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Archive for the tag “Chesapeake Christian Fellowship”

Commander of Tens

Deuteronomy 1:15 – “So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you, leaders of thousands and of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers for your tribes.

I was recently given an opportunity to spend time with a couple people I love.

Paige and Stalin Solis came from Peru, where they lead ministries and missions, to the states to get some much needed rest and fundraise. When they came to visit Maryland, where my family and I live, they were at 34% of their monthly giving need. When they left they were at 53%!!!

I would ask that you all support them.

While they were in town we ate some great food (American and Peruvian), went sightseeing in Washington D.C. and spent a lot of time discussing and contemplating the Word of God and sharing life stories.

During their time here, we found out that Free Wheelchair Mission, the primary mission ministry that Paige & Stalin work with, was sharing a documentary on the distribution of their ONE MILLIONTH WHEELCHAIR! This documentary was filmed in Peru, with the church people and the church that Paige and Stalin belong. Paige, as a matter of fact, was one of the people in the video!!!

As we were watching the video my eyes filled with tears. I saw many people I know: Clever and Lisa Sobrino, leaders of a ministry that works with developmentally and mentally disabled people, Robert Barriger, the Senior Pastor of the church that sponsors the wheelchair mission in Peru, Miguel Chiang, one of the leaders of the wheelchair mission on the Peru side, and Nick Balcombe, leader of the missions groups that come to Peru to distribute the wheelchairs.

I’ve been to Peru 5 times in with my church, Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. Every year we take down a very small team to Peru to do service projects, including building and distributing wheelchairs. As I was watching the Free Wheelchair Mission video, I was thinking to myself that we have done so little in Peru.

Then I started adding up the numbers.

Exodus 18:19-22 – Listen to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.

In 5 years, our church has distributed 441 wheelchairs.

That is .05% of Free Wheelchair Mission’s worldwide total! That is also 2.1% of all of the wheelchairs distributed in Peru during that time frame!!!

I started thinking about the Old Testament Bible verses about the commanders of the armies of Israel. They were broken in several different command groups. There were those who led the armies of thousands, those who led the armies of hundreds, those who led the armies of fifties, and those who led the armies of tens.

In the Old Testament times the armies were physical armies that fought physical battles with enemies of the kingdom. Today Christians fight an invisible enemy, one who has attacked every fabric of life in the world. In this fight, the command structure is still the same.

Our enemy is fighting us in a physical way. He is attacking our friends, our families, and people we don’t know with sicknesses and ailments. It is up to the church to lead the charge to provide support for those who have been injured during the battle.

In this segment of the battle, Free Wheelchair Mission is the “commander of thousands.” They mobilize teams and people internationally to take wheelchairs where they are needed most.

Then there are the churches and organizations like Camino de Vida, where Paige and Stalin serve. These are the “commanders of hundreds.” They mobilize teams inside of Peru. Paige leads 30 missions teams from all around the world every year. Each team has about 10+ people in them and distribute thousands of wheelchairs a year.

Then there are the sending churches, like Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, my home church. They are the “commander of fifties.” Over the past 5 years we have sent about 40 people to Peru, close to 100 people to Haiti, and close to 75 people to Navajo Nation.

Finally, God showed me that I am a “commander of tens.” Each year I lead a team of up to 10 people to Peru.

I have always wanted to lead God’s church. I’ve wanted to be a pastor. I’ve wanted to call my “job” pastor. I desire to wake up and drive to church and call that my place of employment.

But when I realized that God has made me a “commander of tens” for doing a mission to Peru I came to the conclusion that if God never uses me for another thing in this life that I have been used to make a difference for Him. God could never call me to full-time ministry and I would be content in knowing that God’s glory has been seen through my leadership.

I don’t say that to boast.

I say that knowing full well that this opportunity can go away at any moment and it is only by the grace of God that I was given this opportunity. I pray I never take that lightly. And I pray that the commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, and commanders of tens never take their position lightly. God granted it, God can take it away if we don’t treat it as He would desire.

But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy my time as a “commander of tens” and lead as God would have me lead.

I may never lead thousands.

I may never lead hundreds.

I may not even lead fifties.

But I am leading tens. And that is enough.

Peru Mission 2017 Day 1 – Fluid

So Mimi and I are taking another team to Peru this year. We left on Friday morning and arrived late Friday night.

