I wanted to share some of my thoughts after spending just one day with the CUDA team and hope to pass along the excitement I felt working alongside these servant-leaders. I’ve been a member of CUDA’s board for four years and thought I had a good handle on the scope of our mission in Arequipa. However, visiting the city and witnessing first-hand the amazing work of CUDA’s staff and volunteers was an unforgettable experience.
My gracious host and Team Arequipa member Chase Froud met me at the Arequipa airport after a very early flight. After receiving a warm welcome by Briana, Evan, and Abigail Froud at their home, we set out to visit several schools that were in different stages of the Living Libraries Program with CUDA Director Alfredo Oporto. As the husband of a school librarian, it is hard to grasp the fact that the overwhelming majority of public schools in Arequipa do not have in-school libraries nor do they have easy access to public libraries. The Living Libraries Program, therefore, is critically important to the students and teachers of the participating schools. I was able to witness the joy of the children in the program and the gratitude of the principals and teachers. I learned that Living Libraries requires a serious commitment by the school administration and staff for the program to be offered at the school. It was especially interesting to visit one of the schools scheduled to begin the program next year and compare it to the impressive library and program at the Mario Vargas Llosa School that was the first school to “graduate” from Living Libraries.
In the afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting CUDA’s dedicated staff. Paty, Lucia, Nancy, and Alfredo are all incredibly gifted and dedicated. They develop close partnerships with principals and teachers in the school systems for the Living Libraries program, but also work closely with health officials in CUDA’s Pure Life initiative. Public health clinics lack the basic resources to identify, diagnose, and treat diabetes. CUDA volunteers work with clinic medical staff to identify ways to begin to curb this disease and make lasting changes to patients who are learning to live with diabetes. Establishing meaningful relationships based on holistic problem-solving is a key element of CUDA’s philosophy and it is lived out through our amazing staff.
Finally, I count the hours spent with Chase, Briana, Evan, and Abigail Froud as some of my fondest memories of my trip. The Frouds are members of Team Arequipa who work closely with CUDA but also have the mission of spreading the Gospel through their daily walk in Arequipa. Though I didn’t get a chance to meet the other members of Team Arequipa (The Morgans were trekking El Misti, the volcano that dominates the Arequipan vista while the Daggetts and Blairs were on leave in the United States), I certainly was able to appreciate the love this team has for their mission and for the people of Arequipa. I cherished my time spent with this wonderful family and am thankful to have them as friends.
As I left Peru, I feel incredibly thankful to be a small part of CUDA and the Kingdom work the organization is engaged in. I’m firmly convinced that the long term goals CUDA has made are bearing fruit in Arequipa and will continue to do so for many years to come. Furthermore, I’m very excited to see what new opportunities the Lord puts before this team of staff and volunteers in Arequipa. As a board member, I thank each follower, prayer partner, church, and donor who helps support CUDA and Team Arequipa in their calling. If you have any questions about CUDA or my experience in Arequipa, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.