Warmest Christian greetings. I pray that this note finds you all well and rejoicing in the Lord's mercy and grace.
Things in Trujillo, Peru are very fast paced these days. We are busy preaching, leading discipleship groups, teaching seminary classes, overseeing construction projects, and many other such things. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support of this ministry.
The Baker family is well. Jami stays busy homeschooling five of our seven children. She also teaches English at our English Language Institute. Our kids are busy with such things as school, violin lessons, tennis lessons, and church youth group. I am teaching Logic and Intro to Philosophy this semester in our seminary; handling a lot of the accounting and administration; preaching regularly in our three churches; helping with the RUF groups; overseeing (with Bill Bradford) two construction projects; and hosting short-term teams.
( Millie Baker, first picture; Katheryn and Olivia Baker and Hannah Bradford, second picture)
The Bradford family routine looks very similar to the Bakers, except that their children are a bit younger. Bill is teaching Greek I and Rhetoric; leading a couple of discipleship groups; helping with RUF, and preaching regularly.
Allen and Sandy Smith are raising their support and hope to be here in January. We desperately need the help, so they won't arrive a moment too soon.
* Please pray for stamina, spiritual focus, and the speedy arrival of the Smith family.
We just hosted a team from Providence PCA in St. Louis, MO this past month. We had a great time with them. They were mostly helping with construction, but Pastor Chris Smith did give three lectures to our seminary students. Construction was done in our Larco Parish. We have a new facade on the building and the team helped with a sidewalk across the front and the entrance to the building.
* Please give thanks with us for the great advances in construction in Larco and the help of this team.
(the team from Providence PCA, St. Louis, MO)
Arevalo Church Plant
Eduardo Quiroz continues to do a great job in the new Arevalo church. This is the place where the city gave us 4,300 square meters surrounded by even more land designated for a park. Our building there is still very much under construction, but Eduardo has been holding worship, preaching, teaching, and catechising there for well over a year (with regular help and support, of course, from the missionaries). We have about 50-60 in worship on a Sunday. October 30 was our first Lord's day to worship in the building with a roof on it. We have made great strides in the past few weeks on construction here. We are very excited about the new building and the new people that the Lord is bringing us to fill it. We also just received a grant from the Peruvian government of 150,000 soles (about $45,000) for sidewalks around our property and development of the large park. This will not only help with our overall project, it will also provide work for many of our people. We hope to begin work on the parish medical clinic sometime in spring 2006. Please pray for us as we raise funds for this.
* Please give thanks with us for the new people coming and pray for their growth in grace. Pray for Eduardo Quiroz's ministry here. Pray for the Lord to raise up new elders and deacons. Give thanks with us for the advances in constuction.
(Eduardo Quiroz, left, with some of the seminary students)
Pastor Guillermo Diaz continues to labor faithfully in this parish with very encouraging results. Attendance and new membership has gone up in the last six months, with very little input from the missionaries. We have been so consumed with the new church plant in Arevalo, the growth in the number of college students in the Larco church, and our work in the seminary, that we have been able to spend much less time in Wichanzao than we normally would have. The Lord has been faithful, however. We have a depth of faith and commitment there that we haven't seen before. It seems that this work has matured substantially just in the last several months. Our medical clinic there has been handed over to the church to run and is no longer controlled directly by the mission. It is now a fully operational medical and dental clinic and is actually beginning to be self-supporting for the first time ever. It has been very gratifying to see Peruvian Christians take responsibility for this and do a good job, with very little input from the mission. It continues to be a much needed and appreciated ministry in a very poor neighborhood, as well as providing numerous avenues for fruitful pastoral interaction with patients.
* Please pray for Pastor Guillermo Diaz and his family. Pray for Mrs. Rocio Pajares who runs the medical clinic. Pray for continued growth on the session and for the Lord to raise up deacons in this church.
(Wichanzao Church, both pictures)
Larco has been encouraging as well. Pastor Ricardo Hernandez is a very faithful pastor. We have had strong attendance over the past 8-10 months, particularly noting an increase in interest from college students, professionals, and middle class folks. This is largely the fruit of RUF and our English Language Institute. But whatever the source, it has kept us hopping with discipleship groups, pastoral visits, and counseling sessions. This growth has also made construction in Larco an urgent matter. In addition to being out of space, we have been trying to improve the aesthetics of the building. In the past Larco has been our ugliest, most dilapidated facility. With short term teams this summer and fall, however, we are doubling the size of the sanctuary, will soon have a spacious fellowship hall, and are putting on a new roof, and a new facade and entrance. At long last it looks like Larco will become a very attractive place! This has been urgent because Larco is our only church in a middle class neighborhhod. The other two are too far away for most of the professionals and middle class folks to attend there. Thus, we need to get Larco in order so that we will have a good place to invite the new people we are coming in contact with.
* Please pray for Pastor Ricardo Hernandez and his family. Pray for the university and professional ministry based out of this church. Pray for continued growth on the session and for the Lord to raise up more leaders.