We had our schedules and itinerary in hand and we headed out the door.

The first flight to our layover in Miami was bumpy but uneventful. I sat in the back of the plane while the rest of our group sat in the middle and front. In the back with me were 13 women heading from Baltimore to Miami to have girls weekend away. They all had really flashy shirts and were very loud, but fun. I also had about a 4 or 5 year old child sitting behind me, kicking my seat much of the flight.

Mimi sat on her own in the middle of the flight and, since she doesn’t travel well, fell right to sleep and woke up in Miami.

We get to Miami and were to meet up with a woman I had met a few years earlier at a church planting conference. While we had a few glitches there, it was pretty easy to get together and we headed off for some lunch and our first devotion of the journey.

When we got to Lima, we located Paige and Stalin, our guides, and they took us to La Victoria, the area of the place we would be staying.

La Victoria is a very different area than where we have stayed in years past. It is the inner city. Smells of marijuana and prostitution are done in the open here. There are gangs in this area and random packs of dogs roam the streets.

This section of the city is up almost 24 hours a day.

As I sit here right now typing this, I hear about 5 different songs playing throughout the city, someone is shooting off fireworks, and car alarms go off quite frequently.

The place we are staying is a chapel. It is 5 stories and in the middle of the city. The outside is black and white and all of the windows have bars. There is a man who sits just inside the door and opens it for people who are allowed in. Every Sunday, this chapel, the smallest of the 5 campuses of Camino de Vida, has 350 regular attenders.

The first level of the chapel is the church. It is really just a big black box style. They can transform the room into whatever they want it to be for the day. It can be church on Sunday and then on Monday turn into a wheelchair build site.

The second level of the chapel is a kitchen and offices. The missions offices are housed on the second level of the place. There is also an occupational therapy facility on this level.

The third level has a sewing ministry where they make all the shirts for their missions program. They also have a meeting room and a place where people can come and get clothes for free.

The fourth level is where short-term missions teams like ours stay. There are bedrooms for the women and bedrooms for the men. They also have a “living room” where short-term teams can hang out and unwind.

The fifth level is storage. All of the maintenance equipment and paints are kept up here. They also have a small outside living room that overlooks the city. I am hoping to get to use that a lot more later this week.

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We arrived about 1 AM and went straight to bed. I couldn’t sleep and spent the majority of the cold night laying there in prayer, thought, and yawning.

The next morning came and we ate breakfast and had a quick devotion before we gathered together for orientation. We learned that a few days ago someone had come and sprayed graffiti on much of the building.

I have to say that my heart sank a little when I saw it. 2 years ago my team painted the building, the sidewalk and the bricks. It was a long couple of days, but we did a really nice job. Seeing it tagged with graffiti was a little upsetting.

We were told that we would be spending the day painting the building again.

We gathered all the materials and started in at painting at about 11 AM.

We finished the outside of the building by 12:30 and sat down to eat lunch.

It was a little late to do our original plan of evangelism, so we decided to help Paige get the chapel ready for church tomorrow. This meant a lot more painting. She wanted a few levels of the steps painted as well as one of the offices so that they could move furniture out of another larger office to use for kids ministry in the morning.

We broke up our group and started going to town on the painting.

We finished about 5:30, got cleaned up and headed off to dinner.

It is now 10:30.

The city is alive and very, very loud. Many people are sleeping with ear plugs or ear buds in to drown out the noise. While I am exhausted, I want to take in the sounds of the city. I might not sleep, but I want to experience what the people of La Victoria experience daily.

Tomorrow we will be tourists. We are going to start our day at the chapel and attending church and then heading off to enjoy the touristy side of Lima.

More on that tomorrow.

The ALS Challenge – My View

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

So I had been on the fence about this whole ALS challenge thing. I mean, first, it is bringing awareness to a disease without a cure. It is bringing people together a whole bunch of people to show the world the gruesome effect this disease has on people and on families.

Next, it is a great time to get wet. I am a fan of getting wet, just usually not me. I probably should have been a cat in a previous life, if I wasn’t allergic to them, and if I believed in previous lives.

But on the flip side, this has turned into a water-wasting, celebrate me type of event where people pour water on themselves in glorious fashion so they can avoid donating to the cause.

I was really torn about this.

