Last month I reported about the new trio of ICDU coordinators - Alfredo, Paty, and Abraham. Three weeks ago we began a weekly meeting between all of us so that they could start shaping/influencing ICDU’s ministry. It has been a really neat and humbling experience as each one of them brings a different viewpoint to the table. Our first order of business was bringing them up to date on current programs and sharing our plans for the future. In that first meeting I new God had brought together a good group of people because we talked for hours and didn’t get past our first three programs. Ideas and dreams flowed...it was awesome.
From the beginning we had big plans for ICDU. These plans weren’t very clearly laid out in our minds but they were big. One thing we have always known is that while we might be able to get ICDU started, and we might be able to launch a project or two, and these few projects might be successful, ICDU would only be a lasting presence in Arequipa with the help of Peruvians committed to the work. For years we have been praying for contacts to be made and friendships to spring up between us and Peruvians with a heart for development work. Let me tell you how God has answered that prayer.
Here we are at the end of 2010. It has been a good year for ICDU with previous projects refined and continuing and new projects being launched. I thought it appropriate to give a quick rundown of what you all helped accomplish through ICDU this year.
While in the States on furlough (got back a week ago) we were afforded many opportunities to talk to people at our supporting churches. While in Tyler we talked with classes and small groups each Sunday and in Tullahoma we got to speak to all the adults one Sunday. A consistent topic of conversation was our loan program. Some people didn’t know about it, or were unsure of what all it entailed. Others wanted a better explanation/understanding of why we offer no-interest loans to Peruvians. Still others asked how they could help and indeed we got to raise money for Ines’ loan while back.
I am very excited about what is going on with our Porvenir library. To bring everyone totally up to speed, we started out with 4 libraries and only 2 exist now. One is located in one of our church member’s homes. It is called Biblioteca de Cristo. I go and facilitate a kids event every other Saturday in that library. Our other, much larger, library is called Porvenir. I facilitate an event there every other Saturday and Rachel is in charge the alternate Saturdays. It is located in the community above where Greg and I live. It occupies the part of the second story of the police station.
Over the next few months I’ll be spending my newsletter slot on our entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of our no-interest loan program. I want to spend each month highlighting a borrower and their business. Recently, over on ICDU’s website, I put out an update on the four loans we have made and the two other possible loans to be made. While this program has advanced as we had hoped, it would be even more amazing to break expectations and make another loan or two in 2010.
Every month come newsletter time I struggle with what information pass along to you, our readers. Too often I lean towards updating you on our projects in terms of progress or numbers knowing how much everyone, myself included, likes to know how far along a project has progressed or how many new contacts or loans we have made. Completed latrines, new loans, successful library events, new projects. All of these things make for good article fodder and I enjoy giving you that because I want you to be keeping ICDU and the ongoing projects in your prayers. In the past few weeks however ,I have been struck time and again by the fact that the work we do here is not for numbers.
July has been a good month for ICDU. The latrine project was kicked off the last weekend of June and each Sunday this month we’ve gone out to work on the holes. The digging goes rather slowly, even with a jackhammer, because after the first foot or two the ground is basically solid rock, but our increased presence in Naranjal has already had noticeable benefits.
Have you given much thought lately to the reason missions is important? How do we view those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus? In our churches there exist many answers to these questions. Lost, seeking, potential new brother/sister, another number on the roll, or fallen? Sometimes it seems like those are the only options available to us. As if people were unworthy of our time or friendship unless they are interested in a Bible study or coming to church with us.
This summer will see the beginning of a number of new projects for ICDU and I want to take a moment to let you know about them. While the natural flow of events has pushed the start of these to the summer it couldn’t come at a better time. Not only are we ready to start involving church members in projects but this summer we have three interns to help with the work! Last year Aaron was with us as we began getting to know the people of El Naranjal and this year our interns will help us continue the work we’ve begun there.