We have done it! We have walked the streets of Lima and trudged up and down the sandy, rocky hillsides of one community and ministered together in the name of the 38th Family and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I may surprised you with this, but we don't have a clue how many people prayed to receive Christ on this trip; we did not count. In the end, only the Lord knows how many of those who did pray were serious, or comprehended the decision, when they prayed. But we shared with the young and the old alike.
Yesterday (Wednesday) may have been the most challenging day for us. The morning began in ominous tones. It seems that customs released a flood of containers from recently-arrived ships. The roads to our community were blocked. We slowed to a crawl and were forced to breathe the wretched pollution from myriad trucks that enveloped us. When we finally arrived at the morning destination--almost one hour late--we were already tired from the cacophany of the trucks' air horns and from eating so much of their dust and pollution.
But we headed to a market to minister and preach the word. My first stop with my small group was with a young lady who was glad to speak with us. I wondered if she was really listening as I shared the word of God. I finally told her I could return later and see if she had thought things over. She suddenly blurted out (in Spanish), "No! I am ready to do this now!" No one was more surprised than I. I could not read her, as I normally can do. "Pilar" prayed to receive Christ--the first of 7 that would pray with me that day.
Later in that same day we found ourselves before the casket of an 18-year-old young lady who gave up. Hopelessness swallowed her the night before. She drank a bottle of insecticide, thinking that was the way of escape from whatever demons chased her. Our host pastor had witnessed to her before, evidently; she had soundly rejected Christ at that time, if I understood him correctly. I was heartbroken to hear it.
We moved from one house of grief to another; the next person we visited has breast cancer. She is consumed with it. We came in, anointed her with oil, and prayed for healing, as the Lord willed. There was a moment of joy in that meeting. She said she wished she could attend the church (she received the Lord a couple of weeks ago). I suggested she could; the church could hold services there. It was well-received. Next week they will take their worship services to her place and celebrate Jesus there.
Today, after spending a good bit of time in prayer, we converged upon the inhabitants of the community once more. We forced our sore muscles to push us up the steep hills one more time. It was fruitful in the sense we managed to meet new families--believers--who were looking for a church home. We also met others who had just moved to the area and were interested in hearing the gospel. Our day finally came to a close and we made our way back to our "base." I left the team at the guest house and came to close out my business with my Peruvian friends. Now it's time to pack the bags...
We won't soon forget this good trip. We are returning to Mississippi tomorrow--most of us are, that is; two left tonight. We will carry with us treasures that cannot be assessed a monetary value. They cannot be seen here, either. They are heavenly treasures. They are treasures of joy and hope.
It was a good trip.