This is the first post in the ICDU View series by Kyle. While anachronistic, this (and other posts like it) will be classified under the "CUDA" category. You can find the posts related to this specific series (which began with the 2010 Newsletter redesign) under the ICDU View Series tag. -JD
Since the words ‘holistic ministry’ first left our mouths we’ve been explaining, and sometimes defending, our position on the work here in Arequipa. Taking our cues from Jesus’ own ministry we seek to reach those around us in a holistic way. We can no more just preach the news to people than only provide clean water to a new community. Being holistic we bring the message, the words, of Jesus while at the same time trying to serve like Jesus would serve, a message in itself. That being said, it helps to talk about our ministry in two parts. We have Bible studies born from relationship building and we have development projects. Before arriving in the field it was easy to think, dream, and talk about what our Bible studies and house churches might look like someday. It was not easy to picture what development projects we might undertake and how those would fit in with our goals.
After sixteen months in the field our developmental ministry has taken on a life of its own and grown at a rate we could not have anticipated. God truly has opened doors and created contacts that have helped us advance our project timeline. If you’ve been reading our newsletters and websites, you know about our existing projects. What I want to share with you is what has been left unsaid. With every project there are aspects that don’t get included in our reports, but they are just as significant.
One thing that sometimes doesn’t get explained is that we are not carrying out these projects alone. When we arrived in the field we began praying for God to guide us in planning our development work. We had no experience and almost no contacts in this field, so if something was going to happen, we knew it was up to God. As usual, He not only answered our prayers but did so in a more complete way than we expected. God’s first answer to our prayers was Alfredo Oporto. We met Alfredo about two hours after arriving in Arequipa after getting to our hotel. At the time he was working for our language school, and he was the one that tested us to determine our course of study. Greg ended up having Alfredo as one of his teachers and through hours of talking came to learn that Alfredo was also the director for the operations of Peace Corp in all of southern Peru. When we later learned that the Peace Corp was cutting out their funding for Alfredo’s group, we knew an opportunity the language school, nor that he lost his job at just the time we were ready to start a project. God placed Alfredo in our path at the right time and with the right resources to help us.
In April of 2009 Alfredo officially joined ICDU, our development agency, as a consultant. As an ex-director for Peace Corp he came to us with ideas that he never had time to implement and with the experience that we lacked. He knows how to get things done and work inside of the system here in Arequipa. He understands the people we are trying to reach, their customs and habits. I honestly cannot imagine how long it would have taken to get anything going without having Alfredo to lean upon. Not only has Alfredo been invaluable to ICDU but he has also become a great friend to the team. His wife Judith has even become the girls’ pediatrician.
Alfredo not only brought his experience with Peace Corp to ICDU but also connections with the Rotary Club here in Arequipa. When we first began planning the library project, Alfredo approached the leadership of the Club about becoming a sponsor of the project. They agreed and have since purchased the signs for every library. They have also helped provide furniture for one library and food and chairs for all the inaugurations. Their partnership with ICDU has only expanded as they plan to help us with future projects for El Naranjal and a possible medical campaign this year. We are grateful to have this club and their resources available to us as we move forward.
The latest member of the ICDU network is Abraham Olivera. We came to know Abraham through some contacts we have in the states as he lived in Lubbock attending LCU for awhile. Upon returning to Arequipa, he sought us out simply to get to know us as fellow Christians and to offer his help and friendship. Soon after Abraham began working in his own neighborhood, gathering Christians around him and starting to meet regularly. His group decided that our library idea sounded like a good idea and they wanted to get one started in their area. Abraham was able to get the mayor of his district to provide the location for the library and all we are waiting on before the inauguration is for the water company to turn the water on. He also planned a soccer tournament and chocolatada for his community that we were pleased to help with. Abraham is a man of initiative and will be a great partner with ICDU in Miraflores.
Now that you know all the people that make up ICDU and help it carry out its projects I would ask you two things. First, I want you to keep yourself informed. We post reports, pictures, and videos on our websites that will let you know what has been going on and what we have in the works. We try not to be too wordy and the videos are kept short so it doesn’t take much time. Second, I want you to pray. It is easy for us to come up with projects, but we want all that we do to be needed and well received. Be praying that we are effective servants in this area and that through our service the people would be open to hearing about Jesus. I have the feeling that as long as we follow God’s lead, this year will be better than we could imagine