And in the grand scheme of things, there should be a LOT more things out there that bother me than this stupid challenge. So I let it go.

Until I got challenged.

Uh-oh…time to put up or shut up.

Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

So I started to pray pretty hard about this and went to God asking Him what He would do.

After soul-searching, grieving in my heart, and prayer (ok, minus the grieving in my heart thing), I found a few Bible verses that helped me understand that this can be a good thing, if done properly.

So here is what is happening:

First, Chesapeake Christian Fellowship’s youth ministry (G2:20) challenged the young adult ministry (United). So what we are going to be doing is fundraising until September 2nd. For every $20 we raise, 1 gallon of ice, cold water will be poured on the heads of the leadership of each group. As I write this, we have $40 with United and, last I heard, G2:20 had $20 raised. Our hope is to see us raise enough money for ALS research that we have to dump large trash cans of water on our heads.

On September 3rd, the night of the United end of summer cookout, we will be letting the water flow for all of social media (and anyone who drives by the church) to see.

Help us raise money for ALS research. It is a very fatal disease. It not only kills, but it takes a person’s identity along with it. It is better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves cells, brain, and spinal cord. It eventually leads to the person’s death, but not before taking every bit of muscle tone with it. Since the motor neurons degenerate, they no longer send impulses to the muscles to allow movement. The muscles that affect the arms, legs, speech, swallowing, and breathing are the most affected.

Help us at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship to combat ALS. Please make a donation to the ALS Association today. The link for donating is here:

Thanks and let’s hope to see some very wet church leaders on September 3rd.

Oh…and if you want to see us carry this out, you call follow me on Instagram (Boyradd) or Twitter (Boyradd). I may also post it here, but that is only if I remember, lol.

Thanks again!

Proverbs 3:27-28 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.

Was That Me?!?

1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

The past few weeks I’ve been working with my church’s NexGen young adult ministry. I love these young people! They have such beautiful hearts and, in many ways, are blank slates that can be written on with the Word of the Lord in permanent ink. Along with the beauty of their hearts come some distinct traits that are common of all millennials.

Now I am not a millennial. I am a GenX. I just missed being a boomer by about 4 years. Translated that means that I am old. I’m not walk with a cane, take Geritol, read AARP old, but I’m getting there. I actually received my first AARP magazine in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a mistake. It should have gone to a neighbor’s house. But you can imagine that moment that I opened the mailbox and saw AARP. I think I facepalmed pretty hard that moment.

But I digress.

Our churches are in desperate need to reach the young adults in the communities they serve. As I review the Annapolis area and in speaking with the young adult leaders in my church, I have come find out that our group is one of the largest in the Annapolis area and that there are really only about 5 or 6 programs in the area that cater to the age group of 18-35.

And we wonder why the young adults are not coming church?!?!

No amount of music can bring them and keep them.

No amount of preaching can bring them and keep them.

No amount of impressive works can bring them and keep them.

Ephesians 4:15-16 – Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

With the millennial generation, it is all about how much you interact with them.

Think of it this way.

Most young adults are just starting to make it at their jobs. They are taking on more responsibility and meeting a lot of new people. These are people who could, and most likely will, affect their future jobs.

After work, many of these young adults go out to the bar after work. They are building relationships with the people that they work with.

On Sunday, they may go to church. After church, they go back to their apartments or homes and realize that no one at the church they just attended cared enough to ask them to do something.

Here is the Christian church, the place that has the message of salvation for all of humanity, the place that is built upon the doctrine of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, and the place that should care so much about each and every soul that walks into the church that we want to get to know each and every soul that walks into the church.

But most churches don’t cater to the needs of young adults.

1 Samuel 2:26 – Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man. (This was also said of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, by the way)

The past few weeks I have had the blessing to be able to minister to these amazing men and women and I have come to learn more about me than I would have if I had sat idly by hoping that someone else would reach them.

Young adults do not think like us old farts. As many of these men and women are starting their careers and their lives, they have a very limited view of what is around them. As we age, we are able, through experience, to distinguish when something is critical and when something is not. Young adults do not have the filter of experience. Everything to them is of utmost importance because it is all they know.

For example, if they get screamed at by their boss at work, they immediately could be thinking how their job is on the line. While those of us who have lived through several jobs are able to tell when something is at critical mass or something is more benign.

