by Abbe Larson
For 12 days, our team of eighteen from my hometown worked in Lima and Iquitos, Peru. In Lima, we teamed up with Camino de Vida church missionaries and Free Wheel Chair Mission to build and distribute over 30 wheelchairs to approved individuals. A huge public celebration was held in honor of a public distribution, where the mayor of Lima himself came to help put people in their new wheels! It was a huge testament for Camino de Vida to share God’s love and salvation through Christ in such a public way! Several came to faith and countless others heard John 3:16 proclaimed in the name of Lord who brought the wheelchairs to the needy. There was dancing, singing, and freedom that day as those who can walk blessed those who cannot.
In Iquitos, a rainforest city on the banks of an Amazon riverlet, our team worked with Operation Blessing to offer a medical clinic in a rural area. Local medical doctors volunteered their time in obstetrics, dentistry, optometry, and general medicine. The Operation Blessing staff organized pharmaceutical and spiritual counseling stations, and our team filled in everywhere necessary, including helping with a Vacation Bible School (VBS), dental assistance, triage, parasite education, and passing out Kool-aidJ. More than 1,000 people came that day for medical attention, and all received spiritual counseling at one of the stations of the clinic. I witnessed many hands raised in prayer and hugs given with the words “Gloria a Dios.” I felt the presence of the Lord as these thousand received medical help and relief from suffering, as children played and sang songs of love, and as smiles came quickly on every face – even those who had teeth pulled!
Our team hosted head lice clinics one day for several hundred school age children…washing hair, combing hair, rinsing hair… it was a long 8 hours! The children showed such patience, though. They never complained, and made us feel welcome in their villages by laughing with us at our poor Spanish and oversized gloves. During VBS, I was able to share the gospel with three-year olds at a preschool – a very new challenge for me! At each school, we prayed for the children and shared God’s love with them. Some asked questions, and in one VBS session, a seven-year old girl boldly asked if she could pray. The Lord has so many witnesses in Peru!
One last highlight (there are SO many!) from our trip was going to the Nancy Cole Home in Lima. This is a home for young women who have left, or been rescued from, the sex trade, drug/alcohol addiction, and abusive family situations. The home is funded by my hometown’s church through their sister church, Camino de Vida in Lima City. The missionaries and pastors from this church family are very involved at Nancy Cole and it was a blessing to spend a day with these women who are growing in Christ and living in the grace of God. We had stations for all thirty to rotate through with each one planned to give them personal attention and bless them individually. We washed their feet and prayed over them, put new shoes on each girl, set up a “store” for them to choose a new outfit, and gave a lunch to celebrate them as “princesses of the King.” At my station, we shared the Word and prayed over each woman as a child of God. They each excitedly chose their own teddy bear (which we brought) to remind them of their special place in God’s heart as His beautiful daughters.
I have been richly blessed in all of this! Sharing and witnessing in Peru has been a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, and of the sincerity of a humble heart. The Spirit overcame language barriers, gave us confidence, and moved among us as we worked in Christ’s name in Peru. It is my prayer that our team of small hands have glorified the Lord there and that our presence communicated the boundless body of Christ bringing more to His side and faith in Him! Thank you, SBCC, for participating in this ministry with me.