Part of CUDA’s philosophy is to foster programs that are sustainable and holistic in nature and avoid paternalism and dependency. The medical branch of CUDA, called Pura Vida, is still in its beginning stages. We chose the name Pura Vida to communicate that our aim is for people to attain wellbeing in all facets of life: physical, mental and relational (also part of CUDA’s philosophy) and that this way they may be blessed by a pure life. We hope in time to be able to recruit Peruvian volunteers who will partner with us, become passionate with the work, and will continue the work once we have gone. For now, we strive to be culturally contextual and get input from local Arequipeños in all we do.
Katie and I were “sent off” by the Central and Cedar Lane churches a little over seven months ago. We loved getting to spend the summer with these two churches so goodbyes were hard. But we said goodbye knowing we were headed to the place for which we had been preparing for years. In January and in April of this year, the house churches in Arequipa had their own two send-off Sundays.
How we understand and practice mission is at the center of all of our questions about how we talk about the church and how we perceive our relationship with our neighbors. Our confusion about worship practices, our ambivalence about authority, our problems with reading scripture, our malaise about the competing moralities of our cultures, our fear of suffering, our surprising incertitude about what it means to be a church member and our ongoing struggle with nominal Christianity—none of these (or any other currently critical issue) will find their resolution without surer grounding in the practice and understanding of mission.