First of all, Happy New year! It is only now on Boxing Day that I am managing to finish writing this letter which I started soon after I arrived back! and I have now been back in Peru nearly 5 weeks, having arrived in the early hours of 21st Nov!
I changed planes in Dallas and had 2 days there with my friend Jewel whom I first met in Peru 17 years ago! It was a lovely time, even if short, and we managed to do a lot, including seeing some friends from Seville who had moved there a year ago! It was great to have an early Thanksgiving meal with Jewel’s family. In my last 2 weeks in UK I managed to fit in 6 talks! and go to Seville with a friend, to visit the church there. It was great to meet up with friends that I made there when I was a student (in the dim and distant past!!!)
I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends and family that I have stayed with and spent time with during my time in Europe! Despite its being a pretty busy time, I felt really refreshed and ready for the next phase in Peru. So thank you all very much!!!
Well, it has been pretty busy since I got back as you can imagine! It was lovely that several friends came to meet me at the airport even though it was 2am and the plane was late!! The day after I got back I went to the graduation of Edwin whom some of you will remember me mentioning – he first came to the children’s club in La Tablada when he was 7 and he recently got married to Jessica and is the worship leader in the church.
It has been good to see how well Juan Carlos Julca, the seminary student, has been looking after the church there, and now the church have decided they would like him to stay on as Pastor since he has recently graduated. The church seems much more stable after the difficulties that there were earlier in the year, so please continue to pray for them, and for Juan Carlos as he takes on this responsibility, that he will have great wisdom and be able to help the church grow again.
I have been visiting Edwin’s older brother, Christian, who was blinded in an accident a year ago which has been very hard for him and for the whole family. However as a result of this he committed his life to God and has been listening to the Bible on a special machine which I was able to get for him before I left for UK. I am amazed at how much he has learned and memorised of what he has been listening to and how much his understanding has grown. He has lots of questions so the time goes by very quickly when I visit him. He used to come when he was 12 when we first started the children’s club, along with Edwin, but then drifted away when he was about 15, so I hadn’t seen him for years and he is now 35! He has a wife, and a daughter aged 8 who last week prayed to receive Jesus in her heart. So please remember them in your prayers!
Christian is next to me at a meal in La Tablada.
Amazingly some others from the past have also got in touch with me: Marcos, one of the boys from my teenage club in Barranco ( 32 years ago!) suddenly rang me and said he wanted to come back to God! He had also drifted away and I hadn’t seen him for a long time! So we talked and he told me about his life and though he had done well and made a lot of money, he realised that there was an emptiness in his life that only God could fill. So he is now keen to come to church and serve God in whatever ways he can in his free time. Then his brother Jorge contacted me and said he also wanted to sort his life out with God! So it is great to know that seeds sown in children and teenagers do come to fruition in later life which is an encouragement for those of us who are working, or have worked with kids!
Another encouragement was to find that Ofelia and Candy from our small church in Villa Maria had taken the initiative of starting a new work in a very poor area called Accu, up in the hills behind Villa Maria where more and more new communities have settled going further and further up the desert hillsides. The area is a bit like La Roca but on a much larger scale! They had met a lady who asked if they would go and teach the Bible where she lives, to her and some of her neighbours, and there are now about 20 women gathering to study the Bible! It would be great to do a club with the children there but we really need more people to be able to do that, and it is not the most accessible place! I wasn’t planning to be involved in any more new places, but doors just seem to keep opening! and it is exciting to be in a new area and to see God working there. So please pray for more helpers, and for wisdom to know how much to be involved and how it should develop in the future!
Some of the women in the group.
Ofelia, Lorena, Jorge, Candy, Paul, Marcos
Candy has just graduated as a physiotherapist and she and her parents have studied all the Matthew course – 6 books of TEE (Theological Education by Extension) on The Life of Christ, with me and we are now doing the Life of Paul – it is a very good and motivating study! I’m also teaching Bk 2 of Matthew to Jhoan, also from the church in Villa Maria who is studying to be a Naval engineer and he has many contacts both in his university and in the Navy. He often seems to have interesting conversations about God with people and this course has definitely enabled him to give answers to their questions. He is from a very poor family which is quite disfunctional, but it is incredible to see how God has helped him to progress – he is very intelligent and a hard worker so I think he will go far.
It is also lovely to see the teenagers in Ventanilla still coming to their group despite the difficulties of their lives. Please remember them and the younger children. We are still meeting in Cristina’s house as we don’t have a property there:
Our pre school in Ramon Castilla has had a good year, and the club there also has a good group of teenagers. The teachers have started having a service there at 7.30am on Sundays for parents.
Cristo Vive church in Fundo California has been getting on well with Abel still being the pastor, despite only being part time now.
Other prayers points:
* Holiday Bible clubs in Jan and Feb in each church.
* Camp at the end of February for 10 – 15 yr olds
* The pre school to have a good number of children and for the teachers to have good contact with parents
There’s so much more to say but I will have to end now. As always thanks so much for your prayers and support and gifts. And of course thanks to God who makes it all possible!
With love, Margaret (Saunderson) Latin Link
“Glory to God in the highest” Luke 2:14