Sunday, February 28, 2010


This weekend my brother sent me an email full of links for great messages and sermons that have spoken to him, over the last year that he has been in Japan. My brother and I are worlds apart right now, physically, culturally, but one area that is the same is the lack of spiritual fellowship of believers. Japan is a very lost country, and being in the military doesn’t help the lack of brothers and sisters of the faith to encourage you on the day to day, on the hard parts of life. Pray for Daniel, that the Lord would sustain him, encourage him and lift him up in the truth of the Word. Pray protection over him, that the enemy would not take hold over the loneliness that one can feel when you are alone in your faith. Here in Tarma there are many churches and many dedicated attendee’s who claim they are following Jesus. But in all of these churches there is a lack of truth being taught, there is a false hermeneutic of scripture that is being taught – which can cause one to feel alone in the faith. It’s hit or miss on a Sunday here when we go to church. One week we can hear a message that is doctrinally sound, and then next we are hear blatant misinterpretation of the scriptures. So, a comfort for me has been to listen to messages and sermons on-line (and in English) to help balance the hit or miss message on Sunday mornings.
I spent some time this morning listening to a few of the messages that Daniel had sent me, and one in particular stood out to me so significantly. It was truth and a word from God that I have been waiting for over the duration of this past year away from home. The message was given by David Wilkerson (1931-present) on the topic of Anguish. The message spoke to me because the theme was something that I have struggled with since leaving Lincoln. Over the past year I have been acutely aware of my lack of emotion, brokenness or burden for the people of Peru and Tarma. In the years leading up to my term as a missionary, I was as passionate as could be about missions and ministry. The idea of reaching the world with the gospel, with helping the meek of the earth and making a physical and spiritual difference in the lives of people living in Latin America, so empowered and inspired me. I would think about the need of the world and my heart would break. But something changed when I left home. I uprooted myself from my home and my culture and placed myself smack down in the middle of the need of the world, in the poverty of Tarma, Peru. And I feel nothing. There is no passion about what I’m doing, there is no brokenness for the injustice occurring here, or burden for the people that aren’t hearing the word of God. There is a sense of obedience, knowing that I’m doing exactly what God has called me to do – being thankful for the opportunity to do it. There is an awareness that God is still working in and through me here in this small town so far away from my home. But the lack of emotion and feeling for these people has torn at me since I arrived. It is something that I have prayed over and contemplated and sought God about – and Wilkerson’s message just put my inner struggle into perfect words. This is what he says:
“I look at the whole religious scene today and all I see are inventions and ministries of man and flesh. It’s mostly powerless. It has no impact on the world. And I see more of the world coming into the church and impacting the church, rather than the church impacting the world. I see the music taking over the House of God. I see entertainment taking over the House of God. Obsess of entertainment in God’s House, a hatred of correction and a hatred of reproof. Nobody wants to hear it anymore. Whatever happened to Anguish in the House of God? Whatever happened to Anguish in the ministry? It’s a word you don’t hear in this pampered age. You don’t hear it.
Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you or around you. Anguish. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. Agony of God’s heart. We’ve held on to our religious rhetoric and our revival talk, but we’ve become so passive. All true passion is born out of anguish. All true passion for Christ in born out of a baptism of anguish. You search the scripture and you’ll find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation, He would share his own anguish, for what God saw happening to His church and to His people. And He would find a praying man and He would take that man and literally baptize that man in anguish. You find it in the book of Nehemiah, Jerusalem is in ruins. How is God going to deal with this? How is God going to restore the ruin? Folks, look at me . . . Nehemiah was not a preacher, he was a career man. This was a praying man. God found a man who would not just have a flash of emotion, not just some great burst of concern and then let it die. He said, “No. I broke down and I wept and I mourned and I fasted. Then I began to pray, night and day.” Why didn’t these other men, why didn’t they have an answer? Why didn’t God use them in restoration? Why didn’t they have a word? Because there was no sign of anguish! No weeping! Not a word of prayer! It’s all ruin!
Does it matter to you today? Does it matter to you at all, that God’s spiritual Jerusalem, the church, is now married to the world? That there is such a coldness sweeping the land? Closer than that . . . does it matter about the Jerusalem that is in our own hearts? The sign of ruin that is slowly draining spiritual power and passion. Blind to lukewarmness, blind to the mixture that is creeping in. That’s all the devil wants to do is get the fight out of you. And kill it. So you won’t labor in prayer anymore. You won’t weep before God anymore. You can sit and watch television and your family go to hell. Let me ask you, is what I just said convicted you at all? There is a great difference between anguish and concern. Concern is something that begins to interest you, you take an interest in a project or a cause or a concern or a need. I want to tell you something I’ve learned over all my years, of 50 years of preaching . . . if it is not born in anguish, if it had not been born of the Holy Spirit, where what you saw and heard of the ruin that drove you to your knees, took you down into a baptism of anguish where you began to pray and seek God. I know now, oh my God do I know it. Until I am in agony, until I have been anguished over it.
And all our projects, all our ministries, everything we do, where are the Sunday School teachers that weep over kids they know are not hearing and going to hell? You see, a true prayer life begins at the place of anguish. You see, if you set your heart to pray, God’s going to come and start sharing His heart with you. Your heart begins to cry out – Oh God your name is being blasphemed. Holy Spirit is being mocked. The enemy is out trying to destroy the testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness, and something has to be done. There is going to be no renewal, no revival, no awakening, until we are willing to let Him once again break us.
Folks it’s getting late and it’s getting serious. Please don’t tell me, don’t tell me you’re concerned when you’re spending hours in front of internet or television. Come on. Lord, there are some need to get to this altar and confess, I am not what I was, I am not where I am suppose to be. God I don’t have your heart or your burden. I’ve wanted it easy. I just wanted to be happy. But Lord, true joy comes; true joy comes out of anguish. There is nothing of flesh that will bring you joy. I don’t care how much money, I don’t care what kind of new house, there is absolutely nothing physical that can give you joy. It is only what is accomplished by the Holy Spirit when you obey Him and take on His heart. Build the walls around your family. Build the walls around your own heart. Make you strong and impregnable against the enemy. God that’s what we desire.” -David Wilkerson “A Call to Anguish”
If you have 10 min, I recommend you listen to these words from Wilkerson himself: ( As he says in the message, “I am not who I was, I am not where I am suppose to be. God I don’t have your heart or your burden. I’ve wanted it easy. I just wanted to be happy”. This has been the heart of my pain over the past year, I am not who I was when I left home, I am not in the passionate and broken place where I am suppose to be. I don’t have God’s heart or burden for Tarma. I’ve wanted to get through the “uncomfortable-ness” of two years away from home and family as easily as possible. I’ve been trying to keep myself entertained and happy, so that I won’t think about everything that I’m missing at home. And I am ashamed at how I am failing God. I am ashamed at how I am wasting the opportunity to pour out my life for the people of Tarma the way that Christ poured out his life for me.
My prayer this morning was for a miraculous change in my life – that God would take my heart and cause me anguish over the souls that are lost in this town that I am living in. That God would capture my focus and desire to not rest until I have done everything I possibly can to fight off the presence of the enemy and the power he has over the people here. That God would not allow me to waste this last year in Peru by being complacent to the need. God change my heart; change my life and my purpose in Tarma. Pray for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 2 of the VBS

