulties continue to be an open door to present the Gospel. As a result of the food giveaways, we are blessed to see approximately 80 people trust Christ every week.
To control how many people are in line, tickets are given out. Getting a ticket guarantees that they will receive food. If there is any food left after the people with tickets have gone through, the food that is left is given out, but only an item or two at a time so it can stretch out further. Bruna was the last person to come through the doors one Saturday and was not able to get a whole bag of food. She got the last bag of rice and some potatoes. She had been told by a neighbor about the free food but did not believe it. Later that day she walked by the church while running an errand and saw that it was true and decided to get in the line. Irene got to witness to her, and she got saved. Irene apologized for the small amount of food, but Bruna responded while weeping, “The food doesn’t matter. I got the most important thing, and I am very happy.”
Our church in Surco has had two food drives during which we gave out 250 bags of food and saw 150 people trust Christ. Most of them were Venezuelan street vendors who are struggling to survive. The churches here are still closed, but the power of the Gospel is still touching and changing lives. God bless you!