Friday, December 05, 2008

Covenant OPC Construction Team

The saints from Covenant OPC in Orland Park, IL sent a construction team down last month to begin building the new manse for the Wichanzao parish. Pastor Juan Marquina and his wife Mirian have been living for the past year and a half in one of the classrooms in our education building. As you can imagine, they are eager to see their home finished and to move in. We've run out of money for now, but thanks to the generosity of Covenant Presbyterian, we were able to lay the foundation, the floor, the first floor walls, and finish the first floor roof. We still have a long way to go before it is finished, but we are half-way there! Please join us in thanking God for the generosity of Covenant Presbyterian Church!





Monday, December 01, 2008

Peru Mission Thanksgiving e-Bulletin

Click on the image to see the Bulletin in a readable form



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Travels

I recently visited Grace Presbyterian Church in Lexington, VA where Dr. Paul Carter is pastor. It had been about 15 years since I last drove through the Shenandoah Valley. I forgot how beautiful it is! The only thing that matched the Valley, was the wonderful hospitality of Pastor Carter and all the saints at Grace. I also enjoyed Sunday lunch with the John Pearson family. John is RUF Area Coordinator. Grace PCA and the RUF from Washington and Lee University sent a construction team to Peru this past spring for the second year in a row. I spoke to a Saturday evening gathering, telling about the work in Peru, and then preached at their two services on Sunday morning. You can listen to the sermon here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Medical Ministry Update

This is from a recent eBulletin that we sent out updating everyone on our medical ministry.

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"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers, you did for me" Matthew 25:40

We have been blessed to have many medical professionals come and give of themselves, their time, and their resources to help serve the hurting people of Peru. In an effort to keep you updated on the spread of the Gospel through our medical ministry we will send periodic updates on current happenings so that you may labor with us through your prayers and through your financial support.

We have attended 3,000 patients since we opened the Wichanzao Clinic in 2002 and currently see up to 20 patients a day. Our aim is to serve with a level of compassion that is not seen in most Peruvian clinics. Not only are we able to offer medical services in one of the poorest and least served parts of Trujillo, we are also able to extend a higher quality of care through visiting American professionals, donated supplies, and medications from the US.


We currently occupy the first floor of our two-story facility. Having only one exam room and one dental room we are eager to finish the second floor which will add two additional exam rooms, and a room for sonogram and EKG, a laboratory, an additional waiting room, and office space. Stage two for the Wichanzao Clinic is to expand into the vacant building next door, which will increase our pharmacy area, provide more exam rooms, and give patients a larger waiting area. Each of these steps, however, requires help from our friends who have a heart for this ministry.

Because we seek to serve a very needy community by offering medical services at an extremely low cost, covering our operational expenses is very difficult. Including our doctors' salaries, and a full staff, it costs us $75/day to run the clinic ($1500/month) . We need $4,000 to complete construction of our second floor, and approximately $15,000 for renovation and expansion next door. Once we complete these expansions we will be able to serve many more patients in need and provide even more services in our clinic.

Jesus always preached the gospel in the context of acts of compassion and we consider this to be one of our chief responsibilities.  The Lord has greatly blessed this ministry, but we very much depend on the prayers and support of many friends. Please consider a regular contribution toward our operating expenses, as well as a specific gift enabling us to complete construction of the Wichanzao facility.

•Please pray the Lord gives us wisdom as we seek to run this clinic efficiently and effectively.
•Please pray that the Lord would use these acts of compassion to open hard hearts.
•Please pray that the Lord would bring true healing to those we seek to serve.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Joshua and the Great Comission

I spent this past Lord's Day at Bryce Avenue Presbyterian Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Pastor Henry Fernandez was ministering in another church in the presbytery, so I didn't get the privilege of fellowship with him and his family, but I did enjoy a wonderful time with Dr. and Mrs. Charles Bell (in whose home I stayed). I gave a presentation of our work during the Sunday School hour and then preached in the morning service. The sermon, "Joshua and the Great Commission," can be heard from the BAPC website by clicking here. After the service the church invited everyone to stay for lunch in the fellowship hall. There I enjoyed conversations with many folks. One of the highlights for me was meeting Dr. David Kuiper. Dr. Kuiper is a researcher at the national laboratory in Los Alamos, but most interesting of all, I learned that he is the great-grandson of Herman Hoeksema, the famous theologian from the Protestant Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. I have frequently used Hoeksema's Systematic Theology over the years, as well as consulting from time to time his Commentary on Revelation. He also has a three volume commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism that I don't own, but I've heard tell that it is an important work that I should acquire.