Having a child is another scary time. I always have to smile when my young adult friends are having their first child. They spend hours going from baby store to baby store to get the most safest crib, the stroller that holds the most stuff and can travel across the beach (like they think they will have TIME for the beach with children), and all of the outlet covers and corner guards they can get their hands on. Then they freak out when their child hits their head on the one corner of the one TV table that they forgot to cover. As an adult who has been through two children, I smile and laugh and think to myself how, in a few short months, all that money they spent on that stuff will have been wasted and they will be simply wanting to spend more time with their children than taking the time to wrap them in the equivalent of bubble wrap.

But young adults don’t know all this. All they know is that their world is very different from the world their parents grew up in (in most ways, though, it isn’t) and that their parents advice doesn’t matter because of how much their world is different.

Young adults want someone to simply come alongside them and build them up. They don’t want everyone’s advice. They simply want someone there to encourage them, tell them it will be ok, and be there to catch them if they do slip (and catch them without judgment of their previous action).

1 Timothy 2:4 – Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We were all at their age once. We were all scared of the world that lies ahead but taking each step with feigned confidence so that no one would see the fear in our hearts. If we simply would have been in touch with someone with some wisdom, our journeys would be much better for it. But part of growing older is making the mistakes.
Would I have wanted someone next to me when I was 23 to tell me that the woman I was about to marry was unequally yoked to me? Of course! Now I do. But at that time, I had those people telling me that and I didn’t listen to it.

But that experience for myself gave me a deeper love and understanding of the kingdom of God. It prepared me for a life sold out to Him.

And these young adults are going to make mistakes. Some of them will be significant, life-changing mistakes.
But as long as we who are the elders of the church, the wise and the old farts, come alongside them and simply be there to encourage them through their trials, they will grow knowing the grace of God and how His death on the cross means everything to them, even if they screw up this life.

So I encourage my older readers to spend time with your church’s youth group and/or young adult group. If your church doesn’t have a young adult group, get one started. it is so vitally important these men and women have a safe place that they can call their home.

And what better home than the church of the Living God!

Psalm 71:18 – So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

John 6:35 – Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

So today Chesapeake Christian Fellowship (www.4theLord.org) spearheaded a community outreach event called Daily Bread. John 6:35 is the inspiration verse that drove us to Daily Bread. Pastor Christian, a man whom I have been with to Peru, was in charge of it and he hit a homerun!

Last year, CCF put together 500 boxes to take to the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis, MD (HACA). This year, HACA approached us about taking care of all 741 of their residents. Of course, we said yes.

While my part of this adventure started at 7:30 AM the day of the event, the pastoral staff and countless volunteers worked weeks in advance to make sure this went off without a hitch. Every week the pastors would stand in front of the congregation and tell us what food product we were to bring in the next week. It was usually followed by some cute video. If I never hear the following song again, it will be too soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8MDNFaGfT4&feature=kp

1 John 3:17 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

At 7:30 on 5/17 we met in the gym and it was amazing. The songs, being sung by June and his wife, Andrea, were inspiring and beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZkE7Jv8f9o

The crowd was large. I would venture to guess that at least 200 people showed up to make this happen.

Registration

Group 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMjaZUyV__I

Pastor Pat prayed and then we loaded up the trucks and headed to our destination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqPiqzhw1Zc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GCkMojyrLM

Once we got to the address, we noticed an area that was surrounded by very expensive houses interspersed with the housing authority apartments. It got me wondering about our little Christian bubbles that the majority of us live in that may have problems, but they pale in comparison to basic survival needs. And then it gets me thinking about what we do on a daily basis that spits in the face of Christ and doesn’t follow the command to love, especially when we are told to love those who are naked, hungry, and in prison.

We started unloading and off we went.

Truck unloading

Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

There are too many amazing stories to tell in this little blog, but I wanted to share a couple of them. I am changing the names of the people in case they or someone they know somehow find this blog.

First, there is Abby. She is a middle-aged woman whose son moved in a few years ago. They both have high blood pressure, so they took medication to keep that at bay. They couldn’t afford to get both sets of medications, so they only got the mother’s filled. She was using it and he was using it. As they started to run out of the medication, she told him that she needed it and couldn’t give it to him anymore until they could afford more. Later that week, he was cutting the grass, had a heart attack, and died. When we arrive to her door, she quietly allowed us into her home, saying she is a private person and doesn’t talk much about her life to others. Soon after, the tears were flowing. She shared her story and, as she shared, we could tell she felt like she had killed her own son. The guilt she had built up over the months had been eating away at her that she felt that she was to blame for everything.

