June 2014


My family and I have been in Arequipa for just over 5 months now. During that time, I have accompanied Alfredo and Greg to a nearby pueblo in Mirador to assist in a community develop project that has since fizzled out. Also, I tagged along with Paty and Greg to listen to a business ethics class that our borrowers are required to attend. I have not yet taken the opportunity to be at the school for the library program, but the photos of the excited children provide a good assessment.
For my part, I have been involved primarily with CeDeTe, the center for theological development, as a student. This class is a great foundation for any new Christian or not yet believer. It is also beneficial for our Peruvian church leaders to increase their knowledge and their ability to talk about God.Thus far we have studied the story of Israel within the Hebrew Bible. We are just over half-way through the first trimester. Greg has done a wonderful job instructing, and I am increasing my biblical Spanish vocabulary. Just this week we discussed the covenant God made with David, and Greg pointed out how integral this occasion was for the people of God. In 2 Sam. 7, the prophet Nathan outlines the covenant God is making with David. I only want to point out two important features within this covenant. First in v. 13, God tells David that his son will build a temple and that David’s reign over Israel will continue forever through his descendants. Second in v. 14, God says that He will be a father to Solomon and Solomon will be his son. This language is powerful covenantal language from God who longs to dwell with his people (temple) and have an intimate relationship with them, never removing his love! This type of relationship between God and humanity was was to set in motion Israel’s calling from the days of Abraham to a blessing to all nations! Even in spite of her stubbornness, God, through the monarchy of David, would once again reign over Israel. And what would this kingdom look like? In Psalm 72 David prays for his son’s kingdom and his theme, I think, captures the essence of what CUDA stands for. Here is an adapted portion and may this be our prayer too.

May we judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice!
May we defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the children of the needy,
    and crush the oppressor!
May we fear you while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
In our days may the righteous flourish,
    and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
For we deliver the needy when he calls,
    the poor and him who has no helper.
We have pity on the weak and the needy,
    and save the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence we redeem their life,
    and precious is their blood in our sight.
May there be abundance of grain in the land;
    on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
    may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
    like the grass of the field!
May people be blessed in us,
    all nations call us blessed!
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!
— Psalm 72, adapted

Life Transformation Groups

A few weeks ago our two house churches divided up into Life Transformation groups (LTGs). These are groups of two to three brothers or sisters that meet once a week for an hour or so to read, pray and be accountable to each other. To quote one of our team’s favorite theologians, Greg McKinzie, the essence of LTGs is to “read Scripture repetitively and pray together, particularly for those they hope to evangelize” and the goal is a “high level of integration”.

For myself, having been in Arequipa just for the past four months, the life transformation group with Anita has been a multiple blessing. It is, first of all, a spiritual blessing. Additionally, it has also given me the opportunity to spend intentional and quality time with her. It is allowing me to get to know her a little better each week in a comfortable setting with no tasks to check off a list or a specific agenda to follow (apart from reading Titus and Ruth as the other LTGs are doing). It gives me further glimpses into the Peruvian culture and how the word of God speaks to Anita specifically.

We ask that you join us in praying for Arequipa’s LTGs. We pray that through these small groups, we may all grow closer to our Father, grow closer to each other and learn to more deeply and fully commit to one another.

Interns 2014

Every year Team Arequipa invites interns from the States to join the team for two months. They come on their Summer Break and live with the families in Arequipa. This year we have 5 girls with us through three different universities' programs. The internship provides interns with the chance to see what a missionary family looks like, get involved in projects, practice Spanish and make new friendships with locals. It is also a wonderful experience for their worldview to be broadened and see how faith looks in another cultural. They are part of a weekly discussion over assigned readings mission, and take part in cultural studies where they reflect on missional experiences. They are encouraged to be part of all the projects giving them a chance to see projects in works. Each intern is also mentored by a missionary which helps them attain spiritual and cultural goals. Please pray that the interns be safe during their time here and that they learn see God in a new way. 

Left to right: Kayla, Christy, Lexi, Mat & Fiama

Left to right: Kayla, Christy, Lexi, Mat & Fiama

Is God Good?

One of the questions that can easily stop us in our tracks as evangelists is: “If God is good, why does everything around me seem wrong?” We don’t know how to answer, so we flee from the conversation or mumble something that sounds churchy, but in all honesty, that question is intimidating because we don’t exactly know how to answer it, right?
How about this?
Imagine that the world is a valley, and granted, it’s a mess. Everyone is scrambling to define their place and achieve something, all too often at the expense of others. Sprinkled throughout are the Christians, supposedly understanding the way they are to act, leaving behind the urge to prove something and instead, building life rafts. Everyone else laughs at them, not unlike those who laughed at Noah, not seeing the need for their work, not seeing the value of their preparation. 
What they haven’t seen, but the Christians have, is the dam at the top of the cliff. It is big and strong, and Christians know that means it holds back a great deal of powerful water. One shift and the valley will be forever changed. Not erased, but filled with a new way of existence. The earth-bound constructions and defined boundaries will cease to rule. The water will take every nook and cranny for itself, as is its nature. It will clean away the dirt and debris in its rush by, leaving only fresh water glittering in clear light. 
Christians know the better focus is to prepare for the coming flood and inform as many people as possible. They do so by showing them the power of water in small ways, trying to raise awareness of its importance and power so that others realize the need to be ready and the value of being part of this new way. 
Why is the valley still messed up? Because the water waits, letting those in the valley have a chance to choose its way. 
In the same way, God is good, God is love, and he is showing us this every day by not flooding in and filling the whole world with himself…not yet. The results would be great for those who are ready, and disastrous for everyone else, so he waits because he loves them too. As long as people have freedom of choice in how they live, their choices will inevitably have consequences. Often those consequences affect those around them, so that the circumstances experienced in the world are not God’s doing, because he holds himself back and lets us choose.  The very fact that we see the brokenness and pain of the world is why we see clearly the need for his love and power, and since we can recognize his love in the waiting, we allow him to first flood us, producing in us the changes that happen when his power comes. Not force, not demands, not rules, but real transformation. This is the message of the good news - the power of love to change the world by its presence. This is what we carry to a world still in need of it, the example of what can be.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
— 2 Corinthians 3:17-18