Dias Peruanas

June’s Prayer Praises & Requests:

-For strong leaders to step up in Para Peru’s ministry as Lauren is on furlough in the States

-For Ruth and Elar, who will be the official leadership over the next four months

-For the families and marriage of Peruvians that are in constant crisis, whether it be physically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically

-For Peruvian men to come to understand their role in the lives of their families, church and society; that they would be spiritual leaders rather than spiritual hinderers

-For the 17 Mormons we were able to host; that their eyes would be opened to the truth of God’s Word and that their missions would be hindered

This month I, Rachel, will be reporting for Para Peru! Who I am? I am, first and foremost, Lauren’s cousin! I recently graduated from college and I have been in Peru for five weeks. Let me tell you, time has flown! I have fallen in love with Peru and I already cannot wait until I have the privilege of returning.

This month has been different than other months for several reasons! First, Lauren has been preparing for furlough. Leaving the country is always challenging but leaving a ministry is even more difficult!  In preparation, we have been diligently lesson planning, restocking necessary supplies, hosting leadership meetings with the church and more in addition to a week’s normal events.

We also had a small group of gringas come from the States the very first week of June! The group leader, Holly, has been to Peru regularly over the past couple of years. She also brought two of her daughters and another friend. These ladies absolutely loaded their suitcases with donations, including hundreds of new socks and supplies for making slime! Every child or parent who attended a Bible study or discipleship class the week they were here received socks. We also had a youth night that week. Kenna, the slime master, lead fortyyouth in a step-by-step tutorial. We were all fascinated!

In the midst of these past weeks, we somehow managed to take a trip to a women’s shelter near Lima where Lauren’s friend, Yolanda, lives. These ladies are a blast. The day was full of worship songs, the sharing of the Gospel, snacks, crafts, snacks, socks, snacks and more snacks! One of the ladies at the shelter has down syndrome. With her charming, entertaining personality she was even able to convince our taxi driver to dance with her. Check out Lauren’s updated website, https://paraperu.org/para-peru-video/, to see a short clip of it!

Another important task we were able to do was stand outside the local orphanage at the end of school and hand out flyers to over 1000 kids, telling them about Para Peru’s weekly Bible study in Keiko. We were able to do this two consecutive Thursdays and saw many new faces as a result. In fact, a few new parents even came. This was encouraging to us and Lauren is planning on continuing to invite kids who attend there.

Personally, I have been working on media for Para Peru. While this definitely has not been my only role, it is a specific skill I can offer! As mentioned above, Para Peru has an updated website! Here is the link again: paraperu.org! Please, please go check it out. Share it on Facebook, text the link to a friend, explore the photo gallery and more! You will notice the new website also has pictures from each Bible study location. Lauren’s other Mail Chimp posts are included at the bottom of the Home page under “blog”. As the photographer, I managed to capture at least one group image at each location to show you the faces we love so dearly here. I also wanted each of you to see what Lauren sees in her everyday life. It may not seem aesthetically pleasing by United States standards, however, it is full of beauty!

I love, love, love the people of this country and I am already counting down to when I am able to return! Hopefully my spanish will be better next time around.

In Christ,

la prima de Lorena, Rachel Barber

Upcoming Trip to the U.S.A.

This will be the last newsletter I will write while I am in Peru. The next one I will write will be when I am in the STATES! Please pray for me as I have only 17 days left here in Peru before I board a plane to go the states for a time of sabbatical and furlough. I have so many things to do. Would you please pray specifically for:

  • August 18th, 17 mormon missionaries will be coming over on their off day to eat tacos and play games. This is ONLY something God could put together. Please pray that I will share the gospel with truth and grace and that they would be receptive.
  • I have several people I need to talk about salvation with before I leave. Please pray that they would understand and put their faith in Christ. These people have heard the gospel for years through Para Peru ministry; please pray that these seeds would come to fruition. A couple of these conversations are going to be extremely hard for various reasons. Please pray for me for wisdom.
  • Please pray that I would be able to get everything set up with appointments and speaking engagements in the States. I still have a few more openings to speak at churches that I would like to fill up. If you would like for me to share with your church; I would be happy to do so!
  • Also, Elar, my intern will be coming to the states for 3 1/2 weeks while I am there. Please pray for our church as we will be both be gone for almost a month. Pray that leaders will step up and really take the lead in the ministry. There is so much to do to prepare for furlough, but I know this is exactly what God has for me to do at this time.

I would love to see you while I am home, send me a message on facebook or by email so we can set up a time to hang out. Elar is friends with many of you guys too, and he is looking forward to hanging out with people that he has met on mission trips over the years. Let me know if you would like me to set up a time to get together with him. I am so excited to see my family, friends, and eat some Chick-Fil-A! See you soon!

Baptisms, Birthdays, and Beaches- OH MY!

May was definitely a month to remember. We baptized 9 believers, I turned 30, and so much more. I am going to share briefly some of the main highlights of May.