Thanks to all the saints at Bryce Avenue PCA for a wonderful weekend, especially to Dr. and Mrs. Bell for their warm hospitality.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hamas Leader's Son Converts

I've been convicted of late about the importance of praying more consistently for the conversion of leaders of both Islam and atheism. I never new about Yousef Masaf, and so I have not prayed for him by name, but the Lord seems to be answering somebody's prayers because, according to the Israeli Daily Newpaper Haaretz, this son of a top Hamas leader has recently converted. It is a fascinating story that you can read here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A King, a Banquet, a Mission

We had a great time in Austin on Sunday visiting the saints at Redeemer PCA. They sent a construction and VBS team to Trujillo in June and we got to have lunch with the group. I also preached in the two morning services. Here is a link to the MP3 from the Redeemer website.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pickens's Plan

Boone Pickens's new plan is by no means the most interesting thing happening in energy development, renewables, etc., nor do I think it will accomplish the stated goal of replacing gas burning power plants (these plants are too new to simply shut down and too expensive to convert into coal burners), but I applaud Pickens's vision nevertheless.

The Christian faith requires us to be good stewards of the environment and the resources God has given us. It also requires us to think about the wider effects of how/where we spend our money. Supporting Hugo Chavez or the Middle East should not be an easy option for us. I think it is urgent that we develop nuclear power, as well as wind, solar, and in places like Peru, hydro and geothermal energy. I also applaud the major automakers for their work with plug-in hybrids, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell cars (we should pray that GM survives long enough to bring the Volt to production). Our long-term vision should be for a supremely efficient world run on all renewable energy. Pickens's plan probably will not accomplish his stated, short-term goals. It will be a noble step forward, however, towards our long-term goals, and hopefully it will get a lot of attention. The US has been dreadfully irresponsible in its energy policy for at least the last 40 years. Maybe an oilman can help us better appreciate the urgency of the situation.


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I've added this addendum because, for some strange reason Blogger is not allowing me to respond to the comments that people leave.  This is a specific response to Gumbofil√©.

Part of what I hate about the current state of US politics in general, and discussions of energy policy/environmentalism in particular is that all sides have become too cynical of each other and are too quick to assume the worst about the other side's motives and intentions.  Such cynicism does nothing to promote dialogue.  It tends to shut down the discussion and leaves each side talking only to itself.

Even if one is convinced of the sinister motives or intentions of an opponent, it is seldom good debating strategy to tell the opponent of our suspicions.  Also, St. Paul's advice to Christians was that they should "bear all things, endure all things, hope all things, believe all things" which may be applied in our context as "put the best construction on other people's words and actions"--good counsel for Christians and non-Christians alike, methinks!

Now to the specifics of your comment.  Let's just grant (for argument's sake) that Pickens is only being self-serving.  How does that imply that the plan itself is a bad plan?  His motives really have nothing to do with the relative merits of his proposal.  I have certain misgivings about the specifics of his plan, but applaud his initiative to move forward with renewables.  The end result, I think, will be good in spite of some questionable details and no matter what may be his basic motivations for doing it.

However, having said all that, let me present a case for believing that Pickens may not be so sinisterly motivated as you suggest:

Pickens is eighty-something years old.  He has made his billions.  His entire estate is being left to charity.  Just in the past couple or three years he has given away over $700,000 to charity.  It seems much more likely that he wishes to do something noble in his old age.  He believes that the US has gotten herself into a difficult situation and nobody else is taking a serious stab at solving the problem.  He thinks he has an idea that will work (or at least help) and so he is willing to take a personal gamble and begin dealing with the problem.

Wes Baker

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

University Ministry and Leadership Development

University ministry is one of the key ingredients in our vision for renewing Peru through the power of the Gospel. We began working with students in Trujillo in October of 2002. The ministry limped along without a full-time campus minister until mid-2003. In January 2005 Gerardo Castro began leading the effort, joined in July 2006 by John Ferguson. During this time the ministry has developed, matured, and become a vibrant part of the life of our churches in Trujillo. We minister to students on four out of twelve Trujillo universities and recently graduated a strong slate of young men and women who are now members of our churches. In some ways this is a rebuilding year, but our weekly meetings still average between 25-40 students with eight to ten small groups meeting for bible study and discipleship throughout the week.


Doors continue to open as Pastor Gerardo has recently begun teaching classes at the Cesar Vallejo University. Also, Drs. David Doughty (Physics) and Gary Whiting (Ecology) from Christopher Newport University in Virginia were visiting lecturers on two of the campuses in early June. Both spoke on their current research topics, as well as the relationship between science and the Christian faith. These lectures were well received by students, faculty, and administration, and are giving our ministry a much more visible presence on the campuses than we have previously enjoyed.

Vision for the Future

In addition to evangelizing and discipling university students, the ministry also plays a strategic role in our long-term vision for renewing Peru through the power of the Gospel. Trujillo is foundational for future work in other major cities. The pattern of church life, university work, mercy ministry, and economic development will be easier to repeat once our labors in Trujillo are more firmly established. In addition, the university ministry is where the Lord is currently raising up bright young men and women. In order to have gifted pastors available within the next 4-6 years, we need to focus now on developing and training our most likely candidates.

