Monday, June 17, 2013

Groups Galore!

We just finished having two marvelous groups in the last month. They have been very edifying to us with their encouragement and hard work.

The first group came towards the end of May to spend a few days with us in Cusco and a few days in Puerto Maldonando as well. They were a team of business students from our alma mater - UMHB (Go Cru!). They were a lot of fun to hang out with and we really enjoyed getting to know them.

The cool thing was that even though it wasn't really a "mission trip" for them, they really ministered once they got to Maldonado with us. Our plan was to pass out flyers with the schedule of the youth center to the kids passing by after school. Instead, when we got there, the kids had gotten out of school an hour and a half early. So we went to plan B - we passed out flyers to whoever was around. We split up and a team actually went in the school and passed out flyers to those kids that were still hanging around. We passed out to neighborhood kids as well. We also invited them to come listen to some live music at the youth center right then.

On this team, there were several really talented musicians that jumped right into playing some music with our instruments - a lot of country music which we introduced as "Texas music." The other members of the team taught line dancing, grabbed partners and taught two-step, or just visited with a lot of the little kids hanging around. It was so much fun! Even though school was out, we had about 25 kids show up. It's a night that a lot of our kids are still talking about. We also got to finish the night with a worship song and share with some new kids our purpose for being there - that they might know Jesus. We've seen several new kids come since then.

They also went to the feeding program on Saturday and got to play duck,duck, goose and other fun games with the kids that came. They made a big impact there as well. We were so blessed to have this team come. It also took Bryan and I back to younger years =)

Our second team came last week to Cusco. We've had two Hoops for Hope teams come to Maldonado for the last two consecutive years, but we've never done one in Cusco. Through some divine circumstances, Hoops for Hope contacted us and had a trip fall through. When we mentioned Cusco, they were excited to come and help out a pastor working there - Pastor Francisco. We have been working with him for several years now, and he is a great man of God who loves seeing people come to the Lord. He was delighted when we told him about this team.

We had four days of camp, two camps per day. They were each 2 1/2 hours, so you can imagine how hard those guys worked. God really took care of the team because only one team member out of 9 got sick, and he was only down one day. That is amazing for being at 11,500 feet and running around doing basketball drills. We got to be with about 50-60 kids for each session. The coaches really connected with their team and it was so fun to watch how excited the kids were to see their coaches each day.

On Thursday, Pastor Francisco gave a gospel presentation, and we know that over half of the young people involved prayed to receive Christ. We are so thankful that we got to see so many children and youth impacted through this team. He also gave them flyers that gave more information on their decision to live for Jesus and his own contact information. We are praying that these seeds that were planted will grow to be fruitful in these next weeks and months.

Some of you might remember me talking about my dear young friend, Bexi. I can't remember how much I've written about her on the blog, but I know I've talked to many people about her. When we got back in January, she had just moved to live with her father in Cusco. We just missed her by a few days - so she didn't get to see Eva. She had been one of the people Eva liked most as a baby. She would come over to our house often just to play with her and make goo-goo noises at her. Even though we got to keep up a lot over the phone and Facebook, it has been a very hard transition for her. She was so excited to hear that she would be able to participate in Hoops for Hope again this year since they were coming to Cusco! It was so wonderful to get to spend time with her during these last two trips to Cusco and get to encourage her to keep seeking the Lord. She is one of the more mature students we have in her faith, and so she has said she is praying to see God's purpose in her move to Cusco. We appreciate your prayers for her and that she will continue to seek the presence of Jesus and find her contentment in Him.

Thank you so much for your encouraging emails replying to our newsletters and just the random messages we get on Facebook. It means so much to know that we are fighting in prayer with an army instead of alone! We love you and are blessed to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this beautiful country that He loves so much. We pray that you are experiencing the victory of the Lord in your life.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever." Daniel 2:44

Saturday, April 27, 2013

In the good times and bad, You are on Your throne

This last month has been a time for Bryan and I to reflect on our work here. It has helped us realize how thankful we are for God's faithfulness to us, and our dire need of Him - His presence and power - in our lives and ministry.

On March 23, one of our regulars at the youth center died in a terrible accident. I don't think I will ever forget the day. Every Saturday, one of our youth girls - Sofia - comes over to clean my house and have a discipleship class time afterwards. It's nice for me and she loves the extra money she makes each week. We were just finishing up the class. We'd had a great time in the Lord, praying and repenting for things He showed her and I that were keeping us from more intimacy with Him. It was beautiful. This particular Saturday, she'd stayed to eat lunch.

As we were finishing lunch, one of our kids, David rang our timbre (doorbell). I waved down really goofy to him. Normally he would give a silly grin and maybe do a little dance move or wave his hands like - "Hey! Let me in!" This time though, he looked up and I could tell he was crying. I thought oh I hope he's okay.

I let him in and just hugged him immediately with Bryan and Sofia right behind me. As he walked in he mumbled something and I couldn't really hear much except the word "fallecido" which means "passed away." For some reason I thought he said his mom (who he doesn't really know), and I started to hear Eva cry so I handed off my hug to Bryan, and he took David to sit down with him into our bedroom.

