If you haven’t heard about CUDA’s community development program, you should visit the CUDA blog and read this post.
Recently, some participants in this program and other neighbors began studying the Bible.  It is always our hope that CUDA beneficiaries will be interested in talking more about faith or reading the Bible, but we try not to make anyone feel pressure to do so.  Instead, we talk openly about our own faith and make invitations to have personal conversations.  Very often these invitations come to nothing, but sometimes a seeker will take us up on the offer.  
Then there are the times when program participants invite us to share more with them.  That was the case for the community development program.  After we had got to know each other a little, some of the ladies in the program were chatting with me after a meeting, asking what I do in Arequipa.  This is a common question, and I usually explain that I moved my family to Arequipa because we want to tell people about the kingdom of God by serving in different ways, such as through CUDA, and by sharing the Bible with people who are interested.  Before I could get to an invitation, they asked if I would be willing to study the Bible with them.  Those are fun situations for a missionary—when you can just say yes.  This is not a fairytale story, though.  These women live hard lives, and they work whenever they can.  It is difficult to find a time to meet with them, so our studies are sporadic.  I’m praying that we can find a regular time and really get into the story of Jesus together.
Another Bible study has come out of a loan group.  After finishing the biblical business ethics class that is part of their curriculum as borrowers, a few of them requested to continue studying.  Paty and I meet every Thursday with this small group to read Mark.  Alcoholism afflicts one participant’s life, and we have tearfully begun to work through difficult family dynamics.  Paty and I were glad to have Mark Clancy visit from Lima recently and play an encouraging role in the study.  Sometimes it is hard to see they way ahead, but we trust that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.  It is a blessing to be reminded of that when other Christians visit and reflect the light.