Another story involves Marissa. She is a young, single mother of two. We met her as we were finishing up our deliveries. We had a few extra boxes left over and decided to go door to door in another neighborhood close by just to get rid of them. Marissa saw us coming and was waiting out on her porch. After asking her and her friend if they knew Jesus and praying with them, Marissa then launched into a game of 20 questions about the church we are from. She asked so many questions about the kids program for her two young children. You could tell that is where her heart was. We shared directions to the church and even offered to figure out a way to get her there if she needed one. I didn’t see her this morning, but with about a thousand people at church I rarely get a chance to see everyone.

Another amazing miracle that happened was simply with the food collection itself. With such a late Easter this year, food collection began a little later than expected and we needed to have enough food for at least 741 boxes. In the last week, we were still scrambling for food when a message came in that someone was donating 100 of every item needed to fill a box. By the end of the final week, we not only had enough food for 770 boxes to be made, but also enough to stock our weekly food pantry for a few weeks as well.

And the final, most amazing, miracle that occurred during Daily Bread 2014 was that at least 3 people gave their lives to Christ. That in itself is reason to celebrate and go back year after year to the HACA program.

Overall it was a beautiful Saturday that was spent with beautiful people with beautiful feet serving more beautiful people in the beautiful city of Annapolis, MD. A city of 40,000 people and 4.5 million visitors yearly just saw 3 more of their residents saved. Imagine if one church could see the power of the Holy Spirit save 3 people in one weekend simply by going out into the community, imagine what the other 100+ churches in the greater Annapolis area could accomplish on the 635 streets throughout Annapolis! Lives would be getting saved daily!

If you are a local pastor, elder, or ministry leader reading this, please consider emailing me at fred.noble777@gmail.com to discuss how we can work together to bring the light of Jesus to this dark world, one city at a time.

Romans 10:15 – And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Fun

Peru, Let’s Keep This Party Going

John 5:30 – I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

So we succeeded in our mission trip.  God used us to change hearts and souls in Peru,and He used Peru to change hearts and souls of the 7 of us.  Time to board a plane and leave, right?  As we were sitting at dinner before our flight (which is another whole story in and of itself, lol) we get the call that our flight had been cancelled.

God, are you calling us to stay in Peru?

After an hour of going around and around with the airline, they got us on an earlier flight (1 AM boarding) and we headed off to Miami.  The flight was amazing.  It was operated by LAN Airlines.  We got fed (dinner at 2 AM), had free run of all the movies we could ever want to watch, and very comfortable blankets with earplugs and a face mask that made it nice and dark.  Great flight.

We get to Miami at 8AM with a flight that is supposed to leave at 5PM.  We had no desire to sit in the airport for another 8 hours.  So Pastor Christian got us booked on the 9:30AM flight.  Unfortunately, customs had a different plan.  We missed that flight.  Then we got booked on another flight, an 11:05 but realized we couldn’t make that one so we had to take the 11:55 flight.

The only phrase that kept coming to mind was “Welcome to the missions field.”

And that is where I am writing from, the plane.  Our flight ends up getting us in about 30 minutes before our original flight.

God takes care of those who do his work.

It is always this way.

Christians will never “need” for anything because God will take care of it.  I truly believe that.  If there is something being in the missions field has taught me it is that God will take care of His children.  Yes, it is His timing.  It is His desires.  But He has our greater desire at heart.  He wants to see us eternally in bliss in heaven.  We simply need to believe.

As we were leaving the bus at the airport in Peru, our guide, Adam, said that when you leave, if you truly are a child of God, you will either have a calling or a burden.  A calling is just that, something that God gives you to make a change in the direct lives of the Peruvians or in the missions field.  Ministries are created from callings.  Churches are planted from callings.  Lives get immediately impacted by callings.

A burden is feeling that you need to help in some way, whether small or large.  Lives and circumstances are affected, be it quickly or slowly, by having a burden.

Both are needed and are good.  Every person will have either a calling or a burden.  God will use both to affect change.  The important piece is understanding which you have.

