From the beginning we had big plans for ICDU. These plans weren’t very clearly laid out in our minds but they were big. One thing we have always known is that while we might be able to get ICDU started, and we might be able to launch a project or two, and these few projects might be successful, ICDU would only be a lasting presence in Arequipa with the help of Peruvians committed to the work. For years we have been praying for contacts to be made and friendships to spring up between us and Peruvians with a heart for development work. Let me tell you how God has answered that prayer.
Of course I can’t help but start with Alfredo. We met our friend, and now brother in Christ, our very first day in Arequipa. He very humbly made us all (except for Greg) aware of how far we had to go to learn the Spanish language and helped determine which teachers would be our guides over the next few weeks. Alfredo was paired up with Greg and a good friendship sprang up between them. In time, Greg learned that Alfredo’s job working with the Peace Corp in southern Peru would soon be ending and that Alfredo, having been told of our purpose in the city, wanted to meet with us. To shorten the story a bit, Alfredo opened his heart up to us and offered to help as we launched ICDU. We hired him for a time to help us in this endeavor and he taught us a lot. While we no longer pay Alfredo, it hasn’t lessened his desire to help his fellow Peruvians. It was his motivation in the first place, something God placed in his heart and God continues to call Alfredo to serve. Thankfully for us Alfredo is answering that call.
Next on the list is Abraham. Abraham is a fellow Christian that after spending a time in Lubbock, TX returned to Arequipa about the same time we did in 2008. Hearing about us through some contacts, he sought us out to offer his friendship and support. We have benefitted greatly from our relationship with Abraham as he has opened doors for us, especially in Porvenir, and thrown opportunity after opportunity our way. He has expressed on numerous occasions a desire to be more involved with our development work and we intend to take him up on the offer. He is already helping coordinate events and other programs at our largest free-access community library in Porvenir and the possibilities are growing. Abraham is a great example of a tireless servant- hearted Christian who seeks God in all he does.
Rounding out the trio is one of our sisters in Christ, Paty. We began to get to know Paty about 6 months after arriving in Arequipa. Some fellow missionaries invited Greg to take over a bible study while they returned to the States on furlough. This proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Paty is not only one of the most spiritually mature Christians in our little church but also one of the most servant hearted women you will meet. A few months ago, Greg approached Paty, who has her training in accounting, about helping the borrowers in our loan program. She seemed excited about this idea, this opportunity to use the gifts God has given her.
She has since held an introductory meeting with some of the borrowers and more personal followup meetings with those who are interested in learning how to handle their businesses better. I met with her just last week and asked if she wanted to be even more involved with the loans (from start to finish) and she again expressed great interest. Her influence will shape the future of our lending program for the better, and indeed will help shape all of ICDU’s practices from here on out.
The Lord has blessed us richly in these partners. They haven’t balked at anything we’ve asked of them and have instead risen to answer a call from God here in Arequipa. Seeking to serve Him in everything they do, they have graciously agreed to help us dream, plan, and execute projects seeking to improve the lives of their fellow Peruvians. Join us in thanking God for their participation and in asking God to bless them with wisdom and energy for the work to be done.