As Sofia was telling me she thought she'd leave so we could have time alone with David, Bryan came out looking pale. He said, "Delana, it was Guillermo. It was Guillermo that died." My head spun. Even though it was in English, Sofia understood too and just started screaming, "NO! No! No" and I just ran into the bedroom. As I hugged David I couldn't stop the weeping, but my mind was still trying to wrap around what was happening. There was no way! Guillermo had just chatted with me on Facebook 2 days earlier. What on earth is going on. This is just a dream. As all these things ran through my head, I knew what I had to do was let David grieve. He had come to us.

When he stopped crying a second, he said he'd come to ask Bryan to go and be with his dad at the hospital - that it had just happened. As Bryan kissed me and left, Sofia, David, Eva and I all got on the floor and just huddled together and cried. Then we started praying. As we prayed I just started asking God to raise Him up. We knew Guillermo loved Jesus, and I just asked for Him to bring Guillermo back for us. Sofia prayed, then David. He simply prayed, "I don't know what's going on God. Help me. Help Guillermo. I don't know why this happened."

It is something I will never forget. I can't imagine losing a child. Seeing Guillermo's dad, sister, and David going through this, it has been so hard. We loved him and still dearly miss him.

The thing is, I've been kind of avoiding writing about it because that means it's kind of final. But if I don't write about that part, then I can't write about all the things I loved about Guillermo. We had a memorial service two weeks after he died and invited all the youth center kids and all his family. We watched some videos and pictures and sang some of his favorite worship songs. But it was so wonderful to see him act so silly and to hear some funny stories some of the kids remembered about him.

He was the one who loved to be silly. I remember when he first came, he was SUCH a distraction! He was always joking around or not paying attention. I also remember that he would get especially distracted when we sang worship songs. It was obvious by his face that he just didn't get it. He didn't get why Bryan and I looked like we were doing more than just singing a song - that we were talking to Someone. But slowly as he kept coming and he learned more of the Bible and listened to Bryan and I teach on worship, lordship, servanthood, and other biblical principles, we saw a changed. He began to love sitting and singing to the Lord. He would close His eyes and just sing to Him. It was wonderful to see that transformation.

I also remember when we were doing a skit and we rehearsed for it a few times. He was playing the person who was dying of hunger. There were others who played a drug addict, a mother with a dying child, etc. By the end of the song, the person playing Jesus comes and meets the needs of each person. It ended up being pretty touching. But I don't know if it was just that he was method acting or what, but he would slip out of practice while we weren't looking and go to the store right next door and buy a snack. He'd slip back in or sometimes we noticed him missing, but then he'd start eating his snacks. It was like playing a hungry person would make him actually hungry. I'd finally just have to take them so that he would stop eating and pay attention to the director (me).

He was constantly making us laugh or hit him upside the head. I don't know how many times I asked him, "What do you think you're doing?" He was crazy. But when Eva came along, I have never seen such loving. He LOVED holding Eva, playing with Eva, snuggling her, and making goo-goo faces at her.

He was the first of our kids (we call them that because that's what it feels like - we're family) to be baptized. A lot of them come from Catholic families, so baptism into an Evangelical church is not exactly encouraged. We teach them to honor their parents, so we never push baptism on them for that reason. But we teach on it and we provide opportunity. On one Sunday when we went out to do baptisms, Guillermo and his family came on the outing. As Pastor Octavio was asking those to come up close to the water (we were at a little pond) who were going to be baptized, Guillermo asked "Can I be baptized too?" He kinda of was asking his dad for permission and Octavio if it was too late to sign up. It makes me almost laugh out loud to think of his enthusiasm. Octavio asked him if he knew Jesus as his Savior, and he said "Yes!" So he was baptized that day. It was so wonderful.

I loved Guillermo. So did Bryan. It's crazy to think about the fact that he's not here. But the fact is that David is. He is still one of our dearest kids. So we are asking for your prayers. I can't imagine losing a sibling. Especially because their family all slept in the same room, and David is only a year and half older than Guillermo. They did everything together and fought constantly. They couldn't be more different. But I know that God has a reason for this.

Please pray for his family and our "family." We are asking for supernatural wisdom to walk teenagers through their grief and find God's peace in the midst of trail. We are so thankful that God is on His throne, no matter what happens around us. I figured it was about time to write about this and give God the glory for His comfort and peace.

Jesus is all the world to me, Master, Savior, Friend is He

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Manu Park medical mission trip

I hope all of you are well. Rainy season is in full circle and the lizards just keep getting bigger. Eva is now 9 months old and she is crawling. I can't believe how fast the time goes.

I would like to share with you guys about our recent trip up into Manu Park. Manu Park is one of the largest national parks in the world, and is highly protected for it's rich biodiversity. The villages that we go to in Manu Park are Tayacome, Yomibato, Cacoahuatal, and Maizal. We spend the majority of our time in Tayacome and Yomibato since they are much larger. Eber and Eliana are from Yomibato(see last post). It takes four full days of travel in canoe to get to Yomibato from Puerto Maldonado.
Pastor Octavio with the villagers in Tayacome. He has a big heart for these people

One of the nights when it rained a lot in Tayacome, our boat got taken with the current. We woke up, and the boat was gone. It was a bit scary to be in the middle of the jungle without a boat. Fortunately a villager in Tayacome let us borrow his boat to go down river. We finally found it several miles downriver, and the only thing that was damaged was a little bit of the roof. God was definitely looking out for us. After that we were able to make it back to camp, load up, and make it to our destination(Yomibato) by 3:30.