So as I end this Peru mission log, know that I pray that this little glimpse into the lives of 7 gringos who have no clue how to speak the language will cause a burden or a calling to well up inside of you.

I am nothing special.  I simply said “yes” when God said “go.”  Nothing that happened this week happened because of my direct influence.  It was all God.  If He can use me, He can use you.  I will challenge you to find a mission trip.  Join the missions field.  Go and help the poor, the hurting, the infirmed, and those who are subject to injustice.  Your life will change.  I guarantee it, as long as you remain faithful to God and keep Him at the forefront.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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Peru, Day 6

Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Today was a bittersweet day.  It is our last full day in Peru as our flight leaves at 2 AM for the states.  Before we leave, however, we were to distribute over 100 wheelchairs.  We showed up at the distribution site and immediately started right in.

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The buses and taxis would pull up to the site and drop people off.  We had a team of 4 people standing outside with wheelchairs to get people out of transportation, into a wheelchair and then wheel them inside and transfer them to a stationary chair.  From there, the people would wait until called.  We would then pick up their stationary chair, carry it, with them on it, back to the registration table followed by the medical table followed by the “soul clinic” table followed by “chair pick up.”  It was very physically intense as we had to pick up people and carry them from place to place.

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As they went from station to station, the team was able to get some one-on-one time with the people receiving the chairs and some great relationships were built.

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One story that touched almost all of our hearts was about one man who walked in off the streets with a woman and claimed there was no God and that God was not present in this place.  As he walked around, there were a group of people laying hands on the woman in need of a chair.  Afterward, she yelled out this man’s name.  According to the family and the man, this woman had not said a word in years.  Once that happened, he came up to me and asked me if he could get this in another town near by.  We put him in touch with one of the people from CdV.  GOD WAS THERE!  GOD MADE THAT WOMAN SPEAK!  I believe in miracles!  I have seen God perform them!

After most of the people had been through the line and were waiting on their chairs, Camino de Vida asked us if we wanted to deliver some wheelchairs house to house.  Of course we said yes!  We were able to deliver 2 chairs to various people.  The first is a woman who is clearly a miracle of God!  She was in a coma for 3 months and should not have even been alive.  Her tears showed us just how grateful she was.

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The next man was bedridden and lived in a house that was as big as my bedroom.  I am still very unclear as to how he will use the chair, but once we deliver it, it is up to the family to ensure its use.

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As we were leaving, Bob remembered that our devotion today was on grace.  Would grace simply tell someone where something is or show them where it is?  As we were leaving the second house, Bob noticed that some men were unloading a truck filled with 100 pound bags of cement.  It would have taken them most of the day, so Bob offered our services.  Clearly my arms are not made for lifting 100 pound bags of cement, but God sustained us as we unloaded them into this small corner store.

We pulled back up to the distribution site and got everyone together for one final photo before we head off to dinner and then to the airport.  We need to send a very special thanks to Liliana, Miguelito and Adam for showing us Christ through their hospitality.  They are the true missionaries in this journey as they live and breathe this every day of their life and work countless hours, tirelessly and with joy, to make sure gringos like us are not only given an experience of a lifetime, but are also taken well care of.

We also need to thank Camino de Vida, Robert Barriger, Nick Balcombe, and all of the people who have lived in Lima for over 30 years bringing Christ to the city.

Finally, Christ is who truly led this journey.  It is Christ who created the revival in the heart of the CdV team.  It is Christ who created the passion in the CCF team.  It is Christ who brought both teams together to perform miracles on the streets of Lima.

James 2:14-17 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 

Peru, Day 5

Proverbs 21:13 – Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Today started with our devotion in the bus as we have been doing every morning on the way to and from our daily assignment.  Our topic for the discussion was “what is your ‘it’ question that you would like answered on this trip?”  This was a tough devotion to get started, but once we got rolling on it we started asking questions like, “what would YOU like to get out of this trip?” and “what would you like the GROUP to get out of this trip?” and “what would you like the PEOPLE WE ARE SERVING to get out of this trip?”  One of our church missionaries said, “I don’t know what ‘it’ is for me.  I just know that God woke me up a few weeks before this trip and said, ‘go to Peru.’  So I am here.”

After praying, we ended up at the build site where we were to build over 100 wheelchairs.

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One of the most amazing things was getting the group of gringos and Peruvians together for prayer before building.  It was a bilingual prayer.  During it, you could here people from both America and Peru thanking God, calling out to Him, and worshiping.

