Hey everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check out my latest video blog episode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, check out this excerpt from my latest newsletter:
One of the most encouraging things that I’ve ever experienced in mission work is when I can see people actually getting it, when I can see people actually catching onto what God has been using me to teach them. For the past couple of months, God has been using me to walk through the Gospel of Mark with the youth group that meets at our church plant in La Victoria, a district of Lima, Peru where we have one of our Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Mercy Houses. As we’ve been walking through it, I keep asking them the same question: What does God want? What does God desire? What is God’s will?
At first they would get stumped and I would have to keep reminding them of the answer: God wants us to have a relationship with him. God wants us to have faith in him. God wants “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4 NASB) God wants us to be in his presence for forever. And for that reason he sent Jesus Christ—to save us from our sins and bring us salvation by grace through faith in him so that we could have all of that.
Now, however, they’re getting a lot better at thinking through it and seeing that Gospel in thestories that we are reading through. Just a couple of weeks ago I was even hearing one or two of the youth that normally zone out during Bible study finally thinking through it out loud.
In addition to simply reading through the Gospel of Mark with these youth, Deaconess Caitlin Worden (my fellow missionary who started up the youth group with me) and I have also been a lot more intentional about working to build community among these youth. With the Peruvian school year starting up this month, the youth group has changed radically with the addition of a bunch of new youth (most of whom had been regularly coming to the children’s programming at Castillo Fuerte last year).
Thus, we have been working to get them more comfortable with each other as well as more united as a group. A lot of my previous experience working as a camp counselor (working at different Lutheran camps during my summer breaks when I was in college) is really starting to pay off, as I use different tricks and activities that I learned from my camp experience. Some of these activities will hopefully soon involve things like trust falls and other more advanced activities that (when done properly) can help youth (and people of all ages) think through better how they can do life together.
Another big part of our work with this youth group in our church plant in La Victoria has been helping them see how all of the stuff that we have been teaching them applies to their daily lives. Part of this includes showing them what an active prayer life can look like. Just a few weeks ago, at the start of our Bible study, Caitlin and I asked one of the youth to pray for our whole group, but they all told us that they were too scared because they “didn’t want to say the wrong thing.” Thus, we have been showing them how they do not have to be scared of prayer, but rather should be glad to have this amazing gift—communication with our God and Savior.
Besides all of my time spent with these youth (which I really enjoy, if you couldn’t tell), I’ve also continued working to bring together more people at our church plant in San Borja for a weekly Bible study. The numbers are constantly fluctuating, and there is still plenty of work to be done with all of that, but thanks be to God every Friday night there is finally at least a small group coming to learn more about God’s Word.
Our Castillo Fuerte Mercy House in La Victoria took a couple of weeks of vacation since my last newsletter, giving the teachers a chance to take a break from our summer programming and then get things ready for our programming during the school year. Our normal school year programming has now started up again, and it’s great to be able to be interacting with the kids multiple days a week, teaching them more about God in our daily Bible classes as well as building my relationships with them more and more.