A sweet Machiguenga couple in Yomibato
In Yomibato we saw a young man named Marco Antonio who was very ill with lesions all over his body. He was very scared and shaking. Octavio and I were able to pray with him while the doctors saw him. We found out that he had been diagnosed with Pemphigus Foliaceus which is a rare tropical skin disease. It is treatable, and we are in the process of bringing Marco Antonio out of the Park for treatment. It will be an opportunity for us to share with him as he recovers. Please pray for his journey. It is a long way in canoe and he is very ill. Please be praying for his safe arrival as well as his recovery. Please pray for the people of Yomibato and that God will be glorified through all of this. We expect him sometime next week.

Translating for Dr. Ginger in Yomibato
The government has declared Manu Park as a protected park, including not only the wildlife, but also the people inside and their culture. This means they do not use money, and they still hunt and fish for their livelihood. Although it sounds good, it creates some problems. We are only allowed to enter the park with an objective to help the community, but we are not allowed to evangelize, teach farming skills, or anything that might infringe on their culture. In many ways, it is an injustice to the people. This could change soon. The health department is doing a nutritional analysis of the people's diet in the park. If it proves that they are lacking, it may bring more opportunities to serve the people in teaching them to farm or helping them with more sanitary practices. Thankfully, a non-profit organization called Casa de los Ninos Indigenous recently put in running water for Tayacome and Yomibato, so that has made life a lot better for them.



Hanging out with John Politano (middle) in Yomibato


Here is an article that tells some of the history of Manu Park.
http://www.academia.edu/225440/Trouble_in_Paradise_Indigenous_populations_anthropological_policies_and_biodiversity_conservation_in_Manu_National_Park_Peru
Bear in mind that this is written from an anthropological perspective and not a Christian perspective.

We continue to work with Eber and Eliana. We have come close to reaching our goal in support for them.

Reuben making a roof
Making clothes in Tayacome
Yomibato
Running water in the village that you can drink from:)
Installed by Casa de los Ninos








Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Ends of the Earth

Ok, well I know that it has been a while since we have posted a blog. We are in Peru again, and we are happy to be here. I am pretty sure that Eva is growing every day, and she continues to do new things that amaze us. Like the other day she looked at me and said, "Dad you are the best." No just a joke. She is not quite there yet.

I wanted to use this blog to share with you a rare opportunity that we have in our ministry. There is a protected park called Manu Park in our state that covers an area of almost five million acres of land. Manu Park is protected for its rich biodiversity. There are communities from the Machiguenga tribe (a contacted people group) inside Manu Park. In these villages they do not allow the gospel to be preached because by law it is considered an invasion on their culture.

As many of you know there are also uncontacted people groups in our state. These are Amazonian Indians that have never seen civilization. Some of these uncontacted people groups are inside Manu Park. These people groups are considered in voluntary isolation because of their history. Peru law is making it illegal for people to try and make any kind of contact with these people in isolation. BUT, it is not illegal for the indigenous people from the communities inside the park to make contact with them. For the first time, we have a open door to reach some of these uncontacted people.

For over 10 years Octavio (Octavio and Luz are the Peruvians we work with) has led medical teams into Manu Park and given free medical care to the Machiguenga people. In this way we have been able to show the love of Jesus to them. However, we have not been able to see as much advancement as we would like, because we have not been able to teach and disciple them........until recently.


I would like you to meet Eber and Eliana. They are from the community of Yomibato (4 days in canoe from Puerto Maldonado) inside Manu Park. Eber is 20 years old and Eliana is 21. She is several months pregnant with their second child. Eber studied high school in Boca Manu village, and he had good grades.

Eber and Eliana have been granted permission by their community to live and work with us on Peru Farm (the farm that our mission's organization owns). This will allow us to have some much needed help on the farm, but most importantly we can share with them the love of Jesus and teach them the Bible. Octavio and Luz as well as Delana and I would share teaching responsibilities. This is an opportunity for us to reach Yomibato and potentially many uncontacted people groups all inside the park when they return to their village.

We need to raise $200 a month for this couple. This is to pay for their food as well as compensation for their work that they do on the farm. We are looking for someone or several people to make a 1 year commitment to pay them. I ask that you be praying for Eber and Eliana. Don and Melisa Cooper(our leaders who founded the mission) have been working towards this for 20 years with Octavio and Luz.  They have been waiting for an opportunity to reach the Machiguenga people with the gospel for many years. If this is something that tugs at your heart, I encourage you to think about supporting this. Email us if you're interested or have questions - davis.bp@gmail.com

In February I will be travelling inside the Park translating for another medical team. I hope to have pictures for you when I get back.









The size of the baby right now!

 BabyFruit Ticker