Praying before building

Then we started in with building.  There are 2 types of wheelchairs.  The first is called a Gen1.  It is for people who are paralyzed from the waste down or have lower extremity amputation.

Gen 1

The next type, or Gen2, is made for people with Cerebral Palsey or are quadrapalegic.  The Gen2 are more adaptable and come in 3 sizes, children’s, teen, and adult.  To give you an idea of how many children we have, we built over 14 of the children sized Gen2.

Gen 2

Building them was exciting and fun.  Last year when we were building them, I remember the pastor in charge telling us “this $60 Chinese wheelchair is being built by gringos from America to serve the community of Peru.”

Building

Gen 2

 Steve working with a little missionary girl

Building discussions between Bob and Mimi

After it was all said and done, we had 35 Gen2 and 68 Gen1 wheelchairs built.

A room full of wheelchairs

We finished early, so we decided to add a stop to our day.

Our guide, Adam, has pretty much adopted a family.  A woman in her mid-50’s had polio when younger and walks with a cane.  Her children all live with her and one of them is so severely disabled both physically and mentally that the family has problems supporting basic needs.  Well last year, a landslide destroyed their home and they were living next to the local trash dump.  Adam started going up there and rebuilding their house for them slowly but surely.  A few weeks ago, he finished.  He asked us to go up the mountain to check on her and deliver some food.  First, we needed to stop at the local market.  This market was an experience unto itself!

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Fruits/Veggies

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Spices

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Chicken

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Want some lamb?

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Rice

We purchased various fruits, veggies, meats, rices, and pastas.  This isn’t one of those markets that takes American dollars, so we needed to stop and get Peruvian money changed first.  It also isn’t a particularly safe market to be alone.  Interestingly, as Mimi and I were looking at the fish and crab, we realized that our group had disappeared.  They kept walking and didn’t even realize we were missing.  As much as I like to claim I am not E.G.R. (Extra Grace Required) we had the group actually looking for us.  We simply looked for them for a little while and then headed straight to the bus, knowing they’d be back that way eventually.  LOL, nothing happened to us, but to say that wasn’t the place to get separated is an understatement.

Afterward, we made our way to the woman’s house to deliver the food and pray with her.  She lives in a shanty town near the top of a large shale hill.  It is extremely dry and dusty and the air is thick with pollution and dirt.

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When we got there, we saw her son.

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At the age of 15, he is unable to walk and cannot communicate with the outside world much at all.  We prayed with Claudia.  Asking her if it was alright if we prayed with her, she agreed and immediately starting praying.  Immediately we burst into tears when the first words from her mouth were “Father, thank You….”  Here is a woman who has a child that is unable to exist without support, lost her house in a landslide, and lives a very rough, difficult life and SHE IS THANKING GOD!

We were all in tears.

We then went around and prayed in English randomly for her and her family.  She kissed each of us, broke into tears, and thanked us.

We boarded the bus and headed back into Lima.  As we were driving, the man who explained that he didn’t know what his “it” story was said, “I just realized what my ‘it’ story is.” He then explained that one of his spiritual gifts is compassion and to take people’s issues to Christ.  He broke down into tears, unable to speak, and spent much of the bus ride home in tears with our hands on him, crying together and praying for God to expand his ‘it’ story.

Even I was very close to taking my plane ticket and ripping it up.

To think of our “first world problems” of losing internet when it rains or hitting traffic on the beltway or church running too long to catch the kickoff to the football game and see someone who has a vegetable for a child and lost her house during a landslide AND STILL THANKING GOD makes me believe that we in America have it wrong.

We don’t help our neighbor enough.

We don’t provide for our brother or sister enough.

We don’t even help our church family enough when tragedy strikes or sin fills their life.  As a matter of fact, with that last one, we are usually very quick to judge and step away from them.  I know I am guilty of that on more than one occasion.

So, if anything, Christian, you need to work your muscles.  I don’t mean your abs or pecs or glute but your heart muscle.  You need to constantly train it to feel for that which causes God’s heart to cry.  If you can cry with God when injustice is happening, then you will smile with God when justice wins.

Tomorrow will be another emotional roller coaster as we handle wheelchair distribution to over 100 Peruvians.

1 John 3: 17-18 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

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