My kids and I watch and wait.
When Marvel or DC Comics has a new movie coming out, we immediately try to get tickets.
There is something about heroes, and especially superheroes, that makes us feel as though we can be much more than our drab, ordinary, everyday life. It adds excitement and wonder.
But those superheroes aren’t real.
Superheroes are not the people who gain special abilities by getting bitten by a spider or consuming radiation. There are many other kinds of heroes and superheroes that really need celebrating.
Last week my wife and I led a mission journey to Peru. Our church works directly with another church there. It is this trip that I would like to highlight the many heroes and superheroes.
Let’s start with the heroes.
Camino de Vida is a church in the center of Lima Peru. It was founded by Pastor Robert Barriger. He has followed a very American church model and brought in elements of Dream Center International and Servolution. The church has grown to multiple thousands of people. As it has grown, they have streamlined operations and built programs around serving the city.
Our first set of heroes are those who plan the mission journeys to Lima. We worked through Paige Solis. She works with groups and churches. She wasn’t there when we went because she was back in the United States for a friend’s wedding, but her husband was there. We met Stalin last year. This year we got to spend a great deal of time with him and learn about his heart for the people of Peru. They both have amazing gifts that they use for God and the people of Peru. Paige has a strong gift for keeping the program organized, even when she has a lot going on. She has an amazing gift for hospitality and making sure that everyone is doing well. Stalin has a huge heart and love of good coffee. We talked for a very long time about coffee. He showed us all amazing hospitality and love while we were in Peru.
Then there were our guides, Kennedy and Maressa. Kennedy is Canadian and will be leaving Peru to go back to school at the end of the year. For being 19, she is mature way beyond her years. She has a heart for missions and hopes to see a better missions program coming out of Canada. She always had a smile on her face, even if something didn’t go quite as planned. Maressa is from the United States. She is a southern belle with a New York attitude. Strong but gentle. We were her first group that she ever hosted. As one of the interns, her tour of duty ends in December and she heads home for a few months while she determines what her future looks like. She has a fun sense of humor and really loves children.
Then there is Moises. He is currently a student but spends more time at the church than anywhere. He is strong as an ox but gentle as a dove. He left a very good job years ago to be able to spend time doing church work.
Next we have Toby. He was our driver and could fit the van into some of the smallest places ever. Toby has 4 kids and a wife and lives about an hour outside the city. Every morning Toby was at our mission house to pick us up by very early and ever night we didn’t return until about 8 or 9 pm. Then Toby would have to drop off the van and drive home. Even when he got his hand stuck in a closing door, he didn’t miss a beat! He kept going and refused to leave our sides.
Then there is Daniel and Stephanie. They put us up in their house for the week and made sure we had breakfast every morning. They made sure we had a safe place to stay, clean sheets and towels, and comfort. They also train the interns. They spend time with them and make sure they are discipled.
In years past we met many other heroes that we saw last week as well. Adam and Paolo who went from being guides to planting a church. Bernie, the woman who helped us to get checked in one our plane home from Peru. Miguel, the man who we saw every year for the past 5 that spends much of his time doing mass wheelchair distributions.
And there are so many more that I can’t even think of right now.
But now I want to move away from the heroes and talk about the superheroes.
First there is Antuane.
This woman! She has overcome some amazing hurdles in her life and she just keeps on smiling! At one point in her life, she was so strung out, homeless, and eating food off the street. She met with the church in La Victoria and came to know Christ. It was at that moment, she turned her life around. She got cleaned up and off the streets. The heroes above organized building her a house on the third floor of someone’s building. It is a 1-room place with a shared bathroom. But it has a door.
Antuane is a superhero! She survived the street. She overcame adversities that no one should have to endure and came out with joy in her heart.
Then there is Milargo. Her name literally means “miracle.” Her husband was in the hospital in Lima the morning we served breakfast. He was diagnosed with Leukemia and she was concerned because she was worried he was going to die. We prayed for God to provide a miracle to Miracle. She has overcome several hurdles. She is a superhero because she saw the church coming and she begged us to pray for her husband. She stood at God’s door and knocked loudly. She refused to let go until God moved.
Then we have Frank. But even more so, Frank’s family. Frank has CP. His family lives at the top of a very steep dirt hill. They take him out for walks regularly, but in order to do so, the dad would carry his wheelchair down the hill while his mom carries Frank. We met up with them because he outgrew the wheelchair he was given a few years ago. Moises, one of our heroes, carried the new chair to the top of the hill while the mom carried Frank. It was so dangerous to climb up and down that we went in groups of 2 holding on to each other in some cases. And his mother carries him by herself up and down the hill daily! SHE is a superhero!
And I could continue with the stories of heroes and superheroes, but I would need to write a book about each. Every story in Peru was a blessing to our hearts.
Just like Jesus rolling the stone away and bursting from the grave, Christ rolled away our hearts of stone when we met these people and burst forth from the grave, giving hope to hero and superhero alike.
The superheroes of Peru are beautiful people. But it is the heroes in Peru that truly have my heart. They care so deeply for Peru and Peruvians while very few people care about them. Please keep them all in prayer, hero and superhero.
Below are the links to support these heroes financially so they can continue to help the superheroes. Please consider sending your support to them.
Paige & Stalin: http://stalinandpaigesolis.squarespace.com/
Daniel & Stephanie: https://www.modernday.org/field-workers/danny-and-stephanie-gutierrez/