We have been privileged to witness God’s beautiful orchestration of soul networking in our time here. We’d like to share these happy stories with you.
When we first arrived we joined an existing mission team and an existing house church. In time, we got to know the brethren and began studying, learning and discipling side by side. One of the members, Alfredo Gutierez, invited a friend to church, Liliana. She had a rough and difficult life, but faithfully continued meeting with us. She began studying the gospel of Mark with Justin, continued studying with me and eventually told us, “I think I need to be baptized, don’t you?” Of course we smiled real big and said, “Yes!” On September 24, 2015 the church came together at a local swimming pool to celebrate her new birth. She has turned her life around and continues to fight the good fight
During our first year here, Andy and Bethany Gray, an Australian couple worked with our team as apprentices. Andy passed out a ton of fliers at the State Univiersity campus inviting students to participate in an English movie night. Nimer, a young engineering student, showed up the first night along with a few others. Our teammate Chase was there too that first night and became instant friends with Nimer. He started hanging out at their house and eventually started studying with Chase as spiritual conversations began. Nimer accepted a scholarship to study in an engineering program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We connected him with Jonathan Hanegan, a good friend and missionary working there. This past July Nimer was baptized and continues to meet with the church there. Jonathan sent us a video of the baptism! Nimer and Chase still keep in touch.
About six months ago Kristi Bond from Searcy contacted us and told us about Diana, a World Bible School student of hers who lived in Arequipa and was really interested in meeting the church and wanted to know more about our faith. We contacted her and encouraged Paty, one of the most mature members of our church, to get to know her and study with her. Diana started meeting with Paty regularly, began attending our church meetings in our home and Paty’s home and joined Paty, Jake and Jaclyn and one of Paty’s friends for a mid-week Bible study. She soon expressed her desire to be baptized but wanted to wait till she visited her daughter who lives in Florida. She wanted to be baptized while visiting her daughter to be able to be a testimony that way to her as well. Diana left for Florida at the end of August. Early November we received news that she was baptized at the church there. We were ecstatic! Several of us continue to be in touch with her and encourage her through Facebook messenger and phone calls. We look forward to having her with us again mid-January when she returns. In the picture below Diana is on the bottom left.
One day as we hailed a taxi to take us home, Justin struck up a conversation with a young taxi driver who asked Justin if he played baseball. Justin said, “Not really, but I have a teammate who does” and he connected this guy up with our teammate Jake. Jake eventually joined Arequipa’s first baseball league (who would have known!) and continues to play with them today. About a year ago Jake started a Bible study in English with several guys on his team who all speak a little English and wanted to practice more. Jake became good friends with Percy and spent extra time studying God’s words with him. Percy was baptized at the beach on November 15th of this year, the day before Jake left for furlough. During Jake’s furlough, Justin, Chase, and Benji (our apprentice) continue to meet with him as he learns and satisfies his remarkable curiosity for God’s ways.