From the mountain tops, the city of Chachapoyas spreads out through the "valley" in these beautiful mountains. From this distance, the city looks as though it is fine, that there is no need for change. However, as we get a closer view, we see the city is broken. It is in need of repair, for years this area has been in darkness. In some cases, a false gospel has been brought in. We have heard that many are trying to get God's approval through works, and there are some that have been told that if they sin, they have lost their salvation.
But God prepared this team, our mission partners and the local pastors, to bring His message to the broken of the city. We started the week with the song "God of this City" - and He is the God of this city, and this country of Peru. God is TRANSFORMING the areas of Chachapoyas.
God's messengers sent to Chachapoyas came from many places - three countries were represented. We were joined by a team of mission partners who came from various parts of Peru. Over the course of the week, we were blessed to get to know each other and to love on one another - as well as the people of Chachapoyas.
We have seen hearts soften and God call people to Himself. He is the only way that Chachapoyas will really be transformed. Here is a quick update from each of the five areas we worked with over the week:
Mogrovejo sits on top of the mountains in Chachapoyas. It seems to be the highest peak of the area and it's where Jesse and Asia worked, finding people eager to hear their stories. By the end, Jesse and Asia fed into two separate house churches that were starting to form during the week. They were able to model a full 3-thirds meeting, as well as explain how the process is used to disciple each other. Each member present made commitments of who they would go and share 3-circles with. Pastor Robert will be following up with them to see how they are progressing. Asia was also transformed by seeing how God can use His servants, in spite of how tired they may be. One day while they were with the children on a soccer field, Asia looked and saw her mission partner (Maria) talking with a woman at the top of the hill. Asia walked over, and Maria asked her to share something. Asia relayed that she was "tired, and had nothing left" and needed a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to fill her and give her the words. A few minutes later, Asia shared her story on a deeper level than she had all week, as more women gathered around to listen. As she finished, 6 ladies prayed for Jesus to be their Savior as well. As it states in 2 Corinthians 12:9, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' May God continue to transform our lives, and those of Mogrovejo, in our weakness.
Santa Rosa is the farthest away site and Jim S, RaeAnne and Janelle have been climbing among the mountain and meeting many in the area. They saw the smiles of young children as they shared in homes and at the kid's program, and the friendliness of people as they offer their best chairs to their visitors. At one home she visited, a woman told Janelle that she had a dream that she would be able to read some day, if she kept reading the Bible. Janelle gave her a Bible - may God open her eyes and give her the ability to read His Word. RaeAnne came across a woman who was a bit hesitant to talk with her, as she was already a Catholic, but RaeAnne encourage her that she wasn't there to represent any church other than those that follow Jesus. She shared the 3-circles and discussed that it is through Christ alone that we are saved. The woman decided to put her faith in Christ and is going to take this message back to her friends within the Catholic church. Jim S shared with all that he traveled 4,000 miles to see them - because God has a plan for their lives. He witnessed a family transformed, opening their home to the neighbors and forming a group - eagerly reading stories. On the last day, there was a group of 25 children spread around the soccer fields in groups, practicing the 3-circles with each other. There's a desperation for a Savior in the hearts of many people and an eagerness with which they accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus. The power of prayer is crucial and powerful in preparing the soil in advance and while we are in the field.
16 de Octubre
16 de Octubre is a shanty town about 30 minutes walking distance from the center of Chachapoyas and it's here that Jim H, Milly and Victoria worked to transform the city. Milly had the opportunity to train a young man who hurt his leg and was homebound, in the 3-circles. He told her that he is excited to be able to go now and share with his friends since he has this tool. Jim shared with a family, seeing a grandmother, mother, father and daughter all come to trust in Jesus. They also pulled in their neighbor and started a group. They had an open door with the local school and Victoria was able to go in and share the 3-circles with about 80 kids in the younger grades. The children were attentive and roughly half of them decided to put their faith in Jesus. An area can be transformed by the youth - God is moving in many ways here. They continued to pour into a part of the neighborhood where families were gathering to disciple each other. After praying for a baby of one of the couples, they were blessed to have the child return home from the hospital, healed.
El Prado was visited by Tim, Karen and Hannah Joy. They've been able to explain to many in this area how they are "adopted" into God's family as they become followers of Jesus, using the story of Karen and Hannah Joy. God adopts us, giving us His name and all of the rights of an heir to the family. Tim spent a lot of time training the nationals that go to Pastor Jaime's church - casting vision of how they can use 3-circles and their relationship map to reach their family, friends and neighbors. Tim has also seen God working in him, realizing that his plans may not always align with what God has planned and with Jesus in control, he doesn't have to be. All week, Tim was praying for God to provide a house-of-peace and on Friday, he entered a home with 7 individuals. He and his mission partner shared their testimonies and 3-circles and the whole house came to know Jesus as their Savior. They wanted to have a discipleship meeting right away. Karen and Hannah Joy witnessed an entire family's transformation over the week as one-by-one each member heard the Gospel and responded to God's call. Hearts were softened as Elmer, Karen's mission partner who began as a non-believer, is on fire now for the lost in Chachapoyas and has committed to continue to go back to El Prado and follow-up with many he met during the week.
Chachapoyas center is a neighborhood within the city where Colin, Tricia and Silas (12 years old) went around, meeting and loving on people. Still a child himself, Silas started the children's program on his own. As the rest of the team gathered, Silas was surrounded by 20 people at the park - all paying attention to him, and almost all of them (children and adults) decided to have Jesus become their King. God can use any of His children, regardless of age, to be trustworthy ambassadors to take His Word to transform a city! Tricia was reminded on this trip that God will bring things to our minds to connect with someone. She has also seen God orchestrate appointments all through the week. Her and Rina (her mission partner) met a young woman (Stephanie) working in a shop for her aunt. As they talked more, Stephanie is actually from Tarapoto and only lives about 5-blocks from Rina - so she will be following up her when they both return to their home. Colin (as a few others on this trip) had the overwhelming opportunity to be used by God as the messenger and then provided the blessing in seeing someone accept Jesus into their life. He also found out "why" he was on this trip as he met a young man who struggled with similar, scientific questions that Colin had to wrestle with as he matured in Christ and they were able to converse about them. Silas continued to share with many that he met, going back to disciple and communicate God's concern and love for the local Peruvians.
During the week, many in Chachapoyas were transformed:
- 400 heard the Gospel
- We have 227 new Brothers and Sisters in Christ
- 90 new believers were trained to share the Gospel (via 3-circles) and many have already gone and shared with family and friends
- 30 groups have started in Chachapoyas, and will be followed up by Pastor Euler (from Tarapoto) as well as Pastors Jaime, Fidel, Jorge and Robert in Chachapoyas.
- We praise God once again that two translators were transformed during the week as they shared the Gospel in their native tongue. God's Word transforms the hearts.
- We praise God for the new family members that we were blessed to see called by God to Himself
- We're thankful for our week and that all were kept safe as we shared at the tables with the people of Chachapoyas
- Continue to pray for the city of Chachapoyas and the rest of Peru. God is the God of Chachapoyas and Peru - He is also the God of the city you are sitting in currently, reading this update. May He transform your heart to pray for your city, your family, your neighbors - and give you the boldness to share His message to whomever He lays on your heart.