March was an EXCELLENT month. I want to focus on the two main things that happened in the month of March: Meadowbrook Baptist Church coming for the first time and our 4th annual youth retreat.
Meadowbrook Baptist Church has been supporting me for many years financially and in prayer. They have been such a faithful church to the help Peru on the stateside. I have been really wanting them to come and experience Peru here on the field and see what their support has been going to. In 2017, Amy, minister to families from Meadowbrook, came down and checked out Peru. She helped with so many things, on a personal note; I had so much fun with her! This past March she came back, but this time brought 10 others with her. This group did not disappoint. They all had different gifts the Lord had given them and they used them for His glory!
The week was packed with tons of activities. We had 2 discipleship classes which Amy did a great job teaching. We did 6 carnivals which involved tons of fun game stations for the kids, the group acting out “Jesus feeds the four thousand” (which was hilarious), snacks, songs, and of course the most important, a gospel presentation. Since it was the last week of Peruvian summer we had a GREAT turnout. We had over 600 kids and adults come.
We also had a youth day to finish off the summer. Most of these youth helped me all summer in all of our Bible studies and summer events. They had a blast getting to take photo booth pictures and getting their pictures printed out immediately. They played all kinds of games with the group, we all ate lunch together, Gregg taught a devotional, and we ended the day with a water balloon fight that had over 500 balloons. I had been promising the youth all summer since they weren’t allowed to play in the kids balloon fights that we would have a huge epic water balloon fight at the end of summer. It did not disappoint, I was pounded with balloons that hurt, the youth drenched me, but it was so much fun.
Also there was another amazing thing that happened while Meadowbrook was here. I did not realize this until they got here, but the team had 3 nurses that came. While they were here, I got a call that a boy named Liam, had fallen backwards into a huge frying pan on a camp style fire. These nurses all got together and talked about what needed to be done. God used them to help save this little boy’s life. One of the nurses took her tourist day and went with me to the hospital where he had just gotten admitted. We were able to jump through a lot of hoops and find out this was the best burn unit in all of Peru. We were able to talk with the doctor that would be part of his treatment plan, and we felt confident that they would be able to treat him there. If the team had not had nurses, I would have been so lost. Now little Liam after having 22 % of his body burned, is out of the hospital, doing therapy, and making an amazing comeback. This is just a reminder that God always knows what He is doing.
This was our fourth annual youth retreat. It in my opinion was the best of them all. We had 59 youth and sponsors, one pastor from the US, and 7 different cooks to pull the retreat off. The theme for this years retreat was: “The reasons why the resurrection really happened and how that impacts our lives today” Larry Reynolds did a great job sharing the historical and Biblical evidence why we can have 100% confidence to believe that the resurrection really did happen. Everyday we had a praise and worship time with a teaching time about the resurrection. After the teaching time, we split the guys and girls up to have a time of devotion, get to know each other in a deeper way, and discuss what we learned from our devotions. The youth wrote approximately 300 questions for Larry to answer about Biblical topics. Over 2 different days, he answered all of those questions Biblically. Some of the questions were very deep and the youth learned a ton.
Apart from the spiritual aspect, the theme was all about the world cup, since Peru is finally going to the world cup after 36 years of not qualifying. We had the youth divided into the same teams for the entire time: “Fifaton” vs. “Mundialon.” They did cheers, had team captains, were constantly competing with group games, and individual games, sports tournaments, and more. It really brought a fun excitement to the youth retreat, especially since the majority of the youth that came are not believers, so it really helped engage them.
Members from our church cooked almost all of the meals for the youth, we split the kids into guys and girls, and approximately 25 girls slept on the floor in the mission’s house and 25 boys in the ministry center. It was basically a 4 day youth camp with only two houses to do everything in. Everyone is already looking forward to the next retreat!