We just finished the second day of our neighborhood VBS and so far so good. Beyond a few glitches in music and games, we are pretty happy with how the last two days have gone. It’s amazing to me how much energy the kids have, and it makes me appreciate so much more the work that goes into a good VBS. For this appreciate all the workers that invested their time and energy into summer programs at E-Free! Thanks a lot you guys! As for us, numbers were a bit down today: yesterday we had about 20, and today only 8. But we are hopeful and are praying that the kids will bring friends. Here are some pictures of the event. . .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Apologies, Vacations and VBS

Well, the last time that I updated my blog I wrote about our pajama party with the girls from Chichos, and the girl that lied to us and her parents and said that she was coming to our party. Well, Elsa and I were pleasantly surprised when we went to Chichos this week to give our weekly devotional, to find this girl waiting for us to apologize and ask forgiveness for lying and using us in such a bad way. This was incredible due to the fact that most Peruvians flee from conflict and taking responsibility for their actions. It is never their fault, so why would they take responsibility for it? But in this case the girl surprised us greatly, and we were able to talk about what happened and forgive her. We are making progress with these girls!
Well, as far as this week goes, Meredith left Tarma yesterday to make her way back to the States to attend a conference on missions where she will be speaking on the role of women in missions. She will be gone for the next two weeks, so Elsa, Julio and I will be keeping up with the ministry the three of us while she is gone. So life will be a bit busier in these weeks, but again, I appreciate the busyness. As for today, we are starting our four-day neighborhood VBS this afternoon. Elsa and Julio have been working hard this past week to get everything set up and scheduled. We handed out invitations to everyone in the barrio who had children, nieces, nephews or little brothers or sisters between the ages of 5-10. We are hoping for between 30-50 kids each day. Since we are in rainy season right now it will be interesting if we have to try and fit 50 kids into our small sala if the weather turns bad. But thankfully right now the sun is out and the afternoon looks promising. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the VBS. This is a first for us and for a lot of people in Tarma, so pray that God will be moving in and through the children and in the hearts and lives of their parents as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pajama Party!