Our strategy for developing these leaders and equipping them for ministry is two-fold: first, this will require continued development in our seminary. We need a greater commitment of prayer partners. We also need administrative help, a larger library, and funds for scholarships. Our second great need however, is for a better way of discipling and testing the gifts of new candidates, helping them to be more intentional and focused as they consider training for the ministry.

Internship Program

To do this we are beginning an internship program that we hope will provide a bridge from university to seminary. For Peruvian undergarduates, showing strong potential for future leadership, and who are within two years of graduation, we will offer a competitive, one-year internship (renewable for a second year). This will provide each intern with a stipend of $75/month toward his or her educational expenses. The intern will be under the oversight of the campus minister and will be responsible for leading a small-group Bible study, participating in the ministry's student leadership group, and completing a basic reading and study program.

The second stage of this program is a postgraduate internship. These will be competitive, full-time, one year positions (also renewable for a second year). The stipend will be $225/month, with the intern working as an assistant to the campus minister, leading small group bible studies, helping with organization and coordination of the ministry, and completing an intensive study program. Our hope is to see a growing flow of students from the university, through the internship program, and into the seminary for formal preparation. Even for those not called to the ministry, this program should help make them faithful servants and leaders in their local churches.

We hope to begin this fall with three undergraduate internships and three postgraduate internships. Please join us in praying for college ministry and leadership development in Peru and please consider sponsoring one or more of these positions. If you can help, please email rebekahjohnson@perumission.org or call (865) 684-4580.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What Is This Wet Stuff?

Today, in New Braunfels, we are enjoying something we don't get to see very often in Trujillo. RAIN!!! We just love it! The rain started today around lunchtime and has been coming down off and on for the entire afternoon. I'm sure we look a bit strange to our neighbors ( yes we have neighbors) as we run out on our porch yelling and looking overly excited about a little rain! Not only are my kids happy for the showers today but so is my yard!!

Happy 4th of July



Happy 4th of July! We had a great day yesterday. For the first time in many years we celebrated with our families. We had some burgers from the grill, brownies and banana pudding, and finished the day with some hometown fireworks. It was a full day and we were all tired by the time we crawled into bed!


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Millie!

I can't believe my baby is 5 years old! Yesterday we celebrated Millie's birthday. We did some birthday shopping, had pizza for lunch, and had a great birthday cake. After cake we went to the movies. It was a fun day!
Millie has been missing her dress-up clothes, so she was pretty excited to get some new ones!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer in Texas


We had a great time of food and fellowship this afternoon. One of our Sunday school classes had a cook-out. The kids had a blast swimming, tubing and eating!

Drivers Ed.


Lauren, our oldest, has come back to the States in time to learn to drive. She has completed her written test and just needs time practicing before taking the driving part of the test. We have discovered that this is a task for dad. Mom is a little too nervous and yells "slow down" too much to be of much help. Up until now Lauren has been doing well driving the 15 passenger van. That is quite a feat for anyone! But now she has her own little blue car to jet around in. I think she will be ready to get a full-fledged license soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Church Plant Grows Out of Medical Campaign

This is an article by Allen Bradford from the Peru Mission website. Praise the Lord with us for the ways His Gospel is advancing.


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We rejoice to share with you one way God is continuing to use the service of a short-term team in Peru. We have been blessed to witness God working through the inter-relating of several of Peru Mission’s ministries to bring new life to a community that is impoverished both physically and spiritually. Initial friendships with the community were made through the medical campaign by a short-term team, and then the community was adopted by our Wichanzao congregation, who assigned a seminary intern to lead pastoral and discipleship efforts there there, so that now a church plant is growing in the desert.

In February, a medical team from Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, labored with us in tents in a little homesteading, shanty town called "Clementina" at the base of the mountain that overlooks the northern side of Trujillo. Clementina is a squatter’s community in the desert. Folks move out here, set their stakes and put up straw mats for walls. After 2 years, they will be legal owners of the land and the government will begin installing electricity, water and sewage. Living is very hard, however, while they wait.

From day one, when we first made contact with the people there, we were impressed by the friendliness and proactivity of their local neighborhood council. That impression was confirmed the day of the medical campaign, which showed us a community eager for help and open to our involvement. We had a good day setting up camp there and attending to those desperately needy people.

After the medical campaign, one of our seminary students, Percy Padilla, followed up with a number of visits to the area in the months of March and April. This resulted in the community, through the neighborhood council, donating a little plot of land to our Wichanzao Church for us to set up a chapel. Then, the Wichanzao Church petitioned Peru Mission to approve and help fund another seminary student, Jose Barriga, to take charge of this area and work toward planting a Church.

