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