One of the last things that we did with Sayuri while she was here was host a Pajama Party for all the girls in Chichos. Back in January we were going to take them on a field-trip of sorts to a Hacienda up the mountain for the day. We were going to do crafts, play some games, and just enjoy some girl time. It never happened due to Chicho canceling at the last min. and never being available to reschedule. The problem with this is that we had already promised the girls this paseo, but obviously couldn’t do it if Chicho would never give us a day. So we decided instead to do an all-nighter. Fun in general, but hard on the body. These poor girls were going to have worked a 12-hour day, come to our Pajama Party and stay up all night doing fun things, and then go right back to work another 12-hour day. It wasn’t ideal, but at this point it was really our only option. So we planned it for last Sunday night, and spent all week promoting it to the girls. Sayuri and I even made up invitations and passed them out. Everyone seemed super excited about it and said that they were going to come.
Well, “everyone” turned out to be four girls and a baby. We were disappointed that not more girls showed up, but in the end, it was nice to have just a small number. Nancy, Sara, Jenny, Elly and her baby showed up around 11:30 and we started by eating homemade pizza and soda. After that we made Valentine’s for each other using a bunch of scrapbooking supplies sent by people from E-Free in Lincoln. Thanks for the loot family! The girls really enjoyed this, and I’m not sure if they had ever done anything like it before. After that Meredith gave a little talk on love, and what real love looks like – both in the romantic sense and the spiritual sense. After this we played a few games, made cutout cookies and finally ended with a movie: Little Women! We all finally went to bed about 5:00am and then woke up at 7:00 so that we could make the girls French Toast for breakfast before sending them back off to work at 8:30. I did not envy the day ahead of them, but they assured us that they had a lot of fun and were glad that they came. So in that sense the evening was a success even though we were small in number.
The negative side of the evening knocked on our door about 11:00 the next morning. The mother of one of the girls came to ask if her daughter Jackie had been at the pajama party the night before. Jackie, who did not come to the party, told her mother she was here and even called her at midnight to say she was having such a good time with us. The mother was deeply worried because Jackie showed up at home at 8:00am that morning telling her mom that she had so much fun. Obviously the mother was worried about whether or not we were legitimate and if the sleepover had even taken place. Elsa and I spent 15min. explaining to the mother who we were and what we were doing here in Tarma, and how pained we were to learn that her daughter had used our event to cover up her lie to her mother. Needless to say, we will be addressing the issue at our devotional time at Chichos this Monday, and explain to the girls that if they are going to use our events in this way, we will no longer be able to host fun things for them. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few can ruin things for so many. After being so encouraged about how the night went, we were a bit discouraged to learn that this had happened. We were also discouraged to have to defend our name due to the lies of others. We’ll see what happens on Monday, but unfortunately we are going to have to proceed more carefully here on out than we ever thought we would have to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

