What an adventure Peru has been and there was no better way to end our ministry time than in Cusco.
The trip to Cusco was a long ten hour bus ride, however it was filled with beautiful landscapes and mountains that made the ten hours fly by. During the trip we climbed to a height of around 15,500 feet and had the opportunity to step off the bus to view the snow covered Andes Mountains. After our bus ride we stepped out into the oxygen deprived cool night air of Cusco to be met by David Strong. David and his wife opened up their home for us during the two weeks we have spent in Cusco. In fact they did more than opened it up, they gave us the keys and left the country! It has been such a blessing to have a home (with hot water, and washing machine) during these two weeks. So a huge thank you to them and praise how our Father orchestrated our opportunity to be here.
After a week in Puerto Maldonado we shifted back into our manual labor groove, spending much of the week helping prepare a home for many of the Quechua believers to come and stay at while studying the Word. The Quechua people make up a large number of the population of Peru and live mostly in small villages around the mountains. Many of these villages have never heard the gospel and even the name of Jesus. As they discover truth and this amazing love our Father has they have an excitement that grows and would put many of us to shame. We heard stories of young Quechua men walking two days just to learn how to properly lead a simple Sunday school class taught in an afternoon, only to quickly return to their village and share with others what they have learned. These people are very poor though and do not have the money to travel to Cusco much less afford to stay there even for a few days, our efforts helped give these young believers a place to lay their tired heads after a long day in the world, and a room to study in while looking at the beautiful mountains the God they are learning about created. On our last day at the home the Pastor we were working with us gave us quite the gift for helping him, a plate full of Guinea Pig, the rare treat here in Cusco
After all trying the salty meat we were able to sit down with the pastor and his family. The short Peruvian man, who for the past hours had been slaving away with us pouring concrete, came walking out in his best shirt and pants holding his worn Bible close. Even through a translator we could feel his heart and gratitude as he thanked us for the work we had done, but even more than that he challenged us. As a true brother in Christ he challenged us to continue on this journey, to continue to say yes daily, and to love and serve in a way this world is not use to. It was a better gift for our hard labor than even the Guinea Pig.
Since this conversation it has been on our team’s heart to understand what this Christian community is, or what we like to call a community of grace. To create a place where emotions are welcome, hurting hearts can be voiced, wisdom can be shared, and we can walk along side each other wherever we are in this crazy journey. Despite falling short a few times, getting a little aggravated with each other, and having a few bad attitudes we continue to choose to be this community. To do the difficult thing being vulnerable and keeping short accounts. Ministry is so important but even more than this “doing” it’s important that we don’t forget to just “be”, To BE true Christ Followers. As a result of being we have had the opportunity and the privilege to do many things to help others, only because we first chose to say yes! A decision that while sometimes hard, we will never regret!
With His love,
Will Richardson- September 2013 Leadership DTS Peru Outreach