Jose began his labors in May. He visits Clementina 4 days a week—Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the mornings and Saturdays in the afternoons. During the mornings his work has primarily been with children and a few adults, and on Saturdays he has been teaching a group of youth with a few adults as well. Also, during this month, the Wichanzao Church raised funds to build a little chapel out of thatched mats. All this labor culminated on Sunday the 25th of May with an inauguration service for the new Clementina Chapel. Brethren from the Wichanzao church, mission interns, and missionaries made the trek up to Clementina after the morning worship service at Wichanzao, with some 25 people from the Clementina neighborhood. It was a heartwarming, Christ-honoring event. We were all greatly encouraged.

On Sunday, the 8th of June, we held the first regular Sunday worship service at 4 p.m. Jose led worship and preached, connecting well with the people. From his text in Luke 12.22-31, he encouraged the people to trust God for their needs, reminding them that he is gracious and compassionate and ready to respond to their prayers. Also, a brother from the Wichanzao Church, Abel, who is a first-year medical student, played the guitar.

In attendance were about 15 women, a number of children and two men, though some other men at different times hovered around the door. As electricity is extended through the neighborhood, we will begin to meet at a later, more convenient, hour.

Also in attendance was a group of 12 brethren from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. We used this worship service to help kick off a four day VBS which this team led—Monday and Tuesday in the afternoons and Wednesday and Thursday in the mornings. By splitting the schedule this way, we were able to minister to all the children, since some have school in the mornings and others in the afternoons.

Please pray for the dear people in Clementina, as well as for the weekly ministry of Jose Barriga from SBR Seminary, the health personnel from Wichanzao Presbyterian Clinic and the brethren from Wichanzao Presbyterian Church that regularly visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sermon: "How to Hear the Word of God"

Here is an online sermon Wes recently preached at Christ Presbyterian, New Braunfels, TX.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Special thanks to Christ Presbyterian Church!

Our home church is Christ Presbyterian in New Braunfels, Texas. These dear saints have been very kind to us over the years, and indeed have supported us from the beginning of our work in Peru. They have demonstrated their generosity once again, by providing us a home while we are on HMA. The church's campus includes about 12 acres (if I recall correctly), with a comfortable, quaint, farmhouse that they now use as a mission house. It is in the middle of a rapidly growing part of town, but it is situated in such a way that it still has the feel of an old farm. Notice in these pictures the pre-civil war stone building that apparently served as storage and root cellar. The windmill is also situated over an old hand-dug well that must date to about the same time.

New Braunfels is one of my favorite places in Texas. Located on the Comal and Guadlupe rivers, it was settled by German immigrants in 1845. Wikipedia has a brief article on the city.



Home Missionary Assignment

The Bakers are back in the US for about a year on HMA. We're sad to leave Peru but very glad to see family and friends, and very much looking forward to visiting churches and telling what the Lord is doing in Northern Peru through your prayers and support.

One of the reasons we are sad to be gone for a year is simply because we will miss our Peruvian and North American brethren who are working so fathfully there (and having too much fun without us :-), but also because this is a key time in the life of Peru Mission. After many years of slow advance, and many years of foundation laying, we are beginning to see significant growth and development in almost all areas. We have many new faces around the mission (~10 families and 12-14 interns, if I count correctly) and a growing group of Peruvian leaders. Our hopes are that the next four years will see the Trujillo foundations sufficiently established that we can begin work with full force (committing substantial human and financial resources) in Chiclayo, Piura, and elsewhere in the north of Peru. We hope to be anouncing a major capital funds campaign soon, with the idea of completing our major financial obligations in Trujillo. Please pray for all of the administrative details that need to be wrapped up for that to take place.

And finally, please pray for us to have a good and succesful time in the US. Pray for our family's stamina (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) throughout this year. I enjoy traveling, but it takes a great toll on the family.

Thank you all for your faithful partnership with us in the Gospel! May our Lord richly bless you all.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stockdale Watermelon Jubilee Rodeo

Last night Wes and I went back to our old stomping grounds. We went to the Watermelon Jubilee in Stockdale, TX. The rodeo was alright, but my favorite part was the "mutton busting". Mutton busting is an event for kids about 5 to 6 years old.. They suit up in a bull riding vest and helmet and are placed on the back of a sheep. The shute opens and they hang onto the back of the sheep for dear life as the sheep runs out across the arena. The kid who rides the farthest is the winner. As you can imagine there were lots of laughs! We also got to catch up with some old friends from school, Michael and Michelle Hartman. It was a fun night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back on Line!

After a very long time without my own computer and without a digital camera, I am back! I got a new computer a couple of weeks ago and also a camera, so please stay tuned for news and updates from the Bakers!