October 2013

One Way to Look at It: A Proposal

It’s easy to think of people in terms of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. That The World is an entity separate and apart from The Church, and the very basis of our identity is wrapped up in having a line drawn between the two groups. Then we imagine that if God were to choose a side, He would plant His feet just as firmly on our side of the line as we do and join us in glaring fiercely at those who refuse to cross over to our side. He rejoices in their struggles, failings, and pain as proof of their wrong position. 

Except, does that actually sound like Him? There has to be a better way to think about it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
— John 3:16

Familiar words that pack a punch, though its power is often lost on us because we can rattle it off “by heart” without actually engaging the heart at all. Yet, it carries a great deal of meaning. 

It means that God wanted so badly to be in unity with each and every one of the people He created in His image that He proposed marriage to everyone who ever existed. He came in close, offered the promise of a committed life with Him, and asked if we would take Him up on it. As proof, He paid all that it would cost with His own life, giving that which was valuable to Him to His beloved. As a man presents a woman with an engagement ring, Jesus gave us Himself to prove His dedication and sincerity. 

And every single person who has lived or will live since then has the choice to merge their life with His, or not. Some of us have accepted His proposal and now live a mutual life with Him. Just like marriage, we don’t do very well some days, but the commitment is there, the base assumption that we live this life together. Others have not yet accepted His offer, but it still stands. It will stand until time ends. He loves each person so dearly that He will wait patiently for their answer. 

Do we really feel justified to look down on anyone else for where they fall in their process with Him? Do we truly think that God has assigned us the task of determining whether others have missed their chance? Or, when we really think about it, do we recognize that such an assumption makes no sense in light of the God who has shown us such grace, accepted us so freely, and continued steadfast in His love for us despite our own flaws? 

Who are we to write off anyone to whom He has made such an offer? Who are we to be stingy with love when we have received it abundantly? If we are His representatives here on earth, then we show others what this committed life with Him looks like, which means being open to those He has invited. After all, it’s His kingdom.

Aussies, Coffee, and TA 2.0

The Aussies

Recently a new couple joined us in Arequipa for a two year stint as “apprentices.”  Bethany and Andrew Gray come to us from Australia (east cost, Brisbane) after being connected via Gary Green from ACU.  They are excited to work with our development programs, especially the new health initiative being planned, and to get to know the Peruvians in our church network and minister alongside them.  First things first though, they’ve begun intensive language learning at our language school.  Twenty hours of Spanish classes each week take a toll on you mentally, emotionally and physically.  Will you pray for them to have the stamina and dedication to their studies?  Advancing as much as possible in their language classes now will help set them up for a good two years of ministry here in Arequipa.


We are this close (imagine my hands held up really close together. . .) to being able to deliver fresh-roasted CUDA coffee stateside door!  Once the international leg is worked out, a literal ton of CUDA coffee will head that way, with two new varieties in addition to our standard Tunki. After it arrives in Texas, we will start fresh-roasting and shipping orders around the end of November in time for Christmas.  In a few weeks, we’ll send out emails with details on the coffee we have to offer as well as some gift combos that should make great Christmas gifts.  Thanks for your support of CUDA in this new venture.  We hope it will contribute toward sustainability for the NGO in years to come.

TA 2.0

With 2013 drawing to a close we are getting ready for our new teammates to arrive in Arequipa.  Four families (the Frouds, Morgans, Blairs and Daggetts) will begin arriving in January with the last family set to arrive around August.  Recently we have been celebrating with the Morgans and Frouds as they have finalized their support with two different churches.  The Frouds will be supported by the Cloverdale church in Searcy while the Morgans will partner with the Pleasant Valley church in Little Rock.  As the Frouds and Morgans enter into their final 3-4 months before the move be praying for them.  It is a hectic time full of change and goodbyes.  Pray for their last few months spent with supporting churches; that strong relationships would be formed and solid support structures put into place.  Pray for their last goodbyes to family members and for their arrival (Frouds in January, Morgans in February) in Arequipa.  We are ready for them to be here!