Lenin Celiz left Peru for Jackson, Mississippi yesterday, arriving today. As the mission's architect and supervisor of construction projects, we were loath to part with him, but it's only for two months, and it is for a very good cause! Lenin is one of our most faithful and gifted parishoners in Trujillo. He is a man with a quick, playful smile; contageous optimism; an ardent faith in the Lord Jesus; and a zeal to make Him known.
In addition to being an architect, Lenin is also a carpenter from the city of Moyobamba in the upper jungle of Peru. Lenin grew up working with mahogany, cedar, and other tropical hardwoods in his father's mill until leaving for Trujillo to study architecture. He will spend two months studying English at Jackson State University in the mornings and working with millwright Mike Boyett in the afternoons. Our plan is for Lenin to get experience with the kinds of hardwood doors that are currently being made in the US, so that he can return to Peru and set up a shop to build those doors here for export to North American markets.
This project has been in the works for several years, but now at long last it seems that the Lord is bringing it to fruition. Exports of raw mahogany and cedar have dimished to a trickle from places like Brazil and Peru, as these countries have begun to crack down on the black market trade and put severe restrictions on the legal trade. Developing countries are now more interested in selling value-added products than simply raw lumber. Our hope is to set up a shop that will make the finest quality mahogany and cedar doors and furniture for sale in Peru and the US. In addition to providing jobs for people in our churches, we are hopeful that this will generate a profit that can be used to build new church buildings.
Photos: top, Lenin with some architectural students working on church plans. Middle, Lenin with a mahogany seedling in Moyobamba. Bottom, a load of Moyobamba cedar going to Trujillo for doors and windows in one of our churches.