(unfinished Larco facade)
English Language Institute
Alex Sherling, from Yazoo City, MS is running the instutute for us for at least the next six months. He has been with us now for almost a year, and we are praying that he will agree to stay indefinitely. This has gone very well, both in terms of growth in the number of students, income generated, contacts made, and new folks coming to church. We presently have a sufficient supply of teachers, but very soon (i.e., after the first of the year) will need several more interns (college age North Americans) to help teach. We hope to expand this significantly, possibly being able to connect it with a study abroad program. The more teachers we have, the more classes we can offer, and the more contacts and relationships we have for the Gospel. Also, the institute has been generating about $1200/month over the past several months, which has covered the salaries of the two Peruvian campus ministers.
*Please pray for new mature, committed, faithful, interns. Pray for the Lord's blessing upon contacts and relationships that we are already building. Pray for Alex Sherling as he directs this work and gets it better organized.
You may have already heard our good news about campus ministry here. John Ferguson, campus minister with RUM at Texas A&M has joined our team and is presently raising his support to move down with his family. Along with this, the General Assembly committee for Campus Ministry just this past month approved an affiliation agreement with our mission making Trujillo only the second official RUF International work. As you can imagine, we are very encouraged and excited about this.
Also, Juan Marquina and Gerardo Castro continue to do well leading RUF on four college campuses here in Trujillo (Universidad Nacional; UPAO; Universidad Cesar Vallejo; and Universidad del Norte). This seems to be mushrooming. Trujillo is the major educational center in the north of Peru. We desperately need more campus ministers, and John Ferguson in particular, to coordinate this work.
*Please pray for John Ferguson and family as they raise support and finish up at A&M. Pray for the work of Juan Marquina and Gerardo Castro on these four campuses and future work in three other schools.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support. Time would fail me to tell you of all the exciting things the Lord is doing among us. Come down for a visit some time (maybe a summer team?) and we'll show you around. May the Lord richly bless you!
Yours ever in Christ,
Saturday, August 13, 2005
When Lehigh Valley PCA was with us they spent a considerable part of their time laying a new sewer line for the Larco church. While they were digging, unbeknownst to the diggers, they uncovered a small piece of preIncan pottery called a "huaco" (the "hu" makes a "w" sound). This pottery was a small jug used normally as a container for a native corn wiskey called "chicha."
In the early 1980s when an apartment complex was being built next door to our church (only a few meters from our wall), the construction crew discovered an ancient preMoche (the Moches supposedly date from AD 1-800) religious site. Archeologists from the National University of Trujillo did a quick and hasty dig and found a lot of pottery, along with some gold and silver. Like much of Peru's archeological sites, however, a lack of funding kept it from ever being thoroughly investigated, and soon the apartments went up.
Well, to get back to our story, after the Lehigh Valley team left, a team from Statesboro, GA was covering the ditch and discovered the piece of pottery that had recently been dug up. It is perfectly preserved, but it lacks any of the usual paint and markings usually associated with pottery from the Moche civilization. This would seem to confirm our hunch that it was part of the same preMoche site that had been hastily excavated five meters from our wall, in the 1980s.
All such pottery, I'm told, belong to the Peruvian state, but I currently have it sitting on my desk. I don't expect that they will come to claim it any time soon, but to be sure, you shouldn't delay your visit to Trujillo. Come see us and we'll gladly show it off. :-)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
What a great time we had with this team! They were a marvelous group. They worked hard with English classes, visits in the neighborhood, and breaking a lot of rocks and old concrete foundations to dig a new sewage line.
We knew that it would be hard enough just digging the ditch. We didn't anticipate all of the old concrete foundations that would criss-cross our path. The work went well though, and the construction in our Larco church continues at a good pace. See all of the team's pictures at www.perumission.org. Follow the links through the photos page.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
We have a team of 16 from Lehigh Valley, PA coming this Friday. They will be teaching English, doing evangelistic visits in the neighborhood, and a lot of construction at the Larco church. We hope to finish the facade (the "stucco" that is used in Peru to cover the brick walls is called "tarajeo") of our building, and a new sidewalk and entrance, among other things. Watch for photos of the advance on our website at perumission.org.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Hello to all of our dear friends and supporters!
This is our very first attempt at something that we hope will be a much more effective way of keeping you posted with the goings on in our family and ministry in Trujillo. You may have noticed (or been frustrated by) all the slow changes on our website (perumission.org). We have a very long way to go with that, but we do feel like we are starting to round the corner. We hope that the website will be a regular source of news and information for Peru Mission, and the hub of our communication with supporters. We'll be regularly updating the site with news articles, photos, and prayer needs. In addition, each missionary family will have its own weblog for family news and prayer needs, linked from the website. Please check in regularly on both of these.
We plan to continue publishing the Peru Mission Bulletin as we have in the past. Our goal is to get that up to four times per year. We also plan to send out our Peru Mission eBulletin from the website. With the Lord's help, this will eventually be published every two weeks.
Thanks for your faithful prayers and support.
P.S. We just had a short-term team from Greenville, South Carolina and Colleyville, Texas with us. They were a lot of fun and worked very hard. They worked construction in our Larco Parish, taught English in a local public school, and made evangelistic/pastoral visits in the neighborhood. These generous saints gave $5400 to expand the sanctuary in Larco. Very soon, we hope to have a building with double its current capacity. Please pray for this.