Another update from the field!

There is some *very* exciting news coming up about our team and our upcoming trip this August. I will be posting regarding those events in the next few weeks.

For the time being, I want to share another update from the field with you. These updates arrive quarterly from the field office in Pucallpa, and the one we received this week is the first ever report from the new CDP facilitators in LaPerla -Daniela Sampayo and Rebeca Vila! The rest of this entry is their quarterly report from LaPerla.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our names are Daniela Sampayo and Rebeca Vila. We are very thankful to our God for this opportunity to work for His kingdom in this community as CDP facilitators. We are very thankful to see the blessings that La Perla community is experiencing thanks to your partnership. We encourage you to continue working together to benefit the children and families. May you be blessed by God according to His riches in glory,
Daniela and Rebeca, FH CDP community facilitator and FH support.

LOCAL CHURCH UPDATE – The church members are helping in the construction of the new church rooms that will be used as Sunday School classes for children and teenagers.

SPECIAL EVENTS
– The church celebrated the Christmas and New Year with special programs carried out by the church members who put into practice their gifts and talents.
– There was also the closing ceremony of the ICTHUS Program (carried out by the teenagers) where parents and teens gathered to celebrate the closing of the 2009 year.

EVIDENCE OF TRANSFORMATION – Lelys Linares Barbaran –a CDP Mother Leader said that she used to attend church but due to the fact that her husband is an alcoholic she stopped attending church. However she constantly attended the reflection group meetings, now called School for Life. The teachings, orientations and trainings that she received from FH allowed her to decide to reconcile with Jesus Christ. Now she is attending church often and trying to learn more about God’s word. She is also motivating her children to go with her. God changes lives in his time, and His word never returns empty.

THANKSGIVING – We Praise the Lord for the families that accepted Jesus Christ, that are attending church meetings and decided to serve him.
For sister Guillermina as her health has improved and for her leadership as the pastor’s wife.

COMMUNITY PRAYER REQUESTS
1. Pray for the pastor Juan Carlos Pacaya, and for the challenges that he is facing as the President of the community.
2. Pray that the construction project of the church building continues.
3. Pray for the economic situation of the families of the community. Pray that they would be able to afford their children’s school expenses as the new school year starts in March.

FH STAFF PRAYER REQUESTS
– Pray for Daniela Sampayo, new FH CDP facilitator in the community: For wisdom on how to make the best decisions for her and her family.
– Pray for Rebeca Vila; FH CDP support: Pray for her family and for her spiritual life.
– Pray that God would continue to bless Daniela and Rebeca in everything they do. Pray that their dreams come true in God’s time.

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An update from the field in Laperla!

Hi, guys!

Sorry it has been so long between updates. Things are starting to get going again (not much happens in LaPerla between Dec-Feb due to the rains).

Jenn and I just got home from the Food For the Hungry Summit in Arizona last night. We have a renewed desire to make La Perla part of our lives every day. One of the ways that we’ve fallen off the wagon is in my failure to regularly update the blog. The last quarterly report we received was written by Jack on December 1 (10 days before he died). It was the first update on which he included a personal note to “Rock Harbor” (which includes all of the team members who have visited). It’s a very poignant note–even more so in light of his passing–because it applies to his life’s work at least as much as to our small contributions. Here it is:

“I am so thankful to God for your support of the work that is being carried out in the communities to benefit the families. I pray that God would continue to use you to bless this community and others, and I urge you to remember that the seeds you are helping to plant today, God will be faithful to grow, and will one day be harvested in his Glory. Blessings, Jack”

Here is the rest of the update:

1. Local Church: 5 people were newly baptized and 2 members of the church decided to get more involved in church activities serving as deacons. The church took out a loan to help them finish the construction of the building and each church member is committed to giving monthly towards paying back the loan!

2. Special Events: The youth from Iglesia El Buen Camino invited youth from 5 other churches to participate in a talent show featuring theater, choreography, and singing. And the church celebrated its anniversary with lunch, choreography and singing.

3. Clinton Flores Vela (a sponsored child) did not show any interest in schoolwork, chores, or even completing assignments. But in the last few months, he began regularly attending the FH youth club and hearing about doing everything as if it was for the Lord. Now, he takes pride in what he does and finishes everything on time. He is an example to his community.

4. Thanksgiving: God has been softening the hearts of the people in the community. More and more families are showing interest in wanting to know more about him.

5. Community Prayer Requests:
*Pray for the church building project: that the loan will come through quickly and that church members will be faithful in their commitment to pay it back
*Pray for families in the community: that God would continue to soften their hearts and that they would come to the feet of Jesus
*Pray for Guillermina, Pastor Juan Carlos’ wife who has been suffering health problems

6. FH Staff Prayer Requests
*Pray for Monica Macedo (the health project facilitator) that her pregnancy would continue to go well and that she will deliver a healthy baby. Pray also that God will change people’s attitudes about their health through the workshops she teaches in the community
*Pray for Jack Arriaga (this is our Jack–his prayer request) for his spiritual and work life and that God would continue to use him in serving the community for his glory. (This is still something you can pray for: that Jack’s servant’s heart and good example will continue to send waves of hope through the community).

Finally, I’d like to add two things:

The updates from 1-4 are actually amazing answers to prayer. They represent beginnings of resolution in some major areas we have been concerned and praying about: the church not taking responsibility for their building project, the church being closed in on itself and not reaching out to the community, and community programs not seeming to have the desired impact. Pray that this progress will not be hindered by Jack’s death!

Ryan Smedes, the FH Country Director for Peru, told us that La Perla requested to have Jack’s body displayed in the community center on afternoon so they could pay respects to him. 2 other communities he had done short stints in prior to working in La Perla requested the same thing that for that day. He said that they had never seen such a turnout for a lost member of their staff and that Jack’s gentle heart had clearly made a huge impact on everyone he worked with. I am thankful that God allowed us to know him for even a short time. He is an inspiration for the surrendered life God really wants from us.