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Peru Day 2

The day began with a buzzing excitement around the possibility of doing home visits to our sponsor childs' home and eagerness to return to the site and connect with the children and staff of PE 140. As the team climbed aboard the bus, we shared some of our favorite moments from the day before and different prayer request we had received. Traveling through the busy streets of Lima to the rural area of PE 140, we prayed over all of the requests and prayed that God's light would shine bright through all of us today.

When we pulled up to the church and school of PE 140, it was announced we would have three home visits today along with performing our VBS skit, The Shepherd and the Lost Sheep. The team bounded off the bus to be greeted with open arms by the staff of PE 140 and quickly got to work.

In the morning, we broke off into small groups and spent time in the different age classrooms. Each classroom had an impactful topic they were covering. It was evident that all of the teachers and staff poured themselves into each and every child; helping create a solid Christian foundation for the children to build on and use as a compass for life.

Home visits commenced as the team finished classroom discussions. Mike and Tom Jackson visited their sponsor child of 4 years and were able to see how impactful and grateful Valentino’s grandparents truly were for their generosity and Christ-like spirit.

Lisa Rossics was able to have home visits with both of her sponsor children! The connection with her children and the inspiring words that she has continued to share has helped turn around the mother's life and brought her back to Christ!

I, Julie Wilhelm was able to visit my sponsor child, Favio and asked Eric Anderson to join. It was a surreal feeling as we walked through roads made of dirt and filled with trash and saw homes without windows or missing part of a wall. Yet, when you enter a house that is one or two 10x10 rooms, you can see how much care and pride is taken in making sure their home is spotless. Everything was exactly in the proper place and was carefully accounted for. It was very humbling to see how much work and effort was put forward in preparation for Eric and I.

Diana creek was also able to have a home visit with one of her sponsor children.

One thing I wonder, and I think most of us that go on mission trips wonder,  is what impact do we have? What have I done that will leave an impact on others? And the biggest question… how has Jesus worked through me today? 

I feel so blessed to say that I have truly seen how Jesus has worked through each and every one of us this trip.

Today, I was a witness to others of how Christ works... when the team humbly served lunch for hours, making sure every student and staff were fed as well as when we did home visits and a father that had never been to church finally started attending because of the positive influence his child’s sponsor has had on his family. I became a witness even through the simplicity of playing and showing compassion and affection toward the children we served. Christ's love and presence were felt and thrived.

There is truly a light in all of us. When given the proper love, care, and fuel it burns brighter and stronger than anything the devil can ever throw at us. That’s what I saw today - devoted amazing people tending to others' light and making sure that they have the fuel and the power to burn brighter than ever. 

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Peru Day 3

Hope. What is hope? The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. What does that mean for our walk with God and how do we inspire hope in others? These were all questions the team pondered throughout the day today.

This morning as we traveled through the hustle and bustle traffic of Lima, we found out that we would be building two homes, have four home visits, and would be working wherever we were needed at the center.

Lynda’s sponsor child was one of the families we built a house for and the second home for her uncle and cousin. The Holy Spirit completely filled the homes and build sites today. He gave us not only the physical strength to construct the homes but spoke His words through us to inspire hope. One moment in particular that stands out from the home build is how, after learning about a loss in the family, Lynda shared about a loss very close to her own heart. She spoke of how her faith and how she turned to God brought her comfort. We asked what were some of the family's favorite Bible verses and we shared our own and prayed. On this day, God brought the family hope for a better future.

Another moment that brought many of us great joy was returning to the center and having the opportunity to interact with the children. Gods light shined bright within each team member and the children we connected with! By being present, showing compassion, and letting the Lord work through us as his messengers, he gave Hope the Children of PE140.

The team was granted a very special dinner with children who had graduated from the Compassion program and shared with the team their story of how Compassion changed their lives. I (Julie) sat across from an inspiring young woman, Ruth, 18 years old, who spoke about what being in the Compassion program meant for her. She came from a family where her mother was not a believer of God and her father's faith was shaken. Being in the Compassion Program gave her not only an education but taught her what God’s love was. As she grew in the program so did her faith. She began mentoring younger children and helping their faith grow. She became a spiritual leader for her younger brother and was able to show him how to have a relationship with Christ. When Ruth graduated high school, she said God provided for her once again through Compassion... helping her dream of becoming a Chef come true. She spoke of how her faith gave her the strength to accomplish what many said she could not because of the obstacles that stood in her way. She never lost hope.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

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