  • May 2018 was one of the best months up to date. It was incredible to see people asking to get baptized. They had actually been waiting on me to set up the service; they were so excited. Each of the 9 people that got baptized are new believers. I talked to each one of them individually about their salvation, each one explained to me in great detail their belief in Jesus and the gospel. We also then talked through exactly what baptism means and everyone fully understood it before they were baptized. Most of these people’s families are Catholic which made it a harder to take this important decision as a Christian to publicly announce to the world that they are believers, yet they did! I am so proud of them. They invited their non- believing family members and friends and many came. One lady experienced great persecution from her family, and she backed out of getting baptized, but the night before she decided she was going to do it. She understood that Jesus was more important than what her family thought/ how they treated her. All glory to God for the great things He has done.
  • May 23rd was my 30th birthday. I have almost lived in Peru a decade; almost all of my 20s have been here serving Jesus in Peru. My good friends Michael and Jessica were coming down to visit me on my actual birthday, so the Peruvians were super sneaky and did a surprise party before my actual birthday! The entire church was there and everyone pitched in to help. It was decorated beautifully, there were great snacks, two cakes, a piñata, a clown, a person in a bugs bunny costume, and a girl made me this beautiful box that unfolded with a tons of cards from our church members. I felt so loved! It was a great celebration!
  • We also went to the homeless shelter again where my good friend Yolanda lives. We decorated visors and made name cards to go over their beds. We went to visit on a Peruvian holiday, so several youth from our church went and did a great job helping. We have been sharing the gospel using hand motions and using lots of repetition. We all explain the story of Jesus together, using simple phrases with motions. Some of the ladies there really understand the things we are teaching because they verbally express it. I have great hope and confidence that the others are learning too, just because they can not express themselves verbally does not mean they are not learning. The picture of Yolanda with a book is because they found out she knows how to read! I was in total shock. The therapist was working with them one day and found out she can read. She barely speaks, but she can read almost anything. That was just a great reminder of all that God is doing in Yola’s life. We don’t know much about her life, but sometime before I found her on the street she had been educated and had a different life. I am hoping to take her a children’s Bible story book so she can start reading about God. I am so excited!

Baptisms, Birthdays, and Beaches- OH MY!

Noticias de Abril

April was a month filled with all kinds of different ministry activities. I am going to list a few highlights of the month.

  • We had our church-wide birthday party celebrating the birthdays of January – April. It was a great time of celebration, learning about how God forms us even inside of our mother’s womb, and the piñata as always was a blast.
  • Estefany aqquepucho graduated with her undergraduate degree in Administration. She was one of my very first friends in the orphanage. She is Elar and Max’s sister. I am so proud of her; she worked her way through college by herself and is the first one in her family to graduate with a college degree. I was also able to spend a lot of time with her mom, who I officially met for the first time after all of these years of knowing and loving her kids. Max, Elar, and I spent a couple of hours sharing the gospel with her. Please pray for Susanna as she doesn’t understand the gospel, that the Holy Spirit would reveal Jesus to her.
  • One of my favorite parts of the month was taking Jhon, Marta’s son, to Arequipa to start drug rehab. Marta had been pleading with me for years to get help for her son. A few years ago, CrossPointe community church gave money so that Jhon could go to rehab. It took him several years to finally get his ID card from problems in his paperwork that hadn’t been fixed from when he was born. He was so excited to get his ID card and was ready to go. He took his first plane ride with me and off we went to the mountains of Arequipa. He will be in a Baptist rehab center for a total of 9 months. It is a great place; the director and his family were amazing, the other staff members were so encouraging, and God’s creation is SO beautiful in this area. I am so excited to see what God will do in the life of Jhon with his addiction recovery but more importantly what He will learn about Jesus. I have hope that he will put his faith in Jesus during his time there.
  • Baby Liam, whom many have been praying for,  because he was 22% burned is out of the hospital! It is a miracle that ONLY the Lord could do. He is now walking, playing, has a smile on his face, and is SO much better. He still has a long road ahead of him with all kinds of therapy. Please pray for his continued recovery and that his parents will stay on his track with all of his many appointments as they are busy raising 3 other kids. Please pray for God’s provision for this family and wisdom for Liam’s parents.
  • I got to spend a weekend with my “Peruvian kids,” and we went to celebrate my other Peruvian son, Max’s, birthday. We ate pizza and watched a movie together. Then my kids helped me clean the ministry center and helped/ attended our Bible studies. I just love hanging out with my “Peruvian family.”
  • School started in March, and many of our church families still did not have school supplies even though it was April. Thanks to our regular donors we were able to buy them the essential supplies/ uniforms that they needed.
  • It has been so encouraging watching our neighborhood Bible study grow with more youth boys. After our youth retreat, several teenage boys who didn’t come before have started coming and even participate in all of our goofy games. Other young adults that normally play soccer on the court have also started coming too. I am excited to see God moving in these teenagers. Please continue to pray for them.

Noticias de Abril

March Madness

March News

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!

March Madness