University Internship

So I thought when I graduated from college I would be done with all things related to internships. It did not bother me to find out I was wrong. One of the goals we have as a team of missionaries is to capacitate others to be spiritual leaders. We want to train others to train other to train others, thus actively participated in the idea of multiplying Christian leaders, churches, servants. One of the ways that we are working toward this goal is by hosting week-long missionary internships for university students. Twice a year, these students will have the opportunity to spend a week with our team in Tarma getting a realistic idea of what missionary life is really like, as well as learn the method to our madness :). These students are coming from the ADIEL churches in Lima and are recommended to us by the senior pastor of each church. This past week was our first internship, and we were delighted to host two students from two different churches. Diego is an 18 year old from La Viña, (Elsa’s home church) who is currently studying to be a lawyer. Diego helps with the youth and plays guitar on the worship team. He has had quite a bit of short-term missions experience and has shown an interest in long-term missions. Sayuri is a 19-year old from El Redentor (Julio’s home church) who is currently studying “pastelería” – to become a dessert chef – yum! Of course we welcomed her with open arms! Sayuri has also had quite a bit of missions experience and has expressed a desire to do full-time missions both here in Peru, and overseas working with the Muslim community. The week, though packed full, went extremely fast and Diego and Sayuri participated in everything and went everywhere we did. The week consisted of mission-based workshops, devotionals and testimonies, leading Bible studies in the community, getting to know the community and eating a lot of local food. By the end of the week Diego and Sayuri both lead a team devotional, and shared their testimonies. Sayuri helped with a children’s lesson at one of our Bible studies and Diego led some worship. They also worked on a presentation about all that they learned while here – to go back and present to their churches. This first internship week went really well and Diego and Sayuri were the perfect guinea pigs. Both are mature believers and we were more than happy to spend the week teaching them.
Our second internship week will be in August of this year. We hope to have 4-6 students come then, and Diego and Sayuri may return to help us lead the event. I was really encouraged by this week because it was one of the first times that I was able to do capacitating. This is something that I really enjoy doing, and prefer to do over other ministry things. Most of our ministry right now is focused on evangelism since we are having so many Bible studies with non-believers. This is wonderful, except that my strengths lie in the teaching/discipling areas. So I was very happy to be able to exercise my gifts this week. Please be praying for Diego and Sayuri as they go back and present to their churches this coming Sunday. Pray for other students to be inspired with the desire to learn more about missions and participating in short and long-term teams.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hace mucho tiempo . . . it's be a while

So, it has obviously been awhile since I’ve updated the blog – I do apologize for this. I don’t have any good excuses; I simply just didn’t feel like writing. Sorry about that. Well, now that I’m back in action, I have a lot to update you all on. My last post was about my new English class at El Horizonte. I’m now in my fourth week of classes and after today, I will only have two more classes to finish out the term. And speaking of new classes, starting in March I will be teaching two classes per week at a new high school here in Tarma. And I’ve committed to teach the entire school year! Am I a crazy person? I think so, but I’ll take it one quarter at a time and hopefully I’ll be able to keep my wits about me.
Beyond English classes, we’ve started our second round of Bible studies, and currently we are leading 13, 5 of which are brand new! The studies are about the significance of Easter. We’ve found that many of the people in Tarma are “Christians” or “Good Catholics” but don’t have a clue to the meaning of the holiday they are celebrating. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, has really just become another excuse to celebrate. So our six week study (evangelistic in nature) will hopefully bring people into a better understanding of such an important week. With 5 new Bible studies of non-believers, we wanted to make sure that we were presenting the gospel clearly throughout the study. We are also beginning to focus on personal discipleship relationships with individuals. While we are progressing some in this area, we are finding it difficult to actually have any regular time with these people due to their work schedules and lack of free time. Still, we are doing what we can and we continue to pray for open doors.
In another area of building up the body, we are hosting two university students from two different ADEIL churches in Lima for a week-long internship. They are here to learn and experience more about what it is really like to be a missionary. Diego and Sayuri are two student leaders who have both had short-term missionary experience and are considering the possibility of continuing on to something more long-term. This week of training is involving devotionals, workshops on leadership, servanthood and culture shock, evangelistic surveys, time in the community with our contacts, and participation in our bible studies. Not to mention the “daily grind”: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping etc. It has been really encouraging to see the enthusiasm these students have for missions. At 18 and 19, there is so much potential for them to have a huge affect on the kingdom of God if they pursue the road they are currently traveling. Please be praying for what remains of this week with Diego and Sayuri, that they will walk away with a wider knowledge base of what missionary life is really like.
Let’s see, what else has been going on in the weeks since I’ve written? Well, the VBS that we were planning on having at the beginning of February got postponed to the last week in February, so I will be helping out with that in two weeks by leading a small basic English workshop. Since the week is focusing on kids ages 5-10, the lesson will involve learning the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” in English, as well as a Jump-Rope chant. Since the kids are on summer break right now, Julio and Elsa are trying to have a decent mix of Bible lesson and actual educative lessons such as English, Cooking and Crafts.
Well I think that’s about it for now. More posts and pictures to come . . . .